Bat For Lashes

The job of the deejay is to play that which the audience will embrace.  That doesn’t mean the deejay can’t test the listeners’ limits, just that you don’t play the record for yourself, but those who are tuning in.  That’s what a recommendation service does, turn you on to stuff it thinks you’re going to like, not what other people think is great.

We hate the professional recommenders because they’ve researched product to death, rather than test limits, they’re living in an extremely confined universe.  Then there are the self-professed experts online, pontificating on their sites. We want to believe, but what they tell us to listen to slides right off of us, if it doesn’t outright offend us.  We don’t need more software, aggregating useless information, we need more experts, human beings who can navigate the waters, bringing music from the tributaries to the lakes and ultimately the oceans, where the masses reside, wanting to be turned on to new music, yet overwhelmed.

This is the heart of the chaos.  If you’re a music fan, where do you go, where do you turn?  It’s not about having friends who are into music, who play tunes all day, but knowing an individual whose taste aligns with yours, who lets you know what you’ll like.

Which brings me to Bat For Lashes.  I just got a tweet from a guy in Ireland saying he was 20 hours late, but he wanted to recommend a cut.

Stunningly, the video he linked me to was not as good as one of the other tracks on the band’s MySpace site.

I’m not going to say Bat For Lashes is the Beatles, but professionals will get it immediately.  This is salable music. Stuff a mass of people will listen to and enjoy.  Yet not sans so many edges that it can be derided and discarded out of the box.

Not surprisingly, the band is from the U.K. and is signed to a major label.

Somehow, music survives in the U.K.  Absent the consolidation of radio and the endless commercials that resulted, never mind the homogenization in playlists, you can still listen to what comes over the airwaves in the U.K.  And get excited about not only the specific tracks, but music itself.  Music still drives the culture in the U.K.

Maybe because there’s more of a class system, less social mobility, with no American Dream to pluck you from the projects, music enlivens your days, gives you hope.  Meanwhile, the performers speak their truth and are hopeful of exiting the pain of a dreary existence.

Bat For Lashes is good. But where can they be exposed in the U.S?

They’ve been on TV, but I don’t sit through those programs, and obviously most other people don’t either, because Bat For Lashes has almost no traction here.  If it were 1982, their video would be all over MTV and they’d be nascent stars.  Today, there’s not an obvious radio format for them to fit into, and no one’s listening anyway, not enough.

As for the online recommenders, we’ve tuned out, they’re recommending too much that isn’t quality.

As for the label…  Parlophone (Astralwerks in the U.S.)…  Is anybody even working at EMI anymore?  If this were on Interscope, it would have a leg up.

We love our female rockers, chicks with balls.  From the Wilson sisters to Courtney Love to…

Check this out.

Not because it’s phenomenal, but because it’s good enough.  It hits the target.

Video: Bat For Lashes live on Later with Daniel

MySpace (I think the second track, "Sleep Alone", is best):
Bat for Lashes

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