Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some Food For Thought: the reality of the music scene

Today after work I came across an interesting conversation on Facebook. I am not going to name any names for the sake of keeping this blog professional. It goes without saying the conversation between the artist and its fans to be a real eye opener. The artist clearly has some serious issues to be taking his frustrations out on the fans and the internet in general. And this is not the first time he has taken to Facebook and made himself look like a total douchebag with his whining. This is my personal take on what went transpired on the artist's Facebook page. I personally took umbrage at his opinions because he came off as self-absorbed and ungrateful.

I think artists (especially those who are just starting out) in the dark underground scene needs to be realistic and know that you can't make a living off making music  alone. Most well known artists I have had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with have day jobs. I certainly know my friends in the local music scene has day jobs as do I since I don't get paid for writing on my blog. I cover the local music and concert scene because I love music, end of story. I am all about my art. I prefer going to concerts over clubbing because I find clubbing absolutely dull and I am not into drama which comes with the territory. I get plenty of that at the office, I really don't need any more drama outside of work. So in between concerts I spend a lot of my time online searching for new music to share with my readers or hitting the local record stores searching for interesting music. Why? Because I love to do it and obviously there are people who just don't know where to look for new music which became my goal as time went on when I first started blogging.

I think it is pretty obvious that the economy in the past few years have really effected everyone including the music scene. People are buying less music and streaming music more (and usually for free) and attending less concerts. Have you seen the costs of concert tickets lately? The mainstream concerts are ridiculous. As far as the underground scene is concerned, the costs of tickets are fairly reasonable but somehow not enough people are attending shows to help the promoters break even. Newflash: some people have other financial priorities (i.e children, mortgages, bills) or even unemployed or work-related issues. For me personally, I am fortunate I am able to afford to attend the shows I want to see and buy music but not everyone has that luxury. Don't go blaming fans for not buying your music or attending your shows. I personally would have liked to have seen this particular artist live but he never really toured the states much. It really doesn't help being stuck in the midwest either.

From my experiences in my local goth/industrial scene, people do try to go to shows but not everyone can. I have a friend who lives way up in the sticks in Northern Minnesota. She would totally go to the shows  here in the cities but she can't due to distance and the fact that the shows happen mostly on week nights. Or sometimes the shows that goes on happens on nights when people are working. Unfortunately no amount of promoting that my friends and I do have seen any increased numbers in attendance at shows therefore loss of money for the promoters. They are lucky if they break even. I certainly make a concerted effort to attend shows even on a work night. To hell with being tired the next day. At least I'm supporting my scene but I am speaking for myself.

I find it very disappointing when I am forced to unlike an artist's page because he feels the need to rag on fans and the online community for something I believe was created by the current state of the economy. Musicians are not Gods. The fact that this individual had to ban some people from his page for expressing views he didn't like really says a lot just about his character. It is disappointing but that's the reality. I wish he would grasp reality but if he wants to whine about it on Facebook by all means he can. I just won't have to read it whenever he posts it (thank goodness). This is also another reason why I find myself going to concerts outside the goth scene in recent months, it is complete free of drama. 

I will end this blog by saying that true and honest music fans (like myself) will always buy music (legally) whether CDs, vinyl, or digital and attend live shows put on by their favorite artists as much as possible. I admit I stream music on Spotify but I also buy music.Without a shadow of a doubt reality can be cruel. Shit happens and people may have to put other priorities first ahead of music. Believe me I  now. The holidays and my 2 nieces' birthdays are coming up in the next two months. Money is going to have to be spent on gifts and travel expenses. I am going to have to skip out on a couple of shows to save money. That is the crux of life. I'm sorry but my family will be coming first during this time of year. That is my reality. I don't think people like myself have to apologize for putting more important matters first than luxuries like concerts and buying music.

If artists feel like us fans owe them something then I think they certainly should get out of making music and find a new career/hobby. That is a sure fire way to alienate one's fan base as is creating drama about it on social media. Respect is a two way street. Fans should show their support by buying their favorite musican's music legally and if possible go to their shows (and buy merchandise at the show too). Musicians, don't develop this high and mighty attitude and expect to be worshipped by your fans. We are not filthy rich. Also, learn to take what you can dish out on the internet. Banning fans on your Facebook page does not earn you respect. The respect I had for this certain artist went straight down the toilet tonight. I have no patience for other people's online drama.

Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Albums You Should Check Out

01. Youthh Code: An Overture - I have been listening to this album constantly this past weekend. It is so good. Definitely well worth the long ass wait I had to get it. I think Youth Code (and 3 Teeth) is what our little music scene really needs. A lot of the music right now sounds repetitive with all the oontz oontz beats going on (not to say that I don't love the synth beats but I do think the scene is becoming stagnant).

02. Psy'Aviah: The Xenogamous Endeavour

As if I really need to explain this choice ;).

03. Stoneburner: Songs in the Key of Arrakis
One of the more underrated releases of 2014. The music reminds me of Juno Reactor. I definitely recommend buying the album.

04. Bad Pollyanna: Monstrous Child

Just came across this album on bandcamp a minute ago.

The last one I can't really recommend but I am sure there are diehard KMFDM fans who would be interested in hearing their new album. Me personally? I have moved on to bigger and better things years ago. I'll just stick to their '80s/'90s material.

05. KMFDM: Our Time Will Come

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Album of The Week: The Xenogamous Endeavor by Psy'Aviah

2014 has really been a great year for music. Despite that it is mid-October, there are still some great releases that has yet to come out or has recently came out. My new favorite release that just came out this week is The Xenogamous Endeavour by Psy'Aviah. I have been eagerly anticipating this album after hearing their EP Our Common Future which was released earlier this year. The music re-ignited my interest in the electro-pop band.I have always liked Psy'Aviah but somehow the music really struck a chord with me until now.

 From what I have read online, The Xenogamous Endeavour has been well received by most fans and has gotten quite a few positive reviews from critics despite the absence of Emelie Nicolai who had left the group. With Emelie gone, founding member Yves Schelpe decided that instead of working with just one singer he decided to collaborate with an array of vocalists for the new album. The results definitely lives up to my expectations. The music is a lot poppier than on the albums that came before it. Personally for me, "Get Your Tickets" featuring Suzi Q. Smith was the one track on the album that I did not care for. The rapping just threw me off and it feels out of whack on the entire album. That said, it is just one track that I did not like. The rest of the album is absolutely fantastic. Yves chose a great group of artists to work with for each song. Asides from "Get Your Tickets", I just found it near damn impossible to pick one favorite song off the album. I will say this go listen to "In Uthenera" featuring Angelika Schwarzblut from the electro band Schwarzblut (which reminds me, I really do need to buy their new album one of these days, it is really good). It is a beautiful song.

So for my Album of the Week selection, I have chosen The Xenogamous Endeavour. It is beyond good. This album will easily be in my top 5 of my best of list. Go check it out!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: My Top 10 Favorite Songs from 1986

01. Siouxsie and The Banshees: Cities in Dust

02. The Bangles: Walk Like An Egyptian

03. OMD: If You Leave

04. Eurythmics: Thorn in My Side

05. The Cure: In Between Days

06. Sting: Russians

07. Baltimora: Tarzan Boy

08. Pet Shop Boys: Opportunities

09. Howard Jones: No One is to Blame

10. Peter Gabriel: In Your Eyes

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ladykiller 2 tour: Sick of Sarah and Hunter Valentine at 7th Street Entry on 10.14.14

Last night I went to 7th Street Entry to see Sick of Sarah and Hunter Valentine. Both bands play really catchy pop-punk music. Yeah, this isn't the type of show I normally would attend but being a fan of Hunter Valentine (since I last saw them with Cyndi Lauper) I just had to go. I also always wanted to check out Sick of Sarah as a live act. Plus I am trying to make a point of covering shows on my blog outside of my comfort zone. In other words, a win-win situation here.

I would like to go on record that waiting outside whether for First Avenue or 7th St Entry is never boring. I am often hit up for money by panhandlers. Last night was really interesting, funny but annoying at the same time. Some guy I had seen earlier walking around the neighbor was having one of his "moments" (clearly he was mentally ill). Suddenly one of the chicks in front of the line decided to engage him in a conversation. It goes without saying waiting for the doors to open at 7th St Entry was anything but dull. I was so relieved when the doors opened. Anyhoo, I got a beverage and situated myself on one of the stools about 20-30 feet away from the stage. The show started about 9:15 with some local band I had no idea who they were. To be honest, their music was pretty forgettable too. Their set was about 20 minutes long. As I expected Hunter Valentine put in an excellent set. More energetic than when I saw them with Cyndi Lauper last year at Mill City Nights. Their music is super catchy. I loved how interactive the band was with the audience. It was really fun seeing Kiyomi crowd surf during the show. Their new band member Lisa Bianco is a great addition. She really impressed me with her abilities as a guitarist. I thought it was cute and funny when members of Sick of Sarah joined Hunter Valentine on stage at the end of their set, and Hunter Valentine would return the favor at the end of Sick of Sarah's set. As for Sick of Sarah, they put in a terrific live show. They definitely were anything but boring. They clearly are loved here in their hometown of Minneapolis. While the venue was from sold out, the band still draws a big crowd especially from the local LGBT community. If you haven't already seen the photos I have tweeted online last night and today, here they are in this little slide show.
goth_maven's Ladykiller tour album on Photobucket
To get an idea of both Hunter Valentine and Sick of Sarah's music, I have posted a video clip from each of them.