Happy New Year 2017!
I hope it brings you success and, in the words of the elaborately coiffured leader elect of the western world, you start… er… winning.
Bands we worked with last year are winning on Ones To Watch For 2017 lists. Little Brother Eli, Danny Starr, Warhorns, Ben Thorpe, The Black Roses, Joe Wilkinson and Dantevilles spring to mind. I dunno about the relevance of such lists, but it’s a win to be recognised for one’s work.
More winsome still is to hear the new music being made by them. With better records of better songs yet to come, we hope that one or few of the bands fulfil the prediction. Hell… the future looks bright if you choose it to.
We’re going to Eurosonic next week for a few days of mingling, meeting and greeting, drinking and bragging with the rest of the music business.
Eurosonic is a continental version of The Great Escape in Brighton, for which, incidentally, we just agreed another bunch of showcases for this May.
On 28th January at 229 in London we are putting on a jolly for Independent Venue Week. Come see good music!
During my xmas break in Barcelona I visited Picasso Museum. I saw for the first time ever his early work from his teens when he was painting, for lack of a better phrase, traditional stuff. I know very little about painting and art, but it looked like he knew his basics long before he painted what made him known. Equally, Blackmore, Hendrix and Page, having played in countless back up bands and having sessioned on countless records, had the chops. They knew their musical history long before they made their own contributions to music and transformed culture in the process.
In the late 60s Black Sabbath decided to make really slow and scary music, because their guitarist couldn’t play fast. He chopped the ends of his fingers off in an industrial accident. During the late 70 Van Halen revolutionised the sound of rock by borrowing liberally from big band jazz and pop vocal harmony. In the early 90s a little trio from Seattle consigned that sound to the dustbin of history. Their vibe was unlike anything else that had been heard before. The Offspring made grunge seem soooo tired. Linkin Park made punk sound silly and kids go mental.
In 2017, the elephant in the room is that with little innovation on the scene, guitar music is in the hands of passable soundalikes making records about nothing for an audience that doesn’t care. X-Factor, radio and “the man” get the blame, but the truth is that limp wristed indie, rock that doesn’t rock, Radiohead wannabe art bollocks and Bastille-light fake euphoria sounds tired.
In the face of hipster cynicism and industry bullshit, I still make the prediction that somewhere out there is a young band vying to knock Drake off the top spot of most streamed tracks in the universe this year. It’s distinctly possible, even with raucous guitars.
Who was it who sang “everywhere I go kids wanna rock”? Oh yeah, Bryan Adams. Well, he did write a few bangers…
My favourite video of the moment isn’t about squash or music. It’s about things that relate to doing both and dealing with the frustrations of doing so.
Getting medals for participation is sweet, but ultimately no good.