One of popular music’s greatest artists was also an icon of content marketing
This may be the most unexpected tribute you read to Rock megastar David Bowie, who has died at age 69 a mere two days after the release of his acclaimed new CD, Blackstar.
Before I start, let me acknowledge that some readers may feel like I’m sullying the legacy of one of our greatest artists by associating him with marketing. There are two answers to that charge. First off, art and marketing aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. You can do both. Second, if you can examine Bowie’s career, paying attention to all the times he reinvented his image and to the impact he exerted on fashion, without accepting that he was a branding genius, then you don’t know much about marketing. Read more
Lilac, lovelace / remind me of / your true grace
About four years ago I tripped across a band called The Lost Patrol. Since then I’ve noted their work a number of times: they made my best CDs for 2007 and 2008 reviews; their music served as a key element in a piece on the nonlinearity of influence; and they were the subject of a TunesDay post on the band’s “epic retro-futurism.”
Their lead singer when I found them was one Danielle Kimak Stauss, a woman whose hypnotic vocals haunted Steven Masucci’s vast, empty musical landscapes with an ice-cold passion that bordered on the transcendent. After 2007’s superb Launch & Landing Stauss and the band parted ways, and while LP has produced two wonderful CDs in the interim (featuring new singer Mollie Israel), Danielle was nowhere to be heard. Read more
The results of last week’s Name Those Bands contest are in. In first place we have … a disqualification, sorta. Our friend Ubertramp logged in with an impressive 47 of 53. Seriously, that’s pretty damned good. But he has disqualified himself because I’m the one who turned him onto most of these outstanding artists and he felt like he might as well be cheating under the circumstances.
Wow – sportsmanship. What a concept.
So our next highest scorer, and the official winner, is … Read more
For those of you who have been digging on eMusic lately, we have a few more TunesDay Recommendifications for your consideration.
We’ll start with Jigsaw Days from The Well Wishers. This new release from Jeff Shelton (ex-Spinning Jennies) is among the top Power Pop releases of the year to date, and in addition to recalling artists like The Posies, Teenage Fanclub, Sloan, Supergrass and XTC, also has moments where it leans a bit heavier into the “Power” than the “Pop.” If you’re not familiar with contemporary underground pop, think Matthew Sweet meets Bob Mould (and if you don’t know them, just go to the darned site and click to sample). Read more
One of my favorite musical sub-genres is sort of an off-shoot of trip-hop, a sultry urban electropop district where the downbeat influence of Portishead meets up with all kinds of interesting characters dressed like David Bowie in the ’70s. California pure pop a la Burt Bacharach, for instance, which we find in the likes of Saint Etienne (and the solo work of singer Sarah Cracknell), Mono and Hooverphonic.
These groups are almost always fronted by female vocalists, and every year or two I trip across another one that just blows me away. Read more
When I was in high school back in the Dark Ages we didn’t have music video channels. Kinda like today. But we did have this great show called The Midnight Special, which came on late Friday nights. In addition to live performances by a tremendous range of artists, it also emerged as the place where you could see music videos before we even knew to call them music videos.
The guy who really figured this “video” thing out first, I think, was David Bowie. If you’ve seen pictures from his Ziggy Stardust era you know that he clearly understood the impact of the rock visual years before anyone else. And The Midnight Special was the place where I first saw some of Bowie’s great rock film efforts. I wonder how many future music artists and film students were watching right along with me. Read more
Who are the most influential bands and artists in the history of rock? Well, start with The Beatles and Elvis, I guess, and for good reason. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Stones, of course, The Who and David Bowie. The big names. All of them signed their names on our culture with a fat permanent marker, and in doing so insured that just about all future artists would have to navigate their legacies in one way or another.
The funny thing, though, is just how influential some far, far lesser known artists became. Many people have heard of Velvet Underground, although comparatively few have actually listened to them, but if you factor VU’s overwhelming influence out of our collective cultural history would we have had Bauhaus, Echo & the Bunnymen, Lenny Kravitz, Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain (and subsequently Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Galaxie 500 (and the army of bands that followed their lead) and REM?
How about Big Star? Read more