Saturday, December 11, 2004


Instead of doing something productive with my afternoon, I've instead been trying to find MP3s of The*Ga*Ga*s (their choice of name added to their relative obscurity helps show how difficult this has been). Even their official site holds no song clips, and buying their sole release so far seems to be very difficult.

Last week, while suffering from a hideous hangover that turned into a week-long virus, I bought a copy of Metal Hammer for the sole purpose of getting a copy of their single, "Replica", from the cover DVD. A quick search for DVD audio ripping later, and I've found a tool that lets you get up to 5 minutes of audio from a DVD without paying for the privilege. So I know finally have this fantastic song, and the only thing I've yet heard of theirs, on my iPod.

I have tried to make a one-minute clip of the song so I could let you all hear it without annoying copyright holders too much, but my sound editing software seems to dislike the file, so I'll simply say that an mp3 on my website of a song called "Replica" would be quite easy to conceive existing, but of course it doesn't.

Anyway, during my mp3 search I discovered a set of tour dates for The*Ga*Ga*s for next year, including a date in Glasgow. So expect to see me in town for that.

It may seem odd that I'm quite so interested in a band I've heard 3 minutes and 50 seconds from, and it is conceivable that they become some kind of underground one-hit-wonder, with all future songs sounding gash, but I doubt that very seriously. "Replica" is a damn good tune, the song is reminiscent of The Wildhearts' style (never a bad thing), and these kids are just that: kids. They've got years and years to make truly great tunes.

When I was ill last week, I spent a lot of time watching music videos on TV. I've become very good at flicking to the next channel after half a second of hearing whatever crap the current channel is playing. Something decent being played is a welcome break from all the bands following the current trend of screaming half of a song, singing the other half, and basically sounding like everyone else on Scuzz.

This is becoming a bit of a rant, so I'll switch topics: I veered towards talking about copying/downloading music earlier, and just want to state my view on this. Back in the not-too-distant past, when I still used dial-up access to the net, I would download rare tracks by bands I already owned everything else by, and songs I'd recently heard and liked. I'd also get other songs from a new album to see if I would want to buy the album.

In the former case, there is no way for me to purchase songs that are years old and only appeared as b-sides, except through the likes of, and even then the record company sees none of the hideous markup put on such items. Some bands like 3 Colours Red have been smart enough to notice that their fans want to hear their b-sides, and have made them available for free download from their website. In my opinion, many more bands should follow this trend. The purpose of singles is essentially to heighten interest in an album, where the real money is. Once a single has been released, charted then faded from memory and music shop, it is no longer a revenue or publicity source for the band, so its b-sides should become available to the masses.

The Catch 22 in downloading rare tracks is their rarity - few people have copies of "Shandy Bang" on their PCs, and once you found one, you'd need them to stay online for 30 minutes while the file downloaded. Painful.


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