Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ravings!! P1.2: Why you should buy music!!!

Our good friends at Grindingtapes made this little public service announcement a while ago, sorry for sitting on it so long:

Just one good reason to support your local record store. Well, maybe not 'good,' just technically a reason.
On an unrelated note, these guys (we hear) are working on some random collaborations. Well, they always are, but according to our intel, there's a pretty hot shower scene out there...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ravings P1!!: "Music Nowadays Sucks"

Hello ones and alls,
Here at RMMM, we realize how little we've been reviewing/interviewing, and wanted to apologize. Things are very quite busy behind the scenes, and it takes a bit of time to run a blog. But we figured it's actually easier just to rant and rave, rather than give you useful music tips, and besides, we have a name to earn on this blog.

Our first question actually comes from a HS friend whom we haven't seen in a few years, and whom hasn't actually posed a question: why does music suck? Actually: why does music nowadays suck?
Our position: you're not listening in the right places. But maybe there is a reason there are no more Pink Floyds and Tom Petties.
And, to clarify: we don't actually like Tom Petty that much - this friend does, and cited Petty as an example of 'good ole music.'

His answer: people are stupid. This is true. But we don't believe people from the 50s and 60s are any smarter than people nowadays (I mean, they were doped and drugged up most of the time, and what little brainpower hippies had was quickly disposed of in ashtrays). We'd like to think there's another answer that no one's addressed: technology. When radios used to look like this, and Elvis had a record player in his car (I'm trusting Ivan and Alyosha's Tim Wilson on this nifty little trivia), you had to sit around, take time out of your day, just to listen to music. And radio plays, and news, etc. etc. How many people do that nowadays?
Did TV kill the radio star? Not so much; we think this guy's the culprit. Yes, that pyle you see in front of you is most likely how you take in your musical diet, and certainly how people have judged bands for the past several decades. Remember that recording scene in the music movie "Once?" The sound producer pops the demo into the car and drives around - the final test of whether something's good (and will sell). Instead of sitting in front of a radio and really listening to what's going on, "radio music," or really "car radio music" is that stuff that's in the background because you have more pressing things to do, ie, not crash your car and die. You probably won't pop in Coltrane or Beethoven in the car, unless you're an artsy snob or a serial killer, and definitely not Ornette Coleman (though honestly, I could never get him even lying down and with a stiff drink). So what works in a car? Stuff with a strong beat, stuff that's singable (as long as no one's around), and stuff that's not horribly psychologically complex. Not the Antlers, for instance.
There's some bad, but there's also some good, too. You can't listen to Beethoven's 3rd all day and night. At least not without the FBI knocking on your door. But as technologies change, and how we listen/ or watch music, musicians (artists, more generally) need to keep adapting their techniques to reach the audience on that medium. Television, after all, is most likely the culprit for Madonna's cone-shaped breasts. Link not provided (you're welcome).

The question my friend didn't ask, and didn't think to ask, is this: where's it going? I dunno. The ipod/ portable music player... you can run with that, right? Maybe heavier dance-beat stuff will be more popular because now you can run with it - unlike "skip-protection" CD players. Maybe this guy will get his day (a good thing). Maybe people won't really run with it, but choose stuff that you really have to listen to - Beethoven and Coltrane again. There's also Spotify (which stinks, which we personally hate, which everyone seems to have) which adds social media to the mix. Maybe more posturing ("I'm a fan of 'Is Tropical,' are you???"), but still another technology bands will adapt to. There's certainly a buck in that racket.

Yes, this is all negative, and terribly pessimistic, but still, our friend is jaded, and stupid, and horribly, tragically wrong. There most certainly is good music. It just takes a little while to find it. Start looking at musicians who can't afford TVs or cars or computers.
(We'll save our rant about what's wrong with music reviewing for another time.)
Go out! Sample music! Take recommendations from your friends! It's definitely out there, and it's definitely worth finding.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Field Music plumb the brilliant depths of the concept album/suite

Field Music - "Plumb"
Memphis Industries
- out today!
4 / 5

We liked their previous double-album Measure, and really, we like Plumb even more. Field Music has drawn comparisons to Electric Light Orchestra, and on this latest release, they certainly show ELO's ambitious sense of suite. As fifteen tracks (roughly 2-3 min each), you get a sense of incredible journey, of a brilliant, coherent travel through so many different shades of their innermost creativity. As a thorough (and rather gorgeous) suite, it's difficult to pick out a single or two that describes this album, and that's our main reason for loving this album. Yet, if you absolutely need a sense of their orchestral, playful precision, try out "A New Town" and "Just Like Everyone Else." Our only minor regret is that the ending doesn't quite complete this concept album, that it doesn't sum up the preceding 40 minutes and leave us with a sense of closure. But when you consider how far they've taken you on this one, that truly is a daunting task. Recommended.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Moments of animal joy in Shearwater's eighth

Shearwater - "Animal Joy"
Sub Pop
-out tomorrow
4 / 5

We're glad we caught wind of Shearwater's latest installment of powerful, emotive songwriting. As a follow-up to The Golden Archipelago, Animal Joy is a bit rockier, a bit more straightforward (check out the drums on 2-and-4 on several tracks), and makes us a bit more wistful for the sheer gorgeousness of that last one. This feel is culminated in "Immaculate," a song that drives too directly, is raised too much to be a 'radio-friendly' track. That is not the Shearwater we know. "Dread Sovereign," "Believing Makes it Easy," and "Insolence," those are what Shearwater is all about; these are some of the several tracks that makes glad we caught up with this Texan band. They are masters of depth and emoting, they are a go-to band when you need a slow-burner to eclipse the sun. Of the eleven here, only 2-3 fall through the cracks; yet, we highly recommend you put your ear to this album, especially those three above, if you want songs meant to crush your gut. Did we say to pick this one up? - might as well restate that, in case you missed it: recommended.