A CLOSER LISTEN weekly #20.5
Welcome new Listeners!
Greetings, dear Listeners! Perhaps it’s due to the ongoing (ostensible? hopeful?) implosion of Twitter, but we’ve received hundreds of new subscribers recently, so I thought that alone called for an off-cycle message. Welcome!
So, some introductions for the new Listeners and a refresher for the old. We send out a newsletter every two weeks, with the occasional mid-cycle entry. I’m Joseph Sannicandro aka the new objective, occasional Anarchist Mountains Trio member, producer of the Sound Propositions podcast, and most importantly one of the co-founders of A CLOSER LISTEN, a music blog which began in 2012 after Richard, Jeremy, David and a few others decided to start something new. The peak blogging era was already coming to an end by then, and while some of the contributors to our previous blog have gone on to write for Pitchfork or legacy media like Rolling Stone or New York mag, we sort of ran in the opposite direction. We decided to write about what we like, to offer criticism without being negative, and to avoid all forms of monetization. At “The Site Before” ACL, we had experimented with ads but found it altered our relationship with the labels, and we never felt comfortable using our platform to advertise shoes or whatever else. That means ACL is 100% a volunteer effort, a total labor of love.
So I had resisted some gentle suggestions over the years to start a newsletter, as it seemed unnecessary and mostly yet another attempt to monetize the internet, but finally caved earlier this year, after a few pandemics winters left me looking for an outlet. Mostly this space has become a kind of bi-weekly ‘greatest hits’ of what’s gone up on the blog: always lots of reviews, sometimes interviews and features, and the occasional mix or podcast episode.
Speaking of which, the latest episode of Sound Propositions just dropped, featuring co-founder of the kranky label, Bruce Adams, discussing his new book, You’re With Stupid: kranky, Chicago, and the Reinvention of Indie Music. (UTPress) More about that in next week’s proper newsletter.
Now that we’ve been putting these together for almost a year, I have to admit I quite like the interface for Substack, and can definitely see the potential for active audience participation. That said, we’ve kept it free subscriptions only. Perhaps we’ll roll out a paid tier down the line, which would allow us to commission special features from our friends who can’t work for free. Thanks for listening.