Archive for February, 2010

February 28, 2010

Save BBC 6Music

BBC’s 6 music is under threat from the Corporations cost cutting measures. With a need to satisfy both an incoming Tory government and to help fund the relocation to Manchester, 6 Music is being targeted as one of the first of the sacrificial lambs.

It may not have a huge listener base (approx 690,000) but it does appeal to a demographic of music lovers, a particular niche in the UK market that is under provided for by any other channel.  Commercial radio stations only provide airtime for their stakeholders with a mandate for appealing to as wider audience as possible, by playing as popular – contemporary artists as they can.  NME radio recently entered the world of digital radio and although their remit is to play music from smaller, less championed bands, they will never be able to play such a wide-ranging and diverse line-up as a public service broadcaster.  Surely it is part of the BBC’s charter to appeal to a demographic that is mostly unprovided for by the commercial sector?

Please support the cause by signing up – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=278123313911

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February 25, 2010

Goodwood Estate announces new music and fashion festival

Goodwood Estate have jumped on the bandwagon and have joined what is already a saturated market and economically risky venture by announcing a new music festival that mixes rock, punk, dance, reggae and soul with high street fashion and British vintage……..Eclectic, unique, but very odd.  Surely this is aimed at a pretentious crowd of urbanites that wouldn’t normally leave the city other than to visit their family estate, in the words of fashion stylist, Wayne Hemmingway – ‘this is unashamedly about dressing up rather than down and being comfortable rather than compromised.” An affluent and low marketed target audience in this sector it may well be, but there is probably a reason for this.  When your standing in a field of mud with strong westerly winds lashing rain against your face while queuing up for an overpriced hog roast roll, it certainly separates the hardy from the effete.   Maybe the hight street is better left where it is?

http://www.vintageatgoodwood.com/home.aspx

February 25, 2010

Primal Scream to play ‘Screamadelica’ live

When Primal Scream announced that they would re-create their seminal masterpiece, ‘Screamadelica‘ live for the first time, after nearly 20 years after its creation, it sent a shiver down the spine of many thirty something ex ravers.   It was this album that captured perfectly the blissed out and heady days of the early nineties, the album simultaneously defined the times as well as representing the future.    Remixed and sampled by a host of uber hip DJs and producers it became the cultural touchstone thereafter.   So why would Primal Scream want to perform it now, in its entirety, after 19 years, why wouldn’t they wait until 2011 – the twenty year anniversary?

For a band that have scaled the heights of greatness and at times been the indie vanguards of their generation  they have now reached a point of virtual irrelevance and obscurity, their last album – ‘Beautiful Future’ sold poorly, after a steady decline in both sales and inspiration for each album since 2000’s blitzkrieg – Exterminater.   So with studio pioneering out of the way and long forgotten it is to the live arena that the Scream now seek validation.  It is of course also the current trend to reproduce critically and commercially accepted masterpieces, Spriritualized have been showcasing the symphonic laments of ‘Ladies and Gentlemen we are floating in space’ around the country for the last year and The Pixies have been touring their alternative rock classic – ‘Doolittle‘ on the global stage.

With a plethora of masterpiece albums, a world full of expectant fans and artists that are in need of revitalisation the possibilities are endless.

February 17, 2010

Brit awards fails to surprise

Music has never been in a healthier position.   The digital age has allowed the free flow of producers and artists to create and distribute without the financial constraint and control of a record label.   This DIY model has manifested itself across the industry and has consequently allowed the public to access niche products on a much larger and attainable level – The Long Tail philosophy once espoused by techno-guru, Chris Anderson, has finally come to fruition.

The Brit awards it seems are still living in the age of mega-hits and top heavy sales, while virtually ignoring the rampant march of the digital movement.  Supported by the major record labels the awards system seems to celebrate a bygone age of pomp and granduer, clinging on to the remnants of once powerful, past glories.   Back in the golden years of the nineties, bands such as Oasis, The Verve and even Travis, sold in excess of 2 -3 million units for each album, and subsequently picked up their Brit statuette along the way.  Current winners Kasabian and last years winners of the best british band award, Elbow, have barely even sold a third of those nineties giants.  Which leads us to question the validty of the awards?

For the sake of publicity then it is wholly understandable for such a monstrously pretentious event to take place, but why then are the Brit judges trying to pander to the long tail demographic by nominating Animal Collective for an award?  Seemingly with no chance of actually winning, it seems preposterous that such a sonically experimental band should be up for a Brit – did any of the audience actually know who they were?  Animal Collective are the epitome of ‘The Long Tail’ theory, getting notable success through viral marketing and digital sales.  Although their album hasn’t even gone platinum in the UK and only reached 26 in the charts – not exactly a big seller!   The mere mention of the bands name on the Brits will open up a whole new and baffled market for the experimentalists from Baltimore.  Why they should profit from this compared to another more successful international band is baffling!  What is the criteria for nomination or is one band from each category picked randomly out of a hat?

It is a mere token gesture anyway because after all it is the high hitters and unit shifters that always triumph at the Brits no matter how lamely they try to suggest otherwise………

February 8, 2010

Vampire Weekend start their winter tour in Bexhill

5 February – Bexhill-on-Sea, De La War Pavilion

Beginning their UK tour in the incongruous surrounds of a Sussex seaside town in the middle of winter was typically contrary, especially for a band with a recent US number 1 album. The Vampire’s, through all their record sales and critical acclaim, have managed to remain true indie stalwarts, maintaining a sense of the outsider. Signed to independent luminaries XL helps, along with the desire to play outposts such as the art-deco, De La War Pavillion.

The juxtapositions of musical styles and lyrical content suggests a band who are cerebrally inspired, which can often create a certain aloofness on stage. Not so with these young New Yorker’s. Fully aware of their primary role as entertainers that is exactly what they achieve with a unadulaterated eagerness and a strong sense of melody. The small, but appreciative crowd are swept along with the bouncing African rhythms, the hi-life guitars and the swelling of synth-strings. Despite their use of cunning wordplay and their skill of melding musical styles it is their affability that is wholly infectious and the true making of the band. By the time the closing strands of ‘Walcott’ blast through the hall the crowd are bouncing around with sheer delight. A gig the whole town will remember.