Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Raconteurs' racket

Taking a riff from the Radiohead tab book, The Raconteurs suddenly announced they're rush releasing their second album -- completed earlier this month -- into online and brick & morter stores next week. Savvy move. It creates the buzz of an event and also bypasses piracy leaks by not sending out review copies to the press. (The same reasons explain Gnarls Barkley's decision to drop a new album in stores today, 3 weeks ahead of schedule.)

I love the idea of Jack Black and Brendan Benson bypassing the traditional long run-up to a release date by unexpectedly putting new music out there, Trent Reznor-style. But I wish artists would go one step further and consider ditching the strictures of the album format* and return to return to the 1950s model of just releasing newly recorded singles or EPs, as Radiohead and Elbow have threatened to do.

That plea doesn't apply to the diminishing breed of artists who still know how to create tight albums that cohere as a complete whole.

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