Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I knew I was behind the times where the latest communication technology applies and really couldn't give a fig since it's a long time since I was 15 but this story from the Guardian almost had me weak at the knees until I realized that in the UK it is now April 1.

Don't have much to add where music applies but if you're looking for an album that's a real grower you could do a lot worse than Valery Gore's sophomore effort. A real beauty that has found it's way to getting ever increasing spins as 2009 moves along.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Mellencamp article was interesting - I hadn't realized that they had fundamentally changed the way they track "listens", or the effect that it's had on the industry. This is clearly an opportune time for a new record company to emerge with an entirely different model. Mr. Cougar is right that artists can't take on the burden of their own marketing and business management. But he's wrong that this is the end of creative music. It's the end of the old business model. With the existing companies dropping the ball on tracking their customer's tastes effectively, the time is ripe for a new record company - let's call it MetaBeats Music (MBM). MBM would offer artists the same kinds of services they've received in the past - funding for recording and touring, marketing, promotion and royalty payments. But instead of working with conventional radio stations in major markets, MBM would work with Internet radio stations and music sellers distribute the music and track "listens". MBM would also nurture relationships with online music bloggers and reviewers to help the artists find the listeners who are inclined toward their kind of music. Because this model is much more efficient and scalable (and less corrupt) than the traditional approach, the business model would allow for a greater share of the revenues to go to the artists, which would help attract them to the label. I also disagree with John that today's problems are caused by focusing on the shareholders instead of the customers. If the business is run right, their interests are aligned (the shareholders make money when the customers continue to spend, which they will only do if MBM can consistently provide good music over time). The opportunities for greater segmentation of the listener base, more precise tracking of playlists and online purchases and the ability to offer albums and songs indefinitely (because of the virtual shelf space in online stores) will make it easier for people to find new music that they like while generating a robust ongoing revenue stream to satisfy the shareholders. Everybody wins except the old record companies, who will be forced to adopt a similar model or die off. I suggest that we all quit our jobs immediately, pool our funds and seize this opportunity!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Here is an interseting article by John Mellencamp http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mellencamp/on-my-mind-the-state-of-t_b_177836.html on the state of the music industry , has some stuff that i didnt know but makes a lot of sence....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cash is a great example. I'm gonna need some evidence on Mr. Reed. Also, any post 1980s Cohen as well. Also, as Mike would point out, these are solo artists, not bands.

Still, at least you didn't mention these two. You must enjoy your posting priviledges.

Btw...I added this link because the 'announcement' of their joint tour was one of the wire story headlines scrolling across the bottom of the ADHD-inspired Citypulse news screen this morning as I was scarfing down a bowl of cheerios. Needless to say, there are now some tiny little circles of toasted oats lodged in parts of my nasal cavity as a result of my attempt to snort in disgust and shout, 'yougottabefugginkiddingme' simultaneously.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nice debate. I have three to add - Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As Mike stated it is very hard to keep a band going long term and especially keep them relevant which is where I would diverge with Mike in giving any props to Aerosmith and the guys from Oz with the schoolboy pants that mum hasn't had to iron I would imagine in almost 50 years.

Staying relevant in any art form (musical or otherwise) has to be extremely difficult and thus gives a decided advantage to the likes of Coltrane, Cobain, Schubert, Plath and Pollock.

In terms of longevity, if nothing else, where rock music applies I too lean towards those that were once members of bands that meant a lot to me in their earliest guises and have gone on, in most cases in solo ventures, to make some pretty decent music if not earth-shattering. The Smiths first record, a touchstone for me, came out in 1984 and Morrissey's latest just released a few weeks ago has some pretty great moments on it. Likewise with the Jesus and Mary Chain's first album in 1985 and then 2008 saw Bobby Gillespie (the frontman for Primal Scream and drummer for the JAMC) release a decent if rather predictable record. Given the shape-shifting tendencies of Primal Scream over the last 20 years this predictability was entirely unpredictable.

Then there's David Byrne whose Talking Heads had their first great record 30 years ago and last year teamed up with Brian Eno to put out a pretty great album that sounded nothing like the heyday of Talking Heads. I have much more respect for an artist of this ilk than say the Cure or Depeche Mode, who I loved back in the day, but who are putting out albums after 30 years that are basically mining an already depleted pit.

As for The National vs The Walkmen non-debate it's very simple. The Walkmen rock and the National are a bunch of noodly wankers with a Nick Cave wanna-be lead singer.
John Fogerty's first great albums were with CCR starting in 1968, and his latest was Revival in 2007. It's a really good album (and it's available on emusic). Van Morrison is another long term prolific writer with releases stretching from 1967 to 2009. He hasn't had a big hit in a while, but the critics consistently give him good reviews. Tom Waits hasn't had a release since 2004, but he has 30 years of consistently good material. And of course you have to give a nod to Pete Seger. He plays traditional folk songs now more than original compositions, but he's been performing and recording steadily since the late '30's. But those are all individuals. It's much harder to keep a band going over the long term. R.E.M has 25 years worth of great music (so far). And although I'm no longer a fan, I have to give credit to both AC/DC and Aerosmith, who have been making records since 1975 and 1973 respectively, and who have shown much more staying power than most of their peers by managing to avoid turning into a nostalgia act.
bob dylan and neil yonge are the only 2 artisits I can think of who have put out 5 star records 30 years apart neils...Buffalo springfield again 1967 Harvest moon 1993 ... well ok 25 years
bobs...the freewheeling 1963, modern times 2006.....43 years, yikes that surely has to be the record....( the difficulty is finding a true late career gem rather then a late carreer "not bad" album)
on a seperate note...how is possible that the likes of some of you , namely derek and brian can bitch tell the cows come home about how the lead singer for the national has a voice that seems "ohh so forced" yet you both love the walkman, who's singer surly has more of a styized sound ...

Monday, March 23, 2009

3 things:

one, i'd like to see mike's unrequited love post expanded into either a short story or preferably, a short film, scored to neil young's 'rust never sleeps'. the closing scene should feature a 1979 version of a young man staring wistfully after a comely babe sashaying down a winding cobblestone street in brussels while 'ride my llama' blares in the background, taking us to the closing credits. brian, if you still have that videocamera, you need to get on this project stat!

two, though i've wholly embraced mp3/digital musical media, there's something sad about not really having a record collection anymore. yes, i still have maybe 75-100 vinyl records, dating back to around 1989, the year i purchased a cd player and stopped buying vinyl entirely. as a teenager in the mid to late 80s, more than half of my purchased music was in the form of cassettes, which were convenient at the time for walkman use but fairly useless now, given that i no longer own a tape deck and have either given away or thrown out all of my cassettes. this realization, triggered by stuart's question about re-discovering and re-digging old records, has prompted me to redouble my efforts to back up my current collection and locate some of those songs from the 80s in mp3 form...'That Petrol Emotion' and 'The Mighty Lemon Drops' are two likely candidates for imminent re-acquaintance.

three, stuart's mention of maya's newfound interest in u2 has me admiring u2. i haven't purchased an album of theirs since Achtung Baby (for the record, Stu, 'Unforgettable Fire' is my personal fave). and i probably won't purchase their new disc. but at least they're still putting out catchy, mostly interesting (okay, i probably won't be hired as their p.r. rep anytime soon) pop music. i can't think of any band approaches their 30 year anniversary that still engages the pre-teen crowds/the billboard charts in the same way. yes, there will always be classic rock devotees (my sympathies, mike. i'm sure it's just a phase) and a market for boomer retreads whose concert tour announcements appear each spring like dust mite excretion, bilking their only-too-willing-to-be-bilked cohorts into forking over cash for...okay this is just going to turn into another one of my anti-Eagles rants...but my point is...okay, how about in the form of a question, "Can you think of any bands that have been around for 30 years that are still putting out interesting music?"

Btw...though I'm all for engaging different viewpoints, there are wrong answers to this question. Chiming in with, "The Rolling Stones", for example, will result in you being suspended from posting for an unspecified duration. Just a friendly warning. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My kids are also getting into music that I used to listen to, but for the most part, it's stuff that I no longer like very much. My son tends to the heavier side - AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc. My other son hasn't really carved out a particular identity, but his favorite radio is the local classic rock station, which I find very tedious. My daughter has fallen under the influence of a friend with a strong interest in music, and she's started to go to concerts at local clubs. She's into ska and a variety of different genres that all sound like punk to me. I can't really say that any of them have re-introduced me to some old favorites. I do get the occasional nice moment of nostalgia when an old favorite from Led Zeppelin gets aired, but that's about it.

I do remember seeing "Live Rust" back in the '80s and loving it. The first time I ever heard of Neil Young was when I was living in Belgium in 1979. At the time, I was into all that heavy stuff that my son is currently listening to. I bumped into a girl at the local commissary (a girl that I happened to have an unrequited crush on) who was deliberating over a copy of "Rust Never Sleeps". Knowing that I was Canadian, she asked my opinion, assuming that I would know all about Neil Young. It was just one more awkward stumbling block confirming a relationship that was not to be.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

well it seems my music life is being driven by my daughter who is now getting really into music...

I picked up a copy of Live Rust the live neil young movie circa 1978 which i last saw circa 1980 and though I am admittedly a big fan of neil I would have to say its hard to top this as a concert video, he is at the absolute pinacle of his game here, it has to be seen to be believed, his guitar work in like a hurricane resonates well...like a hurricane.... if any of you missed this it shows why we love him so....

also maya is gettiing into U2 , and i was mentioning to Derek bout the unforgettable fire cd which i have not played for 15 years and I am just loving it to death ....song after song is great , much more consistent as an album then i remember....

so any of you found old records that you have found staying on your music player that you hadn't listened to in years...???

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I used to get a big kick out of the Pandora algorithms, and how they picked "similar" music. My favorite approach was to seed the engine with a single song, and see where it went. I've been doing the same thing with the Grooveshark autoplay feature lately. Yesterday I seeded it with "If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot, and got a very strange result. Grooveshark alternately played Beatles songs and country songs by the likes of Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. I can understand the country connection, but I was expecting more of a folk selection. But a heavy dose of the Beatles? I didn't see that coming.
Agreed, a remarkable turn of events vis-a-vis Mr. Watson and technology. Why, only this morning, young Stuart emailed me a link to something that I could not fathom him having been able to find, without possessing almost hacker-like skills!

The explanation for this "linking miracle" was, as it turns out, somewhat less tech-reliant than it seemd on the surface, but I was prepared to give Stu the benefit of the doubt given his iPod expertise the other night.

My solution for this admittedly annoying conundrum is to use your computer as your source of palying music, and its iTunes screen as the reference to the music. Works pretty well, though ultimately I think I could see a wireless device that puts the song information onto your TV. I know, just me being a tech visionary again.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Because we (okay, mostly myself and Derek) often mercilessly deride him for not being tech savvy, I feel I must give props to Stuart for showing me how to shuffle songs within playlists and genres in my ipod. Believe it or not, in the past two days alone, this has been an invaluable tool for discovering, or in some cases, rediscovering, music I've downloaded over the past two months. Kudos, sir!

I'm now trying to return the favour by locating a device that would prevent you from having to get up from the comfort of your couch and walk over to the stereo/plugged in ipod in response to countless queries from your guests as to what song/artist they're listening to at any given moment. So far, I've only been able to locate this, which seems a little bit pricy. Perhaps a better bet is to ask your guests to get themselves iphone and then download Shazam.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I liked 'Post War', but I know what you mean about the reverb. I read a review that compared some of the songs to the 1980s album by Roy Orbison, which tempered my initial wild enthusiasm for the album. Will work on that other post, which I abandonned after deciding the steps outlined therein would have been a lot of work for most to bother, even if the result is kind of funny.

For now, I'll give you another reason to love Radiohead and a celebration (I think) of passionate, if vitrolic, music critics.
Haven't heard the new M Ward yet Kyle, but his last record left me strangely cold, so that's likely why. I think it was the super-reverby production that felt really self-conscious. Not entirely fair, but then how does one explain likes and dislikes?

Grizzly Bear is an interesting band...though I prefer Horn of Plenty, their lo-fi debut from a few years back, to their breakthrough album from a couple of years ago - Yellow House. To me their second one is a little annoyingly bombastic - perhaps songs over-developed. It's undeniably different though, and pretty arty.

Kyle, you should finish off your post of a few days ago - looks like fun.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Some of Grizzly Bear's previous albums (and yes, that sounded as surreal to type as it does to read) are now available on emusic. Am hoping the new one will be there as well. Anyone d/l the new M. Ward? If so, thoughts?