Friday, May 21, 2010

Indiephemera Friday, vol. 6

One of the ongoing mysteries in music journalism is how, in this era of file sharing and mass record store closings, Billboard magazine continues to exist.  Even more perplexing is why the music press continues to report on their findings.  This week, we were made aware that High Violet, the latest from FP favorites The National, had entered the charts at #3.  While we are certainly pleased that this spectacular record is bringing in some extra spending money for the band, it's hard to imagine that the chart appearance indicates much more.  To wit: the record sold a mere 51,000 copies in what was among the worst weeks in history for record sales (the number one record, which moved only 60,000 units, did so by capturing the coveted 9-12 demographic).   By comparison, the #3 record fifteen years ago was Live's Throwing Copper (yep, that's what you were buying), which in its life has sold 8 million copies.  To reach this benchmark, High Violet would simply have to continue selling at its current rate...for 156 weeks.

None of which is to suggest that The National aren't extremely popular; they are, and deservedly so.  We humbly suggest, however, that record sales are not longer a reliable way to measure the popularity of anything.  Given the manifold ways in which music is currently obtained and consumed, it is hard to conceive of any data that would tell one what music is most culturally relevant at any given time. No, for that information, you will have to read sites like this, or more specifically this site.  Roughly one million people can't be wrong.

On to some happenings from the week:

*Janelle Monae on Letterman.  Enough said (incendiary dancing at 2:17):

*The increasingly impressive Phoenix performed a four-song acoustic performance at NPR offices earlier this week.  Ironically, National Public Radio is the only music site that won't allow us to embed video, but the full performance can be heard below.  The video can be seen at NPR's website, and the music can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

Phoenix - Lisztomania/Armistice/1901/Playground Love (Live, Acoustic)

*Apparently in an effort to ride the wave of sci-fi themed concept albums, Ryan Adams  (yes, that one) has released a vinyl-only "fully-realized sci-fi metal concept album."  The album includes song titles like "Defenders of the Galaxy" and "Ghorgon, Master of War"  Also, Everything you just read is true.  Alas, a different kind of Heartbreaker.  Get your weird t-shirts at Adams' website.

*An excellent performance of the song "Walkabout" by Atlas Sound, aka Deerhunter's Bradford Cox (off the 2009 record Logos):

*Bat for Lashes makes Kings of Leon cool:
Bat for Lashes - Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)

*And, finally, do yourself a favor and check out this website on which Girl Talk's mashup opus Feed The Animals is completely deconstructed.  You can live-stream the entire record, and as each song plays, you will be informed whenever a new sample pops up and given opportunity to play the individual sample.  Fascinating, and highly recommended.

Enjoy the weekend! (Or, as Phoenix says, "le weekend.")

1 comment:

  1. Hi Frontier Psychiatrist! Thank you for your comment ( :)

    Great blog! I'm downloading the Phoenix live tracks as we speak.