Hardcore music listening Weds Feb 29, 2012

@@ Busdriver: Beaus&Eros #1 hip hop record at Vancouver’s CFUV.  I like it, I don’t love it.  His flow is cool, it’s odd, it didn’t hit the bullseye for me.

@@  The October Trio – New Dream.  #1 jazz album at CFUV.  Jazz from a Canadian sax, bass, and drums trio.  Solid, not particularly adventurous, but there are an awful lot of not very adventurous people out there who might dig this.  Very reminiscent of Mark Turner’s playing, so his fans should check these guys out.

@@ Fucked Up: Year of the Tiger.  A 12-inch single Out on Matador, #1 loud record at CFUV.  Starts slow,  kinda proggy and epic, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

@@ Grimes – Visions.  #1 electronic at CFUV.  Pop-tronica.  Dreamy, female vocals, four on the floor.  A little too light for me.  Great for all you mall rats out there.

@@ Delhi 2 Dubland: this hybrid of Indian music and Irish music doesn’t work for me.  I say one or the other.  Hyper produced and slick, this is a bit of a gimmick.  I’m a super hardcore listener and I’m going to listen to a whole album of this?  I don’t think so.

@@ Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas.  Oh Leonard, bum me out.  Pretty straightforward musically, it’s all about Mr. Cohen’s voice and his lyrics.

Hardcore music listening Tues Feb 28, 2012

@@  Big Rock Candy Mountain has a post up about Blind James Campbell over here.  I can’t stream the mp3 on their site, but here’s a quick 50 second video from Youtube.  All I can say is that any street band with a tuba is all right with me.  He’s not up on Spotify, so celebrate the underground with Blind James Campbell.

@@ Here is some real underground music action.  It’s an online African music jukebox, sorted by country and style.

@@  Drug Punk has a post up about Olympia’s Crude Thought.  This is no corporate punk rock and a hardcore punk band fronted by a woman is a good thing.  Check it out.

@@ If you are feeling especially hardcore in your listening (noise, not punk) then you should check out Chrome Jackson over here at Olive Music.  That is some roughneck solo guitar with twisted guitar loops and general sonic sharpness.  This dude is clearly not fuckin’ around.

@@ I Could Die Tomorrow has a post/tune up over here for Katorga and their second record that come out in April.  It’s 1980’s inspired melodic, oh it’s down here you can check it out.  It’s all right — not my favorite style by any means.

Music Links Monday February 27, 2012

Aquarius Records (San Fran) three records of the week:

@@ Rubble: They released an album in 2011 called the Farewell Drugs.  Aquarius doesn’t give the name of the new record and this band is not on Spotify and Google doesn’t yield much.  Here’s a track from their 2011 record, and it’s pretty devastating.

@@ The Caretaker. From the new record History Always Favors the Winners.  It’s dark and murky and ambient noise mixed with some slow unfolding melodies.  I liked it, but did not love it.

@@ Richard Geret.  From his new record Areal.  I liked it, it’s a lot of mechanical/static washes and metallic rings of sound.  It’s a little similar to free jazz in that it won’t do much and then there’s a mesmerizing section and you go in and out of the recording.


Music business statement of the day

From the Lefsetz Letter:

______ is the epicenter for _____ music. And it’s making a comeback. It was pushed down by the man, the major labels fighting for hits. But now with hits diminished, all the music pushed down to the bottom of the river is resurfacing. Running around the Memphis Marriott you’d think folk music rules the world.


I agree with this idea if listeners are able to become more active in searching out music for themselves, or it the amount of music marketing aiming to box people in is reduced.

Mob boss to the left, geeks to the right

A lot of time and energy has gone into opening up a can of whup ass on the major labels and their ways.  Not nearly so much energy has been devoted to the geeks and their emerging influence in the music business.

Everybody loves the geeks, they are the business titans of our time, but it is hardly a slam dunk to say they are well equipped to save the music business.

Check out the excerpt below and allow me to address two points from the excerpt.

1.  The paying of producers $100,000 per song.  I think Katy Perry is a hard working person, ambitious, and very cute and willing to show that.

Do the geeks really think she is overflowing with musical talent and does not require the talents and reputations of skilled proven producers to maker her records work in the marketplace?

The $100,000 number would appear high, but what I would guess is going on is that Ms. Perry and her management are not looking to pay points for producers’ work, points being a percentage of sales.

This is a mistake by geeks to think that $100k for a song is an unnecessary expense, it’s an essential part of the Katy Perry Formula.

1.  The issue of the payola/”special promotions”.  I promise to be polite on this issue, but the geeks are really showing their naivete here.

Where would Katy Perry be without the saturation marketing?  Working at the Gap, fellas.  The world was not waiting for and hoping for the genius of Katy Perry, she was foisted upon a somewhat malleable American public, and that shit is expensive.

I’m all for discussion of the music business, but it has to be a little more connected to reality than this article and the geeks need to have a deeper understanding of the music business than just a social music experience and an algorithmic music filter.


A few weeks back, the folks at Planet Money tried to break down the economics of Katy Perry’s massively successful album with its five hit singles. Specifically, they wanted to figure out how much money her label made from such a big success. What comes out is a step-by-step description of the massive inefficiencies of the major label recording system. There are things like paying producers $100,000 per song they produce on the album. Then there’s all the payola… er “special promotions” to get the songs played on radio so much.

Music links Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

One of the main points I’m trying to make with this blog is that indie music is better organized and making better use of what the internet offers in terms of organizing and marketing but is not a genre of a particularly high quality.

@@ Anti-Gravity Bunny has a farewell to Parts and Labor over here.  I thought the 2006 record Mapmakers is an underground classic.  The first tune ‘Fractured Skies’ is ridiculous and folks should check it out.

@@ You can here the Guardian stream Bruce Springsteen’s new record one track at a time.  I would put up a link, but they’re gonna expire and it will make me look stupid, and I’m stupid enough already.

@@ Case in point an Exitmusic song over here at KEXP’s blog coming out overon Secretly Canadian in April.  Overwrought is not the same as passionate.

@@ You can listen to a ton of indie free legal indie music over here at Music Under Fire.

Lore: No Better.  Pretty awful.
Shy Around Strangers: Never Look Down.  Decent, not original.
The Electroscopes: Can’t Stand Still in the 70’s.  Recycled and not good.
Elias: Hands and Knees. Phasey indie disco.
Hopera: The Rising.  More indie 4 on the floor.  Oy, I’m done here.

@@ Quick Before It Melts has a post on Radio Radio over here and it’s all right.  Better than the dreck at Music Under Fire but not breaking any records (no pun intended).

Music links Tuesday February 21, 2012

@@ Check out this cool video of a guitar maker using a recycled wood from torn down New York City buildings here.

@@ Check out this CNN video about Sub Pop band Washed Out over here.  The idea that musicians rise up out of nowhere based on their amazing musical talent is mostly a music business myth but it does sell records.  From what I hear from Washed Out’s music, there’s not a lot of genius involved in this music.

@@ You would never see this in America.  It’s a little gimmicky, but it is true that people all over the world make music.  Indie listeners, do you hear?

@@ There’s an interview with Fun over at Sunset in the Rearview over here.

You can hear the interview below:

A couple quick points:

1.  This has to be one of the most painful band interviews I’ve ever heard.  The Sunset rep is awful, she’s boring and the band isn’t much better.

2.  I’m not particularly obsessed with genre, but if these guys slot in the indie music slot then indie music is tired old stretched out whore of a genre.  These guys sound like a new age version of Styx for the 21st century.

3.  My prediction is that this is a cheesy band with a lot of money and connections behind them so real music fans are going to have to endure these guys for a while.

Not fun for me.

Esperanza Spaulding’s PR puff piece — Wow!

Check out the PR piece for Esperanza Spaulding’s new record Radio Music Society over here at The Daily Beast.

You get this picture of her (very nice):

And the record cover:

And you get an awful lot of prose about what a hard working and humble genius she is.  And that’s cool, but I will tell you that if she is a genius (and that’s not my call to make) I will say her music is the work of a boring genius.  Very Republican and not particularly passionate.

The way Ms. Spaulding is marketed makes perfect sense if your target consumer group are the horny, jazz brunch listeners out there who listen to jazz as a way to make themselves feel more sophisticated.  These folks, in my opinion, are not the people who are going to keep jazz going if it is to keep going.

In a healthier and better run jazz side of the music business world you would give some billing to the jazz music that could work and fit into the record collections of the millions of indie rock listeners out there.  The raucous, more out jazz can appeal to that set much better and some of those folks might actually get deeply into jazz and that, by the way, would help to keep the genre going.

I’m sure she’s a decent person, and I know musicians who studied with her at Berklee, and she has chops, but as far as I’m concerned she’s more of a marketing thing than a music thing.  I hope her next album proves me wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

Music biz links February 18, 2012


Yet digital music sales are not diminishing, as in 2011 digital music sales exceeded physical sales. And while total album sales (including physical and digital) grew by 1.3 per cent from 2010 to 2011.


The music business is run by assholes — this is pretty much accepted as fact, and it has been confirmed by my own experiences in the music business.

There is here, however, more than a discussion about what the best way to deliver music to music listeners should be.

While cd prices remain outrageously high, digital music payouts for genres outside of mainstream pop can be mighty thin, and all the geeks and techno-preachers can’t deny that the music business has shrunk by half in the last decade plus and some of that is due to the net.

Music business asshole greedy?  Correct.
Technology assholes out of touch?  Correct.

That’s what I’m seeing.

Music links for Friday February 17, 2012

Mostly all music I dig today.  Not all of it brand new, but tunes I’ve starred in Spotify.

@@ Band of Skulls: Fires.

They have a new album out this week that’s not on Spotify yet (or maybe never) but here’s the title track from the new disc with my observations.

Pocket review:  I like the sound of the song — great drum sound, big guitars, but the lyrics are kinda stupid and the video is retarded.  I would have to hear the rest of the record, but it looks like someone is putting a lot of money behind these guys and they’re using all the common marketing tools that end up ruining bands.

@@ Matthew Sweet: Oldendaze. Came out last year, I like this tune.

@@ Lennie Tristano: Intuition.

@@ Juke Joint Pimps: Eat for Me

@@ Left Lane Cruiser: Giving Tree.  Smart redneck music.