Thursday, March 26, 2009

Music (Man/Woman) Management

I'm excited by a lot of "new" bands at the moment, as well as burdened by a heavy feeling that I should be doing something more productive... getting back involved. However, even when dealing with pop groups that I am actively involved in, I'm beginning to realise I'm not really cut out for music management. I don't seem to be able to strike the balance of imposing ideas of those that need, and coercing the true "desire" or aspiration from them. I'm not sure I necessarily want to either. I'm confused by what is right for the band, and band's don't know what's right for them. And other people's expectations (that fantastic music industry trait of
perception) make it even more confusing.

"I see the futility in all things" 

One day soon, hopefully I'll be excited by my own creations to enable it, but not just yet. I need creations first.

Apologies if that's all cryptic, it's really not meant to be

Soundtrack to this post: Dark Was The Night compilation

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SXSW & other bands

I quite enjoyed last week - vicariously living
SXSW through other people's Twitters. It was a shame not to be out there, and some day I hope to go back (Forward Russia played a vintage year with Duels, The Research & The Cribs in 2006), and have a Tequila marinated Salmon at the Iron Cactus while sipping on a Mojito....

Anyway, it was an interesting portal to proceedings, and I discovered the following bands / things:

Twice a day someone seemed to be seeing this band play somewhere. Funnily enough, pretty reminscent of a few of the ace Rough Trade bands, like YMG or Raincoats. But I'm being a bit crap cos there's girl singers and funky(ish) basslines

Like a more direct, less ethereal Fleet Foxes. Intriguing to say the least...


The world outside Austin, TX didn't stop. Back in the UK, people were astonished by THE HORRORS new Portishead/Kraut-rock inspired track Sea Within A Sea. It's not that suprising when you learn the album is produced by Portishead's Geoff Barrow, but that doesn't make the track (and accompanying video) any less good. 

They played a secret gig in London last night to preview more material, which has heralded many an NME hack to laud them as the best band in the world (again)

Finally, check out:

SWAN LAKE, Canadian indie super-group (aren't they all), feat members of Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Destroyer, New Pornographers (and there's only 3 members!). 

PHOENIX - French maestro's I've loved long time, since the first time I heard Too Young. No with new management, and already booked to appear on the Late Show in the US, new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix could do it a bit

Soundtrack to this post: Abe Vigoda, Passion Pit, ANthony & The Johnsons

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rough Trade

Having embraced Twitter, the desire to write blog posts is obviously dwindling, but that is because it exposes the difference in the two. And quite frankly, I'm a lot happier firing brief missives into the world than concentrating on some sentient thought. And when I do, I'm not usually near my computer, the resultant scribble as a 'note' on my Blackberry very rarely making sense at a later date

Alas, there is a greater reason to post than just wittiering, and that is the brilliant Rough Trade night on BBC4 last Friday. I was out filming Ellen & The Escapades at the time, but watched back on Sunday night with glee. 

Rough Trade, and all the DIY innovators of the late 70s / early 80s were obviously a great inspiration to me with Forward Russia and Dance To The Radio, and hearing interviews with Geoff Travis at the time of Rough Trade's inception was really intriguing. I thought the way the program delved in the merky moral v commercialist dilemma's was very good - until it discarded this indepth approach with the label reboot of the 00's (ie no mention that the label has been sold a couple of times, and is currently a subsidiary of Beggars so I believe). 

The way the label and staff 'chased' the dream with The Smiths was had familar ring to it as well, in lots of different respects, along with the general rise from entusiast to business with all it's accompanying trials

But I'm not sure what exactly to make of Geoff Travis. I did a panel at In The City with him in October and was slightly put off by a comment he made about not being able to make an album for less than £30k/£40k. And within the program there was something odd about the rhetoric of the 70's Travis on taking back the power / options / ability to release records, no matter what the quality or commerciality, to the Travis of now, managing Duffy

It's a great old independent music industry paradigm, if you can make something succesful in the mainstream true to your morals, could you / should you? But surely you can't keep them there and stick to said morals? And I think that you can't, or at least it's incredibly it's very very hard to, is true to the case. So what do you do? Personally, if I'd have gone through what Rough Trade had, I would steer clear from the mainstream music industry even if I did see a Duffy, but then that might explain why/how Geoff Travis has a purpose in life and I don't.

I've just re-read this entry and wanted to add "and why he's probably a lot richer than me" but that's not that point, or is it?

Anyway, enjoy some truly entertaining television until the end of Friday night at least:

Rough Trade at the BBC (feat. Young Marble Giants / Robert Wyatt / The Smiths and more)

And a note on Twitter, I do like it, I really do. I think it actually has genuine uses like a group text, or friend notification services. Discovering friends are out and about and so on is very useful. But, I see it dying very quickly as there's very little way to engage yourself on Twitter like Myspace or Facebook. But that would be a shame. Ahh well

Soundtrack to this post: Simon Mayo