Sunday, October 31, 2010

We only know what to say because we practiced at home

Francis Wolff - Herbie Hancock, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1964

A meditation on the music market and a lesson in Music History.

Quick Hist:
The exponential growth of the music industry in recent years, with the advent of itunes, ipods, youtube, and the internet, got me thinking today. I decided to enlighten myself with a little music history research that I will gladly share with those of you who may be interested. If you're at all like me, your attention wanders so I'll try to keep this succinct and as educational as possible, before reaching diminishing returns on information retention.

Music as we know it, of course, all began with sheet music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Publishers of sheet music reached the public mainly with the help of churches and aristocracies. Then along came the original gangstas and composers, such as Mozart, who saw marketability in their talent and sound; thus, the commercial music industry was born. Hallelujah.

According to Wikipedia (a very credible and fool-proof source) the sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially since year 2000, while live music performance sales have sky-rocketed. Not surprising, considering the easy-peazy-lemon-squeezy-ness of free downloads nowadays. Four major corporate labels dominate the music market, they include: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Entertainment, and EMI. These corporations are essentially our music market umbrellas that branch off into smaller companies and labels that serve myriad regions and markets.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is the organization that represents the recording industry worldwide-- it's headquarters are in London, with other offices in Miami, Moscow, Hong Kong, and Brussels. I don't know if those cities could be any more random.

Live Nation is not only the largest, but also the furthest reaching promoter and venue owner. In my opinion, Live Nation is a razor-toothed monopoly that takes advantage of the music-loving public, but that's neither here nor there. (I'm not entirely sure what that expression means).

The Mediation:
Most music lovers probably evolved as I had, making mix-tapes off the radio with a bedazzled boombox, pressing start and stop frantically in order to jot down the lyrics to Will Smith's "Just the Two of Us," rocking out to Nirvana Nevermind in janco jeans. The old days of the real mix-tape were, as Sanjay aptly put it "The Days of the Top 40," when the radio top 40, featuring Ja-Rule duets and Alanis tirades, was the only real way to get dat new new. The birth of youtube, ipods, grooveshark, pandora, napster, and itunes, has completely changed the way we are exposed to and expose ourselves to music. Fortunately for us, today's music market is monsooned. Music floods not only our ipods, but also our icals with concert ops and iphone apps. What has this done to the recording industry? Well, if you want to make money as a musician you better pimp your bus ride, because you will be spending a lot of time on the road. Festivals and concerts are back in style and have gained notable momentum in recent years. Are we reliving the 60s and 70s music explosion? I'm beginning to think so. But as Yonder Mountain String Band wisely sings, there is no way to know which way the wind will blow. I guess all we can do now is sit back, enjoy the sound luxury, and let the beat build, leaving the fate of la musica to the Gods of the Rhythm. Namaste.

for those of you who enjoy coldplay mashups- here's a great site recommended by Will

"I never thought kazoo playing could actually be... sexy." (also for those of you with kazoos, this is a really fun song to attempt at kazoo-ing along with)

awesome lyrics

Thanks Nick

Dawn Landes - Kids in a Play

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If I'm free, it's because I'm always running.

You are the music, while the music lasts.
- T. S. Eliot

Violon Hip-Hop
Uploaded by allcurious. - See the latest featured music videos.
thanks V. this is so cool.

Well, now I'm in trouble...

Take Five. A glass of Lagavulin would go well with this...

Chemical Brothers- Battle Scars

um yeah we're blasting this at work today


Monday, October 25, 2010

Comin' down the street like a parade, MACYS

Featured artist of the day: Wiz Khalifa
Twenty three year old Cameron Jibril Thomas, also known by stage name Wiz Khalifa, gained significant notoriety within the rap community with the debut of his free mixtape Kush and Orange Juice in April 2010. Known for blending singing with rapping and voted Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010, Khalifa has worked with numerous other rappers such as Redman, Method Man, Rick Ross, and Curren$y. His stage name originates from the Arabic word Khalifa, meaning wisdom (leading to his nickname "Wiz") although Wiz humbly claims that his name comes from everyone referring to him as "young Wiz... cause I was good at everything." Wiz will be gracing us with his self-proclaimed genius at The Paradise Rock Club in November. We'll see how the Wiz-ard gets the applause.

thanks Wilbo

Miami Horror - Sometimes. Sick pick Ian.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You never give me your money

You only give me your funny paper.

Here's a really cool website recommended by ol' rosie G. This guy drives a cab around and gets various artists to perform in the back. Pretty good idea. Why didn't any of us think of that?


Leave it to V to pump us up. Apparently this DJ is going to be in Boston this weekend ... could be interessttinnngggg


For those of you who just feel like smokin' a cigar...

Shake what your mama gave you, Guy

"makes me want to dance like a f**in fish" - nice Ian

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eatin' beans and makin' love as long as I am able

I know this is a bold statement, but The Carolina Chocolate Drops were by far the most captivating band I have ever seen live. They sang originals, covers, and acapella with the kind of voices and sound that reverberates in your vertebrae. The most you can do while listening is either dance your pants off or stand wide-eyed, mouth agape. I looked around at one point and could not see a single person that wasn't smiling ear to ear. The music was uplifting and simply flawless. They even danced, blew into jugs, and did tricks with their instruments. I really can't find the words to describe this band. But if you ever see them, especially in an intimate setting like the Paradise, be ready to have a wonderful night's sleep afterwards. They will satisfy you down to your soul.

Mini-doc about the artists

A mini doc about the origin of their music and old time string bands

Mike. incendiary.

Sonny. mixtape. yesss

Friday, October 15, 2010

They say that this is where the fun begins

Nothing like a banjo, acoustic guitar, standing base, and cello to get your head bobbing and your boots clacking on a Thursday night. I went into this concert as an Avett Brothers novice and came out an Avett Brothers die-hard. They had me dancing around and feeling so warm and fuzzy that I think I gave everyone in my concert posse at least three hugs. A blend of pop, country, bluegrass, rock, folk, and ragtime, the Avett Brothers (Scott and Seth), along with Joe Kwon (cellist) and Bob Crawford (bassist) make for a very good evening. Like armfuls of confetti, they hurl glee and passion onto the audience below. Thought provoking lyrics were heartfelt and deep, yet far from maudlin. Whether we were clapping our hands above our heads or swaying with our eyes closed, the music was buoyant and fresh and has had me downloading their discography all morning.

Slight figure of speech!!!!

put your clothes on, I've got all that I can take

Working hard or hardly working?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

...begat everything else.

New York is grand because it is the city that never sleeps. Nights begin around 11, end around 5:30am, and brunch the next day starts usually around 2. As they say in Italy, anything before 2pm is considered morning-- same goes for New York City on Sundays. And it's wonderful. While I am on the New York City thread, I figured I would post some music that will not only keep us from sleeping, but will also keep us from thinking, analyzing, planning, worrying, working, and learning. Just shut up and keep dancing, keep moving, keep cheers-ing, keep throwing your hands in the air and hearing, keep bouncing, keep cheering, and hanging from the chandeliers on the ceiling. Whatever makes you feel good. Do it. And don't fight the feeling.

Stereo Love

this is my favorite version of this video by far

my kickass roommate's (Julia Kuhn) typical jam on a Saturday morning:

sick mashup

Thursday, October 7, 2010

and rhythm...

Remember this video?

Review on Gorillaz concert in Aganis Center:

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have certainly matured by leaps and bounds since their Gorillaz album debuted in 2001. To be honest, going into this Gorillaz concert I was slightly skeptical-- how would the lead singer of Blur and a British cartoonist possibly entertain an Aganis center sized audience? Well, the skepticism that I had soaked up leading to this concert was soon called into question and then rung out like a rag. Gorillaz provide some some titillating audio/visual input, to say the very least. Listening to the album on my ipod at work, I was under the impression that Gorillaz relied on mainly computer sound generation. I was wrong. The concert began with a silly british Gorilla cartoon on a massive screen, followed by an orchestral intro. And I'm talking a real orchestra with at least three people on violins, a flautist, piano, keyboard player, acoustic guitar (? wasn't wearing my glasses), standing bass, dancers, drummers, at least two electric guitar players, rappers, singers (male and female). I'd venture to say that at one point, there were about twenty people on stage. The music was elastic and dabbled between classical, electronic, dub, eastern, and hip hop compositions. One minute you would be closing your eyes to the classical flows, highs, and lows of orchestra and the next you would be bobbing your head to raps and down beats. They rocked their old classics and seduced us with their newest works. Needless to say, the concert was a sweet success.

Side note: The Aganis Center also happens to be the most strict of venues I have visited thus far. Get a beer before 9:30 and if you think you're sneaky, well, god's speed. The lunch ladies (some of whom actually look 14) at Aganis have hawk eyes below the scrunchies on the backs of their heads.

Gorillaz- On Melancholy Hill

And now for some uplifting bluegrass buzz (and others):

Thanks Rafalicious

Kay I know for a fact that you will love this song...

Weidman- selected.

Thank you Oliver... your bluegrass suggestions have been phenomenal!

some good cuts, with a Scofield-sounding-feel

Now this is actually old fashioned sounding...

STS9-thanks Fox

instrumental aahhh

Monday, October 4, 2010

...and that noise begat rhythm

Brief review on Talib and Mos Def Sunday concert:

Of course, as you may have noticed, I thoroughly enjoy hip-hop. Whether it be Lil Wayne's scratchy "pop a wheelie" references or Jay-Z's "YOUR BOY!" howls, hip-hop has a tendency to make us bob our heads, purse our lips, and throw arm gestures to the down beat (that we think look cool but not so much). The House of Blues, with it's eastern style artwork against the black painted walls, creates an especially fitting ambiance for hip-hop. Talib Kweli rocked the house for the first hour; he had us whistling, screaming, rapping, and even laughing (referring to Talib's line, "orange like Snookie"). But herein lies the rub: Mos Def took about an hour and a half to come on stage, and by the time he did half of the group of people we arrived with had given up faith in his arrival. Because this was my first hip-hop concert, I was unaware that this is a habit of most hip-hop artists in general. Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don't, often they are late. I was pondering why this could be such a common epidemic, and then it dawned on me. WWHHYYYYYYYY ARE WE SURPRISED?! Rappers are artists who spend half their lung capacity rhyming and the other half rapping about themselves in the third person, essentially stroking their own egos, demanding listeners pledge their allegiance, and claiming to be able to turn crack rocks into mountains. NO WONDER they don't give a chrome tooth about whether or not you are feeling impatient. You know you're going to pay to see them anyway so we need to stop complaining, and just accept that their seconds, minutes, hours will always come from our all mighty dollars.

J. Cole. Shut your mouth. (referring to his tangent at the end of the video)