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5°ASALTO MURAL PAINTING FESTIVAL
10. Irish music in 2011 (How to win friends and influence people)
Everything above was released in 2011 and is interesting, worth listening to, and Irish. I’m hoping that things I’ve written count for more by way of endorsement than a photo of stuff does, but it’s a helpful illustration: another ton of interesting, independent music has come out of Ireland in the last year, and it seems set to continue. Which is great.
The lack of discourse around it isn’t great, though, and it’s making me uneasy. Ideally, the music comes first and it’s Irish second, but not all of it reaches a critical audience beyond Ireland. Within Ireland, the culture of music writing (about Irish music) is dominated by the news cycle, by streams and releases and synopses. There’s exceptions, and sometimes there’s even good exceptions - it would be rude not to single out Those Geese Were Stupefied, especially Karl’s Interview Project as a whole - but there’s an awful lot of “here’s this, and it’s good”.
“Here’s this, and it’s good” serves the bands pretty well (and the bands are nice and will often link back), and the news cycle is a useful service to listeners, but it’s more like PR than music writing and when there’s music actually worth further consideration, it’s really selling it short. (The print media reviews are fine, but necessarily short, and though there are some good interviews with musicians, that too is coming from the band side more than the critical, so it’s not enough by itself.) ‘Curation’ is bullshit, angry-making bullshit that needs to stop - it’s an actual discipline and implies a level of research, interpretation, adaptation of the method of presentation, and cultural preservation, not just picking a series of things you like.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the news cycle - it’s being done well and it’s popular for a reason - but it’s not enough on its own. I’m not sure where it’ll come from, but 2012 needs to bring some longer writing and deeper reviews.
Catscars/Test House - double split EP (Test House are from Brooklyn)
Enemies - Coco et Moi (RSD 2011)
20x2011 is an unordered list of things about music in 2011. (Incidentally, ‘Irish’ above is intended in a 32-county, Northern-and-Republic-of sense.)