Saw the brilliant Shearwater again on Tuesday at the Scala. Do watch their new video.
1. Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen
2. David Thomas Broughton - Outbreeding
3. A.A. Bondy - Believers
4. Beirut - The Rip Tide
5. Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours
6. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
7. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
8. Half Man Half Biscuit - 90 Bisodol (Crimond)
9. Austra - Feel It Break
10. Lanterns on the Lake - Gracious Tide, Take Me Home
All in all, a good year.
Previous albums of the year:
2010 - Shearwater, The Golden Archipelago
2009 - Fuck Buttons, Tarot Sport
2008 - Bon Iver, For Emma Forever Ago
2007 - Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
2006 - Two Gallants, What The Toll Tells
2005 - The National, Alligator
On the eve of the new Radiohead album, there’s a decent piece about the band in the Independent (click through to read). Needless to say, I am one of the many legions of fans who are giddy with excitement about the release.
Its interesting to note how the previous two albums, ‘In Rainbows’ and the forthcoming ‘The King Of Limbs’, have seen a wave of enthusiasm due to the nature of what is being released. A ‘pay what you like album’, followed this time by a £30 package ‘newspaper’ album - one seeming to embrace the digital age, the next embracing the concept of a physical release as art.
For me, the interesting thing has been how they have been marketed. One week’s notice, no tracklisting information, no singles, no previews. Most importantly, no advanced PR from journalists. Everyone hears it at the same time. The consequence has been runaway excitement, rumours, counter-rumours, and a monopolization of forums. And, in my case, the impulsive, almost spasmodic instinct to splurge £30 on a double vinyl album despite the fact I do not own a record player when £6 on a download has sufficed for many of my other favourite bands.
Why has this happened? Well, the reasons are three-fold:
1. The legacy of Radiohead’s back-catalogue is of such staggering brilliance that there is no need for traditional promotion. Journalistic endorsement or detraction is not going to affect what the followers of the band think.
2. The previous releases (as pointed out in the Independent article) have confounded all expectations. The excitement prior to this release is driven as much by intrigue as by expectation as to how it will sound.
3. There is a sense of exclusivity. I will be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, checking my email every three minutes for the link to the MP3 download of the new record. On my day off. This insanity is driven by the pursuit of the ‘new’ (which the modern music industry seems to be built on). My enjoyment of the release of, say, the latest release by Mogwai last week was tempered by the fact I had already read endless reviews and heared three tracks via video releases. There were even websites streaming the whole thing. The consequence is that the album was already mapped in my head. I knew what it was going to sound like and the roadmap for the journey I was being taken on. Listening to the album was merely filling in the gaps.
Of course, as with ‘In Rainbows’ pay-what-you-will system, this is not a model that will revolutionize the music industry. Because there is quite simply no other band in the world who could pull this off. Many bands and acts have a large and dedicated fan base, many others have an impressive back-catalogue, many others are free from record label restraints and expectations, and many others have the press eating out of their hands. No one other than Radiohead have all of them.
Radiohead are unique in this age, and possibly the last of their kind. Experimental, consistent, talented, stadium-filling, a global brand without identity, commercially successful, and completely in control of their destiny. More than that, they are beholden, first and foremost, to their audience and not the critics.
All of which means I will wake with the birds tomorrow and be irrationally shouting at my inbox until that link arrives.
Top Albums Of The Year 2010
In time honoured tradition, here are my top 10 albums of the year, in ascending order:
1. Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago
2. The National - High Violet
3. Efterklang - Magic Chairs
4. Phosphorescent - Here’s To Taking It Easy
5. The Walkmen - Lisbon
6. The Acorn - No Ghost
7. Ed Harcourt - Lustre
8. Johnny Flynn - Been Listening
9. Midlake - The Courage Of Others
10. Weekend - Sports
Doesn’t mean anything, but it makes me feel like I’ve brought order to my universe by putting my tastes into a list :-)
London-based website @forfolkssake are raising money for the Integrated Cancer Centre at King’s College by selling a pay-what-you-can Christmas album. I admit that the time to write this would have been yesterday or sooner, but despite being late to the party, I still think its worth a mention.
I haven’t heard it yet, just downloaded it and will give it a listen after lunch. However, my sense of satisfaction from donating to charity at Christmas and the wine in my blood stream will make it a pleasurable experience, I’m sure!
Click on the picture to follow the link
For those who were wondering, this blog’s title is a homage to the band Shearwater (@shearwaterband).
They have released three of the greatest albums I own, including 2010’s best record, The Golden Archipelago.
This video is of frontman Jonathan Meiburg performing a few tracks in a Dutch church. At about 3.10, Castaways kicks in. Beautiful both here and on record.
Apple’s new Ping network has been pretty badly beaten by the online community since its release. I tried to use it last night, but after checking for updates I was told that iTunes 9.2 was the latest version available to me. So I can’t offer an opinion yet.
The functionality, from what I can tell, is awful - seems like a ploy to increase sales rather than create a genuine social network.
I’ll stick with Last.Fm and Songkick.