Editors note: This originally published in 2013. With the release of the new Walking Dead spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead, we revisit one of our favorite lists, our ten favorite apocalyptic tunes.
We all love us some Edgar Wright (and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for that matter), so with the opening of The World’s End this weekend, we thought it appropriate to dig up the top ten apocalyptic songs. A few words about The World’s End first though. I am endlessly excited to see this movie, but it just has the worst title ever. The title is not bad in and of itself. It is descriptive. It is succinct. But unfortunately it is too similar to another apocalyptic comedy from earlier this summer (This Is The End) as well as a Pirates of the Caribbean poopcicle (At World’s End). This obviously won’t effect the quality of the movie, but its a pet peeve of mine from a differentiation standpoint.
Now that all that is out of the way, enjoy these top ten tracks for the end of times.
Once fat and healthy, the internet in the 21st century has thrown the music industry for a loop time and time again, putting musicians and the industry that produces them in a serious identity crisis as to where the money comes from. With the invention of the iPod and eventually the iPhone, downloadable music in MP3 format became the new form, and CDs went the way of the cassette tape. Vinyl strangely came back into vogue as a counter-cultural music fan move to the digital revolution. Throughout the whole age of digital music, file sharing through Napster, then Limewire, then BitTorrent and any number of other file sharing programs made music easily accessible for free. Finally, streaming came about from outlets like Rdio, Pandora, and Spotify to make music as easily accessible, though it does require some data usage, paying the artists at least something for the music, a fraction of a penny for each listen.
Apple’s entrance into the streaming service world, Apple Music, marks the beginning of the end for downloadable music. Apple, who owns the world’s largest music download store in iTunes, has stopped caring about iTunes and instead has thrown all their eggs in the Apple Music basket. The day Apple Music launched, it became extremely difficult to even find iTunes, or a price on an individual album. Instead, everything became focused on getting you to try the streaming service.
With the ability to listen offline, Apple Music completely blurs the lines between your purchased downloads and music you find in streaming. When you are under “My Music” on your iPhone or iPad, all your selected music, whether downloaded or just streamed, looks the same. Thus, Apple is playing a role in changing people’s understanding of your music. It’s no longer what you own, but it’s what you listen to. All music is available to snatch up and be listened to in the instance of a quick search.
With Beats 1 Radio, Apple also offers an alternate to Satellite (Sirus XM) and Terrestrial (AM/FM) Radio, for people that prefer someone else to curate their listening for them. Already, Beats 1 is off to a great start, with mixtapes/radio hours from tons of influential artists, including Dr. Dre, Elton John, and St. Vincent. Apple is making sure there is a curated option for every music fan under the sun.
Some bugs remain, that will keep Apple Music from becoming a complete no-brainer. For example, there is no easy way, beyond a syncing workaround, to get your music that’s not on Apple Music (say a local artist or an album that hasn’t released is not yet on iTunes) on your device. You can essentially turn Apple Music off, get it added, and then turn it back on, but this is a time-consuming affair. There are plenty of other little kinks Apple still has to work out, but I’m guessing a few software updates later, Apple music will be pretty much all you want it to be.
My prediction is by the end of 2016, streaming and vinyl will be the two largest sources of revenuefor consuming music. Yes, those are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum, but vinyl still scratches the itch of audiophiles who love the tangible aspect of a record and listening intentionally an album at a time. Streaming speaks to our sense of wanting everything now, on-the-go, and for the lowest price possible, only $9.99 a month. It will be interesting how artists survive this new form, but it could be more exposure for artists, and getting some money (if just pennies) from people who may have been downloaded their records illegally through file-sharing before, is a small step up. The music industry continues to be in the wilderness.
I don’t think it was the most prolific year in music for any of us. Wes bought a house. Todd spent six weeks in Thailand Muay Thai fighting. And I Rip Van Winkled myself, sleeping most the year. Nevertheless, we all were able to catch some good live music. Let us know what your favorite show was this year. Continue reading “Weak List Wednesday: 5 Best Live Shows of 2014”→
We started a new series of public service announcements last week for do’s and don’ts in concert-going, and we opened up with our biggest concert-going sin: the crowd surf.
To continue in my curmudgeonly ways, I want to denounce the artist heckle today. Yes, I realize I’m speaking to a largely inebriated group of people here, but more and more, I’m finding people say dumber and dumber stuff at shows. I’ve even seen heckling create sort of a strange and hostile atmosphere, especially when hecklers interrupt the actual music. I saw St. Vincent at the Riviera Theater earlier this year, and while people heckled throughout the set, it hit a weird breaking point when she played the very quiet “The Party” in her encore, and the audience got ugly as a few idiots were drowning out the music with their “clever” heckles. You also see artists like the Avett Brothers completely unplug for truly acoustic encores, and these are often soiled by this lousy audience behavior.
I have heard some very odd and amusing heckles lately. I recently heard someone shout “Incredibly talented” which was really weird and sincere, and “very enjoyable” which was just flat-out hilarious. I’m not saying the occasional heckle isn’t just perfect, but these are so few and far between it’s not worth it.
(say what you want about Kanye, but this is how hecklers should be dealt with)
While heckling certainly is a way bigger issue in the comedy world, it undoubtedly leaks into live music since there are drunken idiots everywhere. So to you folks think you just thought up some clever nugget to shout at a show, just hold it in. Don’t pollute the show.
As fellow LxL’er Todd wrote Monday, regardless of what you think of Pitchfork, the hipster music mecca, their annual festival at Union Park in Chicago is bar none the best thing they do. This year’s fest was largely dominated by shoegaze and hip hop acts, but the real theme that emerged is the female dominance of the fest, just as women are also dominating the larger landscape of what’s going right in music today. Five of our top six acts are female or female-led bands, and that’s from a blog run by three dudes. So here are our top ten acts from last week’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Continue reading “The 10 Best Acts at Pitchfork Music Festival 2014”→
In all of its infinite and pretentious wisdom, there is hardly any doubt that Pitchfork has become one of America’s leading sources for modern music recommendations and critiques. Love or hate their opinions, it is true. And regardless if they seem to leave a bitter taste in your mouth every once in a while, they do manage to do one thing very right: Pitchfork Music Festival. Three short-but-not-too-short days in the city of Chicago with a solid lineup of acts every year. Even with Death Grips canceling their performance this year, I along with fellow LxL’er Wes and a few friends still showed up for the party, and a glorious three days it was. Here is the one sentence (or more) breakdown of what we encountered: