Top 5 Music Things This Week: Summer Fests Suck, Pitchfork Monopoly, Haunted Folk and More
1. Summer fests are terrible. Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Fest are hot and full of people. If you know my sweaty, misanthropic ass, you know those are two things I despise. And while all three of those fests do have pretty impressive lineups, I just can’t imagine being stuck in the middle of a field in Tennessee or Chicago with thousands and thousands of other hot, sweaty bodies, and managing to have any fun.
There is one exception, and that is All Tomorrow’s Parties in Monticello, N.Y. The annual festival is a music nerd’s wet dream, and this year, is from top to bottom, a total behemoth. Go to the site, run your cursor up and down the lineup, and from The Books to Raekwon, this is a group of artists that feels handpicked, because half of it actually is—by director Jim Jarmusch!
The entire weekend is a who’s who of fuzzed out luminaries: Iggy and the Stooges doing “Raw Power,” Mudhoney kicking out all their early, grunge inspiring classics, the pop phenom Girls, and a house band by the name of Shellac.
It’s got a little of everything for everybody with an impressive record collection, from recently reformed stoner rock kings, Sleep, to The Breeders and the band that put out my choice for best record of 2009, Wooden Shjips.
So do me a favor on Sept. 3-5: Don’t text, e-mail or call me. I’ll be making the journey to rock n’ roll Mecca.
You should come too.
On one hand, Pitchfork is a business. While they deal in what some still consider “independent” music, they make money, and they have immeasurable influence that may or may not be waning. So what do you do? You evolve, you grow and you eat up all the little fish so you can become a bigger, stronger one.
Is this a bad thing? Well, if you hate capitalism, then yes, it’s fucking awful. But I’d be willing to bet if you were a rock chucking anarchist who spent last week in Toronto, protesting the G-20 summit, then you don’t care much for Pitchfork anyway.
The smaller bloggers (some that I read and respect a great deal) gain access to a wider audience, and *GASP* might get paid! It’s like a blog utopia, not a power play by Pitchfork to make more money, and tighten their grip on the blogosphere.
Or is it?
Could this whole thing be the music blog equivalent to minor league sports? Is Pitchfork going to use sites like 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Raven Sings the Blues (the two sites involved in A.Z. that I like the most) as a breeding ground for future tastemakers? Is this the line in the sand between the new crew of Pitchfork blogs and other fantastic independent music sites that aren’t on their side?
It’s really too early to tell, but it will be pretty interesting to see how the whole thing unfolds.
3. The New York/New Orleans/Minneapolis collective known as Dark Dark Dark weave haunting folk/cabaret tunes that call to mind projects by various members of The Bad Seeds (Crime and the City Solution, These Immortal Souls) and at points, recasts Hope Sandoval (formerly of Mazzy Star) as a gypsy princess. I caught wind of the first single off their forthcoming LP, “Wild Go,” and was hooked.
4. I feel awkward calling Chris Brokaw and Geoff Farina “indie royalty,” but Google their names and see what comes up, because it’s pretty impressive.
The duo got together and created an album full of reinterpreted folk songs by the likes of Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Arthur Blake and Irving Mills. The end result is “The Angel’s Message to Me”; an album that has taken up many of the more laid back moments of this young summer.
5. The Believer’s annual music issue is out. Always a great read.
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