Discussing the state of the music business at the kitchen table
Welcome back to my kitchen table. Especially welcome in these strange times. I need some distraction to steer my mind away from thoughts that turn dark in an instant. Working from home full-time means I’m spending way too much time at this table. Perhaps I should reclaim my home office desk, but my plants have taken over. It is not an invasion of any kind, do not worry. It is a hobby I started a while back. My question: can I grow cuttings I got from plants I already had? It is working and really cool to see these small plants grow. The great thing about this is that my home office is now a place where I calm down, where I relax. The bad news is: I need that home office now for other things than growing plants.
Besides their calming effect, I enjoy seeing them grow. It is always exciting to see if they make it. Some work out wonderfully, some really don’t. I will admit that I have killed a few with bad gardening choices. I do imagine writing music is something like that. I have never written any music, not do I have any talent on that level. But trying things out, watching your songs grow and hoping it will turn into something you like, must feel the same.
Oh, I turned philosophical again, didn’t I? Loads of tours got cancelled in recent months. There’s a bunch of shows I was really looking forward to that are now postponed. Now I have more time to look forward to them, but I don’t think I have to explain why this is terrible news for the bands involved. As I truly believe in the “support your local scene” attitude, I have spent my money lately by purchasing more music these past two months than I usually do. Of course I try to focus my spending on those artists that might need it a bit extra due to cancelled or postponed tours.
English Heavy Metal
Allow me to share a couple of great finds and some releases that are on my want-list (my funds are not endless, unfortunately). I bought myself a copy of the newest record by Absolva, Side By Side. If you know them, you know what to expect: traditional heavy metal. This band is not about inventing new things, but about playing music that they love. Their love for this type of music seeps through in their sound, which makes it so easy to like. It is nothing new, but very enjoyable music.
Funny thing about Absolva: three of the four lads are in Blaze Bayley’s band. Blaze has had a winning streak of three albums forming a concept. I have seen him on tour for each album and also the tour he did to wrap the story up (playing songs from said three albums he hadn’t had the chance to play before). It was amazing every time. This man lives to be on stage and it comes through. This amazing live presence also seeps into your home when playing the Live In France and the just released Live In Czech records. On these records you’ll hear the tour of the last album and the wrap up tour. On four discs you’ll find about every song of the trilogy and some nice extras from his career.
Death Metal Madness
Then there is Sweven. If you are into proggy death metal you might recognize Sweven as the acclaimed album from Morbus Chron. The main songwriter of Morbus Chron formed a new band and released an album that could well be the follow-up of Sweven. Why he didn’t just use the Morbus Chron moniker I don’t know. Something to do with rights, perhaps? It is an album that will take some time to really get in to, but if you are into said Morbus Chron album, Chapel Of Disease’s last album or Venenum’s debut this might be right up your alley.
Post-Hardcore Is A Big Deal
Another order I am really excited about is Regarde. You might have seen my enthusiasm in my review. It is still there. Naive as I was, I started this whole reviewing thing with the hope of spending slightly less on music as I would have access to (digital) promos. I have since learned it doesn’t work that way for me. I end up buying a lot of stuff anyway. And so I put Regarde in my basket. I checked out Through Love Records store and I ended up buying a bit too much. Again.
One album in that bunch deserves some attention is Soon by Twins. I don’t know if they choose these names on purpose, but it’s not the easiest combination to google. Their music is a strange and interesting version of post-hardcore. All kinds of influences, like screamo or math-rock, bounce back-and-forth on a strong backbone. Check the (only slightly) easier to google track "Bathroom" to get a picture of what I mean.
More Quiet, But No Less Intense
I am really excited about John Moreland's new album. I got into his music just after he released his second album In The Throes. Back then I wasn’t really into this singer-songwriter thing, but this guy really touched me. He displayed genuine emotion and was very relatable. I have fond memories of seeing him live in Amsterdam. Just he and his acoustic guitar made the whole hall quiet. It was brilliant. He has had a good run of albums and has just released his fifth album, simply titled LP5. However, with all this spending I did I am afraid that album will have to wait for my next paycheck. Sorry John!
So there you have it: a table full of great to excellent music. Nothing to eat, but enough to listen too! See you next time!