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2008-04-12MP3.com: The Cheapskates, The Scones, The Good China

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Some waffle on and memorial to bands that almost all trace of has disappeared, as they were around in the turn-of-the-century period when the web was still, to many extents and purposes, just getting established. This batch all have in common the fact that they had profiles and tracks for download on MP3.com, before that site sold out and threw off all of the small artists who were bringing interested onlookers to their ad hits.

If you're interested to hear stuff that's isn't available for love nor money, get in touch. It'd be a shame to let it vanish entirely.

I'd wear my maple leaf with pride / I wouldn't hide it away...

Hit: The Cheapskates, The Wrong Arm Of The Law / Nobody's Prefect — a couple of ska EPs from a Welsh outfit (in Haverfordwest, a place I spent many happy summer holidays as a kid.) If I recall correctly, MP3.com back in the day offered small run CD pressing (pretty sure they weren't just flogging CD-Rs) and that was the route The Cheapskates took with their first release, along with some self-issues CD-Rs — hence no catalogue numbers, few copies were made, and it's impossible to find. Three of the five tracks I downloaded, and I'm still looking for She's A Supermodel / Inside if anyone has.

In my home in Toronto I'd switch the TV on / And I'd see the new video from Celine Dion / You might find this hard to believe / But it's something that I want to achieve / I... want to be Canadian...

The follow-up EP was a regular pressed thing — a pleasant enough listen but not hitting the heights of the previous one until the sixth and last track, All Our Songs Sound The Same. Ska is difficult to pull off really well, so the fact they had even this many standout tracks on a couple of limited releases is impressive.

They say we do this to try to be funny / Let's just assure you we do it for the money

Their web presence is mostly echoes now, the main site having moving from a GeoCities site to cheapskates.com, which is still a placeholder but at time of writing hasn't been bought by someone to stick ads on yet. They also still have an entry on PeopleSound, including most famous track I Want To Be Canadian, and the eBay seller I got Nobody's Prefect off helpfully pointed me towards http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gcfrecords/ — which would have been the hosting beneath goodcleanfunrecords.co.uk at one time.

By the way, "I Want To Be Canadian" shouldn't be confused with a song of the same title by 2 Week Notice (whoever they are). The Cheapskates one found unexpected fame as an internet meme, and ended up being used by a US company to flog toys for Canada Day: http://archive.westerntelegraph.co.uk/2004/9/15/3211.html

Miss: The Scones, Do You Hear? — picked up a stray copy from Amazon.com Marketplace ages ago on the basis of MP3.com track Alice Available. Everyday Is A Saturday and A Lot Like You are decent, but the album's more easy-listening than the example, to the point of disinterest. They do rate well with other reviews I've seen, though, and the album is actually still available from CDBaby.

Maybe: The Good China (self-titled) — This Is Your Life is old-fashioned melodic rock and I like the vocal style, but didn't have any luck finding out more about the band in the past. Fast-forward to now and there are a few second hand copies on Amazon, so we'll see what the rest is like when it turns up. Their follow-up record, Maid in America, doesn't seem to be available anywhere, and even this limited bio information (quoted on all of three sites) comes from one source: Charlotte Dillon for something called the All Music Guide. But more about them later, hopefully.


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