The opening of Lightbulbs, the third LP from Brighton, UK, quartet Fujiya & Miyagi, is uncomfortably similar to the beginning of the band’s 2006 Transparent Things: singer and guitarist David Best chants, “Vanilla, strawberry, knickerbocker glory” much like he intones “Fujiya, Miyagi” in the song “Ankle Injuries,” as a drum beat replicates the earlier song’s bassline. “I saw the ghost of Lena Zavaroni,” Best whispers, like a harbinger of tragedy. (Zavaroni was a child star that died at 35 due to complications from anorexia.) The album only gets worse from there.
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today doesn’t have nearly the same coherence as its distant predecessor. Eno approached Byrne a few years back, expressed dissatisfaction with a set of songs he had been working on for “up to 8 years,” and eventually asked Byrne to write lyrics and sing over the music. In other words, the collaborative starting point of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today was “salvage Eno’s botched tunes”—a far cry from the ambitious raison d’etre of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.
The Voice caught up with Thorburn at the onset of his summer 2008 tour to talk about tendinitis, the occult, and why people think he’s an asshole. (And in case you didn’t know, the Unicorns are dead.)
The free event takes place at the highest natural point in the District and features a panoply of local talent.
ExitingARM as whole, though, represents a gamble on Subtle’s part. They’ve seemingly restrained their sound to rope in more listeners, at the expense of some of their more substantive content. Not that I can blame Doseone (see: Subtle album sales), but I get the sense that ultimately no one’s happy here: the songs aren’t poppy enough for mass appeal and will likely disappoint former enthusiasts.
Turns out the internet isn’t killing the music industry after all. According to a recent study by NYU’s Vasant Dhar and Elaine Chang, the level of blog activity preceding an album’s release strongly correlates with its subsequent sales. Dhar and Chang tracked online buzz for 108 albums during an eight-week period (four weeks before and after release dates), using Amazon.com CD sales as their fiscal reference point. Interestingly, blogging beat out other relevant sources of “chatter”—consumer reviews, online and mainstream media reviews, and (amusingly enough) the bands’ friend count on MySpace—in its predictive power for commercial success.
Reflecting back now, though, I realize that my family’s taste left much to be desired. Where were the Beatles? Or Miles Davis? Or Johnny Cash? How did I miss all of these artists in my youth? I certainly don’t feel embittered—there was no conscious “withholding”—but I still wish I’d had a more eclectic musical upbringing.
Given this want, I’ve begun to introduce a broader range of music to my little sister, Elizabeth, who’s nearly nine years old. The selections are nothing drastic, just artists she wouldn’t typically encounter until an older age, all conveniently uploaded on her iPod Nano.
This illusion of commonality emerges whenever we identify with an artist’s body of work, and often spurs an unrealistic set of expectations. As Lacey puts it: “When you do an interview or meet a fan, the only reference they have of you is an album. So it’s almost that they want or expect you to be that [way] when we were really those people for four or five months.” This idea carries over into the long-term as well—we expect artists to stay the same and feel cheated when they don’t fulfill our preconceptions (insert references to Bob Dylan, Black Flag and more).
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Afterparty Babies, Cadence Weapon’s second LP, is how calculated it seems. Surely, countless hours go into crafting any good hip-hop album these days, but the effort put into Afterparty Babies extends beyond time spent in the studio or obsessively rewriting lyrics. Like the best rappers, Cadence Weapon seems fully aware of his audience, goals and idiosyncrasies; unlike the best-known rappers, he’s confident rather than megalomaniacal.