“Music journalism was one of the hardest-hit forms of journalism because…once upon a time, you really needed a critic to tell you if you wanted to spend some money on an album. You couldn’t really hear the music unless you bought the album…Obviously today, you can hear everything, all the time, usually even before it’s released.” - Bill Werde
Here’s what you can expect from OH this month:
Do you want a solid music blogger to review your performance? Or your CD? (More specifically, do you want ME to review your performance or CD?)
Would you like to be interviewed?
Do you want to help me bend the rules of journalism and blend it with PR?
If you answered yes to any/all of these questions, then get in touch with me. I am pimping out my blog, my opinions, and my writing next week at SXSW.
Here’s how this will work:
- For a $20 donation, I will attend and review your performance. (Note: if you’re playing a showcase that requires a badge, you’ll have to put me on your guest list because I don’t have a badge.) (450 words)
- For a $25 donation, I will review your CD. (500 words)
- For a $40 donation, I will attend and review your performance AND review your CD. (800 words)
- For a $100 donation, I will interview you. (1100 words)*
All of the above include photos. For performance reviews, I will take photos of you playing live, and I will give you copies of the photos for you to use however you want in the future so long as I am credited as the photographer.
I reserve the right to express honest opinions in my reviews. However, as I am not in the business of totally bashing bands that are new to the biz, I also reserve the right to refund your money and not write about you if I feel that I have absolutely nothing positive to say about you.
So, do you want to hire me? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org [Update 5/1/11 - I no longer use this email address. Contact me at email@example.com or on Twitter @lindasusername.]
*You may notice that the charge per word is steeper for interviews. That’s because I have to spend time transcribing the interview after recording it (with your permission, of course), which doubles the workload for me.
Yesterday, Technorati writer Tricia Weight posted an interview with British music journalist Paul Lester, author of a new biography on Lady GaGa called Looking for Fame – The Life of a Pop Princess. While I have absolutely no interest in his book, I do think Lester’s remarks at the end of the interview are particularly smart:
This is the point about Lady Gaga, there’s that phrase, “In the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is King.” In this day and age, when there are simply no remotely interesting pop musicians, she seems quite interesting, but that’s because there’s nobody else.
If Lady Gaga had been around in 1982, when she would have had to have competed with Boy George and Marilyn and Adam Ant and Madonna, all these really flamboyant characters–I mean, right now, she’s the only one, but back then they were ten-a-penny.
If she’d have been around at the same time as those big, flamboyant rock stars like Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart and Donna Summer… if she’d have come in the late ’70s, the music scene was absolutely chock-full of really outrageous characters, from Johnny Rotten to Sid Vicious, to Poly Styrene, to Siouxsie Sioux–everybody was colorful and outrageous and made completely frank sexual statements and were really forthright and candid in talking about sex and drugs–Lady Gaga would just have been one of many. And she wouldn’t have made it.
But she makes it in 2010 because she’s the only one, pretty much. That’s probably a sad indictment of everybody else, but very fortunate for Lady Gaga.
In addition to Girl in a Coma, another San Antonio trio played Brooklyn this past week: Pop Pistol, who made their NYC debut at Trash Bar on Tuesday September 28. The band consists of guitarist and vocalist Alex Scheel, bassist George Garza, and drummer Jorge Gonzalez. All three contribute either synths or samples to the studio recordings, a sound that’s replicated live by a backing track. Say what you will about using pre-recorded playback; it works for Pop Pistol by adding a sort of surprise to their onstage appearance. “Where’s the keyboard?” is a question that onlookers commonly ask, as the band generates sonic layers richer than their three-piece composition would lead one to expect.
Frontman Scheel sings with his eyes closed. After the show, he explains that, during the set he imagined the Brooklyn Bridge and other famous New York landmarks that he and his bandmates — all in their mid-twenties — had seen that day for the first time. ”To me, New York is like the only city in the world,” Scheel says. “Being here is like killing a fantasy.”
What is it about New York — about music in New York — that from the outside gleams like a city on a hill, yet on the inside hungers for new things from elsewhere? Here bands are a dime a dozen. Indie music-philes pride themselves in knowing where a non-NY band is from — and the more obscure the place of origin, the better. (For example, the fact that thrash maestros Lazarus A.D. hail from Kenosha, Wisconsin, makes them seem all the more special when they blow away the veteran German headliners at the Nokia/Best Buy Theater in Times Square.) Ironically, though, for musicians who live in other cities, being a big fish in a small pond only seems good enough if eventually New York notices you. Getting to New York is hard, but getting New York’s attention can be harder — even if you already live here.
Scheel likens being in New York to “killing a fantasy,” but really there’s a mystique to wherever one is not at the time or hasn’t been. And so I wrap up San Antonio Week in Brooklyn with this: Pop Pistol and Girl in a Coma — thank you for visiting. Rock on, and know that this niche of New York knows who you are.
Original Hipster declares this San Antonio Week in Brooklyn! Why? Because last night, SA band Pop Pistol played Trash Bar, and on Saturday, SA superstars Girl in a Coma play the Music Hall of Williamsburg (and their show is sold out!).
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Pop Pistol — including the reason why lead singer and guitarist Alex Scheel sings with his eyes closed — and on GIAC, whose bassist Jenn Alva I’ll be talking with on Friday.
Yesterday my friend Linda declared it “SAN ANTONIO WEEK IN BROOKLYN” and I figured that I really had to step it up. So I stole my roommate’s car and drove down into the subway screaming “S.A. IN THE B.K.!” and parked it on the track but no ghost children moved it and then the F train came and it turned into a big thing. Tomorrow I re-enact the Alamo down at Rockefeller center.
BEST. NEWS. EVER. The Dresden Dolls reunite on Halloween for 10th anniversary concert at Irving Plaza. MUST. GO.
Listening to the new Slash album. It pretty much rocks, in a better-than-mainstream-but-still-mainstream kind of way.
Been doing PR for a band that’s about to release a new album. More info on this to come once it gets closer to the big date. I also might be playing keyboards and doing backup vocals for the band, depending on how rehearsals go. We’ll see.
Drinking Brooklyn Lager in Brooklyn. It’s finally happened: I’ve switched from wine to beer because I can’t afford wine (except for the $3.99 Trader Joe’s bottles). Plus wine always gets me way too drunk too quickly. So beer is the slower way to go. Usually I’m too freakin’ full after a couple beers to drink anymore. So everybody wins–my liver, my brain, my wallet…
I still don’t have a full-time job. I’m on food stamps. And can I just say, God bless food stamps. Only downside is that you can’t buy essential things like toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap with them. I guess that’s what Welfare is for, but I’m not on Welfare.
Other upcoming things to be aware of: New Rufus Wainwright album scheduled for April 20 release. (That’s my half-birthday.) Holy Grail plays Irving Plaza (which I guess means The Fillmore?) Sunday 4/25.
Scandalous news: Killola and Bitch were supposed to perform a concert last night in Lincoln, NE, at some place called The Grove, but the club owner thought Killola’s poster was too offensive and cancelled the show.
That’s all for now, folks. Stick with me, and you’ll hear about all the cool things I can’t afford to do.
Tips for music tips: Consider tip jar at bottom right-hand column of this page.
Hello to all of you twelve people who are reading this blog when I don’t update it–and to the one mystery person who reads it when I do update. (I think I know who you are, mystery person. You rock.)
On January 26, the Ozzman cameth to the Borders in Columbus Circle. Here’s what it looked like.
Here is the full transcript of my conversation with Ozzy:
Me: Hello, Mr. Ozzy.
Ozzy: (looks up from my book that he is signing) ‘Ello. (Smiles) Where’re you from?
Me: Houston, Texas.
Ozzy: (smile fades into frown) Aow. (goes back to signing book)
It made my day. What also made my day is the Black Sabbath mix that @DoctorNerve burned for me. Why have I waited until now to get into such awesome songs? I’ll tell you why: residual fear and guilt from my Southern Baptist upbringing. Luckily, in his new autobiography, Ozzy explains that Sabbath never had any intention of associating themsevles with Satanists. In fact, he talks about avoiding them when they stalked him at hotels. So, that’s good news for me because it means I can listen to lyrics like “My name is Lucifer, please take my hand” and think, “Oh, he’s just joking, haha.” Guilt absolved.
(Says quick prayer of spiritual protection. Thank you, God.)
(No, really. I do still say prayers of spiritual protection. They are comforting, and they work.)
Incidentally, the book (I Am Ozzy) is fucking hilarious. Who knows how much of it the Ozzman actually wrote himself; I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharon was his ghostwriter for much of it. But it’s an entertaining read. I recommend it.