A Sad Loss

Robert Burås, the guitarist for my favorite band, Madrugada, died last night at age 31.

I’d like to write a long moving eulogy but find myself too stunned and saddened to know what to say.

For most of the last 24 years, I had one favorite guitar player, Glenn Mercer, from The Feelies. I didn’t really think anyone else could move me that much with a guitar.

Until I heard Madrugada 2 years ago.

Robert could move me anywhere with his guitar. He made it trashy, he made it pure poetry, he made it anything he wanted it to be. He had a style so distinctive there was no mistaking who was playing, and it always always always sounded great. He could do the walls of sound that brought me to my rock and roll knees and he could do the quiet plaintive whispers that made the world stand still and listen.

I’m heartbroken for the rest of the band, heartbroken for his friends and family, and yes I’ll admit it, I’m heartbroken for myself who will now never see Madrugada and who will never get to hear the records Robert would have recorded in the future.

Very very sad.

Here is a song from their first record, Industrial Silence, called Beauty Proof that showcases how understated yet evocative Robert’s guitar could be. And here is a live version of Dead End Mind, from their second record, The Nightly Disease, where Robert does some showing off.

It’s the logos, baby

metalMetalAd is another example of fans using Last.fm to make cool stuff based on their listening charts. This extension:

… will create an image displaying the logos of your top artists on your last.fm profile (if you don’t have a last.fm profile: create your own). Your top artist’s logo will be displayed on the top of the image, your 2nd top artist’s logo on the 2nd place and so on …

Note that not any artist’s logo will be displayed, only logos of Heavy, Death, Black, Thrash Metal artists, categories like Melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Black Metal, Gothic Metal, Industrial Metal and so on (considering that those logos are stored on my server …).

Of course, metal bands have all the cool logos. I don’t think the bands I like even have logos. I feel so deprived. But not deprived enough to start listening to metal.

(via the ever-entertaining Listenerd)

I love the Internet

I’ve written about this before, but it just makes me so darn happy when those obscure Swedish bands I listen to show up in my shoutboxes and comment spaces unexpectedly.

Bands who aren’t famous, take note: being proactive in reaching out to fans who listen to you increases their loyalty.

That’s all. Thanks Hell on Wheels and Starlet for making me smile!

ReverbNation joins the Facebook Application Fray

They may be a little late to the game, but ReverbNation have debuted their Facebook application, and it’s got some interesting qualities that the other music ones don’t (and some that they do).

The fans get to make playlists of tracks and embed them on their profiles. These can continue playing even when people navigate away from the profile.


That’s cool, but when I fooled around with it, it seemed like an awfully small selection of songs to choose from in their initial interface screen, despite ReverbNation having over 60,000 full length songs on site.

The app also tracks charts and lets you play songs right off them and gives info about shows in your area.

But the part I think is particularly interesting is that it ports the data out of the ReverbNation artists’ pages (created by the artists), so that each band has a self-authored ‘profile’ on Facebook. As far as I can tell, this is the first application that provides a meaningful way for bands to have a manageable Facebook profile, replete with photos, songs (that fans can click to hear or add to their playlists), bios, tour schedules, etc etc. though only available to those using the ReverbNation application.

In other ReverbNation news, they’ve teamed up with free website template site hosting site Freewebs to create a ReverbNation widget that Freeweb users can easily install on their web pages.

As I’ve mentioned before, I think ReverbNation are very forward thinking in looking at ways they can enable artists and fans to spread music all over the net rather than keeping them at one site. These offer more examples of that foresight.

Here’s screen shots of a couple of tabs on an Artist page within the application (click for full size):


How NOT to market your new CD

The Smashing Pumpkins are taking a lot of rightly deserved heat for their 4-versions-of-the-same-CD release strategy. As Pitchfork writes in a story headlined Smashing Pumpkins to Fans, Indie Stores: Fuck You:

Billy and company would like you to know that they fully support the extinction of the American independent record store at the hand of large, faceless, little-guy-crushing big boxes. They also support bleeding their fans dry. How? By releasing FOUR different versions of Zeitgeist.

Best Buy and Target each get a version with an exclusive bonus track. So does iTunes. Like, a different one for each. Everybody else gets the regular version with no bonus tracks. So if you want all of the bonus tracks, you have to buy an album at Best Buy, an album at Target, and an album at iTunes.

corgan money

All one can really conclude from this is that it’s going to result in hardcore fans doing a lot of illegal circulation and downloading of the extra tracks. It’s very hard to imagine any fan being excited about this or thinking it’s anything other than an effort to rip them off.

As far as I can tell, the Smashing Pumpkins have not had any press/net coverage that thinks this is cool. Instead response ranges from annoyed to livid. It’s hard to read it as anything other than a scheme to make more money for themselves and the big box stores at the expense of fans and independent record stores.

Seriously not cool. Goodbye indie credentials.