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Choosing Studio Monitors: A Quick Guide

Get the perfect sound for your studio! Check out this quick guide to choosing studio monitors.

Another Lumerians track for your brain gelatin

I posted “Burning Mirrors” from ‘s forthcoming debut, Transmalinnia last week.

The album drops March 1, so the Oakland quintet is dropping yet another track to psych your psyche.

MP3: Lumerians – Gaussian Castles

And previously…

MP3: Lumerians – “Burning Mirrors”

Batman Goes to Washington D.C.

At the White House.

At the Washington Monument.

Scoping out this 70 lb plane that set the world record for long-distance, human-powered flight hanging from the ceiling at Dulles airport.

Checking out Abraham Lincoln’s hat. Yes, a photo of Batman + Abraham Lincoln’s hat.

Be sure to check out Batman’s other adventures.

This video makes me give new Cake album a second chance

Okay, so the video above has me checking my premises. It rocks, and I think I missed something.

As the proud owner and player of Cake‘s entire back catalog, I was thrilled to get a review copy of the new Cake album, Showroom of Compassion. But I never really got into it much.

Then in late January I got a note that Showroom debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. Actually, I got four notes from four different publicists about this feat.

Of course, not one of them noted it was the lowest-selling number one in Billboard 200 history. Per Billboard, “Cake’s ‘Showroom of Compassion’ bows atop the Billboard 200 with just 44,000. That’s not only the smallest frame for a No. 1 album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 (beating a record set only last week), but it’s also obviously the tiniest figure racked up by a No. 1-debuting album.”

But hey, number one is number one. Right? Ah no.

Yet I was ambivalent. Here was one of my favorite bands of all-time coming out swinging with a new album that was finally earning them some long overdue attention, while at the same time, the quality of the album didn’t seem to hold up to the raw, genuine release of the past.

Frankly, I blame the digital record format — the same culprit that is slowly killing Billboard and Soundscan. Let me get all sentimental and old man-ish on you for a sec: I distinctly remember buying Pressure Chief and Comfort Eagle at record stores on the day they came out. I remember unwrapping the package and sliding the compact disc into my tony car stereo system.

When it came time for that first listen of Showroom, I do not remember downloading the zip file nor dragging the files into my giant glut of a “music” folder and then into my iTunes library. I do not recall the artwork for Showroom and was certainly multi-tasking each time I listened to the record.

And that sucks. It sucks for Cake, because they don’t write songs (nor albums) that demand you stop and listen to them. They write feel good songs with steady grooves intended for casual consumption.

So I’m giving them another chance. On a plane. With my eyes closed. Today.

The business case behind Radiohead’s King of Limbs

Did you get caught up in the hype of a new Radiohead album and neglect to notice it was 37 minutes long? I did. It’s basically an EP. Of course, I don’t care at all.

This Billboard article about the business side of Radiohead’s King of Limbs release is a must-read:

If you want Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs” you’ll have to legally or illegally download it. None of the subscription services, from Spotify to MOG, will have the album until its commercial release on March 29.

This is a hint of things to come. Over time more artists will decide to self-release music in this fashion, thus creating long, staggered release windows that place serious fans first and more casual fans further back in line. Traditional retail must wait in line, too. That means service companies that provide the tools and expertise for the online self-release of albums will benefit from this self-release strategy while the second wave of consumers are left to retailers.

Beating The Pirates
– Did you notice that “The King of Limbs” — as well as its predecessor “In Rainbows” — did not suffer from pre-release leaks? The traditional marketing and promotional effort for a label release is inherently leaky. Promotional and advance copies are everywhere.

Self-released Radiohead albums, on the other hand, are not heard before they are legally downloaded by the first eager fans. In fact, word of the February 14th pre-order didn’t even leak. That’s golden for an artist who wants to stick to a release strategy. Turns out the best way to stop leaks is to leave your record label.

Interesting, too, that “King of Limbs” went out a day ahead of its originally-announced release dates keeping fans, press and especially pirates on their heels.

Social Media Surge
– With Radiohead’s latest announcement and album release, the band got Grammy-like social media buzz comparable to Lady Gaga or Arcade Fire. Their social activity surged after they announced “The King of Limbs”‘s Feb. 14 pre-release.

Its total number of social media followers rose 105% in the week ending Feb. 19, according to Next Big Sound. The band’s weekly Facebook friend additions rose 55%, new Twitter followers rose 643%, new YouTube channel subscribers jumped 1,242% (helped by the concurrent release of a video) and new MySpace friends rose 34%. In all, the band added 125,000 fans (compared to 56,000 the previous week).

Radiohead’s social media gains were comparable to those of Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire in the week after their Grammys appearances. In the week ending Feb. 19, Lady Gaga’s new social media followers jumped 42% while Arcade Fire’s jumped 299%.

It goes on to ask, “Would people have pre-ordered the album if they knew it had just eight songs?,” and I think that’s a good question. I’ll say I was surprised.

Frankly, I spent $53 dollars in blind trust to get the album and two vinyl records fully expecting a large amount of material. But in reality, King of Limbs is more like a long EP running 37 minutes.

Of course, I would have bought the vinyl even knowing that at the time. I like the vinyl.

I bought Hail to the Thief on 45′s when it first came out, and if they had made In Rainbows easy to buy on vinyl, I would have purchased that format, as well. For those of you keeping score at home:

  1. Hail to the Thief: 56 minutes
  2. In Rainbows: 42 minutes
  3. King of Limbs: 37 minutes

At this rate, the next Radiohead album will certainly be a maxi-single.

Publicist FYI: anything marked For Immediate Release now goes to Trash

I was in Las Vegas for the Ragan Social Media and PR Conference last week (see Batman Goes to the Hoover Dam and Batman Goes to Las Vegas).

In one of the panels, my blogging peer in the social and dad-blogging space, C.C. Chapman, explained that he set up an email filter that sends any message with “For Immediate Release” straight to trash. Genius!

I can’t shake the notion of this concept to help me deal with my consistent email overload issue.

Frankly, the inbound email is too overwhelming. I’m getting 1000 e-mail pitches a week, up from 700, and something has to give. I feel like I’m missing out on so much music due to the sheer volume and velocity of messages that create an environment where I avoid looking at email altogether.

And although a handful of publicists, bands and label reps send personalized messages catered to this blog and my readers, the majority absolutely do not.

I’m on more blast email lists than ever before, and although those generic press release spam messages sometimes hold golden nuggets, there are simply too many to add value.

So it is with great hesitancy and anxiety that I’m going to start filtering out “For Immediate Release” email blasts starting today. I know I’m going to miss out on something important, but I’ll continue to tell myself that it will be worth it. And the fact it found 15,000 e-mails marked as such to-date pretty much seals the deal.

So yeah. FYI and whatnot. Anything marked “For Immediate Release” now goes to Trash.

As always, please read the FAQ before pitching.

UPDATE: I’m revising this to include “Media Alert” and am sending auto-reply e-mails to senders directing them to this blog post and our FAQ.

Whoa – 5 Seconds Of Every Number 1 Song Ever, 74 minutes of greatness

Separated into two parts, what we have here is 5 seconds of every #1 song in chart history up until 1992.



And frankly, it’s good they stopped at 1992, because most of the #1′s in the last decade have been sickening, formulaic crap.

If you make it through all 74 minutes, please report back. I predict headaches.

[via via Buzzfeed]

New Dfalt (CWL instrumental side-project) EP

Brooklyn/LA producer Jason Drake (aka Cassettes Won’t Listen) has recently announced his instrumental side project, Dfalt, and is now offering up the project’s debut self-titled EP for free.

Here’s a taste:

MP3: Dfalt -”Summer Drinks”

Get , downloading a zip file with a word doc, then following that word doc link to the real download link (lame, I know).

It’s worth it, though.

Two girls, one Thom

via via .

New Radiohead Video for Lotus Flower’from The King of Limbs

Craig Wedren Unveils 360° Interactive Music Video

“Are We” is the first single and video-chapter from Craig Wedren‘s new album and interactive film Wand, out this May on Nerveland Recordings. The song features background vocals by Connor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) .