Friday, May 28, 2010

What does the death of Lala mean?

On the surface, Apple buying the online Lala music service didn't turn many heads a few months ago. I was a big fan of Lala, which allowed users upload their complete music collection and to have a copy of that collection on Lala's slightly ahead of it's time cloud computing technology. Lala also had a sizable collection of music for sale for around $7.50 for DRM free mp3 albums. Where they differed from every other service was allowing you to purchase web songs of your favorite artists for .10 each. The web songs then could be played on your Lala account at any time. They couldn't be copied or transported to personal music players. Lala also encouraged fans of music to interact with one another and suggest artists to one another. So Lala had almost all of the components that I could wish for in a music service.

Then Apple purchased Lala and some changes happened. I could no longer upload all of my creative commons and indie artists to my Lala account, it would just upload songs from like named artists or song names and not the artists that I had tried to upload. Lala would only upload artists that were available for sale on Lala. This seems innocuous but I think there is something bigger going on here. Apple bought Lala to use the cloud computing technology and took out a direct competitor at the same time. But what will Apple do with this cloud computing technology? My guess is they will incorporate it into i-tunes. At first glance this is a good thing, cloud technology means you won't have the bigger mp3 files on your computer. It's going to change again our idea of ownership of something just as the original arrival of mp3's did. It took a little time to get used to mp3's replacing physical products like cd's. Now with cloud computing there will be an exhaustive collection of music that you will get a ghost copy that will access the cloud when you go to play the music on i-tunes.

Where this differs is that I think Apple is going to make it so that you won't be able to upload music that isn't on i-tunes for sale on to your i-tunes account. This would cause about 400 of my albums not to be able to be played by i-tunes. Right now you can upload music onto i-tunes that isn't available there. I have been thinking for a couple of years that Apple must be working overtime to make all artists sign up for i-tunes in order for their fans to play their music on their i-tunes accounts. Many artists give their music away free under the Creative Commons agreement. So will these artists then have to charge something for their music to be able to pay for their music to be listed on i-tunes and for their music to play on i-tunes. Apple was more than happy for us to make i-tunes the standard before they made us pay for it.

I hope I am wrong, but it appears the writing is certainly on the wall in this case. So then the market reaction to this would be another company like Lala starting a similar music site online. Maybe there's a site already readying itself for the net music business that will be a game changer. We will see.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Poison Arrows, Bailiff, Big Science at Subterranean on Sat. May 27

I saw Big Science at Lincoln Hall earlier this year and really looked forward to seeing them again last Saturday night. Of course they did not disappoint. I was able to talk to some of the guys before the show again and it was good to catch up and hear what they are up to. They just released an ep that I reviewed called Skyscraper Sound on AEMMP Records. The guys are also working on a full length album, so stay tuned. At the Subterranean show they played the songs from Skyscraper Sound and it's so much more of a guitar punch to see them live. That's a great thing. I also really enjoyed Poison Arrows. Their bass player played quite a few notes and reminded me of a lot of that great mid 1970's progressive rock where bass players played like guitar players. Think Yes and Rush. Bailiff were also on the bill. The sound at Subterranean was really good. It's been a while since I've been there. The room was really dark though and my camera and video-camera don't like it that dark, so I don't have any coverage here.

I was fortunate to also catch up with Mike Maimone, who has an album release show for We Float coming up at The Mutiny on Western. I will be there and I will also post that concert info here soon.

Special thanks to Rebecca at Betta Promotions who promotes some great bands. (Big Science, Suns, Mike Maimone, Netherfriends, and A Lull among them.) Like them on their facebook page linked above. Also special thanks to Big Science for having me and being so approachable.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Big Science - Skyscraper Sound

Big Science are :

Jason Hendrix
Jason Richards
Jason Clark
Jeremy Pena


Fitting for Big Science to call their new ep. Skyscraper Sound ( AEMMP ) as this band is known for their soaring sound. This album has some rougher edges than their first release The Coast of Nowhere (my review here). They still have great production and harmonies, it just has a rougher/less poppy sound to it that adds a new depth to this ep. Big Science builds more huge sounds on this ep. "Flags" is representative of the bands style. It's got the 90's guitar and a killer rhythm section that are capped off by vocals that keep on rising. I Love the space in between the sounds on "Flags". It makes the loudest punch of sound really stand out. I was fortunate enough to see them play some of the songs off this release at a show at Lincoln Hall. (My videos of that show here).

The ep release show for Skyscraper Sound is this Sat. May 22 at Subterranean bar in Chicago. I'll be there. Come on out, they are a blast live.

Thanks to Rebecca at Betta Promotions. Also to the guys in the band who are so accommodating.

Port St. Willow - Even // Wasteland

Here is some nice dreamy lo-fi pop music replete with Nick Principe's falsetto voice. Nick is Port St Willow and based in Portland Oregon. I look forward to hearing more from him. These melodies will grab you quickly. And some of you thought you didn't like lo-fi.

<a href="">Pulse by Port St. Willow</a>

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carlos Mendez - En Casa

<a href="">Volvamos a hablar del Dolor by Carlos Méndez</a>

Carlos Mendez plays Panamanian folk rock. If you like Seu Jorge like I do then this will be right up your alley. This is a free bancamp download. Also he has an album from Jan 2010 that you can download 10 of 11 songs free. Check it out.

Dedicated Ears Presents ... A Success

Dedicated Ears Presents a Night Of Music at The Chopin Theatre was a success this past Saturday night. I want to say thanks to everyone who came out to the show. I met and talked to most of the people in the crowd and it was a blast. Thanks goes out to Lela an Zygmunt the owners of the Chopin Theatre who were gracious hosts. Thanks to August Forte, who went above and beyond promoting this event. Thanks to David Saffran, Brendan Losch, and Pretty Little Empire for performances that the audience really enjoyed. Thanks also to Brian Fitzgerald, who designed the cool poster ad, Michael Griggs for running the sound and Paul Leddy for helping with shooting the video for the show.

David Safran started the evening out with a singer songwriter set that had both a troubadour look and feel as well as some world beat rhythms mixed in. His band was tight and offered a slightly different spin on what you come to expect with a singer songwriter's performance.

Brendan Losch is an assured singer-songwriter who came across as earnest in his performance. After listening to his songs for a few weeks, I really enjoyed hearing them live. I would suggest checking out his albums on his site. He also is in the ambient-indie-gaze band Bullets In Madison, which I hope to get to play The Chopin. He also has a blog, Count Me Out, you should check out for news on a lot of indie music.

Pretty Little Empire is a band you may be familiar with if you read my posts. Their beautiful album Sweet Sweet Hands was on my end of year list last year. I still listen to it on a weekly basis. I went to film school with Justin Johnson, who plays guitar and sings lead and harmonies. I saw the band in St. Louis right after the release of their album and was blown away. They have gotten even better since then and showed it in their set. Their harmonies are stronger and they have added a 90's indie style punch of jangly guitar to their sound. Once the band was mainly acoustic and now they do well straddling the line between alt-folk and indie rock. I'll keep you posted about their upcoming album.

Many people commented on how cool they thought the theatre was and what a great place it is to see a concert. I agree fully. It's got a really nice vibe. I hope to book many more shows there and am working on June's show right now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mike Maimone and The Mutts - We Float (ep)

Mike Maimone is back with his new ep. which is FREE on his bandcamp page. Like all the rest of his stuff this is unconventional and I love it. This music growls. He has a record release show for this ep is Friday May 28th at The Mutiny (2428 N. Western). NO COVER!!! I plan on going and you should too. Mike is giving the download away for FREE and there is FREE entry to this show on Friday. I will also have an events link on the side of this blog for the show as well.

<a href="">Beggar by Mutts</a>