PDA

View Full Version : Instead of saying "All new music SUCKS"...


Argent Towers
12-05-2006, 09:12 PM
...why don't you take the friggin' time to find some new music that you like?

There always seem to be threads where people complain about "new music" and about how it all sucks. Most of the time, these people seem to be listening to corporate radio stations, because they inevitably say "it's all either whiny emo, pop-punk, or rap." Guess what? These are not the only kinds of new music, and if you think that they are, it's because you're not opening yourself up to anything else and you're listening to shitty radio stations.

TRUST ME: there is new music that you will like. All you need to do is look for it.

If you don't have iTunes, you should get it. Then look up some artists that you like, and check out the "Listeners Also Bought" section, where you can see what other music the fans of your favorite bands listen to. If you are a fan of folk music you're particularly in luck because there is a revival of this music right now with a lot of talented people involved. Calexico and Iron And Wine are particularly good but if they're too "indie" for you then just spend some time browsing on iTunes and you'll find someone more traditional. But the point is, you have to take the time to LOOK. The good new music is not going to come to you, you need to find it.

For instance, you could read an alternative music magazine like Arthur (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geuoNtI3ZF644A5BJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2NzhuMW9sBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGODUxX zc0/SIG=11dvit6tv/EXP=1165456621/**http%3a//www.arthurmag.com/) . The people who always complain about emo and rap will like this magazine because it's pretty much all underground folk and rock, without any whiny people or crotch-grabbing gangstas.

On that subject, all these people saying "I'm sick of all this rap," well, they've just been listening to the wrong rap. That's a really sweeping generalization to be making about a music with so many underground artists that you haven't heard. Granted, there are some people for whom the format of rap just doesn't do anything, but if you are into trying new kinds of music, I doubt you would be saying "all rap sucks" if you listened to Deltron 3030 or Jurrassic 5. Yeah, you've never heard of them - that's because they don't play it on the shitty corporate radio station you've been listening to. Why don't you check out some streaming stations on iTunes instead?

And if you like good beats but aren't into the rapping, well, there is a whole world of music called "electronica." And it's NOT all thumpa-thumpa-thumpa dance music either, so don't even start with that generalization. Just to name a few, Amon Tobin, Wagon Christ, Shpongle, Telefon Tel Aviv, Ulrich Schnauss. These are just some of my favorites. And like I said, if you click on "Listeners Also Bought" on iTunes (or just looked them up on Wikipedia and did some browsing of other electronic artists) you can find more music like them.

My overall point here is that there is a lot of great new music. Don't block yourself off from it just because you have a preconcieved notion that it "all sucks."

bienville
12-05-2006, 10:14 PM
Folks get older, priorities change with mounting "square" resonsibilities, and then completely fall out of the loop of anything hip and don't know anything other than VH1 and corporate radio.

Used to be the kinda thing you couldn't really blame a person for.

But now, with the internet, there are so many ways to find new music.
Not only can you find great music that you would never hear on the radio, but when you find an independent artist that you love you can know, when you buy their CD, that you're giving your money directly to the artist!!! That should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Recording technology has made it so that independent musicians can put out completely professional recordings. And when they finish an album, it is truly a labor of love: as they are putting their own money into it (and they have little money to begin with, my album cost me over half what I make in a year!) they make sure they end up with a product they can be proud of. As a bonus, you get the artist's intent completely undiluted by corporate meddling.

Even better than "Listeners Also Bought", is to find out who the artists themselves recommend. Start a MySpace account- this does NOT mean that you'll be forced to play all the bullshit MySpace games that kids play!!!
Put up a cool graphic as your primary pic and list your age as 100 and you will not be bombarded by sex cruisers, in fact you'll probably be ignored all together
Apply the option "Does not accept 'Add Requests' from bands" (yes, seems in opposition to the nature of this Thread, but a justified aversion to spam is a major reason so many "grown-ups" don't want to deal with the MySpace thing, and denying add requests from bands does not prevent you from sending add requests to bands)
Start listening to the songs posted on band pages, when you find something you like buy their CD (the physical CD or buy it digitally) and go see them play when they come through your town


FINDING THAT FIRST BAND YOU LIKE PROBABLY WILL NOT BE EASY- there is an immense amount of absolute crap on MySpace. But once you find something good, it gets a lot easier.

On Myspace, a user can organize the order in which their MySpace Friends show up on the front page of their profile (the order can only be organized on the front page, once you look at the rest of their friends the order means nothing).
When you find an artist you like, look at the other artists listed on their front page. Unless the artist is on a major label that maintains the MySpace page for them, you can be safely sure (in almost all cases) that all the artists on the front page are personally recommended by the artist that you already know you like!

Now just because they are recommended by an artist you like doesn't automatically mean you'll like their music too, but it's a really good lead. If you truly consider yourself a music fan and if you truly want to find new music you'll just have to put a little time in. It it WAY easier than it used to be. Even if you can only commit one hour a week, you'll soon find lots of cool music.







A few recommendations of great artists on MySpace:
AM (http://www.myspace.com/amsounds)
Quincy Coleman (http://www.myspace.com/quincycoleman)
Chris Pierce (http://www.myspace.com/chrispierce)
Saucy Monky (http://www.myspace.com/saucymonky)
Flow (http://www.myspace.com/flowrocks)
Gabriel Mann (http://www.myspace.com/gabrielmann)
Breech (http://www.myspace.com/breech)
Geoff Pearlman (http://www.myspace.com/geoffpearlman)
Shane Alexander (http://www.myspace.com/shanealexander)
Adrianne (http://www.myspace.com/adriannemusic)
Pint Size (http://www.myspace.com/pintsize)
Lisa Marr (http://www.myspace.com/lisamarr)
Jay Nash (http://www.myspace.com/jaynash)
Dead Rock West (http://www.myspace.com/deadrockwest)
Susie Suh (http://www.myspace.com/susiesuh)

Exapno Mapcase
12-05-2006, 11:30 PM
The serious, non-snarky answer is that if you're young you are surrounded by music, more, by a culture of music. You listen to more music, you go to bars and concert halls, you talk about music with your friends, you read music publications, you have an iPod, you wear headphones as customary attire, you recognize the names of bands and singers and song titles, you participate in music threads, etc. and etc. and etc. Music is a far bigger part of your life than you probably realize.

And music is a far smaller part of older peoples' lives than you probably realize. To go out and find new groups would take research, time, effort, and a lot of waste for me. It would be almost like learning an entirely new language. I know of nobody who listens to the new music so I would have nobody to ask, to recommend, to share, to comment. I can't imagine when I would wear headphones to listen to that music. I suppose I could burn a CD for my car or spend money for a MP3 hookup, but why would I do anything like that? It would be like spending money to buy my own bowling ball and shoes.

Music to youth is like water to fish. They take it for granted. They take the newness and variety of what is out there for their right. Once you start climbing up on land that all changes. Imagine if you knew nothing about beer and somebody said, hey, it's so easy to learn what's good. Just start reading some publications, and start buying a few beers you've never heard of, and drink some every day, and then start eating out at brewhauses, and you'll find lots of great new beers. Of course, they'll go out of business tomorrow and you'll have to keep keeping up forever because there's always new ones coming out, but beer is so important that you'll want to make that investment. "But I only drink beer twice a year." "Twice a year? That's impossible. I had six beers a day in college."

Substitute anything you know nothing about for beer. Wine. First editions. Golf. Motorcycles. Operas. Allergies. 70's porn. It's that difficult. Really. It is. Start a MySpace page so I can listen to thousands of bands to narrow down my choices? When? What do I give up from the rest of my life to accomplish this?

Radio takes no work. It's right there at my fingertips. (And I've never understood the argument that says that radio, corporate or otherwise, has a stake in depriving listeners of good music that they would want to hear. What would that get them besides lower ratings?) Music once wasn't work to acquire. Today it would be a huge chore.

And my opinion of today's music scene means very little. I've seen legions of opinions from people of my age who are still active musicians who all say that today's music sucks, though. Are absolutely none of them capable of finding these new bands? Are none of them in positions to bring this good music to broader public attention? I can't believe that.

I give your rant a 62. Lousy beat, no hooks. Can't dance to it. Guitar-driven music is on its way out, anyway. :)

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 12:12 AM
You might find it a "waste" to do 10 minutes of internet browsing to find some new bands.

I don't.

Think about how much freakin' time people spend watching TV. What if you took 20 percent - less even - of that time and used it to search for some new music? Your argument, that it's too time-consuming for older people to find new music, doesn't make sense. My dad is 49 and uses iTunes to find new music just like I do. Anyone can do it.

But if you don't want to take the time, fine. But then don't complain that "new music sucks."

I also have a hard time believing that you know active musicians who honestly think that "all new music sucks."

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 12:15 AM
Don't get me wrong, Exapno, your overall point is quite true. Most people don't want to take the time to broaden their horizons with beer or music or anything else. I certainly won't debate that. But I believe in taking the extra time to enrich one's life. It's definitely worth it.

bienville
12-06-2006, 12:28 AM
And music is a far smaller part of older peoples' lives than you probably realize. To go out and find new groups would take research, time, effort, and a lot of waste for me. It would be almost like learning an entirely new language.

Don't bother. If it's not a priority to you that's totally o.k. It doesn't have to be a priority to you. There's no snarkiness intended.

The "solutions" to the "problem" are only addressed to those who consider good new music in their life to be something for which they feel a lack and with which they want to expand their acquaintance.

If you're happy with your current music library,
If you consider what you're provided on the radio to be "good enough"
Then you are not in any need of any "solution" since you have absolutely no problem.

I'm not saying, and I don't think the OP is saying, that you are supposed to want to find new music or that not wanting to find new music is in some way a character flaw.

The point is that if you want it, there are ways to find it. Finding it takes a bit of work but it's much easier than it used to me.
If there's any snarkiness at all, it shouldn't be aimed at anyone other than those who claim to want to find new music, but refuse to seek it out as they expect it to be handed to them.

To go with your beer analogy, if someone never drinks anything but Natural Light and that person enjoys drinking Natural Light then there is no problem. What the OP and I are addressing are the cases wherein people drink only Natural Light, think it tastes like crap, then complain that "all beer SUCKS".






Also, no I do not believe that there is a vast corporate conspiracy to deprive people of good music. As with all things it's about profits, and pushing what sells easily is the easiest path to faster profits. Providing great diversity is simply not cost-effective.

Radio station owners choose programming formats that they consider will provide the greatest profit. Because we now have a situation in which the vast number of radio stations in the country are owned by only a very small number of owners, listeners are restricted to the handful of programming formats that those very few owners have decided are the most profitable.

No "Evil Guys in Suits" conspiracy. Just an example, for better or worse, of classic capitalism.

bienville
12-06-2006, 12:37 AM
I also have a hard time believing that you know active musicians who honestly think that "all new music sucks."

If he says he knows active musicians who say that "all new music sucks" I'm sure that he does in fact know active musicians who say that "all new music sucks".

Though I would suspect that either they're using the phrase "all new music" as shorthand for "all new music that gets radio play" . . .

OR that they simply don't make an effort to find good new music. Just because they are musicians doesn't make them experts on music. They can be lazy just like anyone else. In fact, if they are musicians who have never acheived great success, and if they are bitter about having never acheived great success, then I would not be at all surprised to hear them make the comment "all new music sucks".


Note: I am not suggesting that Exapno Mapcase's music friends fall into category B. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, I would always assume category A.

Marley23
12-06-2006, 01:03 AM
...why don't you take the friggin' time to find some new music that you like?
If I [this is a hypothetical "I"] already have plenty of my own music to listen to and am satisfied with it, what's the point? If I think my own, old music collection is great, and think the stuff I hear on TV or the radio sucks, why do I have to go fishing through the crap to find some good stuff?

Polerius
12-06-2006, 01:30 AM
if you're young you are surrounded by music, more, by a culture of music. You listen to more music, you go to bars and concert halls, you talk about music with your friends, you read music publications, you have an iPod, you wear headphones as customary attire, you recognize the names of bands and singers and song titles, you participate in music threads, etc. and etc. and etc. Music is a far bigger part of your life than you probably realize.

And music is a far smaller part of older peoples' lives than you probably realize. To go out and find new groups would take research, time, effort, and a lot of waste for me.
Well said.

On the positive side, one easy new way to find music you like is via http://www.pandora.com

You give them a band or song you like, and they start playing songs that are similar (for some definition of "similar"). It's pretty cool.

fishbicycle
12-06-2006, 01:39 AM
Why don't I take any time to find new music that I like? I'm still in the process of collecting a copy of everything I know. I have in excess of 50,000 songs in this room. I haven't heard thousands of the other tracks that come with the ones I know yet. I may not live long enough to hear all the music I own. I'm still waiting to turn myself onto music I haven't heard yet by people who haven't been relevant in 30 or 40 or 50 years. There is just so much music to be heard, I have to decide what I want to hear. I tend to lean toward something even vaguely familiar to me, rather than something totally alien. I haven't heard all of King Crimson yet! I have all of Frank Zappa, but I haven't heard all of his albums yet, either. I haven't even started on jazz yet.

I don't go around saying any music sucks. But considering that I do have all this music at my disposal, I have to say that I bought each and every piece because I liked it enough to buy it. I haven't heard a single song on the radio since the late 1980s that has made me run out and get the record. I got older. My tastes shifted. I grew out of the demographic. I ceased to care what was current when what was current ceased to appeal to me. My horizons haven't finished being broadened by old music yet, and they may never be. There aren't enough days left in my life to try to get into a scene where I don't know anyone playing, where to find them, why to find them, or anyone who listens to it enough to guide me through the sludge to find the nuggets of aluminum underneath.

Tanbarkie
12-06-2006, 01:41 AM
I'm not saying, and I don't think the OP is saying, that you are supposed to want to find new music or that not wanting to find new music is in some way a character flaw.

The point is that if you want it, there are ways to find it. Finding it takes a bit of work but it's much easier than it used to me.

I think the OP is going a little farther than that- he's saying that folks who decry the modern state of music, while justifying their opinion only with what's on the radio, are just plain wrong. And I agree with him. The music scene is, if anything, more vibrant today than it has been in decades. But the same things that make the modern musical landscape so exciting (easy and cheap online distribution, inexpensive digital recording, etc.) are also the things that make it impossible to judge the state of music using traditional media like radio.

The strength of new media is that it allows niche artists to find an audience. While there must certainly is not some sort of corporate conspiracy to squash indie music, it is absolutely true that most of modern radio is run by a single company, Clear Channel, which has taken effort to homogenize what is played on the air. As a result, the music that gets to the radio is the stuff that sells the most copies. This is, philosophically, at direct odds with online distribution methods such as iTunes and Rhapsody, which favor the niche market. They can offer the big names in the biz, just like brick-and-mortar music stores, but they can also stock every indie release under the sun for a negligible cost. Apple doesn't care which bands are selling songs on iTunes, because it's ridiculously easy to get your music on there, and it costs them virtually nothing to add it to their catalog.

Then add in the vast word of mouth power of the internet and the availability of cheap studio software. Indie bands can now record demos that sound studio-recorded, and then expose their music to a worldwide audience without leaving their hometowns, and sell records to boot. Compare this to traditional record companies, which have a vested interest in making sure that their signed artists are hitmakers, competing for space on what Clear Channel is making a very tiny playing field. There's a great deal of opportunity available to bands today that were impossible even five years ago, and the scene is taking full advantage of these new possibilities.

I haven't even mentioned how digital technology itself is revolutionizing how music is performed, but that, too is a huge factor in the current explosion of new music.

Phantom Dennis
12-06-2006, 01:54 AM
Well said.

On the positive side, one easy new way to find music you like is via http://www.pandora.com

You give them a band or song you like, and they start playing songs that are similar (for some definition of "similar"). It's pretty cool.
That's a pretty cool site, thanks. :)

Are there any more sites like this? Meaning sites that can predict what songs I might like and allow me to listen to them, but don't require me to pay for it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for paying for songs I enjoy, but I don't want to have to pay to *find* them.

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 03:26 AM
If I [this is a hypothetical "I"] already have plenty of my own music to listen to and am satisfied with it, what's the point? If I think my own, old music collection is great, and think the stuff I hear on TV or the radio sucks, why do I have to go fishing through the crap to find some good stuff?

Well, sure, if you don't want to look for new music, then don't. It's up to you. But what I'm trying to say is that there is better music out there than what is on MTV or on the corporate radio stations that you're probably listening to when you say "the radio." If you're actually listening to an underground or college radio station that's playing a wide variety of new music, and you still don't like it, well, I'm not going to convince you.

You say "fishing through the crap" as if this is some kind of labor-intensive and arduous process that gets your hands dirty. Now, if you told me that there was a $4000 diamond at the bottom of a pile of dog shit, well, frankly, I'm going to get down and fish through that dog shit because even fishing through dog shit for 15 seconds beats working for months and saving up $4000. In fact, if you told me that there was a never-heard-before Beatles song, an out-take from Abbey Road, say, and the one and only tape of it was at the bottom of a pile of dog shit, frankly I'd fish through the dog shit. I might fish through dog shit just for fifty cents to buy a coke, if I'm really thirsty.

But fortunately, you don't really have to fish through crap, literally or figuratively, to find new music. If you are a music fan, it shouldn't be too unpleasant just to listen to samples of a few new bands on iTunes. It's an easy thing to do and it doesn't take much time at all. It's not like you have to watch MTV for 40 minutes and then have one good song come on, and take down that song's name, and then watch 40 more minutes of shitty songs again before another good one comes on. The music is all at your fingertips. Read some reviews, listen to some samples - big deal! This takes just a few minutes of browsing here and there.

If you're adamant about not wanting or caring about new music, I guess that's all there is to it. I mean, there's plenty of old music that's just as worth listening to as any new music. But I think even people who love older music should appreciate some new music too. When I heard that David Bowie was a fan of Grandaddy, it made me really happy to think that this musical pioneer of the 70s was still open minded enough to check out the new stuff. I hope that when I'm 80 years old, I'll happily be plugging into my grandchilren's neural music interfaces.

elfkin477
12-06-2006, 03:28 AM
And music is a far smaller part of older peoples' lives than you probably realize. To go out and find new groups would take research, time, effort, and a lot of waste for me.
So that makes you like the polar opposite of my dad, then? He's in his mid-50s and still listens to music made recently. For example, he's recently discovered that he likes Blur and Coldplay. (Coldplay?! Well, I didn't say he had great taste...) He even is somewhat aware of music I like and found me a CD of indie/alternative Christmas songs. OTOH, he digs research in general, and considers learning about new things for the sake of learning about them to be worthwhile.

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 03:36 AM
My dad is 49 and went to a Muse show last summer. Granted, he went with his girlfriend, who's 26, but he told me he loved the show and that it reminded him of the Yes shows that he loved as a kid.

Just the other day I was driving my grandpa (78) around town and the craziest, trippiest electronica song came on- and he said "I really like this music you're playing!"

I think you can never be too old to listen to new music.

Gail
12-06-2006, 09:25 AM
My cable TV system has Music Choice Channels, which is basically radio on TV. Last summer, my daughter and I got into the Alternative Rock channel. Because, lets face it everything I used to listen to is now called "Classic Rock" and that's getting a little tiresome.
Anyway, I found out I like a lot of the new music. I like Lostprophets, AFI, The Killers, Muse, and a lot of others. What I don't like is the top 40 and rap they play on the local radio stations. And, BTW, I'm 48.

An Arky
12-06-2006, 09:46 AM
I actually think "new music" is getting better; I hear new music every day that I like. There's tons of bands out there getting airplay that sound a lot like the new wave I used to be into as a teen in the late 70s/early 80s. Sure they're pale imitators, but at least they're imitating the right stuff now, IMHO.

However, I no longer look up to these bands because I'm older (43) and I'm in a band myself, so I consider these folks peers. This demystification tends to dampen one's fandom. But that doesn't stop me from lending an ear here and there.

Autumn Almanac
12-06-2006, 10:09 AM
There are different levels of being into music; it's not a dichotomy between "I don't understand this noise, get off my lawn" and "Check out this new band I found on MySpace that just formed last week and hasn't even played a show yet." Making it sound so complicated and time-consuming just scares people away. Hell, I am young and into music, and the whole MySpace/blog scene is too much for me to keep up with. Honestly, spending ten minutes a day just reading Pitchfork and listening to a few audio samples on Amazon will keep you pretty well up-to-date. I may not discover a band like Art Brut until a few months after the true hipsters do, but it keeps me from forgetting that music continued to be made after 1975. :)

ultrafilter
12-06-2006, 11:44 AM
I used to be with it. But then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.

A couple years ago, I could've written the OP. Now, I'm not so sure that it's worth my time and effort to track down new music that I like. What happened?

I think a big part of it was getting older and taking on more responsibilities. There are more things I care about now, and still only so many hours in a day. I have to divide my time up according to what's important, and music just isn't at the top of the list any more.

Above and beyond that, finding new stuff isn't as easy for us underground types as it is for the hipsters. I've been a fan of funeral doom for about three years now, and even though I spent about half of that time looking for it, I've only found four bands who play it. I don't think there are many more out there. I'd quickly abandon any other activity with such a low ROI, so why should I stick with this one?

The other problem I'm having is that as I listen to more music, and more styles of music, I've started realizing just how true it is that 90% of everything is crap. And even the good stuff is all starting to blend together these days.

I'm not at all sure that this isn't just a phase, and that I won't be digging through a bunch of labels' listening pages three months from now. But I see what happens to other people, and I have to ask whether I'm really so special that I'll have a completely different experience.

Exapno Mapcase
12-06-2006, 12:33 PM
So that makes you like the polar opposite of my dad, then? He's in his mid-50s and still listens to music made recently. For example, he's recently discovered that he likes Blur and Coldplay. (Coldplay?! Well, I didn't say he had great taste...) He even is somewhat aware of music I like and found me a CD of indie/alternative Christmas songs. OTOH, he digs research in general, and considers learning about new things for the sake of learning about them to be worthwhile.
As a matter of fact I think Coldplay's "Clocks" to be a great song. It came on the radio the other day and even my wife, who's not a real fan of rock or piano, thought it was good. I saw a concert version on television that was even better. Blur doesn't do anything for me.

Huh, what? Didn't I say that I don't listen to new stuff?

No, I didn't. I said I'm not going to sort through MySpace in the hopes that some garage band isn't crap.

It's an axiom that in any open system the cream rises. Yeah, that's exactly why Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton adopted the name more than 40 years ago. Yeah, there was a time when it was almost impossible to know that Louie Armstrong was transforming American music. That closed system is gone. There are many ways for the best groups and individuals to make themselves known.

It is not "absolutely true that most of modern radio is run by a single company, Clear Channel." Clear Channel does not open the majority of radio stations. It does not own a quarter of radio stations. It does not own 10% of radio stations. Even if you assume that "modern radio" means stations that program mostly modern indie groups, it does not run most of those. There are good local modern commercial stations in every city, besides the multitude of college and high school "educational" stations that play modern music.

And there are many other venues. Every late-night program has an incredible variety of music on. I see groups I've never heard of several times each week. Sometimes I write down a name and look for their music. Not always modern rock, of course, not even often. I've shifted over more toward jazz because I find the level of musicianship in these bands to be intolerably low. And the almost inevitably chunking away at chords to create a droning guitar buzz that overlays all songs is maddening. How you can not say that modern rock sucks when group after group gets turned off halfway through a song?

You know who also says that? Bob Dylan. That's right. Contrarian, always-ahead-of-his-times Bob Dylan says that nothing good has been made in 20 years or whatever the exact quote was. You honestly think that Bob Dylan doesn't hear any new music? That groups aren't vying for his attention and approval?

The cream rises. It's always been true. If you look at the past 40 years of that incredibly huge mass that is called "rock" music you find that really good music is always popular music. (The reverse, that all popular music is really good, has never been true. But that's not what we're talking about.) If you look carefully you can find some people who because of bad luck, or bad management, or bad drug use or whatever should have had a shot but didn't make it. That'll always happen. But in every decade the really good music has become known to the general music public. Cult bands usually remain cult bands because they're too narrow rather than because they're not known. Frankly, a lot of cult bands remain cult bands because they just aren't that good in the first place. Being cool is not the same as being good. Punk was the perfect example of this. The good bands evolved out of punk and into better music. Only the very young can listen to attitude.

So all I'm saying is that the Internet has not repealed the laws of music, just as people found out that the Internet didn't repeal the laws of business. The cream still rises. If bands are that good they will come to public attention despite Clear Channel. If they don't, well, it's probably them and not me. Cream flows downhill and into everyone's coffee cup. No search for the magic cow pasture is required. Mixed Metaphors. Band name!

pulykamell
12-06-2006, 02:20 PM
The thing is, I certainly don't spend the time researching new music like I did in my 20s. (Granted, I'm only in my 30s now). However, it is soooooo easy for me to find music I like that I haven't heard before. The internet is simply the greatest radio station out there. I used to use Pandora as my radio station, until I found its playlist very limiting. Then I discovered last.fm (http://www.last.fm), another one of these "give us your favorite bands/songs and we'll figure out what you might like" websites. The basic services are free, and that's what provides 90% of my background music during my day.
And I'm constantly discovering old and new bands through this.

Otherwise, internet radio stations WOXY.com and KEXP.org are there for me when I want the deejays to take control of my musical choices. If I want to get even more experimental, most college radio stations stream these days, and there's plenty of great foreign radio stations to tune into.

It doesn't even take effort these days to find new music, if that's something that's important to you. If not, then there's nothing wrong with sticking with your old records, just don't complain that there's no good new music.

pulykamell
12-06-2006, 02:26 PM
You know who also says that? Bob Dylan. That's right. Contrarian, always-ahead-of-his-times Bob Dylan says that nothing good has been made in 20 years or whatever the exact quote was. You honestly think that Bob Dylan doesn't hear any new music? That groups aren't vying for his attention and approval?


Well, to put it bluntly, Bob Dylan is wrong.

Then again, Bob Dylan is also one of those artists I've never "gotten." He obviously has a different idea of good music than I do.

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 02:43 PM
The cream rises. It's always been true. If you look at the past 40 years of that incredibly huge mass that is called "rock" music you find that really good music is always popular music. (The reverse, that all popular music is really good, has never been true. But that's not what we're talking about.) If you look carefully you can find some people who because of bad luck, or bad management, or bad drug use or whatever should have had a shot but didn't make it. That'll always happen. But in every decade the really good music has become known to the general music public. Cult bands usually remain cult bands because they're too narrow rather than because they're not known. Frankly, a lot of cult bands remain cult bands because they just aren't that good in the first place. Being cool is not the same as being good. Punk was the perfect example of this. The good bands evolved out of punk and into better music. Only the very young can listen to attitude.


When you say that the "really good music is always popular music," what do you mean by popular? There are varying degrees of popularity. I just want to make sure we're on the same wavelength here. If you're saying that a band isn't really good until it gets on MTV or Top 40, then I'm going to have to take issue with that argument - but I'm sure that's not what you're saying because you seem to have a very good understanding of music.

WordMan
12-06-2006, 02:47 PM
Can't. Not. Post.

Even though I know it is pointless.

I am in my early 40's. I listen to and like lots of new music. I come across it when my network of music friends share recommendations in random fashion - I hear about some music, tell folks about it, they reply in kind and I learn.

I also completely understand that some folks don't want to invest the time to find good new music - or don't have easy access to an efficient way to identify music right in their zone.

I agree with the OP, however, when it concerns inappropriate dismissive statements. If someone says "there's no good new music out there" that's their problem, not music's.

As for Dylan - he specifically said

"I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really. You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them. There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like … static… Even these songs probably sounded ten times better in the studio when we recorded 'em. CDs are small. There's no stature to it."

NOTE - he is referring to music PRODUCTION and PACKAGING, not the actual songs. In other words, there may be good songs out there, but they are produced and packaged poorly. I suspect he is referring to poor production due to things like: 1) mixing them to be louder - this is a phenomenon of the past 10 years or so; 2) mixing them to be played as mp3's and in a variety of small, digital sound systems; and 3) digital recording, period - in some ways it is amazing and revolutionary, but in some ways it sounds much more cold and harsh than older analog recordings. Bottom line, times have changed and Dylan prefers older production techniques.

But production is not music - the music being made today is all over the map, like it is with every era - and some of it is great.

Autumn Almanac
12-06-2006, 02:51 PM
I think Exapno is talking about fans of cult bands who insist that "<my pet band> would be broadly popular if only The Man wasn't keeping them down." Not that cult bands are worse than broadly popular bands, but if a band has true potential to appeal to a wide audience, it's only a matter of time before they do.

Autumn Almanac
12-06-2006, 02:54 PM
That post was in response to Argent Towers (by the way, how do you feel about Blunstone? ;) ).

TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW
12-06-2006, 03:00 PM
This is kind of a dumb topic, but at its heart there's a good point; if you're complaining that "all X sucks these days" about anything, it merely reveals that you're a casual or fairweather "fan" and not a true aficionado. This goes for anything - music, film, beer, food, television, clothing, etc. etc. etc.

There will always be "fans" - those that have a mere casual interest in the topic at hand - and then there will always be "aficionados" or "nerds," those who live and breathe the topic at hand and understand that part of this love involves spending their free time researching the topic. This is especially true of universal or populist things like "music," "movies," "food," etc. - you just have to accept that the majority of people out there just feel like, "music - yeah, it's cool." To them, music is a neat diversion, something to put on while they clean the house or work out, but it's not their life; they value it on about the same level that they value sitcoms or fast food.

For the nerds (and I wholly admit to being one when it comes to music!), the hobby doesn't just involve flipping on the radio and listening to whatever's on - it's an entire lifestyle involving constantly reading magazines and books about music, searching out new music, going to see live music, shopping for records, reading music review websites and mp3 blogs, checking out the new releases on subgenre-specialty websites, listening to esoteric radio, and often playing music yourself. It's an entire lifestyle, and it's ok that others don't share in it, just as you don't share in the lifestyles that accompany their hobbies (golf? beer? baseball?).

But the problem occurs when someone ill-equipped to make pronouncements about a subject starts to make them, like when someone who merely listens to the radio or whatever starts to say "All music these days sucks!" Just as I wouldn't begin to make pronouncements about wine, golf, or horseback riding - subjects I know very little about - they shouldn't make such prounouncements about music, which they know little about.

TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW
12-06-2006, 03:03 PM
(by the way, how do you feel about Blunstone? ;) ).

One of the greatest and most underrated voices in popular music's last century.

Logan 5
12-06-2006, 06:30 PM
The notions of cream rising to the top and music that is good will become popular doesn't really work for me. There are many musicians out there who make incredible music that isn't accessible to the pop listner. And they aren't trying to get Grammy's or airplay. They are artists. They make music because that's what they are driven to do. Music, like other art, has what is accessible to many and what is challenging. I won't even go into good versus bad (too subjective). Take a Norman Rockwell painting, easy, accessible, straightforward. One needs no background in art to appreciate it, the viewer doesn't even need to have ever seen any other art to understand it. Then take a Nam June Paik, Anselm Kiefer or Jenny Holzer. There is no pretty picture, most viewers look in bewilderment. Many say it's awful, or that it's not art at all. Yet, they have made some of the most important art in the last 40 years. There were no Jenny Holzer calendars of Paik shower curtains, but Rockwell is all over the place and incredibly more popular. They are not cult, fringe or niche artists and neither are many musicans whose work is not popular nor on mainstream radio. So to say that if they're any good they will be popular (or played on the radio as I believe it's implied) is skewed at best.

I agree though with what has been said about priorities changing and thereby not having enough time/will to dedicate to searching for new music. I get tired of my collection every so often and that's when I go searching, to the point where I end up with so much new music that I can barely find time to listen to it. Then I'll spend time listening to all my new stuff and gradulally start listening to my other music as well. I think being able to put your collection on a hard drive and have it play randomly also adds, over time, to the over-played situation. You would think it would be just the opposite, but even with tens of thousands of songs, you do hear artists repeatedly. The convenience of having your entire collection available at the press of a button lends itself to over-familiarity in the long run. Which is why I am glad I still have a good sized record collection that I have not replaced and can still take the time to clean and listen to one side at a time.

If music is central to your life, it doesn't take much effort to hear new music, or new-to-you music. You don't have to be part of a scene or hang out in record stores (what few are left) or go to live shows, although those are all great ways to hear new things.

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 06:39 PM
VC03, I'm sorry if you think this is a dumb topic. I realize that not everyone is going to be as absorbed in music as I am. But for me, music is my life. When I am not playing it or listening to it, I'm thinking about it.

I just got fed up with all the people writing of new music and dismissing it thoughtlessly. As a musician, and someone who is passionately into playing, listening to, and learning about all kinds of music, I just can't sit still when I hear someone basically tell me that all my music is nothing. Maybe I'm taking it too personally, but when someone is saying that all new music is shit, they're saying that all the songs that I listen to, and that influence me in my own playing, are shit - and I can't just sit still for it knowing that they're making this generalization probably without ever having heard any of the music they're writing off. But I made a conscious decision to put this in CS and not in the Pit because it's not my intention to make a personal attack on anyone or to make this discussion about anger and frustration. As far as I'm concerned, it's about fighting ignorance, which is our overall mission here.

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 06:43 PM
I also feel it's neccessary to add that I also listen to just as much old music as new, and I encounter some of the same ignorance and dismissive attitudes about that from people who only listen to new music, It frustrates me just as much when people I know dismiss Chicago, Steely Dan or Todd Rundgren as being cheesy adult-contemporary acts when they're totally oblivious of the musical pioneering of these groups and the depth of their repertoire. So it goes both ways.

Mister Rik
12-06-2006, 08:48 PM
I've turned to Japan for good new music. While obviously inspired by Western rock and pop, it has a different feel and attitude that I find extremely appealing. I stumbled onto J-Pop and J-Rock quite accidentally. While Googling for photos of a Japanese actress/model named Aiko Sato, I found a link to a singer who goes simply by aiko (lowercase intentional). Out of curiosity, I followed the link and found that somebody had posted a few MP3s of her music. I was instantly hooked!

I started looking for aiko's music, and the more I heard, the more I fell in love with her stuff. While a large majority of Japanese pop artists are "manufactured", just like American pop artists, aiko is different. She started out in high school, singing in a garage tribute band that covered tunes by the famous all-girl group Shonen Knife. After high school she went on to attend Osaka College of Music, where she studied popular music vocals. She got her recording contract after winning a televised talent contest, and released her first record in 1998. Aside from her debut single, "Ashita", she has written and composed all of her own songs.

It's especially apparent to me when I watch her videos that aiko is an artist, not a performer. While most female pop singers depend on sex appeal and fancy dance moves, aiko depends on good songs. Even in her videos, she herself does not seem like the focal point. The song is the focus of the video. She really seems, to me, to express pure joy in what she's doing. Some samples:

Kabutomushi (www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A3ecNgV1is), one of her early songs, is still the most beautiful song I've ever heard.
Boyfriend (www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1_RVEflvnk) is some kind of fun Motown-hoedown fusion. Being from Washington, I was amused by her Washington Huskies T-shirt :)
Smooch! (www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsgOu2hF3Uw) is cute.
And I really like Kirakira (www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLWehUI_WGA), from her latest album.

ZONE started out as a song & dance act, comprised of junior high school girls assembled by a studio. The group was pared from eight members to six, then to four. They were given instruments that they then pretended to play in their videos and on stage. At some point they decided to learn how to play their instruments for real, and ended up being quite good. They disbanded around the time three of them graduated from high school, when Mizuho, the drummer, decided to leave the group to attend college.

Akashi (www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv_VK51--Ac) really rocks.
From their final live performance, Salariman (www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBex76FjYME) is a nice blues-rock number.

Since disbanding, lead singer Miyu Nagase has launched a solo career, while bassist Maiko Sakae is now fronting another all-girl group called Maria. Maria is interesting in that they are actually fronted by two bassists/lead singers. The group has only released two singles so far. I really like Tsubomi (www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0TaG9ISZFg). *heh* I like the drummer's "I (heart) Sugar" shirt.

Finally, for the headbangers, there's High and Mighty Color:

Pride (www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4aUK1MCZvw)
Ichirin no hana (www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKv29Qp4iHc)

Argent Towers
12-06-2006, 08:54 PM
My girlfriend introduced me to Love Psychedelico, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Psychedelico) another J pop band. I've only heard relatively few of their songs but they have a very unique sound. There are also a lot of nonsensical English lyrics that pop up amongst the Japanese, which gives it sort of a humorous twist.

Exapno Mapcase
12-06-2006, 09:03 PM
I've said all that I need to say on the subject so I hadn't intended to add any comments to this thread. But then I read this:

Take a Norman Rockwell painting, easy, accessible, straightforward. One needs no background in art to appreciate it, the viewer doesn't even need to have ever seen any other art to understand it. Then take a Nam June Paik, Anselm Kiefer or Jenny Holzer. There is no pretty picture, most viewers look in bewilderment. Many say it's awful, or that it's not art at all. Yet, they have made some of the most important art in the last 40 years. There were no Jenny Holzer calendars of Paik shower curtains, but Rockwell is all over the place and incredibly more popular. They are not cult, fringe or niche artists and neither are many musicans whose work is not popular nor on mainstream radio. So to say that if they're any good they will be popular (or played on the radio as I believe it's implied) is skewed at best.

As Holmes said to Watson, you look but you do not see. There is no popular art in America today. None. There are no contemporary artists that the general run of the public is familiar with. All art today is cult, fringe, or niche. I say this unreservedly, and as someone who likes art.

Comparing the state of art in modern America with the state of pop-rock is an absurdity. It's apples and fish.

msmith537
12-06-2006, 10:25 PM
I find it difficult to believe that you can't find music to listen to if you really want to. Unfortunately, as many people pointed out, there's SO much music to listen to it's difficult to find exactly what you're looking for.

Basically, I just try to get whatever mp3s I can get my hands on. Napster, iTunes store, shared collections with my coworkers at work. You can even find an occasional good song on the radio.

TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW
12-06-2006, 10:31 PM
VC03, I'm sorry if you think this is a dumb topic. I realize that not everyone is going to be as absorbed in music as I am. But for me, music is my life. When I am not playing it or listening to it, I'm thinking about it.


Aw, dude, I'm right there with you. I just mean that there's kind of no point in trying to call those morons out; they're going to keep shooting their mouths off, just as people will always say "Rap - more like CRAP!" because they've never even listened to real rap music.

elmwood
12-06-2006, 10:53 PM
Though I would suspect that either they're using the phrase "all new music" as shorthand for "all new music that gets radio play" . . ..

Now, there seems to be an attitude that there is an inverse correlation between the quality of a band and the amount of airplay it on the radio.

Imagine if the attitude you encountered today existed in the 1970s ...

"Led Zeppelin? The Rolling Stones? The Who? They all suck. If you want to hear really great rock, check out my buddy's band, The Overland Park Express. It's playing at Joe's Bar down the street tonight."

Back in the 1970s, 1980s and early to mid-1990s, if a band was good, it got airplay. If it sucked, it didn't. Now, according to day's music fans, the exact opposite is true.

Junior Spaceman
12-06-2006, 11:21 PM
I'm a music nut/music geek of the highest order, and am always seeking out new music. It's not my fault that all of the new music that is blowing my mind happens to have been made at least thirty years ago - I wasn't listening to the New York Dolls when they were around (hey - they split up more or less the year I was born), but now they're rocking my little world daily, as is Albert Ayler (sixties and earlier), Miles Davis (sixties to seventies), Porter Wagoner (Sixties/seventies), Jacques Brel (sixties), Leadbelly (forties), Von Lmo (late seventies), and so on.

Like someone else said, when there's around eighty years of fantastic music that is yet to be heard by most of us, why bother just listening to things that are brand new? I got burnt out on new bands being the 'flavour of the week', and then being forgotten about by the hipsters when the next new shiny thing came along. I don't care if it makes me an old fogey at thirty-odd when I won't really give a group too much attention until they've stuck around and worked at it for at least ten years (or their records are at least ten years old, and outside of the realm of 'FOTM' territory). Looking back at the past decade, I don't feel there's too much I've missed out on, considering the number of today's hipster 'hypes' that are tomorrow's hipster 'joke'.