With the advent of new technologies and methods of distribution, it becomes necessary for many artists to choose the path that will yield the best results for them to have their music be heard by the masses. Some have decried these technologies simply as a means to perpetuate the violation of their copyrights, theft of their intellectual properties, and ultimately take money out of their pockets by circumventing the standard practice of purchasing product. Others have embraced the new paradigm to eschew the conventions of an obsolete system and reach a wider audience; especially with the availability of numerous options and formats by which bands and artists can offer their music. As file sharing has become something of a fact of life in the digital age, with the sales of the tried and true CD format diminishing, the USB format has been steadily rising to become a new standard for music and offering consumers more for their buck. Enter Chicago’s GoFight! Headed by the legendary Jim Marcus and backed by Dead on TV’s Dan Evans and Vince McAley, the electroscuzz band has been making waves with its mix of provocative imagery and lyrics that range from societal to sexual, political to pornographic – picking up the mantle where Die Warzau left off after the band’s dissolution in early 2011. With ever the progressive mindset, GoFight has been a prime example of how the digital age is ripe to become a golden time for musicians, utilizing social media like Facebook and SoundCloud to get their music heard, and while the connection to one of industrial music’s most revered entities doesn’t hurt their credibility or appeal, GoFight does well to stand on its own two feet, making the debut Music for Military Torture one of the most anticipated albums in the scene.
Having toured with fellow Chicago electro/rockers I:Scintilla and performing at the Cold Waves tribute to Jamie Duffy, the band finally made the album available… sort of. Offered for $15 at the show was in a little plastic bag what appeared to be a type of key rive with the GoFight logo printed on it – in actuality, it was a USB drive: Music for Military Torture Pre-Release. Some might think this a novel idea to sell a pre-release version of the album via a USB drive, but GoFight are anything but novel, and the band has done well to make this a truly special piece of merchandise. Naturally, the album’s 12 tracks are offered in high quality *.aiff format, mixed pristinely to sound as good as any CD. Throughout the album, GoFight’s sound is at once erotic and aggressive, lyrically combating social injustice in all its forms – from the erotic blasphemy of “Sex Theology (Getting’ It On)” to the funky anti-system rhetoric of “Go” – all set to pulse pumping beats and gritty, glitch-laden electro. Songs like “Line Up” and “We Are the Enemy” (this writer’s personal favorite) hit you hard and fast with fury and political fervor, in true old-school industrial rock fashion calling listeners to join in the revolution of the spirit, while “Fuck Like a Movie Star” is pure lyrical pornography in celebration of human sexuality in all its glorious variety. From start to finish, the album has a definite “Fuck or Fight” mentality, ending with “Peacemaker,” which one could interpret as the ultimate statement of how love and sex are the keys to overcoming war and intolerance. As if the album’s USB format and Creative Commons licensing weren’t a big enough middle finger to wave in the face of the R.I.A.A., “Big Hit Radio” (apparently a repurposed Die Warzau track) makes the statement all the clearer. But before you start to think that the band is incapable of infusing a bit of humor into its music and message, the album also features the track “Pussygrinder,” touted as a cover from Nine Inch Nails’ Strobelight album (if you don’t get the joke, just do a Google or Wikipedia search). Besides the song’s guttural and swiveling groove, the song is noteworthy also for featuring a fine vocal interplay between Marcus and I:Scintilla’s Brittany Bindrim to make for just the right amount of sensuality and sass.
So what makes the Music for Military Torture Pre-Release USB more than just an alternate format for a standard album? For $15, GoFight gives the consumer far more than the average CD – included on the USB are not only several remixes from the band members and one from Caustic’s Matt Fanale, but also remix kits for five songs, allowing fans to partake in GoFight’s collective output. As well, beat-mapped versions of the songs are offered, perfect for any DJ, along with desktop graphics, the music video for “Fuck Like a Movie Star” (and what a hot and humorous video it is) and a rather extensive set of liner notes that bring the listener into the band’s psyche and helping to further break down the barrier between artist and fan. On top of this is the fact that the two gigabyte USB is environmentally friendly as it avoids the excessive of the print formats (i.e. paper, plastic, and shrinkwrap) and is far easier to ship to fans, “saving both money and energy.” If that weren’t enough, as stated before, the contents are covered under a Creative Commons license to allow the fans to burn copies and share the music in a non commercial manner, “one eschewed by the R.I.A.A.’s unethical guerilla tactics and extortive policies.”
It is sadly becoming a rarity in modern music to see a band or artist so conscientiously working toward long term solutions on all fronts, addressing so many factors at once in a creative, thoughtful, and entertaining fashion. This writer is admittedly a fan of the CD format and has made it a point to continue purchasing CDs in support of the artists and to enjoy the visual aspects of cover and insert artwork that while present in digital formats seems to be far less crucial to the album experience than it once was. With the Music for Military Torture Pre-Release USB key rive, Go Fight strives for a healthy balance, giving music fans a physical yet digital product that gives them the most for their money and while only a pre-release (no longer in production and sold only at the Cold Waves event), it is more than a solid promotional item that amps fans up for the actual album release… and what a fantastic album it is sure to be!
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Photographs by Katherine Gaines (AmbientEye)
Courtesy of AmbientEye Photography – http://www.ambienteye.com