this week’s music | 19 april 2013

friday | 19 april 2013

UP IN SMOKE: RECORD RE-RELEASES IN THE VIRTUAL ERA

Ben Greenman | The New Yorker | amazon

“What Love Has…Joined Together” is a standout among the otherwise undistinguished Miracles albums of the period. But it’s important for another reason. It’s the Halley’s Comet of Smokey Robinson albums: after the original LP was released, in 1970, and the record got a CD release, in 1992, it has been unavailable. As other Miracles and Robinson solo albums reappeared on CD, sometimes with annoying regularity and opportunistic repackaging, “What Love Has…Joined Together” remained out of print. And over that time, the value of the CD climbed steadily. I remember seeing it in a record store a decade ago for fifty dollars, and thinking how preposterous that was—fifty dollars for a single CD. But the value only increased, and a few years back copies were selling for more than a hundred dollars. I had to beg an older guy I knew to make me a cassette copy, and even then I had to settle for him cutting off “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” about thirty seconds too early. The exceedingly valuable CD is pictured in this YouTube user video of the title song.

Today, Motown rereleases “What Love Has…Joined Together.” Or does it? Motown’s rerelease is virtual—the company has made an MP3 version of the record available on Amazon, iTunes, and other digital retailers. There are no plans for a physical product. The question of rerelease, again, is answered without quite being answered. More people can now hear the music, which is an unqualified good: more people need to hear it. But does this mean that more people possess the record?


SmokeyRobinson-album-290

thursday | 18 april 2013

ADVENTURES IN FILM: IAN PONS JEWELL IN BOLIVIA

Whilst planning a trip to Argentina with Bruno (focus puller and part of Studio Murmur, imagining I would just go there for a couple months holiday whilst also seeing what opportunities there were for work, I got an email out of the blue from Luisa Gerstein (the lead singer of Landshapes, and vocalist for TEED) asking if I was interested in doing her next video. There was a problem though, as it involved shooting the Cholita wrestlers in Bolivia and the budget wasn’t big. What luck! I can speak Spanish and we were already going to Argentina, so the flight costs would be just the single from Buenos Aires to La Paz, which suddenly made the whole project very viable, with us just budgeting to fly out our DOP Doug Walshe. There’s nothing better than being contacted directly by the artist and working with them directly. I had just started to work independently myself with Studio Murmur, so it was a wonder

HIATUS: WE CAN BE GHOSTS NOW

Tom Jobbins | Vimeo

KELLY HOGAN: I LIKE TO KEEP MYSELF IN PAIN

Greg Kot | The Chicago Tribune | amazon

It’s nice to have talented friends. Kelly Hogan has collected dozens of them over the years in a career marked as much by her personal generosity as her remarkable singing voice, and ace songwriters such as Vic Chesnutt, Robyn Hitchcock and Stephin Merritt step up with some durable tunes on her first studio album in 11 years. But it’s what Hogan does with the songs that makes “I Like to Keep Myself in Pain” (Anti) such a landmark.

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tuesday | 16 april 2013

KURT VILE: WAKIN ON A PRETTY DAZE

Michael Roffman | Consquence of Sound | amazon

Written on the road and recorded across America in upstate New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, the follow-up to 2011′s Smoke Ring for My Halo turns the Philadelphia songwriter into a seasoned explorer, conjuring up the rugged frontier magic that Young, Browne, Fleetwood, and Petty sharpened in the ’70s. This album’s alive and far removed from the claustrophobic confines of his last outing, whose dreary black and white cover offered a succinct portrait of that album’s introverted personality. Similarly, Wakin‘s cover correlates its implicit themes, capturing Vile on a perfect day, standing outside a building tagged with his name, the album’s title, and splotches of album-related street art. It’s a bold statement for an artist that spends most of his time behind a wall of hair, but it’s the right one to make for this indomitable album.

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LAST WEEK

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