I bought this old Bonnie Raitt album for three quid in HMV last week. It was among a bunch of Warner Bros offers. I then went to the Bonnie Raitt section to see if there were any other titles. There weren't.
This is odd because Raitt has made 16 albums and most of them will still nominally be in the catalogue. HMV has always prided itself on catalogue. It was the place you came to get the things your local record shop couldn't afford to stock. It certainly did when I worked there and it still did a few years ago.
HMV must have slowly stopped re-ordering records like Bonnie Raitt's — and there are tens of thousands of artists like Raitt from all generations and styles — as they went out of stock. You can't blame them. If they're struggling to pay the rent and make payroll they're not going to buy in stock that they might not sell for another year, if at all. And if HMV, who represent 38% of the U.K. record retail market, stop ordering records like that then after a while record companies stop manufacturing records like that.
There, my friends, goes the Long Tail.
HMV, particularly in its big shops, was a key patron of the Long Tail. It would stock your cultish folk record. It would keep the entire catalogue of classical composers. It would order your music magazine. When Virgin went, HMV was the only place keeping the Long Tail going.
It's a mistake to think that when HMV is gone it will instantly be a better day for independent record retailers. The majority of music sold in this country comes from the big hits which are increasingly sold as downloads. That leaves the few remaining record shops to sell the rest. That's if the record companies, once 38% of their market is taken away, think it's worthwhile to produce it in the traditional way and to support the star-making machinery and the distribution experts, salesmen, PRs, pluggers, reviewers, and image-makers who have traditionally laboured in it. The big record companies may not think it's worth their while and the small ones won't be able to afford it.
Put it this way. This time next year people may have stopped saying, 'Have you heard the new album by...'
While Steve Varndell adds:
I have a Spotify account so I can listen to Bonnie Raitt's albums whenever I like, not to mention any number of artists I would otherwise never have been able to listen to. The model of shipping discs everywhere is just far too inefficient to compete. Also it's cold outside. By contrast, the internet is so efficient at delivering content that I can go on services like Soundcloud and listen to artists who don't even have a distribution deal. The Tail's never been longer from my perspective.
I don't know about you guys, but 98% of my life is spent either listening to music, or watching videos, which is why I feel comprehensively qualified to tell you this:
I've been lucky enough to hear some tracks from Vox Mod's upcoming album (the ungoogle-ably titled: SYN-ÆSTHETIC) and I can tell you that if there is a potentially really cool video in the making it's for the lead off joint on that jawn titled "Iridescent Asteroid Mists".
I would tell you who the impossibly cool guest on that track is, but in order to hear even the album, I surrendered to a year-long background investigation, upon approval of which I was then kidnapped, sworn to secrecy, taken to an undisclosed launch site, shot into the vacuum of space, and left naked and alone—allowed only to drink and breathe in the masters from the album. Nurtured by the noise, it was only when I had gone beyond zen-like contemplation, through unbearable stimulation, into a state of whimpering fetal abandon, when I was enlightened forever, recovered, and returned to Earth.
The first time I met PSmoov I was on my way to a Mad Rad/Champagne Champagne show. He was alone, looking lost, thin as rail and diminutive; not to mention heading away from the venue he was supposed to be playing in a few minutes. We talked briefly about his work w/Mad Rad, Fresh Espresso, and his his recently released Face Scrunchers Vol. 2. I could barely hear him on out on the street, but I could see his pupils were dilated big as saucers. He was deliriously high on something and just barely making it through my barrage of bullshit (dude, can't believe you sampled Supertramp!). At that show I had been old school, stone cold sober roughly two years myself. Everyone else was hammered, though, and I was not as shocked as all the girls in the crowd were when PSmoov lost his way in the lights and fell off the stage (to Smoov's credit I don't think he missed rapping a single bar). That was the third of three Mad Rad shows I’d ever seen. Each had progressively shown better music and lyricism, each came with more drunken antics.
Shortly thereafter PSmoov's efforts to kick a few nasty habits became very public. He and Rik Rude performed new material that blew people away at Sasquatch in 2012. Bossalona was released a month later in June. I caught the Fresh Espresso album release party at Neumo’s. P Smoov looked different this time, healthy even. He was manning the merch booth, sipping red bulls and playing dice with Radjaw. He looked like someone trying to keep busy doing other things. Wherever he went, Radjaw could be found, guarding him like a big brother. Despite equipment malfunctions that night Fresh Espresso’s performance is the best one I’ve ever seen. Shaprece sang, and Darwin, Radjaw and OCNotes DJ’d, all was right with in Out For Stardom world. He moved away from Seattle, then back. Now he’s painting, producing, and living in Seattle again.
I caught up with PSmoov again in December at his art show at Bon Voyage in Pioneer Square. He was there promoting some art work under his moniker Ten Hundred. This time when we talked his he seemed at least as tall as me, despite being much shorter. This time with clear eyes, we talked briefly about what makes us tick. Despite being late at night the little shop began to fill up with people who had come to see his work. Before I left I got him to agree to let me pry into his personal life via email and share it. I thought that for someone who had such a painful and triumphant year all at once, he’d be a great person to start out 2013 by talking to:
Rapper Lupe Fiasco was thrown offstage and escorted off the premises of a Washington, D.C. concert hall during a pre-inauguration concert Sunday night, after going on an anti-war, anti-Obama rant, according to concertgoers.
Josh Rogin, a reporter with Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted late Sunday, “Lupe Fiasco just got thrown off stage here at the Hamilton Live after he went on an anti-Obama diatribe mid set.”
“So Lupe played one anti-war song for 30 min and said he didn’t vote for Obama,” he continued, ”and eventually was told to move on to the next song…Lupe refused to move to the next song so a team of security guards came on stage and told him to go.”
HMV, the British multinational entertainment retailing company, is currently in trouble. The media behemoth with 273 stores spread across 8 countries, has gone into administration. That's Brit-speak for their shit being all fucked up.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Retired Cornish College of the Arts professor and revered avant-garde jazz trombonist/composer Julian Priester (aka Pepo Mtoto) has been struggling with kidney problems, which prevent him from touring, thereby cutting off his primary source of income. Therefore, Priester and his wife are facing financial hardship. Friends have set up a page on a fundraising site called youcaring.com to help them take care of healthcare costs.
Priester has been a fixture on Seattle's jazz scene for 35 years and has played with an impressive array of world-class musicians, including Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, Max Roach, Sunn O))), and Charlie Haden.
Read more about Priester's predicament and donate money to the cause, if you can, here.
Brutal Vaginas: Author Laina Dawes sheds light on being a black female in the metal scene with her new book, What Are You Doing Here?.
Buy, Buy My Darling: The Misfits are releasing a new live album, Dead Alive on February 5th!
Get Your Snark On: New Season of Portlandia starts this Friday!
Punk Money Burning A Hole In Your Pocket?: Good! Cause for $199 you can purchase the new NOFX box set including ALL released material and a pair of Fat Mike's fudge-tracked boxers* (*Fat Mike's fudge-tracked boxers may or may not exist).
Send Your Eardrums to Rehab: You love Motorhead. You love headphones. Then you'll love Motorhead headphones.
Pot Head: Lil Wayne gets the word "BAKED" tattooed on his head. He's just doing what we're all thinking.
I Can't Drive...65!!!: Driving 90mph in a 65mph zone while possessing marijuana doesn't bode well with CHIP. Watch Frank Ocean sweeten the deal with a suspended license.
Trippy Canvas: What can you make out of ink, white-out and, coffee? This psilocybin of a video.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Easy Street Records' Queen Anne location will be closing Jan. 18 (the West Seattle branch remains open and in fact recently signed a 15-year lease). Owner Matt Vaughan posted the sad news on the store's website this morning. Here's an excerpt from Vaughan's announcement:
After fulfilling our 10-year lease, our landlord was looking for another long-term lease. We felt this might be risky, particularly with the current economic landscape of retail and some changes that had affected the neighborhood. Furthermore, the rent that the landlord was looking for was significantly more than what we had been paying. Initially, we were fortunate in negotiating a couple one-year leases. That is what kept us here these last couple of years.
The new tenant, Chase Bank, will take possession of 20 Mercer St on Jan 21. We thank our committed customers, this beautiful neighborhood, our fellow merchants and neighbors, and all of the music lovers and musicians that supported Easy Street Records at this location. We will miss all of you and cherish the memories forever.
Easy Street's QA store had slipped a bit in its stocking of adventurous releases over the last year-and-a-half when it let go of super-knowledgeable employees Jefferson Petrey and Chris Bendix and tightened its spending budget, but it still had one of the city's best-curated electronic-music sections and music-magazine racks, and its used-vinyl bins always yield great finds. This is a big loss for music fans.
Guess Who Forgot to Wrap It Up?: For the next nine months bathe in the media onslaught that will reign supreme and pummel your very existence cause SOMEONE (I'm not going to mention any names *cough* Kanye West and Kim Kardashian *cough*) had to go and get KNOCKED UP!
Unfortunate News: Singer-songwriter and musician, Bobby Womack has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Cozy Up Next to Your Harmonica: It's cold outside! Hunker down and watch hundreds of FREE (for now) films documenting American folk and roots music culture via Folkstreams.
Slip It In: Henry Rollins hesitates to think "lyrically" anymore, which doesn't make him any less opinionated.
Screw Your Bicycle!: Make an offer on Freddie Mercury's 1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and be classier than all your friends for life.
Down in It: No longer laying dormant, Trent Reznor busies himself with the release of Nine Inch Nails greatest hits collection and, something that may interest you Spotify users, an up-and-coming music streaming service called Daisy.
Get Your Ears Wet: Santa plans on destroying your stocking hung with care by hastily shoving Hot Water Music's Live In Chicago 3 LP/2 CD/1 DVD release into it. Santa will also drop a deuce in the toilet and not flush.
MDMA in the U.S.A.: The hiphop community is reportedly getting their kicks off a derivative of ecstasy called Molly, which is enjoying a popular uprising. Wasn't the Chronic good enough?
If a curious report from the Sun is to be believed, Sir Paul McCartney will front a Nirvana reunion with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic at Wednesday's massive 12-12-12 benefit concert.
The event is set to take place at Madison Square Garden and will benefit Hurricane Sandy victims (a live stream of the concert will be available on HuffPost Entertainment). McCartney would reportedly take the place of the late Kurt Cobain.
“I didn’t really know who they were," the Beatle said of being in the studio with Grohl and Novoselic. "They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time? And somebody whispered to me ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
The 12-12-12 benefit concert features an impressive line-up, including Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Kanye West, The Who and, of course, McCartney.
There is NO WAY Grohl and Novoselic would agree to something like this. None. Zero. Maybe they'll play together—that might be kind of cool, in fact. But playing with McCartney is NOT a Nirvana reunion—that's three notable musicians jamming, which happens all the time. The only way it'd be a "Nirvana reunion" is if they played a Nirvana song. But they will absolute not be doing a single Nirvana song. They wouldn't. Ever.
R.I.P.: Legendary pianist and jazz composer, Dave Brubeck, succumbs to heart failure at the age of 91.
You Can't Keep a Good Band Down: Alice in Chains have finished their follow up album to 2009's Black Gives Way to Blue—it's due out next year.
Ode to a Studio: Check out this trailer for Dave Grohl's (Nirvana/Foo Fighters) new film documentary, Sound City, uncovering the history of a truly monumental recording studio nestled in a California valley.
No Drama Jack: Jack White defends himself against the media for twisting his words and misquoting a statement he uttered concerning Lady Gaga.
Deiter Suggests: Kraftwerk are preparing to take London on an eclectic, electric journey in 2013, performing The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 at the Tate Modern, February 6-14.
It's a Small World After All: Disney, Pixar, and now Mastodon are teaming up for the sequel to 2001′s Monsters, Inc. Bringing metal to the masses has never been more kid-friendly.
When It Rains, It Pours: Queens of the Stone Age former bassist, Nick Oliveri, lays down vocals for a new QOTSA song that is sure to be rippin'. Also more Oliveri news, Kyuss/Kyuss Lives! will now be creating music and touring under a new name, Vista Chino!
Tune in, Cash Out: Dr. Dre cleans up with a landslide $110 million in income for the year, mostly due to the popularity of his headphone line, Beats By Dre headphones, leaving Paul McCartney, Justin Beiber, and Beyonce's millions earned look like chump change.
Calling All Hardcore Enthusiasts: Hydra Head records is winding down which is very, very unfortunate. In hopes of generating funds and raising general excitement, look forward to repressings of choice albums along with crazy deals from the Hydra Head inventory.
I'll Race Ya: A broken foot connected to the leg of Muse's lead singer, Matthew Bellamy causes cancelled shows in Stockholm, Malmo, and Oslo.
Voices Carry: A Michigan teacher is back to work today after a being suspended for playing a Macklemore song, "Same Love" for her middle school class.
Music for the Masses: What would happen if Pandora and Youtube had a baby? Get ready to be mildly blown away with Tubalr where you can customize video playlists, or just let the damn thing run wild.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 9:42 AM
A lot, actually. The veteran Seattle hard-rock group have announced the release date of their seventh album, Cosy Moments (April 2 on Kill Rock Stars), revamped their website, and landed a slot on the KRS showcase at next year’s SXSW. A quick listen to Cosy Moments reveals it to be possibly the strongest Kinski album since 2003’s Airs Above Our Station.
Quick!: Pull the new Shout Out Louds limited-edition 7-inch from the freezer and slap it on the turntable before it melts cause it's made out of fucking ice.
All This Legal Work Is Making Me Hungry: Home Depot and Pizza Hut deny claims they used Black Keys songs for commercial use, yet there is some kind of settlement being given to the band—weird.
Worse Than Tie-Dye: Yoko Ono wants to get her hands on your balls and your wallet. These overpriced, crotchety pieces from her new fashion collection are similar to her musical inclinations, awful and should never be administered to the public.
Yesterday NME.com reported that Andrew WK has been named a cultural ambassador to the Middle East, and the party animal would "travel to Bahrain to 'promote partying and positive power.'"
Andrew WK said: "This is a tremendous invitation. I'm very thankful to the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to visit a place I've never been before. I feel very privileged and humbled by the chance to represent the United States of America and show the good people of Bahrain the power of positive partying. I can hardly wait for this adventure!"
Crazy! And kind of neat, right? Sure.
But I hope you didn't book your plane ticket, Mr. WK. Salon.com is reporting that "The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain rescinds an invitation for a cultural exchange to the debauchery expert."
Noel Clay, a spokesperson from the State Department, said via phone that the invitation has been rescinded.
Calling it “a mistake and not appropriate,” Clay said the program has been canceled.