Thursday, April 29, 2010

The posting service

Well, that's five years up and gone. How to reduce the content, pith and carry of 1,942 posts into, say, a top twenty of all time?

Like this.

Songs To Learn And Sing
The first of many abortive group-based projects was inspired by Garry Mulholland's unmissable This Is Uncool, his rating of the 500 greatest singles since 1976 to publication. (A book, incidentally, for which we curate a Spotify playlist, currently 452 strong) The pitch was entirely to pick a song that people may not know but should and then explain why, and some of the responses were genuinely fascinating and occasionally telling. Among its 42 responses were pieces by Gareth and Tom Campesinos! (who respectively chose the shortest and longest in the whole selection), Jeremy Warmsley, Emmy The Great (who wrote about Noah And The Whale long before you'd heard of them, or even we, given that she'd forgotten to tell us what they were called at first), Andrew Ferris of Jetplane Landing, Pagan Wanderer Lu, Kieron Gillen, producer Gareth Parton, celebrated gaming journalist Stuart Campbell and a phalanx of bloggers and readers. And you know, this might be the most fun thing we've ever done. Maybe we should try it again sometime... two years since the last go in June, after all...

Noughties By Nature
Much the same as the above, right down to having to finish before time, but snappier, allowing people to write more than one and this criteria being songs released during the 00s. A whole host of readers, friends and other joined the fun, with special condonement for Wichita's Mark Bowen, Maybeshewill's John Helps, BBC Chart Blog's Fraser McAlpine, Paul Hawkins, Penny Broadhurst, Ace Bushy Striptease's Simon Lawson, Odd Box Recordings head Trev McCabe, Jack from Alco-Pop!, celebrated Stylus alumni Dom Passantino and TV Cream's TJ Worthington.

The Nation Favourites: Johnny Foreigner
We've never been much good at interviews, as anyone spying on us the night we spent three hours trying to think of two questions to go in the middle of a chat with a briefly successful post-punk band only for their people never to respond to our request will attest. That's why we started The Music That Made..., no guarantee to spend hours wording and rewording the queries only to still annoy the artist on some level. This one was good, though, and it was due to be the lead feature in the one-off paper version we were going to flog at some event or other only for various things not to happen and the idea to be permanently shelved. Yeah, one of our projects went up the swannee early, who'd have thought. Discounting local supports JoFo are the band we've seen live most often since STN started, and it's reciprocal to the extent that Junior knew who we were before we'd ever spoken to him. Alexei also did a curated Covermount, which was to be the first in a series of our favourites playlisting their favourites. Was to be.

An Illustrated Guide To... Belle & Sebastian
The Primer: Joe Meek
It takes a hell of a lot of time to collate everything, this one involving buying stuff off eBay, but the Illustrated Guides to bands and the Primers for scenes and general movers and shakers are two of our most personally rewarding occasional features. The Wire Illustrated Guide was commended by Colin Newman.

What have we done? Another year over (2005)
What's another year? (2006)
A year of living dangerously (2007)
My year in lists (2008)
The ever lengthening New Year's Eve overviews, all written in one sitting after a lot of research groundwork. We didn't do 2009 as it seemed to be a year in which nothing at all happened, as covered at the start of 2008. They chart a static but fitful period in music history and are worth your while.

Another quality item
See, we sweat buckets and slave over those sorts of lengthy things to the point of nervous exhaustion, and yet the sort of post that gets all the credit and comments is a big list of stuff from an old radio show. *sigh*

This is pop?
There's a course of mid-90s nostalgia rushing through STN at times, and this is a good example of that. David McNamee called it '1997', we just settled for a sweep of the sort of specific indie cult band level the internet's wider expanse ironically helped kill off.

Accent on the negative
In which we gainfully sidestep the Mockney issue to take on what it says about what they choose to write songs about. Pull quote: "Colin Meloy has never been a Soviet Cold War agent". How true.

All my people right here right now
Be Here Now briefly looked like it was about to be reconsidered. Listening to the monolith with minute by minute comments put paid to that idea.

STN sometimes feels like it runs off meta-posting, here thinking over what sort of writing you want from a music blog and what range of lexicography is available.

We mean it, man
Why do people hold authenticity up as the great bastion? The argument's changed in this winter of secret band membership, but the central point holds.

Discourse 2000
Another fine idea from last year that withered on the vine of wider apathy. A reader compiled list of the alternative best albums of the decade just passed, six entered in total.

The hype machine
Round about here the BBC Sound Of poll became a self-fulfilling prophecy, something to build a year's business strategy around. Whatever happened to just having new music?

Fleet(wood)? Fox's
Included because we frankly can't believe the 1989 Brit Awards is still up in full on YouTube. "Wind away!"

A summer of rage
No, not the Christmas of Rage, but a pondering on whether we get the festival bills we deserve. Curiously apposite the day after Summer Sundae added Diana Vickers. An updated appendix on this next week.

Hold on to your genre
Shroomadelica, Thamesbeat and The Scene With No Name will live forever. No they won't.

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