The illest music

Archive for January, 2011

Emcee’s endangered species like manatees: A review of Talib Kweli’s “Gutter Rainbows”

Talib Kweli dropped a new disc. I love Kweli, but I wasn’t expecting much, y’know? He’s one of those artists I know I enjoy more intellectually than actually (that’s basically how I feel about all conscious rap, ‘cept Common, he’s the shit.) And I’ve been taking this Hip-Hop class this semester so I’ve been trying to change the way I look at music (and texts, and comics – it’s really, it’s this whole big thing I’m dealing with in regards to aesthetic shifts. Ignore my rambling)

So I did something while listening to this album I’ve never really done before, something Trev told me he does that I thought seemed kind of excessive, but decided to try anyway: I read the lyrics to the songs on the album as I listened to them.

Here’s how that made me feel:

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We finally killed the music industry. Here’s how we can bring it back.

So this piece the New York Times ran a few days ago just came to my attention and while all of you should take the time to read it (it’s probably shorter than some of my wordier posts) I’ll basically sum it up for you:

Sales of digital music on rose 6% in 2010. The overall music market shrank between 6-8%. In each of the past two years increase in digital revenue has halved.

Basically:

If that trend continues, digital sales could top out at less than $5 billion this year, about a third of the overall music market but many billions of dollars short of the amount needed to replace long-gone sales of compact discs.

“Music’s first digital decade is behind us and what do we have?” said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Not a lot of progress.”

“We are at one of the most worrying stages yet for the industry,” he continued. “As things stand now, digital music has failed.”

Y’see that? The music industry’s ready to call it fucking quits because it’s not going to make more than five billion dollars. You know what even funnier? If you go on to read the article, the only way anyone seems to think they can resolve this situation is to put legal pressure on internet service providers, much like South Korea and France have, to choke the connections of illegal downloaders, forcing them to to turn to legal alternatives to purchase music.

I’m glad that bullshit flies over in cheese/kimchi-eating country, but I like to believe that since they haven’t really done it yet, we Americans will be keeping our god given right to steal from hard working artists and the companies that support them.

Yeah. No. This isn’t going to turn into an argument in defense of piracy, because, regardless of what someone may tell you, it’s pretty much indefensible to steal anything, even if you think it’s an overpriced, overhyped, piece of shit consumer product (which you’d think would mean you wouldn’t want to steal it in the first place, right?)

Still, isn’t it sad, that the only option the industry feels it has is to figure out how to stop people from stealing? To be fair, they really have done everything they could to (for the most part) to adapt to the digital age. Buying music digitally is easy, cheap, and can pretty much be done from any god damn device you carry around with you on a daily basis.

But, to be fair, I’m not going to blame the record companies. Like most businesses, the interent still scares and confuses them because they can’t figure out how to make shittons of money from it (I’m looking at you News industry) and here’s the big secret they haven’t really figured out yet: You can’t.

They’re lucky to even be making $5 billion dollars this year. The only reason musical sales aren’t lower is, and this might be shocking to some of you, because there are a lot of stupid god damn people in the world. You want to know what the two biggest reasons I’ve heard for not downloading music are from most people since the age of piracy begun? 1) I’m afraid of getting caught. 2) I don’t know a good place to find it.

That’s it. I’d honestly say those are the two biggest reasons most people don’t pirate music, fuck all this “support the artist nonsense.” Some people really are dumb enough to think the RIAA is watching them and some are just the kind of dumb where they’re so bad at the internet they can’t steal from it. And as time goes on both of these contingents is going to get smaller and smaller and smaller.

Buuuuut, I’d be a terrible blogger if I didn’t offer the music industry some outs to their growing woes. Wipe away your tears, coke-sniffing and whore-mongering executives, Jules is here to save you.

1. Stop making god damn CDs. Nobody who matters to the market still buys that shit. Plus, if you drop them for a while and then do special print runs of some in the futures, CDs could become the new kitsch, like vinyl.

2. Give singles away for free, digitally/Don’t include them as part of the complete album. Whet people’s appetite for their favorite artist’s new record and when they do buy the album, don’t give them shit they already have and have been hearing over and over for months. Hit ’em with something new.

3. Charge five dollars. Yeah, I’m fucking saying it. End this .99 cent a song/15 dollar album bullshit that iTunes inspired. You want to sell albums? Charge five dollars, bottom line, no discussion. No one can really argue with that price. It’s cheaper than the movies and it’s certainly cheaper than a concert. I bet you if iTunes sold every album for five dollars, for a week, revenue would god damn skyrocket.

4. Get radio stations to play popular song less. Why the hell would I buy a song I’m going to here twice on every station during my twenty minute drive to and from school? Before noon, before noon, most days, I’m already sick of all the shit you’re putting out.

5. Make your artists get on a damn stage. You’d be surprised at how inaccessible many popular acts concerts are. Most people cannot drop 50 bucks to get a shitty seat at the Wells-Fargo Center. Make concerts cheaper, do more, do them in smaller venues and offer some incentives – give a a code for an exclusive EP with concert ticket purchases, show your fans you give a shit about them.

6. Waste less money on shitty musicians. The average “shelf-life” of a celebrity nowadays is 15 months. The industry’s fallen into this terrible habit recently of not treating musicians like the disposable commodities they truly are. Why the hell are you going to pump millions of dollars into someone who most people aren’t going to want to look at in six months? Don’t spend money on a motherfucker until they actually start making you money. Produce a single or two, see how much airplay they get. If they do well, a video, some late night appearances. I there’s buzz, let do some shows in bigger markets (NY, LA, etc) Then and only then, when people give a shit, do you pump the money into a big album or something ridiculous like that.

7. Open up the means of production. Polow Da Don makes, what, like 20 grand a song or something obscene like that? Not only is that ridiculous because he’s a shitty producer, but it’s even more ridiculous because there are people, and you and I know them, who could do what he does, better, cheaper and faster. Seriously recording industry, start hitting up music colleges and tech schools and see how many motherfuckers you could get to come work for you way cheaper and far less hassle. You could literally have a team of 10 Polow’s and not even have to play them all 20 grand.

And the sad thing is, even if all my ideas are terrible and I’m wrong, I’m still trying harder than the people’s whose livelihoods actually depend on something, anything, to save their dying industry.


Illuminati Music.

ONLY ILLUMINATI MUSIC! ALL HAIL THE ALL SEEING EYE! IT CREEPS HARD AS A MOTHERFUCKER!

Seriously though, this song is a banger. Jay is still on his old man rap tip, which I guess can’t be avoided any longer (seriously, listen to how wheezy and tired his flow sounds) but this is still a, *ahem* “true radio banger”

Otherwise, sorry for the lack of music updates. Y’know how it is. Winterbreak was mad hectic and I’m getting adjusted to my new schedule (which features a banging Hip-Hop History class. Get like me.) buuut, it’s not like I’ve become deaf or anything. Here’s what I’ve been jamming to (other than the above)

Check it.

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Ground Up – Girls Who Smoke Cigarettes

I probably should actually review this jawn, but fuck it, I’ll get to it another time (which really means never) but all ya’ll should head over to Datpiff and cop that jawn. Trev tells me they do a lot of shows here in the illadelph (and I would assume they’re local but they don’t have a site I can find) so show them some love.


Kanye + Comics

There’s only one thing I love more than rap, and that’s comic books. I was pretty happy when I found those rap album/comic book cover mashups. This is even better. This is Kanye Plus Comics

Check it.

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Out with the old in with the new? Possible new venue in the works.

This isn’t really news. It’s more like hearsay. And really, it’s just wild speculation, but fuck it, if it actually comes to fruition, I wanna be the one to say I called it first.

According to Phoodie (which is a great blog you should all read) Swift Half Pub has closed it doors. This isn’t really relevant…what is important, however, is the fact that Bryan Dilworth (the booker for the Electric Factory) has taken out a lease on the space and is supposedly going to debut a new concept there. Will it be a a new bar? A restaurant?

God willing it’s a concert venue (/bar) and given the fact that it’s being operated by the E-factory’s booker, perhaps we’ll finally start seeing some bigger acts in the city playing in a place that’s not the Electric Factory. Or the TLA.

When/If this comes to fruition, just remember I dropped the science on you first.

-Jules


Is Witch House 2011’s Genre To Watch?

I named dropped Witch House a few months ago and since then I’ve been kind of hush-hush on the genre. Also known as drag, rape-gaze, crunk shoegaze, screwgaze and haunted house; Witch House is one of those genres I normally don’t come cross in my venturing for music around the net.

Witch House is an off-shoot of electronica with a more industrial bend. It’s inspired by DJ Screw as well as Goth favorites The Cure. It’s practitioners have said they’re inspired by sizzurp and salvia. That alone should let you know what you’re in for. It’s everything we used to like to dance to hollowed out and filled with opiates. It’s just all kind of ridiculous and new and fresh and I don’t know what the fuck to say about it that others haven’t already (which really, does ya’ll no good since you’re not reading those blogs, you’re reading this one, but I see know point in being excessively wordy)

It’s artist go by names like oOoOO and †‡†, Gr†ll Gr†ll and ///▲▲▲\\\

Yeah. I haven’t heard of the last two either, but those strange, symbol based monikers add to the mystique surrounding the genre. If any of you obsessively keep up with the minutiae of the news like I do, you’ll know a few months ago when MIA’s new album, /\/\/\Y/\, dropped, some were speculating that the typographic nature of it’s title led to it’s commercial failure because it’s pretty much impossible to Google.

Go ahead. Try it. Not a single god damned thing on the first page of those results relates to MIA (and I’m not saying this is why the album tanked – it tanked because it’s garbage) but that is a bit of interesting phenomena. It’s much the same with Witch House, google some, if not most of those names, you pull back jack shit.

Then there’s the fact that Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages featuring mixes (and whose comment sections will flourish with links to new things) will just up and vanish – sometimes they’ll last for a week, other times, hours – and we’ve got ourselves a genre that only seems to exist when people want it to. A true Ghost In The Machine (which also happens to be what called their piece on Witch House but fuck them)

Fuck it, enough talk. It’s too early and all I really wanted to do was share some of this stuff with you guys – here it is.

B▲L▲M▲C▲B
White Ring
Creep

†‡† – Story of Isaac
Story Of Isaac † † Haunted House MIX by Story of Isaac

Tearist

Cosmotrpia De Xam’s blogspot which has a shitton of mixes.

If you feel like buying any of this stuff (I bet it’d sound fucking dope on vinyl) Disaro (one of the only two record companies that I know of signing artists and putting this stuff out) has a pretty nice site

I’m not gonna spoonfeed you guys this stuff. If you want it, click links and search around. And then share it with me.

Once again, big ups to Warren Ellis for putting me on to this stuff.

PS: Damn. I didn’t even realize this was the first post of the New Year. Good on me.