Monday, February 21, 2005

Did You Want Fries With That?

I really believe that working in a CD shop is killing my love of music.
But you’re surrounded by music, you get to play what you want, you get to meet bands, get tickets to gigs… how can that be bad?, you say. Okay, I’m not surrounded by music for a start, I’m surrounded by product. And every week there’s more product, be it big releases or a crap cdr by some gimp you’ll never hear of again – it’s all product, very little love (okay, maybe the gimps do put love into it – I’ll get back to them). It’s just marketing, label pushing, free t-shirt with the first hundred, get your poster, tour edition, special dvd copy etc etc ad nauseam. And as for the bands – there just people in my way, they come in, do a signing, play a few songs, pose for the purty pictures, drink our beer, and then go – they ain’t that exciting as people, they’re just more work.
Of course if we had some decent bands doing in stores I might be happier but the likes of Gerling, Michael Franti, Tea Party, Missy Higgins etc do fuck all for me. Like I said, it’s just more work. I’ve been around too long I guess, seen too many bands, heard too many bands, and the new stuff does nothing for me – I can pick the influences, I can hear the songs they’ve ripped off, I don’t care how much triple j plays them, I think they’re all talentless gimps.

And as for the ‘alternative’ set, the people in the ‘know’ who don’t follow ‘trends’ - this week it’s soul, last week it was electronica, next week it’ll be jazz… sheep leading sheep getting fucked by wolves. The only interesting music is the stuff falling between the cracks, the stuff you have to look for – and these days it seems nobody wants to look too hard anyway. And I’m probably just as guilty sometimes as everyone else is. I get lazy, I ask others for their opinion – but I also look for things, I listen to things, and occasionally I luck into things whether it’s kindling label or black oak arkansas or erini… it’s out there, you just have to find it – unfortunately it’s rarely in the cd shops or the magazines or the street press. No all you’ll find in there is product – it ain’t burgers but it’s getting closer all the time.
Just look at the Big Day Out this year – as lame and bland a line up as they’ve ever managed to put together and yet it sold out Australia wide! Why? Because mediocrity rules, because bland is so non-threatening, so safe that everyone can go and not feel threatened by their own lack of musical knowledge, or their own lack of ability. Now they can imagine themselves on stage. After all if powderfinger and dallas crane can do it why can’t we? There’s no chance of anything exciting or interesting happening, no surprises, nothing that could make them think a bit or break them out of that nice piss-warm cocoon they’ve all settled into. We don’t think we just buy. Now, did you want fries with that album?

Oh yeah, I said I’d get back to the gimps with their self released cdr’s. Well, see the problem as I see it is that with the new technology anybody can have an album out now- there is no stopping you.*
It used to be that the best rose to the top and the others released a bad demo tape and disappeared, waiting to be collected years later by obscure European labels. But now, every fucker with a computer thinks he’s a star – and maybe he is, this is the age of Aussie Idol and Popstars after all. There’s just no quality control at all now and it’s getting to be hardwork sorting through the dross to look for the gems.
* (Just like anybody can have a blog I guess – we’re all gimps)


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