Sunday, November 24, 2013

New To Me

So, I've been, shall we say, a bit underwhelmed with the music that's been coming to me.  No big secret there, right? ( Although the new Capsula came in the post yesterday, and I've not yet listened to it- I'm psyched, to coin a bad pun)  So, I did what I always do when the situation declares it- I've been rooting around on Bandcamp.  Seriously, for a music fiend like me, there is no better resource. Yes, I know Record store day, Vinyl vs Mp3, and la di da. I stand by that. There is no way that a noise rock band from Yucaipa can get their 7 inch record to my local indie retailer. But, I can find them in a few clicks on Bandcamp. Then, when I purchase the MP3's it's about as direct as is possible- I know that both paypal and Bandcamp will take their cut, but I am pretty sure its not as bad as distribution costs are for selling vinyl. So, I'm still really into Bandcamp.
What have I found? Well, music that while maybe not entirely new, is new to me.
First, I found Stella. They're from Columbus Ohio, and I had to triple check that. They really are from 1984,  somewhere in the south bay near Pedro in the greater Los Angeles area. What I mean is I have rarely heard a band that sounds more like they belong on the SST label, back when that was a good thing. I'm hearing Black Flag, the Minutemen, a lot of Saccharine Trust, some Slovenly, maybe even some DC3 or Das Damen. Which means, for people who aren't total music geeks like me, they sound like raw mathy noisey post hardcore punk rock. Really excellent stuff, and if they ever read this, might I suggest they move to Chicago, as they'd fit right into the current noise/math/post hardcore scene there. Even my cats think so.
Next I found "From Indian Lakes" who must be from northern California, but I really don't know. All I know is they do a really intriguing sound. It's very pretty in a New Zealand kind of way- I mean the Dunedin sound, like they belong on the Flying Nun label. Ok, I know that's pretty obscure- how's this- They play  swirling, gentle psyche rock like a lo-fi and prettier version of what The Church used to do. But, they add some of the drone and dynamic of Deftones post-shoegazer metallic post hardcore- just a little mind you- enough that they might qualify on the "post metal" genre, but only if you really stretch the definition. What I mean is that they end up somewhere in the Echo and the Bunnymen territory, only with pretty falsetto vocals that sometime scream, but they're approaching that from a totally different direction. Folksiness, yes, but almost zero hippie neo-1960's . I realize that this might not seem like my cup of fur, but I've really enjoyed their stuff from the "Able Bodies" release.
Finally,  I found Ma Jolie from just up the road from me. Now, I'm not a big fan of Pop punk, but this is done right. Very "Americana" styled, in the New Jersey kind of way. By that I mean Gaslight Anthem, Titus Andronicus, you know, that Springsteenian, without sounding like Bruce Springsteen sound? But with a lot of midwestern energy- like Dillinger Four, Bear Vs Shark, Lawrence Arms- that sort of thing. The end result is like a less southern Hot Water Music. I hope they do well in Gainesville, though. I think they belong at that fest, and whatever the case might actually be, I definitely want to see them live, because, unless studio trickery is involved, they have that tightness and interplay that makes a band sound like friends in a club, or a gang. I will admit I prefer the new one, but get both LPs if this description has you interested at all. Calling pop punk, while accurate, does them a disservice. This is intricate, melodic,  passionate music, that clearly is coming from an honest place that, unlike the pop music on Vevo or MTV, isn't about to insult either your intelligence or your humbleness. It's real music made by real musicians, and if the only round hole to fit their square peg is "PopPunk" then, I guess I'll use it, but don't expect either Green Day or NoFX- this is oceans away, and mountains more elevated than that.
That, by the way, is why I still hunt for new music- to be taken by surprise by people I've never met,  and expanding my appreciation of life by doing so.

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