Blog respect the artist"Legalized theft / Leaves me bereft". This excerpt of the lyrics from the merciless Morrissey song "Sorrow Will Come in the End" does not apply to my situation, but to all artists whose copyright rights are not respected and who are not getting paid for what is rightfully theirs. "Thou shalt not steal" is one of the Ten Commandments, but sadly a moral imperative in dissolution. Even swedish politicians wavers in this matter. Our resigning Prime Minister from the Moderate Party (right-wing) said: "We can't criminalize a whole generation" and later elaborated his thoughts: "We can see that the technical possibilities now exist and that we can't chase a whole generation of young people for doing something that is super easy and we don't have judicial resources to correct". This statement comes from a leader of a political party well-known for their hard attitudes in property law. Let's examine the logic. Could you imagine him say: "We can see that burglary methods have improved lately and that we can't chase people for breaking into homes and stealing things and we don't have judicial resources to correct". Personally, I don't think so. This kind of unbridled populism is not limited to this particular party. The Liberal Party, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party (right-wing parties) are all on a slippery slope when arguing that copyright "must be adapted to technological changes". What this mean is very unclear. Copyright is however not an right-left issue. The Green Environmental Party (left-wing party) is flirting openly with former Pirate Party voters (who wants to re-establish a "balance" in copyright law) when they argue that "copyright inhibits the emergence of new culture and creates unreasonable consequences for ordinary music consumers". However, they are unable or unwilling to elaborate what they mean. The only political parties that stand up for copyright is the Social Democratic Party and the Left Party (left-wing parties). But, what can you expect? As I wrote in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, see link, politicians and music don’t go well together. It may be appropriate to end this blog entry with a greeting, to those who don't respect the artist and steal their music, in form of a quote from the above-mentioned song: "But Sorrow will come / To you in the end / And as sure as my words are pure / I praise the day that brings you pain". 

Note: The song "Sorrow Will Come in the End" refers to the law suit where drummer Mike Joyce sued Johnny Marr and Morrissey (the Smiths) for an equal share of performance and recording royalties. Joyce won the case (wrongly, of course).

   

 

blog shipping totalOne of life’s mysteries is the asymmetric shipping cost when shipping a cd from US to Sweden or vice versa. I often buy used cds. I know, the term "used" is rather meaningless when it comes to cd, since “used” in almost every case is similar to almost new. I usually buy used cds from Amazon (UK and US). However, the shipping cost is completely different: £1,82 ($3) from Amazon UK, and $14,95 from Amazon US. On the other hand, the cds are more expensive on Amazon UK, so “what you gain on the roundabouts you lose on the swings” (slightly modified proverb). The cds that I’m interested in are often only available from the US (and Amazon US). Several times I have bought hard-to-find cds for less than $2 and then paid $14,95 for the shipping (the factor is >7 between cd and shipping). This is totally incomprehensible and also very offensive. Let’s dissect this phenomenon in more detail. Of course, there are costs associated with distributing packages for here to there (salaries, transport costs and other costs). The Amazon US standard domestic shipping rate is $4, which is almost the exact the same level as standard domestic shipping rate in Sweden (28 SEK). This seems to be a fair price. So far so good. The shipping rate for sending a cd from Sweden to US is 60 SEK ($8,50), while the Amazon shipping rate to Sweden is $14,95. The factor between domestic and international in the US is 3,75. The same factor is 2,14 in Sweden. The difference is almost the double. Something happened between domestic and international. Is it more costly to ship in one direction (from US to Sweden, that is)? Some may argue that this is the case. Let's scrutinize the postal and shipping components. It's the same standardized service in both countries, while salaries for postal employees are lower in US, gasoline prices are considerable lower and jet fuel are slight higher in US. All in all, US has cost advantages compared to Sweden. There should also be considerable economies of scale in US. It should therefore be cheaper to ship from US to Sweden than from Sweden to US. Postal service is a public good and its price should be held at a minimum to promote trade, prosperity and building up my record collection.

   

 

Blog TPB Vicious LosersToday I pre-ordered "Those Poor Bastards" upcoming album with the title "Vicious Losers". The official release date is October 7th 2014. Those Poor Bastards writes: "This is your final warning". The album will be available in almost every format there is (or was) except cassette. There will be three different versions of limited edition vinyl (200 copies each): gold with black splatter, red and deep purple A side B side, and bone/clear half and half, CDs and digital downloads. I ordered the cd, of course, since it's my preferred format. The album cover is very interesting. The Minister and Lonesome Wyatt in a old barn somewhere in rural Wisconsin (?). The Minister has complemented his burqa-curtain like mask with a feathered war bonnet, while performing a Native American dance (?). Lonesome Wyatt seems to make a reverse (with left hand) benediction gesture. This goes to show that everything is just as it should be. Those Poor Bastards maintains a high and consistent quality level in their album production. There is no reason to assume any deterioration. Their last album "Behold the Abyss" was released in 2012 and contained great songs like "Everything Is Temporary", "Your Faith Shall Be Tested" and "Sacrificial Lamb". Some of the titles on the new album sounds very promising: "Let Us Rot", "Give Me Drugs", "Born To Preach" and "Today I Saw My Funeral". What can we expect from the new album? Those Poor Bastards (who refers to themselves as the "Prophets of the Country Doom") are very clear on this point: "Get ready for the gloom". You can pre-order the album here.

 

Psalms For The Spiritually DeadThe eleventh and last song on "Psalms for the Spiritually Dead" leaves me speechless. The "lyrics" of "Psalm of Slumber" are authentic tape excerpts from the so called “Jonestown death tapes”, a 45 minute audio recording of Reverend Jim Jones giving his last fateful sermon, while people are dying around him in a mass suicide or perhaps more correctly, in a murder-suicide. On November 18th 1978 over 900 people (men, women and children) died in "Jonestown", Gyuana. This horrible event is well covered elsewhere so I will not go further into this here. However, I can't let go of the song. Zebulon Whatley made the selection of tape excerpts for the song, the editing and the music. The content of the tape excerpts in the song is an illustration of a man who exercises absolute power over "his" people. The people have transferred all power over their own lives to him. The sermon is slurry and sometimes inaudible. It would be almost impossible to make a transcription of the excerpts on "Psalm of Slumber" without the full transcription of the “Jonestown death tapes”, which is available here. Here is the complete transcription of "Psalm of Slumber": 

No more, no more, no more
- - -
it's just not worth living like this ... not worth living like this
- - -
it's gonna be a catastrophe
- - -
...take our life from us, we laid it down, we got tired.
- - -
I can't live that way. I cannot live that way. I've lived for all and I've died for all. ...
- - -
We've been so betrayed, we have been so terribly betrayed
- - -
All they're doing is taking a drink, that takes, to go to sleep... That's what death is, sleep ... I know, but I'm tired of it all
- - -
we are done in as far as any other alternative
- - -
Can some people assure these children of the relaxation of stepping over to the next plane? 
- - -
I've been living on a hope for a long time
- - -
Well, someday we're gonna die, someplace that hope runs out. 'cause everybody dies. I haven't seen anybody yet that didn't die. And I'd like to choose my own kind of death for a change. I'm tired of being tormented to hell, that's what I'm tired of.
- - -
I have never, never, never, never seen anything like this before in my life.
- - -
But to me death is not ... death is not a fearful thing, it's living that's treacherous...
- - -
and we are sitting here waiting on a powder keg. I don't think it is what we want to do with our babies. I don't think that's what we had in mind to do with our babies. It was said by the greatest of prophets, from time immemorial, "No man takes my life from me, I lay my life down."
- - -
So my opinion is that we be kind to children and be kind to seniors and take the potion like they used to take in ancient Greece, and step over quietly because we are not committing suicide. It's a revolutionary act. We can't go back. They won't leave us alone. They're now going back to tell more lies which means more congressmen. And there's no way, no way we can survive.
- - -
Tired of people's lives in my hands and I certainly don't want your life in my hands and I'm going to tell you, without me, life has no meaning. ... I'm the best friend you'll ever have.
- - -
Well, you will regret that this very day if you don't die. You'll regret it if you don't ... that you don't die. You'll regret it.
- - -
Paul said, "I was a man born out of due season." I've been born out of due season just like all we are and the best testimony we can make is to leave this God-damn world. ...
- - -
... what I do, I do with weight and justice and judgment
- - -
... please get us some medication. It's simple, it's simple, there's no convulsions with it, it's just simple, just please get it before it's too late. The GDF [Guyanese Defense Force, my remark] will be here. I tell you get moving, get moving, get moving ...
- - -
... how many are dead? Oh, God almighty, God almighty ...
- - -
[inaudible words]
- - -
Please, please. Can we hasten, can we hasten with that medication. You don't know what you've done ...
- - -
Please ... for God's sake, let's get on with that we've lived ... we've lived as no other people have lived and loved. We've had as much of this world that you're gonna get. Let's just be done with it. Let's be done with the agony of it ... 
- - -
Lay down your life with dignity. Don't lay down with tears and agony. It's nothing to death, just like Max said. It's just stepping over into another plane. Don't, don't be this way. Stop this hysterics...
- - -
... But children, it's just something to put you to rest ... Oh, God ...
- - -
... mother, mother, mother, mother, mother, please, mother, please, please, please, don't, don't do this, don't do this ...
- - -
If you'll quit telling them they're dying, if you adults will stop some of this nonsense ... Adults, adults, adults, I call on you to stop this nonsense. I call on you to quit exciting your children when all they're doing is going to a quiet rest. I call on you to stop this now. If you have any respect at all...
- - -
Hurry, hurry my children, hurry. All I say, let's not fall in the hands of the enemy.
- - -
Hurry my children

   

 

blog obscurometer

I know very well that my music taste is pretty obscure. But how obscure? Without any accepted standards or parameteters there is a high risk of ending up in endless discussions about obscurity in general and if x is really more obscure than y in particular. Fortunately, there is now a legitimit and scientific way to answer the question and settle all disputes, namely the Obscurometer (see link here). The Obscurometer measures the obscurity of an artist from 0 (no obscurity) to 100 percent (total obscurity). You can read how the overall obscurity level is computed in more detail on the Obscurometer website. The average artist obscurity according to the Obscurometer is 93,2 percent. This is a very high figure, but bear in mind that there are nearly 370 000 artists in the database (of which some are known only by the artists themselves). Some statistics so you get the general idea: Lady Gaga 10,9 percent, Taylor Swift 28,5 percent and Garth Brooks 50,9 percent. I put all artists in the 42 articles on the website in the Obscurometer and here is some basic statistics: average mean 85,6 percent, first quartile 79,6 percent, median 86,9 percent and third quartile 91,2 percent. The result is fairly as expected. The most obscure artists in the article series are American Sinner (98,5), Pushin Rope (97,5) and The Blackthorns (96,7) percent. The least obscure artists in the article series are 16 Horsepower (65,6), Murder by Death (65,8) and The Handsome Family (68,6) percent. After studied the result I have three general conclusions:

1) Obscurity is a good thing

 "Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong." - Oscar Wilde 

2) Obscurity is desirable

In my opinion, the higher obscurity level the better. Obscurity level should not be less than 66,6 percent. And never under 50 percent.

3) Obscurity is, however, not an end in itself

“Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.” - Françoise Sagan

 

Below is a complete list of overall obscurity level (all artists in 42 articles).

 

ARTIST/BAND 

Obscurity (%)

 WEST

 

The Denver Gentlemen

86,6

Pushin Rope

97,5

Tarantella

83,3

Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots

85.3

The Handsome Family

68,6

16 Horsepower

65,6

Wovenhand

80,2

The Builders and The Butchers

77,2

Palodine

91,4

 SOUTH

 

Sons of Perdition

86,1

Blackgrass

93,3

Baptist Generals

95,0

Highlonesome

90,9

American Sinner

98,5

The Shivers

n/a

Pinebox Serenade

89,7

Creech Holler

89,0

The Victor Mourning

96,4

Antic Clay

86,5

Myssouri

86,9

Trailer Bride

90,8

Jim White

72,6

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

73,3

Vic Chesnutt

70,1

 MIDWEST

 

Blanche

78,9 

The Blackthorns

96,7

Souled American

91,2

The Roe Family Singers

96,3 

Strawfoot

86,2

Christian Williams

88,8 

Those Poor Bastards

79,6 

.357 String Band

90,4 

Murder by Death

65,8 

Puerto Muerto

85,4 

Slackeye Slim

91.2 

 NORTHEAST

 

Fire on Fire

87,1 

Rex

87,1 

Filthy Still

96,4 

Reverend Glasseye

86,0 

O'Death

77,5 

 CANADA

 

Uncle Sinner

91,2 

Elliott Brood

77,7


 

Note: Data was retrieved from Obscurometer 2014-09-01.

 

 

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