On Thursday night, LeBron James pushed aside all his doubters, finally winning a championship, legitimizing his three-time MVP status. I was one of these dissenters, disliking the way he left Cleveland and his cowardly decision to rely on other stars to reach his goal. But in that moment after winnng the title, as he spoke of having to hit rock bottom and face his mistakes, I actually felt my dislike for the guy slowly fade. Yes, he made some horrible choices over the past few years, but did he deserve all the nationwide disdain? Maybe, maybe not, but his villain role certainly got overblown (Kobe will always be the true evil of the NBA). The media tends to dwell on disloyalty and selfishness in sports, but I feel the same can’t be said for the music media. That is why I would like to spotlight a story that has been swept under the rug, and draw comparisons as to why I think James Mercer is the LeBron James of indie rock.
With summer here and the hard work of writing my mid-year list done, I’m going to post a blog by David Lowery (formerly in bands Cracker and Camper Van Beetoven). His take on the current state of the music is eye-opening and sobering. If you’ve ever stolen music online or used programs like Spotify and Grooveshark, this long entry is worth the time spent reading it.
Originally posted on The Trichordist:
Recently Emily White, an intern at NPR All Songs Considered and GM of what appears to be her college radio station, wrote a post on the NPR blog in which she acknowledged that while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life. Our intention is not to embarrass or shame her. We believe young people like Emily White who are fully engaged in the music scene are the artist’s biggest allies. We also believe–for reasons we’ll get into–that she has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement. We only ask the opportunity to present a countervailing viewpoint.
My intention here is not to shame you or embarrass you. I believe you are already on the side of musicians and artists and you are just grappling with how to do the right thing. I applaud your courage in admitting you do not pay for music, and that you do not want to but you are grappling with the moral implications. I just think that you have been presented with some false choices by what sounds a lot like what we hear from the “Free Culture” adherents.
This year in music reminds me of the 2011 NBA Draft. There hasn’t been any stand out stars in the releases thus far, but there are a lot of quality albums on the cusp of greatness. Last year, I had no doubt about what albums would make my top five for the mid-year list, but this time around, I moved albums up and down the list indecisively for days, finally settling on the order below. My point: there could be a lot of shuffling when the real list comes out in December. Before getting into 20 albums that you shouldn’t miss out on, here are six honorable mentions that could easily end up being this year’s Jeremy Lin.
In the latest Podcast I go through some 2012 albums that won’t be seen in my mid-year best of list, but I felt I still wanted to share with the listeners. On this episode you’ll hear Guided By Voices, Tanlines, Alex Winston, Chromatics, El-P, The Cribs, and of course, Bob Dylan.
Check it out here or look up “BDWPS” on iTunes: http://bdwps.podomatic.com/entry/2012-06-04T16_32_07-07_00