Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bonding of the Musical Variety

This is a largely impersonal blog or a highly impersonal blog or however you want to view it. Essentially, it's just an overblown, somewhat frequently updated collection of short stories, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be friends. That's the beauty of the internet. The barrier between author (artist, filmmaker, musician, or what have you) isn't as extensive as it would have been centuries ... even decades ... prior. And while it might be bold to declare myself an author when I have only this blog to my name, I still believe that barrier between us should be torn down. Or, at the very least, I can stab a few holes in it.

So I like music. Unless, you are Satan or Hitler or Stalin or Satan-Hitler-Stalin's evil, immaculately conceived love child, you probably like it too. Here's a brief write up of the bands that have had the the largest influence on the stuff you have and will read on this blog. (Previously published here: 5 Favorite Bands) Enjoy! ... more short stories to come!

A favorite band is a very personal thing which is why I find it odd that there are those of the prior generation that chose to criticize my people (and I do claim ownership of Social Media generation) for not thinking as highly of The Beatles as they do. Of the bands I love, unabashedly love enough to blog—the highest of honors in this society—about, I have seen the majority of them in a concert setting, at the Granada no less, and unfortunately, the bands from yesteryear who are still riding the tour bus around the globe are far from their prime and are incapable of connecting with me on some weird, metaphysical level. Now, the list of bands that I love, or like like if you will, stretches on for eternity, but picking the Top 5 wasn’t as hard as I would have expected. It was in explaining why these bands were so easy for me to choose that I found difficulty.

That being said, here is my Top 5, each with its own blurb explaining that personal connection as is custom with a blog of this sort.

1. Radiohead — Say what you will about The King of Limbs, but for a time, Radiohead was just about everyone’s favorite band, or rather, their fan base had accumulated some impressive numbers, and say what you will about the Radiohead fans, but they’re a staunchly loyal group, perhaps to a fault, yet is that really so wrong? Admittedly, it’s kind of annoying. For me, Radiohead has always travelled that perfect line of an Alternative Rock band, a title which bears little meaning nowadays, and an Art Rock band, equally as meaningless of a moniker. Who among the head banging can deny how much My Iron Lung rocks, and anyone who accepts the title of hipster will admit, proudly so, that they have the band’s entire discography on vinyl, even Pablo Honey. Radiohead is the great unifier, bridging the gap between the apathetic grunge scene of the nineties and the apathetic indie scene of the naughts, and dare I say that they’ll be remembered as The Beatles of this wave of music.

2. Deerhunter — Monday, December 1st, 2009 at The Loft on S Lamar street—that’s what made me love this band. From that point on, I collected all their records, got the Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza records too, caught them when they came back through, and just generally became obsessed with Bradford Cox’s song craft. His lyrics aren’t particularly complex, certainly more abstract, but the way he delivers them over excellently crafter pop-song soundscapes is enough to drool over. Deerhunter is a band with whom I’ve been able to anticipate most of their upcoming releases. With Radiohead, I joined the fan club late into the game, but with Deerhunter, I was able to read updates on Cox’s blog and get all antsy for the release date. Basically, Good Records saw me in their store whenever the newest Deerhunter album, EP or LP, dropped.
 3. The Velvet Underground — Yeah, I know what I said at the start of this blog, but damn it all! The Velvet Underground made me appreciate music despite never seeing Lou Reed prance across a stage, not that he’d prance anyway. I remember listening to Heroin and thinking, “Yeah, I want to do that,” and so I did. Not with expertise, but I surely could beat the shit out of those two chords and strain my throat singing, “And thank God that I just don’t care.”
4. Grizzly Bear — It all started with Veckatimest. I wore that album out, just trying to comprehend it, dissect every sound. It seemed almost too meticulously crafted, almost too perfect, as if it were the culmination of all things indie folk and all music released after it would just be aftermath of musical Nirvana. Of course, it wasn’t all of that, but it was a damn fine album, and Veckatimest inspired me to look backward through their catalogue which led me to Yellow House, a testament to the power of atmosphere in music. Those vocal harmonies produce chills. Chris Bear’s intricate drumming provides an excellent back bone to rather airy music. It’s as if the band stumbled upon an equation to conjure their songs, an equation that managed to include soul in the calculations as well as Pi.
5. Joanna Newsom — I used to have a crush on the squirrel from Spongebob Squarepants, but that was because I was a lonely child who watched too much Nickelodeon. Now, I have more sensible entertainment crushes, and yes, Joanna Newsom is one of them, but that’s because I am a lonely adult who reads too many Pitchfork articles. Still, what’s most attractive about Joanna Newsom is her talent (that’s a weird sentence no matter how many times I re-phrase it). I’ve written papers on her lyrics, not for a class though, just because I enjoy writing papers hence this blog, and also, she leaves so much in her lyrics to dissect. They’re vast, fantastical stories beautifully delivered by that delightfully odd voice of hers.

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