I work in a tiny room full of cardboard boxes. Every single box contains dozens of CDs waiting to be heard. I could spend every hour of every day listening to them and still not get to the end of what’s here. And that’s before I get around to downloads or what the postman delivered.
This is a time of plenty for music fans. Thanks to the democratisation of production and distribution, it has never been so easy to experience music. That this evolution has turned to a time of woe for the record business is a paradox for pop historians to dissect. Albums Standout albums from Panda Bear ( Person Pitch – below – is my album of the year), Cathy Davey, LCD Soundsystem, Burial, Dan Deacon, The Hold Steady, Springsteen, Adrian Crowley, Shape Of Broad Minds, Little Dragon, MIA and Robyn.
There was also plenty of reward for time spent with Justice, White Rabbits, Super Extra Bonus Party, Operator Please ( Just A Song About Ping Pong was one of the tunes of the year), Dan Le Sac v Scroobius Pip ( Thou Shalt Always Kill was a delight), Bloc Party, Cadence Weapon, Simian Mobile Disco, Health, Mark Ronson, Björk, Flying Lotus, Windmill, Robert Wyatt, Holy Fuck, Josh Ritter and The Crimea. Gigs Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band in Madrid, The National at Dublin’s Olympia, The Gossip at South By Southwest in Texas, Gillian Welch at the Midlands fest, !!! in a tent in Italy, Battles in Dublin, Kevin Drew’s Broken Social Scene in Toronto and Electric Picnic, still the benchmark for Irish festivals. Lows The decision by The Immediate to call it a day was sad, while the deaths of Tony Wilson and Lee Hazlewood robbed us of two fascinating characters. But perhaps the biggest disappointment was how many were conned by Radiohead’s PR scam. Few bothered to point out that the band could only afford to be innovative with In Rainbows because of the fan base built up after a lengthy innings with a major label. With every new business model proposed in 2007 favouring established acts, it’s becoming harder for new acts to get noticed.
In the rush to draft the obituary of the traditional record industry, it might be time to ask just where the investment into the next Radiohead will come from. What did you say? Live promoters? You are joking, aren’t you?