In Defense of Spotify

And Why Death Cab’s Benjamin Gibbard Is Wrong

 

“The meteor’s hit. The dinosaurs have all died. And it’s time for whoever’s next to take over. And I think it’s a good time for new ideas.”

– Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy

That was 2007. At the time, Radiohead released the pay-what-you-will In Rainbows. Record companies were clamoring to figure out how to monetize albums. It was a time when everyone – let’s not kid ourselves – was stealing music on the Internet. The music industry was in panic mode.

Back then, I produced a video piece for MTV News titled “The Future of Music.” You can view it below. 

The conclusion: in the future there will be a “jukebox in the sky.”

“It’s the promise of being able to walk down the street with your mobile device and just ‘zzzip’ I’ve got a new album,” Bill Werde, editor-in-chief of Billboard told me. “Look, I’ve got the whole Led Zeppelin catalog or I’ve got everything Kanye West recorded in the last five years just like that. 

Spotify is this idea fully realized.

 

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The Complete Bloc Party Videography

 

London-based indie rockers Bloc Party have accumulated quite the arsenal of cool and captivating music videos. From the cinematic to the colorful to the animated to the optically poetic, each one has a unique treatment.

Bloc Party released their not-so-cleverly titled fourth album “Four” a couple weeks ago. The first single and video “Octopus” is a huge reminder of how visually creative and prolific they are.

 

I was one of the first American journalists to interview the band back during their 2004 debut. At the time, Bloc Party had 4 videos – “Banquet,” “So Here We Are,” “Little Thoughts” and “Helicopter.”

Now there are 15 videos, all conveniently collected here in one place. Ranked in order of my personal favorites.

1. So Here We Are

Aesthetically pleasing scenes of autumn in the English countryside followed by London streetscapes.

 

2. Little Thoughts

The band bathed in colorful animated geometric shapes.

 

 

3. Pioneers

Cartoon versions of the Bloc Party performing. Similar vibe to Gorillaz.

 

 

4. I Still Remember

A Bloc Party Eurail adventure.

 

 

5. Banquet

Beautiful black and white with the occasional splash of color.

 

 

6. Helicopter

The band engulfed in TV snow.

 

 

7. Flux

Goofy Godzilla-like monsters and giant robots dance an wreak havoc on a city. Fun.

 

 

8. The Prayer

Dance club lesbian make out scene. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

9. Mercury

Bizarre simian treehouse politician motif. Amusing.

 

 

10. One More Chance

Retro scenes in a suburban house with tacky décor.

 

 

11. Talons

Nothing notable except a shirtless Kele Okereke. 

 

 

12. Hunting for Witches

Pure performance. Nothing special. Not every Bloc Party video can be avant-garde.

 

 

13. Tulips

Splitscreen performance scenes. Kind of boring. 

 

 

14. Two More Years

Fluorescent lights surround the band. Cool cinematography.

 

 

15. One Month Off

Tanks and fighter jets destroy various fairy tale characters including Rapunzel, Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet. Kind of strange. Not really worth watching.

 

 

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First Taste: PAWS – Jellyfish

There’s a rich tradition of Glaswegian rock bands. Scotland has produced Frightened Rabbit, Yatsura, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and Primal Scream among others. Add to that list PAWS, a trio of lo-fi rockers whose new single “Jellyfish” bursts with unflinching energy. 

Vancouver rockers Japandroids announced today that PAWS will open for them on select dates in their European Tour. PAWS’ album “Cokefloat!” comes out 10/9 on FatCat Records. Have a listen to this new, promising band. 

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First Taste: Benjamin Gibbard Solo

T-minus two months until the solo debut from Death Cab For Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard comes out. Today he gave us a first taste of the upcoming “Former Lives” album. If it’s anything like Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla’s solo effort, we’re in for a treat. The album releases 10/26.

Teardrop Windows by Gibbstack

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