Posts tagged ‘The Verve’

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………

April 25, 2008

Reformation Reality

Portishead are about to release their imaginatively titled third album.  After 11 years of whimsical wasteland the three have decided to reform and emit their foreboding sense of melancholia on us once again.   Many critics have actually praised the album and although Portishead have shown a sense of adventure and experimentation, their change of sonic direction seems to have payed off (maybe not in a literal sense, until the tills start ringing!)

Contrary to popular belief, Portishead have actually managed to buck the trend of failing reformations.  Consider this, how many bands reform and produce anything like their best work?  Very few!  The Verve will be another band this year who will once again try and defy the odds.  Of course they have already disbanded once before and reformed to produce their best work, although the split of 18 months between A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns isn’t really long enough to fully cement the stubborn ego of a rock star!  Though whether they can pull it off again after all this time (8+ years) is debatable.   The pressure that they and their management company have put themselves under is quite startling.  Not content with releasing the album and evaluating the reaction, they’ve decided to sign up to a whole summer of high profile appearances before finishing their new album.  With a whole slew of headlining festival appearances (they definitely appear to be the whores of the festival circuit this year), including Glastonbury, T in the park and V, they better pray their new album is well received or there will be thousands of despondent festival goers.  There are only so many times you can hear the ubiquitous sounds of Lucky man or Bittersweet Symphony, no matter how good they are.   It would probably be more effective to release the album before the summer circuit begins, or maybe their record company knows something we all suspect!!!

Many bands are reforming solely to trade on past glories, with the need to feel vital surpassed by the need to earn the dollar.  From 70’s glam, through 80’s pop to 90’s indie, the industry is saturated with revivals.  Though have any of these bands produced new material worthy of their name? In some cases, ie; Shed SevenEMF and The Wonder Stuff, the worthiness of the name is non-applicable.   Two of the biggest bands to disband and reform, The Who and The Eagles, confirm my point entirely.  While wishing to be valued as contemporary and valid both bands appear to be bereft of ideas and out of touch.  It seems when you’ve exhausted your creative juices you’re better off performing rather than recording.  But why are there so very few that buck this trend?