Shacker in Portland, Nate, and Free Music

Below are several emails I’ve exchanged in the past month with Nate in Portland.  It’s a pretty cool story; make sure you read Nate’s articles linked at the end!  -howie 

Subject: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Nate”
To: “Mr Furious”
Priority: Normal

Dear all you people at Mr. Furious, I know this the answer is probably a definite “yes”, but I feel I should ask anyway. Is it okay for me to distribute the music you’re releasing on the internet? Or in otherwords, what license are you releasing your music under, traditional copyright, creative commons, public domain, or something else?

See, the reason I ask is that there’s a big difference to me between something being “Free as in beer” (doesn’t cost anything), and something being “Free as in speech”. An example in which this is illustrated: just because the author of a book gives you a free copy of his book, it doesn’t mean you can copy that and give the copies to friends.

Just to clear things up, cause I don’t know, could you clarify what license you’re releasing your music under? If you’ve never thought of that before, I’d suggest a creative commons license which allows for derivatives.If you’ve released the songs under a specific license and I just missed it on your site, could you please tell me what it is? Thanks. I mean, I know you probably don’t give a fuck if I burn a few CDs of your music and give it to my friends, but what I’m talking about here is giving away about 500 CDs of free music at a fair, while making it clear that people are free to copy and redistribute the music on there. If I’m going to include some of Echoes music on there, even if it is free and freely available on the internet, I’d like to know that the band members are okay with the redistribution of their music.



Subject: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Mr Furious”
To: “Nate”
Priority: Normal

Nate; you are a rockstar for checking up on this. And you are absolutely correct that the answer is “YES! Please include whatever you like from MFR for your friends AND your fair.”

It would be rad if you included the URL somewhere too. The Creative Commons lisence is; It’s displayed on the left sidebar of the site – you do have to scroll down a bit to get it though. AND – we’d love to know more about what you’re doing, the event, etc. Perhaps we could blog about it and put up a link – it’s always good to let people know about creative things going on. Even a copy of the disc, if you’re doing artwork and the whole thing – we would probably be introduced to other artists we’d want to be listening to!

Again, thanks for double-checking.
> >> > >> -howie (echoes)


Subject: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Nate”
To: “Mr Furious”
Priority: Normal

Hey, sorry for taking so very, very, very long to respond. I’ve been in bed for the last few weeks with mono. Anyway, here’s what’s what.

Basically, what was supposed to happen was we were going to give away the music at a Freeganism fair near the local college/community radio station. But anyway, it got rained out the day of the fair, sucked, and nobody came. So I just gave them away at high school during lunch, just walked around “hey, you want free music! Here you go, man, take a flyer” . We didn’t get them all given out, even though there are 1400 people at our school, there are only 400-700 people in the halls during lunch, and not everyone wanted the CDs. But the point was, it was a success.

We brought home-written flyers on Creative Commons, free music, and the evils of the “Big Five” record labels. It was pretty cool. We’re trying to get the website to use some of it right now. I think we really got the message across. Along with a lot of free music.

Now, let’s see, what did we put on that baby: I hope you can read this correctly:
1. Josh Petty, A Diagram To The Stars. 2005, Blues, USA
2. Lake Holiday, American Summer (EP). 2003, Light Rock, USA
3. Niconoclaste, Les Stances Sibyllines. 2006, Hip-Hop, France
4. Shacker, Knowing Her Best. 2004, Folk/Acoustic rock, USA
5. Tryad, Public Domain. 2005, Trippy, USA
6. M.A.Z.C.A., First Hour. 2005, Instrumental Rock, Italy
7. Lonah, Pièces. 2005, Europop, France
8. Carlos Saura, Un Viaje a lo Infinito (EP). 2006, Instrumental Rock, Spain
9. Margins of Safety, Gonzo Jazz. 2006, Jazz, Finland
10. SxYnZ, Con la Luz del Sol. 2003, Classic Rock, Spain
11. Lake Holiday, Send Off the Summer (EP). 2002, Light Rock, USA
12. Triole, Triole. 2006, Pop Rock, Argentina
13. Josh Petty, Copy Me! 2004, Blues, USA
14. Various Artists, Canciones Pegajosas. 2006, Varied, Argentina

Along with a few singles from Forgetting Luna, Tiger Heart, and the Tribute to John Peel project (a project that releases compilations of singles by up and coming indie bands, by the bands’ permission, under CDs under a Creative Commons license). We ended up deciding that Shacker worked with the rest of the CD best. We shortened the name cause we didn’t have space on the printouts.

All of this stuff is available on the internet for download – most of it from – a site that hosts creative commons music for LEGAL P2P SHARING via bittorrent and edonkey. And you can get it in the lossy format of your choice: 192k MP3, 200K OGG, or 300K OGG. A lot of this stuff you can also find on under their ‘netlabels’ audio section – but you probably already knew that. Oh yeah, and anything else?

Umm… oh yeah – CD art – because we didn’t have any fancy labels, and we were short of budget (500 CD-Rs aren’t cheap… :/) we just got some CD sharpies, went outside on a clear day, and marked every CD up with the same insignia – in our case an eighth note with a circle around it – occasionally also writing on kooky little messages like (“100% free music”, “Take me, I’m yours” and “You can’t get more free than this”)

Sorry for writing so late, and thanks for the response you gave, my little conspiracy to get tons of Portland listening to free music worked anyway,
> > Nate


Subject: Re: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Mr Furious”
To: “Nate”
Priority: Normal

Nate – no worries, we’re just stoked that you’re sharing Mr. Furious music. I’m going to check out some of the stuff from your comp. when I get a chance.

Is it cool if I post our email conversation as a blog entry? I want people to know what you’ve done, and maybe get inspired.

We love your conspiracy.
-howie, MFR


Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is a fan, with a question about sharing Mr. Furious records Music
From: “Nate”
To: “Mr Furious”
Priority: Normal

Haha, yah, that’d be awesome! Thanks! This is exactly the kind of indie project where a ton of people could spread all their favorite music easily to everyone else, while spreading netlabel and free music popularity.

Also, as a bonus for coolness, I’ve included in this e-mail two attachments. One, an infogram about what Creative Commons is, why it’s great, how it equates to great free music. I handed this out with the CDs I gave out. I’ve just called it Print-out Propaganda: Legal AND Free. People can give this away with the CDs they give out if they want. It’ll certainly help convince any nearby authorities that they’re not committing in “illegal piracy”.

I was going to originally submit a modified version of that article attached to to so they could have an “About” page. I probably will still do this. But I haven’t found the time to modify it for such a purpose, so until then, I think the infogram about Creative Commons and free music will be of more use in the hands of the people who are really into this stuff and are actually going to use it.

Of course, just so I can submit the Article to and if they do post it, perhaps get credit, my one condition in releasing these articles is that I just want there to be no confusion as to who wrote this article – me. (It took me a long time to write it ^_^) My name is in the articles already, and I’ve released them under a CC attribution license (see below) so you pretty much don’t have to worry about it. But that was just my only trifle which held me back from publishing this stuff before.

The second attachment on this e-mail is a paper which has some hints on giving away free CDs and some questions one might encounter while handing the CDs out (ex. “how do I know there’s not a virus on this?”), and some easy answers to them, along with some basic good practice when it comes to giving out CDs (ex. bring a friend to help);  A Short Guide To Giving Away CDs With Free Music.

I’m releasing both of these documents under a *Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. *

Anyway, trust me, read the Creative Commons propaganda article, it’s interesting, and holds a lot of valuable information about the nature Creative Commons (for the newb, you probably already know most of this stuff), and some dirt on the big record labels. I’m glad to help out, and I hope these documents make the spread of free music easier, cooler, and more fun! Use and spread these documents, and enjoy please! And copy these e-mail conversations and the idea all you want, and encourage others to do. We’re all fighting for the same thing here – a great free music scene! Man, only through the internet could a freedom-fighting, anti-corporate, yet completely fun scheme like this succeed. Thanks for the communiques, and for the limited internet exposure. It’s definitely enough for me. :D


Pieces of News

Robot, Creep Closer!’s new EP Why Aren’t People’s Heads Exploding? was released yesterday – download four songs of slurred, riffy bar-metal from Lincoln’s leading purveyors of anthropomorphized computers today! has been through a slight technical/aesthetic upgrade this morning relating to the navigation links to your right in the sidebar, and the background “album covers” image.  The changes are aimed at make the site a bit cleaner – enjoy.

After four attempts at sending a message through the email list yesterday and today, FuriousMail seems mysteriously down.  Hopefully no one misses R,CC!’s EP or their show Saturday night at Duffy’s for Scenefest because of the problem.  Our analysts will continue working on it.

One last bit, Cory Alan and I have been listening to a nearly-finished disc of Ventura demos, and the tracklist is below.  I am itching to start tracking percussion, as soon as I decide what location I can use.  We’re about 99.4% sure this is what the album will be:

1. Large’s Garden State
2. Coast & Plains
3. While I Was Moving About Flyover Country
4. You Do What You Want
5. Car Chase
6. Lee’s Summit
7. Were In Love
8. Market Stress
9. I Want To Know
10. Make Our Sound
11. E. Harbor Blvd.
Speed Lab (Furious Instance exclusive)

I’ll be playing “Make Our Sound” for the first time at St. Peter’s on Sunday with Stillsinging, if you’re in the neighborhood.  -h


Lone Wolf Primer

I forgot to write in the mp3 tags that the cover photo for Tonight the Lone Wolf Rides… Alone was taken by my sister, Mary.  She snuck up on me playing in our kitchen; I didn’t even know she’d taken the shot until a print arrived, attached to the front of a card she sent.  That card became the cover, twine tie and all.

“Open Columns” – From the nickel EP.  This song lends itself well to solo playing; I think it’s the only echoes song with some acoustic guitar in the original.  For Mom, who talked me into reading “The Power of One,” spring 2004.  I was reading on the back steps in the sun when it was written.

“Talk Me Down” – From Shacker’s Pardon My Pretension, But Isn’t It Blackbeard’s Birthday? CD.  We always did a lot of acoustic Shacker, and if you’ve spent much time hanging out with me you know I mix Kibler’s songs and my own without much regard for who wrote what.  For Lone Wolf I wanted to do one we hadn’t done together, so I played with a few and ended up with this.  It’s pretty straight, except for a slightly echo-fied chorus.  For Cory Alan.

“The Picture Song” – From howie&scott’s b.sides, where it had the name “Hymn for our Technological Manifest Destiny.”  This is a favorite of the Iris Avenue / 12:00 Fence fellows, but they can never remember the original title; hence, “The Picture Song.”  I voiced some of the chords differently on this cut.  For Justin, Jake, and Jeremy.

“Pushing the Envelope” – From The JV All*stars Document The Fall EP (there it’s called “Stick Clicks”… the other title comes from the Indian Burn Records Study & Research sampler).  Before JVA existed, I was in an un-nameable punk band in Milford, NE with Eric Mellow.  I played drums, high school kids brought cheap pizza over to Eric’s grandma’s basement, and we goofed off with a few originals and MxPx covers.  It was my introduction to real punk rock, and I haven’t forgotten.  JVA is roughly a million times better than we were, and I love them forever, so it’s ok that our band didn’t make it.  For Eric Mellow & Dave.

“Holy Moses” – This is a new tune, probably destined for a new Sally Ride EP/album in the distant future.  I went to Mexico with the team from WCC in June 2005, and one of the songs we sang at the Campfire every night was “Abilene.”  I’ve never heard the original, only JR’s version, but the way he taught me the tune mixed some major and minor chords in a way that caught my ear.  The main section of “Holy Moses” is a weird permutation of those chords.  And I really love its story.  For Hank, Charlie, and Emerson.

“America Votes” – Also from my nickel EP.  I always liked playing this song acoustic, but it was hard to play a good-sounding version for the tape.  For the first woman elected President.

“My Time” – From Blacklight Sunshine’s (now More Than Yesterday) You Make Your Own Self Fall.  I’ve written elsewhere about this album’s (and band’s) impact on me, but it has taken a long time to interpret their music into something I could play.  I eventually found this place after I stopped trying to re-channel BLS/MTY’s fury, cutting everything back to the minimum and letting the notes and words speak for themselves.  For everyone I shared a Blacklight show with.

“JCM” – From the Be A Ska Rat EP.  There’s not much to say about this, it’s just a fun song.  I know it’s Jerry’s favorite from Ska Rat, but I swear I’d decided this was for LIG before he even heard it.  For Jerry & Jason.

“Hawaiian Bells” – A first release for this meditation.  The lyrics are improvised each time, though there are some phrases that tend to repeat among different performances.  I worry that it’s too long, but playing it is something hypnotic for me, I’m lost in the chiming pattern; maybe you will get lost too.  For the Something or Someone that rings Hawaiian bells.

“A320” (bonus track – limited to 50 copies) – From the Godzilla (1996) soundtrack, by Foo Fighters.  Dave Grohl dropped this absolute gem between The Colour and the Shape and There Is Nothing Left To Lose.  I like to think that the lyrics point forward to “Learn to Fly.”  I love them, but the Foos have always been more Mary’s band, even when I put them on some little voices goes “hey, these guys belong to Bear!” and that adds something.  The original’s ending is big, with huge guitars and an orchestra, but the chords themselves are so strong I think it holds up.  For Bear.

Tonight the Lone Wolf Rides

Hello.  It’s been awhile!

We have released echoes’ Tonight the Lone Wolf Rides Alone, 10 solo acoustic tracks of howie’s covering his 2 EPs, new songs, and covers from the JV All*stars, Blacklight Sunshine (aka More Than Yesterday), Shacker, and the Foo Fighters (“A320” is limited to 50 copies because of licensing, so download yours asap!).

An out-take from the Lone Wolf sessions is new on Furious Instance; # 9 “Coast & Plains” from the upcoming Ventura album with Cory.  Also pick up # 8, which never made the front page – Cory telling a crazy story, accidentally caught on tape during the November 05 Benjamin Axeface sessions.

As if that weren’t enough…  we’ll be back in two weeks with the debut from Robot, Creep Closer!  And two weeks after that, the long-awaited Church Photo Directory Starring: Benjamin Axeface EP!!!111 Check the [blog] every week for continued cobwebs & musical musings!  We had a great time in California!  See you-

-Mr. Furious


Jeff Tweedy Live – "Lone Wolf" out SOON

I am finishing artwork for Tonight the Lone Wolf Rides Alone, which I will release this week (hopefully tomorrow) and Robot, Creep Closer!  The Benjamin Axeface EP is in its final stages as well; we will release these three works very soon, two weeks apart beginning with echoes.

In the meantime, the “Roadcase” is streaming;

Jeff Tweedy live at Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, February 25 2006.

It’s a great show, Jeff Tweedy is a fantastic songwriter and artist, and you will probably love yourself for listening to it.

Thanks Jill, Tim, Brandon, Katy, Doug, and Mike for letting me play songs (and not stuff envelopes) last night.  -h