Tuesday, February 22, 2011 

Show your work

Last week saw my review of the very fine indeed new Fujiya & Miyagi record go up at PopMatters.

Also, I finally got off my ass and wrote up something for my beloved International Mixtape Project. The results are here.


"You can't look on that as a lost sale."

Neil Gaiman is a pretty wonderful writer, but this short video might be my favourite thing he's done. The model he talks about applies slightly more directly to books than to music, but I think it holds. Look at a band like Across Tundras and ask them whether they think offering up their albums has reduced sales.

Yes, there are kids who will download every album that comes out in a year, and yes there is a small minority who will never buy anything ever again (because they're assholes), but in general humans want to support the things they love. I am firmly, 100% in favour of artists getting paid for what they do (and as Warren Ellis says, you don't go and steal a house a builder bought), but I have never understood how passing things around before you buy them threatens that.

Friday, February 18, 2011 

I went insane

I haven't had anything harder than spicy chicken vindaloo tonight, but this video makes me feel like I've tripped a couple of balls. Like I said in the last post, this is a very strong contender for my favourite albums of 2011, even in February.


The people in the know are just people in the know

This week I had CSSLP training all week, which I meant I was at a computer listening to music much, much less than normal. Today's feel good hits, then, is every single song that popped unbidden into my head during this week's training.

Clinic - Mr. Moonlight1
Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson2
Noxagt - Mek It Burn3
Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Engineers - What Pushed Us Together4
Triángulo de Amor Bizarro - De la Monarquía a la Criptocracia5
Guided By Voices - Little Whirl
The Magnetic Fields - From a Sinking Boat
Oasis - Little By Little6
Bloc Party - Waiting for the 7.18
The Gritty MIDI Gang - Valentine's Day7
Jens Lekman - Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song8
Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart9
The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice
Tommy James and the Shondells - Crimson & Clover10
Mogwai - How to be a Werewolf11
Sleater-Kinney - Hollywood Ending
The Shins - Mine's Not a High Horse12

1 Prompted by, of all things, Grant Morrison's old Doom Patrol run.
2 Yes, this, but also I grew up listening to these guys and still like a surprising number of their songs.
3 Oh thank god this was on YouTube.
4 This is just such a perfect fucking album.
5 I would like to issue a public, full, and embarrassed apology to my friend Andrew Casillas for not listening to this album earlier. Not only would it have made my 2010 list easily (in the right mood, it might have been #1!), but this song in particular is my favourite new song is a really long time. Video is briefly NSFW.
6 There's a lot that's risible about this song, and Oasis in general, but I still have a soft spot for a surprising amount of their work. Blame my age when "Wonderwall" was released, I guess.
7 I am AMAZED that this is on YouTube. Amazing song, little-known band, already broken up. So if anyone wants the MP3, email me, I guess. I was really looking forward to an album, but this is the only song I ever heard. Also, this popped into my head completely separate from any thoughts about Monday.
8 Jens Lekman gets tagged as folk a lot, but listen to the production on this song; I think he's a secret influence on a whole ton of this chillwave/hypnogogic pop/whatever stuff that's been around recently (anything from Twin Shadow to Memoryhouse, really)
9 I don't think much of Death Cab in general, but that bassline is what I hear when I'm not thinking of anything. I think the decision to go creepy might have been a good one for them.
10 Legitimately one of the greatest songs ever, the full five-minute "drowning in acid" version.
11 I haven't listened to the new Radiohead yet, and Low have a new one in April, but this is a really strong album of the year candidate for me.
12 I don't listen to Chutes Too Narrow that often, but when I do I pretty much just sit back and marvel at the craftsmanship of the songs. That's not something I do very often.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 

Most days you're lazy

Feel good hits of the 15th of February, 2011:

U2 - Some Days Are Better Than Others
Phoenix - Consolation Prizes
Spacemen 3 - Amen
Engineers - Clean Coloured Wire
Blue Rodeo - What Am I Doing Here
Radiohead - A Wolf at the Door
Iron & Wine - Radio War
The Mountain Goats - Southwood Plantation Road
Thom Yorke - Black Swan
Mogwai - Burn Girl Prom Queen

Thursday, February 03, 2011 

Your speech is so free of life

PopMatters has my review of the new Engineers album up today. For the first time I wasn't that impressed, although hopefully the review lays out what I think the mitigating factors are. If anything, you should all check out their previous record, Three Fact Fader, which I gave 8/10 at the time and now suspect I underrated. Easily one of the best shoegaze (or whatever) records of the last decade or so.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011 

The fourth Yardbird

Oh, so the White Stripes broke up. The only person I've seen with the same reaction as me to the news is the ever-wonderful Tal Rosenberg. I like "Seven Nation Army" and a few others just fine, thanks, but my prime concern is that this gives Jack White more free time to continue distracting Alison Mossheart from the Kills (whose Midnight Boom is better than any album White's ever put out).

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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