In case you weren’t aware, the Grammys happened last weekend. The reason I bring it up, and a few days after the fact, is because I want to comment briefly on what it means to be out of touch with your audience. Let me put it this way: the music lovers I know that do watch the Grammys tend to do so for comedy purposes. There are lots of people who could otherwise be called “casual” music fans that watch and enjoy the Grammys unironically, and that’s because they see a lot of artists they’re familiar with performing on stage and getting rewarded for it. Unlike other awards shows like the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys, the Grammys don’t so much give awards to the best music, but more the most popular music. Every now and then they get something right, like in 2011 when Arcade Fire won Album of the Year for The Suburbs, but even that sparked controversy with hundreds if not thousands of people asking the question, “Who is Arcade Fire?” afterwards. At least this year they had the courtesy of nominating Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange in the Album of the Year category, which is like the equivalent of getting a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Of course he didn’t win (and got Best Urban Contemporary Album instead), but there’s no way any right-minded music fan would have chosen Mumford & Sons over Ocean. To be clear, I’ve got nothing against Mumford & Sons, or fun. and Gotye, for that matter. I can understand the reasons for their success, but also understand that they’re not the most creatively inspiring and innovative artists out there right now. I’d wager that if you took votes from the 500 most prominent music critics in the country and asked them to nominate 5 artists for each individual category, most of the artists nominated for Grammys this year would not make the final cut on the average critic’s list. Such disparity between passionate music fans and the Grammys is the reason why I don’t watch. My suspicion is that they need to nominate popular stuff so they can pull in enough audience to make such a show worthwhile. Still, would it hurt for them to try half-and-half, mixing the popular with the obscure, and occasionally giving the obscure a win? I know if they did that I’d be far more interested in watching. Instead I read about the winners via Twitter and shake my head at how far we’ve gotten off course. But you, dear music fan, are here and reading this right now because you too demand more from your music and are on a quest to find something new or the next big thing. It could be in today’s Pick Your Poison for all we know. Let me try to point you in the right direction by recommending tracks from Cocorosie, Decades, Fletcher, Pure X, Selebrities, Standish/Carlyon and Vandaveer. In the Soundcloud section, don’t miss streaming tracks after the jump from araabMUZIK, Class of 2013 favorite HAIM, Painted Palms and The Woolen Men.
Vandaveer – Pretty Polly
araabMUZIK – Never Have to Worry
HAIM – Falling
Painted Palms – Click
Rollin Hunt – Beautiful Park
Toro y Moi – Say That (DaM-FunK Re-Freak)
The Woolen Men – Head On the Ground