, ,

Wowee Zowee! A Pavement Server?

The migration email went out yesterday, so it’s official. We are retiring the Unwound shared hosting server after 2 and a half years of faithful service and will be migrating all accounts over to our newest server: Pavement. Sticking with the post-punk music scene of the 1990s, Pavement getting the nod was just a matter of time. Pavement is interesting to me because while they had a modicum of success with the song “Cut Your Hair” off their 1994 Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain album in the early 90s and could have easily signed to a major label, but they remained committed to small, independent record labels and their next album, Wowee Zowee, is considered their most bizarre and experimental. I love this bit from the Wikipedia article about the album framing why that might be:

Rolling Stone speculated that the relative success of their previous album [Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain] (having sold 169,000 copies by this time[citation needed]) was a reason for this album’s eclectic nature; the magazine’s review claimed Pavement were afraid of success. Stephen Malkmus refuted this, saying that while his judgment may have been clouded by excessive marijuana usage, the songs “sounded like hits” to him.[citation needed

As you can tell from the pull-quote above, citations are still needed—so be sure to fact-check this—but I love the idea of Malkmus saying they sounded like hits to him. It’s a brilliant retort, and frames beautifully the ridiculousness of chasing hits for success. That said, Pavement’s performance on The Tonight Show in 94 might be used to counter this argument given they don’t even seem to be trying, but honestly that has always been my experience when seeing them live 🙂

Pavement gets cited as one of the most influential bands of the 90s, and are probably the least popular band to have two albums highlighted in the top 25 of Rolling Stone‘s “100 Best Albums of the 90s.” Chances are most folks have heard of just about every other band on that list save Pavement, and their influence on the alternative music scene of the 21st century is everywhere apparent. But, if you ask were to ask the late Mark E. Smith of The Fall he would say: “it’s just The Fall in 1985, isn’t it? They haven’t got an original idea in their heads.”* But it’s hard agree with Smith given how many awesome songs Pavement laid down, and below are just a few. Previously I would have implored you listen to them in a Pumpkin-free environment, but nothing gold can stay 🙂

And there are many more where those came from should you care to take the leap.


*After reading tone of Mark E. Smith’s final interviews before his death, it is nice to see he lost none of his spunk.

, , , ,

Stay Glued to Your Reclaim Hosting

We setup our second shared hosting server in Europe last week in Digital Ocean’s London-based data center. Originally it was in response to the poor performance we were having with our Kraftwerk server in Frankfurt. As fate would have it, Kraftwerk is running better than ever since we set this new server up, but we are still ready and willing to take any request to be moved off Kraftwerk onto, wait for it …. the Wire server.
Our own correspondent is sorry to tell Of an uneasy time that all is not well On the borders there’s movement In the hills there is trouble From “Reuters”
Named after London’s punk pioneers that were eluded by mainstream success of bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols, and The Ramones, but had arguably as great an influence on everything from hardcore to post-punk to alternative music of the 80s, 90s and beyond. Their debut album Pink Flag has become a classic, and to steal a quote from the Wikipedia article:
Steve Huey of AllMusic opined that Pink Flag was “perhaps the most original debut album to come out of the first wave of British punk”
That’s something. It’s worth listening to all 22 songs, the shape and form of the album displays obvious influence on The Minutemen‘s Double Nickels on the Dime. It defies an simple definition of punk, hence its wide influence, and in many ways captures the spirit of musical exploration around the idea of punk before that word morphs into a genre-defining set of characteristics that come to dictate the form in the 1980s. My first exposure to Wire was through Minor Threat’s cover of their song “12XU:” I remember listening to them based on the cover and thinking they’re not punk. That might provide a small, solipsistic sense of how alien they could seem only 8 or 9 years after releasing their debut album. But listening to them 30 years later they’re fresher than ever. So, in honor of timeless British punk, Europe’ second shared hosting server, and the UK’s first,* is named in their honor. Special thanks to Anne-Marie Scott who was willing to help us make sure this one worked by allowing us to migrate her sites before the announcement, and we can confirm no blog posts were lost during the transfer ?
*Might be worth noting this is not our first server in Digital Ocean’s London data center, we also host Coventry University’s instance of Domain of One’s Own through this data center, but given that is not a shared hosting server it is fair to say Wire is the UK’s first shared hosting server.
, ,

Sebadoh: Smash Your Head on the Reclaim Rock

In addition to our first shared hosting server in Canada, we are also thrilled to announce a new shared hosting server in Digital Ocean’s San Francisco-based data center called Sebadoh, in honor of the band formed thanks to Lou Barlow’s frustration with J. Mascis‘s creative control over Dinosaur Jr. We already have a server named in honor of Dino, so Lou Barlow may very well be the first musician that is part of two bands Reclaim has named servers after—though I may need to be fact-checked on that one.

Sebadoh is associated with the 1990s lo-fi scene, often associated with Pavement and Guided by Voices, amongst others. I was first exposed to Sebadoh as an undergraduate in Los Angeles in the early 90s with their compilation album Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock. Songs like “Brand New Love” and “Vampire” highlight the best of post-punks EMO roots:

But the album I remember most fondly is their 1994 release Bakesale. It seemed to play endlessly on the portable, battery-driven CD player in my girlfriend’s insurance-less, beat-up Toyota (or was it a Honda?) while driving the endless boulevards of Los Angeles. It’s definitely my favorite, I mean how can you beat lyrics like “I need the Dramamine To be as crazy as your scene” 

So, here’s to the spirit of 90s lo-fi at Reclaim Hosting as we gear up for 2018.

, , ,

Reclaim’s D.O.A. in Canada

Reclaim Hosting is happy to announce a new shared hosting server in a Digital Ocean’s Toronto-based data center. And while the Toronto data center has been around since 2015, it just got block storage in September.We named this server after the pioneer political Canadian hardcore punk band D.O.A. With their first two albums Something Better Change (1980) and Hardcore ’81 (1981) you have arguably the earliest examples of the new punk style that would dominate the 1980s. Political anthems like “Smash the State” provide a good example of this:

Or “F**cked Up Ronnie” as an early instance of 1980s punks sonic war on Reagan:

In fact, the song has been updated for the times:

It’s pretty telling to hear both Henry Rollins and Keith Morris talk about the impact D.O.A. had on the emerging hardcore scene.

I love Morris’s description of seeing D.O.A. open up for X in LA.

So, it seems only fitting to christen Canada’s first Reclaim Hosting server as D.O.A. If any one would like us to move their sites to this new server for whatever reason just submit a support request and we’ll be sure to make it so.

, , , ,

Reclaiming Europe with Kraftwerk Server

Concert in Zürich, 1976. The photo comes from the collection of Kraftwerk photos made by Ueli Frey.

Last week our newest server went live in Frankfurt, Germany. This is our first shared hosting server in Europe, and we were able to do it thanks to the fact that Digital Ocean has block storage available in their Frankfurt datacenter. We named the server after Germany’s electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk. And if you are new to this band, the song “Computer Love” off their 1981 album Computer World could double as the soundtrack to the story of how computers have re-defined our society over the last 3 decades since its release.

The Kraftwerk server was spun up on the heels of the Devo server  last month given how quickly the spudboy server was filling up. What’s more, we have been pushing to move our older shared hosting infrastructure to Digital Ocean, which means we needed to spread the now retired Hotrods server across both Devo and Kraftwerk. The Hotrods migration was finished up last week, and Kraftwerk is fully operational with over 300 accounts.

We figured this might also be a good time to offer anyone living in Europe (or elsewhere outside the U.S.) the option to be transferred to this server. If this is something that interests you just fill out the migration form and be sure to specify you want to move your existing account on Reclaim to the Kraftwerk server.

And for more Kraftwerk goodness, check on this BBC interview with the robots themselves:

, ,

We’re All Devo

The name Devo comes “from their concept of ‘de-evolution‘ — the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.”[9] Devo’s Wikipedia article

Devo’s theories of evolution have never seemed more relevant, so the latest Reclaim Hosting server is named in honor of the early 70s video/music pioneers who brought an entrenched, surreal social satire to their work. One of their unique contributions was their elaborate and trippy music videos with recurring characters such as Booji Boy and General Boy, music video narratives that prefigured MTV. Interestingly, Devo was formed in response to the Kent State shootings in 1970-where several of the band members went to school-and were conceptualized as a satirical attack on the militaristic, consumer-driven logic of contemporary U.S. culture. With their mainstream success with “Whip It” (1980), they also became representative of pop New Wave for a entire generation of kids heading into the 80s (myself included).

Yet, despite their early critiques of consumer culture, Devo was not beyond shilling for Pioneer’s Laserdisc technology in the early 80s. Their craziest work shows up in the 1984 video compilation We’re All Devo, featuring their music videos from 1976 – 1983, much of which is re-released ten years later in another compilation of their videos from 1976-1990: The Complete Truth about De-Evolution (1993). Both came out on VHS and Laserdisc, the latter work using their Pioneer promotional clips as an organizing principal. While effectively goofing on their own willingness to shill, the blurry line between a sustained critique on pop culture and indulging it always made their later work oddly uncomfortable.*

That said, Devo’s concept art-as-entertainment approach to their music and videos (I own the Laserdiscs and they are a prized possession) puts them in that interesting category of musicians who are just as much performance/concept artists. Sharing as much with bands like The Residents as  Flock of Seagulls ? But unlike most of the New Wave decadents, the Akron, Ohio spud boys introduced a brave new philosophy of a changing world order premised on de-evolution. A theory we might do well to consider in some depth presently.


*I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge it was hard to stomach the hypocrisy of a band constantly complaining about corporate music shilling for Disney during the mid oughts. But sadly it seems if just about any band stays around long enough they will eventually cannibalize their catalog for profit—it’s Devo in action ?

 

, , , ,

We’re Just a Minor Threat

The semester is well under way now, and the deluge of support over the last two days has been ample evidence of that. But we added a bit to our plates this months when we decided to decommission two shared hosting servers, namely Ramones (which has been going strong for over 3 years!) and Saints. We’ve been slowly migrating our infrastructure from Reliable Site over to Digital Ocean, and this month saw our first two shared hosting servers on Digital Ocean.* Once they were up and running smoothly, we decided to migrate all remaining accounts on Ramones and Saints over. That’s now done, and while these moves always require some clean-up post facto, everything’s over cleanly and all of our servers are now less than 3 years old.

The two new shared hosting servers we’re running on Digital Ocean have been named in honor of two ground breaking punk bands from the 80s: Minor Threat and L7. We were a bit hesitant to name a web server “minorthreat” given it might be immediately flagged as….well, a threat, so we opted to name it after their groundbreaking 1983 Straight Edge hardcore album Out of Step. This server is also dedicated to Peter Rowan who has been regularly hounding Reclaim about out glaring oversight of memorializing Minor Threat’s contributions to hardcore punk in the form of a shared hosting server. I couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, Ian MacKaye’s career between Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Dischord Records may be the most impressive of just about any punk rock figure. And all the while he embodied a vocal insistence on DIY, affordable shows, all ages access, experimentation, and a socially responsible ethos. He has walked the walk his entire career, and this short-lived band galvanized an entire sub-genre of punk that I grew up with in NYC. Straight Edge hardcore bands like Youth of Today, Judge, Uniform Choice, Gorilla Biscuits, Slapshot and many more all owe some debt to Minor Threat. And while MacKaye has always been ambivalent about the idea of straight edge as a doctrine or a movement, there is no question Minor Threat articulated the vision quite early with songs like “Out of Step,” “Straight Edge,” and “Bottled Violence.”  So, if you find yourself on the Outofstep server, draw a big black X on your hand and refrain from all sex, drugs, and rock and roll ?

Image Credit: Click link for Sober Revolution article where this image was found

The second new shared hosting server is another ground breaking 80s punk band L7. Their in-your-face punk rock coupled with an aggressive attack on patriarchy made them a pre-cursor and influence for riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Huggy Bear to name a few. L7 songs like Shitlist, Shove, Wargasm, and Andres epitomize their hard, grinding style that helped define grunge rock in the early 90s. At the same time their songs were irreverent and their shows often filled with controversial surprises. The band formed Rock for Choice in 1991 to help support the Pro-Choice movement. Their songs are as fun and raucous as they are serious and political, a hard balance to master. That said, L7 is not for squares…get it? L7, squares….

So, that’s our two latest servers, and they are filling up fast, so we have a third in the works. It’s good to be a Reclaimer, just don’t make our shit list!


*We have finally been able to setup shared hosting on Digital Ocean thanks to the relatively recent addition of block storage.

, , ,

New Server: Dino Jr.

In honor of their more than three decades of awesome music, Reclaim Hosting is naming the first of two servers for the Fall 2016 semester after Dinosaur Jr. Few bands that were part of the 1980s hardcore, indie punk movement have had the staying power of this trio. They just kept on playing, and J Mascis returned punk to the glorious hey day of the rock and roll guitar solo. And while drummer Murph left in the early 90s to play with the Lemonheads and bassist Lou Barlow formed Sebadoh (a 90s indie giant), the original band has been back together since 2005. If you think of ed-tech groups as bands, which I tend to do, than Dinosaur Jr. have much to offer in terms of longevity, fierce independence, and influence on a whole generation of post-punk, show-gazing indie bands. I have had their 2012 recording session at Roundhead Studios in New Zealand in constant rotation on my playlist the last 6 months, and I highly recommend it. But if nothing else, listen to them play “Sludgefeast” off their classic 1987 album “You’re Living All Over Me.”  So rocking, so tight, these guys are too legit to quit!

Read more