Looking for What Hasn’t Been Done Before

It was only a couple years ago I remember some friends lamenting how out of touch they were with the music of today. At the time I could scoff at them; they lived in an isolated world that didn’t include Lightning Bolt or Tussle. It was OK—they didn’t know any better. They could still live healthy, fulfilled lives without Lightning Bolt, but I could still reap the benefit of this secret knowledge—and live even better.

Now I’ve fallen into one of those self-same isolation slumps, where I can only think, “What else could other people actually be doing out in the world? Haven’t people run out of ideas by now?” It’s at these times when I’m most susceptible to random art miscellanea. That’s when some group like Caroliner Rainbow comes along, overflowing with the kind of DayGlo modern zeitgeist I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t think of first.

» Listen to Caroliner Rainbow at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog

* * *

Somewhere in the back of my head is this worry that the world will run out of obscure, relevant nonsense, and straightforward indie rock will eventually overwhelm the spectrum. It’s an unavoidable—but not exactly dystopian—future that will have to vary in subtleties rather than extremities.

» Listen to Voxtrot at Faronheit

* * *

These are the same points where my analysis breaks down and I give up on my predefined rules and regulations (“no cover bands, nothing by bands named after geographic locations”) to allow myself more nebulous offerings. Good music can come in strange forms: pop idols, abandoned crooners, and LSD murder-cult leaders. They may make violent threats to cellmates mid-set, but the there’s an inherent honesty underneath that makes up for all the amorality.

» Listen to “Eyes of a Dreamer” by Charles Manson

* * *

For me, all of these groups are on the edges of criticism. They’re at that vague point of impression before it’s discretely distilled into a category of adjectives. That, or else I’m avoiding the existential ennui that comes with putting somebody’s artistic inclinations in a box. I guess that’s why most entertainment critics eventually devolve into quantitative scoring (stars/points/thumbs). How do you continue to creatively analyze the outbursts of hormonally imbalanced teenagers on a regular basis while trying to be encouraging at the same time? No, the future of music writing is pure anthropology.

» Listen to songs from The Cavalry of Light EP by Lavender Diamond

* * *

In this anthropological view, I can imagine a Pitchfork music review in 20 years as a series of pragmatic bullet points—each one designating the exact style and background of a section of composition. It will be called the Garcia Method of Notation and it will be the industry standard. You could cross-reference a song with a whole genealogy database of influence at the click of a button. Every creative attempt will be instantly, visibly interconnected and have its inherent logic exposed for the world to see. Everybody will be depressed and wonder what else there could be in the world that hasn’t already been done.

» Listen to Chrome at 20 Jazz Funk Greats

blog comments powered by Disqus