Did the Internet Kill the Album Review?
There's certainly no shortage of album reviews out there on the Internet, but has this surplus of musical opinion led to an increase in effectiveness as well? In a recent interview, Jay Z said it's the immediacy of the Internet that's killing the album review. Music fans can listen to whatever they want at any given moment. If this is the case, why are album reviews still written? Why are they still read?
The Needle Drop
Anthony Fantano is the host of a b/vlog and public radio show about rock, pop, electronic, experimental, metal, and hip hop music. He's been spearheading the show in some way, shape, or form since 2007, but is best known for his increasingly popular, review-based YouTube channel, which currently sits at about 180,000 subscribers.
Force Field PR
Daniel Gill founded Force Field PR in Los Angeles in 2006 and officially launched the company at SXSW that year. Force Field PR is a boutique indie publicity firm focused on breaking new bands. Current clients include Real Estate, Yuck, Ariel Pink, Youth Lagoon, Panda Bear, Dan Deacon, Mount Eerie, Neon Indian, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Vivian Girls, The Fresh & Onlys, Woods & more. In the past, Gill has also played an important role in establishing the careers of Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, Beach House, Tune-Yards, Dirty Projectors, Toro Y Moi, YACHT, Deer Tick, Smith Westerns, Blitzen Trapper, Patrick Wolf, Bowerbirds, The Books, Portugal. The Man, and many more. He's also had the great pleasure of working with luminaries such as Daniel Johnston, Will Oldham, Big Star, Sebadoh and Negativland.
Dead End Hip Hop
I’m a person who has literally grown up around music. From as young as I can remember, music has always been an integral part of my life. With a musician father and a religious mother, everything from jazz to country to gospel was played in my household. I’ve kept that tradition with me as an adult, integrating my life with music from every genre imaginable.
I was an avid hip hop fan as a child and then grew up in the punk rock and hardcore scene during my teens. Once into my twenties, I grew into a person who simply listened to music for what it is. An art form. As long as I felt something from the music, I would listen to it regardless of who made it. I’m an obsessive music collector and ex-musician who is simply infatuated with music.
Man Bites Dog Records
With its avant-garde album themes, gonzo music videos and Jeremy Fish-designed logo, Man Bites Dog isn’t a typical Hip Hop label. But its founder, Ryan Lynch isn’t a typical label exec. The Northern Virginia native is a DJ, producer, crate-digger and rhyme-writer who found success in the film and real estate industries, and never lost his commitment to putting his region on the Hip Hop map.
“I was born in a sandstorm and raised in the back of a pink Cadillac,” Lynch illustrates of his youth, also highlighting his formative years abroad. Ryan (also known as “R.M.L.”) scoffed at the lack of a Washington D.C.-area Hip Hop scene, compared to what he witnessed in California and Germany. After attending Full Sail University’s film school, he earned his living in the Lighting department on some Hollywood blockbusters while plugging away at his underground Hip Hop documentary, Off The Ground. Without interview subjects readily available, Ryan persistently tried his hand at booking acts in the area to secure footage. Building relationships with the members of Boot Camp Clik, Wu-Tang Clan and Jedi Mind Tricks, R.M.L. was working in film by day and the music industry at night.
Under the moniker of Man Bites Dog, R.M.L. fused his passions. Ryan notes that his label, like the French film of the same name “is both subversive and mocking. In life, it’s not a story if a dog bites a man, but if a man bites a dog, it is.” In turn, the imprint has been able to make stories and commercially viable, critically acclaimed albums by flagship artist Copywrite, Killah Priest and Vast Aire. His present roster also includes independent Hip Hop mainstays like MHz, Esoteric and Roc Marciano, as bidding wars are ongoing for Grammy nominated acts with multi-platinum credits.