Thursday 7 April 2011 – #musicdiaryproject

So on return from the Hospital one of the first things I did was put on some music, took a shower, surfed online and checked e-mails I did this with Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes on in the background, it definitely caught my interest and I’ll be going back for further listens.

Whilst surfing I finally listened to some Opera Clocks on their MySpace page, Belongings is definitely their strongest song to date although I can get hold of two previous singles on eMusic, which I think will do at some point but they weren’t as strong as the new single and disappointed me a little, although that could have been due to the illness. I also listened to a few 30 second previews of tracks from albums on eMusic, saving All Eternals Deck – Mountain Goats, Mind Bokeh – Bibio, Get Well Soon – Sarabeth Tucek and Badlands – Dirty Beaches for later. These were albums that I had come to my attention through either through reviews / free tracks on DiS or Pitchfork or being aware of the artists beforehand and seeing they had new records out.

After this I deposited my ill self on the sofa, watched TV and then finally fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon

After waking up, I watched Episode 6 of Treme, which I have been enjoying although in a very different way to The Wire (which is understandable). Music is very central to Treme and much has been written of David Simon’s reluctance to make the music (and in fact any) references in the programme accessible to those unacquainted with New Orleans music or the place itself. This is not something that has concerned me as the drama has been engaging, finely acted and as a lover of music I always like and am open to hearing new things. So far during the series the music I’ve enjoyed most has been that played by and in scenes involving Chief Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), very rhythmic, drum and percussion heavy and funky very funky. I’ve actually just Googled and found that my favourite piece of music from Episode 6 was from a scene with the Chief and the Gang practicing for the parade and was  “Shallow Water, Oh Mama” by The Golden Eagles. The Marching Band scenes are also fantastic both for spectacle and music with a particular note to “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up” by The Rebirth Brass Band (brilliant horns). Overall the music in the programme can be divisive, swinging between the fantastic and the irritatingly unlistenable, but it has new introduced new styles and artists to me which I’m looking forward to exploring.

After Treme I had some hot cross buns and watched the new Louis Theroux documentary (I discussed with my wife how a meeting between Prof. Brian Cox and the leaders of that church would make for interesting viewing) then I took myself off to start this blog.

As I mentioned in the opening blog entry whilst opening an account choosing a layout, writing the first entries and uploading photos I listened to:

Wounded Rhymes – Lykke Li (like the sound of this on first play through)

Vicki Leekx Mixtape – M.I.A (alphabetically it was next to Lykke Li in the playlist)

After which I stayed at the computer surfing , mainly reading about music and listened to:

Few tracks from Opium – Matt Berry, as it came alphabetically in the Recently Added iTunes playlist after M.I.A.

Last Night At The Jetty – Panda Bear (after reading Sick Mouthy’s latest #musicdiaryproject blog and deciding to listen again to the track I downloaded from Pitchfork back in February. I haven’t listened to it much so far although I have really liked the other songs from Tomboy which were released as singles last year and am looking forward to Sonic Boom’s mix of the album)

UFO – Papercuts (alphabetically it was next to Panda Bear in the playlist)

Kapputt – Destroyer (something I had been after for a while and was looking to buy on import suddenly turned up on eMusic with no fanfare considering the reviews (typical eMusic!), been wanting to listen all week. Underwhelmed on first listen, will have to go back again)

Sweet 17 – Dirty Beaches (free download, alphabetically it was next to Destroyer in the playlist)

He Gets Me High / Jail La La – The Dum Dum Girls (free downloads from Sub Pop website, really good find, alphabetically it was next to Destroyer in the playlist)

Ego – Burial & Four Tet & Thom Yorke (noticed I had listened to it on Wednesday looking at my Last.FM profile and fancied listening again)

Banjo or Freakout – Banjo or Freakout (on preview on eMusic I  two tracks instantly jumped to my attention so I downloaded the whole album and put the two tracks (105 and Idiot Rain) in my March and April playlists. I had been meaning to listen to the album in full on the back of these tracks, so gave it a listen from start to finish before sleeping, looking forward to another listen)

A common theme I’ve noticed so far in writing this blog is how much music I download from eMusic. I’ve been lucky with eMusic  as I subscribed early on and admirably they’ve stood by my original subscription plan which means I download around 7-8 albums a month for the price of two CD’s. With the loss of Beggars Group and Rough Trade late last year this really hit what was on offer at eMusic. In the US they had the selling point of having one or two major label back catalogues as a consolation, but this it not available and is not looking likely to be available anytime soon to UK users and in any event goes against what eMusic was launched for and is not much of a consolation. This has led to a lot of UK subscribers leaving, however even with the amount of downloads I have I always find that my Save For Later list is overflowing as there is still a good selection of music on independent labels, so I’ll be staying until they change my subscription plan.

In the last entry I touched upon writing a little about how I obtain music. Well obviously eMusic and I still love buying physical music in the form of CD’s and sometimes vinyl if unavailable on CD or in addition if there are extra tracks. For singles or one off tracks I do use iTunes but now generally use Amazon downloads as they’re cheaper. I also take advantage of artists giving away tracks on their websites, on record company websites or through other websites like Pitchfork. I never download illegally and would never do so.

I decided a couple of years ago however that from 2006 to 2008 I had been buying far too many CD’s / downloading blind from eMusic and not listening enough to easily over half of the music I had obtained (or embarrassingly not listening at all in some cases). So by mid-2009 I decided to cut back on what I bought and would listen beforehand to ensure what I bought / download I would actually meaningfully listen to. The launch of Spotify has greatly aided my new approach and this is now my “try before you by” calling point. I even use it to try a few tracks on albums available on eMusic rather than rely on just the preview function, as 30 seconds is never enough and doesn’t do any piece of music justice. I keep a Wishlist of new releases on Amazon which I might be interested in hearing / buying and as they are released add to Spotify if available. Some albums however I will buy blind if the artist is a favourite or it is a trusted recommendation or sometimes for the pure thrill of finding something new.

So far this year I’ve bought 11 albums on CD (9 new releases, an old album for £3 from Fopp and the super deluxe edition boxset of Screamadelica), all of which I have made a point of listening to all the way through on purchase and then again on repeated listens, which has also become an approach I’ve taken which I’ll pick up in the next post.

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