The Divine Comedy – Promenade

Apropos of nothing, except “really great lyrics”, this wryly witty song by Neil ‘Father Ted‘ Hannon just has to be linked to, because it’s splendid. It’s a beautifully arranged slice of frightfully English chamber pop from the album Promenade.

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Lykke Li – Get Some (free download)

The ever-dependable Collapse Board introduced me to this little treat today. A note of caution before we proceed: the lyrics are f***ing terrible. I mean, they really are abysmally, offensively bloody awful in an “I’m-as-serious-as-cancer-when-I-tell-you-rhythm-is-a-dancer” sort of way. Utter tosh.

Luckily, the rest of it is as great as the lyrics are bad. Big, pounding drums, jagged Wild West guitars and a beautifully catchy chorus of tuneful but inexpertly-sung vocals. Jerry says it reminds him of The Slits, but I’m thinking Bow Wow Wow. I’ve played it twice in the past five minutes and it won’t be the last time tonight – and, best of all, it’s free! Just sign up to the mailing list and they’ll send you a link for the download.

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The problem with music

I just stumbled across this article by famed producer Steve Albini, which appeared in the early 1990s in Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine.

It sets out, in clear terms, exactly why I wince every time some band gets terribly excited about all that “free money” they just got from signing to a record label:

These A & R guys are not allowed to write contracts. What they do is present the band with a letter of intent, or “deal memo,” which loosely states some terms, and affirms that the band will sign with the label once a contract has been agreed on. The spookiest thing about this harmless sounding little memo, is that it is, for all legal purposes, a binding document. That is, once the band signs it, they are under obligation to conclude a deal with the label. If the label presents them with a contract that the band don’t want to sign, all the label has to do is wait. There are a hundred other bands willing to sign the exact same contract, so the label is in a position of strength. These letters never have any terms of expiration, so the band remain bound by the deal memo until a contract is signed, no matter how long that takes. The band cannot sign to another laborer or even put out its own material unless they are released from their agreement, which never happens. Make no mistake about it: once a band has signed a letter of intent, they will either eventually sign a contract that suits the label or they will be destroyed.

Other than thinking that some things on Albini’s list of costs were surprisingly cheap (legal fees) and others unnecessarily expensive, my only real issue with the piece was the false impression it gives of the level of record company profit from their end of the deal.

Revenue. Is. Vanity.

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