The fine folks at the Fork have been uncovering all kinds of new music for you to check out. But it’s impossible for anybody to listen to everything, so we handpick the best mp3s just for you. Listen for yourself and let us know what you think.
Here’s our roundup of stuff that Pitchfork posted from May through July on their Forkcast:
I’ve known for a while that the Beggars Group has its shit together. This might be “inside baseball” but as the publisher of an online music zine, I’ve been very impressed with how their publicity department deals with us. Each release from their four labels (Matador, 4AD, XL, and Rough Trade) is promoted with a free, easily shareable MP3, and review copies are distributed far more simply than any other label. It is no coincidence that we review more stuff from Beggars than from other labels; they make it easier for us, and we’re kinda lazy—sometimes too lazy to even send an email requesting a promo.
“You read the industry is 60 per cent of the size it was ten years ago. But that 40 per cent that has gone is almost entirely the cream at the top. Records that sold two million now sell 500,000 – that’s where that’s gone. At the same time it’s easier to sell those slightly smaller levels.
“What’s called pejoratively ‘the new middle class’ is someone like, say, Calexico or Midlake, who can sell 100,000 plus records every time they put out a record; they can play to 3-4,000 people in 30 or 40 cities around the world. And they can make a pretty good living out of that, doing what they love doing, and can do it on their own terms, and that’s fantastic. We’ve got a bunch of bands like that, they’re not necessarily seeking stardom or riches. That’s incredibly healthy.”
You just don’t expect to read quotes like that from a music exec. It’s refreshing. Mills has lots of insightful opinions on a variety of topics, and he makes a shitload of sense. He wants his artists (and his labels) to get paid, but acknowledges that “some of our best purchasers are also pirates.” It’s a complex world we’ve got here, but this guy reminds us that it’s a great time to be a smart independent label.
“I did not become someone different / that I did not want to be,” Gil Scott-Heron gruffly admits on the title track to his first album in thirteen years, “But I’m new here…will you show me around?” It’s a frightening prospect given Gil’s challenges with drugs and the law in the past decade, and hopefully the “new” is means “new leaf,” a desire that is magnified by the quality of this long awaited release.
I’m New Here presents autobiographical, spoken word interludes against fully developed songs (which Gil’s voice handles with more character than inherent talent), and word jazz. The skeletal arrangements and minimalist electronica is a perfect backdrop for his prose and the subject matter is compelling enough for repeated listens. In short, I’m New Here is a perfect introduction for anyone wanting to learn more about the grandfather of political rap and one of word jazz’s most notable artists.
So cool. American poet Gil Scott-Heron is back, and it looks like he’s got a new album, I’m New Here, coming out in February on XL. Scott-Heron has struggled with drug abuse and incarceration for much of the decade, and that hardship is definitely reflected in the ominous tone of this video. But his voice sounds great, and the poetry is raw and effective. 100% badass. You can download the song from imnewhere.net.