Saturday, September 18, 2010

Digging Through The Crates : Is This it?

Ok, so for the last 10 years of my life I've been digging through the crates of various genres of music. Punk, Alternative, Indie, Soundtracks, Rock, Metal, etc... no stone or dingy record store bin was unturned. So here's my thing; I've kinda tapped out the music past. "How is that possible?", you ask? Well, after working in a few record stores I've absorbed more music than any normal human being should be allowed to. Which is both good and bad. I had a chance to listen to everything my fingers could touch and did. The downside, what's left? For Christ's sake, I dug up and listened to an old Kerbdog single just because it had a Husker Du cover as a B-side.

Not that I claim to know everything, or have heard everything, but I've pretty much listened to anything related to, or similar to everything I already like. So now I'm stuck in, what I like to call the "Amazon Recommends Cycle". ... "If you like Soundgarden, you'll like Chris Cornell, If you like Chris Cornell, you'll like Temple of the Dog, If you like Temple Of The Dog, you'll like Pearl Jam, which leads to Eddie Vedder, Green River, Mother Love Bone, Mad Season, Screaming Trees, Alice In Chains, Jerry Cantrel,... eventually leading back to Soundgarden. So computer recommendations are useless at this point. Pick a genre and listen to it long enough and it'll happen to you as well.

The question is, is this it? Are there no more treasures to be unearthed from years gone by? Have I truly maxed out my listening experience? I haven't come across many older albums I've found interesting, and there are few newer ones worth mentioning. The newer stuff just sounds like the older stuff, so why deal with imitators when there are originators. The problem with that philosophy is that you do run out of originators. Sooooo.....

When I listen to new bands, I look for certain things. 1: Do they sound like a watered down version of a band I already know... ex. Godsmack sounds like a watered down Alice In Chains.... skip it. 2: If they do sound like a certain band, do they improve upon that sound? Ex. Mindless Self Indulgence improves on both the sounds of Marilyn Manson & Information Society creating some weird trippy hybrid of the two by my ears. So MSI gets a 4Y seal of approval because they push boundries. 3: Is it gimmicky? Lady Ga Ga. The songs are catchy, but we're dealing with nothing more than a Madonna/Cher update that adds nothing to the mix. More flash, less substance, accepted by all. Skip it.

So far it's been pretty bleak. There are a few exceptions but for the most part, the art of music has churned out band after band of psuedo-indie, mega star, disposable looptastic, pro-tool, mini-masterminds and/or Gruntry (my own genre for Country music that sounds like Grunge... i.e. Nickleback). And don't get me started on the Cookie Monster Metal. Try singing your lyrics rather than grunting them through a microphone that sounds like it's buried in human waste.

With all that being said, my view turns towards the future, waiting for something to create a ripple in the vast creatively still pond of music we now swim in.

I'll keep ya posted.


  1. Does this mean that you wouldn't mind suggestions from others?

  2. Lady Gaga is a satirist but she does it so subtly that it's either a poor effort or hilarious and genius depending on how you view it. I think Alison Goldfrapp accomplishes what Gaga aims to far better, and she's been doing it much longer. But I'm still curious to see if Gaga lets loose any more with creative freedom on her next album, now that she's lured in a following and had her name spread around to have the financial backing.

    If you need some more music, it never hurts to try combinations of different countries and different decades. The Australian and the German music scenes of the 70's-80's are favorites of mine.

    If you never heard Rowland S. Howard, you missed out on a very unique music legend. He passed just in December of liver cancer. Most of the bands you mentioned were influenced by him without knowing it; he was a true innovator for guitar. You might know him and yet not if you've heard Nick Cave's old band The Birthday Party; he was the guitarist.

    He went out still playing shows, even if he vomited blood on stage... This was a few months before he died.

    Beasts Of Bourbon, also from Australia:

    The Pop Group:

    Einstuerzende Neubauten. Most people have heard of them, but I'll throw them in anyway:

    Well, again... who doesn't know Tom Waits. &

    Kas Product, from France:

    Bringing Nick Cave up again... If you like badass riffs + innovation + painstakingly thought-out lyrics, the new Grinderman is fantastic:

    There's always something else out there. If all else fails... check out some of the setlists from the radio shows Henry Rollins DJ'd. That guy knows all sorts of insane, obscure shit.

    "Music, to me, is the most beautiful form, and I love film because film is very related to music. It moves by you in its own rhythm. It's not like reading a book or looking at a painting. It gives you its own time frame, like music, so they are very connected for me. But music to me is the biggest inspiration. When I get depressed, or anything, I go "think of all the music I haven't even heard yet!" So, it's the one thing. Imagine the world without music. Man, just hand me a gun, will you?" - Jim Jarmusch

  3. I have no insightful music long forgotten or any of that other shit. All I wanted to say is A-FUCKING-MEN.

  4. I agree. once you have listened to the greats where are you to go? The genres of punk and rock have been mixed with pop to reach a younger generation (more over reach into a younger generations wallets)and has turned the music into crap. this is the same reasoning that made hanna montana and britney spears stars. Now the younger generation has decided war is bad and wants to be dark and gloomy. so their music has to have a hint of melancholy without being so offensive their parents wont buy it. so few bands dare to be edgy and experimental because it might effect sales.
    that's why no diamonds in the rough. Consumerism doesn't create good music. Art does.

  5. to bwenner....
    wrong page to be defending lady gaga.
    that nyu drop out singer wannabe needs to crawl back into whatever magical portal let her out of wonderland.

  6. You probably heard of Rain Parade-Emergency Third Rail Power Trip. They were some of the first in their genre. And Miracle Legion-Me & Mr.Ray i love that music kind of hard to come by to. Check that out if you never heard of it.

  7. Try some foreign music. There is some crazy shit beyond the borders. Try Tuvan throat-singing from the middle of Siberia, or maybe Scandinavian chants are more your thing. The musical frontier is boundless.



    I checked it out. That sounds like the music the military used to torture the taliban with!

  10. I'm sure you have heard of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. If you don't mind a minor language barrier Die Toten Hosen are quite good. They have a couple of english albums. Die Ärzte is a fun german punk group.

  11. Hope you don't mind some of suggestions from me...

    Korpiklanni: Finnish heavy metal folk band. It's an odd combo (accordions, fiddles and electric guitars) but a lot of fun. They do some stuff in English, but do more in Finnish. They do something called "yoik", which kind of sounds like Native American Chanting. I suggest the "Karkelo" and "Tervaskanto" albums to get a feel for them.

    Shaman: the precursor to Korpiklaani. A lot of "yoik", and a definite more folk feel to them, but still heavy metal. They only had two albums, and they can be hard to find, unless you're not adverse to "alternative methods".

    The Moon and the Nightspirit: Classified as Pagan from Hungary. It's a wonderfully raw, and unpolished sound that they have, and it's only two musicians. The singer has a wonderful earthy sound and fits the music fantastically. They have three albums, but I'd give their English album a miss, though.

    The Canadian Brass: brass ensemble that does various genres of music. Check out their two-disk "Jazz Roots" or "Magic Horn" for something completely different. My being Canadian has no bearing whatsoever on this suggestion. None whatsoever...

    How about old-school jazz, like Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, or Cab Calloway?

    I've found that sometimes I have to go outside my musical comfort zone to find something new and interesting. But that's just me...

  12. LGHunter here. The Login thing is driving me nuts.

    I'm sorry, I didn't look at the date. I didn't mean to gravedig!

  13. me first and the gimme gimme's are a cover band aren't they....that's like the opposite of originality...Oh we cant write any of our own songs so we'll try to improve everyone else's

  14. I don't know man, every time I have felt like that I have wound up unearthing something new and amazing. I just discovered a bunch of "new to me" early 80's American hard core punk bands. Don't laugh, I only switched from industrial to punk a year and a half ago.

  15. I run into the same problem with books. There are only a few genres I really like, mythology being one of them. I'm normally not fond of books that are based around mythology, because the authors have a tendency to just rehash the old myths and are less subtle about it than when ancient Christians rehashed Welsh legends to create the King Arthur tales.

    When I get to a point, where I'm waiting for a new book by a particular author; or I'm tired of yet again rereading what I already like, I just walk into the library, pick a section of stacks and start looking for a book with cover art that I find appealing.

    Is that a good way to pick a book? No. In fact I've come across more turds than gems this way; but those gems are worth it. And not because it gets me out of the literature niche I'm comfy in; but because those authors opened me up to stuff I never would have even looked at had I not been desperate for reading material.

    I'll admit that this probably isn't the best way to go about finding new albums to listen to either. But at least if you find something you do like, it'll break you out of the loop you're stuck in.

  16. I find you lack of the dickies appalling.
    Also, you didn't mention the crucifucks.
    Both are pretty good, I figure you must know them, but just in case no one else remembers.

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