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by Jason Gross

6 Mar 2009

As part of her dissertation, Sorcha Lewis at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth interviewed me about “How important is Visual Image to consumption of music.”  Lewis seems like a nice person but the end result is usually that I never hear anything about the paper afterward or if anything I said was used there.  So, just in case I had some interesting to say and that my answers don’t get lost in the virtual ether, here’s what I had to say.

1. What are your views on the level of consumption of music in our modern day society?

There’s plenty of consumption going on.  The problem for artists and labels is that the consumer market is shrinking so that more and more people are accessing music for free.

2. In your experience, do you feel that the use of visual images in the music industry has little or a large effect on the consumption?

If you mean album covers, since the CD market is shrinking, it has less impact now.  In terms of videos, there’s definitely less influence since MTV’s heyday but it’s still there and will always be to some extent.

3. In terms of the purpose of music films when they first developed in the early 1960’s, do you feel that music video’s as they are now known; have less or more significance to the song that accompanies them?
Music films actually pre-date the early 1960’s.  Duke Ellington and Fats Waller used the form decades before that as did a number of other artists.  Again, because MTV is on the wane (and isn’t known for showing videos) and record labels have less budgets for videos, their influences has definitely declined in the last decade.

4. Do you think that the contemporary pop culture and modern day music industry use sex to sell music?

Yes, but this is a phenomenon that’s been part of the entertainment industry since the 19th century, before the recorded age when bawdy burlesque revues were in vogue (actually, it predates that too but that’s a longer discussion).  And this is something that’s going to be true for generation after generation, in new and different ways as social mores evolve.

5. Do you feel that over the past 40 years, that the different generations value music differently, being that it is less or more important?

Every generation values music in some way as they use it as a touchstone to identify who they are.  The main difference now is that there’s much more available and it’s more easily accessible.  But how are you going to say that teenagers today value music more than their parents or grandparents?  They all do to some degree unless you’re talking about financially, in which case, younger generations now think that ‘free’ is the right ‘price’ for music (which doesn’t mean that they still can’t value music in the aesthetic sense).

6. Lastly, do you feel that we are living in an age of vanity and image is everything? (In relation to the production of music and the images that are use to go with them).

Again, this isn’t a new concept.  You could make a case that the age of the image and obsession with it began when printing presses began and that it’s only proliferated more and more since then as the technology has flourished.

by Sarah Zupko

6 Mar 2009

Eight years ago this week UK acoustic band Turin Brakes released their debut The Optimist LP. We loved the record back then and it still sounds fresh and timely. Devon Powers raved: “Turin Brakes have created a testament to singing and songwriting, and it’s impossible not to believe. The Optimist LP is a treasure chest of sparkly baubles and rare gems, and from top to bottom it is precious and priceless.” The record spawned a rash of videos highlighted below, plus, a live treat at the end of the batch.

Turin Brakes - Underdog (Save Me)

Turin Brakes - Emergency 72

Turin Brakes - Mind Over Money

Turin Brakes - The Door

Turin Brakes - Over & Over and Feeling Oblivion

by Sean Murphy

6 Mar 2009

Ming Xia.

Never heard of her?

You’ve probably had the pleasure of hearing her, via “Things I’ve Seen”, the hit from her band Spooks’ deubt album. But that was almost a decade ago. The follow-up Faster Than You Know didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Unless she is operating under a different name or I am woefully out of touch (very possible), Ming Xia has been silent. This is unacceptable. The beef some had with her band was that her angelic voice was being wasted alongside second-rate rappers and uninspired music. Not sure I concur, particularly on their first album. But there is no question that within a band or solo, we need more from her.

Danger Mouse: please help her. Help us.

by Mike Deane

6 Mar 2009

Rick Ross has just stepped up the bougie-rap image to a new level.  In the video, Ross is a thoroughbred race-horse owner, dressed in an all-white suit and is sporting big, clear-framed ‘80s-style prescription glasses.  Usually with Ross, there’s some sort of thuggishness thrown in with the upper-class dress code, but in this video he does away with everything street, coming off like some sort of rich New England, nu-bourgeoisie, country club member.  I don’t think horse-racing has ever been approached with such sincerity in any music video.  The song is a nice and smooth, rap slow-jam with Ross’s signature smug, power-brags in full effect.  When he says “My money long / My money strong / If you ain’t getting money that mean you doin’ something wrong,” you’ll question your life choices, maybe.

by Bill Gibron

6 Mar 2009

It’s finally here - after months of hype and numerous pre-release publicity pushes, Watchmen arrives in theater today. For those looking to go beyond the basic review, SE&L has put together this compendium - a collection of articles, features, and commentaries we have created in anticipation of this watershed work. Below, you will find links to everything from our final assessment on the film itself to a look back at Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original graphic novel. In between are takes on director Zack Snyder, a discussion of the changes made between book and movie, and an argument in favor of Jackie Earle Haley as a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee in 2010. So in between trips to the Cineplex, stop by and catch up on all the Watchmen minutia you never thought you needed to know. Come Monday, we will discuss the box office import of the weekend’s returns, and look at the soundtrack elements (songs and score) for the movie itself.

Our REVIEW of the FILM


Our LOOK at Director Zack Snyder

Our DISCUSSION of the Changes Made in the Watchmen Finale

Our DISSECTION over the Casting of the Movie

Our ARGUMENT for Jackie Earle Haley as Watchmen’s MVP

Our OVERVIEW on the Potential Audience for the Film

Our ANALYSIS of the film’s box office performance and its impact

Our REVIEW of the Soundtracks

Our REVIEW of the DVD release of ‘Tales from the Black Freighter’ and ‘Under the Hood’

//Mixed media

Cage the Elephant Ignite Central Park with Kickoff for Summerstage Season

// Notes from the Road

"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.

READ the article