It’s time to change. Again. The always shapeshifting entity known as Bolachas – this sort of webzine (whatever that word really means) that was once also a download blog, a mp3 blog, a carefully curated platform for unknown artists to promote their music for free, a netlabel, a promoter, some sort of booking agency – turns 9 this year.
With the advent of streaming outlets like Spotify or Google Play Music being available almost worldwide, full albums being streamed before their release dates on selected websites, the possibility of downloading full albums as easily as checking your email, and a wide array of high quality, complete concert recordings uploaded on YouTube, reviewing music, live or on record, was never so redundant as it is in 2015. You don’t need to read a full 5-paragraph review about an album to know what it sounds like; you can either live or relive a live experience through audio or video recordings of the event – so why would you be interested in reading a TL;DR article about how good a festival was?
Sure, I do like to read an album or concert review from time to time. But it takes a lot of time and writing proficiency to write good essays that do the music justice – and no one here is a native English speaker and/or is currently just studying or unemployed with plenty of free time to dedicate him/herself to the cause.
So what could be Bolachas’ role in today’s landscape? What can we do instead of taking the easy way out and putting the cookie monster to bed?
We’ll start by embracing the fact that our old model of writing the occasional review or writing a couple of lines about a new song isn’t interesting for us as writers nor as readers, which led to the website itself becoming stale. Publishing news? Other websites do it so much better than us and are able to post articles quicker than we do. Also, everyone follows their favorite labels, artists or promoters on their favorite social media platforms, so what’s the point in writing a news piece about Sleater-Kinney releasing a new album? Everyone already knows that by the time they check a website like ours – they saw it on Stereogum or a Sub Pop post about it surfaced on their Facebook newsfeed.
So… which things we’ve done in the past do we think still make sense for us to keep doing? The answer is simple.
– Handpicking our favorite small acts from that big pile of artists announced to play this festival you’re probably attending because you absolutely love a handful of bands, but don’t have the time or can’t bother to check all those names in small print. Would you rather read about a band before you have the possibility to check it out or just read about how the concert was after you didn’t see them?
– Everyone’s on Facebook these days. Most of our activity is carried on on our Facebook page instead of posting on our website. That’s the best place for discussion, not here in the comments section, where tumbleweeds roll. Sure, we do joke around in Portuguese a lot of times on our page, but feel free to follow us there. You don’t need to know the language to be a part of the conversation, just write us in English or even Spanish, everyone will understand you. And the most important part of the action is always placed in front of you in the form of a Soundcloud or YouTube link.
– Speaking of the language, please don’t unfollow us in case you find one or another post written in Portuguese around here. If our intention when writing it is to raise the awareness about a band in Portugal or to post info about concerts we’re promoting in the country, there’s no use for writing them in a language different than the one that’s native to our target readership. You probably wouldn’t be interested in reading them anyway.
– We’ll still be promoting concerts. If you’re a musician, manager or booking agent and want to play some dates in Portugal/Spain, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
– We still love to point out stuff we loved the most from the giant pool of new music available every week. That’s why we’ll be publishing a new Spotify list every Monday – starting tonight – containing around a dozen fresh songs (released in the past 2/3 months) that have been in heavy rotation in our team members’ stereo/car/computer/mobile phone.
Feel free to follow our Bolachas Now Playing playlist that will be renewed with new songs every week. We’ll also be archiving each of our weekly playlists every time we renew the Now Playing playlist so you don’t miss any of the playlists. Spotify will play a paramount role in the new Bolachas, so expect some carefully curated playlists coming up in the next few weeks. For now, enjoy Bolachas’ first playlist of 2015.
Bolachas Now Playing 01/2015
The Weather Station – What Am I Going to Do (with Everything I Know)
Clark – Winter Linn
Panda Bear – Boys Latin
James Blake – 200 Press
Viet Cong – Continental Shelf
Mitski – First Love / Late Spring
Belle & Sebastian – Nobody’s Empire
The Decemberists – Make You Better
She & Him – Stay Awhile
Laura Marling – Short Movie
Dean Blunt – 100
Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
Phosphorescent – You Can Make Me Feel Bad
Justin Townes Earle – Looking for a Place to Land