Alright. That was harsh. But now that I have your attention, I'm about to vent. So either leave now, or spend this time in which you should be staring at your summer school teacher, riding a bike or paying attention to your significant other, and lose yourself into what I have to say.
For four years of college tuition, I guess all I really want to do is talk about music, review music, bitch about the music industry (see previous post) and just interview really great bands and find out what makes them tick. Like the faux Lester Bangs told that kid in that movie, "It's just a shame you missed out on rock 'n' roll."
I've used Purevolume and Myspace to scan for bands. In fact, my favorite way to find new bands is to go to shows to see openers, or find out who my favorite artist are listening to. But with the "uploading-studio-in-box" used by every suburban kid with Garageband or an illegally downloaded version of Reason, every 18-year-old seems like a fucking rock star these days. Then again, rock has been about image for sometime now.
Two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to interview Russian Circles, and with that, their newest member, Brian Cook. He said something that really hit me when I asked him what he thought about the growing number of bands across the Web, and whether he would have wanted this source of marketing when Botch was around? His answer:
"I feel like a lot of bands need to take those smaller steps and play smaller venues and towns. I kind of like the fact that those first four years of Botch weren't documented. Some bands are hitting the road or putting out records too early without honing their craft. They need to find a bit more identity and figure out what they're trying to do."
To my very last vent in this ramble. I've been reading Chuck Klosterman's Fargo Rock City-- which is fucking amazing-- and he makes some interesting points about music with the way he defends the 80's hair metal scene he grew up with. While you really need to read the book to get a good grip on what he's talking about, it boils down to this: Music is going to be art to someone, special to someone, meaningful to someone, and maybe a giant sack of shit to others.
What all these thoughts add up to:
I recently wrote a review on this site for Jamies Elsewhere's new record, where a good bit of backlash was received. Guess what, that's part of the business. But Brian Cook has a point. I think it's just another band that hasn't honed their craft. Who knows? Jamies Elsewhere's next record could be incredible.. I always go into each NEW band with a chance, but it gets harder these days with these flavors of the week. I've been wrong about a few bands in my lifetime. I can admit this. But I've been young and juvenile, and that's what I feel a lot of these young bands are. Some are not putting in enough time and DIY and are just getting out there and getting big just to end up on the "break-up" post on this site.
I know Klosterman is right. I know what Lester Bangs was telling that kid, and for some reason it hits home all the time. But I'll keep writing reviews and keep receiving some negative feedback, because that's what critics do and get. I don't know if I'm right, but I have been around the block to the record store a few times in my day, and I feel I have pretty diverse record collection (lacking in the rap and country dept. a bit though).
So to Jamies Elsewhere, maybe I should apologize for the harsh words, but I will continue to hone my craft, if you, and all the other signees of the week continue to work hard and do the same.