Thursday, May 9, 2013

Streetlight Manifesto Will Have the Last Victory

Streetlight Manifesto probably isn't a band a lot of people have heard of unless they're into ska-punk. They are, in my opinion, one of the greatest bands of all time. Their lyrics are wonderful stories, poems, dreams set to melancholy music that is at the same time both sad and uplifting. I can soundly say that I love everything about them. That is why it breaks my heart when I see all the terrible things they go through.

In 2005, they were robbed twice, the first time in October where $80,000 worth of gear was stolen, and then again in November in Paris, France where they lost, "the one expensive piece of equipment that wasn't stolen in last month's debacle, a 24 track hard drive recorder we've been using to document our live shows".

Since they first signed with Victory records, there had been problems. These problems are well-documented and if you're interested in the history, go to those links and enjoy being saddened by a broken music industry machine. If that's too much reading for you, to sum it up: Victory is being so hostile to their artists, namely Streetlight in this case, that Streetlight is asking people to boycott their music unless bought directly from them. This includes - allegedly (gotta keep things legal) - withholding royalties from the group as well as putting a stop to music releases they have no right to put a stop to. Again, this stuff is well-documented by the band and also RISC Store organizer, Dave.

If you go to the RISC Store right now - the band's personal merch store - you will be met with a friendly pop up window informing you of all the latest troubles. This is only following this one which informed us that lead singer Tomas Kalnoky's 3-piece acoustic trio, Toh Kay's, accompaniment album to Streelight's new record, The Hands that Thieve - entitled, appropriately, The Hand that Thieves - had been cancelled.

I once had faith in the necessity of the music industry; had faith that there was a ladder and prestige in place for a reason. Now all I see are bullies and I can't stand it. If you like the music that these guys are putting out, or even just some of the awesome t-shirts and art prints available at the RISC Store, or if you're a dedicated creative content creator yourself, please, I implore you to support them. They could really use it. I am.


Monday, May 6, 2013

A World Where Nothing Can Go Right, And No One Can Be Happy

That is a really depressing title. It's something we've all often thought about of our own world. Maybe just of the worlds we create if we are creators of fiction. We throw massive obstacles in the way of our characters to advance the story, sure, but sometimes just to make them suffer. I am a malevolent writer-god and I know it. Am proud of it.

It may surprise many when I say that I only recently (this year) have started watching - and am some ways through - cult classics Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica (2004 version). I was late to these two parties, but I am drunk and having a blast, screaming at the top of my lungs.

I didn't think much of the idea of Veronica Mars when I was in high school - it seemed like a show a boy shouldn't watch and I was embarrassed by what others thought of me. High school was pretty easy for me most of the time, but I was just as susceptible to my peers' opinions of me as the next emotionally unbalanced teen.

Having left the profound dumbness of all that behind, I dove headlong into Veronica Mars and am loving the ride. I've just started season 3 and love it still but it's confirmed something I felt from the start with this show. Nothing can ever go right and no one can be happy. This is never more true than the continuing story of Eli "Weevil" Navarro. Just goddamn. Lift up, crash down.

Season 2 was incredibly dour if but also exceedingly well-written, with a final episode that really punches you right in the gut. It just plays for keeps this show.

I get the same feeling when I watch Battlestar. This show doesn't fuck around. The reason I wanted to start watching it was actually because of the strategic board game - which is amazing and I highly recommend. At the end of every person's turn you must take a "Crisis card" wherein something impossibly awful happens to the crew or the ships - keeping in mind that up to at least 3 of the players can be Cylons.You keep through these 'missions', jumping in Faster Than Light (FTL) until you finally reach New Caprica (8 jumps).

When I started watching the show, I realized how accurate this was a representation of the life of those unfortunate enough to exist in the show's universe. Nothing good can ever happen. No one can be happy. You get a brief reprieve when something minutely good happens - someone didn't die! something got fixed! people are drinking and laughing! - before the show just gut-punches you again.

Again, this show is exceptionally well-written and cast and I can't recommend it highly enough. It will certainly keep you guessing. I'm in the middle of season 3 and I left myself at a massive cliff-hanger and I just want to skip work, go home and find out what happens!

It was just interesting for me to notice that a lot of the shows I absolutely adore contain - more often than not - awful things happening to good people and the seeming endlessness of their suffering. This applies to Game of Thrones too, though it has significantly more victories in it - and if you watch the show, you know that that's saying something.