Pazz & Jop: Village Voice's Critic's Poll of 2013's Best Music

Categories: music-biz shiz

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Looks like Kanye is a god after all...
Call yourself a music lover? Then you should have already been salivating over this year's Pazz & Jop critic's poll unleashed by the Village Voice today. Kanye West's Yeezus was chosen best album, while Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" was best single. Try not to be too surprised. But click through the rest of the music highlighted in this hallowed list and get caught up on the artists that made 2013 listenable. Not much love for OC artists to be found, unfortunately, though a few L.A. bands are sprinkled in, including sisterly power trio Haim, who snagged the number seven album of the year, Days Are Gone, and the number three single, "The Wire."

See also: Pazz & Jop 2013

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Whole Foods Has a Record Store. Oh No?

Categories: music-biz shiz

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Courtesy of Whole Foods
"Pile on that kale salad," sings Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes from the Whole Foods parking lot. The ad-libbed riff on his song "It's A Little Bit of Everything" draws a mannered whoop from the weekend afternoon crowd, who have come to politely welcome Whole Foods into the music curation business.

Indeed, over the weekend the grocery store chain debuted vinyl-heavy music dispensaries in five of its 340 stores, including this one in West Hollywood. The event is swarmed. Valets scurry to park cars while those in attendance slurp oysters and crunch gluten-free pita chips. Two Mercedes get into a honking match and the sound-guy shouts: "Shit just got real in the Whole Foods parking lot." Soon, many in attendance go inside and dutifully buy Arcade Fire records. Such is the state of the industry in 2013, where folks are increasingly less likely to buy music at an actual music store.

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Bad Religion's Jay Bentley and Brian Baker Talk Biz With KROQ's Kat Corbett

Categories: music-biz shiz
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Daniel Kohn
Corbett, Baker and Bentley talking shop
Have you ever wanted to get advice from your favorite band and hear directly from them about the ups and downs of the biz? Well that's what happened last night at the Yost Theater, when the OC Music Awards teamed up with Red Bull to sponsor a Q&A session with Bad Religion's Jay Bentley and Brian Baker moderated by KROQ's Kat Corbett.

The session, which lasted about two-and-a-half hours, featured commentary from across the musical spectrum. Some of the more candid moments came at the beginning of the three-part symposium, when Bentley recalled some highlights (and lowlights) from the band's early years -- teachable moments for anxious onlookers. The band also brought their tour manager, Cathy Mason, and Jason Feinberg, the vice president of digital strategy for Epitaph Records (which is their label).

Here are some of the highlights (both biz and from the band's history) from the free-flowing discussion between the panelists:


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Ottmar Liebert: A Flamenco Guitarist Who'd Rather Listen to Horns

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Matt Callahan
Ottmar Liebert is one of the most popular flamenco-style guitarists, yet he doesn't like to place himself in that genre. Instead, Liebert infuses flamenco techniques with his own style that borrows from non-stringed instruments and genres you'd never imagine he'd listen to. The Grammy-nominated and platinum-selling musician relies on touring and record sales to make a living, which would seem to have given him a practical, unromantic outlook on the art form, but it's actually become his guide for how he interprets the world and finds his way through it.

He plays with his trio at the Coach House on Thursday, and even if you're not into flamenco or its fusions, he shares some sound advice for aspiring musicians in all genres.More »

My Bloody Valentine's Website Crash Shows What it Means to Be Indie in 2013

Categories: music-biz shiz
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High Road Touring
My Bloody Valentine
By: Dan Moore

My Bloody Valentine released a new album over the weekend, and by all accounts it's very good. There are a lot of thick, quavering guitars on it, you can't really hear the vocals, and nothing goes much like you expect it to, which is to say that if you enjoy My Bloody Valentine, you'll enjoy m b v. But on release day, a lot of fans who'd already waited 22 years for the follow-up to Loveless were stuck whiling away another few hours without it--because demand had crashed the band's website.

Between 1991 and 2013, working musicians--like every other set of entrepreneurs--have gained countless new ways to get their music in front of the people who care about it. But they've also found themselves with a lot of new jobs. This is the first My Bloody Valentine album in which Kevin Shields has also had to micromanage a webmaster.

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Kickstarter Bands: Can Uncle Sam Touch Your Money?

Categories: music-biz shiz
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Allstar Weekend need to consult their accountant

By: Tessa Stuart

Boy band Allstar Weekend are Poway's answer to One Direction. The San Diego county-bred group got its start on the Disney Channel music competition Next Big Thing back in 2009. They took second place on that show, but the exposure helped the band ink a four-album deal with Hollywood Records, book a tour with Selena Gomez and score a few spreads in J-14 magazine.

Two albums into their record contract, though, Allstar Weekend and the label ran into "creative differences." The latter wanted to continue milking the younger demographic, the former wanted to make more mature music, and they parted ways.

To fund their next work, this summer Allstar Weekend turned to Kickstarter. The trio, now living in Burbank, made a video asking fans for help and compiled a list of rewards for donating.


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Ask A Failed Musician: Should I Really Make That Christmas Album?

Categories: music-biz shiz
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Why can't you be like your older brother, Sufjan?

By: Daniel Hopkins

[Editor's Note: Welcome to Ask a Failed Musician, in which I help struggling musicians make sense of their careers and even offer some advice. Whether or not it will work, who knows? It obviously didn't work for me. But then again, I was on Kimmel once, so there's that.]


Dear Failed Musician, 

Should I make a Christmas record? 

Yuletired in Yuma 

You know Yuletired, I used to think that Christmas records were stupid, a waste of money for something that would only be relevant for a month out of the year. But even more than that, I didn't think you could be taken seriously as an artist rehashing those tired, silly songs. I had more important artistic endeavors to worry about, and look at me now! 

You, however, can't afford to think like that. You still have a shot at this thing, which is why I'm telling you to make a Christmas record. I don't care if you don't observe Christmas. Make a Christmas record anyway. It couldn't be easier. All the songs you need are already there and they belong to the public domain, so you don't have to pay anybody anything. If you want to get creative, write an original song or two as an added bonus.
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Ask a Failed Musician: So, You Think You're Ready to Tour?

Categories: music-biz shiz
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Tour? Who do you think you are, kid? Foster the People?

By: Daniel Hopkins

[Editor's Note: Ask a Failed Musician is a new column from our sister music blog at Dallas Observer, in which Daniel Hopkins helps struggling musicians make sense of their careers and offers advice. Whether or not it will work, who knows? It obviously didn't work for him. But then again, he was on Kimmel once, so there's that.]

Dear Failed, My band just got back from month-long tour of the U.S. and it was largely unsuccessful. By unsuccessful, I mean nobody came to the shows and we lost money. We expected a better turnout because of songs that were placed in prominent scenes on Grey's Anatomy and Vampire Diaries. But despite them being shared over a million times on the web, the tour pretty much bombed. What went wrong?


Demoralized in Dallas,

You know, Demoralized, you're not alone. Too many new bands think they're ready to go on tour before they actually are. In fact, I'd be willing to guess that of all the live performances that happened in the U.S. last weekend, most of them were poorly attended. I can see why a band would talk itself into going on a tour. The thought of fun on the road, big crowds, lots of money and all the glamour of a successful tour is exciting. But, if you're lucky enough to get to the point at which that stuff is actually happening, you'll probably be too jaded to care. Either that or you're Foster the People.

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Ask a Failed Musician: Success is Influence

Categories: music-biz shiz

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Black Flag: Very influential, not always critically praised

By: Daniel Hopkins

[Editor's Note: Welcome to Ask a Failed Musician, in which I will help struggling musicians make sense of their careers and even offer some advice. Whether or not it will work, who knows? It obviously didn't work for me. But then again, I was on Kimmel once, so there's that.]

A musician responded to my previous column by asking what success in music is. They wrote:

"I gather your discussion really focuses on commercial success, which I don't think is everyone's view of success. I think some of us are just happy to put out music and have a few people enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to turn down a million dollars if it came my way but I never expected that in the first place. So, my definition of success is just, 'Hey, we made a good record,' and, 'Oh, look, some small genre-specific zine in Europe likes us. Well, that's nice.' But more often than not, success isn't simply a rehearsal space fridge filled with beer."
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Myspace Was Better Than Facebook (For Music)

Categories: music-biz shiz
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Star Foreman
Skrillex built a fanbase on Myspace

By: Moses Sumney

With Facebook's stock and growth rates skydiving, it's time to say something that should have been said a long time ago: Myspace was better. Maybe not when it came to its coding or those garish "personalized" pages, but definitely when it came to music. Back in the day -- say, about 2004 or so -- an artist's Myspace page was an interactive business card, a piece of free ad space upon which bands built brands. One click, and you could find everything: tour dates, photos, bios, videos, blog entries, and most importantly, streamed music. Now? Folks interested in a one-stop shop of information about a band really have no idea where to turn first.

See Also:
*Advice to Ever New Band: Stop Putting Out Albums

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