Tuesday, 9 February 2016

“Moneylenders Out!”

This is without a doubt the best political essay I’ve read in ages, polemic or not. It crystallizes the issues with sharp and hilarious lines reminiscent of Taibbi or Bai or hell, Thomas Frank.

If Millennials are coming out in droves to support Bernie Sanders, it’s not because we are tripping balls on Geritol. No, Sanders’s clever strategy of shouting the exact same thing for 40 years simply strikes a chord among the growing number of us who now agree: Washington is bought. And every time Goldman Sachs buys another million-dollar slice of the next American presidency, we can’t help but drop the needle onto Bernie’s broken record:

The economy is rigged.

Democracy is corrupted.

The billionaires are on the warpath.

Sanders has split the party with hits like these, a catchy stream of pessimistic populism. Behind this arthritic Pied Piper, the youth rally, brandishing red-lettered signs reading “MONEYLENDERS OUT.”

And despite being a proud, self-identified millennial (imagine that!) it’s not even all about her. Mostly. So why are you still here and not already reading this thing?

Feeling the Yern: Why One Millennial Woman Would Rather Go to Hell Than Vote for Hillary

Stumping for Hillary Clinton this weekend in New Hampshire, hedge fund manager Madeleine Albright squawked, “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other.” When the Democratic National Committee chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was asked earlier this year why she thought Millennials resist Hillary Clinton, she…

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Cherry Berry b/w Yrreb Yrrehc

One of the great things about having an online distribution partner is when they take the initiative and upload catalogue tracks to YouTube in (in this case, optimistic) hopes of click-through streaming royalties.

Sometimes, though, the results are unexpected.

I forgot all about the B-side to Cherry Berry until someone emailed me asking if this was for real. (That person is apparently the ONE listener thus far.)

The idea was utterly, unapologetically ripped off from the flip of Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Aaway, Ha-Haaa!” (I mean, they are both novelty songs fronted by pseudonymous authority figures, right?)

If you have no idea what any of this is about, there’s this:

Love In an Elevator

Okay, this is easily the single greatest song ever written about a state commissioner of labor. Yep, the smiling face of North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie K. Berry has inspired a song. A really funny song. Actually, just a great song altogether.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Darkest Sketch, Darkest Sketch

Hey Kids, Look at This! It’s already May, and it’s time for 2015’s first exciting post: “Nothing’s cool, nothing matters.”  Now go and buy that Bugger The Toast album you read about on all those cool blogs. You know the kind.

Also, could someone please write a plug-in that will suck all the “content” from my FB feed (stream? field and stream?) and stick it on my WP? You’re welcome. I’m going back to bed now. This has been an intolerably old-feeling year. Hey… You… get off of my lawn.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Whatever Happened to Dan Bryk?

2014, year of the Twerk. Oh, the Horse. The damn “new record(s)” is/are taking forever, but yet I keep stealing time for them from my busy busy actually-income-streaming life. You’ll like them, I swear. One of the catchier numbers was unveiled in Radio Free Song Club’s episode #30, of which I am understandably honoured to interlope.

Number 30 | Radio Free Song Club

TO PLAY THE SHOW: Click the arrow. Click in the text box to move forward or back in the show. Adjust the volume with the bars on the left.

I moved to Washington DC (“our nation’s capital!”) at the end of last year. I miss Dar but it’s also nice having my studio back again. I took a Coursera Songwriting MOOC with professor Pat Pattison of Berklee. While finding time for hours of lectures, writing and demoing whilst full-timing a three-year-old was tricky, I learned a ton of valuable stuff, even at my advanced age. The peer assessment feedback was priceless. Assuming you’re curious, here’s my final assignment:

 

Now that I am practically soaking with UAD mix horsepower, I  decided to dust off and finish up a couple more unreleased, abandoned, practically decontextualized recordings for the Lovers Leap bonus record — one you’ve heard if you basically EVER saw me play a show from 2000 on. The other one you’ve never heard of, I promise, but if you spent time in Parkdale in the early oughts you shall chuckle heartily. And the other other one was the flip of the ultimately non-existent Nova Bryk split 7″. (Those guys are so incredibly post-rock now, they were like “yes, take the rock from us Bryk, it’s yours now.”)

Also, I hereby promise never to Twerk.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Schmello World!

Pole sana. Why the new WP install?  Why, I must be late for my annual blog post! I was seriously tiring of that rapidweaver abomination standing as my “web presence.”  I’m this far from becoming a Facebook dropout, in which case it was manifest destiny to migrate Buddhabubba (formerly “my personal blog”) into sort of a “new website.”  So here we be. I am still in Dar Es Salaam, still nursing the songs and arrangements that will become my “new record(s).” Culture shock, the molasses jar of time called African logistics, and, uh, parental responsibility sucked up an awful lot of time this year. A year of rebooting. Despite my rMBP and now Logic X allowing for yet another unwanted matrix of possibilities, work on the “new record(s)” continues slowly but dutifully. It’s finishing the damn lyrics, as usual, that’s holding everything up. I think these are the wordiest songs I’ve ever tried to sing. One possible release configuration has the working title Lies of Girls and Women: it has one song entitled Hannah Horvath, one called White Nanny, and the possible “hit” has a spelled out chorus: E-R-I-N. As usual, any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and even they might complain that songs seem to be the only relationships in my life where I indulge in obstructive perfectionism. Amen, sister.

P.S.: Sorry about all those scare quotes.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I’m still here.

Hey folks.

Still writing, slowly but surely. I have a firm lineup of songs for the next album, definitely writing “inside of the box” with a “strategy” and a “game plan” this time, just struggling with finishing this specific batch of songs to the best of my limited ability. I even have a working title, but I’m sure you’d prefer fewer promises (and perhaps even some surprises) this time.

It’s tonally and rhythmically all over the map, but there’s kind of an overall theme (I would say “concept” but look how well that did for PP) tying it all together. Best songs I’ve ever written blah blah blah. You’ll like the song titles at the very least: my favourite so far is “Nestle Waters of America” which is sort of “People Get Ready” crossed with “Sail Away” crossed with this.

Hang in there, cause if I ever do get this album finished it will make the flowers bloom, the heavens part, and (most importantly) make Pop Psych sound like the ridiculous pity party it is.

Thanks for all your encouragement.

Db

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Pitchfork

Pop Psychology got a very nice review from Pitchfork yesterday, theoretically the biggest media “break” this record might receive.

I know I’m probably breaking some sort of taboo by writing this, but 24 hours later… here’s the math:

• 1,734 web page loads from bryk.com
• 4954 song plays on my Reverbnation widgets (including the main player on the splash page of my site)
• 5 Reverbnation Site Visits, no added fans
• 6 Tweets linking to the review (not including my own)
• 1 Email from a high school friend I haven’t heard from in 20 years.

(I have no idea what’s going on with Myspace, as of this morning it says my “profile is undergoing routine maintenance” as is my ability to log in. They apologize for the inconvenience, which is kind of annoying considering the timing, but not a huge issue as they don’t really provide much in the way of stats.)

• I’ve had 346 streaming player/store visits
• I’ve had 101 track “plays”
• I’ve given away 22 free downloads: 15 Pop Psychology, 1 Lovers Leap, 1 Discount Store and 5 miscellaneous track downloads
• I’ve sold exactly 4 PP downloads (plus a Lovers Leap download)

Hmm.

1. Pitchfork drove a fair bit of Traffic to my site(s).

2. Could my music really be that unappealing to all those readers and listeners?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

New Pop Psychology “Spreadshirt” Designs

After a few mild complaints from buyers, I’ve become dissatisfied with CaféPress who have supplied the Dan Bryk t-shirts and other merch to date. I honestly haven’t kept up with the progress in the on-demand merch world, but after a fair bit of research and due diligence, I’m going to close the (annoying multiple) merch stores I have with CaféPress and adopt two more streamlined options: Spreadshirt and Zazzle.

First up is Spreadshirt, whose origins are European but have now opened up a plant in Pittsburgh to serve the US.

The main advantage they have over their competitors seems to be the “flex print” technique they use for printing. The results are less like CP’s digital printing, and more like traditional screen printing. The printing is sharper and more colour-fast and durable than direct-to-print.  I’ve set up a few variations of a Pop Psychology t-shirt and ordered one, and I’m really impressed so far.

Next up is Zazzle.

Zazzle, Scion and… Karen Finley?

And next up is Zazzle, who use a similar technology to Cafépress for multi-coloured print jobs, but at least don’t charge CP’s monthly or annual fees for the privilege of multiple style items in one shop, or widgety flash panels like this:

Neat, eh? And <*cough*> all for sale as of now!

But the best part of Zazzle is where you can pick “models” to indicate how the artwork fits the cut of the shirt, and how the shirt might fit different people, which resulted in this bit of digital magic…

mygrannysleptwithdanbryk

…which then reminded me of that Karen Finley song “Tales of Taboo” and its’ immortal lyric: “She’s a real nice granny/and I never touch her snatch/’cause she’s my granny!”

But I wasn’t sure I remembered the exact lyrics to that (and my “The Truth is Hard To Swallow” vinyl is sitting in my parents basement back in Mississauga) so I fired up google with the search phrase karen finley “she’s my granny” lyrics. And this is what I came across:

scion_karenfinley


WTF? I know she’s just a piece of random collateral in their campaign to sell Scions, but this is some of the text of the MOG-ged up track:

She dreams.  She dreams of strangling baby birds.  Bluebird, wrens and robins.  And with her thumbs she pushes back on their small feathered necks, pushes back against their beaks till they snap like breaking twigs.

She dreams.  She dreams of being locked in a cage and singing loudly and off-key with her loved ones standing behind her, whispering very loudly, “She has an ugly voice, doesn’t she?  She has an ugly voice.”  Oh, leave it to the loved ones always to interfere with our dreams.

Like when my father finally told me he loved me after forty years, then went into the bathroom, locked the door, put up pictures of children from the Sears catalogue, arranged mirrors, black stockings and garters to look at as he masturbated, as he hanged himself from the shower stall.  It’s that ultimate erection.  It’s that ultimate orgasm.  Whatever turns you on, girl.  Whatever, whatever turns you on.


I love this monologue, but it really doesn’t strike me as an ideal or even compatible marketing message to sell Scions with. (Erin used to joke that I should offer Fingers to the Toronto Conservatory of Music for an ad campaign.)  I can’t help but wonder what Ms. Finley would think about this juxtaposition.

The new corporate-sponsored music model once again makes for strange bedfellows.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Bandcamp, IODA, Reverbnation, Microsoft

In the interests of cutting out middlemen and bringing it all back home, the entire Dan Bryk catalogue is now available directly from my Bandcamp mini-site downloads.bryk.com (everything, that is, but the still-eponymous Dan Bryk, Asshole, which is now embarrassing enough that I am considering deleting it once and for all, and I am even considering releasing “Mississauga Rattler”, otherwise known as “the demos that got me dropped from Scratchie.”)

The part of all this that remains unbelievable for me is that I am receiving about 95% of the proceeds of the sales after PayPal takes its’ micropayments ounce of flesh. That is a pretty major game-changer for me, and was the primary reason I decided to sell Pop Psychology directly, give away the 128k version, and allow everyone to listen to it in full.

I think it’s pretty remarkable that a platform like Bandcamp can exist fully-functionally on the back of venture capital. I’m sure I’m not the only indie musician waiting for the other shoe to drop in terms of BC instituting monthly fees or taking a percentage off each download, but in the meantime they have shown a considerable amount of goodwill hosting, streaming and delivering a LOT of music bandwidth — for free. And their FAQ is fucking hilarious, as if they hired Chuck Klosterman as ghostwriter. So if there’s anything of mine you’ve ever wanted to check out, these might be the salad days of maximizing the financial reward from my work.

In other, not-as-fun news, IODA (who distributes/consolidates downloads to iTunes Music Store, Amazon MP3, eMusic, etc. for many indie labels small and large) recently raised their cheque-issuing threshold to $250 “to bring them in line with industry standards” (what industry? what standards?) which means that little labels like Urban Myth that used to have to sell 10 albums before getting paid now have to sell about 50 albums of music before they see a penny. I guess I was under the impression that the whole technological long tail thing had some potential to let little indies establish themselves with a track download here, a track download there. I guess I was wrong, and it’s new technology, same old music biz rules.

So here’s an uplifting footnote: my bull city friends over at Reverbnation have hooked up with Microsoft for “Sponsored Songs” — 1000 Reverbnation artists who now have an exclusive track available for free download, with Microsoft paying the artist 50¢ per download.  You can argue that this is yet another shot across Apple’s bow in the culture wars — with indie artists as the collateral — but in the end anything that gets the artists paid is alright with me. Admittedly my records have been pretty much made on Macs, but it’s frustrating to maintain a relationship with such an opaque lover.

Naturally, I was whimsical and/or ungrateful enough to pick perhaps the least appropriate song possible for such a corporate mash-up. I’m apparently up to $39.50 of downloads in less than a week, so please, download and tell your friends.

Db