Wednesday, February 22, 2017

That new music smell

Finding new music creates a feeling that is hard to explain.  It might be similar to how people feel when they accomplish an extremely difficult task.  It might even feel similar to when you score a goal in sports.  This might sound stupid to some people, but music has been a large part of my life now for over 20 years.  In that time, I have made it almost like a job to find new music to add to my collection.  There was also a sense of urgency to find new bands to put onto my mixes.  I couldn't keep using the same bands for the mixes, I was starting to run out of songs to use.  For my friends, it meant that I would want to go to Media Play, Best Buy or Independent Records (showing my age for sure) frequently to search the multiple shelves for new music.  It would be difficult to try and estimate the amount of time I have spent searching for these new elusive bands.  With persistence, there have been many bands that I have found over the years that have fit well into my own personal music collection.  

My sources for finding new music have changed over the years.  In the first half of my music selection, it meant searching CD shelves at a local music shop.  It also meant paying attention to what record labels bands were associated with at the time.  You could then get their catalogs or search their primitive websites to look for possible bands.  Record labels, especially independent labels, seem to sign bands that have similar sound characteristics.  They would also share similar genres.  You could take a chance and buy an album from a different band on that exact same label.  A high percentage of the time, the bands would meet my picky musical taste.  Very few times would the album end up back at the CD shop looking to upgrade to a better model.  There were also a ton of compilation albums put out by record labels.  These compilations were a perfect way to hear new bands.  Now things have changed rather drastically in how I find my new bands.  The invention of Shazam has changed the game drastically.  While watching a TV show, a commercial or even watching a movie, this wonderful tool can find out who this new catchy song is performed by in a matter of moments.  Unheard of in the first years of my record collection.  I would say that now 90% of my new music come from using Shazam.  The other 10% will still come from word-of-mouth from friends, record labels or reading posts on social media.  Over the past year, there has also been a great addition to my quiver of music capturing capabilities.  This new arrow is the KEXP song of the day podcast.  Every day, this wonderful, unique radio station from Seattle put out a different song on their podcast.  These songs are typically by independent bands that are putting out new music.  Around 40% of these podcasts will give me a band or song that I enjoy.  The rest of the time, the song will not be my cup of tea.  But it has been great to find this new resource for finding new music.

Once I do find a new band that I find intriguing, there's always seems to be a feeling out period with some of them.  There will be a catchy riff that piques my interest or a catchy lyric.  Sometimes it's even an intricate rhythm on the piano or drum kit.  Whatever it is that catches my attention, it will take me a few listens to the song or album to fully enjoy the band.  Many times, I realize upon the second or third listen that they don't really fit in my collection.  Know that this isn't a knock on their musical talent.  It just isn't for me.  But of the bands that make the cut, there is a time where I will finally have that ah-ha moment.  To use a cliche of childhood cartoons, the light bulb will appear suddenly.  Once that light is on for a new band, they will stay in the steady rotation.

Sometimes a new band comes along that will catch my attention on the first song.  Now this is a rare occasion.  I can't really pinpoint the cause of this anomaly.  Once it does happen, these songs or albums totally encapsulate my life.  There are sometimes where listening to this new song or album becomes almost like an obsession.  I will play it over and over and no end.  I remember when I was told by a buddy from college about Matt Pond PA and their album "Several Arrows Later."  From the second bar of the first song, I knew this was a band that I would enjoy.  There was easily a month straight of that year where I listened to that album in the car or at home.  I was also obsessed with telling my friends who enjoy music about Matt Pond PA.  Then a few months after this new obsession, they came to play live in Colorado Springs at the Black Sheep.  A cherry on top of the Sunday.  Seeing them play live was the affirmation to my new obsession.  Such a tremendous showcase of their musical talent in a small piece band.  Plus it was rare to see the use of a cello in a rock band.  Nevertheless, these rare occasions are similar to a piece of gold to a metal detectorist.  They just make work harder to find this new music.

Whatever your obsession or hobby is in your life, I think many of you can relate to this feeling in some way.  I guess my musical taste has been a way to showcase who I am as a person.  I remember growing up looking to do something different from everyone else at school.  But I never had the courage once I got into my teens to do anything dramatic to my appearance.  That was out of the picture for some reason.  Guess that still exists today.  Music was the way for me to make myself feel unique.  To be different to the kids that appeared so early similar.  I guess that's why I have stood so proudly behind my tastes since I was 16.  My music collection was an extension of who I was.  And if someone would comment on it, it was taken as a knock on my personality.  In retrospect now, I can see that this all stemmed from self confidence.  If I was truly confident in my personality, I would know that I had good taste in music.  The comment would be moving quickly off my back and I would know that their opinion didn't mean jack.  Guess it's better late than never to come to this realization.

This second mix on Gordie's picks is a representation of the new bands I have found in the past few months.  Many have come along since I started streaming music through Apple.  Many have come along from the KRXP podcast.  There is a wide range of musical styles on this mix.  To me, that shows progress.  Being 35 now, the thought of still listening to just one genre of music seems horrific.  Allowing change and diversity could be considered a part of growing up.  This doesn't mean I won't drag my heals into adulthood.  

2017 Mix #2: That new music smell

1.  "Elvis' Flaming Star" by Pond (Man It Feels Like Space Again)
2.  "Pyrite Pedestal" by Pretty Girls Make Graves (Elan Vital)
3.  "Thanks Bill" by El Ten Eleven (Transitions)
4.  "Don't Look Away" by The Helio Sequence (Love and Distance)
5.  "Mama" by Headwaves (Headwaves)
6.  "Shelter Song" by Tempels (Sun Structures)
7.  "Azul" by Little Jesus (Norte)
8.  "Buffalo Nickel by Shovels and Rope (Little Seeds)
9.  "Dew in the grass" by Sea Wolf (White Water, White Bloom)
10.  "Postdoc Blues" by John K. Samson (Winter Wheat)
11.  "Moving" by Travis (Where You Stand)
12,  "Magnificent (She Says)" by Elbow (Little Fictions)
13.  "Blue Haze" by Midnight Faces (Heavenly Bodies)
14.  "Bare Hands" by Headwaves (Headwaves)
15.  "Be Still (feat. Marina Prince)" by Manatee Commune (Manatee Commune)
16.  "Some Sunsick Day" by Morgan Delt (Phase Zero)
17.  "Semaphore" by Flock of Dimes (If You See Me, Say Yes)
18.  "Fireproof" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (The Tourist)
19.  "Hidden Driver" by LVL UP (Return to Love)
20.  "Honey Dove" by Lee Fields and the Expressions (The 45 Mixes)
21.  "Dominos" by Peter Bjorn and John (Dominoes EP)
22.  "Ready to Shine" by Young Galaxy (Falsework)
23.  "Think (About It)" by The Lions (Jungle Struttin)
24.  "Told Me So" by Starflyer 59 (Slow)
25.  "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea)
26.  "Sagres" by The Tallest Man on Earth (Dark Bird is Home)

Apple Music Link:  Click HERE!
Spotify Streaming Link:  Click HERE!

New Bands (to me) from this mix:
- Pond -  An Australian band that has come into my collection swinging from the KRXP podcast.  Their entire collection is great, but I really enjoy their album "Beard, Wives, Denim."
- Pretty Girls Make Graves-  A band that I found through using Shazam.  I can't remember where I first heard them, but have enjoyed their stuff.
- Headwaves -  Another band that I found from the KRXP podcast.  I have only heard this album, but have enjoyed the album thoroughly.
- Temples -  KRXP band as well.  Seem so similar to 13th Floor Elevators, the psychedelic band from Austin Texas in the 60's.  Good stuff on this album.
- Little Jesus -  KRXP....again.  There might be a theme here.   A Mexican band that has me intrigued.  Only listened to this album, but they seem like a solid act.
- Shovels and Rope -  A band that I saw open for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats.  Didn't listen to them much that night, was catching up with an old friend.  Apple Music has allowed me to get reacquainted with them.
- John K. Samoson -  Found on KRXP, but recognized his voice immediately.  John K. Somoson is the lead singer of the Canadian band The Weakerthans.  Interesting voice, so similar to the Weakerthans.  Hard not to enjoy.
- Elbow -  I heard about Elbow at The National concert at Red Rocks this past summer.  This woman raved about them, and I now conquer.  Interesting sound from this huge staple from the British music scene.
- Midnight Faces - KRXP has struck again.  Haven't listened to their album yet, but enjoy this song.
- Manatee Commune -  KRXP....again.  Another band I haven't heard their entire catalog.  So far so good.
- Morgan Delt -  (insert repetitive podcast name here)  Thumbs up for what I have heard!
- Flock of Dimes -  Pete Holmes raved about this band on a podcast once or it might have been their other project Wye Oak.  Love her voice and their mellow sound.
- LVL UP -  Guess where I found this band?  Easy guess.  Sounds good from what I have heard.
- Lee Fields and the Expressions -  This band I found the old fashioned way!  Have really enjoyed Sharron Jones and the Dap Kings.  Found out they were on Daptones Records.  Went to their website and just started listening to their bands.  This band stood out quickly.
- The Lions -  A Shazam find.  Can't remember where, but enjoyed their reggae sound immediately.
- The Tallest Man on Earth -  Saw him perform live at Red Rocks when he opened up for The Head and the Heart.  Great sound with some interesting arrangements.  For being Swedish, you can't pick out the accent.  Really enjoy his entire collection.  His album "Dark Bird is Home" really stands out form the other.

Until next time...happy listening!