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let us consider together….the new kaiser concept.

hola, dear ones.

so, this’ll probably mean more to you comrades in the UK, but here goes anyway.

kaiser chiefs are trying something very cool, and i’m curious as fuck to see how it works out.

basically, instead of releasing the record in a normal format (what does THAT even mean, anymore?), they’ve put 20 of the songs up on a build-your-own-album site.
you get to choose 10 tracks, order them as you wish, and then create your own artwork.
the album – in it’s amorphous form – is titled “the future is medieval.”

you then purchase your personal creation for £7.50 (about $12 or so).


they’ve set up a system online whereby you can SELL your version of the album and make a profit of £1 (about $1.60) for each copy someone buys. technically then, if you convince 8 friends to buy the record, you make a PROFIT. the band website arms you with a personalized banner of your album to go out and viral-ize, and you can explore other people’s versions very easily. the current top-five sellers are up on the front of the site (and seem to change quite a bit), so set aside some time to explore.

i have NO idea if this idea is going to work for them…but i do have to say it was really fucking fun sequencing the tracks (i dorked out and spent about 2 hours tweaking the order) and making the album artwork. i recommend going in there and playing with the system. the make-your-own artwork system is BRILLIANT – it keeps everything within a single aesthetic without putting too many boundaries on the creatively-thinking individual. graphic designers and geeks shall cream.
here’s a few examples of artwork:

by drownedinsound

by eestipois

by jferentz99

by thisisfakediy

by ChrisMoyles

and here’s my cover art…

i was very happy with it.

here’s the tracklist i put together:
1. Can’t Mind My Own Business
2. Problem Solved
3. Back In December
4. Starts With Nothing
5. I Dare You
6. Fly On The Wall
7. If You Will Have Me
8. My Place Is Here
9. When All Is Quiet
10. Coming Up For Air

so while your’e over there, if you are feeling lazy and don’t want to create your own album, and want to buy the amanda palmer version – because you have such incredible faith in my taste and song-ordering talents – buy my copy:

and here’s an easy to share link if you want to post it around on twitter/facebook/wherever:

mostly, i love this idea as a concept. i think they might have priced things too high ($12 for 10 songs seems high, but they are on a major label, so their hands are relatively tied in that department). and there’s some interface problems (if you do go in to the make-your-own-album process, you’ll find there are some annoying kinks, like there NOT being a labeled song-list as you’re piecing together your creation, which is kinda cool, but in practice really annoying).

i’d love to hear what you guys think of the album, but more than that i’d love some punter-feedback about this whole creative concept and whether you dig it, and whether you’d dig it if i did something similar. the hotline is open, comment below. any feedback that’s actually useful will obviously be implemented in the collective world-takeover plan when i put out my next album.


and so there is full disclosure….i am a big damn fan of the band.

when i first heard their debut album (“employment”) my jaw hit the floor – they had that beautiful eighties sound, with raw power that kept them from sounding boring or blasé and retro.

i went to see them on that album tour (they played the teeny weeny legendary middle east in boston), met ricky wilson, and we became pals. we dated for about two seconds – i think we realized that we had as much in common as…i dunno, a lead singer from leeds and a lead singer from boston with nothing in common except for the fact that we were both lead singers, and i think lead singers always try to date each other because they assume that other lead signers will understand them. this is, for the record, not true. having experimented over the years with an EXTENSIVE variety of lead singers, i recommend a writer.

anyway, that happened. ricky remains a pal and an immensely talented singer and lyric-writer…and he’s an all around fantastic guy. so are the other very leeds-y blokes in the band, and i’ve continued to be a huge fan of the band (and somewhere on a hotel wall in london, behind the painting hung over the bed, there’s some graffiti that ricky and i did of a zoo that boasted only animals with disabilities. i hope somebody finds it one day. it was a touching piece of graffiti).

after “employment,” they put out two more records…”yours truly, angry mob” (2007), and then “off with their heads” (2008). all worth checking out, but i’d start with “employment” and then dig deeper.
they never caught on in the states the way they did in the UK.

meandering thought of the day…
one of the things that i realized – in retrospect – was such a turn-on about the band was the producer of the first record, stephen street. i didn’t even know that street produced the record until recently, which doing some internet sleuthing looking up producers for my own producer-education. stephen street is a legend: he started out producing the smiths and went on to become morrissey’s oft co-writer and right-hand man behind the board. he produced blur, the cranberries, and a ton of other fancy wonderful stuff. (and for god’s sake if anyone out there has an inside line: tell him nothing but nice things about amanda fucking palmer.) i’ve been noticing the music i really love from the past few years have been those acts that are highly influenced BY the eighties – without actually sounding like eighties rip-off bands – who are taking the sound and building it into the future. like tegan and sara, LCD soundsystem, bright eyes, the faint, etc.
what can i say? my heart belongs to the eighties and probably nothing will ever change that. i need to make you guys a mix tape.

back to the kaisers….if you want to check out their earlier work: here’s one of my favorite songs and videos of theirs.
this video has a great story behind it…they actually KNEW the tennis ball dude, he was a busker in their neighborhood in leeds.
ricky and the band created the entire concept and invited the tennis ball dude to star in the video. i fucking love it.

brian and i, in the heyday of lets-do-random-shit days of the dresden dolls, made this HOMAGE video, using our OWN TENNIS BALL when we played bonnaroo:

if you look closely, that’s radiohead in the background (i think). i think you can see beck in there too.


p.s. i predict a riot

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