Pretty cool list, HERE.
Psyched to see Wolfgang’s Vault on the list, though it’s hard to imagine it’s really that “undiscovered” with the amount of traffic it gets.
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Maybe it’s the Vineyard, but, man, I’ve been deeply into, for lack of a better term (and, Dear Lord, please give me a better term), stoner rock this summer. I’m not talking about faux Stoner Rock like QOTSA (which seems more like mushrooms-laced-with-LSD-rock to me). Nah, what I mean is best summed up by the blissed out work you hear on David Crosby’s debut solo record, “If I Could Only Remember My Name.”
Sort of unceremoniously shit upon when initially released (Christgau gave it a D-; but do consider the time (1970), and what “The Dean” was digging at that point), it’s held up remarkably well, and, to my thinking, no IICORMN = no Devandra Banhart, no Fleet Foxes, no Joana Newsome (dig the harp on “Traction in the Rain”), maybe no Elephant 6, etc.
The record is particularly cool because it not only captures the bliss of the stoner vibe (“Laughing” – amazing use of dulcimer), but also the deep (justified?) paranoia of the times (check out “What Are Their Names”).
I can’t recommend it enough. And, lest you think I’ve gone all hippie on you, I was reminded to go back to this record by reading the excellent Sonic Youth biography, Goodbye 20th Century, in which Jim O’Rourke waxes eloquent on the album.
Try this out:
For more, check out this from one of several outstanding concerts on Wolfgang’s Vault from around the same era:
And, if you want to sort of follow the narrative to its (perhaps) logical conclusion, here’s a song from the Fleet Foxes Daytrotter session:
[Disclaimer, I'm delighted to work for Wolfgang's Vault and Daytrotter.]
Like everyone else, I was a fan of the band prior to seeing them live, but since seeing them live, I’m sort of obsessed. They truly are great. It’s so interesting how crucial (for me at least, though I doubt I’m alone on this) it is to see a band play live to sort of fill in the aural blanks that you can’t quite get by listening to a recording.
The band Tore. It. Up. No easy feat for the first of three bands. The massive hockey arena was maybe a quarter full, and of those people I’d say maybe 10% were fans of the band…at the beginning of the band’s set. By the end of the set, I’d say pretty much everyone there was on their feet cheering.
It’s a dodgy thing being an opening band. Bands often covet these spots only to get them and suffer all sorts of indignities when touring with a larger band. Too often, the ultimate indignity is that they really accomplish little or nothing by taking the gigs (random act of improvement).
However, every now and then, it works wonderfully. Such was the case with The National. They definitely made some fans who likely would never have been fans had they not been opening for REM.
This is also a strong indicator of a band’s prospects. Opening bands who tear it up tend not to stay opening bands for long. Consider, for example, REM’s early opening gigs where they completely destroyed the headliners. While The National didn’t outperform REM (I don’t think there’s a band in the world who could have outperformed REM that night), they certainly comported themselves in a righteous manner.
Check out some of these fantastic The National performances from their Daytrotter session (via Wolfgang’s Vault). Don’t skip over “Pretty in Pink.” In fact, hearing the National’s take on the track should compel you to listen to the Furs’ Wolfgang’s Vault concerts (they have three!). And, yeah, Iâ€™ll embed – so you can “A/B” them – the Furs doing PinP at the end.
As a last point, if you already like The National (or if these tracks from the Daytrotter session makes you dig them) you must check out Willard Grant Conspiracy. They’ve been making some of the most beautiful/powerful/literate chamber-folk-pop for quite some time. Hear for yourself: HERE.
On to the music:
The National Daytrotter sessions:
The Furs from Wolfgang’s Vault:
[On to the disclaimers:
â€¢I do some work for both Daytrotter and Wolfgang's Vault.
â€¢I put out several, and a played on a few of the WGC records, and I played with the band every chance I could.]
My kids are just completely nuts for Vampire Weekend. This delights me, of course, to no end. They have, however, grown tired of the one and only VW record. Happily, they can hear alternate versions of some of the songs from the excellent Daytrotter session via Wolfgang’s Vault.
Wonderfully, Wolfgang’s Vault has made songs embed-able, and because you can get Daytrotter sessions from Wolfgang’s Vault, you can also embed Daytrotter tracks (sweet work around until you can embed directly from Daytrotter).
I’m likely to be embedding quite a lot of this stuff coming up. You’ve been forewarned.
[by-this-point-fatiguing disclosure: I do work for Wolfgang's Vault and Daytrotter]
9GS reader, Jakomi, shot me over a very interesting article that discusses why it is that labels continue to neglect a large population of potential music buyers by focusing on 14-24 year olds.
The article’s author makes a good point by emphasizing the amount of revenue that publishing generates for labels, and how this too stands to fall off precipitously should this marketing focus (or lack thereof) continue.
This is something I wrestle with a lot. I do some work for Wolfgang’s Vault, and I truly believe that the passionate users of that site are wildly interested in discovering new music in addition to hearing fantastic versions of songs from artists who they’ve loved long time.
In some respects, the partnership between Daytrotter and Wolfgang’s Vault speaks to this hypothesis.
Ultimately, I think the blog post really just shows yet another reason why the old-skool labels are failing: continuously failing to innovate; continuously neglecting customers. It’s easy for me to toss out indictments, and I’m sort of tired of doing so. In some respects the majors are fucked no matter what they do; make an acquisition: get criticized; fail to make an acquisition: get criticized. At a certain point, however, they must damn the torpedoes and define a set of constant values, and run their businesses in alignment with these values. Until this happens, it will just be constant churning.
Thanks to Jakami for the link.