First off, I will be bluntly honest: I download CDs. Put the shackles on. Take me away. Coincidentally, through the Napster years I continued to buy CDs, and did so well into the oughts (00′s). Somewhere around 2007, I made a bit of a switch.
But Roo! You work in the music industry!
IKNOWRITE??! But I’m poor! I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say for the last five years I’ve leaned on a lot of people to keep me going, and one of the first things that had to be cut was CDs. As a music lover, I couldn’t go ‘without’ music, and I realize the hypocrisy in this, and hope the mere fact that I’m saying it publicly and without any intention of boasting gets the point across that I would MUCH rather be buying CDs.
…actually…I’d rather be buying CDs at live performances after picking up a t-shirt and tour poster. Or sending $100 to a Kickstarter campaign. I’d rather be putting money right in the artist’s pockets.
It’s a complicated issue: having no money, having a love of culture, that culture costing money but easily accessible via the internet for free.
As money comes in, it goes back out though. This past year I’ve managed to see some of my favourite artists live and I intend to triple the live performances I see this year. When I do, I always buy merch. But…enough of my defense myself.
I don’t only get my CDs from evil pirates. I sometimes get them through work. On occasion, these people end up working with me. In others, they don’t, but I wish they had. SOOOOO…after all this rambling, here’s what I’m really documenting: CDs (or vinyl) I would like to buy, despite the fact that I was given the CD for free, and despite the fact that I never even had a chance to work with the artist.
In other words, in full disclosure, these people gave me a CD and then worked with someone else. But I still love them. And in the first two cases, they were among my favourite albums of 2011.
THE CIVIL WARS – BARTON HOLLOW
They’ve gotten a bit of a buzz recently, winning Grammy’s and teaming up with Taylor Swift for another franchise near and dear to my heart, The Hunger Games. (click the link, it’s a VERY pretty song) I think I started listening to this CD around the same time we had a teaser of City and Colour’s ‘Little Hell’ (an artist my company did work with in 2011). The Civil Wars gave me my first bout of professional guilt…because I enjoyed ‘Barton Hollow’ more than ‘Little Hell,’ and when I should’ve been listening to C&C I was listening to TCW.
It’s a style I’m not normally into: the guy and girl duet pairing. But…it’s amazing. It crosses genre from folk to blues to pop and does so seamlessly. ’Barton Hollow,’ unlike most albums I heard last year, is TRULY beautiful. Years ago, I stumbled across a band called Imaginary Heaven from Vankleek Hill, Ontario. The Civil Wars give me the same feeling I had with them: a humble, sweet, beautiful collection of songs.
I want it on vinyl. I’m not a hipster. I just see it as the kind of album I want to drop a needle and let it run, something I have a hard time doing with most new music. Which is a WHOLE other subject for another day.
The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow, I ‘will’ buy you.
HOORAY FOR EARTH – TRUE LOVES
I’ve brought these guys up a few times. They approached my company last year, and I was SOOOO excited to work with them on one listen-through. Then…I just never heard about them again. Apparently something happened with Google, or they had some kind of buzz growing, or SOMETHING. They came through town and I missed them.
However, more than any other album I listened to last year, Hooray For Earth has found it’s way into my ears over and over again. I have it on my iPod, my iPhone, I’ve sync’d it to my Rdio account, and I even have a CD burned to play in the car.
Hooray For Earth is a sonic adventure. A headphone band. The closest comparison I can make is Neon Indian, but I wouldn’t say they are that similar. Both artists use a raw synth sound, almost like they broke apart a Casio and soldered shit all over it to force it to do their bidding. But Hooray for Earth has this…80s science fiction soundtrack feel, like it takes place on a dark planet one moment and in a planetary dive bar the next.
Despite all of this, the songs are songs. I could pick up a guitar and play them and they’d still sound pretty damned cool. Artists sometimes rely on technical tricks to enhance their song, giving us an amazing production and great listening experience. But stripped down, beneath the layers, there’s nothing there. Hooray For Earth write GOOD songs, and then dressed them up further.
There is a touch of New Wave that flows throughout the album, but I can also hear Beatles…and the song ‘True Loves’ is one of the best and most captivating songs I’ve heard the last decade.
Hooray For Earth – True Loves, I WILL buy you.
Are there any albums you’ve managed to get for free that you’d be happy to drop hard earned cash to own? Which ones??
Find me on Twitter (far more frequently than here) @Potoroo. Don’t hesitate to message me up there if you like!