The Embargo Act of 1807, And 5 Artists We'd Miss If It Was Still Here
We're living in a globally connected world right now. Goods of all kinds are available from anywhere in the world in days, or in cases like music and films instantly. Our favorite expression lately is, "Living in the future is awesome," and if anyone argues with you punch them in the face and never stop.
That idea of global trade, economy and commerce spreading across the world, seems like the most American of ideas, but on this day 204 years ago two of our founding fathers actually ceased all financial activity outside the borders of the United States. We mean all, as any ship was forbidden to sail to a foreign port.
The idea was this. International relations between America, Britain, and France had deteriorated after the defeat of Napoleon. Britain began rebuilding its Navy by capturing American ships and forcing their sailors into service. Unable to stop the practice and hoping to use economic pressure rather than open war, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison hammered out the Embargo Act of 1807 restricting all trade to domestic shores.
Though this did help build up some of the New England economies a bit, all the act really did was more or less lead right to the war of 1812. Obviously the act was repealed, but we got to thinking about all the incredible British bands we've discovered recently, and how badly off we'd be without them if the Embargo Act was still in place.
We got into Schnauser while on a quest to find songs about the frozen head of Walt Disney. They stood out even up against Rivers Cuomo and the Legendary Pink Dots. Having had a bit more time to peruse their catalog, we're very glad that we're allowed music from Bristol.
The Horrors is a great band from Southend on Sea with killer songs that does really, really boring music videos. Still, if you've ever wondered what the Killers would sound like without all that suck in the way then you should check them out.
Speaking of crappy music videos and the people who don't do them, we're really glad our underground music dealer Mick Cullen of Subterranean Radio turned us onto London's Erland & the Carnival. Their video for "Map of an Englishman" made No. 10 on our annual music video countdown, and now we're beginning to wonder if maybe they didn't deserve a higher place.
Ellie Goulding is one of the very few artists that we can pull the hipster cred with. The Wife With One F and I fell in love with the Hereford, Herefordshire native before her debut album was even available in this country. In an industry currently dominated with towering feminine figures like Adele, Gaga, and Taylor Swift, she still manages to carve her own place, and we're willing to bet that it's Goulding who will become the timeless music treasure of this generation.
When it comes to brilliance from Britain, no band can compare with the genius of the Irrepressibles. There isn't a single promoter that we come into contact with that we don't beg to bring Jamie and his group over and introduce to an American audience. Here's to hoping, and let's all be thankful that at least there's not a damned law between us and the possibility.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.