Thursday, 17 December 2009

State Of Independence

So, who really, honestly, dredging the innermost recesses of their psyche gives a monkey's which song happens to be top of the increasingly-irrelevant "hit parade" here in the UK this Christmas?

Not, I'm sure you've already guessed by now, me.

Yes, let's all run out and buy an 'oh so rebellious and transgressive' Rage Against The Machine song, because giving Sony (through it's wholly-owned subsidiary, Epic) somewhere in the region of 85% of the fee will properly wipe the smug, narcissistic grin off Simon Cowell's face. Or not. Definitely not, in fact.

Of course, it's just a 'bit of fun', but what better marketing strategy could he have hoped for? Whoever it was (I pride myself on my ignorance of this) won the X-factor will sell even more copies of whatever execrable super-karaoke ditty Cowell has alloted them, as the (manufactured by Sony..? I know, 'conspiracy theory ahoy', but why shouldn't social-network-marketing be so cunning as to feed into an honestly-created original group, hmm? perhaps...) 'race for no.1' theme is regularly repeated on television, in print, and, a bit like I'm doing here, unfortunately. Oops.

It also serves merely to cosset Simon Cowell's overweening ego, his desperate desire for fame, and that's one thing we can deny him if we choose to ignore the charts, and simply let him wallow in his mediocre pop-ordure along with the likes of Westlife, Pixie Lott, Robbie Williams, Lady GaGa and that famous mime artist Cheryl Cole.

Anyway, I've got nothing against RATM (while perfectly genuine in their social-inequality,etc campaigning concerns, they're surely more accurately titled "Quite Miffed At Some Aspects Of The Market System Which Has Successfully Made The Band Very Wealthy" these days?), or the people involved in this anti-X-factor effort, but if you want to make a more effective, Sony-free, direct contribution to charity, why not simply head over to Tracy Morter's "rage against the x-factor" page?

And when you've done that, why not do something positive to promote some of the thousands of wonderful, immensely-talented, genuinely 'independent' musicians out there, who aren't tied to record company deals, haven't got the fickle support of conscience-free marketing departments, definitely aren't chasing a "celebrity lifestyle", and whose music can offer a more rewarding, more 'personal' listening experience?

(or there are mediocre obscurities like myself, who probably should never be encouraged to inflict their so-called 'music' on an unsuspecting and fragile world, but the less said about that, the better....all donations extremely welcome, naturally)

So, I thought I'd try to start a list of folk that might deserve your attention and their very own financial stimulus package. (This is a very brief selection from my facebook and myspace 'friends' lists - apologies to the many great people I've left out, you're all fantastic, I honestly don't have the time...sorry). Please feel free to add indignant comments suggesting anyone you can't believe I didn't mention/copy this list and post it elsewhere/go and listen to what these artists can do to make your life a little bit more interesting.

I was going to start with the tremendous folk-blues-acoustic-whatsit of my very good friend Martin Lennon, incredible Norwegian folk/jazz vocal trio Eplem√łya Songlag and the most impressive solo bass of Danny Fox, but none of them have got actual stuff for sale online yet. Still, I'm sure if you got in touch with them, something could be arranged via PayPal. Certainly well worth a listen, at the very least.

Now, in no particular order...

The ridiculously young-but-talented latin-jazz guitar of Daniel Volovets.

Do you like King Crimson? Clever time-signatures? O5Ric on drums and bass is your man.

Jazz-fusion keyboard awesomeness, courtesy of Alex Argento.

For a female singer/songwriter who isn't a no-life-experience warbly teenager, here's Ms. Hannah O'Reilly.

Persons of a punk persuasion will probably enjoy South Queensferry's "The Static".

Finally (for the moment), solo-bassist (and internet-ideas-guru) supreme Steve Lawson...

...and the list he compiled of fellow users of excellent music-distribution site Bandcamp (can't vouch for the quality of all the folk on it, but there'll be some good stuff on it for sure)

There. Now it's up to you - the 'Cowell/RATM Sony Benevolent Fund', or something far more interesting instead?


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