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Wild Animal Kingdom. WAKR! Olympia, Washington! Only you could have had a dream like “I love Guided by Voices. I love my friends’ bands. I’m going to make a collection of covers and distribute it!” What’s in the water out there? Acid dreams turn into reality in the PAC NW it seems…
Guided by Guided by Voices is an extremely limited collection, so if you like the band, or those 16 doing the covering, (so far we’ve got Pill Wonder, Bleeker and Brody and Martin Courtney IV), then you should get on this compilation ASAP.
Sam Franklin, AKA Fluffy Lumbers, takes on the melancholy “Club Molluska,” and gives it the hard-nosed treatment we all have come to love/appreciate. He employs the power of echoes and darkly draped guitar tones and then wails all over it.
“It’s just a runaway wooooorld.”
Fluffy Lumbers: Club Molluska
There’s something about whales. Perhaps it’s humanity’s closeness to them. They are smart like us, they are monogamous and rear children like us. (Do they cheat?) They are huge like us. They are under threat. Like us?
Mouthwings/ Arabella/ New Song/ Animal Tracks
Tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET music bloggers and writers convene at Newtown Radio in Bushwick, Brooklyn to discuss blogger ethics and by extension, the future of music writing.
The discussion is taking place during an episode of Underwater Visitations and features Chris Cantalini of Gorilla Vs. Bear/Forest Family Records, Ryan Schreiber, founder of Pitchfork Media, Michael McGregor of Chocolate Bobka/The Curatorial Club, Mark Schoneveld of Yvynyl/Trug Club and Sam Hockley-Smith of the FADER/Group Tightener. Emilie Friedlander of Visitation Rites, myself and Ari Stern of Underwater Peoples will also join in.
We encourage you to listen and call in with questions and comments! 347-725-4163.
Below is a basic outline of the discussion put together by myself and Friedlander of Visitation Rites. Questions we want to address come after a summary of why we are talking about this.
Why we’re having this forum:
We all know that media, music and criticism will soon live primarily online. This is both exciting and daunting because the Internet is currently a free zone where anything goes and boundaries have yet to be drawn. Because we are all actively shaping the shape of music publishing, we are responsible for making it as ethical and equitable as it can possibly be.
We begin this conversation by using the subject of blogger run labels as a jumping-off point for understanding the role of the blogger and the ethics of music writing online.
It goes without saying that we aim for this to be a constructive conversation. Everyone involved is in it for love, not hate.
What is the difference between what a blogger does and what a traditional music journalist and/or critic does? How do you define what you do?
Who do you write or blog for? Readers, bands, your community/friends?
Up until very recently, blogs would write about bands and then labels would see that they had press and potentially pick them up. Its obvious that you love the music you write about and want to make it accessible to the public, but why take the next step and release it on a physical format as well?
Is it ethical to sell something that you created the demand for? Do you think you could possibly lose the trust of your audience as well as your authority as a tastemaker if people know that you stand to possibly profit (either monetarily or though social capital) off the content of your opinions? Conversely, does it strenghten your reputation?
If a print music writer starts a label, that person has an obligation to refrain from writing about the artist he/she is releasing. Example: Hockley-Smith of the FADER/Group Tightener has clearly stated that he will not cover the artists he releases. Why is it that when we switch from print to online, these rules suddenly no longer apply? Is it really just the medium?
How do you distinguish between your label and a more traditional one? Are some smaller labels you admire put at a disadvantage because as a blog, you are already getting into the game with a built in PR outlet?
Many comments from online forums at Tiny Mix Tapes, Drowned in Sound, YVYNYL, have said that if the blogger is clear about his/her affiliations with the music being written about, everything is copacetic. Is transparency enough?
Is there an ethical or unethical kind of blogger run label? What would constitute going too far?
What are some rules that maybe we can agree are necessary to ensure that ethics in online music writing are valued? Should there be rules at all?
Directed by Sam Carroll, who is my Hampshire College buddy. Yoooo!
The conversation scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 10 at 5 p.m. is loosely about blogger ethics, blogger run labels, what it means to be a critic and writing online. Guests include Chris Cantalini of Gorilla Vs. Bear/Forest Family Records, Ryan Schreiber, founder of Pitchfork Media and Michael McGregor of Chocolate Bobka/The Curatorial Club. The conversation will be led by myself and Emilie Friedlander of Visitation Rites. Ari Stern of Underwater Peoples will also lend his perspective.
The first question we will ask of everyone involved is “Why do you blog?”
I started Microphone Memory Emotion because I wanted a place to write about music. I was tired of trying to get assignments with magazines and alt-weekly’s, and I was going to enough shows, so I thought what the heck, right? I initially began blogging for ME. I wanted to write and therefore I went to the Internet, where anyone can do it.
But after a few months and after I started finding that I actually had some readers, my perspective shifted. I started writing for them, which is what I was trained to do as a journalist. We write because people need information. Period.
It is increasingly clear to me that some music bloggers write for the artists and not for the readers. This is a difficult thing to steer clear of, for me, because to draw the line between writing about something and being a fan of something or somebody is very important. I think this is a trend in music blogging, of writing for the band instead of the readers. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they blog because they want the band’s they like to get successful or to have more fans. I don’t think this is a bad thing, it’s just not why I do it.
A lot of times when I write about a band or musician they will thank me. But I am not writing about that artist for them, I am doing it for my readers. I understand why they are thanking me, i’m helping get their music out there, but they should really thank my readers.
As in all forms of media, transparency is something we must all strive for. Even bloggers, who are clearly not held to the same standards as traditional reporters/writers/critics, though I believe they should be, should disclose their relationships with those they cover. It’s only fair to the reader, to know that they can trust the person they read.
BUT, if you’re blogging not for the reader but for the band, are the same rules of engagement necessary?
These are all questions we hope to discuss in the radio conversation.
Who do you blog for? And if you’re a blog reader, why do you continue to read certain blogs? Do you trust the bloggers? Does that play into your choice to read their blog? Or is it really only about taste?
The new album from folk/jam/neo-lo-fi Brooklyn/country NY band Woods, At Echo Lake, is a pulsating fire ball of high voltage music. This band is fun, sure, but At Echo Lake feels like a journey deep into the unknown, where everything that happens is surprising and sudden, but when it happens you feel like it was of your own doing. It was your creation.
You know that feeling when you look up at the sky, or at your hands, and all you can think is “WHYYYYY???” That’s what Woods’ music feels like. And because it’s music we’re talking about, you can also ask “HOWWWW???”
NYCTaper was there and recorded the whole thing. Check it out and download. Bask in the woody confusion.
This is a great example of the two sides of Woods. There’s the poppy side, which features Jeremy Earl’s nasal-toned vocals and actual songs (verse, chorus, verse) and then there’s the Woods Family Creeps side, which is the more experimental and jam based part of Woods. Both are equally fascinating and challenging. So here, you get both. FUCK YEAH.
Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast) is a modern girl. She’s gonna make dollars no matter what it takes. Except when she wants to go shopping instead. From Facebook:
cancelled a show tmr so i can go to fucking topshop and see ironman 2
Best Coast has already released a 7″ that you can get for free of you buy some headphones and now “This Is Real,” is available for free at Saucony.com! Yay!
The big BUT here is that Best Coast make good music. But be critical, we must.
Best Coast: This Is Real
Oddsac, the “Animal Collective movie,” is really horrifying. As in, it’s like, really scary! There are scenes in the just over 50-minute piece (I’ll call it that for lack of a better word) that had me shuddering.
Everyone in the audience last night at the Crosby Hotel in SoHo appeared to be squeamish. The faces in the crowd were as turned up and twisted as my own.
There is no story line, no narrative arc, in Oddsac, which was created by Animal Collective and Danny Perez. The frightfulness you feel comes from eye and ear stimulation. There is one scene at the end which has a pretty clear cut subject matter- a Nosferatu creature lurks in the woods while a family cooks marshmallows over a campfire and then, you guessed it, attacks them.
But what Oddsac lacks in context, continuity and structure, it makes up for in sheer shock value aided by disorienting insanity.
My film going partner was irritated by the piece: “Who’s going to watch that?” “Why make something that nobody will want to see?” But that wasn’t the point.
Avant-garde or experimental art, and i’d like to think art in general, is about the artists necessity to create for themselves, and not about creating something to be consumed by others. Had Animal Collective and Perez made something for the fans, it would have been a wholly different piece.
I don’t think Oddsac is something that people will want to watch again and again, though Perez told the Village Voice that he hopes they will. Animal Collective fans and experimental types will be turned on, surely, but this is not a “fun” music movie. Sections of the film were just psychedelic images, the swirly colors you see behind your eyes when you’re on drugs. (By the way, don’t watch this on drugs, you WILL freak out.)
Perez also told the Voice what he thinks Oddsac does: “It’s a hodge-podge approach that reflects the level of cultural saturation we’re in in the world.”
So, if we live in a confusing hodgepodge of a time, NOT making sense of it is the answer? It’s an interesting and very artsy perspective.
I’m glad I experienced Oddsac, but I’m not sure I can go for it again.
DVD is out June 29.
M.I.A. is obviously making a statement with the just released 9-minute video for her new song, “Born Free.” Fuck the police? It’s not that simple. No spoilers. Watch below, or at MIAuk for full screen.