Spirit Photography put out a 7" on Sacred Bones Records. The A Side is called Time is Racing and the B side is Into the Heart Of. I probably wouldn't be reviewing this 7" if I hadn't seen them live, because they were fucking amazing live. I should write a review of the Spectrum/Crocodiles/Spirit Photography sommee ddayyyyy. You can download it and see the cover art at the amazing Pukeos site. On May 27th, 2009 they are playing the Soda Bar. That should be a good show. This is a good 7". I don't want to spoil the mysteryfun so... cfheck it out...
Dedicated to classics and hits.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Summer tour w/ Kevin Greenspon, Runners [mem. of No Paws (no lions) + Rapid Youth.
07-30 Los Angeles, CA - Echo Curio
07-31 Santa Barbara, CA - TBD
08-01 San Luis Obispo, CA - TBD
08-02 Bay Area, CA - TBD
08-03 Davis, CA - TBD
08-04 "Northern CA" - TBD
08-05 Arcata, CA - TBD
08-06 Modesto, CA - TBD
08-07 "Bay Area or Northern CA" - TBD
08-08 Sacramento, CA - "House"
08-09 Central Valley, CA - TBD
08-10 Central Valley, CA - TBD
08-14 Las Vegas, NV - TBD
08-15 Phoenix/Tempe, AZ - TBD
08-16 AZ or deep Inland Empire, CA - TBD
08-17 Los Angeles, CA
Mulligan Family Fun Center, Murrieta
If you want to understand what's going on up here you need to check out the Mulligan Family Fun Center on Murrieta. Smoke a joint first. Then you will "get it." If you grew up in a California suburb you should also get the joke by imagining your own variation of a "family fun center"
Ok so Rapid Youth is the Rosetta stone of the Temecula bed room recording scene. This is like the new version of what garage bands used to be in the atlantic era. Except it's the recording, not the playing that is the significant achievement here.
The key to unlocking the puzzle is the band Rapid Youth (myspace)
These are the members of Rapid Youth:
TRAVIS VON SYDOW
BRENT WYMAN (drummer)
Now each member has their own "side project" which is also in keeping with the characteristics of the bed room recording scene: more, rather then less output.
TRAVIS VON SYDOW: Ancient Crux (hype machine ancient crux)
BRENT MITZNER : Trudgers (myspace)
TYLAR HARAN: Twin Lion (myspace)
And then Family Time Music is run by Sam Woodson. And does each member have their own record label as well?
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Cool Poster, not for a San Diego area show, though.
In the last month I have been surprised to learn that myspace still exists, and that cool people are still using it to discovery new music. I used to believe that the significance of myspace was to allow artists to hook-up with either amateur music enthusisasts or the general public (bypassing music industry professionals) but now I realize I was wrong: Myspace allows artists to either increase their rate of artist activity (indirectly increasing their appeal to amateur music enthusiasts) OR it allows them to bypass amateur music enthusiasts directly and hook up with music industry professionals.
Anyway, here is another cool band I'm listening to on Myspace- they are called Reading Rainbow, from Philadelphia. They have a 7" coming out in May and I can't wait to hear it. Check it out.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Historically, the number of both music industry professionals and amateur music enthusiasts was limited to the audience for a given artist or composition. This group of enthusiasts began to multiply after the invention of the printing press (sheet music) but was largely static until the invention of the phonograph in the 20th century.
After the phonograph was invented there was a dramatic increase in both the absolute number of amateur music enthusiasts and music industry professionals. In fact it could be argued that the music industry itself only began after the invention of the phonograph, since 18th and 19th century music industry "professionals" were more like theater managers then business executives.
The advent of recorded music drastically altered the nature of the relationship between music industry professionals and amateur music enthusiasts. Historically, enthusiasts were as or more important to individual artists theb music professionals. For example: the king or queen who patronized a 17th century composer is an example of an "amateur music enthusiast.". During this period, the relationship between an artist and amateur music enthusiasts was way, way, way more important then their relationship with a mostly non-existent "general public." After the invention of the phonograph, that balance reversed as music industry professionals were able to profit from sales of recordings to the general public. Amateur music enthusiasts could have difficulty even accessing artists not proferred by music industry professionals, let alone the general public.
The growth of the general public in this period was of course, huge and for the first time the importance of the general public surpassed the importance of amateur music enthusiasts. Recorded music in fact allowed music industry professionals to by-pass amateur music enthusiasts, whose presence became limited to outre genres and large metropolitan areas.
At the same time that the nature of the relationship between music industry professionals and amateur music enthusiasts shifted, the absolute number of amateur music enthusiasts sky rocketed as recorded music and mechanisms to play recorded music became affordable and available world wide.
These "new" amateur music enthusiasts entered a world where their relationships with artists were governed/controlled by music industry professionals.
The impact of internet technology is to again re balance the relationship between music industry professionals and amateur music enthusiasts in reference to artists.
Music industry professionals continue to control physical and psychological access to the general public, but they have largely lost control of the relationship between artists and amateur music enthusiasts, creating the potential for indivdual artists to obtain the attention of the general public without surrendering control to non-artist controlled music industry professionals. This shift also allows individual artists to control their relationship with music industry professionals to a much greater degree and thus influence the methods which are used to attract the attention of the general public or "passive listeners."
Posted by catdirt at 3:17 PM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Passive listeners, by definition, do not seek out new music. They are a huge percentage of the general public so unfortunately they are the most important audience because of their sheer bulk.
Passive listeners will consume music it if it intersects their physical or pyschological environment. The music must intrude on their day to day existence and generate a strongly positive association.
However, these listeners will react postively to basically whatever is put in front of them due to patterns of behavior established by consumer psychology. The mere provision of music to passive listeners often generates income for artists. For example, people who buy gum and magazines while waiting to check out at the grocery store. Or more broadly the behavior labeled "impulse buying."
The gatekeepers "know" what passive consumers "want." And monopolizing that knowledge allows them to maintain their position and authority over time. These gatekeepers are sometimes but not always "music industry people." They may also be "amateur enthusiasts" but those two roles may well be in conflict.
Artists and enthusiasts basically can't influence the "knowledge" that gatekeepers have about what passive consumers "want" because it is the role of the gatekeeper to know that information, and not be told it by non-professionals.
However, music industry professionals can influence one other in terms of selection of artists/property to the passive listeners. This relationship represents the considerable depth of the music industry in the United States. There are music industry professionals whose sole role is to represent artists: To take an artist from obscurity to being consumed by passive listeners in collaboration with other music industry professionals. You can see how these invisible encounters make a huge difference in which artists are succesful over time.
These encounters have literally nothing to do with the relationship between artists and amateur enthusiasts, and doesn't even attempt to assess what, if any, impact amateur enthusiasts may or may not have on the passive consumers that constitute the bulk of the general public.
Nobody blogs about licensing negotations, but they are a worthy a subject of interest for artists. Using licensing negotiations as an example you can see how artists have separate interest then amateur music fans. Pitchfork does not report on who got what licensing deal. There is no "business section" on either Stereogum or Brooklyn Vegan (although broad analysis of music industry business trends occurs some on Idolator and is the sole purpose of Coolfer.)
But looking at the pitchfork model, you can see how increased artist activity can generate the necessary "energy" to draw music industry "attention" and exposure to the general public through gatekeeper activity. The gatekeepers now "know" that passive consumers like band x by observing the interaction between artists and amateur music enthusiasts.
You can observe how collaboration between artists and amateur music enthusiasts can alter the "knowledge" of what passive listeners "like." My mother listening to blondie and the talking heads this weekend on a radio station in San Francisco, this weekend.
There is always a dialogue between artists generated purely by the music industry (atlantic model) and those generated by interaction between the artists themselves and amateur enthusiasts (pitchfork model) this dialogue is nothing "new" but rather is a collary of the existence of the music industry itself. I.e thr "heavy users" in fast food industry jargon. Think of jazz artists, for example for a non recent example. Depending on the whims of taste, certain genres may identify more with one model then the other. Hard to imagine pitchforky-teen-pop, less hard to imagine atlanticy freak folk, easy to imagine pitchforky noise rock.
The music industry's desire to maintain its gatekeeper function places it in conflict with an equally desirable goal of increasing interest among amateur music enthusoasts, passive listeners and artists themselves. To the extent interest increases among amateur musical enthusiast, the music industry control over passive listeners is lessened. As industry specific elite professionals, music industry "people" see that activity as a threat.
Posted by catdirt at 1:56 PM
The foundational observation here is that any system is just a composition of individuals linked by interests. By looking at groups of individuals, the system reveals itself. Another foundational observation is humans like to discover "new" things. But those things need to be familar, relvelant and interesting. That's kind of a contradiction, but true none the less.
The community that breaks bands is comprised of three sub groups: the musicians, amateur music enthusiasts, and music industry professionals.
An idealized model of this inter-relationship is presented in diagram one, above. In the idealized, (i.e. non real) model, artists, amateurs and industry professionals work together harmoniously in such a way that "cream" rises to the top. This has never been how the music industry has worked anywhere ever.
The pre-internet, or "Atlantic" model is represented in diagram two, above. The Atlantic model is clearly hierarchical, in line with general modes of capitalist development in the 20th century. At the top we see music industry professionals- exemplified by the "major labels" of the post WWII era. Beneath them are the artists. Collaboration between the music industry professionals and artists is then proffered to the amateur music enthusiasts, typically via mass-market advertising techniques. Success with the amateur music enthusiasts results in the dedication of greater financial resources in an attempt to create interest with the general public, and viability for the artist involved.
The post internet model replaces the intitial interactiom between artist and professional with a dialogue between enthusiasts and the musicians. Only afterwards are music industry professionals involved. This might be called the "pitchfork" model. The "pitchfork" model is demonstrated below:
The pitchfork model suggests a tri-parite schema of development for young musical artists seeking careers within the world of popular music:
1. Self-release or strong live performance creates interests among community of musicians and/or amateur enthusiasts.
2. Strong feedback to stage one products leads to interest among discrete elements of music industry professionals: booking agents, managers, independent record labels.
3. Strong feedback to stage two leads to full engagement by music industry professionals and an attempt to engage the attention of the general public.
All three models assumes a large community of "passive" music consumers who make decisions based on recommendations derived solely from music industry professionals.
Posted by catdirt at 11:44 AM
A "backlash" is a popular negative reaction to something which has gained popularity, prominence, or influence. Although sometimes, a backlash represents a categorical rejection of the idea, aesthetic, product, or fad in question, it is usually a reflection of a collective resentment of that thing's ubiquity in culture and media, rather than a denial of its existence. The term is commonly applied to racial discrimination and religious discrimination against minority groups, as well, such as in response to certain events or circumstances (e.g. the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001).
Backlash- something to avoid.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Book Review: The Social Construction of Reality
by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann
If you're going to make it the culture-industrial complex (i.e. music industry) you really should have some understanding and insight into how people view reality. Whether you're trying to get people to buy your record, come to your show or listen to your radio station- it's all part of the same influencing project, more or less. In a certain sense, the Social Consturction of Reality is probably the only book a non-specialist needs to read about this topic.
This book, in language as clear and straight-forward as you're likely to get, explains how reality is constructed from social intercourse. The analysis here starts from what normal people consider reality: being "wide awake" and experiencing "everyday" life. All of reality proceeds from face-to-face encounters that occur during the normal course of every-day life:
The social reality of everyday life is apprehended in a continuum of typifications, which are progreesively anonymous as they are removed from the "here and now" of the face-to-face situation. P. 33
Based on these encounters, humans create bodies of knowledge and categories of interactions. As a society grows more complex, these face-to-face encounters become abstracted into "expertise" and then passed down to new members of a society (children.):
Primary socialization thus accomplishes what is the most important confidence trick that society plays on the individual- to make appear necessit what is in fact a bundle of contongencies and this make meaningful the accident of his birth. P. 135
In this schema, it doesn't matter whether the society is pre-historic, religious, philosphical or scientific- the transmission process of reality via the use of expert knowledge is the same.
Over time, clusters of ideas/knowledge become institutions- like a religion or a mythology for example. People use ideas to explain "why."
Ultimately, Social Construction of Reality concludes with an observation as elegant as it is profound:
All symbolic universes and all legitimations are human products; their existence has it's base in the lives of concrete individuals, and has no empirical status apart from these lives. P. 128
In other words- reality is what we make it. Or to be more precise: Reality is what generations of humans living and dying over time make it. No more, no less. This is reality.
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