Friday, March 16, 2007

One place where even the most casual music fan will notice the music industry's greatest struggles with re-establishing itself in the increasingly dominant online world is on television. No longer are the stalwart channels of the 80s & 90s the dominant faces on the music scene that they once were. Nowadays, late-night hosts such as David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Carson Daly break up and coming bands. If I say Tapes 'n' Tapes, people "in the know" will easily pair their TV debut with the appropriate late-night host. MTVs TRL has lost its dominance and VH1 never was a big player with the younger crowd.

In the wake of the struggling music industry, VH1 has transformed itself to a celebrity-obsessed reality channel that has a few hours of music videos in the "wake-up" hours. MTV has transitioned into a channel geared towards teens with reality fare for and about teens where music is a constant but only in the background. Those channels realized that they had no plan to cater to the ever-fracturing genres of music and simply bailed on the 24-7 music video format.

There are, however, exceptions. As I sat up entirely later than normal last Saturday night, I flipped through the channel endlessly at about 1:30 AM and stopped at VH1. To my amazement, there were actual video being played -- the name of the program was "Nocturnal State". These music videos weren't the same fare that gets those coveted couple of hours of airtime in the morning hours. This was "out of the box" music. It's been about a decade since I had seen a Fiona Apple video on TV anywhere but she still has that quirky alt-pop sensibility that catapulted her to stardom during my high school years.

Whether or not there will ever be a resurgence of the former music video networks remains to be seen. I don't think that many people who still have an interest in music videos are going to sit in front of a TV and wait for someone to tell them what it supposedly hip. Today's music video fans can go to YouTube or often the band's website to catch the newest videos cutting out the music channels altogether.


In local music events, I was shocked but not reallly shocked when I flipped my office radio to local rocker 93X and heard that they had received a cease and desist letter from Guns 'n' Roses frontman Axl Rose's attorney ordering the station to stop playing a new tune (Better) from the always soon (never) to be released "Chinese Democracy" disc. Of course, my first reaction was that they had obtained the tune through shady channels but the DJ clarified stating that the station had received the disc directly from the record company a few weeks back.

My take on this is good riddance to that attention whore Axl Rose. We all know that GNR is never going to make a true comeback. They just aren't relevant in today's music scene outside of a few headbangers stuck in 1990. If his band doesn't want publicity, he is making damn sure that they don't get any positive press by pulling shit like that.

I promise that I'll get back to some actual music on the local scene next week but I just couldn't resist chronicling Axl Rose's continuing spiral towards full on insanity.


Arcade Fire is a Canadian collective whose band members total seven (including the husband/wife duo who formed the band) with the release of their most recent disc, "Neon Bible". I can testify that the entire disc is worthy of not just one listen but multiple listens. Their varied styles which incorporate, of all things, a french horn are a refreshing change of pace from the guitar-driven world of rock music.

The one track that stands out, though, isn't even being played on radio in much, if any, quantity yet. Its over-the-top bravado and grandeur are what attracted me because if there's one thing that needs to make a comeback, it's the spectacle in rock music.

Arcade Fire - Intervention

Enjoy it and go buy the entire disc. This is a band that deserves your hard-earned dollars because they are legitimate talents and have worked hard since their first stellar release (Funeral) which is also more than worth buying.


Alicia said...

I watched Jay Leno last night. His music "talent" for the night was a guy named LLOYD. His singing was unbearable... but the dancing was great. Maybe if Britney ever makes it out of posh-rehab she can hire him as her new back-up singer/dead beat dad...

Sornie said...

I agree that sometimes the late night circuit's "talent" leaves plenty to be desired but like everything, you have to filter the good from the bad...