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There are occasions that I wonder if I do this column because I love MySpace or if I do it because I needed to find a use for MySpace.

It’s true when people say that the place is a waste-ground these days. Most people have migrated to Facebook. And yeah, Facebook is good and all but it’s still not designed for music. This is what MySpace is fantastic for. There is nothing out there that is designed as accessible for music as MySpace and in the end this is what I’m hoping to highlight here.
Little nobodies can have a page that looks and can be used as well as a professional’s page. Unfortunately they can also be disasters. Some people aren’t helping themselves out, for example dotdotdot (http://www.myspace.com/dotdotdotnz), who sent me a friend request. I click the link only to find a huge banner to say that the band will not be using this url anymore and have changed to a new one. They have, however, only tried to add me with this seemingly dead profile. No review for you.

It’s a shame that no-one this week had a video on their page to go along with their music play-lists. I find they can be a great help with getting to know a band/musician and connect with them a little bit. But as with my experience, a lot of folks think the music will speak for itself. When you’re dealing with MySpace bands though, maybe they’re better off staying quiet.
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KARL ELAND
www.myspace.com/karlelandireland

There is a section on MySpace band profiles that allows you to list your musical influences. It’s helpfully labelled “Influences”. It can often be interesting to see the type of music a musician listens to themselves. Unfortunately it can also have a massive downside because you instantly draw comparisons. Comparisons are fine when it’s “he writes songs with a similar theme to…” or “this particular drum beat can be likened to…” etc. It’s not fine, however, when you listen and think “he sounds exactly like…” and unfortunately this is the case for Karl Eland.

Karl, from Preston in England, is like mini-Springsteen. He’s not The Boss though, he’s just an assistant manager. I wouldn’t say Karl is doing an impression of Bruce Springsteen but when he lists him in his “Influences” section, he REALLY means it.

The songs aren’t bad though. In fact, Springsteen could probably add these to an album and nobody would blink. The main thing that holds Karl back, for me, is that his voice isn’t as strong as the songs he’s singing. A bit more power would add endlessly more conviction to what are essentially songs written about blue-collar rebellion. The sound is decent, especially considering how much production money I’m sure he has behind him. Overall, it’s hard to complain… if it wasn’t for the fact that I just can’t get the Springsteen comparisons out of my head. And unfortunately, when you’re being compared to such a legendary name in music you’re only going to come off poorly.

On a side note; I’ve noticed this a few times before. This is not Eland’s only MySpace page. He has them for different countries. Karlelandusa and just plain karleland also exist. What is the point of this? You’re just splitting up your hits. Surely this is a waste of time?

Presentation = 3/5
Content = Not a lot. 3 songs and not much else.
Music = 3/5
Friend Request = DENIED!

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myspace-crossingWASHINGTON’S CROSSING
www.myspace.com/washingtons2crossing

If the pictures are anything to go by, Washington’s Crossing have had a bit of a revolving line-up. That can be a worrying factor as it could indicate to something “not quite right” within the group but it could also keep things interesting musically if each new member has their own input into the songs.

The first song on the play-list is a little ditty called Who is the Antichrist which, I swear to Buddha, sounds just like a Spinal Tap song to me. I actually had to double check it wasn’t a cover. When I was looking at pictures of the band I thought that this sound didn’t match up with the image. Then the next song played called We’re all welcome here, a jangly, almost reggae, island number and I realised… none of this matches up! Not the band, not the music. It’s like a mix-tape of crap.

Either they’re a subtle, subversive parody band or they don’t get the joke. It’s hard to tell. I feel like if I saw this band play Don’t Say in the background of the bar in Cocktail neither I nor Tom Cruise would blink. Although that might just have something to do with the coke in Tom’s case. Allegedly.

I could go on about the possible religious angle to the band but it’s probably not worth starting that snowball. Needless to say “the devil is evil”, as a concept, is mentioned a lot. Rock on with your good selves.
I will say though, as a rare positive, whoever plays guitar on Not that I’m Crazy does a classy job. It’s even a catchy tune. So it’s not all bad.

Presentation = 2/5
Content = Loads of pictures and enough songs but no video, which would have been welcomed.
Music = 2/5
Friend Request = DENIED!

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myspace-baconmoonBACON MOON
www.myspace.com/baconmoon

Bacon Moon is a band I tried to review before (during the hard drive debacle of January 10) and I remember at the time being, for once, mildly positive. It’s nice to get a second chance. However, if memory serves me right, it seems that they have changed the songs on their play-list since then. So, I must start this review fresh and pretend like I wasn’t paying attention the first time because I really do take my time to review all these bands fairly and with no bias.

Honestly.

Stop looking at me like that.

This may surprise a lot of people, including the band, but there is a lot of stuff here that I like. Despite the sound being distinctly low-tech garage band, they have that feel from a golden age of rock (for me) which is the early 90s grunge era. I’m not saying that Bacon Moon sound like a grunge bad, not in the slightest, but they are definitely influenced by other bands from that period. Simple Life could be a Pavement song and Like To Try it could be taken from an IRS era R.E.M. album. It’s in Simple Life also where I think the lead singer does his best job and is the highlight of the play-list for me. I understand that each member contributes to the vocals and I appreciate that not every singer can have a Meatloaf range but I’m a firm believer in people knowing their range and working with it. In some songs such as Stuck his voice becomes a whine and it completely grates on you. I’m sure it’s a different person taking lead on each song but as a MySpace browser it’s hard to distinguish who from who so I’m going to assume that maybe someone should stick to back-up.

Overall it’s just hard to get a handle on Bacon Moon. There is a touch of everything in the songs and in the end it just adds up to something clustered and messy. I don’t know if this is because of a looseness in the instruments or just that maybe the band members aren’t taking themselves seriously enough. I get the impression that Nick, Jon and “db” might be just having fun. If so, kudos to them for enjoying themselves but I honestly believe that if they put their minds to it they could make a really good CD.

I think I’m going to dig out my copy of Murmur.

Presentation = 1/5
Content = Not a lot. A good few songs though.
Music = 3/5
Friend Request = DENIED!

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myspace-tiradesTHE TIRADES
www.myspace.com/tirades

Was this recorded on a phone? Dear god. It’s so tinny and just maxes out every five seconds.

I can’t review this as it’s murder on my ears. I might even have given them a good score, because what I could make out through all the noise seemed good but if you can’t get your act together and create a decent recording of it you’re not getting a good score from me.
This sort of thing is important, lads.

There are some better recorded songs on the play-list but they seem to be credited to a different band, which is a previous incarnation.
No, this is all wrong.

*runs for the exit*

Presentation = 0/5
Content = An “About Me” section… and noise.
Music = 1/5
Friend Request = DENIED!

- If you’d like to have your music reviewed (or at the very least made fun of) by Aaron on this column, just head over to www.myspace.com/aaronhbp and send him a friend request. He’ll then add you to his list of problems.

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