Before talking about new releases, I'd like to mention that Internet Radio, while granted a reprieve recently, still urgently needs your moral and vocal support, and probably a call to your Senator. If you haven't been following the issue, on July 13, 2007 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stop the increase in mandatory royalties issued against Internet radio stations, an increase that amounts to three times the current rate.
Don't get me wrong, it's important that musicians are paid by anyone making money from their music. But the issue here is far more complicated, aggravated by the very nature of computers: for the first time the Copyright Royalty Board can require broadcasters to tell them how many listeners they have. Broadcast radio and satellite radio don't have this requirement, and in fact broadcast radio couldn't provide it if they wanted to. So broadcast radio and satellite radio don't have to pay based on the number of listeners they have; internet radio stations will, if Copyright Royalty Board has their way. This is an unreasonable requirement that can only shut down the majority of internet radio, which at last count has 70 million listeners every month.
A more reasonable idea is to base royalties around the broadcaster's revenue, so that not-for-profit stations can broadcast to as many listeners as are interested without breaking the bank and forcing them to shutdown. Satellite Radio pays royalties in this way, while AM, FM and other land-based radio stations pay no royalties, just a yearly fee.
When you think about that payment structure it's overwhelmingly ironic that the stations most profit oriented, the Clear Channels and their like, pay no royalties. Meanwhile the little guys and the new businesses get squashed. For listeners of obscure music this couldn't be a bigger issue, as we've all benefited greatly from the underdog radio stations playing music that would never get onto the big profit-oriented stations. Don't stand by - Eff.org has a lot of information to help you voice your opinion.
Musicworks magazine is a Canadian quarterly music magazine that, since 1978, has covered the more serious end of improv and avant-garde music, often drawing from the music community for it's writers. In this month alone Tim Brady, John Luther Adams, and John Oswald have written for the magazine. The scope of the subjects covered is broad but consistent, introducing the reader to interesting artists, many of whom are concerned with innovative applications of theory and concept.
Currently we're selling the magazine only version of the magazine, and we've also sold the CD version a few times. Magazine sales don't really benefit our business, but we sell them to promote and preserve the printeed arts, the few magazine writing about these kinds of music, of which there is far too little.
Hailing from Belarus, which is wedged between Russia and the Ukraine, Rational Diet create RIO-oriented chamber rock and improvised rock with a strange sense of humor that reflects their East-European roots. They quote their influences as Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Webern, Ives, Henry Cow, Art Bears, Universe Zero, Present, Debile Menthol - an interesting set of comparisons that gives an idea of the complexity of the music, but not of the odd combination of styles from dark and demanding rock to avant-humour and other inexplicable approaches. It's an intense and rewarding album for those interested in complex compositional and experimental rock.
Blossom Toes put out two albums between 1967 and 1969 that are advanced examples of heavy psych rock; in fact the band's problem live was that the complex orchestration and use of studio trickery couldn't well be recreated live. Brian Godding and Brian Belshaw were the core of the band, having met as apprentices at the Hilger and Watts scientific instrument factory in Islington. The band was initially an R&B outfit named The Ingoes. The band took off when Yardbirds' manager Giorgio Gomelsky got involved, bringing them to Paris to develop a cult following, in the hopes of recording on his new Marmalade label, a subsidiary of Polydor. The strategy worked, and on return to England Blossom Toes was able to record the 15 track inventive masterpieces that makes up we are ever so clean. It's a clever record that embraces pop music and plays with it with quirky wit and melodic adventure. It's quite an achievement, one that lasted through two albums, with Godding moving on to a career in the 80's that included work with Robery Wyatt, Julie Driscoll, Keith Tippett, Magma and Mike Westbrook.
This is we are ever so clean's first official reissue, timed to coincide with its 40th anniversary, and was produced with the band's full involvement. It also includes ten bonus tracks taken from non-LP singles, demos, out-takes and live performances; a full-color 12-page booklet with rare photographs and band history, and an introduction from Brian Godding. A classic.
Blossom Toe's second and final studio album followed 1967's we are ever so clean's by two years. If Only For A Moment shows the band settled down into more complex song forms, and working with other artists including Julie Driscoll or US folk singer Shawn Philips. Produced with the band's full involvement, this first CD reissue includes seven bonus tracks taken from non-LP singles, demos, out-takes and live performances; a full-color 12-page booklet with rare photographs and band history, and an introduction from Brian Godding.
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