Has It really been almost a year? Already?
(text originally from the nfo file in the Best 100 of 2009 playlist torrent , which can be found HERE.. and about 100 other places)
First of all I want to say a huge thank you to all of YOU for downloading the monthly playlists and giving me all kinds of feedback from great to constructive to negative. It’s ALL appreciated. And secondly, yet no less importantly, to the others who do playlists. Blalock, Dahkradha, Joydue,everyone!! I look to you for guidance, inspiration and yes sometimes ideas as well as music I missed in the previous months. I could not do it and would not do it without you. A huge thank you goes out to Redfishbluefish for the inspiration to do this. And to Redfishbluefish , Barfy and Edshrinker for being such amazing friends. May this year be the year we all get what we want. And may this year be the year I’m a better friend to all of you instead of being shoved so far up my own … head. And sorry to those of you on Twitter who were told I think at least 3 times that this thing was almost done.
Thanks as well to EVERYONE for being patient while I sort out what I want this (Indie69 itself) to be in a technical sense. I think I’ve settled into a format now thanks to the feedback and help.
If you are on youtube, check out the indiesixtynine channel for updates and to watch some of the monthly playlists come together in real time through video versions of songs I’ve
Now a little about my process and motivation, so that it can perhaps help others to do the same and hopefully better than all of us combined at some point. I get music from several sources. Torrents (mostly legal torrents and creative commons releases, honestly.. because I want to encourage that), blogs, mp3s e-mailed to me and occasionally CDs. I’m sure others do things differently than I do. It would be amazing to work at a CD store or a radio station right now while doing this, it would make things much easier. I just stay in touch with certain artists as well as stay constantly close to the music “blogosphere”, keeping up with all kinds of music blogs covering pretty much everything except classical, jazz and oldies. The one resource I still cannot find a central home or blog for is basement music, as some would call it, or lo-fi. I think lo-fi is far too narrow a term, which is why I prefer something like basement or homemade. Someone like William Doyle or The Simple Carnival, while recording and producing pretty much on their own, tend to have a sound quality that defies the lo-fi genre. They and other artists doing what they do well are about as lo-fi as Coldplay is Indie. Now as far as motivation is concerned, I would be lying if I didn’t mention that my first and foremost motivation was Criznittle dropping off the face of the earth and quitting his world-famous Indie Rock Playlist. I have also always loved promoting new music and discovering new artists for many years and this gave me a chance to do it on a regular basis and help fill the void Criznittle created when he stopped.
Speaking of voids. How do you like radio these days? Yeah, .. what radio? When I created this playlist, I kept in mind what it would be like if radio played new music anymore. I’m sure some of you are lucky enough to be in countries and areas where they still DO play new music on the radio. Radio started as a way to communicate, evolved into a way for artists to reach audiences, evolved further into a way for the industry machine to promote the artists they owned and then devolved into a marketing-only machine. When the industry fell apart, they took radio down with them and the few corporations that own stations (in the us at least, not sure about the rest of the world) just pretended nothing changed and all went to either nostalgia formats or top 40. The non-commercial radio in my area seems to be run by people who think boredom is a programming format. But at least there are bright spots in that area. The few stations that DID play new music in a commercial context just froze up when the marketing machine started ignoring them and acted like their playlists had become permanent or something. So odd. Here in my area, it was like the playlists froze somewhere around 2004 and just stuck, adding very few new artists and tracks every week. Of course this resulted in the listeners just tuning out, slowly over time, never giving them even a hint at how to fix things. Which would have been easy. Just do what you always did, what you know you wanted to do. Drop the Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Nippleback and Sublime a bit and add some new music in it’s place. Take some risks. Remember how much people acted like they hated it back in the 80s when you switched to playing new stuff? The 90s? They were old folks.
“I don’t practice Santaria…”
Yes, we know. Now SHUT UP AND PLAY SOMETHING NEW… oops, off the air. Oh well, we tried.
And radio? If you don’t fix it soon, I think most people will just give up on you for good.
And a quick note about “Indie”. What it means to me: Music from artists who adhere to an independent spirit as well as artists who are truly independent. As in independent from the long, scaly tentacles of the majors. If one or two of them sign to majors and carry on making interesting music that defies the mainstream, fine. Still “Indie” to me. These days, selling out is not the same as it used to be. Hearing a track on a car commercial, to me, just means there’s a better chance we’ll get another album out of them before they go broke and split or quit. Selling out, in my opinion, is now things like changing to appeal to a larger audience rather than just trying to maintain an income that will sustain a career. Everything has changed. The only way artists can seem to make real money anymore is through digital sales, touring, merchandise and licensing. The old way of “selling out” is a failure on many levels. Once a formerly “indie” artist signs with a major, that artist is most likely doing nothing but going into debt and allowing said major to rip them off and ignore them in exchange for something they either already had or could have grown on their own. An audience.
This year has gone by fast. I started in Feb, 2009, so it is a short year for me. This list, however, does cover a bit of what’s come out in the beginning of December, 2009. It’s a small part of why this thing has taken so long. See, this was done almost a month ago. Then after I loaded it all on my player and gave it a listen in order, I found myself skipping far too many tracks. If this was to TRULY reflect the tracks *I* loved most this year, this just wasn’t going to fly. I had to go back and re-do it, even if there were some artist repeats and holdovers from the end of 2008. When I do the monthly lists, it does reflect some of the best of what I loved the previous month as well as pre-releases from artists I keep up with. But it also includes artists that I think OTHERS will want to hear. Even if it’s not really “my thing”. THIS playlist reflects what *I* loved this year and what has remained on my player without consideration for removal to make room for new stuff. That all said.. I know within hours of releasing this, I’ll be kicking myself in the ass for leaving something out. (edit:and I did)
In other words, not everyone who downloads this is going to agree with me. And that’s fine. By next month, if you didn’t like this list, things will be back to normal in the sense that the playlist will be just as diverse and inclusive as it’s always been. And I do hope it always HAS been.
Others who do this in 2009 will probably either explain their decisions less or more than I will, and I was considering explaining each and every one of them to an extent. But instead I will focus on just a few that I think were ignored for the most part either by non-commercial radio or the blogosphere.
William Doyle – Born in The USB
This “kid” released a damn fine album this year and presented the artistic promise of a long and fruitful career. But almost No-ONE NOTICED! Now working as Doyle and the Fourfathers
there should be a new album coming soon. And I look forward to hearing where this promising artist goes from where he is now, which is a pretty lofty place for someone just out of his teens. The new direction and .. gasp.. band mates… should make for a great next step. Just as long as he doesn’t abandon EVERYTHING he accomplished on Born in the USB.
But why the number one spot? Because “Born in The USB” has remained on my mp3 player ever since that day it was upped to it. And I find I never skip a track. For me, it was simply the best release of the year. YMMV. But that’s fine.
PT Walkley – Mr. Macy Wakes Alone
This one came to me via Twitter, of all places. After a few listens and some gushing over Twitter, we had a few short e-mail exchanges and I think I actually talked him into giving me permission to torrent his whole album. But I have not gotten around to it quite yet. Watch for that as I make the permission a little more official and gather all of the materials. The version he sent me was a little lower quality than I’d prefer and I want to make sure that the release is represented properly, as it’s a truly great album. Tracks like Sanitarium haunt me more and more with each listen and remind me of a time when music meant so much more for so much longer. A time when liner notes were read and re-read, posters were on walls and concerts were nearly religious experiences. And it’s a friggen concept album.. with LAZERS!! Ok, maybe not lazers. But he could get away with it. Not only is it a complete album with no weak spots, in a time when albums seem to mean less and less, it’s a CONCEPT album. With great animated videos for many of the songs by the same animators, following a storyline of sorts. Not only did he get Beck’s dad to work on it, he got a LENNON! (Sean) You cannot ignore that, but once you listen you’ll be hooked. Seek it out and seek him out live. (Edit: Sanitarium is, IMHO, one of the best songs ever written about the industry and how it usually looks at artists and how it (dis)respects the audience.)
Starpilot – Bunch of stuff.
This guy is PROLIFIC. He makes Prince look lazy. And he takes big risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they do a bit less. But it’s always interesting and always fun. Thing is, again, almost no-one has noticed. It’s less accessible than a lot of the Basement music that’s come out over the last year, but it’s very much worth your headphone time. And that’s the way his stuff should be listened to, with headphones. Always.
And there’s a LOT to choose from.
Cover image from:
Isn’t it adorable. It’s called “Sharing”. Appropriate, I thought. And it could be the cutest thing I’ve seen all year, so…
If you’ve read this far, I just wanted to add that I’ve now revised this playlist SEVERAL more times since writing this text file. I just have to let it go and kick myself later for missing things. I’m sure there are even tracks from late 2008 in there. Better luck next year. Just know that I put real time and love into this and I hope you love it. Next year I’ll do my best not to have any more dupes in the monthly playlist.
Long live Mininova! See you soon Demonoid.
2010 is going to make 2009 look like 2008. Whatever that means.