I have to mention Spotify because I think it might be a glimpse of the future. Suddenly I can listen to almost anything I want to on demand. This last week I've listened to Merle Travis, John Prine, Emily Smith, Paul Kantner, Rosanne Cash, Miguel Poveda, Tomatito, Gerardo Nunez and Marcelo Mercadante. Oh yes, and Neutral Milk Hotel. The artists get some cash, though not a lot by the sound of it. Still - preferable to being downloaded for free. I guess it's a bit like being played on the radio. I can imagine a future where we don't need to own stacks of cds and videos any more, but can just download the stuff as we want it onto some portable device.
Anyway, a remark by Stuart, who's been cutting my hair for about 20 years now, has been bugging me for a while. He's a DJ in his spare time and has an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music. He was recommending Tusk by Fleetwood Mac. He said listening to it made him feel 'clean and optimistic'. It doesn't make me feel that way, although there are a lot of good tracks on there. But I was seriously puzzled by the reviewers who have said that Midlake's Trials of Van Occupanther reminded them of Fleetwood Mac. Stuart agreed with this, but I still can't see it. On the other hand I think that Midlake and to a lesser degree Neutral Milk Hotel owe a lot to Paul Kantner's early Jefferson Starship albums. I had almost forgotten Blows Against the Empire until Spotify let me listen to it again this week. All that sixties optimism is just starting to go wrong and Kantner and Slick are planning a journey across the galaxy. Probably best listened to in conjunction with a reading of The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test!