Thursday, 11 December 2008

Drowned in Sound’s 50 albums of 2008

Let's face it, 2008 hasn't been a great year for popular music. Whilst sales don't equate to great music, compiling this list we found little of merit with a platinum/gold/silver disc to its name. After years of bands from 'our world' breaking through (Arctic Monkeys, Franz, Outkast, Strokes, Bloc Party, Gnarls, Arcade Fire, etc...), it was a stark but healthy reminder just how clogged up the current mainstream is with the derivative and the unexceptional. We made a rather gargantuan list and tripled checked it but there was no undeniably brilliant pop to be found, bar singular glory for MGMT and Vampire Weekend, both of whom managed to credibly crawl out of nowhere and turned the world of TV-friendly pop on its chubby head for a moment or two. Perhaps these past few years the notion of what it means to be a succesful underground act from'our world' has been elevated somehwhat by the achievements of the Artic Monkeys etc. 2008 saw the independently-minded likes of Foals, Santogold and Friendly Fires also gain some footing on the crossover ladder and make a notable splash in the mainstream

What we did notice, especially when we went peaking at other publications' year-end lists, was the music business and mainstream media's continued obsession with new-new-NEW (doesn't seem to matter if it's all-that) which has led to a cul-de-sac overflowing with throwaway and less-than-great new music. Many end o' year lists are riddled with beardies who, sitting atop greying dinosaurs, strut off into the horizon, too rich, stubborn and/or boring-in-the-first-place to have made an exceptional album, despite the huge amounts of money and time at their disposal.

For the sake of balance, 2008 slung its saddle on unhealthily young shoulders. Development (read also: co-writes) have ensured 'credible' hit singles to keep radio execs and shareholders happy(ish), whilst the full-lengths paled in comparison, with influences and reference points clunkily clanging all over the place. The result of this short-sighted buzz-chasing has left little in the way of phenomena, nor music which will involve, inspire and excite those without the time to investigate and explore. A lot of great records have been overshadowed or in many cases overlooked in favour of some demo-waving drama school rejects or half-arsed side-projects, which is a sad and sorry state of affairs for an industry desperately seeking 'something'.

However, it would be impossible to say that 2008 has been a terrible year for music. Inventive, life-affirming and more-likely-than-not independently released music has had a triumphant twelve months, following years of technology helping expand the tastebuds of a generation. Combine that rich palette of musical understanding with an unending enthusiasm fed by the web and you soon realise that 2008 was less about them big everyone-has-a-pub-stool-opinion-on-'em records or mass moments of historical hysteria but more about the need for the inclination and ability to rummage in the very depths of every niche, to find your own personal favourites. When compiling this list, it was fascinating to spot how the internet - this ultra-modern mongrel of love and exploration - has helped many of these acts to find their audience via mediums which didn't exist in the previous decade (and in some cases weren't even in beta technologies three years ago).

We decree that 2008 belonged to the lone, computer-toting musician and a few good (guitar-wielding) people. It may not have been as much about era-defining renegades of potent pop as years gone by but rejoice, safe in the knowledge that the promised land, with its never-ending maze of great music to discover, explore, share and cherish, is here. It's ours and for as long as we respect and remunerate it in some form, it will live on.

So, without further ado, here are our top fifty albums. These are the records which we (writers and regular readers alike, which were triangulated by the site's editor) spent the last twelve months lost within. These are the albums we found ourselves coming back to again and again ...

These are Drowned in Sound's 50 albums of 2008 - CLICK HERE

Monday, 1 December 2008

Oh twit, twoo! Don't be such a twit. OR My top 10 twitterers

Today, my twitter went a little bit crazy, or at least my inbox alerts about new followers did. It felt a smidgeon like an invasion to my little niche clique, where, like when I was originally on the internet (er, 14 years ago - which is totally, like, seeing the Rolling Stones play a mediocre show to 10 people), I swapped links and blabbered whatever, whenever, knowing only a thimble-full of like-minded peoplez were reading. Twitter - like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal and many more before and in-between - is a little like geeks anonymous, only you don't need to hide anything, you can be fully 'out' of the laboratory, wearing your scruffy anorak and sipping a slim soya cappuccino with a sprinkle of nutmeg and only brown sugar, plz.

The great thing about being an early'ish adopter on social networking sites is that you get to 'hang' with other early adopters, who are not only are first on that 'platform' but they're the pioneers of technologies, the first to try out new restaurants, the people who know where the best coffee shops are. These are the people who can already tell you what band will matter to you next year. They know what Google and Obama are upto before newspaper editors do. These are the kids growing up trying to find the next 'hit', in both senses of the word. I know this because I'm one of them.

Now, as the web grows and things shift so quick, I still fear - despite the fact I'm using stuff most people (i.e. the mass, the hive, whatever...) might use five years from now, or more likely never - that I'm no longer hip, no longer a trailblazer running around like a loon in freshly cut grass, leaving nothing but footprints. That was the joy of Napster before it was outed as being evil and then, er, a decade later the industry held up its grubby hands having hung its salvation. Those rushes of exploring things which didn't quite work yet and the fuzz of sharing in something which only a few people are/were using but something which in years from now might be the new phonograph, gramophone or BBC, was special. Just thinking about it makes me gooey and strangely nostalgic for a not-too-distant past. I can't wait to discover what might be over the next hump, and I have a few inklings but R2D2 style phone projectors and the music industry ripping itself up and starting again, still seems some way off.

Thankfully it doesn't seem like my mum will be joining Twitter to poke me like she does, and school 'friends' that I hoped never to speak to again do, on Facebook. No, no, Twitter will remain a mini-blog clique and link-sharing, viral snowball fight of the proudly geeky for quite some time. I feel a little safer knowing the reason for the flurry of new followers was this post about the top 10 music industry types to follow .

So seeing as it seems to be all the rage to blog your top 10 (ten) people to follow on Twitter, here're my suggestions, in no particular order...

The Blog Queen: Ultragrrrl
I've known Sarah since running my first email blog a decade ago. She's since become a renown blogger, dj, label boss and now tv host. She 'tweets' alsorts of stuff about songs, bands, boys and Starbucks coupons.

The King of MP3 Blogs: Fascinated
Anthony is the man, mind and frustrated-but-liberated music fan behind the Hype Machine, which has revolutionized the way people consume and understand music blogs. He's often travelling to conferences and sharing insights from the tech, music and general tourist world.

The Legend: StephenFry
If you're on Twitter you're bound to be following his constantly entertaining adventures across the world and his journeys through technology and tidbits about anything. Last week I learnt that he's a fan of Explosions in the Sky, am not sure whether my surprise says more about my lack of expectations for older people to know about good modern music or whether it says more about his constant striving to find greatness in all fields.

The News: BBCbreaking
Is great for delivering just the big headlines, most of which I miss or don't realise are bigger than everything else in the unmanageable muddle of RSS feeds that is my Google Reader.

Music News: theDailySwarm
Their site is great for filtering out the best news stories and like DrownedinSound's twitter they have a feed set-up of their news headlines. DiS uses twitterfeed to do this for our site, which was really simple to do.

The Upstart: CatherineAD
Life-affirming new musician documenting her rise, rants, listening addictions and various news.

Food Guide: FoodbyMark
By day he's booking agent for the likes of Panic at the Disco and Falloutboy but my night (and lunch and breakfast) he's a roaming food critic, exploring and devouring his way from meeting to meeting to pre-gig, all around the globe (but mostly London).

Indie Label Legend: SlimMoon
He started Kill Rock Stars and has been involved in assorted moments of amazing music.

Useful to know: FakeSensations employee, musician and reformed music journalist, who's often posting links to interesting music, tech and comedy stuff, as well as projects he's working on.

The Start-Up / Keynote: IanCR
He's the man behind TopSpin who're the people behind various pioneering album release methods, like the Dandy Warhols club and David Byrne and Brian Eno giveaways. Often posts useful links.

That's 10. Who / what do you suggest I should be following? Do you find Twitter creepy? Should I have moved over to Tumblr already or is there something even better out there?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Rough Trade People's Voice Prize - Press release

Rough Trade People's Voice Prize, powered by

Two of independent music's most authoritative voices have combined forces to create a new People's Voice award to highlight the year's best independent releases.

The top 50 albums of the year have been nominated by Rough Trade staff, and now readers of Drowned in Sound have been asked to pick their favourite three records. The list includes the likes of TV on the Radio, Crystal Castles, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Friendly Fires, Kings of Leon, Portishead, Foals and Last Shadow Puppets. The award also provides a platform for releases you might not have discovered (yet) like Fuck Buttons, Vivian Girls, Zombie Zombie, Johnny Flynn, Crystal Stilts...

From today, and for the next month, music fans can vote for their favourite three albums and one lucky winner will also win all 50 albums. The record which receives the most votes will be announced on December 17th. The band behind the winning album will receive £1000 worth of Rough Trade shops vouchers and DiS will reveal what they'll spend their winnings on.

For the full list of nominees and to vote click here . For queries regarding the award or about DiS contact

For more details regarding special in store events and to purchase all of the nominated albums visit or contact

Friday, 14 November 2008

First end of year quiz I've been asked to do...

hey sean,

i know you are probably dead busy, but is there any chance you could maybe spare five mins to answer a few question for a piece i'm doing for my next zine? it is just an end of year review type thing, and it would be ace if i could get you involved as DiS has played a big part in why i am writing over the years.

dan xx

Gig of the year – The National @ Coachella, just as the sun was setting over the mountains.

Best thing to get in a Christmas cracker – earplugs = escapism

News event of the year – Ryan Adams writing an angry blog about me

Plans for NYE – a pub crawl around Camden before my friends Ultimate Power night

Fave Christmas song - Blue Christmas

Best new band/artist of 2008 – Friendly Fires, they've become an addiction

Favourite Christmas Pressie as a kid – Gameboy

Festival of the year – Coachella

Most important thing on the table for Christmas Dinner – ketchup

Musical moment of the year - pretty much any and every time I play the Cut Copy album

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Today I am mostly asking for 2009 music-related predictions

Next week we've got some Polish people in to clean our crystal balls and DiS is running our 2009 preview. This first part of our preview comes somewhat prematurely as there are bugger-all good records left to come out and well, with the web it's always good to be first.

Today I'm asking people who are always 'on it' the following questions:

- what do you think the dominant sound(s) of 2009 might be?
- what records due in 2009 are you excited about?
- any new bands you recommend people check out?
- [for those in bands/the industry] what projects are you working on / will you be working on in 2009?

As readers of this blog you can submit contributions too (either comment below or drop me an email sean aaaaatttt drownedinsound dottydot com ). Feel free to write as little or as much as you like and we'll be compiling it all at the tail-end of the week.

Many thanks
Founder //

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Best Albums of 2008 (getting it out of the way early to avoid the rush)

Apparently it's not too early, my ol' mucker Mike Diver has already done his over on his blog. As there's little left to be released this year and as I'm bound to be asked what mine are about 20 times in the next few weeks (and give out a different list and have them in varying orders whenever asked) here're the albums I've not been able to get enough of this year...

1. Cut Copy In Ghost Colours (Modular)
I've been utterly addicted to this mongoloid-space-monkey-disco album all year. (My Review)

2. Crystal Castles Crystal Castles (Last Gang)
I struggle to think of a record that sounds quite so refreshingly inventive for quite some time. Can totally believe Alice was frustrated being in a hardcore band and I won't be shocked if they implode before making another album.

3. The Stills Oceans Will Rise (Arts & Crafts)
I was obsessed with their debut and loved the follow-up so much that I released it. This record is a step above and beyond the previous two, it still has shimmering guitars and a definite brood to it but there's something perfectly sinister about the way the melodies stalk you for days after listening to it.

4. These New Puritans Beat Pyramid
5. Friendly Fires Friendly Fires
6. M83 Saturday = Youth
7. The Kills Midnight Boom
8. Youthmovies Good Nature (which, er, came out on my label and there are plenty left in the shops)
9. Panic at the Disco Pretty. Odd.
10. Nine in Nails Ghosts I-IV (available here for free)

Other notable goodness included newies from:
Lykke Li (lacks any genuine sparkle), Santogold (bit over affected), Hauschka (really lush but gets a little dull), The Raveonettes (not quite as good as The Kills), Cathy Davey (breaks its promises), Gemma Hayes (little beyond her great voice and some nice hooks), Martha Wainwright (out via my label), Rolo Tomassi (haven't managed to listen to the whole album), Foals (runs outta steam), TV on the Radio (not as addictive as previous albums), No Age (not a patch on the last one), Deerhunter (ditto), Errors (being better than Foals doesn't make you the best band ever), Bon Iver (got a little dull when the addiction to 'Skinny Love' wore off), White Williams (probably would have been better as a covers album), Chairlift (lacks any life-affirming personality), Dandy Warhols (nice try at inventing stoner-disco), El Guincho (rarely play more than the first three tracks), Death Cab for Cutie (something a bit cringey about it), Olafur Arnalds (haven't had it long enough for it to make the 10), and other stuffs thati'veprobablyforgotten...

And whilst we're being premature here're some of my tips for 2009: Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man., Catherine A.D., Baddies, Gentle Friendly, Sudden Weather Change...

Friday, 24 October 2008


One of the most successful British pop bands of recent times have joined forces with the folks who helped them kick things off...

The band say "For those that either can’t remember, or don’t know, Drowned in Sound gave Kaiser Chiefs our first leg-up in 2004, releasing the first single 'Oh My God' on their label. We’re pleased to see them doing so well these days, and to be invited back to contribute to their website this week!"

The week of content includes:
- Drummer Nick provides a bands'-eye-view of the effects of P2P, albums leaking and reveals you only need to sell 82 twelve inches to top the vinyl chart!
- Keyboard player Peanut shares his love of photography (and is undeniably good!)
- A day in the life of Ricky Wilson and he shares his love of Radio
- Bassist Simon Rix on 3D Calculus(?!)
- A mixtape of songs which inspired 'Off With Their Heads'
- A "directors commentary"-esque track-by-track incite into 'Off...' more!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

DiS 5.0 : your feedback is appreicated


So there was a (somewhat premature) thread cussing me and wishing Mike Diver was back a few weeks ago (me too! missing him helluva lot), back at a time before I'd really got my legs under the table and was preoccupied with sorting out redundancies, plotting and shaping the new site and especially finding out what was coming up (which was very much being thrown in at the deep end as Oct is one of the busiest months of the year for tours and releases) and slowly commissioning content, whilst getting to better know writers and pr people. Blah, blah, excuses, excuses...

I feel - despite new site teething problems, disappearing to manchester for In the City and now this week vanishing off to Iceland - like I'm (ably assisted by a few half days of Rob Webb's time and a couple of weeks of Luke Slater doing work exp') starting to turn a corner and get atop of it all at the moment and this overview has the fruits of our label and offers, I think, a great mixture of content. But do you all agree?

My aim is for there to be about 7 new bits of content on the site a day, a couple of reviews, the bigger news stories (we're gonna have a clever news feed in the coming weeks, rather than re-reporting stories, make it really easy for you to follow music news on the web) and various bits of content like mixtapes, 5 things i love, etc... Have tried to keep the volume of new music covered down (focussing in on the ones we really-really love) but we will be doing more round-ups and columns like Everett True's and the MySpace trails and various bits like that (more info: ). I'm also trying to ensure that there is plenty of my and your favourite acts covered more often, so that the less regular visitors get to know the bands we love by us repeatedly mentioning them, rather than doing one 9/10 review and then not covering them 'til end of the year round-ups.

I know the music board is a life unto itself (and accounts for about 10% of our regular readers, with another 30% lurking in here from time to time) and I'd be curious what you think of DiS 5.0 and what you'd like to see more and less of. I know things aren't gonna be the same as when there were 4 people employed full-time and 2 part-time but we're making the most of things, structuring and honing things.

Anyway, I'll shurrup and am keen to hear your thoughts and constructive suggestions.

Founder/Editor // //

p.s. The right hand column is being sorted over the next few days to hopefully lure you in to reading more, we just had loadsa IE6/7 crapola to fix.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008


I'm in Iceland this week. Expect photos*, reviews, rubbing it in and wotnot.

Isn't that cheap, beer in minibar is over £3 but Raz reckons he just got a hotdog for under a quid.

Talking at this You Are In Control Conference thingy tomorrow. Curious to hear what gal from Pitchfork has to say for herself. And then Iceland Airwaves gets underway.

* = oh yeah, shoulda remembered my camera.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Did you not get my mailout?

Did you not get this in your inbox? Join the mailing list here:

This is what just went out...

- - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - -


We've been somewhat busy. Since we last mailed you DiS has been...

1) Beavering away on version five of our site which goes live to coincide with DiS' 8TH BIRTHDAY next Thursday (presents welcome)

2) Talking to the legendary Peter Hook from NEW ORDER and Brummy-slash-LDN poet Mike Skinner from THE STREETS.

3) Stood in fields of lushness for END OF THE ROAD, dropped anchor in the mud at BESTIVAL and hopped around the East End to for LONDON AIRWAVES

4) Shortlisted for two BT Digital Music awards and would love it if you could take a second to VOTE for us

5) Had track-by-track run-downs of fantastic debut albums from LATE OF THE PIER and FRIENDLY FIRES


7) Reviewing a heap of great new records from MOGWAI, TV ON THE RADIO, VOLCANO!, DAVID HOLMES, LOVVERS, GLASVEGAS, METRONOMY...

8) Listening to mix tapes from TRANS AM, Maximo Park's DUNCAN LLOYD, THE WALKMEN...

New site... lots of bits from our old friends KAISER CHIEFS... new columns from the likes of EVERETT TRUE and the city of VANCOUVER... new community functionality... mixtapes from M83 and CHAIRLIFT... track-by-track talk from LONG BLONDES... coverage of IN THE CITY (including our stage at Night & Day headlined by THESE NEW PURITANS) and CONCRETE & GLASS (including our stage at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen headlined by FRIGHTENED RABBIT) ...and lots lots more...

Ta Ta For Now,


As of September 1st Drowned in Sound is located at:
1 Junction Mews, Paddington, London, W2 1PN


Sunday, 14 September 2008

Things I is doing soon... // O LOOK HOW NDULLGEHNT MI BLOG IZ LULZ

DiS is nearly eight. October is our birthday month and we're doing various things to celebrate. Join me/us if you can.

Thursday October 2nd 2008

DiS 8th Birthday Drinks
@ Strongroom Bar, London

Before C&G gets under way DiS will be playing some of our favourite records and having drinks from 5pm-7pm. Everyone welcome, especially those hauling around presents.

DiS Stage: Concrete & Glass
@ Hoxton Square Bar And Kitchen, London

Frightened Rabbit (Myspace)
Bodies Of Water (Myspace)
O'Death (
Doors: 7pm
Tickets: £8 (buy)

Plus I'm planning a late night after party but it is still TBC

Tuesday October 7th 2008

Speaking: In the City
I'm speaking at two panels. One talking about the new breed of future-thinkers in the music business and another, slightly more daunting one, the annual 'Hypothetical...' panel which I'm chairing. It's daunting because Tony Wilson was always the chair for this panel but I'm currently picking my panel to talk about how to break a band (probably using a lot of what David Byrne said as a benchmark) and how to release a major record in the current record business and then how they/we would do it if we had none of the current rules.

DiS Stage: In the City
@ Night & Day, Manchester

White Denim
Grammatics (
Skeletons (
Prego (
Plus Tender Maulings DJs

Doors: 7pm
Tickets: £26 for a three-day wristband (buy)

October 15th - 16th

Speaking @ Your are in control, Reykjavik
Looking forward to this conference as they've put together a great bill of people, including Anthony from the Hype Machine. It's also during Iceland Airwaves festival and I get to go drinking with buddy Jon (who's now drumming for CSS) plus I get to see Crystal Castles again and go in the Blue Lagoon for the second time this year!

And then I might be going to New York for a bit (or more likely put off travelling and spend some time in Canada in December, as I'd like to goto Transmission as it was great last year), then DiS will be returning to Cardiff to host a stage at the Barfly during SWN, and then hopefully we'll end the year with an Xmas party or start next year with one featuring our favourites, fingers crossed.

Before all of that there's the small matter of getting the new site online and muddling my way through things.

New'ish things currently on my stereo/iPod:
- Friendly Fires Friendly Fires track-by-track by the band
- Late of the Pier Fantasy Black Channel track-by-track by the band
- Chairlift MySpace (on the new iTunes ad)
- Tilly & the Wall O (surprised to see them added to Radio1 playlist)
- And Elbow, Annie and Cut Copy

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

An interview for Record of the Day

RotD Media Spotlight

Explanation: The Media Spotlight feature provides a platform for journalists, programmers and other music media people to tell RotD readers about themselves. The questions deal both with music and the rest of life, and both serious and more flippant responses are welcome. You do not have to answer all the questions below, but we’d encourage you to answer as many as possible.

Name: Sean Adams

Company and Role: Drowned in – Founder and returning Editor


First journalism/music-related job: Started my first email fanzine/proto-blog in 1998 – “The Last Resort” whilst working in a record store and promoting gigs when not sleeping.

The last music I purchased was: PiL – Metal Box

The music that’s exciting me at the moment is: Friendly Fires, Crystal Castles, Cut Copy, Panic At The Disco, and forthcoming records from Patrick Wolf, Jamie T, and Deftones.

A recent trend which I’ve been enjoying is: gothic pop

A trend I have less time for is: the ghetto-ization of any music which either isn’t new-new-NEW and/or didn’t sell half a million of their debut being viewed as washed up. So many great bands are lost in the canyon between introducing features and cover features. I mean bands like dEUS, Elbow, The Field and The Stills, for starters... One of the most frustrating things about running the label was not just believing in the bands but knowing how much love there was for instance for Metric. Can’t decide what was more painful, hearing how they fell in the middle ground or knowing how few people were willing to stick their neck out without seeing mid-week sales (based on less than 1 percent of the population buying bit of plastic?!), seeing coverage elsewhere or without knowing the marketing spend.

The best thing about doing my job is: getting to enthuse about bands I love to people who’ll listen and seeing the likes of Muse, Kaiser Chiefs, Bat for Lashes, Feist, etc, find fans and then go from nowhere to everywhere.

How have recent changes in the media world affected what I do:
The internet has now become a legitimate form of media, especially when we can now reach half a million people per month. The number of exclusives we can demand has risen proportionately with our reach.

I predict that in five year’s time: people will think of MP3s as ‘quaint’.

Is there anyone else working in the industry who you particularly admire? Trent Reznor, for entrepreneurial and artistic gumption.

One thing you don’t know about me is: I was once the face of an adoption campaign (well more of a silhouette really…)

Best piece of advice I have ever been given…. Anthony H. Wilson to me at In The City, it was something like: “stick to your guns, even though people will hate you for having guns in the first place.”

If I didn’t do this job, I’d… be doing it as a hobby.

This will appear in their weekly PDF magazine, available to subscribers of

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Shaking a leg. Moving. Onwards!

The past few weeks have been a bit like using my get-out-of-jail-free card but having no clothes and ten miles to walk to reach civilization. People think things are going to end, because for a lot of good people it has been the end of the line. As much as I wanna tell everyone else 'everything's gonna be alright', I've wanted to be as respectful as possible. It's hard to keep the perception of a dream still being very much alive amid so many redundancies which have taken place in the past few weeks and months.

Rumours of things disappearing in a cloud of burning promo smoke are utterly unfounded. DiS is carrying on and no-one can stop me or it. Yeah, things are going to be a lot more lo-fi but it's nothing new, the first four years of the site were very good grounding and knowing what something is, rather than what it could be with a budget, is a don't not push button which I won't be bashing again in a hurry.

People seem confused why it happened in the first place. Wha' happen' was... we signed a deal with BSKYB, whose Sky Media arm sold, and still sell, our ads. They saw that with DiS reaching nearly half a million people a month (plus my highly experienced music business partners), that given some expansion into new demographics, we made for a reliable and sensible solution to create the content for I liked the idea of reaching 2million or so people a day, with potentially several thousand, if not hundreds of thousands of them looking for musical guidance. It was a Gameboy-cheat to fast track DiS and bring the music we love to a wider audience.

As of two weeks ago the bridges to get from A to B are no longer being funded. Whatever will be, will be...

It's a mixed blessing. I'm glad I no longer need to tread water and can get stuck in again. It's been an awkard two years - the first one of negotiations, putting everything else on hold; the second filled with so much hope and uncertainty. I'm glad I can get back to what I side-stepped four years ago in favour of running the record label, which has been a fulfilling adventure. I'm happy to take a backseat in the label, as it doesn't make sense to be looking to sign anything new in the current climate.

As sad as I am that I can't see a future of the record label, it's actually quite depressing because I can't see a future for the record industry. Ultimately it's a business-model based on selling something people can get, and are increasingly growing to expect, for free. You can add value here and there, make fantastic packaging, release things on blue twelve inch vinyl or meat-packed with polaroids but it's not enough. It's also such a horrible muddle being at the heart of the axis where creativity mixes with commerce. What feels like philantropy, releasing things I love and believe in, ultimately is peoples dreams and their expectations can be hard to fulfil, especially when you have to translate the reality of the music business and when you have your own dreams. All's fine until what's being in something together becomes us and them, like socialism turning to capitalism. Music has such an important place in peoples lives and you can't place a value upon it, which is part of the problem. There is a value of association tof being involved with music and art for some people/companies. Like the patronage of the 02 festival/dome/etc. The record industry began because of philantropy (makers of war heads wanting to keep the concerts they loved recorded and wanted friends who missed it to heard them) and that's how it will continue.

The past few years have taught me a helluva lot. Sitting here eight years from the birth of DiS, it's feels weird to draw a line beneath it all but it's the best way forward. I'm starting afresh this Monday, back in the seat as the Editor. Whilst easing myself back into it this week I've already managed to start a blog-war with Ryan Adams (although it seems to be bad blood beneath the bridge now) and start setting up the plans for the next few months and years. Thoughts are being flung around again, fears of reprocussions are no longer there and funding is being considered for ambitious plans.

Gonna take me a few weeks to get back into the swing of things but first the small matter of moving half a mile to a new office. And now for a bit of housekeeping, the new address is:

Drowned in Sound
1 Junction Mews,
London, W2 1PN

And thatisall, for now.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Who I am - Biography

Sean Adams
Founder & Editor / MD DrownedinSound Recordings

Back in October 2000, Sean - then an 18 year old in a bedroom 200 miles away from London - pulled together a bunch of music obsessives to form, which was one of the first online music mags-slash-blogs-slash-social-networks.

Over the past nine years DiS has become, according to Observer Music Monthly "the discerning indie fan's first point of reference," and has built up a rabid and influential readership of over 450,000 a month.

In 2003 he set-up Drowned in Sound Recordings. The label is responsible for launching the career of Martha Wainwright, with her critically celebrated debut selling over 70,000 copies. The label also notably released debut singles 'Oh My God' by Kaiser Chiefs and ‘The Wizard’ by Bat for Lashes, as well as records by Metric, Jeniferever, The Stills, Emily Haines, Redjetson, Blood Red Shoes and Youthmovies.

In 2007 signed a deal with BSKYB to launch five new websites. These included, and This joint venture ended in August 2008 and DiS is now back to being an independent company, supported by Silentway Management.

Sean has spoken at various conferences, promoted early gigs by emerging acts ranging from Bloc Party and Editors to Jamie T and late of the Pier and also finds time to contribute to

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