New Music Listening Friday May 18, 2012

YTD listened to: 298
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 159
Not good music:127
Buys: 12 (not all 2012 releases)

@@@ MV & EE: Space Homestead.  Quirky ass psychedlic stoner country folk music.  Slow tempos, a strange drummer, effects on guitars, sort of an oxycontin country vibe.  Parts of the formula I liked as it’s very unique, and parts of it I found less appealing.  I’m going to listen to it more and see if I can recommend it.

@@@ Beach House: Bloom.  Oh boy.  Painfully derivative.  I heard five previous famous tunes mashed up in the first tune.  The singer is soft, there’s too much on his voice.  Blech.

@@@ Best Coast: The Only Place.  Cue the summer bubblehead music.  Go buy Lucinda Williams record This Old World instead of this, you’ll thank me later.


How being a marketing ho only hurts your own life

Do you think that small outfits should be able to market their shit at the same level/expertise as Apple?

Do you think if you had a small company would you be able to compete with Apple marketing?

What do you think the marketing budget was for Lady Gaga’s last record?  Wilco?  Do you think you could compete with that marketing budget?

If you’re a passive consumer of music then you are a desired target of saturation marketing.  Eat what I give you, I’ll be back with more after you’ve done with that.  I have been shocked at how many indie hipsters are unquestioning consumers of weak ass indie rock and how little interest they have in anything else.

If you’re an active consumer of music (and any other thing) you are not a desirable target of marketing as you have a mind of your own.  You know what you like and what you don’t like, and you reject the idea that the best music is the most visible music.  The most visible music is the best funded music, which is a very different thing.

Lastly, and at the conceptual level, if you’ve ever thought you’d like to do something at a smaller level — work for yourself, make something and sell it locally on a small scale — you should be the last person to be a sucker for big budget marketing because you’re not gonna have those resources when you do your smaller scale thing.  The more people become actively resistant to marketing, the better lives we’re gonna lead.

The reason that the Music PR people  want to control the ‘buzz’ and word of mouth is to stifle real word of mouth.  If there was real word of mouth there would be a much more level playing field in the music business — your record collection would be better and your ability to be independent and do something on a smaller scale would be greatly increased.

Don’t expect small business to have the same marketing as huge companies like Apple.  Be happy they don’t.  Don’t be a marketing ho.

Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year

I only write full reviews for records that I put on my running best of the year list.  And due to my own particular personality defects and my inability to fit into a rabidly capitalist society, I take my recommendations seriously.  Loot is tight and I’m looking to build my credibility as a reliable music filter.  Let’s face it, the music business has enough pimps doin the old pump and dump.

I think of folk music in different ways.  You have your traditional stripped down desolate miserable old school folk — I love that shit.  There is your coffee shop feelings folk — I don’t like that sub-genre.  I know, you’re sad and cute and you have an acoustic guitar — tell you’re story walking.

I would classify Horse Feathers as lush baroque folk.  I tend to gravitate to looser and swinging music, but this record is not like that.  This band has clearly been in a studio before and they enjoy making records.  The arrangements are complex and tastefully executed.  There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking in the instrumentation — acoustic guitars, mandolin, violin, piano, less drums than more.  It’s in the way the pieces are put together.

Lastly, one of the big variables in these recordings is the singer.  If you don’t like the singer it’s gonna be much more difficult to love the record.  I like this guy’s voice — he sings well and naturally and I like the higher register that he sings in.  There is no cheesiness to what he does — he sings and he works it without breathiness or drama.

In fact, the lack of cheese is a core virtue of Cynic’s New Year.  It is lush and beautiful without being cheesy and overdone.

New Music Listening Tuesday, May 15, 2012

YTD listened to: 294
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 156
Not good music:126
Buys: 11 (not all 2012 releases)

Potential adds:
I need to listen to these guys Tczeebo but their recording has made a really good first impression.
Horse Feathers: Cynic’s New Year (I need to write a review for this record, but I think it’s going on my list).
Sidi Toure: Koima (I haven’t been able to add this record as I haven’t heard the whole record yet).

@@@ I found these guys Tczeebo over here at Dingus Music.  I found a DIY, cross genre music blog on Hypem — I’m still a little bit in shock.

Second, these guys are good, folks should check them out.

Lastly, let me digress regarding this blog and this recording and how it relates to how I dream the music business would be.  This Dingus blog operator is dedicated to listening at the fringes — can you imagine if there were 50 people listening across genres and at the fringe instead of 5 guys and 45 music blogs being spoon fed by music publicists?  That’s a music world I want to live in.

In addition, this band has it right.  You can go to Bandcamp and name your price and get their record in FLAC format.  That is the shit and I have to give props to that.

The problem with this music business model, at this point in time, is that there is not a culture of aggressive music consumption on the listener side.  Not enough music obsessives going out of their way to get to the fringe.  But if it ever got to that point, man you could have a really good music scene/business develop from that.

@@@ From here at Slate, I got to Girl Talk‘s site here.  And once you’re there, you can sample some of Girl Talk’s free mashups of sample based music.

If you’re a fan of popular music and you want to see it get mashed up and mixed with new vibes it might be work for you.

Will Spotify save the music business? It’s not looking that way.

Data from here:

All of this is not to say that Spotify’s growth rate should be questioned but instead to put it into appropriate historical context, namely that Spotify is performing at the rate that streaming music services should perform in their first 40 months. Not more, not less.

Before Spotify launched it appeared that folks maintained that streaming services had not lifted off because they were not superior interfaces and hip.  I had Rhapsody, and I ditched it for Spotify, and Rhapsody was clunky and boring listening.

And folks can check the data in this post and interpret as they see fit, but my interpretation is it’s a good service but not a silver bullet.

I continue to maintain that the music that is put in front of people and how that music ends up being put in front of people is as important (or possibly more important) than the user interface.

As readers of this blog are aware, it is very difficult to find music that you like, even if you are an extremely hardcore music listener.  It’s more work than it should be and the music business has some karma to bear for that being the case.

New Music Listening Thursday May 10, 2012

YTD listened to: 292
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 155
Not good music:126
Buys: 11 (not all 2012 releases)

@@@ Silversun Pickups: Neck of the Woods.  My understanding is that these guys got huge because of the combination of the rock/funk beats and the massive guitar sound.  That’s a classic formula, even if  you don’t have great songs.  Why they would move past that formula is beyond me.

Didn’t they know that people were just using them to get their Smashing Pumpkins jones satisfied?

@@@ Tank: This is How I Feel.  I guess I like my booty bumping music to be made with a full band.  Al Green,etc — and I understand that’s an arbitrary preference and the old school booty music was made a long ass time ago.