When speaking with a good friend earlier he remarked how he’s rarely excited by bands he hears. that is, he’ll generally only hear three or four bands a year that he gets jazzed about. I told him I find at least one a week and, generally speaking, more than that even. But that’s not without its costs. It takes hours and hours of wading through records, listening to new bands, etc. and basically never having a moment at home or in the car when music isn’t playing. While this isn’t any different than the way I was in High School it feels different now.
There’s plenty out there to get excited about but very little of it is brand new in the way those early, teenage discoveries were. And they’re not going to be. I know that. More than finding new forms (or rather, new-to-me forms*) I find variations on forms that inspire me. There’s lots of people out there experimenting, breaking and building, ignoring and absorbing. And as long as people are taking what they find and fiddling with it just enough to render it personal and exceptional I know I’ll not likely run short of new records to dig.
That said, what in the world is the big hoo-ha about Vampire Weekend? This is almost a total case of the opposite of what I was just talking about. Their debut album is popping up everywhere and selling like hotcakes and is currently being compared to Paul Simon’s Graceland
more than anything else. Just this week I read a local reviewer who said, “This might just be our generation’s Graceland.”Um, yeah, OK. And I guess Dave Longstreth can be your generation’s Chevy Chase, too. As one who remembers vividly the massive hype and success of Graceland, not to mention the horrific album itself, I can tell you this: you might mean that as a complement but I read it as a death sentence. Even so,the band’s “Oxford Comma” is a fairly decent Doo-Wop song that varies only slightly from the form. It’s just about the only thing on the whole record I can stand more than once.
But what have I been digging?
-A totally minimal synth/dance band from Romania named The Model. Less is almost always less but here it’s truly more.
-This band named Zombie Zombie.
-The beautiful new record by El Perro Del Mar. This will receive a proper, full on review here next week. I like it too much to write about it while I’m half asleep.
This weekend I will celebrate my niece’s 7th birthday and my grandfather’s 85th. On the same day, too. Enjoy your rock shows.
(*Note: There’s plenty of forms of music out there that I’m not at all familiar with and am patiently exploring. What I meant was variations on pop forms. But you probably knew that and I’m just feeling under justified.)