Friday, October 28, 2011

the Hype Machine

Just read an article on the Guardian site about bands who initially do amazing then lose massive sales and their fanbase when their next album comes out. Seems to me like a trend that's more and more prevalent, especially when you look outside of mainstream pop -- the likes of Glasvegas, Franz Ferdinand, and even Vampire Weekend all seem to have had that flavour-of-the-month quality to them. Not that their latter efforts were good/bad, but more that whatever they did next didn't seem to garner as much attention as their debuts. I'm sure we all have our theories why, and I think many of the comments below the article itself are quite valid. My own suspicions are to do with the internet and the sheer volume of supposedly good music that's coming out -- once one band has been massively hyped, there's another one to hype up the next day. It's reached a saturation point and I'm not sure how the average fan is supposed to keep up with everything they're being told is good/great. Personally, I've gotten a little sick of music at the moment and can't really pay attention to anything new. Ipods and the instant nature of the web haven't helped; I was better off with radio and when good DJ's had more of a say. Blogs are kinda like all new media in that their content needs to be constantly renewed -- that means they always have to go after the next artist/sound/album. Also, for me, with so much music out there I feel like it's gotten a little cheaper -- all these people, they're not saying anything particularly new or profound, it's all a bit simple and repetitive really. Maybe this is what growing older is like? When pop music just doesn't seem to matter as much. Anyway, here's the article, and the comments below really do seem to sum up the many reasons why some artists are having a harder time now, while also reasoning that maybe it's not just about sales anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Raving like it's 1986

Yes, 1986, cos the first video featured below is from way back then. Didn't know house music culture was so established so early but I'm guessing black kids in Manchester were ahead of the curve (massively ahead! Maybe the year is mislabeled?). Back then I was eight years old and listening to things my older family were into -- stuff on Top of the Pops and the radio basically, Michael Jackson, Abba, Dire Straits. Who knew this underground thing was bubbling up? There's quite a lot of nostalgia for that era going around; blogs like Class of 808, musicians like Calvin Harris, and the second video below attest to that. Not sure how I feel about it -- I love the tunes and the era but I was too young to truly be a part of it; at the same time the current fashion is forcing me to realise that all that is way in the past. Plus, when it comes to nostalgia for music and fashion, what's next? A Britpop revival featuring crap Liam Gallagher type haircuts? I hope not. I think the mixed feelings come from the fact that I'm a recent old skool revivalist myself (if you've seen my trainer collection this will come as no surprise) -- it felt good to be doing my own thing, now it's a current thing, soon it'll be a past it thing. That and the recognition that it is the past, and that it's gone now, replaced with thousands of new Mp3's a day but no proper new scene. Anyway, check out the vids and enjoy the moves, the gurning, and the blinding clothing.

The one right above is by Friendly Fires, yet another band I don't know too much about, but I can definitely relate to the lyrics here and what the band-member is saying at the end of the vid -- watch it all the way through and you'll know what I'm talking about. Closest I've come to a nice outdoor dancefest is the Movement festival in downtown Detroit, but sadly I'll be missing it again this year. There is something special about being outside and dancing with others. One more thing, that first vid is from a community centre in Manchester, England, in 1986 -- check out the crowd. It amazes me just how diverse the rave scene really was, and also how it never took off in the US like it did in the UK and Europe -- why is that? Especially keeping in mind that in the beginning most of the music was coming from America.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Twinkly sounds

I've been having a very busy, strange, and exciting month here in NYC, much more than usual. But its also been stressful, and as always, my automatic method to de-stress is to listen to music.

Bjork's latest single was released a few months ago but I'm only posting it up now. Have a look at her website, one of the funkiest I've ever seen.

'Crystalline' is the single and its got a sound only Bjork can pull off, and what I really love is how it goes all drum n bass at the end - I'm very happy to see that come back around. Its one of those songs I know I can play on repeat...