Saturday, March 12, 2011

"...what goes on in your heart...what goes on in your mind..."

Music has become almost a private thing in my life. I no longer work in the music industry each day. Where once I argued on a regular basis the merits of one type of music to another, or which guitar player played the best riff ever, or which producer really made a difference, now I watch rockumentaries alone in the dark. Rarely do I get to walk into an actual building, where I can touch actual recordings of music. Digital is easy- sure but missing is music not just in sound but in artistic expression.
Although I may go to more live shows than the average person, because I spend decades going to lives shows almost every day, the amount I see now seems very slight.
Partly this is my own doing, I am picky not just about bands, but the space they play in, the time they play, whether or not I can get a parking pass, details most music fans haven't been spoiled into knowing about.

This doesn't mean I am not excited to see live bands, and I could argue that my excitement for the few -stand out- shows I get to see is magnified by their rarity. Where once I saw ten great shows in a single week so that I was unable to fully process them all, now I can clearly remember a set list by a band I saw a year ago.

Meanwhile- recorded music is harder for me to process, so much comes out at once, but as a stream onto my computer, where I then have to make a play list for my mac devices-to be able to even hear the record in its recorded order. I've always loved listening to music in my car, but sometimes the degradation between my cassette to my i-something device sounds awful, or perhaps the recording was too compressed, maybe its my speakers...
My point being that nothing, seriously nothing compares to the quality of just listening to music recorded well, placed onto vinyl.

I will do my best to sort that problem out for my upcoming road trips because I have new (to me at least) Radiohead, Exene Cervenka, Dum Dum Girls, Lucinda Williams, PJ Harvey, Cave Singers, Paranthetical Girls and I don't feel that The Sword, Red Fang, The Decemberists, Social Distortion, Twilight Singers, and you will know us by the trail of our dead, have really had proper listens. I also have a slew of new recordings I don't know yet- Frankie and the Heartstrings, How to destroy angels, Monotonix, The Twees to name a few.

After going to both the 'Symphonicity' shows by Sting (which were so amazing; seated, starting near twilight, and very civilized) I went to visit Zok on his Soundwaves tour and saw Veara (they were on early, and their female drummer had excellent flashy drumstick action) Millencolin (who did the hits) Social Distortion, and The Sword. The audiences were a distraction, and I have always been too old for festival shows. People are drunk too early and strained by the elements, and something about being 'one of thousands' seems to lower the general I.Q. and/or civility of people. But I am glad I went, I stayed in a nice hotel, ate nice food, and wore make-up each and every day.

Still, I miss record stores, and listening booths. I miss garage bands or probably my youth that allowed me to want to hang out in garages and listen to bands. I miss talking about new records, especially talking about them on air to public radio audiences or better pirate radio audiences. I miss the fact that mixed tapes are no longer special, now there are playlists and no one seems to care or worse they load in the playlist digitally and the list is no longer a set of songs, lovingly picked to tell a story, or relay a joke, or say something that you couldn't quite say yourself.
I miss the King Biscuit Flour hour, and listening to radio on my old tube radio. (even though yes listening to radio via my phone from across the planet is a marvel). I miss John Peel.

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