wabson

part three of the ever-exciting adventure

Archive for Music

Summary

I’m loving the Guillemots album right now – it’s full of highs and lows and unexpected bits, rather like this weekend in fact. It also helps mask the sound of drilling and hammering coming from the shop downstairs. Really, how long does it take to refit a bathroom showroom?

And in case anyone wondered, this is what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks – thanks, Mary!

Notes on Turin Brakes

Playing

I’m rather late blogging about this and I have no excuse.

That aside, this was one of the warmest and most intimate gigs I’ve even been to. The mood was suitably fitting for a chilled Sunday evening and it finished by half ten! As for the music, it swung wildly back and forth between experimental tracks and well-established favourites but all were performed with the same gusto and genuineness that characterised the entire performance. These guys clearly love making music and Warwick to my surprise provided them with a great venue to do it at.

Automatic high

So my thoughts on The Automatic? Lots of energy and pretty good at what they do, even if their style is slightly, ummm, narrow. I can’t decide whether destroying your own instruments and stripping down to your boxer shorts live on GMTV is really cool or really stupid. Or both.

My thoughts on the gig? Standing next to the mosh pit can result in the odd sweaty fifteen-year-old hurtling towards you at high speed, which can be rather distracting when you’re trying to watch the god damn band. But other than that it was good. They got through most of the songs on the album as well as the Gold Digger cover. The warm-up acts got prettier better as the night went on too, although I can’t remember any of the band names, rather annoyingly.

Overall, not bad for a tenner.

Admiring: Some much better photos than mine
Wanting: A digital SLR for Christmas!

Exclusive

According to today’s Guardian (complete with poster of salad greens – what’s with that?) Keane are to launch their new single – Nothing in My Way – on a USB memory stick through HMV at the end of the month.

HMV are doing a lot at the moment to improve their offerings in a world dominated by the likes of MySpace and Apple and where digital distribution of music is becoming the norm rather than the exception. In the last few months they’ve launched a new download service at hmvdigital.com – which allows users to download tracks without installing the HMV Music Player required by their older subscription site, introduced new access channels such as Txt2Buy and in-store kiosks, and in a desperate move to halt their recent decline in profits have even started slashing prices.

In short, these guys are desperate for our business, and as a result they’re increasingly looking for alternative ways to reach consumers – and most importantly that crucial 16-24 year old demographic.

But they’re not the only ones – further up the food chain, the record companies are too looking at new distribution models, and as a result you can buy many newly released tracks via CD, download or even your mobile phone. That’s great, right? Because surely with more ways to access music than ever before, more people are therefore able to enjoy that music?

Sadly the reality doesn’t always match this and often that choice isn’t there. So-called “exclusive” deals such as the Jamiroquai greatest hits album shortly to be available on a mobile phone near you a whole three weeks before you can get hold of it via CD mean that people are actually being stopped from listening to music – in this case for three weeks but in others for longer. The mobile operators signing deals with the record company licensing clips of concerts for exclusive use by their own subscribers are playing an even more dangerous game, competing with each other on who provide the most “exclusive” content.

So the net result is that people get locked out of content – “you can watch this music video, but only if you have the latest mobile phone” or “you can listen to this track, but only if you’re on Network X”. Add to this the fact that you need a credit or debit card to access most online music services, and 99 percent of music sold on those stores comes encumbered with DRM crap that will stop you listening to your collection if you ever stop paying for that service (or if your PC or iPod dies) and you’re increasingly slamming the door shut on legitimate consumers. These are people who want to listen to music and are happy to pay, but who if they can’t get at it easily will either download it illegally or worse – not bother at all.

So go ahead Mr Greedy Record Company – you go destroy your whole business through a series of misguided and short-sighted strategies that determine how you distribute the content that you so protectively guard. That’s fine. But remember that there are some people out there who actually are struggling to make a living out of selling music. People like HMV and of course the artists, who would probably rather that you didn’t destroy the whole entire industry when you eventually keel over like the big huge dinosaur that you are gasping your last dying breath.

Ahem.

Nizlopi for number one!

Of the Jo Whiley-championed JCB Song which enters the singles charts today, the Guardian says:

It’s like a battle between a lovely little ant and a giant ugly lizard, little indie labels versus evil major corporations, homemade creativity against mass commercialised bastards, because this year’s race for the top of the Christmas Top 40 boils down to a fight between two blokes from Leamington Spa with a life-affirming song about being five years old or the winner of X Factor singing a cover version of a song that was quite possibly written by the devil.

So, they’re a couple of blokes from Leamington, on a comparatively small label who’ve written what seems like a genuinely honest song. And they have a cool name.

Even if you don’t like the track itself, that’s still plenty of reasons why it just has to be number one for Christmas, especially given the competition.

This is going to be the first single I’ve bought in quite a while, and deservedly so.