Music is killing music

I’d never claim file sharing doesn’t hurt music sales, but there’s another simple reason why individual music releases will continue to sell more poorly over time: The continuous explosion of choice. Even if listeners spent as much on music as they did years ago, the chances of us buying the same releases drops constantly as “out-of-print” becomes meaningless.

Also it’s easier than ever to know about the “essential” albums and comps, and they’re reissued feverishly. Every indiepop band should make their music accessible as possible; you’re not just competing with Belle & Sebastian, but also Village Green, Odessey & Oracle, Field Mice reissues, awesome girl group comps, et al. Good luck!

Should I mention a Brittle Stars CD comp is in the works?

Mark Wirtz

This compilation of Mark Wirtz-produced songs rocks. Especially if you like 60’s girl groups with wall-of-everything+kitchen-sink productions, dramatic breaks that are just waiting to be sampled, bubblegum pop songs with psychadelic edges. There are duds and some dumb lyrics here and there, but it’s a great variety of sounds and clever pop songwriting.

Some highlights:
Today Without You – Samantha Jones
Rumours – Kippington Lodge
I’m Waiting For The Day – Peanut (Best cover of a Beach Boys song?)

Malmö Gearlust

I’m totally spoiled having a big back room dedicated to making and recording music, but sometimes you can still dream.

Check out this amazing pic of the “Mothership”[1] in Sweden’s Gula Studion. Gula was built as a sister studio to the perhaps more famous Tambourine Studios, birthplace of most Cardigans and Eggstone albums. More than the gear; the space, atmosphere, and natural lighting is wonderful. Two more pics of the great room from the Gula site.

Eggstone update! A bit of googling around just unearthed a copy of the ridiculously OOP last Eggstone album on Amazon UK for ¬£7. The order is in, I hope this works out. At least one other seller out there is holding out for $70. I wonder what Josh paid…

[1] pic from an excellent article on the recording of the first Franz Ferdinand album.

Lilys interview

A brief history of one of my favorite bands. It’s hard to describe to non-musicians how Kurt’s music stands my ears on end. Of course there are the straight-up hooks for the kid in me, but there’s also the complex harmonies for the music geek in me. A piece like “The Tennis System (And It’s Stars)” is like a dozen Pet Sounds tunes rolled into 7 minutes, but little traces of ingenuity spill out subtlely throughout the albums. For further proof the world is small, two of my friends from Gainesville are now Lilys members supporting the new album. Can we finally get a FL Lilys show, guys?

We love you, Murry!

Friday, July 9th. Sandi and I are in the surprisingly large Orange Peel in Asheville, NC and Rhett and Murry of the Old 97’s are in the middle of wooing us with Murry’s heartbreaking "Valentine". When they get to the break a lone voice says what we’re all thinking, “We love you, Murry!” He doesn’t get the attention he deserves, but of the bands’s later songs I like, they’re mostly his. You can feel the traditional country greats dripping from his songs. He covers Buck Owens and “Valentine” sounds a bit like something Willie Nelson might’ve written years ago.

Most of the night Rhett completely controls this crowd. A girl to our left shrieks and shakes with excitement like it’s John and Paul up there, and she isn’t alone; Sandi gives him a score somewhere in the fifties out of ten on the attractivimeter and only some strong, unseen force keeps her from attacking him on stage *. They really do put on an amazing show, pulling out songs from the early days, including the first one I heard, "Doreen". This song killed me in the days of 97X (Gainesville’s eclectic FM station in the mid-90s) and it still does. That poor drummer gets a workout every night. Continue reading  

Mp3.com is the new All Music Guide

I’ve spent countless hours digging around the All Music Guide for years now, but it was always frustrating to have to jump over to some music store like CDNOW (long gone) or Amazon to listen to clips, if you were lucky. Mp3.com for a long time was a revolutionary way to get your music out to people (and in typical dot-com bubble-bursting fashion they would pay you and send you cheap branded merch like duffle bags for free) and I’m glad to see the new owners (CNET) have done something good with it. Mp3.com is now the cream of the All Music Guide (bios, reviews, cross referencing and genres) with music clips of almost everything. They’ve struck referral deals with the pay-per-download services to get all these clips (30-sec WMA) and they start streaming pretty quickly on DSL.

Tonight I just dug around in their Freakbeat section and came across this gem of maximum R&B: Reflections by Les Fleur de Lys. They even started pulling off pure pop ala Todd Rundgren (listen to “Brick by Brick”).

Update! 7/13 Apparently the All Music Guide is undergoing a redesign and the new design is a disaster in every browser but IE/windows. The old design was ugly, but at least somewhat usable and, with so much great content, the web design community really gave them a free pass, but to build a clunky IE-only, Windows-only site in 2004 is unforgivable. Mp3.com’s UI is so much nicer that I can’t see going back to AMG for much anymore.

More Adventures in Consumerism

There should be at least one great Annette Funicello compilation. "Strummin’ Song" (WM clip on MSN) , "Holiday in Hawaii" and "This Time It’s Love" are absolutely essential and the comps available are woefully inadequate. I’m finally getting around to buying Eddie Izzard’s classic stand-up show Dress to Kill to force on friends. Who knew I’d need yet another Patsy Cline comp? Three obviously did not cut it, but, really, this does somehow have ten songs I’ve never heard so it was pretty hopeless to resist. Oh, did I mention the ABBA Gold videos on stunning DVD? No more scanning through "I Have a Dream" to get to "Waterloo"—Sometimes it’s the little things that keep life worth living.