We are pleased to welcome to our roster heavyweight soul providers Fat Freddy’s Drop, who are about to take flight once again with the worldwide release of their new album ‘Blackbird’ on 24th June 2013. ‘Blackbird’ is the third full-length release from the New Zealand band and will see them exceed half-a-million album sales worldwide, the result of playing over 800 shows in their career-to-date. This year, Fat Freddy’s Drop celebrate a decade of European touring and perform a sold out gig at The Village Underground on 26th June.
NZ Shapeshifter’s fifth studio album, ‘Delta’, shot straight to number one in their native New Zealand on its release this week. Preparing to introduce their genre defying album to the UK, the band has teamed up with Outpost to run their high profile album campaign. With tracks already licensed to Hospital Records, one of the UK’s most prestigious Drum and Bass labels, the band have stakes in both underground and mainstream culture and can shift between the two as easily as they move through multiple genres.
Fresh from making their second Moderat album, Modeselektor have released ‘We Are Modeselektor,’ a revealing behind the scenes documentary following the history of the two techno beat makers. The DVD reveals the history up to the present day of Gernot and Sebastian by means of numerous interviews with Modeselektor themselves and companions such as the VJs from Pfadfinderei, Ellen Allien and Moderat band colleague Sascha Ring. ‘We Are Modeselektor’ was screened at the historic Roundhouse in London followed by an exclusive performance this past May. Check out the two front covers we achieved with Crack and DJ Mag.
Megan Wyler has been flat out in the studio putting the finishing touches to her debut album,‘Through the Noise’, out early summer 2013. Folk Radio got an early run through and instantly made Megan their artist of the month. We are all very pleased to get this amazing early support from such a well respected platform for folk and roots music. Read the article in full here.
You can also read the original article over at the official PRS magazine –
The internet means that we can listen to more music than has ever been possible before. Complete albums are regularly made available for free streaming ahead of their release dates, and an internet connection is all you need to try out (legally or otherwise) pretty much any new release you’re interested in each week for free.
So, in this brave new world, what purpose do reviews serve? Why find out what some journalist thinks of a new album when you can just go and listen to it yourself and form your own opinion?
On the face of it, this certainly does make it seem as if markers and signposts for music fans are a relic of the past, a necessary guide to help you avoid spending 10 or 15 pounds on music that you wouldn’t be able to hear until you got it home. But this also assumes that the only reason people ever read reviews was to confirm the quality of a record they were already planning to buy. It’s certainly one reason, but far from the only reason.
Reviews (and music writing in general) provide a gateway into the world of music. Everything may be out there online just waiting for you to come and click play, but the desire to spend hours of your life sifting through endless new releases is one held by a very small minority. Most people are quite happy for someone else to do the filtering and seek out the best music available on their behalf. Why listen to ten sub-standard bands when someone else has already worked out that the eleventh is the one good one?
“Reviews are an essential filter – study two or three before buying, and you’ll have a decent idea of the quality to expect”, say Mike Diver, editor of the soon to be closed BBC Album Reviews website, and formerly editor of Drowned In Sound and Clash’s online content. In his four years overseeing the BBC reviews site, Diver has personally written over 500 reviews, as well as contributing to Kerrang!, NME, Rock Sound and more.
Diver continues, “Naturally, hearing for yourself is a great preview – but not all albums can be heard ahead of release, and just listening without critical commentary doesn’t provide some often fascinating background on the music you’re hearing. It lends weight, substance to the music, which is so often received for free. A great review can bring a record to life just as brilliantly as the sounds themselves, or the details of a sleeve, which of course are smaller than ever in this age of downloads.”
Also, the views of ‘experts’, along with the opinions of peers and actually listening to music, play a strong role in forming people’s musical identities. Reviews give people a language to use in relation to music. People want to listen to music that other people think is cool. The easiest way to find out what people think is cool or not cool is to read reviews. Alternatively, they may want to reinforce their dislike of an artist’s music – one star and five star reviews are always the ones that get the most reads. Or, indeed, people who have already made up their mind about an artist want their views confirmed, or at least to strengthen their views by disagreeing with someone else’s opinion.
“I wouldn’t deny that reviews and the role of the writer is different now,” says Robin Murray of Clash. “But I definitely don’t think that this role has been exhausted. The vast plethora of music available to fans is simply overwhelming. A filter system has to exist, and critics – people paid to sit outside the often tribalised fan system – are in a good position to do this.”
XLR8R.com’s Glenn Jackson agrees, “I think reviews are increasingly important. While they may not hold the same weight of widespread cultural importance that, say, a New York Times or Rolling Stone review did before the age of the internet, they do serve as one of the few sources of reflection within the modern music world. With the constant effort by all parties to push new content and music through the wires, taking the time to sit with and consider the role and intentions of a piece of music in a public forum seems increasingly rare and increasingly necessary to maintaining an avid and informed group of music makers and listeners.”
The same benefits that the internet has brought to accessing music allows reviews to become more useful to music fans than ever before. Does the music sound like something else? The reader can listen to that right away. Has the artist being reviewed been involved in another project previously? Check that out too. Has someone else written something else of interest about the artist? Here it is. You can even listen to the music that you’re reading about, embedded right there in the review. And when you get to the end, just click a link to buy it straight away. This increased engagement is mutually positive for fans, artists and record labels alike.
“The sites and magazines which work best are the expression of a viewpoint, of a community,” says Robin Murray. “Interaction, allowing reply strengthens debate and ultimately the credibility of the site. The writers who thrive will be the ones which foster debate, but the ones who force controversy will ultimately wither as the community turns on them.”
Of course, it’s key that a publication (online or off) is seen as a trusted source by readers. This is not new either, but there are now far more sources of reviews on offer, from major publications to blogs. Writers must establish themselves as an authority and someone who can write engagingly about music. Artists and PR companies must then identify who these writers are and support their work – particularly as there are more of them now than ever before.
“The number of reviews per release online means that few people study just one or two favourite writers for their recommendations – which is what I did as a teenager,” says Mike Diver. “If you get a great review, shout about it! I don’t care how big you think your band is, spread that good word. Recently on the BBC, My Bloody Valentine and Mudhoney self-promoted their reviews – and the hits went up accordingly.”
The most effective result for an artist will be gained by being reviewed by as many trusted reviewers as possible, who will guide and enthuse readers to listen to music they may not have otherwise discovered. A great review can still be the first step to making someone a lifelong fan of an artist or rekindle interest in a forgotten love.
Our MD, David Silverman, will be speaking at the London Electronic Music Event on their ‘How to Break Through’ panel alongside other leading industry insiders. The London Electronic Music Event is a weekend event at London’s Rich Mix, Sat 13 April – Sun 14 April 2013, celebrating the electronic music community and bringing people together from across the globe for a weekend of hands-on music production workshops, master classes, artist panel talks and Q+A’s with established music industry experts. Speaking at the event alongside David will be Goldie, Radioslave, SoundCloud, Beatport, our good friends Mr. Bongo Records and many others. Visit the website for full details and how to attend – www.londonelectronicmusicevent.com
The iconic German duo, Modeselektor, have announced the release of a 72 minute documentary, ‘We Are Modeselektor’ out 3rd May 2013.
Made by filmmakers, Romi Agel and Holger Wick, it tells the story of Modeselektor as a post-German reunification movie, a travel report and a portrait of the special friendship between Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary all in one. The film gives a special insight into their history and answers many questions like: What’s the “Seilscheibenpfeiler”? What is the origin of the first Modeselektor tracks? Where is Monkeytown? Why is riding a coach more fun than flying? and many more.
After its huge “Winter Season Party” at Fire in November, Kitsuné Club Night is again smitten by London calling. Coming to Shoreditch’s Village Underground on Thursday 28th March with their own specially installed high end sound system, the line up mixes live acts and DJ’s in an eclectic style that perfectly represents the labels ethos. Playing on the night are Aeroplane, The Twelves, Gigamesh, Is Tropical (Live) and D E N A (Live).
The line up has been created with dance in mind, and features the first UK live appearance from Kitsuné’s You Tube sensation, DENA, whose track “Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools” is out now. The Berlin based songwriter will be followed by a truly international program of rare DJ appearances from all over the globe including South America, Germany, Belgium and the United States.
Hands-in-the-air electro nu-disco and house headliner AEROPLANE whizz over from Belgium and will be joined by electronic music production and DJ-ing duo, THE TWELVES. Made up of Brazilian musicians João Miguel and Luciano Oliveria, they are best known for their remixes for M.I.A.,La Roux, Nirvana and The Beatles.
Matt Masurka aka GIGAMESH is one of today’s most influential dance-floor tastemakers. The platinum-selling producer made massive headlines with his beautiful indie rock bootleg remixes of Michael Jackson, New Order, Katy B, Two Door Cinema Club, and many more. His Kitsunérelease “All My Life” EP will be blasting out alongside his genre bending electronic jams on Kitsuné’s especially installed sound rig – let the speakers blow.
Champion Records are proud to present the first release on their new-look label, the sensational DrDr who are releasing their latest EP ‘No Compromise’ this March.
Having received early support from the likes of BBC 1xtra, The Line of Best Fit, Data Transmission and Eton Messy, the Brighton trio have already established a cult online following, seducing fans with their penchant for early 00’s garage beats and soulful R&B style vocals. Lead single off the EP – ‘Addicted’ is an anthem in the making, blending future garage, soul and some serious bass weight in a way certain to get under your skin, and stay there too.