Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy BEST DAY OF THE MOTHERFUCKING YEAR!

It's Halloween. It's Frank Iero's birthday. It's fucking awesome.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!


XoXo
c.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Digital and the Dying

The writer of a 2006 Washington Post article on the closing of Tower Records described the changing music industry saying, “Anything that can be squeezed down to ones and zeros and moved around at the speed of electrons doesn't have to be stacked in plastic cases, shoved into bins and splayed over aisles under fluorescent lights anymore.”

For artists, labels and small record store owners alike, music has become something that can't be bought solely in physical form. It is no longer defined only by CDs, cassettes, or even vinyl that came before those formats, but – most commonly now – by bytes, bits per second, and digital properties that music fans see scrolling across the faces of their various MP3 players.

Jeff Watson, who has worked at Warner Brothers Records for eight years, has personally seen the negative effects of this change in the form of online music piracy.

“Since I started at WBR, I've watched physical sales go down each year, while file sharing has increased significantly,” said Watson, Vice President of New Media for WBR, who admitted that illegal downloading can't be the only reason behind decreased physical sales. Watson said that downloads are, however, a chief reason behind the decline.

“You can make a causal connection between the increased availability of free music and the massive drop of physical CD sales,” Watson said.

The Record Industry Association of America
says that for illegal downloading, “piracy” is a “too benign term that doesn’t even begin to adequately describe the toll that music theft takes on the many artists, songwriters, musicians, record label employees and others whose hard work and great talent make music possible.”

“In the long run, illegal downloading hurts the artist - they are not getting paid for their creative work," Watson said.

In addition to its effect on CD sales and the creative minds behind music, Watson believes that illegal downloading has caused a disconnect between fans and their music.

“I think illegal downloading has created an expectation that music as a whole is free, and it's devalued the experience of investing in music and feeling like it's special,” he said.

Another issue that surrounds illegal downloading is the quality of sound that the downloader receives from illegal sources.

Ty Owen, an advocate for “the digital world and the digital environment” of music and music director at Ohio University’s
All Campus Radio Network, is a senior media management major with a focus on digital media who is well-versed in downloading and in sound. He lists a few things that can help people “enjoy music a lot more” as an auditory experience, such as buying better headphones and speakers, but also lists avoiding peer-to-peer networks and online album leaks, which he says are often compressed to 128 (kilobits per second) - only a fraction the bit rate of CD-quality audio.

“Sound sacrifice is a huge issue if you’re a layman looking for music on the internet,” Owen said, “A lot of people download new records when they leak (at intentionally lower sound quality) so music directors and magazines can hear them to review them in a lower quality format, which - I think it’s hilarious if you think you can preview the way an album sounds at 128,” Owen said.

Some listeners don’t mind a sacrifice in sound quality if it means they get to have a song for free or get to hear it first.

“A majority of people don’t fucking care about bit rate. They don’t care about sound quality,” said Owen, who accepts only the highest sound quality digital music. High-quality downloads can be found at several online locations, but Owen believes the average downloader wouldn't be likely to put forth the effort to find them.

Digital music and illegal downloading may be lowering the standards some fans set for their listening, but it also causes change on a grander scale.

According to a 2007
Rolling Stone article, when file sharing first became popular, rather than learn to adapt to the change in media and make deals with the first file sharing giant, Napster, record labels attempted to fight it, thus forcing the piracy to spread into smaller and harder-to-manage dark corners of the web.

The music industry, so drastically impacted by the direction of media to a digital format, has had to adopt an adjust-or-slowly-rot approach, which, Watson notes, WBR has taken to heart.

“There's not much you can do to stop file sharing. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole. When you remove one song, another pops up,” he said. “The better option is to offer the consumer what they want: Ease of use.”

In addition to offering easier access to music online, WBR offers exclusive and limited edition items sold directly from an artist’s online store to help make up for the lost CD sales resulting from music piracy.

As for smaller music businesses, those who run local record stores also have had to gain self-awareness. An Athens, OH store owners says that in order to thrive now and into the digital future, they can't continue merely as stores that sell CDs.

“Eight years ago, there were 3 record stores in town, and now there’s one,” said Eric Gunn, owner of Haffa’s Records. “It’s something that’s been happening for a long time."

“It’s a part of the changing landscape of the music industry, and – I think – media as a whole. It’s all being affected by downloading, whether it’s illegal or otherwise.”

Gunn says that the digital world of music isn't something he can fight. He knows that physical record stores that want to survive in a digital world have to make changes.

“Obviously not everyone is going to survive and change, and I think you have to expand into other avenues of income,” Gunn said, mentioning products like movies and t-shirts or stores that function as “strictly vinyl” as possible solutions.

Gunn believes that “a core group of people that like the record store experience” and who recognize the value of and rare finds in record stores, will be the ones to help local record stores survive the digital shift. Owen agrees.

Owen believes he may see “a day when places like Wal-Mart and Best Buy are not going to waste their shelf space on music,” but doubts he’ll ever see the extinction of small, “niche” record stores, where music lovers like him go to support their audio habit. He does, however, have feelings on what we would lose if the digital music world took over and left the physical one for dead.

“I don’t want to live in that world,” he said, “I think I’d blow my brains out.”



----

XoXo
c.

Additional video interviews:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Album Review: Atreyu - "Congregation of the Damned"



Atreyu
Congregation of the Damned
Hollywood Records
October 27, 2009











Tracklisting:

1. Stop! Before It’s Too Late and We’ve Destroyed it All
2. Bleeding is a Luxury
3. Congregation of The Damned
4. Coffin Nails
5. Black Days Begin
6. Gallows
7. Storm to Pass
8. You Were King, Now You’re Unconscious
9. Insatiable
10. So Wrong
11. Ravenous
12. Lonely
13. Wait For You

Read my full review here!

XoXo
c.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New MCR-related Poll!

Hey, guys! If you will look slightly to your right, you will see that I have added a poll to my sidebar.

Basically, what I'm asking is whether or not you guys would be interested in reading about older shows. I have My Chemical Romance live reviews dating back to 2005 that I would willingly share if you guys are interested.

Here's the catch: these were written when I was much younger and are, therefore, not as great quality writing. If I were to post them, I would edit them a bit, but they're still readable without much editing.

Let me know what you think!

XoXo
c.

PS: The picture I posted with this is a bit random, but it's my face-paint interpretation of "Thank You for the Venom," which is what made me think about doing this in the first place. Ha-ha!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Taking Back Sunday, Anberlin, fun., and Gavin Castleton at LC Pavilion | Columbus, Ohio | October 23 [UPDATED!]

"WHAT'S IT FEEL LIKE TO BE A GHOST? LOUDER NOW, LOUDER NOW:" that is what was screaming in my ears at 4:45 A.M. yesterday. My friend Emily, in the spirit of the event for which we were waking, had set her phone's alarm to a Taking Back Sunday song.

By 5 A.M., we had left my dorm, and around 6, were sitting outside Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in the chilly weather with which Mother Nature decided to burden Columbus, Ohio.

When we got there, the weather was dry. By 9 A.M., we were flooded from our sitting positions on the concrete.

We were forced to plan our bathroom breaks and meals around the weather, and found ourselves shivering from cold.

This is the way we pay our dues. This is the most we can do in exchange for everything we get from the shows we attend...

-----


Check out my live review for ACRN.com here

I may post a longer version here. :]


XoXo
c.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I've been waiting in line for the Taking Back Sunday show since 6 A.M. in the cold and rain... TBS is totally worth it, though!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Against Me! Announces Album Tracking Completion and Title



For the full story and more music news, click here!

XoXo
c.

Mikey Way and Mat Devine give Fans Advice

My Chemical Romance bassist Mikey Way was asked to join Mat Devine of Kill Hannah for his weekly advice blog.

The pair answered serious questions submitted by fans about life issues that many are facing. The topics addressed range from bullying, stage fright, self-harm and therapy to "Philemaphobia" and coffee-addiction.




I think it's beautiful and rare to see something like this. More artists should be using their influence to listen to and help kids in this way.

People can smell shit a mile away - Mikey Way...

None to be smelt in Mat Devine's advice blog. Read it here

XoXo
c.

Countdown to TBS...

Only 2 days remain until I get to see Taking Back Sunday in Columbus!

I will be posting a review for ACRN, but I'll link it here.

Epic times are ahead!

XoXo
c.

Anti-Flag Announces 'The Economy Sucks, Let's Party!' Tour Dates



       For tour dates and my full story on ACRN.com, click here.




Here are the tour dates (since the ACRN site is still under construction and it's harder to find the news story now)



1/12/10 Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick

1/13/10 Chicago. IL @ Bottom Lounge

1/14/10 St. Paul, MN @ Station 4

1/15/10 Omaha, NE @ Sokol Underground

1/16/10 Denver, CO @ Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

1/19/10 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater

1/20/10 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

1/21/10 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

1/22/10 Hollywood, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre

1/23/10 San Diego, CA @ Soma

1/24/10 Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues Anaheim

1/25/10 Tempe, AZ @ Clubhouse

1/27/10 Austin, TX @ Red 7

1/29/10 Covington, KY @ Mad Hatter Club

1/30/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

1/31/10 Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom

2/01/10 Albany, NY @ Northern Lights

2/02/10 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

2/03/10 Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theater

2/04/10 New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom

2/05/10 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom

2/06/10 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Smalls Theatre





XoXo
c.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On Elitism...

"If for one minute you think you're better than a sixteen-year-old girl in a Green Day t-shirt, you are sorely mistaken. Remember the first time you went to a show and saw your favorite band. You wore their shirt and sang every word. You didn't know anything about scene politics, haircuts, or what was cool. All you knew was that this music made you feel different from anyone you shared a locker with. Someone finally understood you. This is what music is about.”

- Gerard Way


That is all.

XoXo
c.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Video Interview for Upcoming Article [I need your input!]

Hey, guys!

I recently wrote an article on illegal downloading for my News Writing class. This is a video I was required to make to accompany it.

For a grade, I need to get feedback from YOU; so, I would LOVE your comments.

I always love comments, but I'll love them even more if you help me get a good grade.

Thanks, guys!



XoXo
c.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Alkaline Trio Announce Record Completion, Premiere New Songs @ Riotfest!

Photo from Alternative Press

So, for the past few days, I have been living vicariously through the Live-tweeting of Alternative Press, who are at RiotFest, a Chicago-based punk-rock extravaganza.

AltPress just broke that Alkaline Trio played two brand new songs during their RiotFest set tonight at the Congress Theater in Chicago, and singer Matt Skiba announced before the first of the two that the 'Trio has finished recording their new album.

From the set list pictured, it seems that those two songs are called "Dine, Dine" and "This Addiction" or some longer variants of those two titles.

Alternative Press claim they have videos of said songs, and I will post them here as soon as they are available.

... And, more than two-and-a-half hours later, here they are:

"Dine, Dine, My Darling"



"This Addiction"



The sound quality of the first video pretty terrible, but you can get the general idea.

I am LOVING "This Addiction" already, though.

Check out Alternative Press' full video coverage of the fest, featuring performances from NOFX, Screeching Weasel, Riverboat Gamblers, Strike Anywhere, and Murder City Devils to name a few.

XoXo
c.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Black Parade-- A Belated Review

So that the ACRN.com editors could get a feel for our writing styles, all the new members of the editorial department had to write a sample CD review. The topic: Your Least Favorite Album by your Favorite Artist

Tough subject! I chose My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade

This is way irrelevant since the CD came out almost three years ago, but I thought some of you might like to read it.


The Black Parade
My Chemical Romance
Warner Brothers/ Reprise
October 24th, 2006

9/10
★★★★★★★★★








Opening with the sound of a beeping heart-monitor and the line “Now, come one, come all/to this tragic affair,” My Chemical Romance’s second major-label release The Black Parade immediately sets up the listener for a dark, theatrical adventure. The listener is guided by the main character of the concept album, a freshly-deceased man the band refers to as “the patient,” as he explores his life and the mistakes and losses he experienced during it via the twisting riffs and melodies MCR uses to portray a story of fear, regret and redemption.

My Chemical Romance, who are well-known for being a concept album band that is inspired by all things doom and gloom, have taken their mastery of the concept and of drama in rock music to the next level with Parade.

My Chem play as their alter-ego band, The Black Parade, which they created for this album, and show an obvious commitment to the theatrical aspect of the music. At times dramatic to the brink of overkill, Parade is a definite step away from their more raw 2004 release, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Flourishes such as a full marching band on the album’s first single, “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and Liza Minelli’s singing on “Mama” paired with intense guitars, and theatrical lyrics and vocal melodies point to a notable grandeur. Because of such flourishes, Parade has been compared to works by Queen and The Beatles, by whom the band claimed to be inspired during the writing process for The Black Parade.

The Black Parade provides the listener with an eclectic mix of songs that range from Queen-reminiscent “Welcome To the Black Parade” to the stripped down and straightforwardly emotional “Cancer.” Through songs like “Mama,” with its sweeping choruses and epic bridge surrounded by almost cabaret-like verses, and “House of Wolves,” a song that appears to be straight from a swing club in Hell, MCR makes it clear that they were not afraid to take risks on their second major label release.

True to My Chemical Romance form, hidden behind the theatrics is a message. Toward the end of the album, a there is a shift in mood from the fictional focus to themes more pertinent to the band itself and to its fans. Starting from “Sleep,” which was written about lead singer Gerard Way’s insomnia and sleep paralysis during the recording process of Parade, through the highly-emotional “Famous Last Words,” Parade gets a bit more personal.

Though the band have become less musically raw in Parade, their focus remains the same as it has from the beginning of their career: they want to show fans that they are not alone by giving them something to which they can relate. The power and pure emotion behind the lyrics of “Famous Last Words” sums this up perfectly: “I am not afraid to keep on living/I am not afraid to walk this world alone.”



XoXo
c.

MCR Re-team with David Campbell for Upcoming Album!

If I'm assuming correctly, this twitter post by My Chemical Romance lead guitarist Ray Toro is telling us something great!

David Campbell is the composer who did arrangements for the band's 2006 release, The Black Parade.

Now, MCR said they were going to avoid the grandeur for their upcoming release, but having the man who made elaborate string and horn arrangements on their previous album seems to be a step away from that.

An awesome step, if you ask me.

XoXo
c.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

MCR Finish Tracking for Upcoming Release

In a blog entry posted today by My Chemical Romance guitarist Ray Toro, he informs fans that the band is "almost done tracking the record" and will be moving on to the mixing process for the album very soon!

This translates to: the album-recording process is more that half way done! On average, an album may take three weeks to mix, but -- of course - there is no standard, and the duration of the mixing process varies with studios, producers, and artists, but the mixing is the quick part of making a record; so, the wait is coming to its final stretches.

In his blog, Toro explains that after their brief stay in Japan to play Summer Sonic, the band came back to the U.S. and to their album with a new motivation and wrote what he believes are some of the best songs on the album. The guitarist stated that something could be learned from their inspiration following the shows in Japan: "Sometimes you have to step back to get to the real heart of things."

In interviews prior to the Summer Sonic shows, lead singer Gerard Way professed that "Death Before Disco" was "the greatest song [they've] ever written."

If Toro's analysis is correct and the best stuff on the album was written after "Death Before Disco," we fans have an amazing album to which we can look forward.

For more information on MCR's recording of their upcoming album, check out my other My Chemical Romance blog entries.


XoXo
c.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MCR.com Registration Opens to All!

Those of you closely following My Chemical Romance will know that they opened their website to fan users at the end of July.

The only problem at that point was, registration was open only to California members of the band's street-team, the MCRmy, who got invites to two surprise MCR shows at the Roxy in LA. Registration gradually opened to other members of the MCRmy who were Emailed the personal access codes they needed to register for the site.

Well, no more! My Chemical Romance[dot] com is now open for public registration!

If you have yet to create your account, you can do so by going here

Jeff Watson, who runs the MCR website, gave me this explanation for the site's gradual registration process when I asked him what I could tell fans who were freaking out about it in August: "We have to do this slowly because the site will overload if we do at once, but we'll open to everyone soon."

It appears the site is now ready for the rush; so, go, my friends, REGISTER!

XoXo
c.

My MCR.com profile

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lyrics of the Week: Borne On The FM Waves of the Heart

Everything past the first verse of this song kinda defines my life right now.

For a change of pace, I'm adding a video to this Lyrics of the Week post. I'm sure you wont mind the change, oh my readers.

Against Me! - Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart video

From the album New Wave

No, it's not what we meant to say.
We don’t really love each other.
What happens when the summer’s over?
How long before distance becomes a chore?
I'm approaching with great, great trepidation.
I hope you’ll understand.

Before you speak think about what you're trying to say.
Who else is there to blame for miscommunication?
You're getting caught up in the excitement.
You making promises you can’t keep.
You need to leave all your options open.

Too much momentum.
This room feels like it's going to explode.
Too many angles.
Too many factors to cover.
Waiting for signal.
You're searching for network.
You have to fight to stay in control of the situation.

Anxiety, Anxiety you give me no mercy.
Grind my teeth smooth and flat in my sleep.
We took some pills to calm us down.
Then we needed help to come back up.
Just trying to stay in control of the situation.

Too much momentum.
This room feels like it's going to explode.
Too many angles.
Too many factors to cover.
Waiting for signal.
You're searching for network.
You have to fight to stay in control of the situation.
They fall apart so easily.

Too much momentum.
This room feels like it's going to explode.
Too many angles.
Too many factors to cover.
Waiting for signal.
You're searching for network.
You have to fight to stay in control.
You have to fight to stay in control.
No, you don’t have to fight to stay in control of the situation.


XoXo
c.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"The Archive:" A Man and the Death of his Passion

Continuing the theme of my previous post, I stumbled across this heartbreaking documentary via Amanda Palmer's twitter.

The Archive, a short documentary directed by Sean Dunne gives an emotional look into the passion of Paul Mawhinney, who boasts well over a million records in his archival collection that he has been collecting his entire life.

Mawhinney comments on the changes in the music industry, calling it "a sad commentary on the times" that "nobody gives a damn" about all the albums, some of them rare to the point of being publicly unavailable, that he has accumulated.


The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.


Though this documentary comments on an older form of music's being neglected and forgotten, I can see this pattern continuing with the rise of the digital music world. I grew up on cassettes and CDs, and find it hard now to find peers who still prefer CDs to their digital downloads and the sound of their MP3 players.

We must step back and look at ourselves. If we keep detracting the physical value of our music and continue hacking down the quality of sound for which we will settle, what will the future's music be like?

To me, this isn't progress; it's carelessness.

"It's heartbreaking to see that the world doesn't care or give a damn about saving it for future generations. That is depressing." -Paul Mawhinney

XoXo
c,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

For Shame!

So, Google Analytics is teaching me many things about my blog. From my statistics, I can see how many people have visted my blog, from where they are, at what they looked, how many different pages they viewed, and how much time they spent doing so. Don't worry; I can't see any personal information about you, blog-viewer, but what I can see is generally what drove you to come here.

I can also see search keywords that are driving traffic to my blog, and I feel very ashamed of music fans to find that much of my traffic is coming from people trying to find illegal downloads of AFI's new album, Crash Love.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Let me just clear something up: you will never find a link to an illegal download of any music here; so, if that is why you're following my blog, please unfollow me now; because, this just isn't the place for you.

If you're looking to preview the album, fine. I've found a couple advance-previews of albums online myself, but - PLEASE, PLEASE buy the music, for fuck's sake.

Don't kill what you love.

XoXo
c.

Bid on a Guitar Signed by My Chemical Romance & Support Animals

In the past, My Chemical Romance have held auctions that support causes, and they are at it again in support of Best Friends Animal Society, a very fitting charity for the band of animal-lovers.

You can bid on the guitar pictured to the left, which comes with a letter of authenticity, by going HERE.

Best Friends Animal Society works toward the ultimate goal of eliminating homeless animals by finding loving homes for animals that are often considered unworthy of adoption by shelters and society. Their main philosophy is "kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us."

This cause is definitely up the alley of My Chemical Romance, who frequently post pictures of their dogs on their main website's blogs and on twitter. Bassist Mikey Way centers many of his twitter posts around his dog, Piglet; Lead Guitarist Ray Toro refers to his dog Bauer as his "son", and Frank Iero's twitter bio reads "i pick up dog shit all day long, but at night...at night i rock-n-roll," showing his obvious preoccupation with his pets.

In the wake of My Chemical Romance drummer Bob Bryar's tragic loss of his shelter-rescued dog, Dixie, this cause seems all-too-perfect to support for the band and for the fans who have grown to love their pets through them.

Oh, and-- did I mention that guitar is SICK?! Jump on it, guys. It's worth it.

If I weren't broke, I would place a bid myself.

XoXo
c.