Dedicated to classics and hits.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

COMPARED: 949 HOLIDAY HOOTENANNY vs. 91X WREX THE HALLS

FACT:  If there are two things blogs are about they are:

1) PANDERING TO YOUR AUDIENCE.
2) JUDGING THINGS.

  Now, if you take the clock back 12 months ago, I had basically "given" up on writing about both stations because they always get upset about anything "negative" you write about them.  FAIR ENOUGH.  Today?

     I now know that my friends are generating significant, measurable income from Satellite Radio, and that their music is "in rotation" on certain of those stations.  Closer to home, I receive income from "streaming" services like SPOTIFY- which is a MONSTER let me tell you- don't let the haters scare you off on that one.  Let's put it this way- if "sales" of SPOTIFY increases the sales of ITUNES has increased over the last decade, every indie label with a half-way relevant back catalog will be making 2-3k a month, minimum.  MINIMUM.

    At the same time, it is quite clear that the highest levels of music industry success are barred without "radio support."  Bob Lefsetz has his flaws as a journalist, but at least when he addresses a specific subject you know it's "relevant" and he wrote to that effect within the last seven days.  It's true, though- JUST LOOK AT THE 949 HOLIDAY HOOTENANNY vs. 91X WREX THE HALLS

FM 94/9 HOLIDAY HOOTENNANNY (PURCHASE TICKETS 40 DOLLARS)
Saturday, December 3rd, 2011.
JENNY CRAIG PAVILION AT USD

PRESENTED BY COORS LIGHT

MY MORNING JACKET  (15 million last.fm plays)
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB  (18 million!)
MATT & KIM (1.3 million)
DELTA SPIRIT (1.9 million)
THE BLACKOUT PARTY (3000)

   The big surprise for me here is Two Door Cinema Club clocking in with 18 million, undoubtedly because of their popularity in the UK over here they have a alt rock radio hit.  The other band that would fit here would be TEMPER TRAP with a similar formula: foreign, have a song currently in rotation on 94/9.  I'm surprised to see that Matt & Kim are only at 1.3 million last.fm plays- that is low for the amount of "push" that they get from having a hipster magazine as their label, but their presence is a testament to the fact that they MIGHT have a song on 94/9 in the near future.  Delta Spirit is the equivalent of a Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles, but you can see the difference here in that Delta Spirit is playing this show, Crocodiles are mixing their third record in the UK, and the Dum Dum Girls are touring Europe.  I would argue for all three bands they are conscious choices.  I don't know if Delta Spirit is played on Satellite radio or not.
  Blackout Party is the "local opener"- a nice tip of the hat, but def. not going to lead to a song being played on 94/9 in the future.

91X WREX THE HALLS
December 11th, 2011
VALLEY VIEW CASINO ARENA (EX-SPORTS ARENA)
PRESENTED BY LIVE NATION
(DECEMBER 10TH, 2011 PRESALE OVER AT LIVE NATION)

DECEMBER 10th


FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE (21 million)
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE (128 million)
HIGH FLYING BIRDS (OASIS 94 million)
CAGE THE ELEPHANT (6 million)
THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT  (3.9 million)
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS (5.2 million)

DECEMBER 11th

BLINK 182 (114 million)
SOCIAL DISTORTION (11 million)
PENNYWISE (12 million)
SWITCHFOOT (17 million)
EVERLAST (5 million)
MUTEMATH (8.6 million)

   So you can see it's basically a David vs. Goliath situation here.  You gotta root for the little guy and against Live Nation, don't you?  I feel fortunate not to need to "deal" with Live Nation or live shows generally.  I'm not unsympathetic to the "feelings" of gigantic corporations, but generally I wrote for them to fail, and this show has "success" written all over it.  Several of these Artists have artificially low last.fm plays due to being popular before Last.fm started keeping track: Social Distortion and Pennywise.  The first show will be an interesting data point on the draw of Death Cab For Cutie without an album out and Florence and the Machine.  Florence and the Machine- or more specifically, Florence herself, are on the kind of tear that ONLY a MAJOR LABEL IE UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC can provide.  I think Universal Republic is just the smashing together of Universal itself and Republic.

   I think the proper analysis with Florence is that SHE NEEDS ANOTHER RADIO HIT like their last one.  I think if you really want to cement your status as a major league Artist in the American music industry you either need two hits off the same record OR hits off of subsequent records.  SO NO PRESSURE.

  Social Distortion is an underrated band- their last record was actually number 4 on the pop album sales chart when it came out in January, and their radio catalog is like four or five songs deep.  You can see how 'uncool' Social Distortion is by searching their name over at Pitchfork.  But if you have the catalog, radio play and fan base of Social Distortion, you don't give a fuck what Pitchfork thinks.

  Pennywise is a different story, still active but not as cemented in the music industry as Social Distortion, with one enduring radio hit and a decent back catalog on Epitaph.  They weirdly released a record on Myspace in 2008- I suppose it was self released and then sold by the band rather then on Myspace Records.   Those were the days, huh?  Epitaph must not have wanted the record- you would think an artist would stay with that kind of label but what do I know.

  Everlast and Mute Math are alt rock radio favorites with major label support and middling chart success/presence.  Everlast never really matched his double platinum Whitey Ford Sings The Blues, but then, it was 1998- a time of hope.  "What It's Like" is an enduring alt rock radio classic, even though it topped out at #13 on the singles chart.  Ends also, get's played, but nothing since.  But my sense is that if you still have a song being played on alt rock radio, then you have a career in the sense that you can sustain yourself through music: advances, publishing, song writing, etc.

  I think if there is one Artist that I would expect to see on ONE of the two bills it would be SHE & HIM (16 million)  with  Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.  Zooey's TV show is a HIT, M. Ward is a savvy music vet and this is an easy way to get one of their Xmas standards on one of the alt rock stations down here, then they play the corresponding show in LA for KROQ and Live 105 in SF and they've got a Xmas radio hit. CHA CHING.   I guess Live Nation can't pull Zooey Deschanel to a radio show in San Diego.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

MEXICO BY ERICO VERISSIMO

BOOK REVIEW
MEXICO
by Erico Verissimo
p. 1957
Orion Press
Translated from the Portuguese by Linton Barrett


     I bought this book from the very excellent Sage Brush Press in Yucca Valley, CA. In fact, this book review is largely an opportunity for me to wax rhapsodic about this book store.  Not to be an effete snob, but a top notch used book store is the LAST thing you'd expect to find in Yucca Valley, except for the fact that Yucca Valley has some of the best antique shop/mall AND vintage/thrift stores in the Greater Southern California Area. AND Desert Hot Springs, CA is "on the way" to Yucca Valley, and that city has it's own vintage/thrift stores.

     As far as I can tell, Sage Brush Press is run by this couple.  Any GOOD book stores will have a "HOARDERS" vibe- it comes with the territory.  Recently, I've become interested in the idea that you could find some great old book from the 50s or 60s- something out of print- non-fiction- and reprint it with a new introduction in an "ebook" format, and then just pay royalties to the copy right holder like you do when you cover a song.

    I was very much in that mind as I read Erico Verissimo's "MEXICO"- which was printed in this nice hard back edition with a purple and orange 60s graphic cover.  I would think if you were doing an "Ebook" you'd want a similar kind of catchy cover- in the same way you need to have a good 1" by 1" version of an LP cover that you publish. Erico Verissimo is said by wiki to be, "an important Brazilian writer" who wrote both fiction and non-fiction.  Mexico is a combination travelogue/artistic criticism/philosophical musings along the lines of an Octavio Paz, a Borges, a Llosa, but a little more down to earth, and couched in the manner of a travelogue.   Seriously, this book, written in 1959, could appear in the New Yorker tomorrow and people would be like, "Yeah- interesting stuff, it's not dated at all."

  One of the things you could do in an ebook for a book like this book is link the text to public domain photographs of places discussed in the text.  Verissimo actually travels BY BUS through Mexico in the early 1950s and it's a pretty quiet time.  It sounds a lot like the world of Hemingway in the 1930s or Europe in general in the pre World War II era.  I.E. a pretty chill vibe.  Verissimo actually gets into lengthy conversations with some of the premier authors of the time/place (mexico/1950s) and they share their opinions about Mexico freely with the author.

  I can't help wonder how many of these books were actually printed to begin with.  500? 1000? 100?  I have no idea.  This literary Brazilian perspective on the Mexico of middle 20th century is interesting, that's for sure. A welcome shift in perspective, let's say.

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