Netpunk May 1999

 

Well, not much happening here at Netpunk central. I have a bunch of various punk sites for you this month, as well as a whole section dedicated to online music (which Iíve covered before, but several of you wanted me to cover again). Actually, I got the suggestion from an ex-editor, who didnít realize Iíd done one before (Iíd tell you which ex-editor that was, but it would be awfully icki of me, wouldnít it?). Anyway, on with the show.

First off is a site for all of you Sham 69 fans. Information Libre Ė The Official Sham 69 site (http://www.sham69.com/) has a whole bunch of lyrics to Sham songs, a discography, a silly Q&A section, and overpriced T-shirts. Still, itís a fun (albeit quick) place for people who dig Sham 69.

Useless ID are a band from Israel that seemed to spend an entire year or something playing shows in the SF Bay area a year ago or so. Well, they wrote to me recently to let me know about their website. Unfortunately, there isnít much here yet. A few photos, a band bio, and a couple of sound files that were zipped up in who knows what format, as it was too much trouble to go to in order to download them. Anyway, I remember their shows as being entertaining, so you might want to visit their site at http://members.xoom.com/Useless_ID/ .

The Collegians are a band from Texas that apparently have released an 8mm film called The Collegians are Go. Theyíve got info about the film, some band pics, and, best of all, some audio samples. Mark my words, The Collegians are gonna be the next garage punk sensation. You heard it here first. Go to their site at http://www.flojo.com/ , click on Media, and check out the sounds.

If youíre looking for some new music, the Fans of Bad Productions website might be able to help. Theyíve got their catalog online, though youíll still need to send snail mail in order to order anything, and they are in Canada, so Iím not sure if there are extra shipping costs. Theyíve got a pretty large selection. I only wish their site contained something more than their catalog. A few sound files and pictures would definitely increase my interest in the site. FoBP is at http://www.inkingston.com/fansofbadproductions/ .

Another cool online store is Radio Free Records out of San Jose, CA. If you live in the Bay Area, this store has some pretty cool in-store shows, and they have a big selection of both new and used punk rock. Again, you have to order through regular mail, but their catalogs are online, and you can subscribe to a mailing list of their catalog updates. Youíll find this store at http://www.radiofreerecords.com/ .

I have one e-zine for you this time around as well. Matchboy zine is online at http://www.punk.w1.net/matchboy/ and there is a lot of shit there to look at. A whole bunch of short articles, a few interviews, some great political flyers, and a dozen or so reviews make up the bulk of this site. The whole trip to the site is worth it for the flyers, but I wish he would put up larger copies so I could print them out and hang them up.

For those of you trying to promote your band, zine, label, or whatever, a couple of sites youíll want to visit are the Sticker Guy homepage at http://www.stickerguy.com/ . Pete has been doing stickers for a few years, and you can get prices and see his work at his site. The other site for those of you that want punk rock buttons. It is http://www.badgebrigade.com/ and you can get buttons in quantities of 100 for as cheap as 25 bucks. Badgebrigade is run by Bri of IntrrrNrrrd E-zine fame. Both are punks running businesses that offer cheap ass prices, so use them.

Okay, so now a few words about radio on the net. This is not gonna be in-depth, but hopefully youíll be able to use this information to check out some new music on the net.

First, in order to listen to any sound with any sort of decent quality, you need a relatively fast connection to the net. Youíll probably wont be happy with the quality unless you have a 56k modem, so keep that in mind when visiting some of these sites. You can get by with a 33.6k modem, but the sound quality wonít be there, and/or the files will stutter as you try to play them.

There are two main applications youíll want to download in order to be able to listen to the most popular music formats. The first is Real Audio, and you can find it at http://www.real.com/. This program allows you to listen to music and see video that has been encoded in the Real Media format (both audio and video). After installing this program, it should automatically launch when you try to play a Real Audio file, so youíll be set for that.

The other program is WinAmp. This allows you to play a whole bunch of other sound file formats, but most importantly it allows you to play MP3s. MP3s have CD quality sound, and have all the new hype. Iím listening to a MP3 radio show even as I type this, and it sounds as good as anything I play on my stereo. You can grab WinAmp from http://www.winamp.com/.

Okay, so youíve got the programs, now what to do with them? Almost every band site out there nowadays has some Real Audio files, so they should be no problem to run into. Youíll want to check out http://punkcast.com after you get everything set up. Some pretty cool Brit Punk live shows on this site.

You might also want to visit Punk Radio: the Dalnet #punk radio show at http://punk.w1.net/radio.htm . You can catch it live on Sunday evenings, or listen to older archived shows.

Thatís all fine, but what I really want to talk about are the MP3 sites. Check out the following, and use their search engines to find your favorite band, the word "punk", or whatever else you are interested in.

First is ShoutCast at http://www.shoutcast.com/ . This site has a ton of music streams, and several are non-commercial, punk, etc. All kinds of great stuff.

Another site is http://www.mp3.com/ , which is one of the biggest repositories for MP3 files. Also, youíll want to visit http://www.dimensionmusic.com/ and http://mp3music.simplenet.com/ . Both of these sites have extensive MP3 archives.

The great thing about MP3 files are their sound quality. If you have a halfway decent computer and the right software, you can encode your band into the MP3 format and release good quality sound to the world. In addition, there are new devices out there that allow you to download these files onto memory cards and play them in a walkman-type unit. Iím personally am considering putting the unreleased Haggis album out in this format, because it doesnít cost anything.

Anyway, thatís all the time and space I have this month. Iíve moved the Netpunk columns to a new address: http://www.diehippiedie.com/netpunk/ and have actually updated them AND added a search engine! In addition, you can now e-mail me at netpunk@diehippiedie.com, though my old e-mail address will continue to work. And as always (though nobody ever does), write me at PO Box 8059; Santa Cruz CA 95062.