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Recycling?

Musical plagiarism or just influence?

This is a subject i’ve wanted to write about for a long time now but i’ve only just found the time to get down to it tonight. The song that made me decide to finally commit to this post was Owl City’s “Fireflies”. I heard it on the radio at work and although i find myself humming along to its undoubted catchiness i still can’t get the fact that he’s ripped off The Postal Service out my head. First time i heard it i actually thought it was a new Postal Service song. He even makes himself sound like Ben Gibbard through extensive autotuner and compression use. Yet i had to laugh when i read an interview with him in which he stated that he had only ever really heard a few Postal Service songs before and that they hadn’t really “caught his ear”.

Here’s the section:

“I’ve become more of a fan (of The Postal Service)  having started Owl City, actually. I had some friends in high school that would have it playing in their cars and stuff. It was cool, but it never really caught my ear. It’s kind of ironic, looking back at it, because a lot of people do relate the two projects. I can totally see it now, but I didn’t really then, for what it’s worth.”

Hmmm…..sorry Owl City but i get a pungent waft of bullshit when i read that.

VIDEO: Owl City – Fireflies

VIDEO: The Postal Service – Such Great Heights

But i’m not picking on or singling out Adam Young for being influenced by The Postal Service. All i’m saying, all i’m asking is how does it come across? Is it plagiarism or coincidental influence/inspiration?

Some of my favourite bands have been hugely influenced by others to the point of almost sounding like them so i’m not saying it’s a bad thing, don’t get the wrong idea. Interpol clearly listened to Joy Divison. A Place To Bury Strangers obviously owned some My Bloody Valentine records. Josh Homme grew up with Black Sabbath and Black Flag. Boards of Canada have heard Brian Eno. I could go on. Put it this way if there was no Jesus and Mary Chain there’d be no BRMC and if it wasn’t for The Cramps or The Birthday Party i’d imagine Eighties Matchbox would sound a bit different. So it is a GOOD thing to be influenced.

MP3: Jesus and Mary Chain – Degenerate

MP3: Black Rebel Motorcylce Club – Whatever Happened To My Rock N Roll

MP3: The Birthday Party – Release The Bats

MP3: Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster – Morning Has Broken

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the hardest things to do in music is create a truly original sound. There’s that much music around that it’s nearly impossible to create a song that cannot be compared to another band or another song. Personally i feel that bands are now labelled as “the new insert famous band name here” too much, there’s nothing wrong with comparisons but it get’s a bit boring when every week some new band are being labelled as the new Sex Pistols, the new Oasis, the new Green Day or the new Babylon Zoo. Ok, forget that last one. In fact forget them all, i’m not a fan of any of the bands i mentioned, they’re just the first famous-ish ones that popped up. I have in fact been guilty of labelling bands once or twice myself to be honest. On this very blog actually, i believe i said Japandroids could be the new Death From Above 1979 but i did state that i also don’t like labelling bands.

“….Make no mistake, these guys have the potential to be the new Death From Above 1979. Although to be honest i don’t like comparing bands to each other, it’s not fair on either so instead i’ll just say the Japandroids sound like they might be influenced by DFA and it’s a badge they seem to wear with pride.”

But that’s going slightly off subject. This is about the plagiarism/influence debate not labelling bands. So back to it, here’s a few examples of apparent plagiarism. Some are obvious, some are slightly similar.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs Love and Rockets

The Accused: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion

The Original: Love and Rockets – No New Tale To Tell

Hockey vs anything by Tom Petty (this was a suggestion by Emma)

The Accused: Hockey – Song Away

The Original: Tom Petty in general

Elastica vs Wire

The Accused: Elastica – Connection

The Original: Wire – Three Girl Rhumba

Green Day vs The Kinks

The Accused: Green Day – Warning

The Original: The Kinks – Picturebook

Nirvana vs Killing Joke vs The Damned

The Accused: Nirvana – Come As You Are

The Other Accused: Killing Joke – Eighties

The Original: The Damned – Life Goes On

Couldn’t find an embeddable (is that a word Kempy?) video for this one so here’s the MP3

MP3: The Damned – Life Goes On

So it can be everything from drum beats to chord progression and rhythms to vocal delivery, it’s more or less all been done before by someone somewhere. That’s not to say there’s nothing original left but it is does make for a good debate on similarity, comparisons and the old age debate of a blatant rip off. And what does it tell us about music today? Has it really all been done? Or is that unknown chord still out there waiting to be found?

I mean, bands take influences on board, of course they do. If you grow up listening to certain music and then you yourself begin to play music, of course you’re going to have taken something from the music you love. The chances are that the band you love and are influenced by have themselves been influenced by someone else. It’s an endless line of influence, a knock on effect, a domino effect, musical dominoes if you like.

I only discovered about three years ago that what i thought was part of one of the best Queens of the Stone Age drum intros ever is in fact copied straight from a Black Flag song. One of the opening drum segments of “Song For The Dead” and the intro to “Slip It In” are pretty much identical. Queens of the Stone Age actually came out and stated that the intro to “Song For The Dead” is in fact an homage to Black Flag. All together now….Awwwww, bless.

MP3: Queens of the Stone Age – A Song for the Dead

MP3: Black Flag – Slip It In

I, myself have questioned what i come up with when writing tracks or making music. I constantly find that i tell myself “oh you can’t have that at the breakdown bit, it sounds too much like QOTSA” or “you can’t use that intro, it sounds like a Mogwai rip off”. Just the other week i wrote a song that i thought sounded too much like something Boards of Canada would compose, i kept it in mind anyway and called it “Bored Of Canada”. It sounds a little bit like this one by the reclusive legends…

MP3: Boards Of Canada – Julie and Candy

So the whole thing i’m getting it here with this post is..

When does influence become plagiarism? Or does it all? Is it mere coincidence?

It’s a subject that is and always will be open to debate.

Opinions welcome.

Also, feel free to leave any other songs you believe to be plagiarised. I’d like to here what others think.

S.I.T Wolf X

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THE MONDAY LIST #6: Is Sleep For The Weak or The Week?

After a rather long and draining but equally enjoyable weekend i find myself feeling very tired but unable to fall asleep. I  ended up nodding off for about ten minutes earlier on tonight and felt like shit after it, now i can’t get to sleep at all. The weekend involved a slightly insane jaunt through to Stirling, a night out in the ghost town known as Paisley and a Sunday that seemed to last forever. I’ve only had around about 16 hours sleep since 6am on Friday, the tiredness had been there since last midweek anyway but now its finally caught up with me. In fact it’s more than caught up with me, it’s overtaken me and leaving me behind, it’s heading off into the distance faster than Usain Bolt on steroids. Even my usual method of listening to some Boards of Canada or The Album Leaf in the dark isn’t working. Anyways, in a rather ironic twist (and while i’m still awake) i’ve decided to make a list of SleepyTime themed songs that i have….

zzzz
MP3’s
Is Sleep For The Weak Or The Week?
——————————————

1. The Postal Service – Sleeping In
2. Explosions In The Sky – With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept
3. Deftones – If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (cover of The Cure)
4. My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep
5. Grand Archives – Sleepdriving
6. St Famous – Tired And Emotional
7. Idlewild – Let Me Sleep (Next To The Mirror)
8. Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
9. REM – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
10. Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra – The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes

and just as a wee bonus track (and because it takes me back to my childhood, well the Lion King in specific)

MP3: The Tokens – The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Boombox Pillow
Maybe one of the reasons i can’t get to sleep? MP3:  Blur – Coffee And TV

VIDEOS:

Faithless – Insomnia (Live @ Glastonbury 2002)

Simian Mobile Disco – Sleep Deprivation

iPillow?

iPillow?

….and just before i head off and attempt to knock myself out i’ll finish with this lovely bit of music from one of my favourite bed time artists…

MP3: The Album Leaf – Seal Beach

remember that all mp3’s are freely available to download from this page but always try and support your favourite artists.

Ok i’m off, i’m hoping that if i work my way through The Album Leaf discography whilst curled up in the dark counting sheep i’ll end up in the land of Z’s….wish me luck.

Good night

S.I.T Wolf  X

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Legal Aliens

usb-cd-rock-mini-jukeboxOk first things first, Jukebox Cinema is a new section were i’m going to be putting up posts about films. It could be a new upcoming release, it could be an old favourite of mine, it could be an absolutely devastatingly bad film that me and my friends have vocally torn to shreds over and over (Cradle of Fear springs to mind) yet still find ourselves somehow drawn to watching it or last but not least it could be just any old film i fancy writing about. So why the jukebox part in the title? Well all the films will be accompanied by mp3’s that are somehow related to them either through subject matter or title so thats where the “jukebox” comes in….

District9

DISTRICT 9

District 9 is an alien/sci-fi film set in a pre-millenium Johannesburg. It’s directed by Neill Blomkamp, you may recognise the name. He was apparently due to make the movie adaption of Halo before the project fell on its arse, so to speak. Its also produced by Peter Jackson (he of LotR fame).

The storyline is pretty simple so i won’t go into to much detail. Aliens land in South Africa, the military and government find them, house them in a Government refugee camp and keep them quarantined from human society in an area called District 9. Then the fun begins….

It’s released over here on the 4th September (next Friday), i can’t wait to go see it.

Mp3’s
1. Blink 182 – Alien’s Exist
2. Monster Magnet – Space Lord
3. Prodigy – Out Of Space
4. Radiohead – Subterranean Homesick Alien
5. Unicorn Kid – Wee Monsters
6. Mogwai – Angels Versus Aliens
7. Spacemen3 – Take Me to the Other Side
8. Muse – Space Dementia
9. Suicide – Spaceship
10. Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

district-9-support-non-human-rights

BONUS VIDEO

Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

I was the one worth leaving………

S.I.T Wolf  X

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