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Miley’s VMA Wilderness Reflekted

Something a little different today, I wrote this piece and thought I’d share since it builds on from my last post.

The music industry has changed.  That’s old news. It’s in major state of flux and rules and records are being broken and rewritten every week.

This week two rules have been broken. And it’s only Tuesday. One was quite literally smashed apart by a wrecking ball, ridden by a nude Miley Cyrus. Miley’s new video was watched 12.3 million times in just 24 hours – shattering the record held by One Direction (10.7 million).

Although the record proves the constant growth and importance of YouTube– it could hardly be called innovative. You can imagine the big marketing experts of RCA/Sony sitting around the meeting going – I’m thinking, a big wrecking ball and nudity! Boom! We have a YouTube record winner. Soft porn selling is not a new concept.

In more refreshing news, Arcade Fire’s long awaited The Reflektors released its first single on the same day. This may have not received the same one-day hype but certainly may be a more important footmark on the music industry.

The indie rock band from Montreal had been rather quiet since the 2010 release of their Grammy winning The Suburbs. However over the last few months a very extensive campaign has developed which came to a climax yesterday.

It started with rumours that former front man of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy was producing the album. He added to the fire of anticipation by commenting that the album “is really epic”.

reflektor2

Then came the creation of The Refletkors as a persona – a widespread project across several platforms. First graffiti of a tribal looking logo was sprawled across various cities. Then a website with a video of shiny looking costume and snapshots of the artwork. Followed by an instagram account bearing the same name with more snaps of the graffiti and a YouTube channel with another strange mystical video.  However at this point only rumours linked The Reflektors to Arcade Fire.

But finally on the 26 of August a banner in NYC officially tied the two together bearing the words Arcade Fire 9pm 9/9 above the famous graffiti symbol. Interesting how all the first steps of the campaign were done in physical, tangible forms first. But of course the digital reinforcement followed, with a countdown video preview appearing on an Arcade Fire’s official YouTube channel and some usual tweeting.

Then the explosion that was yesterday – two videos, a secret concert and the preorder for the full album to be released on October 29.

The traditional video portrays the band reunited with their big plaster heads of the Sprawl II video in a black and white fascination with a big disco ball and a man statue made of mirrors. It is directed by Anton Corbjin. In comparison the video only passed the half a million views marker today.

However more interesting is the second video – a Google Chrome Experiment interactive video, that is starting to become a trademark of the group after the success of The Wilderness Downtown (and less breakthrough Neon Bible).

Just like The Wilderness Downtown the video has the user play a fundamental part of the video. Using your phone/tablet to “reflekt” your computer, you use it as a torch to discover the main character’s escape from her wild life in Haiti and your webcam pulls you into hers. The video was filmed by long time collaborator Vincent Morisset and the technology was created by Aaron Koblin.

Koblin’s work and its impact on the future of music videos and the ever-growing partnership between digital and music is rather interesting. Koblin was not only responsible for The Wilderness Downtown but also various other breakthrough interactive videos such as The Johnny Cash Project  and 3 Dreams of Black for Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi, Jack White, and Norah Jones (both done in partnership with Chris Milk – another prominent figure in this field).  Koblin has been featured both on TED talks and the Future of StoryTelling where he discusses the importance of story telling and its role in developing culture. He explores its need to transform in the new age of the digital world so that it can bring culture along with us in a more personalized and interactive manner.

Another interesting angle is the role of Google in all of this. We all remember the days of MTV and music videos being used as a commercial for a song to get people to go out and buy the albums. Google has now made YouTube the advert, the product and the streaming all in one (as well as an ever growing revenue source).

But the Google Chrome projects take it one step further. What are the dynamics of these special projects? Is Arcade Fire licensing the song to Chrome and is Google seeing this as advertising? Is this a showcase for the ability of Chrome as a browser and aimed to capture further market share for interactive and creative projects to follow (whether in partnership or simply hosting)? Or is the band paying Chrome to advertise the song? And in this case why is the call to action less prominent than one might think – where is the big PREORDER NOW button? Or not even an email sign up? And finally is CONTENT creation a future revenue source for Google?

All of this is uncertain, but what is certain is we are watching the Google empire growing over the music industry, day by day, in one shape or form. Oh yes and sex still sells.

 

Song of the day: Arcade Fire wows with Reflektor

Hello kids,

So I wasn’t even going to write today. But then Arcade Fire released the Reflektor website – and how could I not. So Arcade Fire are certainly not new to very innovative breakthrough videos to take the themes behind their albums to another level – they have already proved what they can do with Neon Bible and The Wilderness Downtown.

Now to launch their much awaited album, they have released a website that interacts with your phone/tablet or mouse. It’s all just very complicated to explain and just much easier if you go online and do it (make sure you use Google Chrome). The video follows a young woman trying to escape her reflections in wild Haiti and you get pulled into her world as she tries to break free.

Here is a trailer. And here is my reflection in the video. Have fun with it.

reflektor

The full album (with confirmed James Murphy collaboration and rumoured David Bowie) is out on October 29, counting down the days.

Quick update, Arcade Fire also released a normal music video an hour ago. Enjoy.

Song of the day: Arctic Monkeys did it again

Hello kidos,

So yesterday I just took the day out to selfishly indulge in the new Arctic Monkeys‘ album AM- you can stream the full thing on Itunes before it gets released 10th September. I haven’t written about the new singles until now because, well it’s not like you don’t know about them already. But such greatness cannot be ignored. After a whole day of listening I think this 5th album may turn into my favourite.

The Monkeys were always one step ahead and execute it all so bloody well from day one. Strength to strength the whole of England has watch them grow and adored them. Somewhat representing an entire age group’s culture movement for a country is no small task to put on a band yet they have never buckled. The sound is getting darker, more alluring, more flirtatious while stepping back at the perfect moment to make you want to listen it again and again and again. Alex’s lyrics are spot on, his falsetto very impressive and the entire sound tight as a tick. The influences are growing as their confidence does and the sound matures into perfection.

Here is their latest video for the third single – Why do you only call me when you’re high?

My favourite is right at the end “Alex band guy”

Song of the day: What A Shame

Hello kids,

Yesterday I met the manager of The Strypes (and another major music icon) and I was ashamed not to have covered this hot buzzing new band. These Irish kids (literally kids, we talking 15-17 years old) from Cavan wowed everyone by self-producing and released a blues cover EP last year that surprisingly went to No1 in the Blues Itunes Chart. The labels came running shortly afterwards, and after a little war (which is not common these days), they signed to Mercury Records and also Rocket Music Management (owned by Sir Elton John who also popped by a gig in Brighton to see what all the fuss was about).

I must admit my first reaction watching their video, I found them…adorable. Not only are they young, but they look younger. And all dressed up in suits and glasses (The Beatles comparison is done on purpose – huge fans) it kind of reminds me of a little girl wearing her mother’s heels and make up. But then Ross Farrely (who is still finishing school) belts out a great big rock voice – and the rest of the troop follows solid and uber fast on their instruments – and you go wooooah, this is for real. These are no ordinary teenagers. And they are not – their influences are big blues stars of the 60s whose sound they tried to replicate from the age of 14 in their rooms – is not your typical instagraming-obsessed teenager.

Now let us see how they deal with the roar of buzz going around them at such an early and fragile state of their career.  Please just do me a favour and do not use the title ‘the new band to come and save good old rock’n’roll music’ – cause I’ve heard that about 100 bands in the last two years.
Here is What A Shame.

 

Song of the day: Dream to sleep out in the dark

Hello kids,

So let’s wake you up on Monday with some rocking psychedelic music. Pond is the name of the Australian band – and when I say band I mean just a collaboration of different people throwing what they can at different times in a large musical, well, pond. If the dreamy elements remind you of a certain shoe-gazing Tame Impala – then you would have a sharp ear – cause 2 or 3 of their members have been contributing.

Here is the first single, Giant Tortoise, off their new album Hobo Rocket released last month. The lyrics, in true Tame Impala style, are hard to decipher and brief – but who cares when you have such rocking guitars.

 

Song of the day: There’s a lot you need to share on the phone

Hello songers,

Well a lil while ago I told you about the fabulous find that was Husbands. I have listened to their self titled EP about a hundred times since then and I am still impressed. I just cant wait for them to release more music or for them to gain the respect they deserve. In the meanwhile today I saw a video about the over use of cellphones in our lives and it made me think of their aptly named song: You, Me, Celephones.

This cheeky song has now released a cheeky video to go with it. What more can you ask than synchronised swimming and bold typography.

The french really do electro best.

Song of the day: On/Hot/On/Chip

Hello songers,

Well its quite cool when a great band does a cover of a greater band and it doesnt sound like the same song + monkey bashing a tambourine. Well that is the case this morning. Both previously featured On an On did a cover of Hot Chip‘s song And I Was  A Boy From School.

They just through in some more electro (as if Hot Chip was lacking some) and juggled some Maracas (no tambourine – it’s in the detail) and tah dah. I know the formula doesn’t sound great but I really like the outcome. So just listen already.

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