Monday, July 27, 2020

Got Them Monday Morning, Feeling Relatively Healthy, But Still Something Gnawing At Me Blues

I spent approximately 60 minutes this morning sampling the new recordings of six new bands. My goal was to discover one or two gems to rave about and pass along, instead of the ideas I had on deck, which were either a piece about Patto's debut, a fun post involving Richard Manuel and Paul McCartney, a continuation of an earlier post about two different songs that are essentially the same, or another dreaded reggae post, no pun intended.

I don't like homework! I never did!

A few years after our shop closed, my business partner mentioned how one of the few good things about no longer having a record store was no longer feeling the pressure of having to listen to new music. On the surface, that seems very curmudgeonly. But listening to music should not be homework. And while I wasn't repulsed by what I heard this morning, the music mostly made my eyes roll.

Here's the grunge-y, indie band, slogging away on a riff and shouting some lead vocals. Here's the neo-psychedelic band, with backwards guitars and their third-rate "Tomorrow Never Knows." Here's the band with the 12-string guitars and Byrds-chords and not bad harmonies over a fairly tuneless tune. Here's the beardo and his guitar, with his nasal voice trying desperately to keep himself alive. I wasn't having fun no matter how much I wanted to love and support a band that isn't celebrating their 40th anniversary of being broken up.

New music needs to come to me naturally; an email from a trusted friend, a review by a trusted critic, or that rare occasion when I hear something being played somewhere. These days, it's either the post office, the pharmacy or the supermarket, so the chances of hearing something other than the Doobie Brothers or Lady Gaga are slim.

I am not opposed to "new" and "young." I am opposed to the pressure, or to the occasional comment about lawns and the need to get off of them. I am also not a fan of listening to 50 different records in 50 different genres from 50 different age groups, just so I can say I did.

Losing both Peter Green and Emitt Rhodes, two of my musical heroes, in the same week, shed some light on just how many people had no idea who either were. That's six albums right there that are brand spanking new to so many.

In summation, I am going to do what I do best and leave the discovering of up and coming talent to other bloggers. I am sure there are many writers out there who are more suited to write about the bands on Stereogum's Top 50.  I'll be here to remind them that "Dark Side Of The Moon" was not Pink Floyd's first record.


daudder said...

Mornings are always a pain, more so Mondays. No doubt, 2020 makes them all a bit harder to shake.

Your writing and insights make mine better, for what that is worth., that piece about Richard Manuel and tell, I'm all ears.

Todd said...

"There are no 'old' movies-only movies you have already seen and ones you haven't." - Peter Bogdanovich

I've always felt the same about music. "New" music is just music you haven't heard, whenever it was made available for sale.

Shriner said...

Hey -- a new album I liked a lot: The self-titled "Juniper" (Simels pointed this out a while back on his blog, but I just got around to it this weekend.) Lo-fi, 2 minute-bubble-gummy-pop songs, less than 30 minutes in total and I had a smile all the way through it.

Sure it's nice when your dad has connections to bring in some big guns to play on/write some songs, but I liked this more than anything I've heard new in a while. Or I was just in a good mood Saturday...

I see no reason it won't stick around to make my "best of 2020" -- and I'm as serious about that as I can be about a 15-year old girl singing about boys and other stuff. "Kids On My Corner" may be my favorite song of the year so far.

Sal Nunziato said...

That Juniper record is everything I have a problem with all wrapped up in one offensive 30 minute package. Without those "big guns," no adult would pay any mind to it. It's amateurish for a reason. She's 15. It's cute and nothing more. And if a record like that is going to get some exposure and a few kudos just because it's not a new record by an old guy, then all hope is lost. I'm sorry for being so direct. I've done my best (lately) to not rain on anyone's parade, but that Juniper record really offended me. I didn't want to say so on Simels blog, but I had to on mine.

Nothing personal, Shriner.

paulinca said...

Sal, you nailed it about "discovering" new music. You'll find it. When it's assigned, it's not a discovery. Whether by happenstance or recommendation, the discovery of "new" music that hits you and makes your life THAT much bigger, no matter how, becomes serendipity.


vanwoert said... Sal, Here is that Roy Wood song you tried to help me find a few years ago.

Sal Nunziato said...

Finally. Classic Roy. How do we get that Santa Monica show mentioned in the comments?

Shriner said...

Nothing personal taken about "Juniper" -- I know full well it's not going to be for everybody -- and, honestly, I wasn't expecting much when I started it, but it hit a sweet spot that I didn't know I had been missing. I didn't listen to it *because* of the big guns, but because I liked the stupidly-catchy-earworm song Simels posted (and then there's one other that's online that I liked the hook of so I thought I'd check out the whole record.)

Just about everything else new I've been listening to lately seems either dour, bleak, overrated or relatively forgettable (and, yes, I'm looking at that Fiona Apple record again.)

Again, it could just be the mood I was in at the time, but I've listened to it twice and I think it's fun. In many ways it reminded me of "Devo 2.0" -- a project that also brought a big smile to my face at the time for similar reasons.

But I absolutely don't think many other people will think the same thing about it. i wouldn't have guessed Simels would like it as much as he did, either, but there you go.

FD13NYC said...

I totally agree with what you're saying. I'm always leisurely searching and discovering new/old music. Whether it be on the many blogs (yours most certainly included) or Facebook pages I'm on to. Sometimes or rarely it seems like a chore. But I do come up with some little gems that I never heard.

I'm sure you've heard of Parthenon Huxley/P.Hux, ELO Part II, The Orchestra and solo stuff. I came across this song called Playing Her Guitar which hit me, as all positive melodic songs do. Short and enjoyable. Look for it on YouTube, click on the one I posted FD13NYC. I'm sure you'll enjoy all 2 minutes of it, if you haven't heard it already.

My point is, checking out new/old music does involve some eye rolling, but sometimes you can't get a song out of your head for days.

Ken D said...

"New music needs to come to me naturally; an email from a trusted friend..."

How about from loyal readers? What do you say to maybe once every other month you ask BW readers to nominate a new act to try out. If you get even ten responses and even if only two of those are more earworm than eye roll, well that's a dozen new listens for the year. And if half of those turn out to have only two good songs, well that's still... well, you get the idea.

If everyone does just a little "homework" and let's everyone else crib off their work, we all win.
(I'd especially like to hear nominations from your readers outside the USA.)

Sal Nunziato said...

"What do you say to maybe once every other month you ask BW readers to nominate a new act to try out."

Ken, it's a great idea. I've opened up BW a number of times to anyone who wanted to contribute. The response was abysmal. It's that "assignment" thing. Posting a link in the comments or chatbox when the spirit moves you is one thing. Still, I am open to anything, as long as I don't have homework.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I hear you.

kodak ghost said...

You nailed it. I have realised that I keep buying new music, and then not listening to it. I read a review and say "That sounds interesting", buy it , and it just sits there while I listen to music that I know means something to me. Some times I do the random thing thing on Spotify hoping that something will jump out at me, but that is happening less and less... and who is this Pink Floyd you speak of?

and I'm loving the covers section. Some read gems uncovered....Cheers and keep at it.

Ken D said...

For those inclined, NPR's pop music show/podcast "Sound Opinions" has a feature three or four times a year called "Buried Treasures." Hosts Jim and Greg play maybe five new acts they think are worth wider attention. I almost always hear at least one I check out further.

(Of course they have a production staff to do a lot of their homework for them.)

Michael Giltz said...

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

Michael Giltz said...

I wrestle with my desire to hear new new stuff and old new stuff all the time. Not to mention listening again to old stuff that bears repeated listening. If I ever feel listening to a new album is home work, it's clearly time to dive back into some of my favorites again. Or re-listen to Miles Davis when I've got a spare month or two. Or do the Beatles.Or the 1970s albums of Neil Young. Or Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Sevens. It's true. One can stick with the classics and be endlessly refreshed by them. But I still like staying on top of the new stuff. I definitely have FAR less patience for anything that doesn't grab me, whereas younger me might have stuck with some new albums all the way through. I mean, you can't go wrong by saying it's time for some hardcore Joni Mitchell or to go on a Laurel Canyon tear. Lord knows streaming sound quality may not be up to Neil Young (or my) standards but it sure makes diving into the deep back catalog of popular music easier and cheaper than ever. Ok, I've got to get back to my late period Tom Petty cycle.

Anonymous said...

The guys from BBC6, they do a great job with their new music selection. I turn to it when I think I’m losing my capacity to wonder.


Anonymous said...

That Willie J Healey song Fashun, what a joy.

M_Sharp said...

Good piece! I enjoy discovering new music, but most of the new bands just aren't doing it for me. Any new music I like sounds like the old music I like but with good songwriting. I've been slowly going through my "old" music during the pandemic and rediscovering a lot of good stuff I had forgotten. One of the best songs I've heard recently is by the Electric Banana, aka The Pretty Things. I don't remember if I read about it here, it was somewhere on a blog. Anyway, here's a really fab, groovy video of their movie appearance:

Noam Sane said...

Sal, I don't know if you listen to the Rock's Back Pages podcast - it's often great fun - but someone there recently referred to a new release as "indie landfill." A term I have put in my pocket for future use.

heartsofstone said...

We are very lucky to have you here.

Mr. Baez said...

I agree with heartsofstone. I find new music on BW all the time thanks to you, Sal. BW is a treasure.