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Photo: Author’s own, L’Escala, Costa Brava

Before I start the next set of recommendations, I wanted to share a couple of thoughts. In these times, we are learning that the economic models that underpin the services we use and the goods we consume are hopelessly broken.

The kind of crisis we are facing on a global and universal level has been faced many times by artists on individual and personal level over the past decade. Musicians at nearly every level have been faced with the tough choice of whether they are able, on a financial, emotional and psychological level, to pursue their art. We’ve long been aware of the precarious nature of the streaming / touring / brand association based income model, and of the burden it places on artists (not to mention how it reinforces existing social and racial divides in the arts). This crisis has rendered it, I hope, impossible to ignore. …

… Maybe it’s the effect of too many rejected pitches from editors.

… Maybe it’s the realisation that I’ve already been doing this most of my adult life (shout out to my long-suffering friends, y’all know who you are).

… Maybe it’s the fact that I’m going to be stuck in Covid-19 quarantine for the next two weeks (and probably beyond).

… Maybe I’ve finally run out of excuses for not doing this.

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To kick things off, I thought I would start with a short selection of stuff that I’ve recently been listening to. No themes, no narratives, just music. …

‘When he got stabbed I just thought, we’re fucked. If he is alive, there is nothing we can do.” Brazilian journalist Amauri Gonzo is recalling the moment that he knew Jair Bolsonaro would be elected his country’s president. The stabbing of the far-right candidate seemed to confirm the picture of Brazil that Bolsonaro had been painting to voters: lawless, unsafe, and in need of a leader unafraid to meet violence with violence. Just two months later, in protest at five years dogged by economic crisis, corruption scandals and political turmoil, Brazil chose the openly racist, misogynistic, homophobic and anti-environmentalist former paratrooper as its leader. The underground musical community, which had come out in force against the extreme right candidate, was stunned. …

Originally written and published for Pitchfork in 2016

Photos by Johann Bouché-Pillon

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Johann Bouché-Pillon

From the outside, there’s not much to see. A scruffy door hidden down a back road, a weather-beaten blackboard with a chalked listing for the night’s gig, a few dozen nondescript smokers braced against the cold. As I enter, the dimly-lit room still carries the smell of fresh paint from the renovations carried out after the New Year. The stage is low and the sound desk perched beside the door to the toilets. …


Philip Bloomfield

Procrastinates, writes and publishes.

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