California’s Death Grips are fast becoming the industry’s newest musical agitators. Having dropped The Money Store earlier this year, their stark blend of masculine electronica, hyper-aggressive rapping and thunderous rhythms helped establish them as poster boys for the internet generation’s schizophrenic tastes and defying hyper-sensitive attitudes.
An effect made all the more potent for the forthcoming Big Day Out act, considering that they managed to get away with it all under the auspices of one of the world’s biggest record companies, with The Money Store being their major label debut.
Now it seems however, that the same label, Epic (a division of Sony) hasn’t quite broken in the controversial new signees yet and has had to pull hard on their leash, by shutting down Death Grips’ website following the group defiantly leaking their brand new album online.
As NME reports, the trio, who signed to Epic in the first half of 2012, had already been consistently teasing fans of the impending release of their new album NO LOVE DEEP WEB through their Twitter account, before saying that the label and the fans would all hear the album “at the same time.”
True to their word – hours later and Death Grips began leaking their brand new album online as a free download to various media, as well as a number of streaming and download services linking to their own website, Thirdworlds.net.
The wesbsite has now been shut down, allegedly by their label, with the band writing:
The reasoning behind the album’s guerrilla release was due to the fact that, “the label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime.” The download links have since been taken down (as well as most references to the extremely NSFW artwork), but the album is still available to stream from SoundCloud (which you can hear below).
It’s the latest, and possibly most extreme case of tensions between the record labels’ attitude to the ownership of the music their roster makes, and the artists themselves who care more about getting their music to the fans.
Just last month, a metal label went berserk and attempted to sue 7,000 illegal downloaders of music by Iced Earth and Lacuna Coil as a ‘collective swarm’ in multiple lawsuits, without the support of the bands themselves.
A similar case took place with American hardcore metal act, All Shall Perish, who attempted to re-route the wishes of its own record label after they started baying for financial blood earlier this year over the illegal sharing of the group’s latest record.
It’s a mad state of affairs when bands have to fight against the very labels that are supposed to be supporting them from putting their fans in the financial crossfire, let alone to help get their music heard.
It all seems particularly lamentable given reports that unearthed the surprisingly low impact online file-sharing supposedly has in comparison to offline music sharing and swapping, bringing into question the morality of the record labels and their representatives as they continue to drag out large court cases.
While its unclear if Epic will take any further action – legal or otherwise – against Deathgrips, one thing is clear, the sharing of their own music at the damnation of the suits is probably the most punk action this year – if not recent memory.
You can listen to NO LOVE DEEP WEB, the follow-up to April’s The Money Store (which gets the Tone Deaf tick of approval here) below: