Tag Archives: Music Industry

News Blast 12/10 & Other Musings…

So, as this year has progressed, it has become increasingly more interesting; between juggling purchasing my first home, new girlfriend, and job, I’ve had little time to update this space, which has been disheartening. BUT, my excitement for spreading the good word on music, film, and TV is still strong, so here we go!

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Simon Reynolds, a writer for the The Guardian, wrote a very perceptive article on the ever-changing status of our music-scape, and why our decade best-of lists may seem a bit fragmented…

“The fragmentation of rock/pop has been going on as long as I can remember, but it seemed to cross a threshold this decade. There was just so much music to be into and check out. No genres faded away, they all just carried on, pumping out product, proliferating offshoot sounds. Nor did musicians, seemingly, cease and desist as they grew older; those that didn’t die kept churning stuff out, jostling alongside younger artists thrusting forward to the light. It’s tempting to compare noughties music to a garden choked with weeds. Except it’s more like a flower bed choked with too many flowers, because so much of the output was good. The problem wasn’t just quantity, it was quantity x quality. Then there was the past too, available like never before, competing for our attention and affection. The cheapness of home studio and digital audio workstation recording, combined with the wealth of history that musicians can draw on and recombine, fuelled a mushrooming of quality music-making. But the result of all this overproduction was that “we” were spread thin across a vast terrain of sound. That’s why, if you look at the end-of-year or end-of-decade polls across the gamut of music magazines, there’s so little overlap. If even a relatively non-diffuse community like Pitchfork could only find its centre around records that came out in the early years of the noughties, it suggests that the culture-wide slide into entropy is speeding up.”

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In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Fleet Foxes singer/guitarist/awesome beard haver, Robin Pecknold, talked about his “boring” new album due in 2010, writers block, and writing film scores. As one of my favorite albums of 2008, I loved this candid response about the recording process:

“…I want the recording to be like two weeks. I want it to be really fast. I want to do all the vocal takes in one go, so even if there are fuck-ups, I want them to be on there. I want there to be guitar mistakes. I want there to be not totally flawless vocals. I want to record it and have that kind of cohesive sound.”

Great news for people that were fans of the cohesive sound of early rock records from the 60’s & 70’s. More recently, The Black Crowes experimented with recording live with their new double-album, performing for a small audience in a barn in upstate New York. It adds an incredible aesthetic to the recording, leaving the listener with a more personal, human experience that resonates with each repeat listen.

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The much maligned Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins recently released a new track from his lofty upcoming 44-track, 11 EP effort Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. The buzz surrounding the new track, “A Song For A Son“, has been quite favorable, considering the Corgan-bashing that has dominated music blogs as of late.  The track finds a downtrodden Corgan speak-singing to the listener, then unfolding from the simple piano/acoustic/voice formula comes a wicked guitar solo reminiscent of the Pumpkins’ early ’90s Gish days.  If the lush sound of this track is any indication of the EP’s direction, it could mean a resurgence for the lone-remaining original Pumpkins’ member.

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Icelandic Sigur Rós frontman, Jónsi Birgisson, is preparing to release his first solo album, Go, on March 23rd. He just released the first track from the album, “Boy Lilikoi“. Being an avid Sigur Rós fan, it feels a bit odd to being hearing Jónsi sing in English. In recent interviews, he has said the new album will be more quiet/simplistic arrangements, but the first track seems quite layered and incorporating a bevy of instruments. First reactions?

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Check back for my year-end lists, which will include my top 10 albums, runners-up, and my biggest disappointments of the year. As always, comments are appreciated!

~Ant

Who Will Save Rock Music… Guitar Hero?

We all know the music industry hes been fledgling for some time, and unless their distribution method changes quickly, things will not look any better. Radiohead shocked the industry by self releasing their new album, In Rainbows,  as a “pay for what it’s worth to you” type mentality, and even more recently Nine Inch Nails gave away their new album The Slip totally free as a high quality download. The industry is changing has changed; in the course of the last 10 years, the general public has discovered illegal downloading, and even with the RIAA peeking their ugly heads in the form of litigation, downloading is here to stay. Having said all that, there is a new music money-maker in town, luckily not in the form of boy bands and Hannah Montana, no, it is a video game: Guitar Hero/Rock Band. A game almost everyone between the ages of 5-65 are undoubtedly familiar with, I don’t think you realize this; the music industry is pulling a fast one:

“But “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” have prompted kids born in the ’90s to discover artists from the ’70s and ’80s such as Aerosmith, Twisted Sister and Pat Benatar. The games’ amazing popularity — last year, the two brought in more than $935 million in revenue, according to the NPD Group market research company — has helped create success in other markets, according to observers.”

Actually, I love the fact that kids are finding out about these great bands early on in life. It’s a win-win; the record industry get their kickbacks from licensing, and kids (and adults alike) are being introduced/reacquainted to some of the best bands/artists in history (David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Pixies, The Smashing Pumpkins, Black Sabbath, Cream, The Ramones, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the list could go on forever). Not only are they promoting great rock bands, but they are putting instruments in their hands. You say, “sure, but they are fake instruments”, but I don’t think you realize the mind of a child. They are going to want to learn to play guitar like Jimi, bass like Flea, and drums like Neil Pert (drum solo of life? anyone?). Yes, the potential for big business ruling music again is daunting, but this is different, this is making people excited about music again. I choose to think this is making a difference, for the sake of my ears, because if I have to see one more white kid in his lowered Cavalier on 20’s blasting the latest Three Six Mafia album, I may just spontaneously combust.

“The results have played out at such places as Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, where most teens have grown up on a steady diet of hip-hop and R&B. Recently, heavy metal blared from the school’s darkened auditorium as it sponsored a three-day “Guitar Hero Face-Off.” Spotlights illuminated the competitors, and an audience full of enthusiasts screamed wildly at the end of each song.”

If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, dear God it should.

– Ant

No One Wants the Worlds Largest Record Collection for Even 6% of Its Value

A bit of depressing news for a vinyl/record collector, a man is trying to sell his personal record collection, which was appraised for $50 million, for a mere $3 million. He could not even find any luck on eBay, where people can successfully sell a freaking burnt piece of toast with the Virgin Mary for thousands of dollars. In the midst of the digital age, it seems that the lore of record collecting has lost it’s luster (though it seems there has been a recent re-birth). It IS an expensive hobby, but for those who have collections of their own, it’s a sense of pride, and it used to be a sense of investment in the future. I am sure if he hired a broker of sorts, he could unload most of his gems for a hefty sum, but who do you know that has an extra 3 mil lying around to buy 3 million records. Hell, if you do, give me $3 million, and I will give you a swift and abrupt kick to the crotchal region. Although, you have to feel for the poor guy.

“Paul’s been building his collection for most of his life. He used to run a record store, and while running it he never sold the last copy of any album or single, instead keeping it for his archives. Over the years, those really added up. Now, at an advancing age, stricken with diabetes and legally blind, Paul wants to sell the collection.”

Which begs the question, do people have time for records anymore when you can have your entire catalog in your pocket via iPod?

– Ant