Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Endless Arcade


Here's a little something about the new Teenage Fanclub album:

Teenage Fanclub's anticipated 11th album, Endless Arcade was set to be released at the beginning of March but due to production delays, the album will now be out April 30 via Merge in North America and PeMa in the UK/EU. Similarly, the band's UK and European tour has also been rescheduled, with a few dates in England and Scotland happening in September, and then the bulk of the tour moving to Spring 2022.

On the brighter side, the Fannies have just shared a new single from Endless Arcade, a shimmering Norman Blake number titled "I'm More Inclined," full of the jangly guitars and lush harmonies we've come to expect from the band. “When we first started talking about getting songs together for a new album, Norman said, ‘I have one ready to go now!,’" says the band's other main songwriter Raymond McGinley. "That was ‘I’m More Inclined.’ He played it to us, we loved it, and that got us started on the whole thing that became Endless Arcade.” 

A slightly delayed album is still better than nothing. We're not talking about a Second Coming or a Chinese Democracy kind of delay, but you have to wonder if these production delays are going to affect other releases. 

I don't know if anyone should really count on touring and playing this year. Seems like another lost opportunity to get back to normal.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Brexit is Destroying the British Music Industry


There are some brilliant reactions to Brexit, but Fish says it best:

Despite widespread anger from artists and music industry bosses calling on the government to “take this seriously and fix it”, ministers rejected the idea this week – insisting that “taking back control” of the UK’s borders is their priority and that talks would only resume if Brussels “changes its mind”.

 Over 100 musicians, including the likes of Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Ed Sheeran, signed an open letter yesterday (January 20) criticising the government for their failure to support touring musicians in the Brexit deal.

 Now, Marillon’s Fish, real name Derek William Dick, has added his voice to the outrage, saying that Brexit will “destroy” UK artist’s ability to tour in the EU.


 Fish said: “I’m still reeling from the new regulations revealed by the UK Government just over 2 weeks ago regarding touring in the European Union post Brexit. I’ve been trying to make sense of it all from all the sometimes contradictory and often vague information available on various websites that are constantly being updated and working out how this affects my own business and career. It’s quite frankly confounding.

 “I’ve grown tired of hearing ‘So what did musicians do before we joined the EU then?’ In 1973 when the UK joined the EU I was 15 years old and the Global Music Industry revenues were around 5 billion US dollars.

 “By the turn of the century they were around $25 billion and today worth around $21 billion with the UK music industry generating $7.5 billion. That is a figure that doesn’t even take in the vast independent network or all the ancillary workers and bolt on industries that contribute hugely these days to the International music business.”

An entire industry is being destroyed. All of the bands, the people who support them, the independent labels, the venues where they play, all of that is being destroyed. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

No Glastonbury This Year


Well, this is very sad but not entirely unexpected. It is just not safe to have a festival of this size in our current state. You could make it a restricted event and have people vaccinated beforehand, but how do you plan for that in the summer when we are struggling in the middle part of January to understand the situation? Glastonbury is not an English only affair and Brexit probably complicates it behind the scenes. How does someone living in the Netherlands come to the festival this year with all of that headache ahead of them?

This will have the added effect of causing numerous music acts to miss another year of income. And that's devastating--it rolls downhill from the artists to everyone who supports the live music industry. There is no foreseeable effort to bail them out in England at all. The government there hates the music industry with a passion, and the feeling is mutual.

Again, very sad.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Neil Peart in Rolling Stone


It was interesting to read this article and see some updates about what has happened in the year that has gone by. The death of Neil Peart is a private matter for his friends and his family and I did not need to know any more about that. I don't consider myself someone who needs to stay on top of what's happening so I did not know about Alex Lifeson's health issues from earlier this year. On the whole, everyone seems so broken hearted. Very sad.

What bothers me about the idea of Rolling Stone doing a cover story on Peart is that, when he was alive and when he was making music, they didn't really give him the time of day or acclaim that he deserved until the later period of the band's existence. Certainly, in the period up to the mid-2000s, there was little if any respect paid to Peart, to Rush as a whole, and to the accomplishments of the band in the music business and as artists. 

They went decades without good reviews, television appearances, and the sort of appreciation that they had coming. How did that feel? Did they care? Did Peart care about any of that? I doubt he really did. But when you think of everyone connected to Rush and to the business of getting their music in front of people, yeah, I think it must have been difficult to see their year-in, year-out efforts dismissed and ignored.  I'm still shocked that they are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They outclass they place, they really do.

Rolling Stone in particular ignored the fact that Rush was tremendously successful both as recording artists and live performers. Their albums flew off the shelves; their tours were extensive and it is easy to see that, halfway through their career, they had already eclipsed so many "cooler" and "hipper" bands.

The deaths of Gord Downey and Neil Peart have driven a stake through the heart of the music community in Canada. Such tragic losses but so many great memories and great songs left behind.

Anyway, I don't need to see or read more. I have the records and that's enough. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Dear Madam Barnum


The third-to-last or second-to-last (however you want to count it) XTC album was called Nonsuch and it landed in the middle of my late college years. It was excellent and well liked but entirely a digital thing to me. It was probably the first XTC album that I acquired in a format other than vinyl record or cassette, but I probably can't even remember that correctly. It was a relative long time ago.

The third song on the album was Dear Madam Barnum. By this time in an XTC album, you have already been hit across the head with the opener and the follow-up and now it's time to stretch out and enjoy the back and forth of Andy's songs and Colin's songs.

At less than three minutes, this is meant to get you well into a cycle of exciting back and forth emotions.

I hope the music embeds, and I hope you realize that no one can explain an XTC song. You have to experience it for yourself. If I were to sit down and try to detail what's happening, I'd lose the plot and say something positively shitheaded and wrong because I have no idea what's going on. Someone's quitting their job as clown and I'm all for it, sad sack melodrama notwithstanding (my favorite kind).