Anyone telling you there isn't anything happening in music now - or that they pine for some good ol' daze - is just not using their ears; they're simply not doing the listening. I'm swamped. I've never had so much music - so much good music - because, let's face facts, there really are only two genres/two types to separate out into (when we strip the marketing): good and bad.
This year has started about as well as any year I can remember - music-wise. And I was on record, only a few months ago, saying that 2013 was the best year for music in some time. That must have been the case since at least...well...2012...
I'm still catching up with albums released last year. Good albums. Great albums. The new/ish Bill Frisell - an old hero of mine. And then brand new names too - like this Valerie June album; wasn't so sure of it at the time, but took a punt, a chance, belated. Man, what a record!
And that's on top of trying to fit in all the actual brand new stuff. There are still new albums released in 2013 - what I assume are probably pretty wonderful too - that I haven't yet got to. I still have a list, some of them banked up, some still to find, to buy, to borrow...just to hear them. Just to check it out. This insatiable thirst, this quest.
On top of all that there's all the music from - legitimately - way back that is still there to discover. There isn't a used-by date on the good stuff; the really great music lasts. It'll wait for you too.
Playing records up at Motel on a Friday night sometimes (which I'm doing again this Friday, as it happens) has been a chance to dig through the collection and resuscitate a few old gems - Santa Esmeralda might get the nod this week actually, last time it was a bit of Billy May and a track from Mario Lanza even! My son Oscar is coming up two and a half. He can't be without his "Piggy Lee!" record. Carts it around the house now. Which, of course, is a concern, because it's actually my Peggy Lee record. But hey, it beats that Wiggles addiction that was creeping in.
I'm a one-man operation in terms of reviewing and blogging. Since setting up the Off The Tracks site to handle reviews and Vinyl Countdown posts and other musings - outside and away from this blog - I've reviewed some 600 albums. And that's in less than two years. About 18 months or so. And I'm still treading water, trying to stay afloat, drowning - or just about - in a sea of music. Almost too much music. Gloriously too much music!
All of this is by way of introduction to the once-popular series - and now as much a contractual obligation as anything - the Right This Blog! guest posts.
Twice a year I ask you all to step up and put in your bid or a blog-topic all in the name of a) you getting to have your say and b) me having a week off.
You lot get to hear some other voices, maybe your own. Maybe someone else's. You might find a new blog out of it - or at least a new record, or artist. You get to share in someone else's thoughts about music.
It's time - once again - for this. But this year I thought we should change it up just a little.
Obviously the voting system doesn't work; it could only get sabotaged again - so I'll be picking the winners. But also I want you all to submit your guest post as a form of album-review. You can go wildly off-topic, you can write a short-story if you like, get creative, offer a diary entry, a slice-of-life, make it as far removed from an actual review as you like - this is a blog after all. But your guest post must be around the idea of one album in particular - a form of review or love-letter to a favourite, either brand new or from way back.
The idea is that you'll share your passion for some great album - something you love. And we'll all get a few new ideas, or new points of entry back to something we'd maybe forgotten about.
I'll make the selections next week, pick the guest-bloggers and let them (and you, all of you) know. And we'll run the posts next month - mid/end April. So you have time to work out how you're going to say what you intend to say. Loads of time. But for right now you just need to name the album/artist you wish to explore.
So, are you up for it? What's your guest album review/blog going to be about?
What album will you gush about?
Postscript: Sebadoh plays Bodega in Wellington tonight. Lou Barlow will be performing an instore at Slow Boat Records, 5pm, today.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts