May 4, 2013 |
When it works well, the music business can be Darwinian: The best music will find its audience, somehow. Parquet Courts' Light Up Gold is a case in point. Released last summer on the band's own label, the album followed the Brooklyn band's noisy, lo-fi debut, which was first released only on cassette and generated little notice. But Light Up Gold , recorded in three days in the band's rehearsal space, is a bold, bracing blast of punk rock, full of sharp, rousing riffs behind wordy, witty rants, and it found enough acclaim for a larger indie label, What's My Rupture?
May 18, 2012 |
Look out Non-Comm, here comes Bob Lefsetz. Bob who? Non-what? Non-Comm is the shortened term for the annual radio industry gathering officially called the Non-Commvention, which is hosted by WXPN-FM (88.5-FM) and starts Thursday in University City. It will bring an assortment of high-wattage and up-and-coming names to World Cafe Live over the next three days, including Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Beth Orton, Brandi Carlile, and the War on Drugs. (Tickets for all those artists are sold out, but piano man Rufus Wainwright highlights a free Saturday afternoon show at the new Penn Park, at 31st and lower Walnut Streets.)
May 16, 2003 |
With the recorded guitar and drum tracks thundering in his headphones for a third time, Ben Weldon pressed into the studio microphones and wailed out another throaty take. Summer time, runnin' free, Sitting basking in the sun, We'll have time, Not a worry in the world. Minutes later, Weldon, 21, was out of the booth at Mad Dragon Records at Drexel University, resting his voice, and critiquing his own vocals for the song "Summertime," by his rock band, Polymer.
September 23, 2003
What would it take to dissuade nearly 60 million Americans from swapping songs over the Internet? Probably a lot more than filing lawsuits against preteen honors students. But a spate of music industry lawsuits against file swappers seems to have been an effective start - even if it won't prompt a majority of them to kick their Kazaa habit. The nation's largest record labels targeted 261 Internet users with music-piracy claims this month, including a 12-year-old middle-school student from New York.
July 18, 2002
POP ICON and oddball Michael Jackson, on the heels of his poor-selling dud "Invincible," claims the music industry is racist and fixed against people of color. Had this come from say, Def Jam head Russell Simmons or J Records executive Clive Davis, this comment would garner some serious consideration. But coming from accused pedophile Michael Jackson, this comment would be laughable if it weren't so sad. Sad because Michael is fading away into the history books of pop culture, becoming more of a footnote with each passing year.
October 11, 2006
TOWER RECORDS HAS has gone the way of the vinyl LP, both victims of technology's unceasing pursuit of change and convenience. Tower, once one of the most powerful retail entities in the music industry, was sold last week to a liquidator for $134.3 million. The price is almost laughable when you consider in the mid 1990s, Tower racked up annual sales of $1 billion. But then the Internet matured. Young listeners found glee in file sharing and digital music. Wal-Mart and other "big box" stores lured customers with discounted-priced CDs. Tower tried to compete, but fumbled and lost.
August 28, 1988 |
Johnny Cash's new LP, Water From the Wells of Home, boasts a major supporting cast: Hank Williams Jr., Paul McCartney, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Glen Campbell, Tom T. Hall and Roy Acuff, as well as Cash family members Rosanne, June and John Carter Cash. The album opens with a new rendition of a Cash hit from three decades ago, "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," with Rosanne and the Everlys providing vocal assistance. With Hall, Cash sings a Hall song, "Last of the Drifters.
April 12, 2013 |
Back in 1994, Bill Mallonee and his Athens, Ga., band, Vigilantes of Love, attempted to introduce themselves to a national audience with their fourth album, and their first with major-label distribution. Its title, Welcome to Struggleville , was apt, even prophetic. For Mallonee is a cult artist who's never found a wide audience despite consistent critical acclaim. In 2006, he was ranked the world's 65th best living songwriter by Paste magazine - ahead of Michael Jackson, Merle Haggard, and Allen Toussaint, among others.
March 17, 2007 |
All this week, our music maven Dan DeLuca has been posting dispatches on Philly.com from South by Southwest, the annual music industry confab in Austin, Texas. In this entry, he finds a touch or two of home in the Lone Star State. It's a long way from Broad Street to Sixth Street in this capital city in south-central Texas, but just as the shrinking music industry migrates to the growing South by Southwest Music Festival here every March, so does the Philadelphia music scene.
July 23, 2004 |
'Beat Society," the monthly at Five Spot that thrusts beat-makers to the forefront, will be on fire Sunday. On noncomputer equipment, 9th Wonder, Nicolay, Serious B and Kenwood will compose. (You can catch Nicolay earlier that day at Crimson Moon promoting Connected, the album he recorded with Little Brother's Phonte as Foreign Exchange.) MURS will be in the house to spit verse over the created beats, while Philly native Lizz Fields sprinkles vocals. The multitalented Peanut Butter Wolf had the foresight to raise a flock that includes Madlib, Quasimoto and Lootpack on his Stones Throw Records, a label that has become the Blue Note of hip-hop.