Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wooden Wand / Harem of the ... / Rating 8.0

Cooking with magic utensils

Dear James Toth AKA Wooden Wand,

Writing and putting out music is exciting and all but three releases in the span of just a few months is plain old overkill; some might even call it gluttonous. (Harem, Buck Dharma, and XIAO) I’m not just picking on you, there are many prolific artists heading in this direction (members of the Animal Collective and Guided By Voices…I am looking in your direction) and I swear to you, I would tell them all the same thing:

Quality over quantity people.

Just because you can eek out another record’s worth of material (or have something you deem worthy of a reissue) doesn’t mean you HAVE to release it. Hell I wish all record labels followed this very same motto. The marketplace is over-saturated with a ton of crap recordings that should have remained in somebody’s shoebox under their bed rather than taking up space in your local record store. If you decide the world must include a smorgasbord of your music to choose from, at least give your fans the chance to digest the one you just released before feeding them another. You can’t assume people will still be hungry after you just fed them some of your art and besides, who’s to say they can afford to keep throwing money at just your work?

The beautiful thing about a band website is it offers the freedom to share less spectacular material in one place and if you really love your fans...for free. This way no cd or lp is harmed in the making of your music’s debut. Stores will have more room to stock other artists. Your fans are rewarded for being your fan by the gift of free music on line. And when a good 6 months have gone by… then you can begin to work towards putting out a new record. (Truthfully a full year would be more ideal) Look at that: everybody wins!

People’s heads would explode if they understood just how much music comes out every single week no less how many of those records are actually really good.

You probably own more fingers and toes.

People wonder why their local stores don't carry a larger selection of music and you know what? They can't. There is simply too much music coming out each day/week/month to make this possible. These days a small retailer can't afford to risk stocking something that might not sell right away so they will either bring in the one title they think fans will want the most or they will skip your music all together and find some other artist with just one release that they know their loyal customer base will definitely buy. *

Don’t mistake my words for cruelty; I am not judging the music of Wooden Wand, just the choice of any band or label who thinks just because a band is hot or their original pressings sell for big bucks on EBAY that the whole world needs all your music all at the same time.

Still feeling the need to share a gaggle of songs? Build a box set that will make it onto every cosmic rocker’s holiday wish list. (The ultimate Thurston Moore stocking stuffer !!!)

Your Ace of Cups,

PS: Your “ten things to improve your life” list on PFM makes you my number one crush of the week.

*Anybody with a computer is probably thinking this is why online stores are so much better and fit the modern consumer’s needs but (for now at least) there is still a large number of people who like to buy these things called cds and records, who still like to see a band's artwork, lyrics, and packaging, and most importantly still like to have a real live person working in a place filled with other real live people selling it to them.