Run (don’t walk) to purchase a copy of Steve Knopper’s Appetite for Self-Destruction, subtitled “The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age.” The book is wonderfully entertaining, revealing the industry’s current state of implosion as an event decades in the making and the result of individuals with distinct (and often entertaining) personalities.
A particularly memorable (and telling) section:
In 2007, Doug Morris, sixty-eight-year-old chief executive officer of the Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, gave an interview to Wired magazine that left many in the record industry frowning in stunned silence. He was talking about major labels in the late 1990s and why he and his contemporaries didn't plunge into internet music more quickly. "There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," he said. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?" Responded the Wired writer: "Personally, I would hire a vet." Morris shot back: "We didn't know who to hire. I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person—anyone with a good bull**** story would have gotten past me."
If only there were a cheap, intuitive, accessible network of information he could have used to instantaneously do some basic research…
Mallory and I had the pleasure of seeing fourteen shows which, coincidentally enough, is the exact same amount we saw last year (go figure). My favorite show? Definitely St. Vincent, who blew us away with her intelligent brand of cinematic art pop that stayed crunchy, even in milk.
There were too many great shows to list here, but I will express my surprise at how much time we spent in the comedy tent. With acts like Maria Bamford, Zach Galifianakis and Todd Barry, we had plenty of reasons to camp out in the shade whilst having our sides split. A truly wonderful time.
Art Brut vs. Satan might be my favorite album recorded since LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver in 2007. I admit that I nearly wrote off the band when their sophomore release sounded a little stale, but I’m happy to report this quickly-recorded follow-up (12 days) produced by one of my favorite songwriters of all time (Black Francis) actually outdoes their debut.
This album seems to rise above the current crop of indie and Brit rockers by pushing otherwise cliche musical references and ironic self-awareness to an absurd and positively post modern cacaphony of pop and punk swagger mixed with a palpable (yet tragically hip) sense of uncool.
Full disclosure: I adore modernism, I read comic books, I hate driving and I love to hear artist’s frailties come out in their work. It’s like this record was made for me.