I figured I would stop regurgitating exactly what was on HI54LOFI.COM and start using this tumblr as a mostly wordless representation of the things I've been listening to, watching, reading and any other verb that keeps me from doing the things I should be doing.

Ok, first things first. LadyFace is the new name for the project currently known as The Best Friends With Wolves Club. So if you recognize some of these songs, or if the themes of wide-eyed child wonder mixed with mildly murderous undertones sounds familiar, that is why. So why the name change?

We changed our name because no one could ever remember what we were called..LadyFace works because everyone that plays in the band have a feminine beauty to their faces.

Now on to the album. After a string of EPs under the guise of TBFWWC, Eric and his band of merry music makers have switched names and dropped their first full length ‘When We Go!’. It is slightly ‘harder’ then their previous sound (i.e. louder guitars, more shouting), but the innocent darkness of the songs remain. But that being said, you’ll still find that classic TBFWWC sound on tracks like ‘I Need You Closer' and there was hints at the change in sound when 'Cities Vanishing' was released back in 2011. Kind of a move from ‘bedroom pop’ to ‘bedroom rock’ (although that chorus on ‘Make Me Whole / Take Me Home’ sounds much bigger than the tag ‘bedroom rock’ would imply).

When We Go! was written over the course of a couple of years and in a way feels like a retrospective or greatest hits in a way and it felt like a good start for LadyFace. It begins with the first song recorded for the record and ends with the last song recorded and there’s a two year time span between those.

The album is available as a ‘pay what you like’ purchase, with the minimum set at $0. So whether you’ve got a few shekels weighing down your pay pal account, or whether you’re feeling a bit skint and want to grab it for free, head over to LadyFace’s Bandcamp page and download the album.

LadyFace: Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | HI54LOFI

I’m super excited to finally announce A Singer Of Songs new album, ‘There Is A Home For You’. The album will be officially available on the 13th of May on all the usual places (i.e. Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, etc.), on CD (with artwork and layout by the brilliant Benjamin Shaw), and —for the first time for HI54LOFI RECORDS and A Singer Of Songs— available on 12” vinyl (limited pressing of 250, with artwork and layout also done by Benjamin Shaw).

But since May 13th is such a long ways away, we’ve made the track ‘Ruins Of You' available as an immediate download and we are also giving an unreleased track called 'Digital Laughter' to anyone who pre-orders the album (the bonus track is only available for pre orders).

It was summer, almost thirty years ago. I must have been seven or eight. I was playing football in the garden when I saw the neighbors carry large bags and suitcases out of the house and into their car. She carried a big hat, he had stylish sunglasses on, the little boy had a stack of comic books under his little arm. They waved at me, got in their car and drove out of my life for the next three weeks. I sat down on the grass and forgot all about the ball and the fantasy league I had been playing in my head all year long and I thought of what it would feel like to travel. To head into the world, far away from the little village I called my home. Drive across borders, through cities and deserts. Move day and night, sleep in unknown beds. Talk to people whose names I don’t know and whose lives I don’t understand. See places that are too fantastic to imagine. Travel until I forget all about this. The little garden, the ball, the fantasy league, my home. Because only after you have lost it can you be certain that there is a home for you. 

My mother yelled from the garage door. Lunch was ready. And I got up, kicked the ball and scored the most beautiful goal ever. That year I won the fantasy league.
 
The official presentation of the album will take place in a Singer of Songs’ own home in Barcelona on 11 May 2013 (see all tour dates).

So I bought a ukulele recently and learned a few Beirut songs and a song from The Jerk but the real reason I bought it was so I could learn What I Want and Want I Need, do you maybe have the chords for that? I want to try a cover and hopefully get my friend to sing with me. I really dig your music, thanks!
- Inspired and the Sleep recently posted this fan mail he received via his Tumblr, and I thought I would repost it on here because it would make for a good segue into how you should pick up the HI54LOFI RECORDS Valentines Day compilation that the ukulele inspiring Inspired and the Sleep song opens with.

Valentines Day is near…

Since Valentines Day is fast approaching (and it is getting likely that any new physical cards we send out via post will not make it in time), I just wanted to let you know about the special promo that HI54LOFI RECORDS will be running for the next few days:

*SPECIAL OFFER: From now until the end of the 14th, if someone buys our Valentines Day compilation for £1, not only do they get an immediate download of the compilation, but I will send a digital Valentines Day card + a FREE download of the compilation to the person of their choice (via email). If they spend £2, I will send to 3 people. If they pay £3, I will send to 6 people. £4 and I will send to 10 people. £5 and I will send to 15 people… and if someone spends over £5 I’ll see how many they want to send out.

Don’t miss out on this great way to not only make someone else’s Valentines Day better, but yours too (as you also get the compilation). So it is kind of like having your cake and eating it too, while also giving other people your cake and then them getting to eat it too.

Head over to HI54LOFI RECORDS Bandcamp page and start the love spreading process now.

I know you were thinking “there is no way that the HI54LOFI RECORDS Valentines Day extravaganza could get any better”. Well, you were wrong. A 16th track has been added… but it is a secret track that comes only after you download it (hint: it’s this Colateral Soundtrack song).

And on top of that, the already low low price is now lower. Never mind that it was originally only £3 to receive the compilation for yourself as well as have a ‘HI54LOFI RECORDS Valentines Day’ card (which includes a free download of the compilation) put in the post to whomever you wish, because now you can get all that for only £2. AND… there is even an option for those who might want to just get it for themselves (for just £1).

So, in conclusion: you will officially be a foolish fool if you do not get this lovely compilation into your headphones (and into the headphones of anyone else you want to woe / impress / say ‘how you doing?’ to). And those aren’t my words. Those words come directly from Cupid himself. Or at least I think it was Cupid, might have just been a short, chubby, homeless man wearing a diaper. Either way, he was truth speaker.

A Valentines compilation from HI54LOFI RECORDS

The above player is just a sample of the 15 tracks that make up HI54LOFI RECORDS special Valentines Day compilation. You can get / hear the full thing over on Bandcamp, or keep reading as to why this compilation is ‘special’…

“When I think of Valentines Day, my fondest memories of it are when I was a young chap, and didn’t really think about things like ‘love’. They were innocent times, and you’d give everyone in your class (even the ugly / stikny ones) a cute little card that asked them to be something neither of you were willing to commit to. It was easier to throw around words like ‘be mine forever’ back when forever meant, at tops, about a month. The older we got, the more complex things got. You either were forever alone or stressing out about another last minute stab at being romantic enough to make it through another year. And the cards stopped coming (except from Grandma).

This year, we hope we can help you recapture some of those warm and fuzzy feeling that Valentines Day once brought. So we’ve put together a digital box of 15 musical chocolates for you to not only gorge on yourself, but send it to everyone in your class (even the ugly / stinky ones), via a special Valentines Day Card. And here’s how it works:

This compilation is a ‘pay what you want’ download, with the minimum purchase set at £3. When you purchase the compilation, you will receive an immediate download in whatever format you desire AND… we will also send a physical Valentines Day card to the person of your choice (to anywhere in the world). And this is no regular Valentines Day card, it comes with a FREE download of the entire album.

So, for just £3, you get a copy of this lovely 15 track compilation for yourself AND the person of your choice gets it as well, along with a special Valentines Day card. It’s the perfect way to say “I love / like / miss / think of / want / etc you”.

But there is more… we have made the compilation ‘pay what you want’ so that you have the option of sending out more than 1 Valentines Day card / FREE album download. If you pay £5, we will send out 2 Valentines Day cards to the people of your choice. For every £1 over the £5 mark, we will send 1 Valentines Day card on your behalf. So, if you pay £8: you get an immediate download of the album AND we will send a Valentines Day card / FREE download to 5 people.

So send one to your lover. Or send one to your friend. Or to your secretary. Or your mother. Or your whoever you think is special enough to get a little sugar this Valentines. Swing by our Bandcamp page and start the love spreading process right now.”

HI54LOFI RECORDS WISH LIST - Item #1

#1 - Que Entire Albums for Uploading on Bandcamp

If you have ever made your music available through Bandcamp (if you haven’t, you should), you are well aware of the very slow and painful uploading process. Perhaps I am really feeling it today as, ever since we moved to England, our internet has been a lot slower than what we were used to in Canada. But if my memory serves me correctly, even back then it was painfully slow. So I guess the reason I am really feeling it today is because I am uploading a 15 track compilation that is being released tomorrow. And it is crawling at an overweight and elderly snails pace… and it’s kind of delaying some other important things I need to do (but can’t until the album is up on Bandcamp).

The reason it goes so slow is that you have to upload WAV files, which are really big. You have to upload WAV files because Bandcamp provides consumers with the choice of downloading your music in the file format of your choise (at a high quality). This is a good thing. I just wish it was possible for me to que all the tracks I need to upload in one step and then go away (or go to sleep) and come back when they are done. Instead, you can only have two tracks uploading at one time, which means every 20-60 minutes you need to check on things and see if you can start uploading the next ones.

I got this compilation ready for Bandcamp in the early hours of last night / this morning and all I can think about today is how nice it would have been to have qued all the tracks right before I went to bed at 5 in the morning, and have woken up to them all being uploaded. Instead I went to bed at 5 in the morning and set my alarm for just a few hours of sleep, so that I would have enough time to upload tracks 2 at a time today and still have enough time to send some press emails out before tomorrow’s release. But, for now, I guess I can only place this wish out into the universe and hope it is granted.

This post is a part of a new blog series called ‘HI54LOFI RECORDS WISH LIST’. I don’t know how frequently I will post in this series. I guess it will be whenever I am doing something and I have thoughts like ‘I wish this was like this’.

"Why u no Bandcamp?"

A little while ago on HI54LOFI RECORDS, I wrote a post entitled "Why u no Bandcamp?", where I posed the question “Why u no Bandcamp?”. I had become curious as to why so many bands —of the mid to high level of ‘made it or making it’ range — were not using Bandcamp. It was something I especially noticed when putting together a blog post about my favourite non-HI54LOFI RECORDS releases of 2011 (which also brought out some other observations), but it was also something I’ve been noticing since I first discovered the awesomeness that is Bandcamp. I thought I would revisit the question, as I recently ran into another reason. And running into that reason got me thinking about the topic again, which made me think of another reason I had overlooked.

But before I jump into those reasons, let me just re-state a statement that I have stated many times: I really love what Bandcamp does and I think the people behind it are some of the good guys. I think all bands should use Bandcamp and I really hope that one day soon, not only will more bands be using Bandcamp, but listeners and music lovers will start using it more (and become as comfortable with purchasing on Bandcamp as they are with letting Apple hold onto their credit cards).

Now, two more reasons why some bands are probably not using Bandcamp:

#1 - It is possible to steal from Bandcamp, and you don’t even need to be a tech savvy ninja (because tech savvy ninjas have built something for all those opposite of tech savvy ninjas of the world). Being familiar with the idea that the internet is a new version of the wild west, I had never doubted that this was possible. I just never put much thought into how that reality applies to music on my / our / your Bandcamp page. It wasn’t something I stressed about. But I was going through Bandcamps FAQ page in search of an answer to an unrelated query and I came across this section:

One of my fans showed me a totally easy way that someone could STEAL my music off of Bandcamp using RealPlayer 14.1 beta 3, or RipTheWeb.com, or by going into Temporary Internet Files and renaming blah blah blah. What are you doing about this grave problem?

Nothing. Since streams on Bandcamp are full-length, rather than 30-second snippets, it’s correct that someone could use one of the above methods to access the underlying 128k mp3. And sure, we could throw some technical hurdles in their way, but if they hit one of those hurdles, it’s not like they’d slap their forehead and open their wallet. Instead, they’d just move on to some other site where those restrictions aren’t in place, and you’ll have squandered the chance to make your own site the premier destination for those seemingly cheap, but enthusiastic, word-spreading, and potentially later money-spending fans. In other words, the few people employing the above methods are better thought of as an opportunity, not a lost sale. If you’re still skeptical, Andrew Dubber’s post on the topic of music piracy is a must-read.

So I was intrigued to see how easy it would be to steal music off of Bandcamp. And it was pretty easy. Googling the topic led me to a Youtube page (although that process seemed a bit too involved) and one of the comments on that Youtube page led me to a site that allows you to just paste in the url of a Bandcamp page and download that track. I thought about not sharing the links, but really, it is the internet, and if you really want to steal music you’ll always find a way (it just took me one google search). It should be noted that this site (or any site or technique like it) does not just apply to stealing music from a Bandcamp page. They can be used on Soundcloud, or Youtube, or Myspace or etc. You can even find videos on how to take music off of Spotify. Basically, if you put something of yours on the internet, someone can probably get it if they want to.

Does any of this deter me from using Bandcamp? Of course not. I’ve basically just experienced something I already knew was possible. And like a lot of small labels and DIY artists (i.e. the major percentage of people who love and use Bandcamp) the idea of someone stealing our music doesn’t scare us as much as it does the bands of the mid to high level of ‘made it or making it range’ (and more importantly, the people who represent them). What scares us is the old way of doing things. The thoguht of a middle man making a dime for doing nothing but holding a key to a door that shouldn’t even be there is a lot more scary to us then the idea of someone liking your music enough to want to steal it. True, some people steal music because they’re stealers and that’s what they do. They steal things and maybe even use that stolen item for more than their own personal use. But some people ‘steal music’ because they are a little too skint (which is something I think a lot of us smaller guys can relate to quite well). Or maybe they are not quite sold on being a true fan of yours, and them stealing your music is the first step in their conversion. Whatever the case may be, don’t develop a pirate hernia. 

If you haven’t already checked out that Andrew Dubber post, perhaps now would be a good time to do so. It really hits a lot of nails on the head and says things better than me going on more about it. But in a nutshell, someone stealing music your music is rarely the same as you losing a sale.

I do not run a major label. My brain hasn’t been wired to worry endlessly about a possible lost dollar, but I know some people do. So I can definitely see this as a major reason why there is a lack of major names using Bandcamp.

#2 - A lot of big names are using Topspin. And as the Bob Lefsetz post ‘Bandcamp vs Topspin' from last year makes obvious in post title alone, if you're using one service you're probably not using the other. Now, I have never used Topspin, but it was something that I definitely checked out. I don't doubt for a second that what they do, they do good. They even offer more / different services than Bandcamp. But everything about them — and not just the cost of using their services — screams “little guys need not apply”. As the unamed emailer in the Lefsetz post explained, “Bandcamp is great technology. Topspin is great marketing. So Topspin is winning.” (to be fair, there is great technology behind Topspin as well). I don't have any strong negative opinions about Topspin, as my investigation in using them for HI54LOFI RECORDS stopped at the pricing page, but I will say that the image in my head of who the people behind Bandcamp are is not the same image I have when picturing the people behind Topspin (i.e. in my head, Bandcamp = created on a laptop, Topspin = created in a boardroom). Perhaps I listened to Bill Hicks too much and my brain has been warped in a way that is not financially viable, but it just feels that Topspin is run by and made for ‘the bigger boys’. They seem more ‘industry insider’ than Bandcamp. And probably because of that, Topspin seems to have bedded more of the bigger names.

So, there you have it. Two more reasons on why big name bands might not be using Bandcamp. When added to the previous three, that makes five (although one reason is just an all of the above). Hopefully nobody has confused these “Why u no Bandcamp?” posts as me listing points as to why people shouldn’t be using Bandcamp, because that is not what is happening here. I’ve just been wrapping my brain, trying to figure out why there are any bands out there not using Bandcamp, because that made no sense to me. So I just tried to walk in the shoes of those people not using Bandcamp, and now that I have, I am going to put my slippers back on cause my feet hurt.

Boxing Day is that day of the year most commonly thought of as ‘the day you should have bought all of your Christmas presents on because now you wouldn’t be as broke and everybody would have the same presents anyways’. But it is also the first day of the ‘next Christmas is along ways away’ period, also known as ‘time to get on with the rest of winter’ (which in Canada, is another 3 and a half months and in England…well, I’m not sure if winter has even started). It’s also the first day of the holidays when you can really appreciate your family and friends, and the time you spend with them, without all of that pre-hype noise and building xmas stress. The decorations start to come down, but the yuletidy feelings still linger.

Boxing Day’ is also the first EP from French Films About Trains, a band whose first EP I have been waiting for since first hearing the magic that happens when Grahame and Aubben sit in front of a microphone. Released on Boxing Day (makes sense), this EP is 5 songs worth of exactly how I feel during winter; the build up to Kris Kringles visit and then the slow unwind of the remaining cold. Or, as they put it:

This past summer, while on a road trip, we both decided it would be nice to make a Christmas or “Wintery” EP.  Then about 15 days ago, we realized time was rather rapidly slipping away from us.  We only had the sketch to 1 1/2 songs, and so we wrote out all of our winter thoughts. Without planning for it to be, it became an agglomeration of regret, nostalgia and a definite stirring of change on the horizon. If you were to create a film of this album as a whole, it would be flickering frames of 8 mm film saturated in fond nostalgia as you drive out of your small town and down a road until the thermostat rises almost as quickly as the sense of something out of the ordinary…..anything.

This song in particular really hits home with me. Perfectly capturing being in a relationship and both of you wanting to be away from your family, while at the same time feeling that pull to be with them. And whether that was the intent, perfectly capturing the drive to and from the family Christmas.

You can (and should) get this EP for whatever price you fancy, even if you fancy free. As an added bonus for myself, HI54LOFI RECORDS is a part of this release, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’ve been internet acquaintances with Grahame and Aubben ever since Myspace was no joke. Swing by HI54LOFI RECORDS to listen to the full EP and read more (including a little Q&A with French Films About Trains) or just jump straight to Bandcamp and get this lovely little post-xmas prezzie in you.

French Films About Trains: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | HI54LOFI RECORDS

Gobloots is one of the finest songwriters I have ever come across, and like a lot of the great songwriters, he’s also not known as well as he should be. Whether it be heartbreaking tales about a coach’s inappropriate relationship with his students, a poignant lesbian love song, or just capturing what it feels like to get shit faced and lost, in a world that seems filled with the shit faced and lost, Gobloots does it better than most. Each song of his is a slice of pie more American than that apple kind.

And that is why I put together a mix tape featuring some of his finest work (including this beauty of a track). It is being released as two 20+ minutes sides of unlimited digital vinyl, over on HI54LOFI RECORDS. For free. In the hopes that we can turn a few more people on to the overlooked gem that Alex is. 

And besides you copping that mix tape for free (which comes with PDF liner notes), I also highly suggest you check out the Q&A I did with Alex. It is a good one, this being just a small sample of his answer to the ‘thoughts on America’ question:

America can be something of a social network soap opera donkey variety show. Everyone’s watching. Someone’s getting fucked and someone is doing the fucking. There’s some music during and in between. People are drinking and making jokes. People are losing, as well as benefitting or profiting. Everyone’s enraged and titillated and entertained and intrigued and scarred and let down. They’re throwing bibles at it, throwing money at it, while others demand their money back.

Read the full Q&A here. Listen / Download the full mix tape here. Go ‘Like’ Gobloots on Facebook here.

I´m currently in Barcelona, hanging out with A Singer of Songs and coffee&wine, getting ready for a little tour of Europe (and having really tasty food and drink). Today Mr. Benjamin Shaw arrives. In fact, I think we have to go pick him up in about 30 minutes.

So, to help spread the word about the upcoming tour, we´ve put together a free EP (containing one track from each artist taking part). The brilliant Kick The Dog, is one of those tracks.

You can head over to HI54LOFI RECORDS to listen / get some more info, or you can jump straight to Bandcamp and grab the EP for the low cost of whatever you want.

Barcelona…

HI54LOFI RECORDS European Tour poster

I’ll be train-ing and plane-ing all day today. Destination Barcelona, where I’ll be hanging out with this lot for a week, making and practicing sweet music in preparation for our little European tour. Excited, nervous and excited.

Hope to see some of you there (check out the Facebook event for more details). I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for posting until the tour is done, but I’ve tried to queue up a few just in case.

HI54CHANGES

Now that I am living in the UK, I am planning on doing a lot more HI54LOFI RECORDS things. For example, we have a small european tour coming up this autumn. Plus other things and more. Because of that, I am going to try and make an even more defined split between what is HI54LOFI and what is HI54LOFI RECORDS.

I know the obvious thing would be to not have both things contain the word HI54LOFI, but I really like that word. I also think it describes how I feel about a lot of things in life. For example, just the other day I spent 45p on The Daily Express—which is an absolutely shit example of a ‘newspaper’—because inside there was a coupon for a free 3£ sandwich. That is totally hi54lofi. Plus changing names would involve changing a lot of things, which would probably make things even more confusing and be a bit annoying (at least annoying for me).

So HI54LOFI (i.e. sans the RECORDS) will focus on all of my personal interests and likes away from the record label (as the record label is enough of a personal interest and a like of mine to be its own separate thing). Which won’t really change too much about this blog (or the @hi54lofi twitter handle, or 8tracks or Mixcloud pages) as that is kind of what I’ve been doing already, the main difference will be that I will post less things about HI54LOFI RECORDS artists on here and instead post those things on the HI54LOFI RECORDS blog (and start using the @hi54lofirecords twitter handle more).

In conclusion…

So… if you are still with me and if you like this HI54LOFI tumblr and the things that get posted here, it would be really swell if you could follow @hi54lofi on Twitter and 'like' HI54LOFI on Facebook.

And if you also like HI54LOFI RECORDS and the group of artists involved with it so far, it would be equally swell if you would follow @hi54lofirecords on Twitter and 'like' HI54LOFI RECORDS on Facebook

Here’s the lovely new tune A Singer of Songs recently put up on his Tumblr. Perhaps this will be on the set list when we go on our little European tour?

asingerofsongs:

Some songs just pop out. You pick on the guitar or hum in the shower or wrestle with the bed sheets on a sleepless night and all of sudden there it is. Like an unexpected visitor who has brought his or her own booze. They are little surprises that come from places you don’t really know.

Then there are songs that plow their way to you. Slowly. You see them make their way on the horizon and they get closer little by little. Step by step. ‘Shine’ is such a song. The melody fell upon me a year ago in autumn, then some words joined in during a walk in the hills in winter and finally it became a song this past summer. I love sunshine but I am not a great friend of summer. It makes me restless, and sometimes the only way to keep me from scratching walls is to write and record. So here it is: ‘Shine’. An expected visitor.

There will be a lot more soon. I am planning a tour around Europe with Ana Franco, Benjamin Shaw and Jeremy Sroka this coming autumn. I will release a free collection of outtakes and rarities for the occasion. Birdcircus is finishing an album. And I have recently formed a band with a singer I love a lot, and we are working hard on songs and some surprises. It is all coming your way, slowly. Little by little.

Love,

L