The internet’s evolution over the past decade into the primary source for discovering new music (not to mention music distribution) is a polarizing situation to say the least. I love having the ability to sample a song or 2 from a new band without having to wait hours (or days, or weeks) to tape it from the radio. I enjoy the instant gratification a site like eMusic provides when the urge tickles me. I love having my entire music collection at my fingertips wherever I go. But enjoying these advantages means saying goodbye to the way I grew up with music. Browsing record store aisles is now a rare treat. Rushing home from the store on release day with my favorite band’s new CD is a thing of the past. Making mixtapes, the old fashioned ones anyway, is a lost art. Anticipation itself might find itself erased from the dictionary someday in our ever quickening world.
Last year Radiohead pushed forward the notion of how we receive music into our lives in a way the shocked and surprised most of the music buying world. The new idea that people could and would pay what they wanted (or not pay at all) for an album was groundbreaking, and paved the way for smaller bands relying on the internet for publicity to employ similar strategies. Unfortunately for 100% of those bands, they are not Radiohead, and getting people to fork over a couple of bucks is easier said than done.
Enter Forest Fire, a Brooklyn band who released their debut, Survival, earlier this year through Catbird Records. They tried out the same “pay what you want” method that worked out so well for Radiohead. That was very nice of them, but quite unnecessary, as Survival is an impressive little weird-folk record with several striking highlights that deserves to rake in some serious coin. The biggest highlight, and one of my soon-to-be favorite songs of 2008, is the warped, fractured-folk buzz of “Slow Motion”. I described this song once as saying “cut the Velvet’s “Heroin” in half and turn it into a campfire sing along and you’re getting close”. I’ll stand by that tonight, and you need to hear it. And hopefully you wind up paying for it.
Mark was kind enough to get most of his bandmates to contribute to a list of many of their favorite bands, albums, cities, films, etc. of the year. Check it out and click on some of the links to his friend’s bands. Hear some new music recommended by a guy who wrote one of my favorite songs of the year:
Forest Fire's Things in 2008:
Plastic Ono Band
Sharon Van Etten
Steven Sebring's Dream of Life
the Patti Smith movie
Goodbye the Band
Dragging An Ox Through Water
Bruce Springsteen 1975 Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Bad Weather To The People