Fanity – Follow Your Favorite Artists


Name: Fanity

The day we realized that social sites were a context in which proximity with celebrities and musicians was almost guaranteed, then that was the day they began being on the map for most of us.

The problem is that by now just too much takes place on Facebook. You might “like” your favorite artist, and still miss on his updates. If you have more than 150 friends (the number of friends that ensures full interactions with everybody according to social media experts) then you take for granted that there are things you are going to miss.

Or will you? Meet Fanity, a web service for subscribing to news by your favorite artists, and have them displayed on a stream of their own.

Using Fanity will free you from having to filter your news feed manually. Just by becoming a fan of the artist in question you will have his latest news presented in such an unpolluted stream. Continue reading

Free Uruguayan Music For Download – “OVNI” By Matías Singer

“Ovni” Is The New Album By Uruguayan Independent Artist Matías Singer.

“Ovni” Is The New Album By Uruguayan Independent Artist Matías Singer.

Beaming down from the stars in their silver atmospheres, we have the new album by Matías Singer (go sulk in the corner, Joe Strummer!).

The disc (named “OVNI” – the Spanish word for UFO) is mostly an acoustic affair, with some lap guitars, accordions and light percussion to keep things jingly-jangly.

It has 13 songs, the vast majority of which are in English, although a few are in Spanish and I personally like them better than the ones in English. These include the title track and “Extraterrestre” [Starling], the one true “band” recording that is offered.

And as far as the English contingent goes, I have a lot of time for “You Are A Demon”, “Until The End Of The Night” and “I Never Dance”. These are the cuts that have the brightest set of melodies. On the other hand, there is a thing called “No Evil” that almost made erase the whole thing from my HD and optimize it afterwards to ensure the monster was gone. Continue reading

Unknown Pleasures (Joy Division) – Album Review

The Cover Of “Unknown Pleasures” (Joy Division’s Debut Album) Featured The Textured Graph Of A Star Going Supernova Over A Plain Black Background.

The Cover Of “Unknown Pleasures” (Joy Division’s Debut Album) Featured The Textured Graph Of A Star Going Supernova Over A Plain Black Background.

It is terrifying to realize how far some individuals can go artistically, and how little they can advance as human beings, what a feeling of deep unfulfillment they might still harbor to the very end. And that is a contradiction which can never be resolved. If it were, we would lose something that we can’t afford to lose: the sense of amazement, of wonder, of sheer dread that hits us when we come across these works marked by the truest lines if sacrifice, and which mark us in due turn.

“Unknown Pleasures” is one of the most distinctive debut records in the history of modern music. It shook everybody at the time of its release. The band, fellow musicians, the public, the critics… nobody was certain where they stood any longer. It was already a convoluted era – in 1979, people were still trying to figure out how to continue after the hurricane named punk rock had savagely altered the surface of the music scene. Well, Joy Division was to go one more, and take away what remained: the ground were everything had once lay to begin with. And the cataclysmic effect of “Unknown Pleasures” is felt as forcefully today as it was felt right then.

The album was to be produced by Martin Hannett, with whom the band was at loggerheads from start to finish. Hannett (later defined by bassist Peter Hook as “a genius, but an evil fucker”) took the band’s sonorous charge and shaped it into something which was luxuriously ordered, without compromising even a quarter of its impetus. He filled the songs with bizarre effects (alarms going off, bottles rolling and then crashing…) and airy echoes that gave the album a true other-worldliness. Continue reading

More Selections From “Ten”

ten emilio perez miguel

Although “Ten” was the second book I published, it was actually written before the first one that did come out, “Once”. Both titles were published by Rumbo Editorial – “Once” in 2009, and “Ten” in 2010.

When interviewed in the media, I am invariably asked why did I publish them out of order.

The simple answer is that “Ten” is a book that has no palliatives, whereas “Once” (owing to its free structure and multiple endings) is a book from which something positive can effectively be construed.

I think that the two compositions I have included below exemplify that. They come from the two final sections of the book, “Vicinity” and “Distance”. These turn “Ten” into “an exorcism and an outright damnation”, as I say in the preface.

I think these two compositions pay a clear debt to albums like “The Who By Numbers”, “All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes” and also an album I greatly like from an artist that (generally) I’m not  really that fond of: “Blood On The Tracks” by Bob Dylan.

So, without further preambles… “I Hurt You” and “You Lie”.

I Hurt You

I leave you because I don’t want to desert you
I decompose you because I love you intact
I say nothing because I love how you react –
I hurt you because I didn’t want to hurt you

I lead you because I don’t want to divert you
I tug at your heart because I love you unmoved
I love the absence of all you never removed –
I hurt you because I didn’t want to hurt you

And you longed for morn-like brilliance when I longed for the night
And I longed for occurrences when you longed for respite

I prod you because I don’t want to convert you
I motivate you because I love you inert
I love the deep silence whenever you assert –
I hurt you because I didn’t want to hurt you

I leave you because I don’t want to desert you
I decompose you because I love you intact
I say nothing because I love how you react –
I hurt you because I didn’t want to hurt you
Continue reading

Bandhack – Local Bands On Facebook


Name: Bandhack

Bandhack is a directory of local bands and shows on Facebook. Through this site, you will be able to know all about these bands that are coming together right where you live, and about the activity of the ones that are already well-established. You’ll get to know about their upcoming gigs, and you’ll also get your hands on their latest media (including videos and audio recordings)

To me, what gives Bandhack its edge is that the content is pulled directly from the pages of the bands in question. This means that the content is always up-to-date – if there’s any kind of change in schedules, for example, that will be reflected immediately on Bandhack.

And using the site is a piece of cake. You just log in with your Facebook account, and all the relevant local activity becomes accessible in a snap.

Los Pazientes (Uruguayan Unsigned Artist)

Los Pazientes are Marcel Studebaker (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Diego Carusso (guitars, backing vocals), Uvit Cropa (bass, loops, samplers), Juan Zoop (vocals) and Ramón Guayomin (guitars, backing vocals).

Los Pazientes are Marcel Studebaker (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Diego Carusso (guitars, backing vocals), Uvit Cropa (bass, loops, samplers), Juan Zoop (vocals) and Ramón Guayomin (guitars, backing vocals).

To many, the end of the ‘60s was the true culmination of an era. But to others, it was just the beginning of a fight that rages to this day. The former look at Woodstock and recall Pete Townshend’s immortal words about the event, “what they [hippies] thought was a new reality was actually a field full of people covered in mud and sheep shit… if that’s the new world they want to live in, then fuck the lot of them”. The latter regard Woodstock as the triumphant day of activism bar none, as the event that could congregate people from different corners of America who where there to incarnate a message of relentless change and renewal.

Each person is free to have his own interpretation of what happened that day, and the true significance it had. Personally, when I look at the events that took place right after Woodstock (including Altamont, the Manson murders and the seismic punk revolution at the tail end of the ‘70s) I am inclined to look at explicit calls to action with eyes that are not so eager. Someone once said that the only answers that have any value in life are the ones we arrive at ourselves. I think the same applies to any philosophy, or course of action. The ones that can take us to a positive conclusion are the ones we elaborate ourselves. And I don’t know if you remember the song “Follow The Cops Back Home” by Placebo, but I hope you do because it has a phrase that summarizes what I wrote above, and that lets me introduce you to the Uruguayan unsigned artist I want to cover today.

During its flourish, “Follow The Cops Back Home” has a verse that goes:

The call to arms was never true
I’m medicated, how are you?

That verse cannoned into my head when I discovered the music of Los Pazientes [The Patients]. There was something incredibly accurate about those words, and how they connected the band’s moniker with its intent of purpose.

To quote Los Pazientes [English text below]:

“Los Pazientes fueron concebidos principalmente como respuesta a la necesidad de generar un espacio de distribución y exhibición de un mensaje propio, que se compromete con la búsqueda de buenos espíritus, la lucha de algunos pueblos y de la guerra en contra del amor. A través de la música, (muchas veces el rocanrol) Los Pazientes, proponen incentivar y proteger en cualquier circunstancia ese mensaje, mediante la colaboración, organización y cooperación de diferentes artistas.”

[The Patients were primarily conceived as an answer to the need for a space in which to distribute and spotlight a message of its own, pledged to find good spirits, the fight of some nations and the war against love. Through music (often rock ‘n’ roll) The Patients aim to encourage and protect this message at all times, by making the collaboration and cooperation among different artists possible.]

There you go. As far as calls for action go, this is imbued by as much directness as temperance. It is something very representative of what the band is about, both musically and lyrically. There are echoes of liberation throughout its music (such as in the song “Rojo Y Negro” [Red and Black]), but what I read in the vast majority of cases is a call for individual action, with full awareness of the consequences that one’s decisions will have on a larger scale. It is the kind of subtle difference that has a substantial weight in the end. It is the one lesson that I feel we should learn from the idealism that music knew in the ‘60s, and the violent ramifications that such an idealism gave way to as the ‘70s became more and more divided, and some flags were waved and others burned indistinctly.

And in the end, the conquest of love is the biggest concern in these stories of arsonists in basements that realize they have new things to say and new horizons to strike for, of characters who tell storms about their own inner storms, as drums catch fire and music that lasts longer than one’s own blindness and limitations fills the surges of the air.

“Quiero escuchar el último latido en el hondo amanecer sin vos” [“I want to listen to the final heartbeat in the deep dawn without you”]. These lines close “El InZenDiario” [The Arsonist]. It is up to the listener to imagine how the day following that dawn will shape itself. Whether things will be ideal or real. Whether there is time enough to change oneself and his own preconceptions when it comes to what he wants to do and how that relates to what ought to be responsibly done.

So… I’m medicated, how are you?

I guess it doesn’t matter.

We’ll take a dive, swim right through.

There’s no stopping until the other side has been reached.

This is the band’s MySpace profile.

Is Spotify Coming To The US?

At Long Last, Spotify Is Coming To The US

At Long Last, Spotify Is Coming To The US

Well, one would say it is after reading the story that was run recently on the New York Post. For those of you who can’t be arsed to click on the link: two different music industry sources have confirmed that Sony Music and another (undisclosed) label are about to sign up a deal with the European startup.

In case you are wondering why a service that is so wildly popular in the old world is yet to come to America, the main stumbling block is that records labels aren’t exactly enamored with the freemium model that it champions (they hate its guts, actually). Think about it: Spotify lets people have access to as much music as they want legally, as long as they put up with the ads which are displayed. And these ads can be obliterated if you pay a fee. Continue reading

Why Was Cat Steven’s “Peace Train” Removed From US Copies Of 10,000 Maniacs’ “In My Tribe”?

The song was removed at Natalie Merchant’s behest, in the aftermath of the Salman Rushdie incident.

When Rushdie published his book “The Satanic Verses” in 1988, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomein pronounced a death sentence on him.

When asked about the pronouncement, Cat Stevens (who had by then converted to Islam, and adopted the Muslim name of Yusuf Islam) remarked that the will of Ayatollah must always be respected. This comment was then placed out of context and/or edited, and soon people believed that Stevens did actually support the death sentence pronounced on Rushdie.

In the wake of this incident, “Peace Train” was removed from all American copies of “In My Tribe”. It is, however, found on international copies of the album (the one I have from Germany has it), and more recently it was included among the rarities featured on the compilation “Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings” (2004).

MTV Announces A New Awards Show For Digital Content

The social media world is getting its very own awards show.

The social media world is getting its very own awards show.

Dermot McCormack (MTV’s executive vice president of digital media) has just announced the creation of a new awards show that will focus on digital content and social media alone. While its name is yet to be announced, we already know that it will take place in Spring of 2011, and that audience participation will be its defining elemen.

As opposed to the music and movie awards we all have grown to know, this new show will take place entirely online. Social conversation will keep the whole thing together, and the audience itself will be responsible for picking the winners for each category.

MTV has yet to announce the exact awards that will be doled out, but it is not much of a stretch to think of categories such as “Best Music Applications” and “Best Music-related Moments In Social Media” (such as this one) being included.

Crowdbands – A Record Label Run By The People


Name: Crowdbands

Record labels as we have always known them are on their way to extinction. Well, that is what the team behind this startup seems to be screaming at the top of its voice.

Crowdbands is a collaborative platform that to all intents and purposes resembles a record label whose decisions are taken by the public. Which songs will be recorded by which band, when will any of the bands on the roster go on tour, what the artwork of albums and singles will look like, which late shows they should play… These are the kind of decisions that users of Crowdbands are allowed to take. We are talking about one of the clearest examples of crowdsourcing yet applied to the music industry.

The one and only drawback something like this has, now, is that it effectively puts an end to songs like the Sex Pistols’ “EMI” or XTC’s “I Bought Myself A Liarbird”. As Johnny Rotten himself once commented, lousy record companies make (and have always made) for terrific compositions since the dawn of time. Well, I guess composers now will have to do without one of the most devilish sources of inspiration ever. We’ll see if the tradeoff (IE, the sense of communion) will suffice. And say what you wish, but I think we are losing a certain dose of malice that has always kept the scene entertaining to begin with.