Showing posts with label The Lemon Twigs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Lemon Twigs. Show all posts

Monday, June 05, 2023

#NewMusicMonday • April - May, 2023 • The Record Producer

In listening to several new albums released in the past couple of months my thoughts drifted to the broad category of "Indie" music. I'm not going to get into all the indie and alternative music dynamics as the business of popular music evolved or devolved in the late 20th century. What I'm thinking here in 2023 is that the general public doesn't know or hear about the 'Record Producer' much anymore.

Back in the day, major label recording artists would all use or were even assigned a Producer by the record company to enhance the odds of creating a hit song. One reason that artists slowly blew up this model was for the fact that the record label often used the Producer to control the recording process and thus, the product.

As newer folk, rock 'n' roll and rock artists and bands became more independent, the meaning of indie itself kind of found two camps.

  1.  Successful and signed artists wanting control of their content in making albums on an established record label and,
  2.  Lesser successful and unsigned artists without a record contract and a friggin' dime.
In the 21st century, both camps expanded their audiences by creating and streaming their songs and albums on the Internet, or as many published musicians have learned to say, "pennies on a dollar."

In cutting to the chase, sometimes in hearing professional artists self-produce their recordings is that feeling I get that something is missing. It's hard for me as a non-musician to put my finger on it, but maybe an established record producer à la Glyn Johns or Phil Ramone could add that punch and magic to make a professional recording, well more professional.

In listening to the indie pop group The Lemon Twigs' new album, Everything Harmony,  I got the feeling that there are some really good songs here, but if they had only used a producer à la Todd Rundgren, I bet it would have been even better. 

What's great about YouTube is hearing both the polished song version on an album, and the unpolished versions of the same song in various live performances. I'm often looking for the live performance of a song, and that is so much easier and accessible with music made in the 21st century.

As film turned to tape in late 60's, so many great performance really can't be heard or even seen well in the digital transfer to a YouTube video. Maybe that's why my old ear falls back to the standard of songs that were well produced and released on vinyl when hearing those 60's-70's original recordings on YouTube today. 

In relation to songs being recorded today, I'm not talking about the quality of analog vs. digital, I'm talking about the teamwork of an artist and producer crafting the arrangement of a song together. 

I don't want to make this a generational thing, I love and appreciate a lot of music being recorded today. On one hand it's easier to make music and share it with the world, on the other hand, it's still a small group of artists who get a great record deal and all the things that go with making a record, like maybe, an experienced record producer. 

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Monday, February 27, 2023

#NewMusicMonday • February, 2023

Within a genre of music you're going to encounter, sameness. As a big fan of rock 'n' roll back in the 60's and 70's there were always the imitators. This continues today as many young artists fall into the stereotypical pattern of sameness all trying to relight that spark of familiar hits by previous artists. 

In listening to modern streaming genre playlists with titles like, "Fresh Folk," "Emerging Americana," and "All New Indie," I find that they just seem to perpetuate homogenous grouping of young artists and their niche songs. I'm totally showing my age here, but how many solo droning self-indulgent "smelly cat" artists can there be on a new songs streaming playlist? This past week I kept saying to myself, where have all the bands gone?

In any event, it's getting to be a bit of a grind, as I don't have the time I did a few years ago to do a deep dive hunt for rock 'n' roll and Americana and put a monthly 50+ playlist together. So I'm going to just roll with it. If it takes me two or three months to put a worthy new playlist together with a little musical diversity, then that's where I'm at with my taste in music in 2023. 

There are so many young talented artists I have discovered for myself in the past eight years and shared with my dedicated little group of Monday Monday listeners that I will alway keep this #NewMusicMonday series going. So even though I'm basically saying that the new gems are further distanced from each other these days, it's probably the same feeling I had back in the late 1970's too.

Enjoy my friends. There's people like (header above left to right) Andrew Bird, Bonny Light Horseman, Joy Oladokun, The Lemon Twigs, Caitlin Rose, and (below them) the Milk Carton Kids out there making great new music.

Monday, September 07, 2020

#NewMusicMonday • July-August • 2020

The Listener
A YEAR of #NewMusicMondays  
Recently, I've had a couple of people ask me what my blog is about. The short answer is I write about rock 'n' roll. Since 2015, it's a passion where I developed a process over time that I compare to fishing. I cast my digital fishing pole into the river of musical streams.

To create a blog, I always start at the end. The end is the playlist, the second part of the blog. I spend the most time on any blog making the playlist because it's the heartbeat, the music itself that motivates me to organize a group of songs and then write about them.

The actual first part of the blog, the writing is always the hardest part. Sometimes like this week, I don't have much to say about the songs because it's new music that I don't have experiences to tie them to, other than I like the songs I've caught. Sometimes, I wonder how many people actually listen to an entire playlist that I've created? I'm guessing a handful. I like to think my playlists communicate a message- the songs selected and their linear order, an iteration with its own rhythm and if explored, probably reveals more about me than the writing of the blog.

I have two kinds of playlists. One, songs compiled from my youth in long-term memory, and two, songs compiled from recent times and often experienced as fun short-term memories.

The long-term playlists are often like fishing in a familiar fishing hole, you just cast your line with bait and wait, and then you catch that big song from long ago and just slowly reel it in.

The new songs have an exciting element of the unknown, you're fishing with a lure, casting out and quickly reeling it in with only your shiny lure staring back at you. But every now and then you catch a fresh new song, a keeper for a week, or one that actually becomes a long-term favorite.

In this metaphor, the bait or lure is my musical sense, my personal preferences to beat, rhythm, melody, vocals, lyrics, and the musical instruments used, and then categorized as an artist's musical sound, style, and/or genre.

In the past several weeks of putting this #NewMusic playlist together, I have been examining my musical taste in both my old and new likes, and my recent dislikes that stereotype most pop music today by assuming every young person must have an electronic pulse sound in the song in order for them to buy it.

Now, take my 'digital lure fishing' method to catching songs and it's something like 'speed dating' where couples sit for a minute, talk, the bell sounds, and then you move onto the next table. I cast my 30 second lure- listen to the intro, does it grab me, or skip to the second quarter, continue to listen or skip to the third quarter, continue to listen, or it's one and done with that song. This may sound cold, but my method gives a lot of artists and bands I have never heard of a fighting chance with my musical 'Crap-O-Meter.'

So, it's a lot like fishing, mostly misses but a few wonderful hits too. This week I discovered new favs for the first time- Josh Ritter, Kathleen Edwards and the band, Travis as well as new material from recent favorites as The Killers, Black Pumas, and The Lemon Twigs. Also, a couple of new old songs from The Rolling Stones, Green Day, and Prince.

My hope is that you're saying, "Cool thanks for sharing this new music." Or,
"Seriously Doug, you mean you have never heard of Travis until last week, and you call yourself a music blogger?"

Enjoy my friends and stay well out there.