Music, Work

OK Amazon, you win this round with your $5 albums

Since he works in direct marketing, your Monkey likes to flatter himself and believe that he is smarter than the average bear (or monkey, for that matter) when it comes to identifying and resisting the various direct marketing tricks that companies use to drive sales and boost their profits.

No, your Monkey is not impressed when he is watching a commercial that shows the price being slashed not once, not twice, but thrice. (The truth is that the final price will always represent the profit the company is hoping to make on the product, so you’re never really getting a deal. They’re just inflating the price to make it seem like a discount).

That being said, Amazon.com has won the latest round by wooing your Monkey with a campaign promising $5 Mp3 album downloads.

The price is right, the selection is good, and they managed to get the message into enough places online that your Monkey couldn’t help but notice.

And then he couldn’t help but buy.

For those of you keeping score at home, it’s:

Amazon 1

Monkey 0

Oh well. Better to spend $5 on a Bat for Lashes album (her 2007 debut “Fur and Gold”), then $15 on a Save a Blade automatic blade sharpener that doesn’t work at all (and never has).

Here is a little Bat for Lashes.

Music, Podcasts

KEXP Live Performance Podcast Roundup

Your Monkey has been hard at work this week typing away and feeding the beast with new copy, but he has had a chance to catch up on the past three weeks of KEXP live performance podcasts.

A good mix of new bands, old bands, and one talented female singer with amazing potential.

Japandroids — This duo from Vancouver, British Columbia are the critical darlings of the moment. Another guitar and drums duo like the White Stripes and the Black Keys, the Japandroids make a huge wall of sound using just two instruments. They are nice guys and well worth a listen, but your Monkey is wondering if their sound will sustain itself for an entire album. Three or four tracks at a time seems just about enough for the moment.

The Vaselines — This Scottish band is perhaps best known for being an early favorite of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. Nirvana memorably covered/interpreted the Vaselines’ song Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam during the band’s MTV unplugged performance. What this Monkey did not know is that two other Nirvana songs from the Incesticide EP (Molly’s Lips and Son of a Gun) are Vaselines covers as well. It is fascinating to hear the male and female vocal harmonies on these original tracks.

Bat for Lashes You don’t need this Monkey to tell you that Bat for Lashes (real name Natasha Kahn) is the real deal. She has a soaring voice and a talent for writing atmospheric songs that are laced with mysticism. Or something like that. Once again this is a good listen, though your Monkey can’t help feeling like it’s not quite as great as it could be. Perhaps Kahn hasn’t reached her full potential yet. But hey, she’s young, she’s talented, and she’s got plenty of time.

Plus she makes a great video. Check this out.

You’ll have to click through and watch it on youtube because embedding is disabled. The video is worth it, though.