July 20, 2012
(Full disclosure: yes, that was me you spotted the other day doing the "Call Me, Maybe" dance on I-10 in Houston's morning rush hour. What of it?)
I've never been the type of music fan to troll all the underground music blogs looking for the Next. Big. Thing. I'm semi-proactive about looking for new music, but I for the most part I take the Lester Bangs a-la-Almost-Famous route: true music finds you. I wholeheartedly believe the stuff that sticks with you are the lyrics that make an impact, the guitar riff you can't quit humming, the beat you can't stop tapping out. I want my music to matter.
I like to think via Twitter, friends recommendations and generally knowing my personal musical niche, I do okay. While everyone is freaking out over Young the Giant on the festival circuit this summer, I'm "remembering when" I saw them two summers ago open for Steel Train and even in the midst of my $2 Lone Star buzz was floored by their talent.
But lately...nothing sounds good. Is that awful to say? I feel like I'm stuck in this musical rut of not knowing what to listen to next, so I back track and listen to what I know I like. And then I feel like a bad music fan because I'm not out there scouring the Internet, looking for the NBT, and wonder what kind of music fan am I that I'm not more proactive about improving my listening habits. (And all that before coffee & 9 a.m.)
That is, until the need for something new, something different, something that will wake up my soul and make me see the world in a new way consumes me.
Most of my summer has been spent listening to my personal "classics." Tons of 60s pop led by The Beach Boys, along with The Format and Rooney, punctuated by a couple new releases from bands I already know and love - I've played the hell out of the two-week-old Gold Motel record, but when you're on spin million-and-one (that's just this week), it's time for some new tunes.
So I turned to the experts: my friends. The people I've befriended along the way in life because I thought "Hey, what you listen to doesn't suck. Let's be friends." I put out the call on Twitter and my personal Facebook page: tell me your top three bands of this summer. New, old - doesn't matter. What are you listening to?
I hit send, sat back at my desk and waited for the replies to come in...hopeful someone would help me uncover my new favorite band.
And (love you guys) apparently I'm not the only one in a musical rut.
The suggestions ran the gamut from old standbys like Silverchair, Tom Petty and Nirvana to newer indie darlings like Beach House, Best Coast, Grizzly Bear and Santigold.
Judging by the suggestions, it seems like everyone else is doing the same as me this summer - going for their favorites.
Is it us? Or is it the music being made right now? Are we failing to take notice of new music trends because we're stuck in our own individual music ruts or is there nothing worth noticing? Or are we all just getting *gasp* old - old enough that the NBT sounds like a bad carbon copy of a band we loved 10 years ago?
It's something I wonder every time I feel like I've been listening to the same music for my entire life, and I have no real answers. But while a friend may not have insta-discovered my new favorite band, I take comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who relies on the standbys for their listening pleasure.
On that note, got a suggestion of music I should check out? New, old...doesn't matter. Leave it in the comments.