Wednesday, 22 August 2012

free....

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m a music reviewer for LeftLion (you can find lots of them here). Every couple of months, the music editor sends me links to downloads from a couple of local bands, and I get on with the serious business of listening to them with absolutely no preconceptions and trying to write a short (150 words), upbeat review. I tend to get stuff from the heavier end of the musical spectrum, including some pretty full on metal, but that’s fine by me. I reckon that, over the last year or so, I have probably actually listened to more music from the Nottingham / Derby region than from anywhere else. I haven’t been buying many CDs, so the majority of new content onto my iPod recently has come from the stuff I’m sent to review.

Mostly I get these MP3s for free, but just occasionally I’m presented with the choice of either listening for nothing on their website, or spending a few quid to download the album. The way I approach my reviews is to stick the songs onto my iPod and then listen to them as I go about my business. Just this afternoon, for example, I was sat at my desk with a cup of coffee and a tedious document listening to a playlist made up of this month’s reviews. Obviously, having to listen to music directly from a website robs me of this flexibility. I suppose it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but for the sake of a fiver that will go to a local band, I tend to just buy the album. What’s the worst thing that can happen? That I don’t like it? Well, you can spend the best part of a fiver on a pint of beer now, so….. Besides, last time this meant that I got the excellent album “The Empire Never Ended” by Captain Dangerous… which is excellent and I would genuinely recommend to anyone. Music like this has a value to me, and although I appreciate that a review in a local paper is publicity worth having for a band just starting out, I can’t say that I begrudge paying occasionally (I’ve only done so twice).

Anyway. This month, I am reviewing two bands: one called “The Madeline Rust” and one called “Wasteland”. The Wasteland album was available to download via LeftLion, but the other was a website only affair. Ah, what the hell. I paid my £5 and took a chance.

A couple of days later, I got an email from someone – she turned out to the band’s singer/bassist - thanking me personally for my purchase. That’s a nice touch, I thought… albeit probably a sign that they don’t sell all that many copies. I can’t imagine Bono does that much any more. Anyway. As I’m a polite boy, I emailed her back saying that it was no problem, and that actually I was reviewing the album for LeftLion this month. You know, people like to know this stuff, right?

A little later, I got an email back saying that they’d actually sent a download code for the album so it could be reviewed, and that she was going to process a refund immediately. Two minutes later, I had an email from PayPal saying that the refund had been processed. It was totally unnecessary, of course: I’d already decided that the music was worth a fiver to me, but it was a nice touch nonetheless. Thumbs up to the Madeline Rust. Nice people.

Decent album too, btw. Think how Nirvana might have sounded if Kurt Cobain had been a woman, and you’re in the right sort of ballpark. Go check’em out.

Review in the next exciting edition of LeftLion. Probably*

*music editor's decision is final.

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