Last month, I downloaded a torrent entitled “Only 20 Tangerine Dream Albums.” Only. I divided them by date, threw the post-’81 contents in a hidden folder, and now have hours upon hours of background music for reading and working. I had been fiercely resisting the relegation of music to BGM, but at least I finally understand why people get so drawn to Riow Arai or Cluster or whatever.
All that 2006 young indie band stuff: can’t get into it, blends together too much like Phaedra and Ricochet — maybe even Rubycon. Someone gave me Tapes N. Tapes, and my iPod just automatically switched over to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain instead. I blame the technology for the easy avoidance of contemporary, yet inferior products.
2006, however, was the year I could finally channel my age-old obsession with Jenny Lewis into the music sphere. Before now, I had been buying old SLP recordings of Brooklyn Bridge off eBay. I actually checked my email next to her at Fuji Rock, which I could guess is as exciting as eating in the same cafeteria as Jens Lekman or having the same hairdresser as Connor Oberst, except I have no idea who that last person is. As much Faust as I listened to this year, I secretly wanted songs to sing along with, and “Rise Up with Fists” and “You Are What You Love” were extremely satisfying in this regard — despite Ms. Lewis’ habitual resignation to rhyme a word with itself.
Unlike everyone else in the entire world, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the The Crick Watsons album, and yeah, I know who produced it. Call me a hater, but there is something very toxic about this whole promotional climate, where bloggers might as well be on the Girlie Action payroll. (Wait, I’m a blogger too. This is like the pot calling the Ketel One a drug.) Regardless, unlike my peers, I could not get into Seven Pack, Chedd, Like a Like, Minty Quintet, Kambodia, The Flag, nor Pretend You Are Here. Nor Sophie’s Choice, Lionel Hutz (how many more Simpsons band names will there be?), The Golden, Bumblebee Man, and Fast Car.
If the album is dead, someone forgot to tell The Telegraphix — who released one. I liked “Radio on the TV” as a single, but it kinda dates yourself to comment on a contemporary band in real time.
I could complain about YouTube-mainstays Yes Maam being all visual and no audio, but this criticism has been shrill and redundant ever since MTV rolled into town. In Yes Maam’s case, however, their silent clip started an aggravating trend where the video was free, but you had to buy the music separately. I hope to see a lot less of that in 2007.
The other day I considered purchasing a CD for the first time in about five years only to find that the prices have not dropped recently — even though the market is completely disintegrating. (Toshiba got out of Toshiba-EMI, which could not be a good sign.) HMV had the Klaus Schulze CD I wanted for 3990 JPY, which I would like to say is “X-times the amount I want to pay for it” except that X is an impossible number since you can’t divide 3990 by 0. In most shrinking markets, the prices go down: I don’t think the Virtual Boy kept getting more and more expensive the less units Nintendo could sell. But labels can’t catch up to consumers here: the macro-psychological value for music has already plummeted to near zero. There’s too much of it, and it’s too readily available for free. Anyone who actually bought a CD this year should win an award for their impressive commitment to charity.