Music Business

Catching Up On The Week (Aug. 28 Edition)

A few #longreads for your perusal as you relax this weekend…

Now that you have read our extensive look at the discography of Wilco, be sure to read Jeff Tweedy’s interview with Rolling Stone talking about the creation of Star Wars and how the band is already working on the next record.

The New York Times has an in-depth piece that takes a thorough look at the evolution of the “Creative Economy”, and in particular scrutinizes the way the music industry has developed in the wake of technological advances.  While I would take some of the conclusions they reach with a grain of salt, the article is worth reading to see the process of how they came to develop these arguments.

Another weekend, another anniversary–this time, Stereogum is taking a look back to the year 2005 and the release of Kanye West’s second album, Late Registration.  Considering his continued impact on popular music, it is somewhat amazing to realize Kanye has only been around for a little more than a decade, and this well-written piece makes the argument that Late Registration stands out from the rest of Kanye’s formidable catalog.

Consequence of Sound has a retrospective piece on the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s seminal album Highway 61 Revisited, with the added bonus of including tidbits from a couple of the session players that contributed to the record.

Finally, Pitchfork has a piece that uses the twentieth anniversary of Rancid’s hit “Time Bomb” as a jumping-off point for a look at the history of 2 Tone Ska, analyzing the differences between its development in the UK and the US as well as how the social issues that were a central part of the music decades ago still are relevant today.

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Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 24 Edition)

Some #longreads while you contemplate how a newspaper can bungle a headline so badly

It has been a busy week for new releases, and one of the albums we here at Rust Is Just Right have been enjoying this week has been Speedy Ortiz’s latest record.  Before you check out our review of Foil Deer next week, it probably would be a good idea to read up on the extensive profile that Pitchfork published yesterday.

This has been a busy spring for new music, and it is not going to let up any time soon.  One of the big upcoming releases that we have mentioned before is My Morning Jacket’s The Waterfall, which will be hitting stores in less than two weeks.  Rolling Stone talks to the band about the recording of the new album.

Deadspin has a short piece introducing readers to the site that takes a satirical look at the punk scene, The Hard Times.

The AV Club has a piece that dissects how the Wu-Tang Clan defied conventional thinking in the way the group was able to release several successful solo albums from its members.

Finally, The New Yorker has a detailed and fascinating look at the mechanics of the early days of music piracy, which serves as an excellent complement to this Pitchfork examination of how the economics of music have evolved over the years.

Catching Up On The Week (Jan. 30 Edition)

Some #longreads as you scramble for something to do in the hours leading up to the “Big Game”

“Vinyl or CD’s?” is an argument that has raged on for decades, and the shifting fortunes of both formats in the last few years has inspired numerous articles promoting one side over the other.  LA Weekly has an extensive and informative piece on the debate, providing a history of the creation of the technology as well as insights into the music recording process to help support the claim that compact discs do in fact “sound better.”  That should be good news to record companies, who apparently view the recent surge in vinyl sales as “just a fad” even if there are reasons to believe this isn’t the case.*

We mentioned earlier this week that Sundance saw the premiere of the new Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck, and because our love for Nirvana has barely diminished over the years, multiple publications from a variety of  backgrounds have pieces on director Brett Morgen and his film, including Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and The Daily Beast.

As a companion to our recent review of the fantastic new Sleater-Kinney album No Cities to Love, you may want to read this extensive feature on Carrie Brownstein for Consequence of Sound’s quarterly literary magazine FACES.

Do not adjust your flickering screen: Rust Is Just Right is recommending that you read an interview with Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit.  Stereogum has a fascinating discussion with the guitarist that shows his good humor and self-awareness of his place in music, and Borland provides an interesting perspective of the business and how bands operate.

And finally, Pitchfork has a couple of worthwhile pieces from “The Pitch”, both relating to leaks: the first analyzes the quest to determine whether or not the SoundCloud leak of unreleased Aphex Twin material was genuine, while the second examines the history of digital album leaks from the past two decades.

Catching Up On The Week (Nov. 21 Edition)

Some #longreads and other time-wasters as you prepare for the holiday…

I highly recommend reading this speech from Steve Albini on the state of the music industry.  Albini does a great job of explaining the economics of the old way the record industry used to run and how it has changed with shifting technology, and also how alternatives to the normal practices of the record industry developed.  I still think there are still some issues for artists as the way we consume music evolves, but Albini’s take is certainly worth taking into consideration.

It can be tough for neophytes to wade their way through the early history of punk rock, but the AV Club has provided a handy primer on one of the most important scenes in their Primer on Dischord Records.  Some may have a passing familiarity with Minor Threat and Fugazi, but there was a lot more to the DC scene, and giving mentions to bands like Nation of Ulysses and Q and Not U is definitely worthwhile.

Were you curious about the story behind the song “Footloose”?  No?  Well, read on anyway, because bassist Nathan East provides the story, and he’s worked with everyone.

Stereogum has a list of “26 Essential Songs From The NYC Rock Resurgence”, probably to coincide with the release of the new TV on the Radio album, or maybe just because they felt like it this week.   We’ll link to it because it’s extensive and it has some good songs on it, so why not.

Catching Up On The Week (Nov. 14 Edition)

Some #longreads for your weekend, as we bring “Foo Fighters Week” to a close…

Fulfilling our need to have a #longread specifically on the Foo Fighters, Consequence of Sound takes a look at the career of Dave Grohl for their FACES retrospective.

Speaking of the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl came up in the music controversy of the week, as the industry deals with the fallout of Taylor Swift pulling her music from Spotify.  First, I’d recommend reading this letter from songwriter Aloe Blacc which illustrates how the Spotify business model shortchanges artists, and then taking a look to see that pop artists aren’t the only ones concerned about the streaming service.  Dave Grohl, as per his usual, gave his own opinion on Spotify, which of course was only half-reported in headlines around the internet (the qualifier “But I can understand how other people would object to that” changes the tenor of his response).  Of course, as the frontman of a band that CAN sell out Wembley, he’s in a different spot than a lot of other musicians, so I’d weigh his sentiments with only a grain of salt.

For some reason, I feel this is the right weekend to finally getting around to reading an extended essay on Billy Joel from the New Yorker.

It may be hard for some of our younger readers to believe, but there was a time when Ice Cube was a legitimate musician, but one of the most feared rappers on the planet!  Relive those years at least for a little bit (or experience them for the first time, if that’s the case) with this AV Club look back to his landmark album The Predator.

And finally, with Pink Floyd releasing their first album in decades this week with The Endless River, Pitchfork takes the opportunity to explore the unexpected connection between the prog rock of Floyd and the evolution of punk and other independent music.

Catching Up On The Week (Oct. 31 Edition)

Some #longreads as you deal with the candy hangover this weekend…

The recent release of The Best Day is allowing Thurston Moore to talk to a range of news outlets over the past couple of weeks.  This week, there are interviews with SPIN and Esquire to check out.

Pitchfork has an in-depth cover story on Run The Jewels, and considering they just released one of the best albums of the year, you should probably give it a look.  And just in time for the holiday, elsewhere on the site they have Jason Heller talking to Peter Berbegal about the connection between the “occult” and rock and roll.

David Lovering, the drummer for the Pixies, talks to Diffuser about touring for the new album, and also touches upon his work as a magician.

Wayne Coyne has been making the rounds discussing With A Little Help From My Fwends, the tribute album to Sgt. Pepper’s that The Flaming Lips and various colleagues put together, including this interview with Newsweek where he discusses favorite and least-favorite Beatles tracks.

If you read any takedown on how brotastic bastardizations are ruining country music, it should be this review of a recent Jason Aldean/Florida-Georgia Line concert.

FADER talks to female music producers about the lack of gender diversity among producers, and asks them what can be done to fix the issue.

And finally, The Black Keys are arriving in town tonight, so we’ll link to an interview that Patrick Carney did with The Oregonian.  We’re looking forward to a great show, and we’ll be back with a review next week.

Catching Up On The Week (Oct. 10 Edition)

Some #longreads to keep your mind off the fact that you’re missing out on the Austin City Limits Festival…

This week, the AV Club published multiple articles worth checking out.  First, Daft Punk’s debut album Homework is examined in their Permanent Records feature, which would be worth checking out if only to hear the earliest demo of the duo, a nearly-unrecognizable bit of alternative instrumental rock.  Then there’s this plea to listen to The Jam’s “Set The House Ablaze”, which coincidentally enough was published right around the time I was listening to Sound Affects.  I have a rule: if anyone writes something about The Jam, I’m going to share it, since they are one of the most underappreciated groups in rock history and are always worth a listen.  And finally, if you’re in the mood for something a bit more technical and business-related, there’s this piece discussing the role and motivations of BitTorrent in partnering with Thom Yorke for his recent release.

Readers of the site are well-aware of our love for The National, so it’s no surprise that we’re recommending this piece from PopMatters discussing their album Alligator and its role in the rise of indie rock in the mid-00’s.

When Kendrick Lamar released his new single “i”, it was met with a mixed reaction at best.  The FADER attempts to correct this by placing the song in a greater context in their Popping Off feature.  If necessary, familiarize yourself with the song by watching the lyric video which was just released today.

Dave Holmes uses his column at Vulture this week to take a look at the Top 40 chart from the week when Nevermind was released, and while the general shittiness is not surprising, the diversity of music at the time was pretty striking.

Finally, Chicago Reader has an in-depth look at the life of Jason Molina, the former leader of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. who unfortunately passed away last year after years of struggle with alcohol abuse and other issues.  The piece also examines his continued influence, both through his music and his development of the Secretly Canadian label, and talks to the musicians and friends that mourn his passing but remember his talents fondly.  But it also serves as a great introduction to a wonderful musician, with an extensive look at his development and history.

Catching Up On The Week (Aug. 8 Edition)

Some reading material as you argue that August 9 is totally inappropriate for “Boring and Dull Day”

We neglected to mention this article last week, but Pitchfork has a really excellent look at the business of making vinyl, delving into the specifics of the industry and their relationship with different record labels.  They argue that the trendline shows that the vinyl “resurgence” is likely here to stay, but its ceiling is probably capped due to the physical capacity of the pressing factories at the very least.

Pitchfork also recently did an interview with Cymbals Eat Guitars, an underrated indie band that’s gearing up for a new album set to be released in a couple of weeks.  Lenses Alien was a pretty solid release, but their debut Why There Are Mountains is definitely worth seeking out.  Check out the first track of that one, “And the Hazy Sea”:

The Quietus has a couple of features worth reading this weekend.  First, there’s an interview with Jody Stephens, the last surviving member of the brilliant group Big Star, along with John Fry, who helped engineered those albums.  The two provide some great anecdotes and background about working on those records, as well as a first-hand account of the intra-band dynamics.  Then there’s this tribute to Teenage Fanclub’s classic Bandwagonesque, an album that’s unfairly known more as the answer to a trivia question these days in the US than for its great quality.

And if you find that you still have time available this weekend, Interpol provided the entirety of their recent set at Lollapalooza on YouTube.  That’s mighty kind of them.

Catching Up On The Week (July 25 Edition)

Roll into your weekend with a few #longreads

We’ll be doing a big feature on Spoon next week in advance of their upcoming release, and to help you prepare you can read up on this Guardian interview where Britt Daniel discusses the songs from their albums over the years that helped define the band.  He makes a few surprising choices, while also providing a nice overview of Spoon’s career.

Continuing our tradition of link to pieces that analyze about the business aspect of streaming and how it affects artists, Salon has a great article that specifically looks at how streaming has hurt genres that are already marginalized, like jazz and classical.

Kanye West provokes a lot of reactions in people, but he’s always an interesting interview no matter how you slice it.  GQ has an extended interview with him for this month’s issue.

We normally would not post anything about Pitbull, but this profile in Businessweek is worth checking out if only for the scene where Pitbull learns about BitCoin.

Your intermission this week is a random performance of “MacArthur Park” on David Letterman.  It was rather epic.

“Weird Al” sits in for Pitchforks 5-10-15-20 feature, recounting various songs that were significant at those years of his life (and beyond).

And finally, we have an interview with Peter Matthew Bauer.  Normally we would be excited about posting (and reading) this interview, considering how much we love The Walkmen and Bauer’s solo debut, but the interviewer is Rick Moody.  Our hostility towards Moody would make more sense if we published a planned takedown of another interview he did.  But since that got pushed to the backburner, we’ll just warn you by saying to be prepared for pretentiousness and general blockheadedness.

Catching Up On The Week (July 11 Edition)

Hope everyone remembered to get a free Slurpee today.  Because goddammit I forgot to get one.

As a capper for their multi-part feature on punk in the 90’s (“Fear of a Punk Decade”), the AV Club engaged in a roundtable to discuss whether the music had a lasting impact.

David Greenwald has an extended look at the business of streaming and breaks down the band payments for Spotify in this article from The Oregonian.

Somebody uploaded a video from 1983 that features the first live performance of “Purple Rain”, which would then go on to be used in the film itself.  Included in the video is a “director’s commentary” a la Pop-Up Video, providing additional insight into the song.  Better watch it soon, before Prince takes it down.

(Update: And sure enough, it’s been pulled.  Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!)

Pitchfork interviews Geoff Rickly about his new band, United Nations.   I had been a fan of Thursday (Full Collapse will always be a favorite of mine), but didn’t realize they had broken up with the release of their latest.  Rickly talks a bit about Thursday’s break up as well in the interview.   Pitchfork also catches up with Christopher Owens, formerly of the band Girls, and they discuss his upcoming album.  Father, Son, Holy Ghost was one of the best albums of 2011, but there wasn’t much on Owens’s solo debut Lysandre that seemed worthwhile, so I’ll hold off on my anticipation a little bit.