Column from September 6th, 1999 edition

David Bowie releases his new album on October 4th. Why the hell am I mentioning that?! Well, it’s going the first album released in an internet distributed format. It’ll be available from 50 on-line retailer sites worldwide and will have one bonus track just for the version distributed that way. Now here comes the rub: it will be encoded in such a way that it can only be downloaded to a hard drive and then can’t be copied to anywhere else! While it’s nice to see an artist embracing the internet so whole heartily I can’t see the point in taking portability away from the listener. And why make it available just through retail stores, sounds like he’s trying to not rock the boat too much and not upset the "normal" order of things. Nice try I guess, but somewhat wide of the point, and I don’t think this really proves the internet as the "music delivery method of choice" for the future at all!

I feel a bit confused by something this week. Does anyone out there know much about the Australian band The Sherbs. Originally they started off as a horrible pop band under the name Sherbet and excellent solo artist Daryl Braithwaite was their singer. For many years I’ve had three vinyl albums by them: "The Skill"; "Shaping Up"; and "Defying Gravity". On vinyl only The Skill appeared to be a full album, the other two were six track mini releases. Now here comes where I’m getting confused. I just got CD reissues of The Skill and Defying Gravity sent to me from Australia and "Defying Gravity isn’t a mini album at all – it’s got 11 songs! Was it always this way for Australia? Why cut it to a mini album for US? Did they only have the three releases under that name? If you’ve never heard the Sherbs albums then check them out as they’re superb, semi-undiscovered classics of ballsy AOR/radio rock. Greg’s Music World store in Australia at http://www.musicworld.com.au/ is an excellent place to pick them up…

The reformed Starcastle are still hard at work on their long-awaited comeback album. The band have also now formally signed with Song Haus imprint label Aeria which should add some impetus to seeing the album finally released. Aeria is scheduling to have the album available around mid-2000 and notes that the recordings feature all six original members of the band and that the style is very similar to the highly progressive first three albums the band put out through Epic in the mid-‘70s.

Talking of Song Haus, that label finally has a web site up and running at www.songhausmusic.com. Drop in by there to get some details on some of their excellent new releases and highly interesting re-issues…..