Jamie Brooks: “Streaming Services”

Great reflections from Jamie Brooks on the current state of music:

Furthermore, the qualities you like about streaming services––the convenience, the selection–– were only offered to you in the first place because the record business was forced to compete with piracy. They had to offer you a better user experience than piracy. We collectively negotiated those benefits by threatening to leave their entire business model, as listeners, en masse. You had leverage then. You have none now.

And on what music can (and should) be:

I want people to have the opportunity to learn to love music and play music with other people at school. I want more people to understand and experience all the things I love about it that have nothing to do with making money or going to parties or becoming famous. Music can just be about learning to be more comfortable with your body, or about having a way to make new friends as you get older, or about finding ways to connect with our predecessors when they’re no longer around to guide us themselves. A song can be like a storage container for memory that begs you with its very essence to find something truly spectacular to fill it with. We can do these things for each other. That is so wonderful to me.

Jamie is responsible for main pop girl 2019, one of my all-time favorite Bandcamp finds.


Punk Flyers Digital Collection at the Cornell Library

Just discovered that the Cornell University Library has a digital collection of over 2000 punk, new wave, and hardcore show flyers.

Cornell’s Rare and Manuscript Division offers deep collections on modern music, including a growing number of archives on punk and post-punk music and culture. The show and event advertising flyers in this digital archive are drawn from two of Cornell’s prominent punk collections:  The Johan Kugelberg punk collection, which includes hundreds of fliers, posters, zines, original art and more, and the Aaron Cometbus Punk and Underground Press Collection, which includes punk, new wave, and hardcore flyers and other ephemera from the San Francisco Bay area and beyond.


Recommended: Ed Scissor

Ed(ward) Scissor(tongue)

Note: there’s a few Apple Music embeds below that don’t quite illustrate some of the points I’m making if you’re not signed in. The same music is on Spotify, but it’s easier for me to embed these. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the summer of 2017, I stumbled through tangential blog posts recommending music and somehow landed on Edward Scissortongue, bucketed broadly, and perhaps confusingly, under UK’s grime scene. (About a year later, his performing name shortened to just “Ed Scissor”.)

He quickly entered a hallowed tier of reverence in my music library: complete discography loaded, with about ten different songs hitting the coveted “keep this in my constant rotation” rating. A year later, I would impulse buy four of the albums on vinyl from his record label and have them shipped over. (His releases are not going to appear in the shops over here.)

Ed’s music is layered in a way that puts its hooks into you quietly. There is his delivery and lyricism: dense, literary, tense, deep baritone, driving. There’s a semi-regular theme of societal breakdown and post-apocalyptic life, but it’s weaved so well into the lyrics you might not immediately notice unless you go dig into Genius. This is well illustrated in “The Calculator” off Theremin EP:

The production on his backing tracks suit his lyrical style well. The melodies lean more towards trip-hop than grime, with international elements and rich instrumentation coming in frequently. Tension, mystery, melancholy all come through the songs. Samples are used sparingly but meaningfully – snippets of Godspeed!, You Black Emperor’s “Dead Flag Blues” bookends the title track of the Theremin album. Here’s “Gypsy Tart” off his collaboration with Jam Baxter, Laminated Cakes, where a vocal whine coils into the melody:

Lastly, his albums each have their own thematic cohesion, independent from each other. This is best illustrated on Tell Them It’s Winter, which Lamplighter paints a cold, dark winter picture underneath Ed’s steady delivery. Here’s the title track:

More tracks to explore if you like what you’ve heard: “Rosegarden“, “Wastewater“, “Sink“, “The Dust Don’t Lay“, and “The Wipeout Soundtrack