I’ve often thought about how I enjoy far more the thrill of listening to music that isn’t shit. I am sure most people think about this, in between their sad, depressing phases of thump thump basslines and those ‘calvin harris’ breakdowns that all clock in approximately sixty seconds before the torture ends. They were designed, as some hypothesised, as a way to signal - through vibrations - to those with ears clasped below hands that the pain is almost over; that everything is going to be okay.
Why then, do we not take our own music with us to clubs? People love silent discos. Those young whippersnappers at Reading absolutely love them, late into the night, screaming the words to Use Somebody at the top of their lungs outside of a portaloo full of overdosed acid addicts thinking they’re in fucking ‘Nam.
Basically, we’re trying to turn down the volume and put quality first. This is why we’ve stopped running news that you probably already got from direct from the artist (or festivals) mouth or saw retweeted seconds after it was announced. This is also why we’ve given up on trying to fight with the PR industry for “exclusives” which for about five minutes generate traffic, before the same info or video gets republished on 3000 other music sites (some even remember to link back to the source). The traffic this sort of thing generates isn’t worth the time and compromises that getting into bed with labels is worth.
We have also shied away from trying to be the first post new tracks. The game of firsties just seems like a race to the bottom and that isn’t a race I want to win. People are posting tracks with no commentary, in less time than it would take to listen to it when it was published online. There’s also this terrible trend of posting “_ album stream” as “news” for the sake of search engine traffic, and then when you click on it, discovering it’s simply a few lines of text and a link sending you off to NPR, New York Times, The Guardian, etc. We’ll leave misdirection to magicians, we know your time is precious and we don’t want to waste it.
Drowned in Sound has the right idea. If anyone deserves to be a success, it’s Sean.
brb re-adding Drowned in Sound to my RSS feed.
A “refined sense of recommendation” sounds good to me. So sick of the buzz saturation and supposed news on music websites.
I am every book you will never read. You will be embalmed cremated or deposited in a small city’s river having intended to read so many of me, but they don’t pay most people to read books, they pay most people to wrap pre-prepared fajitas in wax paper and teach fat ungrateful eleven-year-oldsmath, and so there will never be enough time. I am all the major political and economic crises that you will never entirely understand, will however many articles you skim or cable news programs you watch have only a fragmented, rudimentary understanding of, because what with proper and ever-changing wax paper wrapping methods to keep in mind and parent-teacher conferences coming up there’s only so much you can worry about…
Laughed out loud at that one. Under the heading “Discover 10 New Bands” on NME’s How to Recreate Glastonbury at Home. A pretty hilarious read.
Man, I want to be at a festival sooooo bad. I’ve been practically jealous of the pictures in the paper of people drowning on the Isle of Wight. Only three weeks until Latitude.
As one of the comments points out, can you imagine the state of the site had Glastonbury been on this year? It’s been raining solidly for a good three months.
Rather interesting to read Kate Nash’s response to the Twitters hysteria surrounding her new video. Some of the points, whilst interesting and well-expressed aren’t all the relevant, but most of this is interesting and just makes me like her more. Which is good, considering I am not really a fan in general.
Just sitting in a bar in Liverpool and listened to a conversation about how some new girl that was hired isn’t very pretty. they said she was gonna be pretty but she isn’t.
Fucking hell man.
So anyway wanted to write a little about Under-estimate the Girl. Seems like people have gone…
Long live Kate Nash!
The woman speaks sense
So eMusic (which I write for) is doing these “Sound Minds” blogger/journalist panels. This is the first I’ve watched, and it addresses an important question: are bands being rushed into success? The answer is “absolutely,” but I think everyone but the bands are too blame. Which is not to say they’re not responsible for their actions, but if you have an opportunity to, say, play SNL or headline Bowery Ballroom off the strength of a blog single, you’re not going to say no. And given the speed of current trends, you’d be foolish to. (Ms. Del Rey herself can be partially blamed for not being prepared and credited for making a rapid course correction on Letterman.)
But look at someone like Kitty Pryde. She’s released a handful of promising but clearly amateurish tracks and within 48 hours of releasing a single YouTube video, she’s a media darling. Blogs caught a whiff of buzz, real or imagined, and rushed to it like sharks chasing blood: now she has an outsize media presence that correlates with neither her experience/talent level (no offense!) nor her actual audience. I mentioned before that she’s the first viral star to not actually go viral: jury’s still out.
Kitty will probably turn out fine, but there’s a moral component to this: 1) that blogs/sites are in effect inaccurate at best and lying at worst by positioning her as a viral star/rising rapper to boost their own tastemaking/temperature-taking credibility and 2) she’s essentially a newborn puppy being thrown out into the woods, rather than being gently led at a pace that will result in better things for everyone involved. Even the Backstreet Boys were a band for years before they became instant bubblegum stars.
On the other hand, the old system — where indie bands toured forever and maybe found a following and sold enough records to get by — was hardly optimal. The best of both worlds is the arc of bands like the National, who were able to be a band without attention for long enough to be prepared and great by the time people started noticing. But they were also stable, wealthy adults who could devote the energy to that without a timeline.
(Discussing this in terms of major label acts is a different animal: the trend there seems more in line with delaying albums, trying to find a single, industry showcases and generally babying artists or being less willing to take a chance on them than indie acts who are largely at the arbitrary mercy of a Best New Music/Track rating.)
I don’t think bands are being victimized by the current process, but they are being exploited. To some degree, they’re losing control of their careers instead of mapping them out stage by stage — one can see why Beach House or Arcade Fire keep such a tight grasp on what happens to their music, though I’d argue those bands’ choices are old-fashioned, even extreme. It would behoove everyone, listeners including, to turn the hype volume down and try to actually absorb music on its own terms instead of using exaggerated opinions on it as a wedge for pageviews or cred.
Related: I wish this video was 10 minutes longer. Hi, Amrit!
There’s a lot of changes going on in the music industry and this subject in particular is one I find really interesting. I like hearing of discussion like this. Reading it and watching the video made me think so much of The Vaccines and their never-ending rise in the UK last year. They went from playing their first gigs in pubs to playing Brixton Academy in the space of fifteen months.
Don’t get me wrong, I got really into The Vaccines and their gig at KCSLU in January 2011 was my favourite of last year. At the start they were awkward and nervous and their live sound messy and that’s what made them exciting. The set was so fast and furious they played all the songs they had in less than half an hour, and the songs written with emotion were still that. They were sung with a rawness and sadness that had completely gone by festival season when they played their first Reading Festival high up on the NME Stage; their live sound stripped of what had made it special and the songs became mere indie anthems. Great for them, indie anthems are awesome. But having seen them at that KCLSU gig (and even watching If You Wanna on Later with Jools Holland) you can tell this wasn’t how their songs were originally supposed to be enjoyed.
Another downside of rising so fast and playing these bigger venues so quickly (in October, a year since playing a free gig at the Flowerpot, they supported Arctic Monkeys at the 02 Arena and this year are playing third from top on the main stage at Reading festival) is that it takes away an element of fun from the fans. It’s great watching the journey of a new band you love, being there at every step of the way as albums one and two come along and then finally you see them play Brixton upon the release of the third album. You feel like a proud Mother having watched your baby grow up and earn this high accolade.
There’s a lot of changes going on in music right now and I hope the way of The Vaccines isn’t how it’s going to be from now on.
The cool thing about having a place like this is that I can put up pictures that don’t really do too much on their own, but that let me ramble around about them.
I’m in this weird nether space of transition between different stages in life, and I wish it would hurry up and switch over rather than drag the whole process out quite so much. There’s a whole theory about identity that says you form who you are through a two-way interaction between you and the world. If that’s true, it explains why it’s so easy to lose a bit of a handle on your own sense of self in times of change. As much as routine can seem dreary, it helps position your compass and work out where to go next.
My flatmate Alex is back in the country after a month abroad, so the flat is already full of this sort of flighty atmosphere from our combined situations. It’s exciting, but also pretty disconcerting. It’s incredible how both so much and so little can change in the space of a few weeks.
Whatever happens, I had this vivid realisation the other day that irrespective of what changes around about, as long as you’re still here, then you’ll still be here. That might not make much sense, but to put it another way: Whatever happens, the music is still going to sound the same.
There’s something in that I think.
Glasgow, March 2011
BeLomo Vilia - some pure expired crappy Konica ISO 200 film.
Wise musings from my favourite Glaswegian blogger. Stephen takes great pictures AND writes great words.
I lost my handle on my sense of self a little this week to, but today I felt I’m getting closer to adjusting back to my normal.
Today I got the time to myself I so badly needed. I awoke from an invigorating eleven hour sleep this morning and spent the day just lazing around catching up on TV, using my brain for as little as possible, and tonight I enjoyed an evening in the greatly missed good company of two of my closest friends.
Routine can definitely be dreary, but familiarity is therapeutic.
I spent the first fourteen years of my life without ever really knowing how it felt to be loved unconditionally, without ever feeling like I was a part of something bigger, without any indication that the rest of my life would be any less lonely than those first fourteen years. I didn’t know…
This is heart-warming, and really sad
Why do people want rules? There aren’t any rules. And little aphorisms are just that, and they only get you so far. They can be true up to a point, or (like the one you mention) untrue and easily disprovable, but they are still just aphorisms. People are much more interesting and complicated than aphorisms. Each person out there is gloriously unique, and we follow our own paths, and surely that’s the fun of it.
Make art. Or don’t, if you’re here to do something else. Or come to art late. Or grow wings. Or dream. But don’t worry about quotes like that. And don’t look for rules.
Not enough “likes” in the world for this one. An essential Tumblr follow.
“I’m aware that was a very detailed answer and frequently what could fairly accurately be called a ‘boring’ or ‘meandering’ answer, or even ‘needlessly thorough’, but that is the way I roll when it comes to questions and answers. No pussyfooting. I tell it like it is, I’m like a textual sparrowhawk looking for voles of truth.”
- Fyfe Dangerfield
Couldn’t help but think of myself when reading this. I always answer questions and reply to texts/emails with
annoying massive long essays. It’s just how I roll.
NO FANNYING AROUND says Fyfe