Archive for January, 2018

Coming soon: Support Our Troops, a new series of live music reviews

January 16, 2018

Music Journalism is in a weird place these days.

For starters, many would be forgiven for immediately responding with, “Music Journalism? Why hello Old Boy, I thought you were dead”, or, more likely: “Music what?!?”

It’s OK. It’s been a rough 10-20 years (by some estimations), but feel free to place the “death of music journalism” tombstone wherever you like in your own personal or global timeline. There’s probably a dearth of great music journalism out there now [editor’s note: yes, there is heaps of good music journalism out there], but I can’t be bothered to google it right now  because there’s nothing I particularly want to read about at the moment. Sometimes all you want to do is listen to the music, other times you want to know everything else about it.

Although there are a myriad of reasons that have collided to produce the modern state of the music industry (the internet, Pokemon Go!, Nickleback, etc etc), what no one really talks about is that there’s no money in the game these days In it’s glory days (eh…), at the top of it all sat the record labels, selling their overpriced wares to a public largely held  hostage. Labels essentially functioned like banks who specialized in making high-interest speculative loans in the music industry, with “artists” functioning like tech stocks. So many to choose from, all with so much potential, yet most ultimately doomed to failure and perhaps even suffer the further ignominy of having their ideas co-opted by inferior products.

So…labels would place as many bets as they could, and hopefully a few would pay off big time. These big labels and their rare big winners wound up essentially funding the entire industry, because what no one tells you when you’ve got rock & roll dreams is that boring things like advertising dollars and bottom lines actually matter. You can run a cool ‘zine for a few months, maybe even years, on nothing more than passion and raiding your parents inkjet supplies, but eventually that shit gets old.  Not only that, many of your favourite underground bands who managed to sign on major labels were able to add some coveted artistic cred to the label roster and allowed to run at a loss, but only because theyhad a Britney Spears to make sure the cheques cleared. I would hate Fleetwood Mac with a passion if I wasn’t so apathetic, but even I have to tip my hat to the number of careers their platinum-selling albums helped fuel.

As far as my own experience, I started noticing the change a few years ago, when publications that we would normally be grateful to get a gig mention or album blurb from starting calling us to see if we wanted to buy advertising space. Us? Um….we’re broke. At no point in our lives have we had spare dollars to throw around for that sort of thing, and trust us when we say that it is not cheap. They’re pitching these packages to us and surely they must know that there’s not a chance in hell we can say yes to anything, yet here we are.

What happened?

The money dried up.

With advertising revenues way down, it wound up having a trickle down effect on the music and music journalism. For better or worse, much of what you read is a form of “pay-to-play”, meaning that if you want coverage you’re gonna have to pay for it. Now, we are not opposed to this necessarily, but we did notice that live reviews and album reviews were focusing more and more on those acts that really don’t need it. At all. Why were they getting it? Because just like the ever-increasing income gap, there were fewer and fewer acts that could actually afford to grease the wheels, either through purchasing advertising space or else through direct purchase of coverage.

And that right there is what we simply cannot abide. No one needs to read a live review of a Jimmy Barnes show. Everyone knows what they’re getting with at another show with Barnsey, so can we please donate some verbiage to the acts who actually need it? Honest, unscripted press devoted to the unknowns of Australia’s live music scene has taken a hit in recent years, so we’re going to try and do our part to pick up the slack.

So that’s where this new series/endeavor comes in. “Support Our Troops” (an idea I stole from Atlanta’s Stomp & Stammer), will be my own live reviews of bands we tour with, because let’s face it: if I’m not actually playing I’m not likely to be there. I actually started writing a few of these in the middle of last year, but of course I gave up because that’s what I learned from my suburban-white-bread upbringing. When the going gets tough, fuck it.

So….if all goes as planned, I should have my first installment up tomorrow, covering a show which, truth be told, doesn’t need any more coverage.  But, since I’m going to at least try and follow a few basic ground rules, I’ll give it a go. I may also get it together enough to dust off some of my few false starts from last year, so don’t be surprised if you wind up reading a live review for a gig that happened 6-12 months ago.

That’s all from here, more verbs to come soon enough xoxo

 

Advertisements

Pride & Poverty

January 13, 2018

[apologies to my long-suffering blog. I feel like a neglectful parent. So much to write, and yet…]

I guess it doesn’t matter much anyways, as the next post was always going to be this post, which was always going to be about our new record. Over the months there were many things I thought I might write about, but in retrospect I see how much this record consumed my life and yeah, of course nothing got done. So here we are, once again.

Pride & Poverty

YOU ARE HERE

What started as 12 songs has now become 7, because things happen and plans change and ideas that once seemed brilliant suddenly appear as horribly ill-conceived howlers. In the end we are left with a disposable monument that declares: these are some things we thought and this is the best we could express them.

More verbiage is not going to sway anyone’s mind in this day and age (if it ever could), so we decided to take as much control of our music as possible. Rather than lament what is not happening at the hands of other people, we decided to do whatever was within our powers to affect, create, or shape our little universe. Instead of hassling & hustling for meager radio plays that no one hears, or moaning about other bands “getting” what we think we deserve, we channeled our energy into things we could control and into all the various accoutrements surrounding the songs and the record. The artwork comes from the hand of our talented bassist Adam Murray. The layout was kept in-house, thanks to our guitarist (on shore leave) James Carthew. And instead of paying money-we-don’t-have for PR and expensive film clips, we did them all ourselves.

RC 11 B & W

DIY PINUPS

And that’s it. Here is our new record, laid out in 7 clips from the DIY heart of Australia’s underground. We hope you enjoy.

..:: ROYAL CHANT – PRIDE & POVERTY ::..

1. Power Pose
AN ODE TO ACTIVE WEAR

2. Shooting Sparrows

3. Back To Front
SHRED TIL YA DEAD

4. I Get A Kick Out Of Being Kicked Around By You

5. Cargo Cults

6. Yada Yada Yada

7. Slowly, To The End

And with that, we ask ourselves: what next?

Of course we don’t have much of an idea, but it will likely be more of the same, in due time.

For now, we’re at that point in our trajectory where we’re too old, too proud, & too lazy to keep asking our fans to participate or initiate a never-ending obstacle course of promotion on our behalf. Not only is it annoying to all involved, it’s also downright embarrassing, (and a bit sad). All we want to do is make music, and we assume that the listener would rather just, you know: listen to music, instead of texting and sharing and tweeting into the void.

In the spirit of simplification, and as a reflection of the new landscape of the modern digital music biz, we thought it worth mentioning that the easiest way to support us or any other band you love is by following us on Spotify.

That’s it.

We’re heading out to play some shows around Australia, (because of course), so come out and have a shake with us if we make it to your neck of the woods.

Holler back if it’s been a while, and I promise to write more soon.

xoxo