Posts Tagged ‘music’

The Elvis Year that never included the King

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Recently, my brother-in-law announced that no good music has been made in 15 years. This is a concept some people call your “Elvis-year” -meaning the moment when you felt like you had the whole life-thing wired and then you look back on it forever. You just sit in the warm bath of the music that was the sound track of the time you felt like you ruled the world and you watch those movies and you stay in touch with those friends…etc.So if you “Elvis-yeared” in 1984 you might never want to listen to anything but Van Halen, Cindi Lauper and Prince while watching Ghostbusters or Footloose. I’m pretty certain I’ve had a couple and I don’t know if that’s allowed (but I’m writing so I’m making the rules). There’s a couple times when I had a new lease on life – most recently when Nicole and I started dating 5 years ago.

There’s another concept around this idea I’ve also heard discussed called the “reminiscence bump” or looking back on a time when your parents were in their 20’s- which explains why these nostalgia booms seem to reflect a time just before the people leading it were born- 30 years previous e.g. in the 70’s shows like Happy Days looked back on the 50’s in the 80’s shows like The Wonder Years & China Beach looked back on the 60’s and now we’re treated to The Goldbergs to look back on the 80’s.

My Dad’s Elvis-year was probably 1959 or so. He would tell me that no good music had been made since then, but the same time  I was probably 12 or 13, just discovering music like The Clash, David Bowie and The Ramones. Which meant as my Dad was saying it I felt like I was *actively* proving him wrong. As this declaration was made, he was rejecting everything from Michael Jackson to The Velvet Underground in favor of Chuck Berry and The Four Freshman. Sure there were a few bands that sneaked through Dad’s standard wall… Billy Joel was okay (he was from Long Island) …Bruce Springsteen was okay (He was singing about something we wouldn’t have a word for until 2 years ago…’Murica) but those were few and far between.

Now even though I have some things that I still discuss with my therapist about Dad doesn’t mean that’s it’s wrong that as he made this declaration I saw that he was glaringly wrong. This fact cemented in my mind there was never going to be a need to make such a declaration. I was going to keep my mind and my ears open for whatever was next. It’s been good for my musical enlightenment but maybe bad for my wallet (this means you have to buy new stuff all the time). I am now about the age that my Dad was when he declared that music was dead and I can tell you that music is far from dead and there’s cool new stuff happening all the time.

So long story short… for as long as people are still around there will be great music being made all the time and the key is opening your mind to it. It’s going to be different than the music that was made when you were 22 and all fresh faced, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

As I move through life I find that there’s things I keep but there’s a lot I lose.The Clash sounds as good today as they did in 1982 but even though I loved Depeche mode when I was 19, now they sound dated. Husker Du sounds fresh, The Doors sound tired. Etc.

The list goes on.

This gave me an idea. When I first started this blog it was an email and the email was framed around a song that was stuck in my head. I would prattle on about something that was going on- and then I would share the song of the day. I think this whole new/old thing might have legs and more importantly it gives me something to frame my ideas around and force me to write a bit more.

So…in addition to prattling on, I’m going to include one song from the past that still sounds good and one song from now that is an excellent addition.

That said. Here they are:

Old Thing: Echo & The Bunnymen: Bring on the Dancing Horses. Recently this song came on Pandora and I was surprised how undated it sounded. It’s just a good rock song. There’s no weird trendy things going on, they’re just playing something. I’d say the way to tell if something is on the trend line is listen to it a bunch of times, for example, that now terrible Mumford and Sons song. Remember the first time you heard it? Didn’t suck. Then suddenly it sucked (and REALLY sucked). I don’t know how it went from not suck to suck but it did about two listens in and the moment it happened that song became unlistenable. So I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Bring on the Dancing Horses but….well alot…. it still doesn’t suck. Even …jesus…30 years later

New Thing: Thao & Get Down Stay Down: Nobody Dies. I’d be remiss if I didn’t drop her on the debut version of this new idiom.  For several reasons, (1) When Jason said “No good music has been made…etc” I had just gotten her record in the mail. It came out, like, yesterday (I preordered it) she was the first thing I thought of because- she’s awesome and also her record had quite literally just come out.- making the record younger than his kid. (2) She’s local (we already knew this but)- this video is filmed either in Marin or the east bay. I know I’ve been there but I can’t quite place it. (3) She’s one of my favorite new artists in the past couple years and also one hell of a show – so go see her live you will not regret it.

So there you go. Now I have a thing and that means that maybe I’ll get fingers on keys a bit more…maybe weekly?

Tilly and the wall and the door

Monday, July 26th, 2010

So we just changed floors at work. New floor, new desk, new things

One new thing is a new door. A new door shouldn’t make any difference right? Unfortunately it does. What it’s done is put the same song in my head all day every day.

There’s this band that you should have heard of if you haven’t called Tilly and The Wall. They’re from Omaha and like all those Omaha bands have some loose connection to wunderkind Conor Orbest but that’s not important right now. This is the important thing:

They do not have a drum kit, what they have is one girl that tap dances and two others that stand on top of boxes and kind of stap their feet along with the music. It creates a really interesting percussion section. It’s really good, which is why I say- go pay attention if you haven’t.

So on their first record they have a song called “Bad Education”. I think it was the single, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t find the album track but here it is on letterman:

It starts with this kind of ‘stomp stomp crack’* which is the exact noise that front door makes every time someone comes or goes. Then my brain, being completely trained by years of trying to be funny by connecting one thing to the hopefully illogical next thing as fast as I can, completes the “sentence” by starting the lyric. And like I said, it’s a good song, so then it stays in my head for a while. But I’m used to thinking of more than one song on any given day so it’s weird. I’ve had tilly and the wall and not just tilly and the wall…”Bad Education” in my head non stop for two weeks.

Even when I listen to something else it goes away until I stop listening and then someone leaves. Then it’s back.

I guess there’s worse things, the door could sound like the beginning of a Chicago song**

On another separate but still musical note, if you haven’t heard the band “Lost in the Woods” give them a listen. I heard them on NPR “first listen” and they’re a little weepy but the sound is tremendous- they call themselves “Orchestral Folk” it’s like Neutral Milk Hotel with a little less punk and more strings.

*Note to Nancy Reagan: “Stomp Stomp Crack” way better than “just say no”

** Or a Steve Miller song… or etc