Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Brinsley Schwarz - Brinsley Schwarz

Well, I've been working on something else entirely, but I decided to put it on hold cuz I'm not feeling it right now, and listen to this Brinsley Schwarz album instead.  I've got a feeling I'm really not gonna talk about this album as much as I probably should, but I had a little disagreement with someone in a Vinyl Record Collector's Group here on the internets, and between that and some shit Bob Lefsetz has been spewing lately, I just feel like I could use a little record that hardly anyone remembers and some relaxation.  This is a cool little collection of the first two US Brinsley Schwarz albums, the self titled record and their second, Despite It All.

Now, it's nice that these are more mellow and laid back than you might expect since they're labeled a Pub Rock band.  I just don't put these guys in the same sphere as I put Eddie and the Hot Rods or Dr. Feelgood.  They worry more about harmony and stuff, and I think that's what I need right about now.  I need that because I'm pretty bummed about responses in that Vinyl Community.  I'm right, and I know the other group of people haven't got a leg to stand on, but I didn't get a lot of support, and usually people that still buy records kind of agree on a lot of things like what stealing from artists is.

See, this kid (I looked, he's a kid to me and a young adult to himself) got called a parasite by someone for listening to the new Pink Floyd album on YouTube because he spent all his record money on other records and he wanted to hear it.  I didn't even notice that thread, but the dude puts up a post asking if he's a "parasite" for doing this.  He's getting a whole bunch of, "Hey, if you're gonna buy it anyway, what's the difference," and "Hey, it's cool - I do it all the time" responses.  So I looked on YouTube and lo and behold, Pink Floyd and their label aren't the ones that put the full album up a few days before the release date.  So I told the guy I didn't know if he was a "parasite" per se, but that he certainly seemed to feel entitled to free entertainment just because it was there.  I said that he stole it and man, did his panties get in a clump!  I won't get in to how it is that YouTube can put up stolen music at will and not have to worry about any repercussions, and I won't say I don't use YouTube for music, but I know damned well that if the label or band didn't put it up, then if someone had the money or inclination they could get it removed.  I can tell this young man isn't a taxpayer, because when i asked him what other things he used before he paid for them he said, "A house, and anything you can rent."  I told him there was a significant outlay of cash for both of those activities prior to use, but I don't think he gets it.

So I says, "Hey, if you went to a restaurant to try the food, would you expect it to be free and you'd start paying for it when you came back, and then, to sweeten the pot you'd bring all your friends?"  I didn't even get to say, "Because your friends would all probably want free food and it would never stop," because some other tool says, "It doesn't cost anything to make music.  Food you have to pay a chef and waitresses and buy the raw food."

Is that really where this generation of young people is coming from? I'm sorry, but what a bunch of entitled ASSHOLES.  "I spent all my entertainment money, and I DEMAND you entertain me for free until I can buy it."  I didn't go into the "How many times have you listened to albums, decided they weren't for you and never paid a fucking dime?" thing.  I mean, he is stealing.  He's asking for people to justify it because he knows he's a thief but he wants validation.  Well, ya ain't getting that from me.  Too many of the bands I love end up breaking up because they sell 1000 vinyl records, 1500 cd's and 400 downloads and then see that 40,000 people used bittorrent and stole their music. So they quit. The thing is, they don't need Bruce Springsteen money.  They could do this as a job for their whole lives if they could bring in 60K and benefits for themselves and their kids.  I know people can do it on less, but hey, if you're gone 100 nights a year, it's nice to know your wife and kids are in a safe neighborhood.  Those 40,000 downloads could have been all it took.

Why do people feel this entitlement?  I'm as far left as an American gets, but one of the douchenozzles that came to the kid's defense had something like 1.5 terabytes of stolen music.  I'm sorry, but Fuck You dude.  You're a thief.  Get a streaming account and pay your way.

Got a little riled there.  The first record ended and that's more mellow than Despite It All, and when push comes to shove, the second album is really a little more my style.  Country Girl is one of Nick Lowe's better songs,  That's really saying something, too.  Nick has written some of my absolute favorite things in the world, and lemme tel ya, where the first album is kind of a nice mellow diversion for me, Country Girl gets me to Take Notice, because something good is happening!  The next song is kind of like Nick does Van Morrison, but he just sounds like he's a happier person than Van to me, so I kind of like it.  After that is Funk Angel, which I thought would be dumb because of the title, but again, it's a great Nick Lowe song. I like the interplay between the guitar and the sax.  Why don't people use a sax anymore?  It's one of the backbone instruments of Rock and everyone acts like it's a harpsichord or something.  They're cool in the right hands.  They always were and they always will be.

Then there's Bob Lefsetz.  Is he a thing that people in the industry actually read or is he just some dullard with a modem?  I see people talk about things he said in his blog all the time.  The thing is, he talks about the exact same thing every day!  If you're not keeping up, you're dying. Streaming is the future. Radio is dead.  Duh.  He says that pretty much every day, he just uses a different artist to make his point.  What's the point he's making?  I don't know.  It's certainly not something we don't already know.  I think he thinks Taylor Swift and Big Machine were short sighted to pull Taylor's music from Spotify, but I think Big Machine and Taylor have already proved that so far as making money in this Blah New World, they're experts.  Spotify may or may not be a good idea, but Taylor has proven she knows what she's doing.  She'll get a better deal from Spotify and she'll be back, or wherever she ends up going will take Spotify's precarious position at the top of the streaming service hill.

Which I just don't get.  Streaming music is so boring.  It's okay for background noise, but I can't be bothered with it in my house.  I really just can't.  I realize I'm kind of on the fringe because I usually listen to records, but I'm not the only one.  There's a market for physical media.  It may be more of a niche, but once they figure out how to keep people from stealing music (and they will), the people that never buy any music will just go back to not listening to music anyway.  Of the people that are going to pay for it, the people that have huge collections may stay with physical because they've just already got so much, but most people aren't sitting on 1000 lp's and 2500 cd's.  Friends I have that actually listen to a lot of music usually have a few hundred cd's.  The guys at work that swap music files tend to buy stuff (I know what their "swapping" really is) in a mixture of physical and files.  Some of them have asked if I want things and I just seldom take them up on the offers.  One guy gave me a Jon Lord cd, and I don't mind it, but it's like Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.  Good, professional, kind of dull.  Now there's a place for that, but I've already got that kind of thing.  The thing is, this guy also talked about St.Vincent.  Now that you might think I want to get for free, but actually I may be interested in her one day and I would rather buy it and come at it more organically.

So now my record is over.  And I'm in a really good mood, and that's what a good album does for you.  It makes things more palatable.  Even people that will either ignore the obvious or think we've completely missed the obvious.  Is Brinsley Schwarz my favorite album ever?  Nope.  Not even close.  Nick Lowe has done much better things since, but it's good.  It's solid and it's the kind of thing it would be nice to see more people hear.  But it was hard to hear in 1970, and now it's buried under the internet.  Which is a shame.  My copy is a cutout, but it's a pretty clean copy, and it sounds really good.  Better yet, it makes me happy, which by any measurement means it's a good record.