Tuesday, March 10, 2009

not new music tuesdays

Due to concern over whether or not these particular records should be shared in their entirety, we are only providing a few tracks from each release--TC

Brainiac - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture (1996, Touch and Go)

I've been thinking long and hard over the past few weeks about how to address this whole Touch and Go issue. I quickly came to the realization that some sort of retrospective/best albums list would be entirely too time consuming and a bit redundant. Everybody knows the story, the bands, and how important this label was. With that said, this album is one of my personal favorite releases from the label by a band that was a huge part of my teenage years.

Although they weren't as popular or influential as the label's heavy hitters like the Jesus Lizard, Butthole Surfers and Steve Albini's various projects, Brainiac carved out their own niche with their mix of punk, noise, and new wave synth nerd. While this description may seem cliche as this decade draws to a close, there were very few bands doing this in the mid 90s. Six Finger Satellite and Trans-Am come to mind right away, but those are rather loose comparisons.

Stylistically, Hissing Prigs wasn't much different than their previous release, 1995's Bonsai Superstar (Grass Records), but it did show some signs of evolution that would be more apparent on the group's follow-up release, 1997's Electro-shock for President ep (which I've also included). Sadly, these would be the last releases by the band, as their singer/synth player Tim Taylor was killed in a one car accident in May 1997. It's a shame that such a tragic end had to come to a band at the moment that they seemed to be on the brink of doing something truly fantastic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Twin Cheeks, but the irony of this post is too hard to ignore.

You have great taste, and the albums you choose to highlight prove this... but honestly, don't you think offering free downloads of entire albums might be what contributes to the problems of labels like Touch and Go?

A previous anonymous poster highlighted this same question a few weeks back when you offered a Curtis Mayfield album for download, your answer was basically "that he was dead and doesn't care". Does that answer take into account his family and the folks that might inherit proceeds from album sales. Do you think they care? (This is pure speculation on my part, but I think it is a relevant question to what I believe was a rather flippant response to a good question.)

I think WSJR might do it's readers justice by offering an explanation on its stance on giving the work of others away for free.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for one thing this MAY (or may not) be out of print.

Anyways, funny thing about Electro-Shock for Pres (which I dig, a lot more than hissing prigs) ... I always felt it to be a kindred in spirit and sound to the pAper chase EP CtrlAltDel U which was unlike anything else that band ever did

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's up w/ the comments? mine aren't showing up.

oh well... one last try
great album. my introduction to them was (sortof tripping daisy jesus hits... but more so:) "vincent, come on down" which i downloaded from a site called Epitonic.com. it's so wierd, so coked out and spastic... but it's geneous. i've been looking for live footage of them for years. for now i can only imagine.

anyone else ever get the feeling that maybe The Undoing of David Wright took a few hits of the Brainiac pipe.


4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this album IS out of print, actually

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

betcha they've got it somewhere inside of cd source. i found it there a few years ago

4:48 PM  
Anonymous twin cheeks said...

i cant speak for wsjr as a whole, but i'd be glad to share my opinion. maybe some of the others can share their views as well. i am going to take down the full album and only put up a few tracks, we don't want to step on anyone's toes.

i personally can't really see a difference in me making an album available for download and playing a record at a party, or for that matter, dubbing a tape or burning a cd. people have been sharing music for decades, if that's what is killing the industry it has been a long, slow death. all i'm doing is giving people a chance to hear a band or an album that they may not have heard before. maybe the 20-50 people in the dfw area that download what i share each week end up liking the band and buying one or more of their records, which would result in more sales for that artist/label.

speaking of touch and go in particular, have you tried to order a record from their website? all i could ever find was mp3 downloads. who wants to pay good money for bullshit compressed audio files? i'm not some audiophile asshole, but if i'm going to pay for something, i want good sound quality AND cover art, liner notes, maybe some crazy colored vinyl, etc.

all of the records that i share are from my personal collection, with the exception of the Airway album. i would be glad to pay for that if i could find a copy.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

twin cheeks, i hope that first comment doesn't keep you from posting complete albums in the future. i needed that richard and linda thompson album you posted last week and i've been enjoying it since. i dont see whats wrong with posting a whole album, and i agree with you that it may possibly result in more sales in the future for that artist. i'm pissed now that the first commenter on this thread will ruin future posts. thanks a lot, 2:05. what, you've never ever gotten an album for free or traded cd-r's with friends? if you've never done any of the following, then i think you have a right to discuss whether sharing files is wrong:

traded a mix tape/cd with friends
downloaded from soulseek or used torrents
bought any used cd or lp ever (remember when garth brooks was pissed about used cds?)

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stealing is stealing - no matter how you slice it. To test the theory, try posting the top 5 local releases for free and see what happens. Surely the artists and their publishers won't mind.

That said, I've downloaded and burned plenty of shit in my day - but that don't change the truth!

5:30 PM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...

Hey, we will continue to post full albums in this section, we've just adjusted today's post due to the specific set of circumstances surrounding Touch and Go at this point.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous twin cheeks said...

to 414

Brainiac were indeed an excellent live band. i was fortunate enough to see them twice. the band really held everything together while taylor thrashed around all over the place. i'm not really sure how he didn't break his midi keyboard controller (he was using an oberheim ob-mx to handle synth needs) every other show. also, tyler trent managed to play drums for an entire set in a winter coat, at the galaxy club, in august!

they had also finished touring just weeks before tim taylor's death. it was crazy to hear news of the accident after recently seeing the group live and being totally excited about the new ep.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous JOEY said...

fucking fantastic album

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your response Twin Cheeks, although I disagree with a few of your points, and I apologize not responding sooner.

No doubt you are throwing some fucking great parties if the music you regularly offer on this site is any indication. But playing a record at a party is not like handing out an endless number of these same records for free to anonymous people. Yes, people have been sharing music for decades but not with the tools that are equivalent to a freight train delivering the goods. As much fun as you are having doing this, you may need to rethink your position on this.

Justifying your offer of an entire album for free download based on the limited number of visitors you have had so far is a Trojan horse. Basically you just encourage this behavior and you can’t regulate or be responsible for what happens to those files after the fact. Most likely the people that take advantage of the free downloads WSJR offers will not hesitate to further share these files. This behavior has become a culture for many… so I think putting a number on how many people actually steal this material once you put it out there is not something you can really gauge.

I have a friend in a town that I used to live in who was a moderately successful musician in his day. He is struggling now and sometimes cannot pay his electricity bill. His earlier work is constantly resurrecting itself as a free download on one blog after another. With limited resources, he tries to go through the motions, attempting to stop his work from becoming a freebie. My friend is conflicted; appreciating the interest, but really in need of the money he could receive from the 40 to 50 downloads if his work was treated with the VALUE the interest in his work indicates. Unfortunately, the more obscure or rare the work (which I know is of great interest to the readers and writers of this website) the more likely the scenario I described can be applied.

I am not happy to bring down the vibe, and be the freaking blowhard who disappoints your readers. But much like the people who write this blog, I am an advocate of creative people… musicians, artists, people who create interesting things. That being said, I think you might consider THESE people a bit more than pissy babies (5:14) who try to justify theft by claiming it will increase sales. So do you really think fifty free downloads of an album is going to result in the same number of sales of that album? I do not see it. Pure naïve speculation.

Again, if your taste is any indication, I would love to shake your hand (or many of the writers of this site). I don’t really like doing this… people who really dig this shit are few and far between (that’s why really supporting these artists is so important). If I haven’t owned almost every album you have posted in one form or fashion, I probably would be tempted myself… but I honestly see this as a moral issue (albeit a complex one). But for many, the objections I offer are just an annoying buzz that will keep them from stealing the hard work of other people, and keep my friend in the dark.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but of course, you're acting as though you know for sure that everyone who downloaded this album was already planning on buying it and then decided not to because they could got it for free here. For starters, the vast majority of people who read this site already download a lot of their music, and if they wanted this album, they could find it for free online any time they wanted within a matter of minutes.

so if the story about your friend is supposed to be an example of who people are hurting from downloading, then you would have to prove that the downloads are actually preventing people who would have otherwise bought the record from doing so. And you can't prove that. You're speculating, just like everyone else and you are just as naive as anyone else. There are many ways that one can imagine people actually spending money on a band as a result of a free download: going to a show by the band, or a new band with members of that band, or buying another record, or buying it on vinyl, or getting a t shirt, or telling someone else about it who buys it based on a recommendation. But there is only one way in which free downloads take money out of artists' pockets: if someone downloads it who would have otherwise bought the record. Can you tell us how many people like this chose to download the album here? And can you describe the actual financial impact this will have on the artist themselves, in terms of dollars. You can't. Despite the fact that you are taking the RIAA talking points and running with them, you are no more informed than anyone else about the results of free downloading, so get off your fucking high horse.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The RIAA sucks. Everyone knows that. However, everyone also knows there is a direct correlation between downloading and the fact that nobody buys music anymore. To deny it is to be intellectually dishonest, but whatever makes you feel better.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the correlation? show us statistics.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous gillesp said...

brainiac fans should check out dd/mm/yyyy when they come back through town.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous urn said...

On this topic, it's always been my philosophy that if I download an album or have it burned for me, and I truly love and respect the music and artists creating it, I try my damnedest to go out and buy it. I like to have the artwork, the lyric sheets, pics, etc. I've always loved that, since I was a kid and started to love music. Unfortunately, given the pure volume of music made available to all of us now, through suggestions from websites, blogs, zines, etc., it is financially impossible to purchase and own every album you get passed your way or that you might be interested in. Does that mean you should turn away every suggested CD someone burns for you, out of respect for the "music industry" or the artists involved? I don't think so.

Though it might not be true in all cases, I think that most artists WOULD prefer that more people have the music in their hands in some form, free or purchased, rather than no one having any access to it, or the artist or upstart record label having to spend all of their money on advertising in media outlets across the country and hoping to God that someone sees the ad. As "fun" as that sense of anticipation may be, I would think that band's pocketbooks take harder hits from having to operate this way.

I don't know many people here will ever feel a lick of sympathy for the record industry. Touch and Go, sure, but they had a fantastic run. To me, the downfall of most of the major record label industry falls not at the feet of people taking music. It's that most of those labels would waste a shit ton of money on garbage one hit wonders that are behind the times and not having a finger on the pulse of what people may consider good music now. Due to their own shortcomings, most record labels had to find a scapegoat to put all this shit on.

I just say do what you can. Use your resources and keep your ethics flexible. If you have the means, help out those artists you find. If you can't, don't let others make you feel guilty or make you feel like a moral criminal because you still want to hear new music.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous twin cheeks said...

ok 352 (this is the third time i've written a reply, comments fucking up)

you have the wrong guy if you are expecting me to feel sorry for yr friend. if he can't make enough money selling his music, then he may need to seek an alternate source of income, perhaps a job. let's be fair though, i don't know his situation. maybe he is too busy sulking around his lightless home, scorning those blog readers that left him in the dark, to get a 9 to 5. maybe he's a 'free spirit' and won't cut his hair or be held down by the man. see, i can speculate too.

is this dude actually trying to sell his records/tapes/cds? is there a tangible product? where can i hear his music? i'll buy a fucking record if i like it.

the problem with most rare or obscure music is that the purchase of the actual record rarely results in revenue for the artist or label. many of the albums that i have shared, with the glaring exception of this week's (which was meant as a tribute to both a great band and an institution among independent record labels), are out of print in any format. even if there were reissues they were often done in limited quantities, making them almost as difficult to find as originals and often quite expensive themselves. paying high prices on a collector's market never benefits the original artist, only the secondhand seller.

maybe we should attempt to contact greg sage and ask how many wipers albums were sent to the dallas area in the weeks following my 'youth of america' post. i provided the website and even encouraged readers to purchase directly from the artist/label. maybe a few local record stores ordered copies anticipating a few sales, who knows??? you?

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not so much...

11:49 PM  
Anonymous pissy baby 5:14 said...

352, you sound like an ad against the piracy of music and movies, you know the ones where a key grip or set designer of a movie tells you not to steal from him. You didn't answer any of my questions: Have you ever traded cd-r's or tapes or bought a used cd or record? Ever bought a valuable record off of ebay? None of that money goes to the artist. Please don't ever go to a used cd store again because your fucking musician friend wont be able to pay his electric bill. So it's our fault that he wasn't able to make a living with music? Most people can't do that.

I downloaded a full album from not new music tuesday last week. Now that I've heard that album, I might even pick up a real copy of it, if I ever find it, but even if I do, it would most likely be at used cd store, where every cent of my money will go to the store and not the artist. so is that wrong in your self-righteous opinion? And guess what, we all have musician friends who are broke and some of them are even talented. Most of them know the current situation for musicians and there's nothing anyone, except maybe the music industry, can do about it. Did the music industry do anything to look out for its artists by trying to curb downloading? No, they sue people and keep retail prices for a lot cds around 18 dollars (still!) and its been that way for years. If you're really trying to make a living playing music, good for you. But you should only do this knowing how completely disposable your music is. I don't think the music I love is disposable or worthless, but to the world at large, it is. There are millions of bands out there and unless your friend is Alex Chilton, I don't feel that sorry for him, and I don't think my downloading of his album is gonna affect him at all.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it "feel sorry for alex chilton" day or something? he's laef garrett, thats who

3:36 PM  

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