Over the last 10 years or so, the new dynamic has opened up all sorts of opportunities. Artists perform at ad agencies to curry favor with decision makers. Major blockbusters, no matter how uncool, can book the coolest artists for their soundtrack. You can even make songs explicitly for branded content!
That last paragraph may sound derisive, but I want to be clear that it’s all fair game in 2019. We’ve blown up the music industry, especially in terms of what money goes directly to artists. But it seems that in our zeal to get rid of the problematic “sell out” stigma, we never replaced it with anything better. Read More
I hadn’t thought about songs like “Driving Home” and “At The End of a Gun” in literal years, and there they were, right in front of me, exactly as I remembered them. I spent teenage afternoons studying the bass tabs of the song “Free Radio Gainesville” and convinced myself it wasn’t possible with human hands, and there was Jason Black, just fucking doing it. It hit me hard, in a mixture of glee and longing. Read More
A paragraph for 19 of my favorite songs from 2018 albums; and a few more for my #1. Read More
Nearer My God sounds like the solution the death of guitar music since the rise of Poptimism. Not that poptimism is inherently wrong, but the reassessment of music writing changed the values of the playing field. Suddenly nothing sounded as forward-looking, or cutting edge, or the result of meticulous craftsman engineering like the big budget pop hooks on Top 40 stations. Read More
On its 15 year anniversary, Ted Leo is touring Hearts of Oak on a bit of a nostalgia tour. I went on Thursday night at The Echo. It was an all-time great concert, a marvel of singing and song construction, but very much a weird echo of the Bush era and the things we worried about back then. Read More
The cutting edge of music now belongs to pop and hip hop. These are genres where the top artists are thinking, "What's a sound we haven't used before?" or "What's a flow no one else has?" Modern indie merely asks, "What is pop not doing?" and maybe that's why we don't have rock stars anymore. Read More