Photography by misakisaiki
Well, my buds, once covered in earwax (eww) are now clean and drying…. I want to talk about the new Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs covers album but I need to listen to the music when I’m writing about, so while we wait, can we take this moment to rap? No, no, not this kind…
More like this kind…
And maybe even more like this…
Should we talk about the weather? Hi, hi, it’s raining, check, done. Should we talk about the FUTURE? Hi, hi, indeed… The future of blogging.
Recently, there was a Music Bloggers Roundtable discussion with some of the first-wave of music bloggers, David Gutowski (Largehearted Boy), Sean Michaels (Said the Gramophone), Andrew Noz (Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes), Matthew Perpetua (Fluxblog.org), John Seroff (The Tofuhut), and one of my all time favourites, Oliver Wang (Soul Sides).
Outside of Oliver, the tone is somewhat pessimistic, especially when the discussion of the current state of blogging comes up, making the “blogfathers” seem more like grumpy old men than “pioneers of new media”…
The discussion continued on over at Elbo.ws in the blogger’s discussion forum. Generally, there is a sense by the old guard that “most blogs suck” and there “hasn’t been a good one for years”. Now, being only 3 years old, I won’t take personal offense to blanket statements like that, as I’ve found the blanket statements involving absolutes are generally ignorant. By now we should all know, there is only ONE absolute in life and that’s it.
Maybe I’m more of a literal “old man” than a “old man blogger”, HA!, and while I DO agree that there is more white noise & email remix crap regurgitation out there, without a doubt, and sure lots of people like it and those blogs garner many hits, but to the “first-wavers” I ask….. so what?
That’s like saying “back when we had 3 channels, we were happy, but now we got 100’s, and it’s all crap! WAH!” AND being pissed that all people are watching is nothing but these stupid MTV, Bravo, VH1, etc, etc, etc, “reality” shows. Who cares? We now got the Colbert Report and Michael & Michael Have Issues (or insert your favourite programs here) and to me, that makes the sea of crap all the worthwhile!
The same is true for music in general. Back before the internets (or even with the early internet, god, does anyone remember getting music through newsgroups???), we had to get our music from our local record shops (hooray Vinyl Fever!) and some convenient chains (hooray Peaches!), it was a relatively smaller selection than to today, and to some old farts, maybe even better, and to some REALLY old farts, even BETTER back before that damn 80s crap ruined music! WAAAH!
But the internet has allowed anyone with a microphone and a connection to get something online. It’s commoditized (is that even a word?) music, sure, creating a massive white noise (and a disposable culture), but you and I both know that if you just dig into a little bit, you can find some amazing artists, no?
So it is with blogging. The ease one can start a blog AND the popularity of them AND our need as humans to fulfill our ego has gotten us to the same point, and sure there’s TONS of crap out there, but there’s some really, really good ones too. Blogs like We Listen For You, Box Sets Go, Let Me Like It, The 405, and really every damn blog in my Link Love section!
But, what is a “shiny piece of corn” on a 12″ turd to me may just be another bowel movement to you… It is completely subjective. Hell, I can’t even say that all the “blogfathers” have good blogs (in fact, I find a few to be absolutely boring, shhhhh, don’t tell them).
The same is true anything! Remember “grunge music”? Small scene, blew up, tons of “alternative rock” crap and white noise, but are you going to tell me it was ALL crap after the explosion? Yeah, we got Matchbox 20, I’ll give you that…
But we also got Weezer’s blue album!
Hell, even fashion trends follow this trajectory…. How about that hipster trend? The very first ones where doing it in some kind of tribute to the working man, simple jeans, mustachios, v-neck undershirts, drinking PBR, getting around via bicycles, granted all with cooler “fits” than your average working man, but you get the drift.
Now everyone and their mother sports a silly stache, a fixed-gear bike, skinny jeans, etc… even Urban Outfitters! Does that mean there aren’t some pretty fashionable and cool kids doing the hipster thing? Of course not!!! But it shows you that all things, and I mean ALL things, follow the same path. In fact, I made a chart to help demonstrate…..
Please note, that nothing is ever 100% as awesome as we tend to romanticize and nothing is ever 100% crap that we think it is now. But this is life, “blogfathers”, get used to it.
Instead, these first-wavers seem to have built a jaded, and some, an “entitled” attitude. Many were expecting some sort of revolution to some “musical utopia” and, ultimately, some kind of payout for themselves… But a mere 8 years later, they are just sitting there on their porches, complaining about the new neighbors, and whining about the “good ol’ days”.
What’s funny, to me at least, is that there IS a revolution going on, the destruction of the physical form and the transition to the next media format (and, no, I’m not talking about mp3s). Blogs ARE part of that revolution, they are an integral part of the death of print media and the concept of “buying an album”. Blogs have helped to speed it all up by 1000x fold (as much as I’d like to think differently, I’m included in that too)!
BUT! Blogs are simply a transitional tool bridging us from what was to what will be….
Music blogs are what the music magazines were before, and just like Blender, Rolling Stone, etc, etc, et al, as we transition to a true & fluid mobile social network combined with a simple & comprehensive music streaming service, music blogs will become less and less relevant.
Soon, people will not want to bother with, purchasing or stealing or whatever, owning & holding a mp3 file, which takes up space, needs to be moved around from my multiple devices. At some point, it will ALL be on a wireless device instantly streaming as part of some service where you can play from a near infinite selection whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, and never actually have to store a mp3, m4a, c3po, or whatever anywhere.
Wireless networks, such as whatever’s next after “3G” or whatever on whatever is next from the current iPhones & Pres or whatever, will be even better at handling this and with the massive database iTunes or an iTunes-like service has, coupled with that we are getting VERY used to spending $100/mo on a wireless service, what’s another $10 to pony up to listen to anything and everything under the sun and never have to deal with, finding, purchasing, stealing, or whatever, mp3s and all the crap that goes with it?
Like something you are listening to? Instantly share it on twitter/facebook/the next social network, your “friends” listen too, it’s instant, it’s there, it’s part of your service anyway, who needs random blog X to get something???? When it’s already there and available. And my social network will let me know when there’s something else I should be trying out.
We are already a good half-way to 3/4ths the way there already… just need everything to be a little more refined, a little bit faster, a little bit easier, and BLAMO!
So music blogs of today become the music magazines of yesterday…. you visit the sites who’s opinions, writings, news, and point of views you respect, so then when, for example, We Listen For You tells me how much they love the 4th album by Clues featuring three songs collaborating with Islands (a boy can dream, right?), well then I tell my mobile device to play the album (maybe blogs will have a link to make that happen instantly?).
That is until the social networks completely replace blogs (already happening), funny enough, bloggers are helping that happen as well (contributing to their own demise) me included by building up their facebook & twitter following, unconsciously preparing for the looming blogopocalypse (copyright 2009 TSURURADIO)!
Sure, diehards will care about leaks and getting files first, just like diehard-diehards care about physical formats, but they will be the minority and will help keep a few fringe old school ways around (people do STILL read paper, use IRC chat, by records, etc, etc). But there will be so many new things to discover that who will have time to bother with leaks?
Besides, as labels continue to go away, and bands become more direct to consumer via the wireless services & social networks, why should anything “leak”? When it’s ready, you release it, check, done. Your favourite band has a new song they put out?No worries, it will show up on my social network because I’m already marked as a fan of that band. Push play, done. And if I’m not a fan yet? No problem, I’m a fan of Silence Is A Rhythm Too, and he just posted a song by The Farfennuggins that I’m streaming.
You see what I’m getting at???
I’m telling you man, whoever wins the mobile social network war and whoever can get an decent subscription-tagged-onto-your-mobile-service super fast streaming, with building playlists, playing albums, etc, etc…. those two guys will win the “what’s next” awards.
I’d think music blogs, with the speed at which things are progressing, have maybe just a couple more years of relevancy?
I don’t know…. I hope I’m wrong. I like my bloggy blog, music with an additional focus on photography & design, supporting local indie design & art shows (and a touch of cycling), it’s a little different than most, but I’m already building my non-music sites & shop up, getting people used to interacting with me on facebooks, etsy, twitter, and the boards, trying to evolve with them. We’ll see!
But until the blogopocalypse occurs, you still have my nappy ass here typing away about whatever crosses his head and heart, such as Under The Covers, Vol. 2 by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs!!!!
C’mon now, that was one hell of a segue to an album discussion, eh??? Mad props?? No??? Okay…
Yep, the Shure SE110’s are dry enough, let’s take off our serious hats and get a little groove on this rainy-ass hump day! I love covers, you know that, and granted, I was already hooked on this album when I first listened, it was when I heard their cover of “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes that I was completely smitten.
Sweet & Hoffs stay pretty true to the originals, which at first may be a little off-putting, as I tend to like it when artists put on their own spin, but because the song selection is all pretty much classic rock, it helps to create a consistency through out the album. The voices stay the same and we are treated to a walk through some of the best songs to grace handheld radios across the globe back in the days!
Some notable standouts to me were the Fleetwood Mac, Carly Simon, Yes, and Mott The Hoople covers. “All The Young Dudes” simply rocks out. And on the Hoffs-led songs, her voices handles the vintage vibe perfectly. Really a fun collection!
So enjoy a few tracks, have some fun because you probably already know half the words (even if you don’t realize it now), and we’ll be talkin’ to you again soon!
1. “Sugar Magnolia” (Grateful Dead)
2. “Go All the Way” (Raspberries)
3. “Second Hand News” (Fleetwood Mac)
4. “Bell Bottom Blues” (Derek and the Dominos)
5. “All the Young Dudes” (Mott the Hoople)
6. “You’re So Vain” (Carly Simon)
7. “Here Comes My Girl” (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
8. “I’ve Seen All Good People: Your Move/All Good People” (Yes)
9. “Hello It’s Me” (Todd Rundgren)
10. “Willin'” (Little Feat)
11. “Back of a Car” (Big Star)
12. “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (Todd Rundgren)
13. “Gimme Some Truth” (John Lennon)
14. “Maggie May” (Rod Stewart)
15. “Everything I Own” (Bread)
16. “Beware of Darkness” (George Harrison)
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