Harvey Danger

Harvey Danger has reunited (well, the drummer’s new) and recorded a new album, Little by Little. Great news if you’re a fan (I’m one) – they basically self-destructed after the second album. I’m glad they got back together. While I won’t say they “rock” exactly (I’d place them somewhere on the spectrum between Weezer and Death Cab for Cutie), I really like their sound and their lyrics are always interesting.

Anyhow, the cool part is this: they’ve made the whole album available for free download from their site. Their reasons, in part:

In preparing to self-release our new album, we thought long and hard about how best to use the internet. Given our unusual history, and a long-held sense that the practice now being demonized by the music biz as “illegal” file sharing can be a friend to the independent musician, we have decided to embrace the indisputable fact of music in the 21st century, put our money where our mouth is, and make our record, Little By Little…, available for download via Bittorrent, and at our website. We’re not streaming, or offering 30-second song samples, or annoying you with digital rights management software; we’re putting up the whole record, for free, forever. Full stop. Please help yourself; if you like it, please share with friends.

(Read the whole thing here.)

I think it’s a great move. They’re not the first to do it (Wilco did it, and I’m sure others have too), but it’s cool to see a band confident enough to give their music away and hope that the fans respond by buying the album, and coming to see their shows.

So, support them by at least downloading the album and listening through it once. It’s free! If you don’t like it, delete it. If you do like it, support them by passing it on and/or buying a physical copy. Check out their back catalog too. I think their first album, Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone is the best.

October 16, 2005 | Posted in: Music | Comments Closed

Prairie Wind Blows

Boy, was I excited for the new Neil Young album, Prairie Wind. I’m a long time Neil fan, and even through rough patches (by which I mean insanity like Trans and Neil and the Shocking Pinks) he’s always bounced back with something good.

Well, not this time. Coming off his latest rough patch (the Broadway show wanna-be Greendale) he moves right to another. I had high hopes for this album, and was even fooled by the (poorly written) marketspeak:

Prairie Wind is quintessential Neil Young, a masterpiece that completes the trilogy of his best-selling albums Harvest and Harvest Moon-direct yet poetic, country and folk yet rock.

I love Harvest and Harvest Moon! I bought Prairie Moon as soon as it was released. Damn, what a disappointment. You can hear some good songs in there, struggling to get out – but they’re buried under unnecessary strings, horns, and choruses.

I don’t have the liner notes in front of me so I don’t know who (over)produced it, but in my opinion they ruined an album that had tons of potential. [Edit:The album was produced by Ben Keith, who also produced Harvest Moon, Comes a Time, American Stars & Bars, and Old Ways.]

I Like Short Songs!

This year I saw the next-to-last show on Guided By Voices‘ farewell tour (although Bob continues on).

This morning I decided to play myself a rock block of Guided by Voices. I selected all the GBV songs currently on my iPod, and iTunes replied with this statistic –

82 songs, 2.6 hours

– which breaks down to an average of 1:54 per song. (Shortest song: “Cigarette Tricks”, 0:18. Longest song: “Over the Neptune”, at a shocking 5:45)

That’s what I like about their stuff – they get in, give you the idea, and get out.