Monday, March 30, 2009

Black Is The New Black

Note added 18 May 2009:
***Nancy Black live in Frome - 5 June 2009 as part of Acoustic Plus at the Cheese and Grain***

Yesterday I mentioned the part that traditional music shops still have to play in the current music environment. One aspect that has changed immeasurably in the digital age is one that is as new and as revolutionary as downloading and yet less often mentioned in wider circles. What is that?
Well, for better or for worse, you are reading one of many manifestations of it!
User created digital content has just made the sharing of music easy and global, it has done the same for the sharing of information about it. Barely a decade ago the truism was that 'everyone is local to somewhere' now, thanks to the internet, it might better be summed up as 'anyone is local everywhere', or at least have we have the means to exploit that potential if that is what we want to attempt.
If you hear a band or album that surprises you can review it for an audience of millions - almost instantly and for next to no cost except your time and effort. The obvious question I think is this: "Isn't that too good to be true?"
"Yes and no" is my unhelpful but considered answer. If I can have my opinion I have to accept that you can have yours too, that you can let me know it, and that we might not agree. That is part of the bargain and why I will publish comments to this blog even if I don't actually agree with them. One outcome that critics levelled at this explosion of content, be it MySpace or customer reviews on Amazon or blogs, was that it would create homogeneity based on the lowest common-denominator. It might not be thus if I were a music critic by profession, but from my point of view it has been anything but that way. Everyone is still local to somewhere, just now I know about artists that in the earlier situation I would almost certainly never knew existed.

Add to that is the fact that there is plenty of local live music worth hearing. I have mentioned Bristol-based Phantom Limb before and their gigs at the Griffin Inn are already local legend and they play there again on 2 April 2009.
The previous evening, and just a couple of minutes stroll away, is the opportunity to see another local act that is gathering good reviews from further afield:

Is the hype justified? I'd say that it is.

On the subject of hyped artists or acts one that most certainly has been so in recent months is London's Florence and the Machine, so you might think that new releases are easily available in the UK. Well that is not quite so, and another example of the fact that it has not become a case of one-size-fits-all globalisation. I have the A Lot Of Love, A Lot Of Blood 12" EP on pre-order...

...and while it is from Puregroove in London, is a US import item only!

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