Music On The Goe
David Goe on music
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By David Goe
Friday, May 16, 2014
Due out this Monday, May 19, is one of 2014’s most hotly anticipated albums from one of music’s more reliable outfits, Coldplay.
“Ghost Stories,” the band’s sixth studio album, marks somewhat of a transition period for the Brit band. While it has remained one of music’s most popular bands, this album moves away from big arena anthems and into a much more subdued and introspective space.
At first listen it’s hard to know what to think about the new album. The lead single “Magic” is a very Coldplay-ish style track: airy guitars, understated percussion and ringing piano chords. Chris Martin’s falsetto is again the highlight, delivering lines with an air of romanticism and wit, in a way only he can.
As with most Coldplay songs, Martin’s voice cuts right to the heart and the overall impression of “Magic” is one familiar with fans of the band, melancholy.
Tempting as its been to compare Coldplay to the gold standard for rock bands, Radiohead, Coldplay has never quite reached that level of creativity nor taken the necessary risks to make that comparison apt until possibly now.
“Midnight,” the standout track for me on “Ghost Stories,” is a hypnotic tune and comes very close to achieving the underground atmospheric tones of Radiohead’s “Kid A.”
Coldplay always has been able to emotionally connect through its music and “Midnight” highlights that strength perfectly. The mood created for the listener in the nearly five-minute track is simply astonishing and worth multiple listens.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is “A Sky Full of Stars” that is, how do you say, disappointing. For a band that cut its teeth on moody piano-based Brit rock to release a house tune just feels wrong and out of place.
Coldplay does not need to reduce itself to making generic house music, which leads me to think “A Sky Full of Stars” was strongly influenced by Coldplay’s record company Parlophone Records (owned by the evil empire Warner Music Group), and is earmarked as the second, more radio-friendly single.
Leading up to “Ghost Stories,” Coldplay has been one of those exceptional bands, making music that was increasingly ambitious and trend-setting for the industry. It was and is a band equally liked by critics, hipsters and cool dads.
From 2000’s “Parachutes” to 2011’s “Mylo Xyloto,” the band has released a decade’s worth of respectable music. In fact, Coldplay has produced music good enough to overlook the insufferable moments of Martin’s personal life, mainly dooming a child to years of ridicule by naming her Apple and coming up with the phrase “conscious uncoupling.”
Where the band goes from here, though, is a bit of a mystery. From Martin’s guest appearance on the singing competition show “The Voice” to the band’s NBC primetime TV special on Sunday, May 18, (which I can’t wait to see), its exposure is at an all time high.
It begs the question though, is the band primed for the next level of superstardom?
Rolling Stone Magazine penned a news article implying that “Ghost Stories” is the only album that can save bottom lines this year. It has already fared well. Presales already have made it the No. 3 album on the iTunes charts, but based on what I’ve heard, “Ghost Stories” is not going to be the smash hit that saves the industry from declining record sales — they are already down 16 percent this year.
Ultimately, “Ghost Stories” is a nice album that will play well with the band’s base, but it will not be the emphatic statement the music industry is hoping for, leaving it, I’m sure, shaking in its boots.
By David Goe
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Shout out to Andrew Watson for making one of the sickest posters ever. Well played sir.
By David Goe
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Carrie Rodriguez is an act so nice they booked her twice. Performing both Friday and Saturday night at the Art and Music Festival, Rodriguez makes a nice addition to the new look festival.
As an accomplished fiddle player and songwriter Rodriguez has had the fortune to work with some heavy hitters in the country genre, mainly Lucinda WIlliams and John Prine. She's also had success as a solo artist, releasing five solo albums and getting steady work as a performer in her hometown of Austin, Texas.
Rodriguez is a diverse talent who pulls from all genres of music. Catch Rodriguez at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 9 and at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 10.
By David Goe
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
What a difference a year makes.
This time last year I was writing an article about the paltry Art and Jazz Festival and its imminent death.
This year, there’s no need for such sour notes as I’m feeling much more optimistic about 2014.
If you haven’t heard, the Art and Jazz Festival is kaput and finished once and for all. Thankfully, something with greater potential has taken its place.
Allow me to introduce you to the (Hazel Miller free) Art and Music Festival featuring Firefall, Carrie Rodriguez and a number of local performers including Shea Bramer and the Alycia Vince Jazz Quartet.
At face value, the Art and Music Festival doesn’t look that much different than Art and Jazz, but it will become clear that this is not the same event as last year.
Yes, technically it’s just a tweak of the name, but the new name implies a much more open and inviting event. Swapping “Music” for “Jazz” alone opens the door to this new-look festival to new audiences and all genres of art and music.
The new name gives the festival an air of ambiguity and will allow it to evolve naturally to include all forms of art and music.
It’s a conscious switch that’s already worked in my book. The buzz around Art and Music Festival headliner Firefall alone has made this year’s event infinitely more exciting than years past.
Couple that with the festival’s ambitious multi-stage set up on Main Street and the fact that the festival will no longer provide seating in front of the main stage (it’s BYOC now if you want to sit down), and you’ve got something that feels much more energetic and lively.
I’m sure some people are upset that the festival has moved away from an all-jazz lineup, but that change needed to happen. Jazz music will still be a part of this year and future year events, but it’s no longer the appetizer, main course and dessert.
The Art and Music Festival bill will feature Josefina Mendez and the Alycia Vince Jazz Quartet plus the high school and Colorado Mesa University jazz bands, so in reality nearly half of the music lineup is still devoted to jazz.
What’s not being talked about is perhaps the most interesting and drastic change of all. Sunday is now an open mic contest if you will. Instead of booking music for Sunday, by far the festival’s slowest day, one of the festival’s dedicated side stages will allow local performers to come up, play a couple songs, and try out for a slot playing the summer Downtown Farmers Market.
The prospect is entertaining and seemingly fits well with the valley’s general love of open mic nights and blues jam nights, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.
To be fair I think it is important to disclose that I participated in a planning meeting for this year’s festival.
Sitting in on the planning for 2014, one thing was absolutely clear: The effort put into revitalizing this event is real and genuine.
Change is a hard thing for this community, yet it is absolutely necessary for the success of the Art and Music Festival and downtown Grand Junction.
What we learned from the Epic Rides festival last August is that not only is there a better way to stage and situate a festival on Main Street, there is a hungry audience in this town for contemporary live music.
The Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival and the WestCO Festival have shown the same thing.
This community is ready for the new Art and Music festival.
By David Goe
Friday, April 18, 2014
In ridiculous music news, have you heard about the release plans for the upcoming Wu-Tang Clan album?
For its new, secretly recorded double album “The Wu — Once Upon A Time In Shaolin,” the Staten Island rap crew has commissioned a silversmith known as Yahya to hammer out an intricate north African style silver and nickel box. This one-of-a-kind creation will contain the one and only pressing of “The Wu.”
That’s right, they’re only selling one copy, and for an unknown million-dollar sum you could own it and the glitzy box.
It’s a publicity stunt, but it’s also a desperate move designed to change the way music is perceived. The Wu-Tang Clan wants you to see its music as a culturally significant, valuable art form (like a Van Gogh original) and not what it’s been reduced to: worthless digital garbage inhabiting your hard drive.
The idea of producing and selling only one copy of an album is entertaining, but totally unsustainable and unrealistic as an adaptable model for the struggling music industry. Love or hate the Wu-Tang Clan, it is just another musical group trying to add value to an increasingly marginalized art form.
Ever since the birth of the digital era, the monetized value of music basically has been reduced to zero. In fact, since 1999 the whole process of consuming music has become less and less personal, degrading to the point where many consumers prefer to interact with a complex computer algorithm (Pandora, Spotify) than an actual human being.
The interpersonal relationship that has made people fall in love with bands and songs has been replaced by a high-speed Internet connection and gigabytes of free hard drive space, forcing musicians such as those of the Wu-Tang Clan to extreme measures just to sell an album.
The digital age era has set the music industry up for failure because it has made every interaction so impersonal. Streaming music, digital music stores, corporate radio and the touring structure all cater to the top 1 percent of pop music without giving second thought to the other 99 percent of the industry. By doing so, they’ve created a generic wasteland that discourages creativity and simply isn’t engaging for many music fans.
The sales numbers indicate that a new direction is necessary, and a radical shift needs to take place.
That radical idea is here and it is called Record Store Day.
A revelation for the music business, Record Store Day restores the soul of the industry. One day a year music fans come out in droves to comb through bins of vinyl, geek out over rare finds and celebrate the culture of music. The success of Record Store Day shows the undeniable relationship between consumers and musicians. That strength is not online or isolated between a pair of ear buds, it’s found locally at the record store or at the local music venue, anywhere people are coming together in the name of music.
“Record stores offer a place where you go to catch a vibe and experience the love of the music,” said Record Store Day Ambassador Chuck D of Public Enemy.
He’s right. It’s about the only place left to find any meaningful music connection.
On this Record Store Day, Triple Play Records will be the place to be on Saturday, April 19. You probably wont find the aforementioned Wu-Tang album there, but you can gorge on special premiums from the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Animals, Bastille, Jake Bugg, Chvrches and Tame Impala, and maybe talk to the shop owners and other customers about what they really like.
The real kicker this year is Triple Play’s official after party at Barons will feature a ton of our own local talent. Dusty Thunders, Wavebaby and Willie DeFord and Friends are all scheduled to play this gimmick-free celebration of music and community.
A record store is a place to discover something that isn’t systematically chosen for you, a place to form a meaningful relationship with fellow music fans. It’s where the future lives.
Ironic, as record stores were pronounced dead only a few years ago.