Marshall Crenshaw Makes It Awful Hard To Be A Fan
Did you know Marshall Crenshaw released a new EP last November? I didn't and I am about as big a fan as you can be without becoming a stalker and I had no, zero, idea. When I caught him in 2011, I'd heard that he would not be releasing mp3s any more, everything would be vinyl only. A mind bending idea which essentially cuts off anybody without a turntable while raising the prices of releases through the roof.
Agreed, Marshall has worked with some lousy record labels, anybody who knows the business end of "Razor And Tie" would have to agree with me in that assessment and if the failure of the excellent Jaggedland to find its audience left a bad taste in his mouth, well, that's understandable. But at least tell the world the damn EP is released. Following the Incredible Simulators gig at BB Kings, I figured I'd check out his website, marshallcrenshaw.com and discovered the EP:
1. Only on vinyl
2. through the pain in the ass paypal.
Three songs, one a live recording of an old hit, and ten bucks plus handling $14 for essentially two songs. Who would pay that? I would because it comes with a digital download. But why wouldn't his website forward the digital download the moment it is sold? Why do I have to wait two weeks? Why so fan unfriendly??? Look, I don't mind the $10, you can stream one of the songs, "I Don't See You Laughing Now" on the website and I would pay ten bucks for that song alone. Marshall does songs like this with such ease it is easy to lose sight of the gift. Bridges that play like choruses, verses as sticky as the bridge, wonderful guitar break and while his voice has thickened over the years, and I don't know who MC is upset with but it is a devastating put down. Plus he sings falsetto on some lines as well. So OK, it is a great song and I am about to add it very late to my Best Tracks Of 2012 so it is their for posterity but would it kill him to tell somebody?
This is part of a six song EP subscription concept. According to his website: "a subscription-only service that addresses the recent seismic changes in the music-industry landscape by cutting out the record-company middle man to distribute his new recordings directly to fans. The subscription service, which the veteran singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer recently launched via a successful Kickstarter funding campaign, will provide fans with a steady stream of new Marshall Crenshaw music via a series of exclusive three-song 10-inch, 45-rpm vinyl EPs on Addie-Ville Records, six of which the artist plans to release over a two-year period. In addition to the vinyl discs, subscribers will also receive a download card for high-quality digital versions of the EP tracks. Each EP will consist entirely of newly recorded, never-before-released material, encompassing a new original Crenshaw composition, a classic cover tune, and a new reworking of a time-honored favorite." News to me and I see nothing wrong with the EP concept, just the distribution.
At BB Kings, opening act had Hilton Harrison had all his albums for sale, Marshall didn't have one. He seems to be the embodiment of Victor Hugo's axiom: "Success is a very hideous thing. Its false resemblance to merit deceives man." I am all for Crenshaw having integrity to burn but not when he makes it impossible for people to buy his music.
Here is the Link, represent: http://marshallcrenshaw.bigcartel.com/product/i-don-t-see-you-laughing-now-ep-signed-10-vinyl-digital-download
I Don't See You Laughing Now – Grade: A