Monday, 18 April 2016

There is no good music out there anymore?

Before the upcoming print issue of Northern Norway's biggest student magazine "Utropia" is going to be published, I would like to say / write a few words about the current print issue - whose working process has been the most fun so far. 

Cover of the current print issue of "Utropia" (No.2/2016)

When we signed our working contracts with "Utropia" in August 2015, we had just arrived in Tromsø / Norway, so keeping our main focus on LIVE reviews was also a good way for us to explore the city of Tromsø and to get to know more about its local music scene. Since there were some great CD releases at that time as well, such as Michael Monroe's "Blackout States" and Barbe-Q-Barbies' "Driven", I additionally started to write more CD reviews again. And when we surprisingly moved from Norway back to Finland in the middle of December 2015, the option of writing LIVE reviews about local events in Tromsø fell away completely - and CD reviews became my new main focus. At first, there seemed to be nothing special about it. I knew, for example, that Sivert Høyem was going to release a new album, "Lioness", so as a matter of course, I reviewed that very album for the previous print issue of "Utropia". 

For the current print issue of "Utropia", I wanted to write more than the one CD review about Trench Dogs' EP "Fashionably Late". My choice to review their EP didn't seem that surprising either since we just saw the band performing in Stockholm / Sweden on New Year's Eve. My choice for the second CD review was a surprise for myself though. 

It all started with the German TV series "Deutschland 83" which was broadcasted from 26th January 2016 to 15th March 2016 on Yle TV1. I really loved this TV series, it became one of my all-time favourites in no time, and through "Deutschland 83", I became aware of Northern Lights, the band of Jonas Nay who plays the main character Martin Rauch / Moritz Stamm in "Deutschland 83". So my second CD review for the current print issue of "Utropia" ended up to be about Northern Lights' EP "Pulsar". 

It was surely something different I reviewed, but at the same time, it was very interesting and enjoyable. 

Compared to that, one might think that my third and last CD review for the current print issue was maybe not that different from the music I usually review - and not that surprising either since Jesse Malin is another musician we just saw performing in Stockholm at the beginning of March 2016. Considering the fact that I actually don't listen that much to singer / songwriter music, the review about the reissue of "The Fine Art Of Self Destruction" wasn't such a matter of course - and, again, I really enjoyed it.

For the upcoming print issue of "Utropia", I wrote four CD reviews. This time, inspired by the CD reviews about Northern Lights and Jesse Malin, I went through various lists and databases in order to figure out more about upcoming CD releases. Usually, four review spots are filled very quickly. A band or a musician you already know might release something new. Or there is a promising newcomer act with a release. Or you see someone in concert who has recently released something. Or someone might approach you with his / her / their material. As you see, it's not even necessary to go through any lists or databases in order to figure out about upcoming CD releases. At least not if you want to fill four review spots only. I did so anyway - and I was stunned by the amount of releases! 

I checked out quite some stuff, and apart from the already mentioned CD reviews I had written, I cannot understand how one could claim that "there is no good music out there anymore". There is! Admittedly, it's just hard to find it, in the flood of releases..

For instance, I figured out about the new album release of a band whose music I really, really like - just while I was actively searching for new music! That's sad, indeed, but the thing is that not only radio pop stations play the same songs all over again; rock channels aren't any better! The same all over and over and over again. The big names with their big hits one is already sick and tired of, no matter how great those songs actually are. And if they don't play the big names but some songs of smaller and / or local bands, it's usually the same two songs they would play of those bands - and no real newcomers or "insider tips" at all anymore. I don't know for how long that has been the case, but I remember that I stopped listening to my back then favourite radio channel in 2010 after realising that they had a big repertoire, yet it repeated itself after a while. Now, there seems to be only 25% left of the once big repertoire, if even that much, and its repetition becomes obvious after a few hours listening only. So, apparently, radio stations aren't any longer the source where one can discover new music or just get to know about new releases of not so (un)known bands. On the radio, I didn't even hear once a new song by the legend whose latest album release enjoyed excessive media coverage otherwise

Through the various lists and databases I went through, I came across a band whose name I had heard before but whose music was completely unknown to me. And the fourth spot was filled by a musician who knows how to use social media channels properly in order to promote the release of his brand new album. 

So, soon, I'm going to reveal who filled up the spots in the upcoming print issue of "Utropia". Until then, keep in mind that it's not all that dark and that there is still good music out there. You just have to search for it.

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