Taylor Swift shouldn’t be calling herself an artist

I was in line at the bagel store and started to listening to the tune they had going.  I know this song, where do I know this song?

It was Taylor Swift’s single ‘Shake it Off’.  Man, this tune is shallow.  When you take away the pimped out video and the Taylor Swift/Spotify argument, and you take away the classic Hollywood actress curls and bright red lipstick, the tune is just a watered down version of Andre 3000’s ‘Hey Ya’.

Except Hey Ya is way more catchier.

And that’s today’s music business — the meat is in the marketing.  She talks about her principled fight with Spotify (horseshit!), and she talks about being an artist and pretty soon you think she is a principled artist.

She’s really just a purveyor of post-teen pop gruel/baby food.

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Active Music Listening Thursday November 27, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 944
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 584
Not good music: 298

Honorable Mentions: 14
Buys: 17

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, The Coral, Simo Lagnawi

I’m gonna check out a little, anti-social, pissed off heavy music to commemorate the death and destruction of millions and millions of turkeys that sit before millions and millions of Americans.

I’m just trying to get the turkey’s perspective out there.

@@@ Beastmilk: Use Your Deluge (Magic Bullet, 2014).  Some No-Wave punk-ish rock I got to via my heavy metal newsletter.  Nice, static-y guitars, dry drums, and a singer that sounds just like that dude from the Cult, but without the machismo.  I don’t usually like the formula but I appreciate the singer is not on some huge rock star trip.  I thought with a name like Beastmilk there would be an awful sonic shitstorm, but I will continue to dig for some music that gives the proper shout out to the turkeys.

@@@ Nocturnal Poisoning: Doom Grass (The End Records, 2014).  Well, c’mon how do you get much better than this for a turkey day heavy metal celebration?  You’re sitting watch a bunch of grown men running around giving themselves future dementia while you nurture you’re nocturnal poisoining.  After a wispy acoustic guitar opening, the second tune gets into some dark lyrics but no sonic bone crushing and disembowelment.  I want this dark vibe but no acoustic guitars, I want the beatdown.  This is more of a tryptophan, hallucinatory dream.

@@@ Fistula: Vermin Prolificus (To Live a Lie Records, 2014).  Oh yeah, now we’re getting right down there in the turkey stockyard.  Birds getting fed down the assembly line, the turkeys are all agitated and fucked in the head with fear and confusion.  These guys sport a grimy post-hardcore sound — rock drums (not super compressed) some transistor radio static guitars.  When these guys hit the thrash section of the opener Smoke Cat Hairs and Toenails, you know Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  The singer is doing some real solid work on the microphone — let it out man, you’ll feel better we’ll feel better.

@@ Gormathon: Following the Beast (Napalm Records, 2014).  From a best of 2014 metal list I found over here.  It’s a bit of a mashup of classic metal and modern caveman singing — you get some grunting in the verse and then a soaring operatic chorus.  Big arena drum sound, big guitars and midtempo rockers with medium guitar grind.  I think it’s  bit epic for a turkey that’s about to get his head chopped off but I could be wrong.

 

Active Music Listening Wednesday November 26, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 940
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 581
Not good music: 297

Honorable Mentions: 14
Buys: 17

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, The Coral, Simo Lagnawi

@@@ Scott Walker + SunO))): Soused (4AD, 2014).  If you took some of Slash’s guitar riffs/chordage and ran it through an AM radio and then paired that with a super old school singer who is a bit operatic, and dramatical you would have the core of this record.  I don’t really like the guitar tones that I’ve heard so far, they sound like they were crafted in a computer.  This is definitely a bold pairing but I’m finding a Black Sabbath/Wayne Newton combo to be a bit plodding.  I actually haven’t heard much of Wayne Newton’s music, I’m struggling to find someone else this singer sounds like, so I imagine somehow that Wayne Newton sounds something like this guy.

@@@ Electric Wizard: Time to Die (Spinefarm, 2014).  Some heavy music off this week’s CFUV weekly email.  Same with the first record.  Thus far I’m hearing a piquant blend of doom and sludge and I think time and space is slowing down.  Oh my, Satan takes his time.  If you took a Black Sabbath vinyl record, put it on and then decreased the voltage to the turntable it would sound likes these dudes.  I’m not sure this makes me think Hell is a really relaxed place and I would like to have the warm weather and a mellow vibe or whether I would be a little bored to spend eternity at this tempo.  Tough call.

@@@ Dels: Petals Have Fallen (Big Dada, 2014).  Also off the WRIR weekly email.  The first tune, Limbo, is a slow electronic arrangement with MCs sounding, well the tune is called Limbo and it sounds like that’s where they’re rapping from.  Medium heavy electronic music influences here — female angel choirs, a large ambient sound you don’t usually encounter on hip hop records.  It’s interesting.  The second tune, Fall Apart, features more standard hip hop beats while maintaining the synth bass and synth-o-centric arrangement.  I hear some British accents flying around on this third tune, House of Commons, and the vibe is generally not American.  Solid B.

 

Active Music Listening Tuesday November 25, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 937
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 579
Not good music: 296

Honorable Mentions: 14
Buys: 17

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, The Coral, Simo Lagnawi

@@@ Kiran Ahluwalia: Stillness (Magenta, 2014).  Off this week’s WRIR weekly email.  Combines Indian singing with electric guitar, at least in the first tune, Hayat.  The second tune continues with that combination but adds some Indian hand drumming, and electric bass and some percussive voices.  It’s a Bombay fusion record — the tone and vibe is very similar to a ’70s jazz fusion record.  Laidback and virtuosic.

@@@ Fiction: Lonely Planet (Vaguely/Tip Top, 2014).  Some spaced out trip hop sounding space rock I got to via a music publicist.  Falsetto male vocal, a simple beat and a lot of floating melodies in the background over a circular bass loop.  Plenty of Radiohead records owned by this band.  Alienated and spacy, less miserable than Thom and the boys.  I prefer the Radiohead myself.

@@@ Hooka Hey: Nasty (Not sure, 2014).  A pretty hot straight burning punky classic rock tune with hints of psych and trippiness.  Low register male voice and definite Stone Temple Pilots/Queens of the Stone Age influences.  Plenty of bowls smoked at the rehearsal studio, I imagine.

Active Music Listening Monday November 24, 2014

YTD recordings listened to: 934
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 577
Not good music: 295

Honorable Mentions: 14
Buys: 17

Possibles:  Boyd Rivers, Chris McGregor, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Dave Arner Trio, Bill Horist, MAKU Soundsystem, Zomby, Retox, About Group, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Kendl Winter, Bone Dance, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Debruit and Aljawal, Slidhr, The Whammies, The Chewers, La Misa Negra, Alexander Hawkins, Cheryl Pyle,  Toxic Holocaust, Equal Stones, Comeback Kid, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Bio Ritmo, Lenguas Largas, Khun Narin, Doug Seegers, The Coral, Simo Lagnawi

@@@ Nickelback: No Fixed Address (Republic Records, 2014).  This century’s hair metal straight outta Canada.  Some shiny riffage, very nice bass sound, and a big arena drum sound — the problem with these guys is the lyrics and the singer.  It’s just every rock ‘n roll cliche delivered by a soulless cartoon character.  Stay away from the third tune, What Are You Waiting For?, it’s the ballad.  Oh man…that hurts.

@@@ Manchester Orchestra: Hope (Loma Vista, 2014).  Off last week’s All Music email.  British band makes a record called hope, it’s gotta be dramatical, correct?  Opens up with piano and a fragile male voice.   It’s certainly not in the same league as the cheese monger in Coldplay but it does aim for a sparse epic-ness.  No rock in this first tune and they’re using long guitars as a sort of string section.  It’s much more an orchestral vibe here than a shoegaze or typical Brit rock Byron-esque.  Not my cup of tea but I appreciate the downer-ish flow.

@@@ The Ghost Inside: Dear Youth (Epitaph, 2014).  If it’s post-hardcore on Epitaph I expect a Cali three power chord emo-fest.  Clean modern punk production with a very tight and tasty hardcore drum sound with singalong background vocals to go with the pissed singer.  IMHO, guitars should be up in the mix and the singer could use a little less space.  Don’t love the tunes, but I feel the drummer.

2014 Honorable Mention Pick 14

Shakey Graves: And the War Came (Dual Tone, 2014).

I think normal, cubicle dweller types of music listeners deserve good records that work for them and this record that combines alt-country and arena rock with some excellent arranging and some fire q.

It’s well done and straight ahead — no Wilco slackness, no old 97’s punk sauce and thank God it’s not a Wilco record.  Hipsters need not roll out with complaints of lack of irony

I like the arrangements and I think the singer does a really good job at putting over the songs.  The production is very modern but it’s not cheesy.  A lot of records that work in this neighborhood tend to collapse under the weight of their own epic-ness.  Here there is an intimacy that draws you in and most of that credit goes to the singer.  There is some nice guitar work on the record as well.

I hope you like lowest common denominator music cuz that’s what streaming is gonna cultivate

A million plays on Spotify pays $6,000-8,500.

You need millions and millions of streams to pile up loot.

Which means you need millions and millions of people to stream you.

Which means a lot more pop music and a lot more tits and ass Miley Cyrus shopping mall club music,and more softcore Beyonces are being teed up to make money.

Goodbye bands like the Ramones, and anything and everything that can’t pile up millions and milions of streams.

There will be touring so there will be assload of garbage indie going around because white hipster kids will come out to see their hipster idols

Present cultural trends towards shallowness and PR gimmicks will accelerate.

It’s not the fault of listeners, it’s just the combination of mismanagement of the music industry and the machinations of the soulless internet music douchebags.

Enjoy the show as one dimensional as it may be!