"Music Collection replaced by a 404 error"

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You have to live with the consequences of your actions. It's embarrassing when you praise something that fail to measure up. I wrote a panegyric blog post a couple of years ago about Music Collection (a configurable Music Management System), read more here (opens in a new window). The most valuable feature was the integration with Discogs (importing album data and tracklists automatically). In the blog post I aggrandized the component, calling it the "Rolls Royce" of data-base music products. However, the Discogs integration only worked for a couple of weeks. The developer JoomlaThat! never bothered to fix the integration. Moreover, the component was expensive, $50. I was caught like a donkey between two stacks of hay. I started to enter albums manually. Artist by artist. Album by album. Song by song including adding the exact running time. Monotonous, boring and time-consuming. Ultimately, I had enough. On October 9th 2022 a 404 error message occurred (page not fund or file not found). Apparently, Music Collection didn't survive an update. That was the end of it. I had to find a new solution. A starting point was to minimize duplication of work. I decided to build the Albums section based on the main source, Discogs. In contrast to Music Collection, Discogs works perfectly. In hindsight, it was stupid to buy a product for music management, when a more advanced system already existed. The links in table in the Artists section link to the Artist page on Discogs. The Albums section is completely rebuilt. For every album there's a link to Discogs. Maybe not the most elaborate or aesthetic solution, but it works. The Discogs API lets developers build their own Discogs-powered applications for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. A future alternative is to ask an API-knowledgeable person to write a script. One thing is for sure. I will never buy a component from JoomlaThat! again. I will also be more careful in the future making precipitate assessments. You live and you learn. At least, in theory.


"Indefinite hiatus is the worst hiatus"

aimlowandhit1O'Death released their latest album "Out Of Hands We Go" in 2014. The last time the band played together was on December 1, 2019 (venue: Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn NY). After that, an indefinite hiatus followed. The band members still perform now and then, either solo or supporting each other in small constellations. But, there's no sign of them coming back as a full band. Their website is active and you can buy some of their cds and vinyls directly from the band. But for how long? A recent Facebook-post sound really ominous "Not sure when we’ll re-stock again, as inventory is starting to run low!" To my knowledge, O'Death have never officially called it quits (or announced a hiatus, for that matter). Not many bands return from a hiatus. The resurrection rate is particularly low in the gothic country genre. And what are the odds for a musical project that started already in 2003? People move on with family, jobs and other project. You don't get rich from this kind of music. On the contrary, you will be poor. And we all have to support ourselves. The total silence and uncertainty is unbearable. That's why an indefinite hiatus is the worst hiatus.


"The most expensive concert ticket of all time"

aimlowandhit1The Devil Makes Three (TDM3) will be touring in Europe during May-June 2023. This is exiting news, indeed. They will tour in Scandinavia (Sweden and Norway) for the very first time. The festival organizer is Sthlm Americana (a contradiction in terms) and behind them, a company called Northern Trail (sounds like a shell company). Sthlm Americana are completely clueless. Their copywriting is terrible. They put the artists bios into Google Translate. Well, shit in - shit out. The artists bios are filled with copious amounts of drivel, phrase and platitude. TDM3 are known for their energetic live performances. Unfortunately, there's one tiny detail. The ticket price is set to 1 900 SEK (approximately $180) plus an administrative fee! The explanation to the horrendous ticket price is that it's a festival with several bands and artists. You can't buy a ticket for a single band. You could initially buy a cheaper ticket (early bird offer). The first offer was 1 400 SEK (approximately $133), while the second offer was 1 650 SEK (approximately $157). The early bird tickets were few and got sold out. TDM3 was the first band to be announced. Speaking about buying a pig in a poke. There are no economies of scale here. I couldn't care less about the other performing bands and artists. What trick are they trying to pull here? This is a shameless attempt to capitalize on "country music" (think Doug Seegers). TDM3 are a great band, but they are not worth $180. This must be the most expensive concert ticket of all time. For the genre, that is. According to the site seatgeek.com, The Devil Makes Three tickets can typically be found for as low as $26, with an average price of $89 in the US. Overpricing is a reason to keep the audiences away from attending physical events. In the gothic genre we remember betrayals and injustices, and seek revenge. The North remembers. 

   

"What to expect and wish for in 2023"

aimlowandhit1To smile and wave is a way to pretend like you have some kind of idea of what is going on when in reality you don't have a clue. The Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982) rarely smiled and barely waved. His stiff facial expression and robot-like waving to the people from atop the Lenin Mausoleum is a memorable moment in history. Brezhnev is, right or wrong, associated with stagnation. The term "Era of Stagnation" was coined by president Mikhail Gorbachev in order to describe the negative way in which he viewed the economic, political, and social policies of the Soviet Union that began during the rule of Brezhnev, and continued under Andropov and Chernenko. Sometimes this period is called the "Brezhnevian Stagnation". The gigantic BAM project served as a way to instill faith in the future, read more here (opens in a new window). The gothic country genre is also in stagnation. Or is it?  

In contrast to 2021, this year turned out to be a very productive year with album releases from many renowned artists: Wovenhand (Silver Sash), Sons of Perdition (Heathen Hof), Those Poor Bastards (God Awful), Murder by Death (Spell/Bound), The Builders and the Butchers (Hell & High Water), Munly and the Lupercalians (Kinnery of Lupercalia; Undelivered Legion), Mr Plow (Legendary Super Hits! Volume Four), Dad Horse Experience (At the Limbo) and Swarme of Beese (Backwoods of My Mind). A post-pandemic bonanza with a time lag? In terms of quality, 2022 was a good year. 

What about next year? My judgement is clouded by my commitment. Clearly, there's a difference between what I hope for and what I expect will happen. I have three wishes for 2023. The first wish: a new gothic country album from Christian Williams. This recording project is an off and on project that takes time. According to the artist, the easy part is coming up with ideas; the hard part is shifting through all of that and figuring out what’s worth working with for an album. The second wish: to acquire at least one of the hard-to-find four missing albums, read more here (opens in a new window). The third wish: to lay my greedy hands on all albums from the defunct label Devil's Ruin Records. At the moment, I got 35 out of 40 registered albums on Discogs. Four of the missing albums were probably never manufactured and distributed, read more here (opens in a new window). So we are down to one missing album. What about new album releases in 2023? This is what I know at the time of writing: Slackeye Slim (Scorched Earth, Black Heart), Swarme of Beese (Fruits of the Golden Land) and The Handsome Family ("untitled"). Moreover, T.K. Bollinger will maybe come up with a physical release of the best songs from his 12 "Ordinary EP"-project (originally scheduled to 2022). Oldboy of the Fens will maybe or maybe not release a new album. They release a new album every two or three years. Antic Clay (Broom of Fire) has been scheduled for five years in a row. Maybe the upcoming year is the year when it will finally happen. Hopefully, there will be more albums. What is the right thing to do in these circumstances? Smile and wave. 

"The call for an executive order"

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Joe Biden's first executive order was "Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities". An executive order is a directive by the president of the United States. This order gives presidents broad executive and enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive branch. I don't have presidential powers. I'm only a Swedish civil servant with an internet connection. But if I had power, my first order as president would be to permit Dad Horse Experience to return and tour in the US. The German artist last appearance in the US was in 2014. When the artist tried to return for a seven week tour in February 2015 he was banned and cast out. The motive: lack of a working visa. Dad Horse declared in a newsletter: "I never intent to harm the American people or to exhaust the American economy". In another newsletter Dad Horse explained that he just wanted to go back to the land where "I found so much resonance and appreciation for the weird and twisted kind of music which I am doomed to produce in this crazy world. But after I've checked all the economical and legal circumstances I came to the conclusion that this will most probably never gonna happen. Some may be sad about it, some may be relieved, but I won't expect to play any shows in the US for the foreseeable future at all. There is simply no doable way to get a decent working visa. I feel sad about this because for me it has been so much inspiring and uplifting travels in the US between 2012 and 2014. I met so many funny, weird and amicable people there, which I often miss and I wish I could see them again. There are both cultural and economic aspects. Keller Gospel is art. The American people have been deprived this art form. Dad Horse Experience also have (by gothic country standards) a strong fanbase in the United States. The ban meant a huge economic blow for the artist. Former president Trump had a terrible music taste and despised Europeans. President Biden, the time is always right to do what is right.