Hard News by Russell Brown


Only rock 'n' roll

A couple of mornings ago, I got a text from Brent Hansen: "CHECKS are great - 70s Stones trash rock … more 70s than 60s style now. @ THE GIG NOW."

"Lucky bugger," I texted back.

Yes, The Checks have recorded their debut album with Ian Broudie at RAK Studios (now there's some pop pedigree) and are at the presenting-it-to-the-record-label stage. They have a website and a MySpace page with pics from the sessions and a demo of one of the album tracks.

Readers who attended this year's Rolling Stones concert will probably regretfully recall a bag-of-shite support band called Nickelback. David Slack pointed out this thread on Digg, about a clip showing Nickelback departing the stage after being pelted with rocks at a gig in Portugal. I like it when the singer says "Do we have any Nickelback fans in Portugal?!" and the answer appears to be "no". Turns out it's from 2002, but whatever. A pwning's a pwning.

Now, if you were at that Stones show, you may have found yourself listening to Nickelback and thinking - as did I - this shit all sounds the fscking same. Oh lordy, that ain't the half of it. Check out this work of public service. Absolutely stunning.

My eMusic find of the month: Jamaica To Toronto: Soul Funk & Reggae 1967-1974. It consists of recordings from Jamaican émigrés in Toronto, and is perhaps the best slab of funkyreggaesoul it has been my pleasure to own. It's contemporaneous with Jackie Mittoo's Champion of the Arena set, and it sounds like he's on a few of the tracks.

Anyway, drop me a line if that (or eMusic in general - legal, DRM-free MP3 downloads) sounds like your thing. Monthly subs start at $US20 for 30 downloads. I can take advantage of their current tell-a-friend offer which nets me 50 free downloads for the tip, and you 25 free ones as an introductory offer.

Any user reports yet on the Vodafone Music Store? It sells DRM-trussed WMA files, won't work with a Mac or iPod, so it's no use to me. It seems heavily oriented towards single tracks: you can't buy the new Dimmer album for example - just "radio versions" of four old songs. I still like our friends at Amplifier a lot better.

Oh, and there's a date floating around for the iTunes Store launch: November 28.

PS: Still keen for more discussion on the Draft Digital Content Strategy Discussion Document. Read here, talk here.

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