Today SlowdiveMusic Blog celebrates its first birthday, and over the past few days I have been a bit reflective. The first thing I would like to say is thank you for the show of support – whether by following at the blog, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and/or Twitter. Reading, posting comments, and even the e-mails, it has meant a lot to all of us here at SDM Blog. The second thing I would like to say is thank you to all the bands and artists who have taken the time to answer our questions and give us an insight into their craft: The Android Angel, Baddies, A Boy Named Crow, DJ Chauncey D, Del Marquis, The Fabulous Entourage, Gonzo, The Joy Formidable, Lacrosse, Metro Sunday, Microfilm, Neimo, One Hundred Hurricanes, The Onlookers, Power of Dreams, Bethany Saint Smith, Scarlet Soho, Simon Scott, Steven Severin, Superoscope, Thursday, Transbeauce, The Unravelling, and X:THC. It has been an incredible experience to keep up with new music so fervently, to reflect on older music, to express our opinions about what we love, and communicate with so many amazing artists who have given us a real insight into their crafts.
And onward into 2010!
When I started this blog, I struggled to find a jazzy and catchy name that I could live with, and no matter what I thought up of, I hated the morning after. But then I had that proverbial light bulb moment one evening: I should name the blog after something that reflects musical history. I quickly jotted a list of twenty song or album titles that meant something to me, and “Slowdive,” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, was the first one on the list and was available. (There was an official video for this song posted at the Banshees’ official YouTube page, thebansheesofficial, but it is no longer available!) Speak about one of the unsung heroes of music; this band, the brainchild of Siouxsie Sioux and Steven Severin, revolutionized music, inspired generations of artists, and are a paragon of artistic integrity. I created the G-Mail for the blog, and the rest is history. As homage to this band, everyone who has contributed to the blog (Belladonna, Bloodybones, Hyena, Juju, Little Sister, Mirage, and VoodooDolly) has continued that tradition by naming themselves after titles from the Banshees’ repertoire. To us, this is not about hiding who we are behind a cutesy or even bizarre name, but rather paying homage to an amazing band.
[‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” from VEVO.]
After we got together and discussed our “Best of 2009,” we started to discuss what we wanted to do differently this year. We have a few things up our sleeves, but one thing we all agreed on was the need to be consistent. This of course is difficult considering that we all have responsibilities outside of this blog – the ole nine-to-five always places demands. But typically, we try to get an album on its release day, and listen to it over and over again, in order to write a review. Our biggest effort this year is going to be to try to post a review every Tuesday, and videos twice a month. However, I am going to continue the tradition of not writing about what we do not like. What is the point of wasting your time (or our precious writing time) with that? Also, every month we would like to have a retrospective of some sort, of course videos, as well as trying to get out to more shows this year. (I remember my college years, when my best friend, Mia, and I headed out to so many concerts; her father joked that we were majoring in live music!)
[Placebo’s “Pure Morning” from their Vimeo Channel: PlaceboWorld.]
One of the greatest pleasures I have had has been working with my contributors. Of course we hardly ever all agree on any one artist, and we often make fun of each other for some of our guilty pleasures. (When discussing our “Best of…” lists, it was like a parliamentary meeting with factions siding with one another!) We take little snipes at each other and the music we listen to – and Bloodybones, your Cure snipe did not go unnoticed! But this blog, among things, has been a “journal” of sort of our musical journey. Whether it has been reflecting on the past, our discovery of new music, or our need to continually readjust and open our minds to something new, fresh, and relevant, the blog has been an incredible shared experience. And because of that, I really want to thank all of my contributors for dedicating whatever time they can. But I have to really single out that four years ago, when I met Juju, I never thought we would be this close. She does so much “behind the scenes”: managing our presence on the Internet, checking my sanity, giving me migraines, and keeping my commas in check – she has been a pillar of support and inspiration. And at the end of it all, I would not want to write with any other bunch of maladjusted, emotionally crippled, angst written group of friends.
[Joan Jet and the Blackheart’s “Bad Reputation” from the blackheartrec YouTube Channel.]
So my mom asked me recently, “So what, you think you are a journalist now?” I sat back and thought about this question, considering how I have approached this blog since the beginning, and I have to say that yes I do. No, I do not go out and search for “musical news” in the sense of gossip or tidbits about these musicians’ lives – I actually do not care for the most part what anyone does in the privacy of their lives. But there has always been a conscious effort to be fair, professional, and look for a perspective that is often ignored. I have stated that this blog is about “unsung heroes” in music, and, yes, even veterans can be unsung. The blog has always been about giving a fair shake to artists and really judging them on their own merits, and not the expectations of others; I just wish there was more time and resources to get to everyone that we have not been able to!
There has always been a conscious effort to be fair to our readers and the artists. That is the reason why I would never allow any links to download music on this site (unless an artist supplies it). This is a policy that we are not going to change; I know it makes this blog less enticing, but I stand on not posting these kinds of materials, and, furthermore, only posting videos from official providers. (Ultimately, it is the choice of any given artist how they want their music disturbed, not anyone else’s.) Furthermore, we will continue to disclose any communication or materials sent by artists and/or labels, not because it is the law, but rather because you, the reader, deserve to know any and all relationship we have with what we write about. But again, I stand fast on the idea that anything we write about we stand behind. I have too much self-respect and love for music (and art in general) to allow this site to reduce itself to pandering music and artists that we do not support in real life.
Sex Pistols: Anarchy in the UK
Sex Pistols | MySpace Music Videos
[Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” from their MySpace Videos.]
When I started this, I was alone, sort of ranting in the dark with little direction; now, it is a few of us, ranting in the dark, with a little more direction. But that is just another thing that excites me: there really is no idea where this is going to lead. So what else to expect? We hope, a little more blues, a little bit of dream pop and dark wave, and a general expansion of what we have done. As always, I (we) always welcome your suggestions (I have already started thinking about the idea of “mainstream” that one of the comments conjectured about). And though we have all these plans, a tightly made schedule, I know that life is not predictable and anything “organic” continues to grow and evolve in ways that cannot be planned for. So in that sense, I welcome what this second year brings, regardless if we originally planned it or not. With that said, I want to repeat thank you to all the artists that have contributed their time. And thank you for taking the time to read our postings.
[If you are wondering about the eclectic choice of videos, they are somehow related to the other options of what the blog “could” have been named. Though the list is much longer than that, I thought it would be interesting to somehow give a few clues to what else was on my mind.]
Now I think I can go celebrate in a not so professional way! Thanks for all the support! Onward into 2010 and year two!