October 22, 2008


Oh these continued attempts to find a way to sell songs to us via the internet.  In a new venture, the labels have combined to deliver, without any attachment to iTunes as it is clear that they want to tear asunder that monopoly, all of our Digital Downloads in a way that is palatable to our wallets and pocketbooks.  In this case, they are now selling Web-songs for a mere 10 cents with the STRONG reality that we cannot burn it to CD or put it on a mobile device of any kind, including MP3 players and iPods. We can only listen via the internet.  However, if you do want those songs to be as moveable as you are, then you have to shell out the extra 80 cents.  That full cost will allow you to burn to CD and add to playlists.

Now…all together, let out that sigh.  Here we go again.

What we’re looking at here is another experimental attempt to find that magic cork to stopper the unchained rogue genie that Napster let out of the bottle.  Powered by Lala Media, the website (www.lala.com) will allows us to stream a song for free once to determine if we like it.  If so, we can then pay the 10 cents to access the song via a web browser.  Thomas Hesse, the president of Digital Business and US Sales for SonyBMG states that, in essence, he wants provide easy access to developing artists.  I’m one that still believes that a deal should have been brokered with the original Napster in the first place.  By embracing the flow of music that passed through Napster, the labels might have been able to effectively monetize that open spigot.  If they had contracted with Napster to charge, say, $10-$15, even $20 a month for users to access the millions of available songs that ran through its pipelines, the money might have been a ‘gusher’ for both parties and, I believe, end-users would have been quite happy.

Instead, and many years later, the labels still try to find that perfect state where user and conglomerate support each other in a mutually satisfying way.  I think that this new effort is just another one in a long line of failures.  But, to be fair, no matter how any of this plays out, we are in a wild state of flux that is still unlikely to be resolved even a decade from now.  How we end up getting our music (iTunes seems to be doing fine except for that darn iPod only restriction) is merely guesswork by all of us.  I think that a site effort like Lala COULD work (it is pretty cool, after all...try it!), but the labels need to collectively build it into an unfettered iTunes-like store, with massive and complete availability, easy access and effective portability.  THAT’S the kind of avenue they need to travel down.  In the meantime, the same labels can exploit widely the need of aging, near-retirement fans that are willing to buy audio upgraded, and historically documented, Special Deluxe Editions that are rich in physical content.  When we retire, those are the LAST things we’ll be able to afford.  Wait too long and that window will disappear forever.

From my personal perspective, I truly think that the labels need to digitize their ENTIRE vault of music, from the obscure to the hits, and open these up to sale.  There are plenty of songs and albums that have never even seen the inside of a CD and there is a world full of people just like me (I know, I talk to them all of the time) that would be very captivated.  So, free those catalogues up for us.  Make the impossible possible.  I’d be VERY interested in a complete download site like that.

Levi Stubbs died last Friday and marked number three of the great R&B band, The Four Tops, to pass away. His voice was the band in many ways. Anyone who has heard any of their songs, including "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" already know the power that that voice contained and the joy and love it passed to many fans. But like all great bands and their members, they are only as far gone as your closest CD, LP, or MP3 player. Levi Stubbs passing marks an era. I remember listening to Four Tops as a kid growing up and loving the songs incredibly. He will be missed by many of us. Now...what an addition to the Great Band. If you want to hear that magnificent voice of the Four Tops, just remember...all you have to do is "Reach Out (I'll be There)".

Levi Stubbs
1936 - 2008

Remember, YES is our choice for our new Best Album Poll. Many of you know the drill. For those that don't know, it's easy. Just click the available link and offer up your choice of what you consider to be the best album that Yes made. You have quite a catalogue to wade through. I may forgive you some of your choices, and I may not. (Just kidding). Send all votes to The Best of YES and we'll collect 'em. And we'll let you know in a few weeks what you chose as the 'numero uno' YES album. The first day of email votes have been very brisk. If you haven't voted yet, please do so.

We had promised to do up the list of Albums That You MUST Hear Before You Die.  When I first put this request up, I didn’t anticipate (and I should have) the massive lists that you would produce.  But in thinking about it, many of us DO have huge important lists.  We didn’t really get a lot of participants on this one so it shouldn’t take too long.  What I’ll do is to put up a list every post until exhausted beginning on Friday.  On Monday, we’ll post the results of the YES ‘best’ Poll.  There are surprises as to what DIDN’T make the list as well as to what the likely winner is.  [Hint:  The winner thus far is my choice but is followed very closely by an earlier album.  If you know my choice, you know which is leading.]  Entries are still coming in and so things can change.

Lindsay Planer returns Friday with a massive update of his As the Disc Spins column.  In it, he reviews albums that include

James Hrivnak leans in with a new review of Dig Out Your Soul from Oasis.  I have listened to the new album by The Dears called Missiles, both of which also come on Friday.  Coming up, I have reviews of the latest Eno/Byrne collaboration eccentrically entitled Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and Intimacy, the third release from Bloc Party.

We’ll see you back here on Friday. But before we leave, we have some music streams for you for the upcoming (Nov 18) Rod Stewart 2CD and 2CD/1DVD Deluxe Edition 'best of' collection. Enjoy them.

The Definitive Rod Stewart Listening Party - Quicktime

The Definitive Rod Stewart Listening Party - Windows Media


If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






Mediaskare Records will release an album from Chicago band, The Ability.  The 13-track album is called Be Still and is scheduled for November 25.

Abstract Records have some interesting albums arriving on November 25.  On that date, they will release Live in Nottingham (Asia), The Devil Hits Back (Atomic Rooster), Back Against the Wall, and Hogs on the Road (The Groundhogs), and Time Vaults (Van der Graff Generator).  Abstract Records also alerts that there will be more special and rare live recordings coming from Asia in early 2009.

Chenoa Records will be releasing a Christmas album with songs from previous American Idol finalist hopefuls.  You may remember some of them, you may not.  Regardless, there will be 13 tracks of traditional favourites by Frenchie Davis, RJ Helton, Amy Davis, Ayla Brown, and more.  This Xmas release called American Christmas is planned for November 25.

EMI Classics will release Classic Christmas Carols (50 of them) as sung by The Choir of King’s College in Cambridge.  These will be spread out over 2 CDs and will be released a month before the Holiday, on November 25.

Century Media will release a DVD for Lacuna Coil called Visual Karma (Body, Mind, and Soul).  This DVD is scheduled for November 25.  The new album by Lacuna Coil will be called Shallow Life and is expected in Spring of 2009.

Reprise Records will release a Limited Edition of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance.  It will be issued in red-coloured vinyl and will retail for $34.98, cheaper if you look around.  It is planned for December 16.

A collection for the Bee Gees called Love Songs is planned for release on December 16.  In addition, there will be a reissue of The Best of The Bee Gees, Volume I coming on November 11.

Warner Brothers will release a 2CD Special Edition reissued update of the soundtrack for The Dark Knight.  It is scheduled for December 9.

Warner Brothers has an ambitious 10CD Various Artists collection coming called Revolutions in Sound: Warner Brothers Records – The First 50 Years.  This massive vault special is currently being penciled in for December 9.

A vinyl LP version of the Twilight film soundtrack will be made available on December 9.

Watch for a CD/DVD Special Edition of Live From Chicago by Panic at the Disco.  This is expected on December 2.

Warner Brothers will re-release the self-titled Metallica album in two vinyl LP configurations.  The first is a 2LP set, retailing for $21.98.  The second is a 4LP Deluxe Edition that will retail for $54.98.  These are scheduled for November 28.  Please remember that …And Justice for All in Special Edition vinyl (detailed in a previous TAP post), released in 2LP and 4LP (180g, 45 RPM LP Limited Edition) will be released in a few weeks, October 28.




Review - Jon Anderson - 3 Ships: 22nd Anniversary Edition - CD

Jon Anderson of Yes fame has created a wealth of satisfying solo projects in additions to his Yes albums. His contribution to the Holidays came in the form of a very nice 3 Ships album. It is being reissued after many years of being Out of Print (OOP) and is re-mastered as well as expanded with 5 additional songs from the original sessions. We hope you enjoy the album because we certainly have over the years.





Review - Various Artists - P is For Panda Mix Tape, Vol 1 - CD

Sampler albums from labels are always a mixed bag of music. You will always find one that you like but might be inundated with stuff that you don't. P is For Panda is actually different than that. It is a slection of music from one who deeply appreciates good music. And so, this first volume of Mix Tape is filled with some interesting music for the listener. It is also available as a Digital Download (DD). Enjoy!



Review - Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Jenny Lewis and her latest album, Acid Tongue, is something special. Read James Hrivnak's review of music that is quite good.





Review - The Lost Patrol - Midnight Matinee

The Lost Patrol has created a lot of buzz with each release and performance. As they mature, their music becomes so much more defined and distinctive. With their new album, Midnight Matinee, The Lost Patrol ups the ante of indie Rock and Roll.







Copyright 2002-2008 Matthew Rowe.
All rights reserved.All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
"...you best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)