@@ You can stream Paul McCartney’s new record here. I think the album title, Kisses on the Bottom, may help sales in the gay community. As for the music, well I want to at least try to be nice today. Bleck. How much weed do you think McCartney has smoked over the course of his life?
@@ If you’re still up for some 2011 best of lists you can head over here to I could die tomorrow and read and download some of his favorite shit.
@@ I checked out Angel Olsen’s Cacti as it’s on his honorable mention list and on Spotify. I would call it dark folk music and she has a pretty voice.
@@ He has Drugs of Faith Corroded as album of the year and you can get a taste of it below. Once the song gets going I wanted to go start a riot — good shit.
@@I like I Could Die Tomorrow because they are across genres and I want to support that. That’s how I listen. He also digs Whirr and you can check a tune from 2011’s Black Island. It’s an reverbed shoegaze sort of thing.
@@ There’s a profile of Congolese rapper Baloji over here at the Quietus. I’m into the variety at the Quietus as they had a super extensive Minutemen profile a few weeks ago.
Peep some Baloji below:
@@ What do you make of this video by the Great Lake Swimmers? My answer after the video:
It’s new country, shiny indie music, and the Eagles all wrapped up in one. It’s a pleasant professional tune, but it doesn’t make me feel anything. My understanding is that music is an emotional language effects your emotions.
@@ And not to leave the X-taking electronic folks out of the mix you can head over here to Aurgasm.us (yes, you read that right) for something sacred and sensual by Akara. Akara’s music did not cause me to have an erection, but it might make you moist. I would rather listen to Indian classical music myself.
The ability to delight and surprise is at the core of every beloved brand (product, politician, teenager…). Overhype and shady promises will undercut that before it even has a chance to get started. Yes, of course you have to make promises to earn attention and trial. The mistake is when you put more effort into the promises and less into what you deliver.
Comment: This idea was covered in yesterday’s discussion of the new Ting Ting’s single. The marketing for that tune is exponentially more sophisticated than the music itself. So pump folks up and the tune does not have legs and they realize it’s just a cute girl who can’t play guitar and rap. What’s been accomplished?
You have made folks feel like they’ve been ripped off, that’s what has happened.
@@ I got the weekly Sunset in my Rearview and they’re throwing a party in San Francisco for Filligar. Could there be more indie music out there? Here’s a video from their 2010 album The Nerve:
I liked the band’s playing but I didn’t love the singer and you’re not gonna turn to these guys to something freaky and unique. This music is for you cubicle dwellers out there, and the laserjet huggers deserve music.
@@ DJ Spooky has an almost breathtaking profile over here at CNN.com. I didn’t know that he had invented the printing press and had stone tablets in his East Village apartment that contained the distilled wisdom of the ages.
Check out this nugget:
“The beautiful thing about our era is we live in the Information Age. That is absolutely a crucial component if you think about culture as information,” he says. “The good news … is that everyone has access. But at the same time it doesn’t mean they’re actually going to access and use it.”
I done gone to college and I don’t know what the fuck he’s on about in this quote. We can all get on the Net but some folks are restricted in their cultural consumption? Thanks Skippy for the most obvious statement to start out the week.
And when I check out DJ Spooky’s music, 2010 release Optometry on Thirsty Ear, the cat has such a minor role in his own music. He opens up the tune with a street noise sample, and he has the jazz drummer play along with a drum loop that he shoots in there, and the he squirts a few noises in and we’re done.
He’s combining loops and samples and integrating that with improvised performers. It’s all right, but I don’t see a Nobel Prize in anybody’s future. To conclude more marketing hype than musical substance.
And just so you don’t think I’m a sour bitch, check out Oval’s O on Thrill Jockey. I think it came out in 2010 — now that’s some beautiful use of technology right there.
@@ Check this out. I guess even recording studios have public relations people as I found this whole story on a North Carolina recording studio here. The point of the profile is that folks are still building beautiful recording spaces (because it’s an addictive, non-damaging activity) and equating a beautiful studio to the slow food movement.
As a pretty obsessive recording engineer, let me tell you that there are beautiful recording rooms all over the country and the world. This studio’s room is really beautiful and they have high end gear, but nothing that insane or rare to justify this profile. It’s a planted story, and invented piece of news to drum up business for the studio owners.
If fixing the music business was just a question of having beautiful studios it never would have hit the toilet in the first place. As you can tell from the early stages of this blog, the dishonesty and hype that has become so endemic to the music business is more responsible for the downturn in music sales.
If folks in the music business could drop the bullshit and the marketing and make some ass kicking records things would get better.
Here’s their very beautiful room that’s not going to change the music business at all.
There is a super pro-Ting Tings music publicist’s wet dream article in the Guardion over here. If you read the shameless spiel, you would think the Ting Tings had just re-invented the wheel with their new record.
And here’s the video for the first single ‘Hang it Up’ off the record:
Here are the pros and cons of the Ting Tings as I see it:
1. She’s cute and she’s workin it. That has fuck all to do with the music, but you can make the video and get erections workin all over teen America.
1a. We’re selling a lifestyle and a feeling, not music. The music has to hit a certain threshhold of quality and then after that it’s about cuteness and skateboarders and a vibe.
2. It’s a really nice drum sound. He’s no Hall of Fame drummer, but they did a good job on that.
3. The producers of the tune did a good job of evoking that late 1980’s hip hop sounds with the period appropriate sounds.
1. She has no flow on the mic. Her shit sounds awkward and forced and a little painful to listen to, so somebody chose a mission for her that she has difficulty completing. BTW, he hit the mic, and his flow is pretty weak. But it does allow for allow of white folks to vicariously live their hip hop fantasies.
2. The song makes no fucking sense whatsoever. It doesn’t have to reach the level of literature, but c’mon. What she does is use the word friends over and over so it’s a tune you associate you with your friends.
3. Did she bite the first half strum of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’? Oh, yes she did. Points off for blatant biters.
4. Does she play the guitar on the track? It’s not necessarily a con, but she’s got a guitar in the video so they’re implying that she’s a guitar player. I bet she doesn’t take the two solos in the tune.
5. We’re selling a lifestyle and a feeling, not music. The music has to hit a certain threshhold of quality and then after that it’s about cuteness and skateboarders and a vibe.
I hate to be a stickler asshole, but I was under the impression that the music business sold music. The Ting Tings are a case book study of how super hip marketing sells average music to the masses.
She would never have gotten signed is she wasn’t cute.
She can’t play guitar and she can’t flow on a mic.
But it’s all packaged and quick cut and figured out.
@@ Today’s music business spiel from the Lefsetz letter:
Is it because no one likes this music?
No, it’s because of radio consolidation. And the major labels only sign what’s on the radio, that’s where the most money is, and the public is the worse for it, musical diversity is out the window.
My add on to this comment is that this is not something just happening with major labels. The larger indie labels often traffic in music that clearly used to be the domain of major labels before they destroyed themselves, and the diversity of independent music has greatly narrowed.
As an example, a lot of this 1980’s recycled New Wave is the musical equivalent of baby food designed to be spoon fed to adults infantilizing themselves.
@@ You can check out Deportees ‘A Heart Like Yours at a time Like this’ over here at Sunset In the Rear View. This is the kind of 3-ply softness that make white folks look so disconnected from the reality of the world. The choir like angelic ah ahs, the ringing bell like guitars, the complete lack of swing. In a word, shit.
@@ So I didn’t want to be such a hardass on all you indie hipsters out there so I thought I would give Sunset in the Rear View another shot with Calvin Flowers’ Lady Grayson over here. It’s a nice acoustic vibe, but it wears thin and doesn’t go anywhere.
@@ Over at Cosmic Hearse there’s a post on Black Uniforms, a punk/speed metal thrash group out of Sweden from the late 1980’s. If you have less than two minutes you can check them out, I dug it:
I couldn’t paste the video into this, I’m not very bright.
@@ When you open up Spotify this morning, they recommend a remix of Australian indie electronic outfit Cut Copy. It’s pretty mindless dance music, so if that’s your thing have at it.
@@ Let’s try one more from Spotify, Sleeper Agent’s Get Burned single. It’s Strokes like, but poppier and pretty mainstream. Lest I be accused of snobbery, this is pretty good music for cubicle dwellers out there, not that I have many of those sorts of readers.
@@ So the Guardian really thinks Lana Del Rey’s new record is very good over here. Except they think she’s lyrically weak.
@@ Holy fuck, there’s an unreleased Abba demo on its way. I can’t wait and you can read about it here.
@@ Over here at Slowcoustic you can check out some verbiage for the new record Old Fashioned by John Stasz on Yer Bird Records. It’s old-timey as you would imagine. I dug it without being head over heels and you can listen here as well:
@@ Check out this LIly’s tune from 1992. I like good shoegaze, but bad shoegaze annoys me. I like this shoegaze. If you want to read why they like this record go here to If I Die Tomorrow.
When I listened to this Youtube video I could almost imagine how good it might sound on a compact disc and that’s not a good sign.
Restaurant food is supposed to taste good, and music is supposed to sound good. Period.
Not to point out the obvious, but these are all indie music blogs. My feeling is that indie music rules the day not because this is a golden age for indie music, but rather because it’s the best organized and networked genre by a mile.
@@ For example check out this indie hip hop tune Ima Read by Zebra Katz over here at Gorilla Vs. Bear. Wow, that’s awful. Weak, self-referential shit.
@@The only other genre as well organized or even more organized than indie music is heavy metal. Out of necessity as all the shiny happy people can’t stand heavy metal, but you have to give props to the musicians, fans, and everybody in between. They are passionate and organized, and the folks who run that part of the music business know how to take care of their fans and keep them involved.
Over here at Aversion Online you can check out Sweden’s Morito Ergo Sum “Moonchild”.
@@ As an example of a genre that is poorly organized let’s talk about jazz. Over here at Free Jazz Stef, which is a great free jazz blog out of Belgium you can read about Jason Adasiewicz. His 2010 record Sun Rooms (out on Delmark) is up on Spotify and I could not find any place for you to check out his 2011 record Spacer.
@@ I tried to listen to Halon Kornstad’s solo jazz recording Symphonies in My Head from 2011 on Spotify but it is not available in the United States. Fuckin’ A, I say. I checked out his 2008 recording Elise and it could have used a dollop of musical adventurousness for me, but I like the out roughneck music myself. Symphonies in My Head might be completely different, but fuckin’ a, I can’t hear it. I hate that shit, btw.
@@ On I go to Oneohtrix Point Never and their 2011 record Replica. It’s a ambient, synthetic-y, a touch or New Age and no beats. A lot of big cloudy synth patches and beeps/blurps and some detached floating voices. I dug the third tune ‘Sleep Dealer’ but I was not jumping up and down.
@@ On to Mika Vanio‘s 2011 record Life (it eats you up) out on Editions Mego. Very sparse, a lot of waves of metallic threedling. Doesn’t sound appealing, but at about 7 minutes in on the first track it gets into this super dark clashing metallic waves and these big thunderous one off beats.
Every day I start this blog with a short spiel as to what’s different about how I traffic in music and why others should give a shit. Some folks talk about the loss of trust in the music business and how it’s fucking the music business over, but not a lot. And this is not a theoretical loss of trust — nobody trusts reviews and purchases from them, the way records are marketed is deceptive and not working.
Part of restoring trust between the music business and listeners is talking about music that isn’t great, why it’s not great, why it doesn’t work, etc. Every release can not be great and to claim otherwise is dishonest. In addition, the sales figures put up by the music business reflect folks’ opinion there is not as much great music being released as PR types would have you believe.
The Quietus has an article here for an e-book about 100 lost albums from the 1970’s and they talk about 10 of the 100.
The number one record Niagara by Krautrockers Niagara (UA, 1970) is not on Spotify or Youtube so that shit is truly lost, even today.
You can check tunes from the #2 record by Annette Peacock’s I’m the One. The title track has a free jazz intro (she toured with Albert Ayler — go Spiritual Unity! a fucking great free jazz record) and then morphs into a Sly Stone style funk tune. I dug it okay, but not in a I must own this kind of way. Solid B.
Sonic Itch has a video up here for a tune from A Place To Bury Strangers coming out on Dead Oceans. I have really dug some music from Dead Oceans, but I don’t like this tune and I haven’t felt anything lately.
KEXP has a tune of the day called Breaking the Yearlings by the Austin, TX Shearwater here. It’s epic indie rock, which is a little confusing to me as indie was once the small music of small bands. The times, they are a-changin’.
Via Burning Ambulance check out a solo trombone classical music piece by composer Steven Hicken over here at Soundcloud. People have awful stereotypes about classical music (jazz as well) but I can tell you one thing: it’s just music. I’m less interested in whether this is an amazing piece of modern classical music than I am that folks overcome the marketing machine and check out more music and are more active in finding music they like.
Lastly, listening is a lot of work. Yesterday I blogged about Daniel Thomas Freeman and his 2011 record The Beauty of Doubting Yourself. Today I wanted to be thorough so I went here on Youtube to check out the 25 minute monster Staring into Black Water. I’m listening on headphones and this is a pretty serious piece of ambient music folks should check out. Slow and swirling and engrossing.
You can check stream Kayhan Kalhor’sI Will Not Stand Alone on NPR’s website here. The record is out on February 14th through World Village. He is an Iranian musician who plays an invented string instrument called the shah kaman, and when I listened I thought it was a beautiful sounding instrument.
Check out this rational rant about movies and the price of movies here.
I usually attend movies at the local art house ($8), suburban art house wannabe ($8), or the end-of-run double feature movie theater ($5), so it was a bit of a surprise to go to the local multiplex and find that the price for a 3D movie is $13.50, and the price for a regular movie is $10.
Does that look familiar? It’s exactly the same in the music business. One compact disc is more than the price of a monthly subscription to Spotify. This is, of course, good for Spotify but if Spotify is not the answer to all that ails the music business what happens then?
This political blogger was discussing how movie studios and record labels are using SOPA and copyright measures to preserve a broken business model.
I checked out Bird of Youth’s record Defender out on Jagjaguwar as it appeared on Magnet Magazine’s best of list. It’s very professional indie rock. That is both praise and criticism in one sentence.
I listened to Fire! with Jim O’Rourke which is on Milk Factory’s 2011 list, and theoretically I should dig it, but I don’t. I don’t love the sax player’s tone or performance and my feeling is that it was too much a jam and not enough listening to each other for me to give it more time.
I also listened to King Midas Sound’s Without You from the Milk Factory list. It’s an electro-dub sort of affair. I must not be as evolved as the Europeans, but this style usually does not work for me. It’s high on sound arranging and pretty bereft of musicality. I’m all for music as just sound, I did not think this was particularly fresh. I think you’re supposed to be high to enjoy this music.
I checked out Hallock Hill’s The Union because it was on the Liminal’s best of list. It is a layered guitar record with improvised playing — melodies and layered textures and noises mixed in with it. I liked it, but did not love it. You can peep a Youtube video.
I’m trying to finish up listening to as much of the Milk Factory 2011 best list and I want to hear Daniel Thomas Freeman’s The Beauty of Doubting Yourself (Home Normal Records) and you can not find it on Spotify, but you can hear five minutes of the record here. I would like to hear more of it as I dig the excerpt. It is ambient music, the excerpt on Soundcloud is centered on a violin melody. It’s a little new age-y and I’m prejudiced against New Age vibes in music, but I know you crystal huggers are out there.
1, You can stream the new single from Justin Townes Earle here. I liked it, but I would need to hear more of the record to say yea or nay.
2. Magnet Magazine has a Top 20 2011 list over here. It’s super indie focused so if you dig the indie you will be moist and happy. I checked out their number 1 record Yuck (Fat Possum). It’s like Pavement after some coffee with some Pixies vibe thrown in. Not the most original shit ever, but good energy and a really nice lead guitar tone, by the way.
3. Check out this post on a music industry blooger’s website here. Long story short, overprices cds and cheap shitty sounding files are not going to bring back the music industry.
The music industry is in dire need of a genuine successor to the CD, and the download is not it. The current debates over access versus ownership and of streaming services hurting download sales ring true because a stream is a decent like-for-like replacement for a download. The premium product needs to be much more than a mere download.
4. Give it up for the dirty ass one woman slide guitar Molly Jean One Whoaman Band over here at Ninebullets.net. It’s great. You can stream three tunes at Nine Bullets and her 2011 record Hillbilly Love is up on Spotify if that’s how you roll
5. Aquarius Records in San Fran sent out a 2011 vinyl reissue list. You can find the folks at aquarius over here at http://www.aquarius.org/. I checked out Low’s 1996 record Long Division and found it to be far more appealing to me than last year’s Sub Pop effort which everybody loved. Long Division has more than a little bit of Pink Floyd vibe mixed in there and the word slowcore doesn’t really fit the vibe, in my opinion.
6. British blog The Liminal has a Best of 2011 list over here. I did not super dig their inclusion of Colin Stetson’s overly hyped record and I’m not a huge Matana Roberst fan yet, but there are a lot of records to check out on that list.
The problem occurs when the trading of favors become mercenary, when alert individuals start manipulating the system for personal gain. Suddenly, every favor is suspect, measured and not at all generous. Suddenly all the likes and links and blurbs become nothing but currency, not the honest appraisals of people we can trust. It means that bystanders have trouble telling the difference between honest approval and the mere mutual shilling of traded favors.
Yes, you can trade your way up, but at some point, the very people who were influenced by all your trades start to realize that you can’t be trusted.
Depressing concluding statement:
Too much trading of favors between various branches in the music business has destroyed the trust between music listeners and themselves and one of the big reasons why the music business is so fucked right now.
It’s very hard to conduct your business when nobody trusts you. Ask the bitches on Wall Street.
Profile of Leonard Cohen and a song from his new album here. If you don’t know Leonard Cohen, he is the anti-shiny happy people musician.
Here’s 15 minutes of slow moving sludge to bludgeon in the weekend:
If you’ve ever wondered what a monster modern metal drummer sounds like check out Loincloth’s new record over here. I dig Southern Lord, Earth is on that label and I love the band Earth.
This is a really good video about SOPA:
This Boston based blog has an 18 album best of 2011 list over here. He’s a big Merge fan (I’m not) but he has some more obscure stuff up there. In addition he has a legal .zip download sampler of his favorite shit for you to download — that’s pretty cool.
Also on the same website, you can legally download a Fugazi show from Burlington, VT 1991. It’s here. I guess there’s a huge archive of Fugazi shows out there — I’m a huge Fugazi fan but I was unaware. Man there is so much fucking music out there, it’s crazy.
Here’s a little three song bandcamp jammie from Earthquake Party! It’s noisy and Breeder-ish which makes sense as they’re from Boston.
Lastly, here is some footage of Mostly Other People Do the Killing — I think it’s from this year’s Winter Jazzfest here in NYC. Anyway these guys shred (trumpet player and drummer especially), and jazz dinkwads get upset because they joke around and jazz is serious. I could not disagree more — jazz needs to get the stick removed from its ass.