Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The Left furnished truth in packaging. The stark visual cues let it be known that this was garage punk for suffocating the annoying--presumably those in Hagerstown, where the band was formed. The blasting noise of the band--Jim Swope’s guitar through a Fender Twin set to crushing treble and singer Brian Sefsic chanting as charmlessly as Iggy on The Stooges--combined in a mix to scratch diamonds. You imagined them to be churls who meant exactly what they sang on "Fuck It," a tune about barflies. Read the rest in the Baltimore City Paper here.

Next on today's menu, Killola's Louder, LOUDER! Astonishingly, used copies are already going for about 40 bucks on Amazon!

Defending the good rep of ’70s lippy girl new wave, Killola commit to all the pop tricks of Holly & The Italians, Sue Saad & The Next, Pearl Harbor & The Explosions and a couple other ampersand bands you can't remember for [the kickoff tune] "Barrel of Donkeys." "I guess you could call me talkative" chatters vocal chameleon Lisa Rieffel straight off, then proving it by mixing annihilating putdowns—"Your manners are poor and your nails are dirty!” with ... And the rest is on, here.

In other rude matters, The Washington Post reported Tower Records filing for bankruptcy and up for sale.

With a Tower in Pasadena, for over a decade it's been where Dick Destiny has bought most of his records. The prices were the highest in town but the selection catered to my tastes. Where else would I have bought the uncouth work of Point Blank or the cheesy rock of the Angels and Teazes, written of yesterday? Plus there's a Stampeders collection I've been dawdling on. "Hit the Road Jack," Tower! No!

BestBuy moved into town with much lower pricing. And while I do shop there a few times a year, it's obvious their selection is worse. BestBuy offends. From the pics on the front wall of the neatly uniformed seven dollars-or-so-an-hour employees, it's a store, like many patronized by Americans, built primarily on slave labor goods and modelled on the Walmart way of doing business.

And you know that process where someone has to run up to you in greeting, asking if you need assistance within 30 seconds of entering? That's not because they like you or BestBuy is particularly interested in a good service reputation. It's because businesses like these glommed onto the idea years ago, an unprovable one, that if patrons were met in such a way, it deterred shoplifting.

This model thrills everyone with cheap stuff made by people who earn a handful of pebbles living in deplorable conditions Americans who buy the same stuff would rather not think about, until, that is, that model of business has destroyed every local competitor that paid better but made things priced just a bit too high. And if Americans should somehow be thrown out of work by this process, eventually the truth of it hits home. By then it's too late.

Recorded music, on the other hand, can't be made the US imported-good slave labor way. People can make it on their own dime, but it will have cost them money. They can choose to give it away. Or, if they're lucky, they can get a record company to underwrite them, at which point a considerable amount of money will be spent. And then people, if they so wish, can choose to steal it digitally.

But for the physical good, it can't be priced as a slave labor item, like a CD player or a 175 dollar electric guitar in a cardboard box.

The labels overprice and overpriced their artists. Small changes have been made but not significant ones. And digital distribution is cheaper when it caters to the single downloader, or the mix-and-match listener.

But while Dick Destiny has been on-line longer than digital music, it doesn't fit that demographic. I like to buy something I can hold. I don't enjoy listening to music sitting in front of a flat-panel screen and when I go mobile, it's with a Walkman-like CD player, not an iPod.

So while I'm an old and in the way piece of meat, I'm still here to whip people and whip them I shall. Tower had a purpose and provided goods I enjoyed until the end of its existence.

"They're going to force you to going online now; it's like forcing you to ride the subway," said one man to the Post. "It's the last of an icon around here . . . At Circuit City and Best Buy, they're just throwing whatever up on the shelves. [At Tower] the selection is wide."

One curious graf stood out in the Post article, the contributed quote of the "expert" deserving of a horselaugh:
Tower's popularity extends beyond its customer base, said Geoff Mayfield, an analyst with Billboard.

"The industry wants it to survive," he said. It got a standing ovation from the crowd when it recently won retailer of the year from the major recording merchandisers' trade group, he said.

Perhaps, like some other stores, it could diversify by selling shoes, posters, games and other goods that would appeal to its audience, Mayfield said. "It needs to become a destination," he said. "Otherwise, people will just pass it by."
One wonders where Mayfield has been. Tower did move toward selling both outside and inside-the-mission goods in the past few years. Porn DVDs, racks of trashy pop culture books, a wall of magazines equivalent to a newsstand, dolls, candy, beverages, guitar strings, comic books, and other things I never paid attention to. One thing, however, they did not sell was shoes. Yes, Geoff Mayfield, Tower did not sell shoes. How could they have been so stupid?

The guy's worse than the usual government and anti-terror experts Dick Destiny ridicules.

The rest of the article includes the usual about fickle consumers moving on to other tastes and the merciless ubiquity of the digital realm.


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