Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
I Hate Pretending
Okay, full disclosure time: I was originally approached by Warner Bros last week about doing a giveaway for tickets to see The Secret Machines at the Dog Day Afternoon festival at Fort York this Saturday in exchange for some writeup in ye olde blog. Now those of you who’ve been kicking around music blogopolis for a few years may remember this incident from a couple years ago when Warners sent out Secret Machines MP3s to a bunch of music blogs in hopes of drumming up some hype, though only one bit, albeit reluctantly.
That didn’t have anything specifically to do with me, but I was still concerned a bit about the optics of it – after all, this was a band I’d never heard or written about and who I’d first heard of in the context of a clumsy early PR attempt between major labels and blogs. I was perfectly happy to give away the tickets, but the quid pro quo was a bit unsettling. But an arrangement was reached where it was agreed that I would give the band some ink on the contests page which, in my mind anyway, carries less implicit approval about the acts involved in the giveaways. Not that I really expect you all care so much – free stuff is free stuff, right?
But anyway, a funny thing happened as I was preparing to put the contest up – I went to the Secret Machines webpage to look for some basic info and started listening to the album stream of their new one, Ten Silver Drops, and what do you know – it was pretty damn good. For whatever reason, I’d had it in my head that the band were some overwrought glam-rawk outfit with more style than substance and more chops than sense, but from what I was hearing, they were actually a very tuneful and engrossing space-rock trio with a good balance of subtlety and bombast and a definite ear for an anthem. Certainly the sort of thing I could see myself getting into. Which made me quite comfortable with the idea of writing them up here instead of the contests page – and anyway, my Futureheads contest is still running and I wasn’t really looking forward to reprogramming things to run two simultaneous contests…
So speaking of the contest – I have two pairs of tickets to the aforementioned Dog Day Afternoon fest at Fort York on Saturday. In addition to the Secret Machines, you’ve got a very solid lineup of acts including Land Of Talk, The Fiery Furnaces and festival curators Metric. To enter, just email me with “You sell-out! Give me the tickets!” in the subject line. Since the show is this weekend, this will be a limited-time affair – the contest will close at midnight tonight. And since I have the tickets physically in my possession, some arrangement will have to be made to get them from me to you – please be local or be able to meet up in downtown Toronto (Eaton Centre-ish) on Friday or early Saturday. Update: Winners have been selected. Thanks for playing. Even if you didn’t win passes, you’re still winners in life.
A postscript – I only heard about the MP3 debacle after the fact since I never recieved the mailing from Warner Bros asking me to post the track… until about a week after it all blew over. The email was dated about a month prior but had gotten lost in the internet ether until well after I would have had to decide whether to play along or not. Funny, no? Also ironically, there is no free-and-legal MP3 from the new album for me to link, so I can only offer you a video, a MySpace and this Rolling Stone live session.
The Chronicle Herald profiles The Futureheads.
CokeMachineGlow argues in favour of the indie artist selling out.
np – DeVotchKa / How It Ends