An Announcement Regarding Leonard’s Lair

Dear purveyors of fine music and listeners thereof

The world of online music criticism has changed a lot since I made my first tentative steps back in Summer 1999. Back then there was the excitement of being offered actual physical CDs to review, which were often carefully prepared with a covering letter, a bio and – if I was really lucky – even the odd sweetie (I should now point out that I never took bribes). Now, though, I come home from work and am faced with 50+ e-mails and Facebook messages from independent musicians, PR agencies or random mailing lists. I realise I can cherry pick through these but to be honest my thirst for discovering new music and being passionate enough to write about it has diminished in recent times.

This isn’t a reflection of the music on offer, more a realisation that I’m now at the time of life (having just turned 41) that I’m more inclined to listen again to all the music I have enjoyed in the past rather than spend hours per week sifting through SoundCloud and Bandcamp sites searching for the next big thing and then analyse it in my slightly awkward way. I’ve always known there are better, more articulate writers out there and they can also write about music within a short time of the release date. In my current situation, I’m struggling to write about an album within 6 months of it being on general release!

I expect I will still write about music in some form but I just haven’t decided what form that will take yet. Perhaps it will be via the means of dance or even a vaudevillian puppet show. So a (possibly permanent) break from taking on new reviews seems like the best option. Until then I will do my best to finish reviews I’ve already committed to.

I would like to thank all the musicians, label reps, PR people and the readers of my blog (not to mention the original Leonard’s Lair http://www.leonardslair.co.uk site) for your support over the last 16 years or so. It really has been an honour to write about your work and to introduce it to people who might not have otherwise listened to it (there must be at least one of you out there!). I’ll still keep my ears alert for new music but just not with the same diligence as before.

All the best

Jon

6 Responses to “An Announcement Regarding Leonard’s Lair”


  1. 1 Dave Milligan June 2, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Fair enough mate. It’s amazing you kept it up for as long as you did. My own experience with Round At Milligan’s has gone through a similar curve, albeit rather more rapidly. It would help if acts / labels would send you one track they really believe in, rather than carpet bomb you with dozens. One act sent me download links to 11 albums, ferchrissakes. No one has that kind of time on their hands!
    On behalf of The Penguin Party I’d like to thank you for reviewing our albums, even if you did like each one slightly less than the one before😉
    Have a good rest….. of course, you could always play some of your old stuff out on internet radio….
    There’s a slot going on Q Star if you’re interested😉
    All the best
    Dave Milligan
    http://www.thepenguinparty.com
    http://www.milligans.biz
    http://www.sittingtarget.net

  2. 2 Cole Fournier June 2, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Although you didn’t end up reviewing my album, you were the only person out of roughly 100 websites that actually sent an email saying “Not really my style, but good luck.” to know you actually took the time out of your day to listen to it.
    For that simple fact I have amazing respect for you, and wish you all the best in the future!

    • 3 leonardslair June 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks Cole. Much appreciated. Yes, although I’m never going to like everything I get sent, I usually had the courtesy to reply if someone had messaged me directly. Unfortunately, I’d lapsed in that regard for the past year or so and with stuff getting sent via Facebook, directly to the blog, e-mail and good old snail mail, it was becoming impossible to manage without giving up my day job. Good luck with your music.

  3. 4 Wayne Guskind June 4, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Anyone who has positively reviewed all the Workhouse albums to date has my eternal respect.

    Be well, I am sure we will be hearing from you…

  4. 5 Victoria Plume June 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Your dedication to supporting indie music is truly commendable. The members of The Van Allen Belt thank you greatly for reviewing all 3 of our LPs. Kudos!

  5. 6 madsoup June 22, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    In 2004 a friend handed me a copy of Sweet Trip’s Velocity:Design:Comfort. That album took me a couple of listens before I really enjoyed it. And after that it just kept getting better. Today– after probably 100+ listens– not only is it still one of my favorite albums, I think I’m still enjoying it more and more with each listen.

    Searching for more music like Sweet Trip is what led me to your site. At the time there were only a handful of people who had reviewed that album, and yours was the highest result from google.

    What I was hoping for was more music like Sweet Trip, but what I found was so much more. Instead I found music from all sorts of genres that just kept getting better with each listen.

    No one has done more to expand my music taste than you have. Here’s a completely uncomprehensive list of artists that you’ve turned me onto that I still enjoy today:

    sweet trip
    boards of canada
    the national
    junior boys
    talk talk
    breathless
    slowdive
    bark psychosis
    tindersticks
    placebo
    puressence
    ROC
    cornelius
    kent
    mercury rev
    doves
    montgolfier brothers
    piano magic
    tarwater
    yellow6
    chikinki
    kings of convenience
    epic45
    faultline
    styrofoam
    black moth super rainbow
    broken social scene
    colder
    dave gahan
    goldfrapp
    gramophone
    her space holiday
    color filter
    matthew dear
    the delays
    engineers
    girl called eddy
    grand national
    khonnor
    mice parade
    the radio dept
    ambulance ltd
    richard davis
    diefenbach
    dk7
    editors
    field music
    junkboy
    misty roses
    tom vek
    angel tech
    hot chip

    Back in 2004 it was very difficult to track down (legally or not, and believe me I tried both) all of the music you were reviewing and recommending. I remember only being able to find and listen to about 1/3 of the things on your yearly best of lists. Now things are rather different.

    But because of that I’m still going through some of your earliest reviews because I can now find the music. And that’s rather fun. And because it takes me a couple of listens to really formulate an opinion on an album, I think that even if you don’t produce a single new review, you’ll keep me busy for years to come🙂

    From someone who has been following you for 10+ years and has never said a word until now: thank you!

    -Richie


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