Best of the Week

Best Essay on The Music Industry – Pampelmoose

Dave Allen is a thoughtful guy. He writes regularly at Pampelmoose, and on Twitter. If you missed his essay earlier this week, Dear Musicians, Please Be Brilliant or Get Out of the Way, stop right now and go read it. Dave moves beyond the “internet is killing music” argument, and into some really interesting territory about how artists need to manage their personal brands, and reach out to their fans.

Amanda Palmer – Internet Celebrity

I’ve probably been drinking the Amanda Palmer kool-aid a little too much lately. But I think she gets what Dave is talking about above. She reaches out to her fans via her blog, twitter feed, and internet events. She continues to promote her work with the Dresden Dolls, as well as her work as a solo artist. I’ll be honest, my first impression was “this girl tweets too much.” But, I get it. I get how passionate she is about her work, her fans, and communicating. And that’s something to be admired. It also helps that she generally has something interesting to say.

Best Songs of 2009 – Sean Micheals – Said The Gramophone

For starters, check out Sean Michaels’ Best Songs of 2009 [includes 75 mp3s, which you can check out individually, or as a 315MB ZIP file] at Said The Gramophone. These will only be up for a short time. So, preview the songs while you can, and then support the artists by buying the actual singles/albums. Sean and his compatriots write about new music [nearly] every weekday. Sean also publishes over on McSweeneys. It’s a pretty astounding & well-thought out list.

Sean isn’t the only one writing over there. Be sure to check out Dan Beirne’s list, too.

(Big thanks to Dave at LargeHeartedBoy who continues to point me towards new musicians, books, and websites.)

Christmas Music – Suburban Sprawl

For second, check out this year’s collection of Christmas music over at Suburban Sprawl Music. They get their friends together and write new music, or cover old songs. They started this tradition in 2002 with 17 songs. 2009’s compilation has exploded to 53 tracks. As I write this, I’m listening to Thunderbirds Are Now covering Christmas In Hollis. Not all of the songs are this frenetic/spastic, but I hope you get the idea. You can also check out their label’s page here.

8-bit Christmas Music

Fans of glitchpop, or Nintendo Entertainment Systems, may enjoy It’s a Chiptune Holiday over at IGN. I think back to a year or two ago, when I picked up The 8 bits of Xmas by The 8bitpeoples. [As a bonus, you can pick up their covers of the Beverly Hills Cop theme in 8-bit style.]

My Real Name is David Jones

Many of you have already seen this 1967 Letter from a 20-year-old David Bowie to a 14-year old American Fan. I think Letters of Note is an interesting read, especially since few people write letters anymore. I’m struck by how young & earnest Bowie is here, “I hope one day to get to America. My manager tells me lots about it as he has been there many times with other acts he manages.”

Overdue Tidbits – Gorillaz (new album) – Spoon (new single)

Gorillaz will be back with a new album, to feature Snoop Dogg, and also possibly Lou Reed and Mos Def. More information over at Gorillaz Unofficial News.

New Spoon Single – Written In Reverse – available for pre-order from Merge. You can also preview it over at NPR – All Songs Considered.