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Is this the way they say the future's meant to feel?
October 16, 2011 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Jarvis Cocker interviewed in the Guardian. "Music's changed in that way. People still listen to it, but it's not as central, it's more like a scented candle. It sets the mood."
posted by Sebmojo (185 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Iris" is near the top of the charts? How bizarre.
posted by grouse at 8:56 PM on October 16, 2011


Saw this earlier... thanks for posting! Jarvis Cocker is my middle-aged muse who can do no wrong (except hire Steve fucking Albini to produce a record), and is worth emulating.

Here's a great quote from the article:

I used to be right into the charts. I stopped when it got too predictable. They killed it when they discovered that formula, where a single would be half price in the week that it was released, so all singles started selling loads in the first week and then dropping off. It stops that thing of a record building – the first week was always the highest – and then it wasn't interesting at all. It's a good picture of what capitalism does. They find a formula that kills off the thing they're trying to make money out of." Does he apply the same rule to – and I was going to say "technology", thinking of iPods and illegal downloading, but he interrupts softly. "Everything. It's what capitalism does to everything."
posted by KokuRyu at 8:57 PM on October 16, 2011 [20 favorites]


"Iris" is near the top of the charts? How bizarre.

Gonna guess movie, TV, or commercial. Pretty damn undeniable pop song, regardless!
posted by threeants at 9:07 PM on October 16, 2011


Wow, I was going to post this. Saw Pulp recently and it was amazing.

"Music's changed in that way. People still listen to it, but it's not as central, it's more like a scented candle. It sets the mood."

This makes me angry, but so do most things.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Favourited for the post title.
posted by randomination at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find the quote in the post to be spot on. It's really true, at least in my life and those of the people around me.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:15 PM on October 16, 2011


It might change as people grow older or it might be because of the rise of the sort of bloodless indie pop that's mostly meant to accompany festival hookups and car commercials.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:16 PM on October 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


or it might be because of the rise of the sort of bloodless indie pop that's mostly meant to accompany festival hookups and car commercials.

We don't have to listen to it, though, do we? Pop music (as in the kind of music Pulp and Jarvis Cocker make) is still an important part of my life, but as someone else said, we all grow older, and going to a gig at 12AM on a Friday night just gets to be impossible to do! Even as I write this I'm pining for my nice warm bed.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:20 PM on October 16, 2011


This thing does not end here
My spirit walks the streets of Tottenham

posted by KokuRyu at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2011


Jarvis covered that

But I know older people who still rock really hard. It seems like music is trying to be less meanigful these days, even to the kids
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:24 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


People still listen to it, but it's not as central

Haven't read the interview yet, but I believe he's spot on with that comment. And actually, I think a huge part of it is that people today are simply too distracted to just really sit and listen to music, really focus on it. Twitter, Facebook, games, email, the mobile phone... pretty much no one (especially the younger folk) is gonna stay away from all that for even the length of time that used to be one side of an LP. Fifteen or twenty to twenty-five minutes. That's just too much to ask of people. And you know what that means. of course:

Modern life is rubbish.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:32 PM on October 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Pulp broke up in 2002? I didn't realize that. I saw them* at the Reading Festival that year in August. Now I wonder if that was like a farewell show or something.

*in this case 'saw them' = they were playing in the background as I stumbled around drunkenly trying to eat some sort of french-fries-from-hell creation waiting for Aphex Twin to come on in the dance tent
posted by mannequito at 9:33 PM on October 16, 2011


Gonna guess movie, TV, or commercial. Pretty damn undeniable pop song, regardless!

Indeed - performed by contestants on The X Factor, apparently.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:44 PM on October 16, 2011


Jarvis Cocker is my middle-aged muse who can do no wrong apart from saying "Music's changed in that way. People still listen to it, but it's not as central, it's more like a scented candle. It sets the mood."
posted by the noob at 9:45 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has anyone talked to any teenagers about this?

At 42, I'm still listening to a lot of music, but most of the people I know have stopped seeking out new music and are pretty casual about listening. It seems that the older you get, the more likely it is that you give up on new music. All my friends think the pinnacle of music was in 1985, my brother thinks it was 1975, etc.

Meanwhile, the teenagers I know, mostly coworkers' kids, listen to lots of music just like most of the people I knew in high school did.
posted by Huck500 at 9:48 PM on October 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


Age 44 here. Don't be ridiculous. Everyone knows the pinnacle of music was 1983.
posted by Chairboy at 9:50 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Age 26. The pinnacle of music was around 1965, though it may have been as early as 59.

but yeah people's tastes narrow as we get older. I do think the stigmatization of 'emo' forced mainstream music to be less emotional and more shallow though
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:53 PM on October 16, 2011


The older I get the less I care about what I listen to and am more willing to play whatever is on GrooveShark as opposed to listening to whatever records and MP3's I gathered during the heyday of when pirating and seeking out forgotten music at record stores was some badge of honor. Now, even the rare stuff can be downloaded in seconds with a simple search string in Google.
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 9:57 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it possible that music has become more fragmented due to the access we now have to music and the ever greater amount of good modern (i.e. non music ?

In the 1980s when MTV a few big artists caught the wave and became incredibly successful. U2, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince and a few others. Today MTV is mostly garbage and people listen to stuff off the net rather than the forced straw of commercial radio drivel.

Music has become vastly cheaper to produce. A few thousand dollars in a recording studio and you could make something that lots of people want to hear.

Also, it is sooo easy to get a copy of pretty much any reasonably popular piece of music from the past 50 years. When I was buying lots of music in the 1990s the range was expanding even then, but now it's exploded. Also, there is 15-20 years of music that is cool.

Music doesn't seem to date as much as many other arts as well.

So, if you're some clever person with a guitar and some clever lyrics you're now competing more against Nick Drake than people were in the past. The spread of focus has changed things so there is less focus and hype on a particular good musician.
posted by sien at 10:01 PM on October 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Heh...(concerning F at 12PM/AM's comment).

I just got my turntable fixed (well, when my partner and I dragged our turntables up from the basement, it turned out one worked great on the left channel, one on the right channel), and although, being a musician, I don't have an audiophile's setup, my Bose speakers are pretty clear. The main thing is that we have a couple of hundred LP's we hadn't listened to in a decade or two.

Yes, I was reminded of how many times one had to get up and attend to the turntable. But, then, between the ages of 15 and 35 I listened to a hell of a lot of music. Then my brain got full, and I play more music, listen to it less. When I do, it's intense and interesting music, and I don't walk around half-listening to it, something that is facilitated if not encouraged by present technology.

Much has been written about how reading online has decreased our ability to sit down with a good book for a couple of hours. I have read very little, however, about how the ubiquity of access to music these days has affected how (and how deeply) we listen to music.

When music was always live, focus was always intense and often collaborative.

Boy, have things changed.

I'm hard pressed to even find work as a background pianist in a restaurant, an easy gig to find thirty years ago. Live music. Used to be the only kind. Funny, I can get heard by more people because of social networking sites and stellar home recording, etc., but I would prefer the zeitgeist in which folks gathered around the piano or the back porch guitar for music over the present situation, where music is a habit, a drug to block out the sounds of the world: I am exaggerating the hell out of present circumstances to make a point, of course, being a lazy rhetorician, another skill the Internet has deemed less valuable than it was during the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates...or the House of Parliment's debates of decades past (I haven't watched much TV for a while; perhaps the Brits are still marvelously contentious still...).

Regarding the few comments above about the quality of Modern Pop...having benefited from a decade of listening to my daughter's indie rock faves, I can say that music is as great as it always was.
posted by kozad at 10:02 PM on October 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Now, even the rare stuff can be downloaded in seconds with a simple search string in Google.

downloaded in seconds,
paid nary a price.
added to iPod,
half-listened to twice.
who sang it? forgotten.
who wrote it? don't know.
someone is texting me now,
gotta go.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:04 PM on October 16, 2011 [53 favorites]


40 years old, and for me the last decade or so of music has been pretty incredible. However, if I had to pick a year, it would be 2001.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:12 PM on October 16, 2011


PopMatters once said something I immediately recognized as pretty well true, and nearly unique, about Cocker:
The most gifted pop lyricist of the last 15 or 20 years, his songs were superbly composed narratives (so well written, the lyrics were always presented as complete sentences) of everyday life in Britain at the time.

the more likely it is that you give up on new music

Eh. I got re-interested in music again, probably to a degree that exceeded previously, thanks to some great stuff in the 2000s (and probably largely due to Neutral Milk Hotel in the first place).

But the thing is, I can see why one of my more obsessive musical friends is a bit jaded by new stuff. I tried to present some things I liked to her and she literally tossed CDs around the room: "Fake New Order. Fake Talking Heads...." I was personally offended, and there was a private undercurrent, but I wouldn't deny her point.

On the other hand, I don't follow hip-hop at all and that's where a lot of innovation is occurring. Similarly, I'm not sure that Jarvis is into that end of things one bit, though it would fail to surprise me if he were -- but then he wouldn't have said what he did. Pop, as a genre, is pretty well mined out. But pop isn't all music.
posted by dhartung at 10:13 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm 49. I've been a total music nerd since high school. About 5 years ago, my view of music suddenly opened wide and I started listening to everything completely on its own terms, without any nagging hip/not hip parameters influencing me. There was a ton of 70's stuff I avoided back then, simply because I wanted my taste in music to say something about me. I'm now at a point where I can enjoy Seals and Crofts, Gregg Allman, Boards of Canada, Fucked Up and M83 - all equally.
posted by davebush at 10:16 PM on October 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


51 and am still excited when I hear something new and great. Till that fades away I'll keep hunting.
As for the pinnacle of music it doesn't matter because you weren't there.
posted by pianomover at 10:19 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Iris" is near the top of the charts? How bizarre.

This comment made me look up "How Bizarre" by OMC on Spotify and play it. Of course, it's playing in the background as I compose this comment and read the article from the original post.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:28 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has anyone talked to any teenagers about this?

Huck500, one of the joys of growing old is that you just don't have to talk to teenagers.

As for music, I love BBC Radio 6.
posted by quarsan at 10:45 PM on October 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


I get jaded and tired of everything and start thinking it all sounds the same and then I hear something like this and I realize that the process is never complete and it all builds on everything else and my ears get happy and my toes start tapping.

Is music less important? Maybe. But the songs that matter to YOU aren't. The artists that speak to YOU are just as important as they ever were. There'll always be ephemeral pop, and thank god for that, and there'll always be rock, and punk, and soul, and hip-hop, and dance music, and reggae, and metal, and a million other things, because there will always be young people, and every day a kid listens to Jimi Hendrix or Buddy Holly or Kurt Cobain or Eric B & Rakim for the first time and loses his goddamn mind and decides to make music and some are gonna tear it down and some are gonna blow it up. Music is no longer the cultural weathervane it once was, and that's a GOOD thing, I think, because it keeps things out of pigeonholes and what it loses as a signifier it gains in tractability. It seems like young people may be listening to less music, but they're listening more broadly, and that's great. I missed so much good music when I was young because I didn't listen very far outside my chosen genres.

So, yeah. Popular music is dead. Long live popular music.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:56 PM on October 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


most of the people I know have stopped seeking out new music and are pretty casual about listening.

One of the astute and lovely Maura Johnston's recurrent themes is that the buzz once associated with popular music is now attached to technology and gadgets. The corollary is that tech/gadgets make recorded music something that's just there in the digital aether if you want it and have half an inkling of where to look, as opposed to something that has to be sought out.
posted by holgate at 10:58 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Doing it to you in your nose hole.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:10 PM on October 16, 2011


Jarvis Cocker is my middle-aged muse who can do no wrong apart from saying "Music's changed in that way. People still listen to it, but it's not as central, it's more like a scented candle. It sets the mood."

Agree. Love the man and his music but he is given to making pronouncements like this that are... how to say... not right.

I think back to the '90s when the only new music I was hearing the same six mediocre grunge and britpop songs being pushed down my throat by MTV, "alternative" radio, and the pathetic Spin and Rolling Stone-led music press. Ironically Pulp is one of the few rock bands to come out of that decade that I still consider listenable, and I didn't really find about them til much later.

Then I think about today and how I can go on my favorite blogs and literally find five great new bands I never heard of before in an hour. It's a music lover's paradise out there right now, it really is.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:17 PM on October 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nah there are about 5, maybe 6 decent bands. The trick is to read Uncut and if they champion a modern act you know it's good.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:18 PM on October 16, 2011


(And he was fantastic as Petey in "Fantastic Mr. Fox.")
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:20 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Doing it to you in your nose hole.

Of course. I've had it in the ear before.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:28 PM on October 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Serendipitously I stumbled on this astonishing cover of Common People just after posting the link. It's...um... it just sort of is.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:32 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Funny, because despite that song Jarvis always seemed like a much better class of person than most people, or at least that's how he dresses and dances
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:34 PM on October 16, 2011


I like a lot of what he's saying, but the headline and the sentiments that put it there don't seem to acknowledge the fact that Jarvis Cocker is 48 years old, and that most of his audience and non-musician peers have aged out of the kind of listening that comes more naturally to teenagers. Take that embarrassing section wherein the questioner, whom I suspect made him sound a little older than he otherwise might, complains that kids prefer "boastful rappers talking rubbish about bling" music to "lyrics they might actually relate to." Why would "they're not really paying attention because they're texting so much" be a more reasonable answer than "that's where the most interesting music is, and of course it's a given that the most innovative musicians aren't going into commercial guitar music these days, so maybe the more relevant question is what went wrong with commercial hip hop," or "I hear that a lot of electronic music doesn't have lyrics at all" or "but maybe they do relate to the lyrics somehow"?

How often have "meaningful" lyrics really been in style, anyway? And what was the superficially-deep-sounding-junk to genuinely-good-stuff ratio during those periods? The biggest British rock band during Pulp's heyday was Oasis, and Noel is one of the worst lyricists around. And who was making it to the top of the charts, which is what the writer is interested, with really solid lyrics between, say, "This Is Hardcore" and the advent of the iPod? I mean, I know gather that that Goo Goo Dolls song is having some kind of weird resurgence over there on account of the X Factor or something, but is the writer not aware that it was originally a hit in 1998?
posted by Adventurer at 11:50 PM on October 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah that's really the best part of the article. He grumbles about how much music has gone downhill, and the lyrics he hated the most were popular at the same time as Pulp.
posted by mannequito at 11:54 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


How often have "meaningful" lyrics really been in style, anyway?

Dylan? Beatles? And at least Oasis HAVE lyrics. They might be braindead stupid lyrics, but they've got lyrics.

Then again, British rock has always seemed a bit uncomfortable close to the rave scene for me. Even Jarvis
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:55 PM on October 16, 2011


I work with teenagers. I work with this one kid in particular who is an amazing drummer. He can talk as intelligently as any musician I've known about rhythm, equipment, and who is an amazing drummer and who isn't. Even if you present him with a style of music he doesn't like, he can still tell you whether the musicians are decent, are hacks, or are digitally created.

He doesn't talk much about anything else, but music isn't a scented candle to him. Music is the whole atmosphere.

Also, he has friends with whom he talks about music, arguing about what is great and what is trash.

I also have a student who is writing a paper on the Beatles lyrics as literature (which is a heady subject for a 16 year old). She's reading the Book of the Dead right now to get a grip on "Tomorrow Never Knows."

So there's two teenagers, at least, who seem to be interested in music for something more than background noise. Not that that disproves any thesis about how music is being marketed to be background noise, just that there are a few kids out there that will be holding up the "hey, you kids, keep your lousy music out of my yard" banner high on the Internet (or whatever replaces it) in 2050.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:04 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Serendipitously I stumbled on this astonishing cover of Common People

I like this cover of Disco 2000. Here's the pub rock version, with added dancing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:13 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And actually, I think a huge part of it is that people today are simply too distracted to just really sit and listen to music, really focus on it.

I was setting up a stereo in my dining room this year, and sat down to listen to one of the albums I use to audition gear, and then another album I'd dug out of storage, and then realised, holy shit, this is the first time I've sat down and just *listened* to music in ages.

For me there are two parts to that; one is that digital formats are so often played and managed on devices with other uses that it's easy to amble off into wikipedia or whatever when queuing music up.

The second is that the physical inconvenience, small though it is for a CD, greater for an album, makes it less convenient to use either as a day-long soundtrack to work, gym, reading, whatever, but it encourages me to focus on the music I've just queued up. So I don't think I'll be hooking a media player up to that stereo.

We don't have to listen to it, though, do we? Pop music (as in the kind of music Pulp and Jarvis Cocker make) is still an important part of my life, but as someone else said, we all grow older, and going to a gig at 12AM on a Friday night just gets to be impossible to do!

The tendency of booze joints, which is where most live music happens, to try and kick of the opening acts at 10 or 11 or so, and the main act at 1 or 2 am may suit barhounds, kids, and whatnot, but it's pretty much why I barely go out to live music, even when its friends' bands. There's gonna be a four year old getting up at 7 whether I feel like it or not, and I don't think going on the piss from, say, 9 pm (when I need to be in to have a chance of getting into the venue and get a decent spot) to midnight before there's even a chance of hearing the band I want, is going to help me enjoy either the act or the rest of the weekend.

Sure, it makes more money for the bar. Which I guess gets us back to Cocker's point about what's ruining music.

Why would "they're not really paying attention because they're texting so much" be a more reasonable answer

You just read a couple of pull quotes to bolster your opinion that old musicians are idiots, right?
posted by rodgerd at 12:32 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Best year for music so far is 2011. It'll be even better in 2012 since there will be new music from that year...and all the music from all the previous years.

The best data is more data.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:35 AM on October 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


The unspoken morbid secret about pop music is that it isn't actually alive.

It was live music at one point, but pop is what happens to music when it's dissected and laid out on a slab, theorized over, tenderized with studio production, processed into scientifically optimal bite-sized chunks and wrapped in butcher paper and sold over the counter at your local grocer. It's inherently long since dead.

Comon', what do you think Devo was yammering on about?

There's still great, meaningful and powerful music all over the place. Name your poison, someone out there is earnestly, sincerely making music just for you in countless styles, schools and genres.

The new punk-folk stuff is pretty amazing. Check out The Hail Seizures for a favorite local example. I've seen them live at Folklife (not on a stage, unsanctioned performers on the paths and greens like they do at Folklife) and they're amazing to see live. Their drum kit is basically a snare and a suitcase with a bass pedal. They're like a new kind of jug band, I guess? Those kids bleed for their music and really put their heart into it. The recordings don't really do it justice.

It's very much not scented candle background music, either.

Joe Cocker is cool and all, but whenever someone says "there's no good music anymore" or "people just don't listen to music anymore" it just means they need to get the fuck out of the house a whole lot more. You don't find good new music in the show listings in the back of your weekly rag. You find it by walking the streets and looking for parties or street performers, random gigs or shows, open mic nights and more.

You find it by taking risks. That's part of the magic of music is discovery. That's part of what John Cage was trying to tell us with 4'33", about how much of our enjoyment of music is situational and in the here and now. Expectation and desire are powerful emotions. So is immediacy and the lack of mediation of live performances.

Heck, you could end up at show or party where my Dad's jam band was covering everything from old blues to The Allman Brothers to Sublime or even The Specials, and you'd probably have a great time.

So, I strongly disagree. I'm fortunate I'm surrounded by a lot of people who are way into music, who take their music enjoyment very earnestly and seriously and they actually do sit down and actually listen to the music. People who are buying affordable high resolution speakers and very nice listening headphones for the purposes of giving their music all of their attention when they're enjoying it.

Hell, i just got done with being treated to a Decibel Festival pass, which is a five day, non stop 15-20 venue electronic music festival here in Seattle. At one showcase we were in the classy Benaroya Hall a few hundred people raptly sitting and quietly listening to "scented candle" music that was all just abstract sonic soundscapes performed live by composers and artists in various ways. Hell yeah it set the mood. It set the mood for pass the beanbags closing your eyes and actually listening to the music. There was a lot of shows like that, most of them much louder and animated. I literally danced blisters into my feet and passed out while stone cold sober from dancing too much.

If you want to sincerely say "music peaked in 19whatever" - I feel sorry for you. You're treating music like a museum - or a mausoleum. To me you're saying music is dead after that date. That's a pretty morbid and fucked up stance to take about living, breathing people making living art that is and always will be temporary, fleeting and transient and can only be appreciated here and now. That's what live music is.
posted by loquacious at 12:36 AM on October 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


Joe Cocker

Herpaderp - Jarvis Cocker.
posted by loquacious at 12:37 AM on October 17, 2011


And at least Oasis HAVE lyrics. They might be braindead stupid lyrics, but they've got lyrics.

So Oasis > Aphex Twin. Check.

The Beatles and Dylan became stars around the same time. That's kind of what I'm arguing. How often during, say, the '70s were the artists at the top of the charts, not the cult guys, also writing "meaningful" lyrics that the writer would say those kids in Sheffield kids could "relate" to? During the '80s? I mean, isn't there a narrative that says that Nirvana come along and replaced those hair metal bands with music that really mattered for a few years in the '90s? What kind of iPod was keeping meaningful lyrics off the radio when everything was Poison and Mr. Big? Or, for that matter, Nickelback and the Goo Goo Dolls?

It might also be worth noting that Pulp, whom I like a lot, were not especially adventurous, musically speaking, and that it's almost a lucky accident that somebody who wrote really good lyrics happened to be leading a commercially viable band during that backward-looking Britpop period (which a lot of people consider sort of an infuriating end to an era of progress -- like, surely this wasn't what was supposed to happen after shoegaze and the Happy Mondays, was it?). I would guess that a lot of the people (not all, of course, but a lot) who are or could be writing the best words these days just aren't excited by the kinds of rock music that could actually get airplay. Jarvis was in his 30s when he wrote "Common People," and fell in love with music when relatively straightforward rock music was still vital. That has to be a reason Pulp is such an outlier for their era.

It's so odd that the writer compares the three biggest random pop songs of the week to this one iconic song, arguably the most literate hit from the period that wasn't written by the dude from the Auteurs. Why not compare it to two other songs that charted with "Common People"? These, by the way, were the top-selling songs of 1995 in the UK:

1 Unchained Melody/White Cliffs of Dover Robson Green & Jerome Flynn
2 Gangsta's Paradise Coolio featuring L.V.
3 I Believe/Up on the Roof Robson Green & Jerome Flynn
4 Back for Good Take That
5 Think Twice Celine Dion
posted by Adventurer at 12:38 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


(which a lot of people consider sort of an infuriating end to an era of progress -- like, surely this wasn't what was supposed to happen after shoegaze and the Happy Mondays, was it?)

Quoted because FUCK YES WHAT HE JUST SAID. Whatever happened to The Stone Roses. Or Ned's Atomic Dustbin? Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine? Primal Scream?

Hell, I even miss Pop Will Eat Itself, not to mention the KLF and Killing Joke.
posted by loquacious at 12:44 AM on October 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why would "they're not really paying attention because they're texting so much" be a more reasonable answer

You just read a couple of pull quotes to bolster your opinion that old musicians are idiots, right?

No, but I think I didn't make it clear enough that I think the writer made him appear unnecessarily narrow-minded because that's where her sympathies lie. If the question she actually seriously asked is "Why [do you] think [teenagers in Sheffield] prefer boastful rappers talking rubbish about bling, to lyrics they might actually relate to?" then I think that while "they get meaning from other places than pop music" is an interesting thing to say, I also think there's a lot of stuff you have to ignore before you can get to "also, because people like to multitask, in a way if you've got a bit of music on in the background and the lyrical content is making you want to listen to it, then that would probably put you off the texting you wanted to do," if you're actually still talking about those teenagers. I don't think that has much to do with how or why kids listen to hip hop, or why they listen to "talking" instead of "lyrics." I think why the music they want comes with those lyrics instead of other lyrics is a totally separate question. (I think she's implying that they should be listening to rock music like Pulp instead of to rap, but I could be wrong about this. I don't really trust her, though.)
posted by Adventurer at 1:06 AM on October 17, 2011


I can assure that kids passionately listen to music nowadays. So much so they want to proselytize. I know because I ride the bus and am seriously considering building a time machine to go back in time and kill the engineer who thought it would be a good idea to play mp3s through a cellphone speaker.
posted by srboisvert at 1:14 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hell, I even miss Pop Will Eat Itself, not to mention the KLF and Killing Joke.

Come on dude; everybody knows 3am is eternal.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:16 AM on October 17, 2011


Quoted because FUCK YES WHAT HE JUST SAID. Whatever happened to The Stone Roses ...?
Reforming, apparently.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:23 AM on October 17, 2011


Nah there are about 5, maybe 6 decent bands. The trick is to read Uncut and if they champion a modern act you know it's good.

This makes sense if you only want to listen to The Forms of 1966 over and over again. The problem is that the Beatles and Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan could not have made the music they did if they did not want to make something new. New bands that are making albums that could have come out in 1966 are essentially playing folk music. There's nothing wrong with folk music, the Fairport Convention were stellar, but it's not how Revolver got made. I am preaching to you here because when I got to college and got depressed I wanted so desperately to not be in the present that I spent like six years hardly listening to anything but the Beatles and Love and the Kinks and every Beach Boys demo and both Nuggets boxes and the contents of Shindig magazine, and spent all my work-study money on Moby Grape albums, and as a result totally missed out on "More Than a Woman" and "B.O.B." and "Get Ur Freak On" and almost everything else new and exciting and futuristic that the creative people who shared the same bandwidth as me were coming up with during what was in fact a rather wonderful pop era. I missed sharing it with people.

You must know that the music you like from 1959 was made for dancing. You can't possibly think people themselves were intrinsically superior then. Why not try see if some of the music people dance to today has something for you? You might find that all those artists who seem to be absent from the rock scene are actually working in a different medium.
posted by Adventurer at 1:45 AM on October 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


P.S. to loquacious: I am a lady
posted by Adventurer at 1:46 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


the backward-looking Britpop period (which a lot of people consider sort of an infuriating end to an era of progress -- like, surely this wasn't what was supposed to happen after shoegaze and the Happy Mondays, was it?

Except that given that the venality of the music press had become utterly obvious, and that Electronic music was enacting a scorched earth on British youth culture (in a way that was very different from the US experience), largely bypassing the traditional music industry as it did so, what was there left for the music press to do other than to try one last rally of a threadbare rockist (anti-rockist) theme? (one that would also happily fit the agenda and reactionary nostalgia of the first generation of politicians to grow up on rock music). The backward looking nature of britpop was definitely some peoples agenda.
posted by tallus at 1:47 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe Cocker is cool and all, but whenever someone says "there's no good music anymore" or "people just don't listen to music anymore" it just means they need to get the fuck out of the house a whole lot more.

Indeed. Go enjoy your lawn.
posted by mannequito at 1:47 AM on October 17, 2011


Ha! Why can't kids relate to music/lyrics that are specifically set within their immediate social context? I feel about Jarvis the way one does about a first love (he nigh on was my first love!) but honestly he spouts cobblers sometimes. What on earth does he know about why the kids are listening to what they do? When I was working in community centres in South Yorkshire the kids loved hip-hop and, yes they were also twocking cars and being gangster - because they lived in an ex-mining village with no industry, no other jobs, no aspiration and no role models within the immediate community. They were angry and hopped up and that music spoke very strongly to them on many levels. Just because it wasn't The Smiths doesn't mean it didn't have meaning.

And how can age not be a factor? Last week I went to see Spiritualized at the Albert Hall - and I cried and cried during 'Shine a light', it was so massive and moving but the new stuff left me cold. Is it because the old stuff was better - or is it because the back catalogue takes me to a time when I wanted desperately for something to resonate? Nowadays new music does grab me but I seek it passively - I'm not searching so hard for that thing that I spent a lot of time chasing as an overwrought teen. It doesn't mean it's not out there - it's just not happening during the mainstream radio 1 sunday night chart show. I think that's progress.

Anecdote - In 1996 I called a talkshow called 'pop on the line' to speak to Jarvis. My question was 'Is being famous what you thought it would be?'. He said no, it was a bit of a disappointment - that he thought the band would live in a big house together and make music and have adventures like the Monkees and never have to worry about money. I think that ten years of fantasising before they made it means the hideous capitalist machine that the music industry has pretty much always been will forever be a disappointment to him.
posted by freya_lamb at 1:52 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


P.S. to loquacious: I am a lady

Apologies, and noted.
posted by loquacious at 2:02 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whatever happened to...Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine? Primal Scream? Pop Will Eat Itself?

PWEI are playing in London in 5 days and apparently have released new, original material. Primal Scream are finishing a world tour (that did not include North America supporting an anniversary re-release. Carter are playing in the UK next month. Jim Bob shows up here and there in tiny little places.
posted by K.P. at 2:09 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I still believe (I still believe) in the saints.
Yeah, in Jerry Lee and in Johnny and all the greats.

And I still believe (I still believe) in the sound,
That has the power to raise a temple and tear it down.

And I still believe (I still believe) in the need,
For guitars and drums and desperate poetry.

And I still believe (I still believe) that everyone,
Can find a song for every time they've lost and every time they've won.

So just remember folks we not just saving lives, we're saving souls,
And we're having fun.

And I still believe.


Until 4 weeks ago I hadn't been to a live gig since about 2001. That gig was by these guys, the Kill Devil Hills. It was at my local, the Hydey, which almost single handedly kept live music in this part of town alive for a few years, and probably the first time the Hills played live. But despite not having played live, they were close to being our small town version of a super group (each of the band members has about 600 hardcore fans) and the place was packed.

Which was not a good thing for me. Smallish venue, enclosed space, lots of people, drunk. Trigger trigger trigger trigger. Me all expecting someone to drop a grenade on the dance floor at any second. First I ended up against a wall, then in a corner, then outside trying to convince myself I needed a little time out, then I walked home alone.

And I didn't go back into a live venue for 10 years or so. I kept buying music, but I figured I was past the point of diminishing returns for gigs and concerts.

But there is (as always) a twist. A few months back, Pink Moose asks a question about Australian Country Music. And I answer with a reference to the Kill Devil Hills.

A week or two later, I'm doing that thing where you get back in touch with people you went to school and uni with, and I get to Rache. Who turns out to be married to a bloke called Steve. Who is a musician, and sweet and kind and generous and funny, and it's friggin awesome they're together. But I keep looking at him sideways, because I'm sure I've seen him somewhere before. And recently, too. So I ask who he plays with, and he mentions a band. No-one I've heard of. Then we do the full sit down 20 questions thing. Where'd you grow up, what's your surname, what bands did you play in, etc. And it dawns pretty fast that he's the guy who I always though of as the key element in that band I never really got to follow because I stopped going to live gigs after their first gig..

About four weeks ago, Steve and Rache drag me to the second gig of Steve's new band. It's underground, it's a tiny venue, it's packed, and at first I'm uncomfortable as all hell. But then, wired on coca cola and guitars so funky they're talking to each other, I have the time of my life. Last night I managed to get a similar amount of joy out of an open mic night watching these guys amongst others. Funky R&B, a hollering foot stompin dancin whistlin crowd, and just.. sheer joy.

When I got home I had a series of near epiphanies. I'm through the other side. Maybe I'm not fully comfortable with crowds and enclosed spaces yet, but I can cope well enough to let the music do it's thing. Secondly, if that music is live, it's a different thing. It's wonderful that I can come home and listen to it again on the internet, but live is where the magic and the medicine is. And thirdly, Frank Turner's right in that big yellow quote up there. Sometimes it isn't just magic and medicine, sometimes it's about saving souls.

So with respect, Mr Cocker, you are wrong. If you could please take your scented candle and go back to your lawn, I'd be a happier man.
posted by Ahab at 2:15 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Frank Turner and Kill Devil Hills? Are you me? But the new wave of folk punks like Frank Turner, Gaslight, Defiance Ohio, etc still aren't quite as good as Jarvis.

Frank is playing Wembly soon. There is hope
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:26 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I been in a cave
For forty days
Only a spark
To light my way
I wanna give out
I wanna give in
This is our crime
This is our sin

But I still believe
I still believe
Through the pain
And the grief
Through the lives
Through the storms
Through the cries
And through the wars
Oh, I still believe


Sorry Ahab, couldn't resist.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:33 AM on October 17, 2011


I listen to music in my workshop. I have a laptop patched into my old stereo system out there, and I tend to open youtube and play my favorites list. One reason is I'm old, and have the same mindset in music I have with a restaurant menu: "I know I like this--I might like that, but I know I like this." Another reason: despite a singing voice on par with a chainsaw destroying a snare drum, I like singing, and it's hard to sing along with a song I've never heard.

But that said, I occasionally click on a related or recommended link, or come here and trust the recommendation of a mefite, and if ti clicks, I have new music. I just don't seek it out as a thing. I have no learned taste in music, which doesn't bother me at all, so I'm willing to listen to a lot of different stuff, including some that is clearly terrible but is evocative of a period in my past, say. (My patience for misogyny and racism is gone, though, so some music never makes the cut.)

I don't listen to music in the car or generally when I'm working, and definitely not in public via a device of some sort. So for me, music is rarely background noise as I only play it when I can sing along.

All this to say that for some of us, music is very rarely a background thing. But I no longer am in the teenage space where that one album speaks to you on a level it's hard to even remember now.
posted by maxwelton at 2:45 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks BitterOldPunk. The Alabama Shakes link is fucking great. What a find.
posted by rain at 2:59 AM on October 17, 2011


I came in here to say that this is why we go to the symphony. When it's bland, it's bland, no doubt about that, there's shit they play that back when it was written was intended as nothing more than dinner music and we're supposed to sit motionless in a hall and suck up 20 minutes of it? Fuck. We don't go to those concerts.

But when it's good.... you got sixty people with a lifetime of training up on stage who are smiling or grimacing or just tuned into some other dimension and, there's no other term, rocking out, playing their hearts out... it's transcendant.

Now if only we could get over that "sit in motionless silence" thing.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:54 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


He is not Jesus (though he has the same initials).
posted by punkfloyd at 5:00 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given that the interviewer seems to have tried hard to strip all irony and nuance from the piece, I suspect that Jarvis is, in fact, just as aware of the difficulties of his position as anyone. Typical broadsheet music journalism drivel.
posted by howfar at 5:39 AM on October 17, 2011


Actually, music listening habits have just swung /back/ to background or wallpaper. Or, rather, there is a resurgence in the sorts of music that people use for this purpose.

I mean, there will always be people geeking out to the latest scene, but an album release by some big player is relatively uncommon now. So you don't have FM radio playing the whole thing for you, or release-day listening parties.

But even back during the silver age of pop releases, a room full of people would put on an album and then promptly ignore it.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:20 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


In this thread: 30+ year-olds complaining about how things just aren't as good as they used to be.
posted by empath at 6:49 AM on October 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


This article is a setup, halfway between a softball and a trap, pushed by an industry publicist to give the forgotten Cocker some inches around his book release. It's too bad he doesn't listen to music anymore, because there's more of it and it's better than it was throughout the 90's. Reading lyric sheets doesn't count.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:58 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


i am 41, balkan beats
posted by Tom-B at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listening to music for the lyrics is like going to a museum and just reading the little cards by the paintings..
posted by empath at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2011


In this thread: 30+ year-olds complaining about how things just aren't as good as they used to be.

Give 'em a decade — they'll come to hal_c_on's realization that for recorded music the present encompasses all of the past and their greatest tragedy is that they don't have enough time for all the great music.

And for most of you claiming that "music peaked in the year XXXX", it's more likely some aspect of you that peaked in the year XXXX. Oh well.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:05 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


NB: Please do not read the lyrics whilst listening to the recordings.
posted by subbes at 7:09 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


In this thread: 30+ year-olds complaining about how things just aren't as good as they used to be.

Not all of us...

And anyone who says that rap sucks because it's all about bling and whatever is just frigging lazy.

Just as an example... one of thousands.
posted by Huck500 at 7:37 AM on October 17, 2011


Nah there are about 5, maybe 6 decent bands.

You need to listen to more music if you honestly believe that, and aren't just posturing.
posted by Windigo at 7:39 AM on October 17, 2011


In this thread: 30+ year-olds complaining about how things just aren't as good as they used to be.

Yeah, nthing that this is kind of bullshit. I literally can't listen to all the fantastic music I want to listen to right now, and there are whole genres I'm not into, including hip hop, which is where a lot of the really innovative action is. I'm 43 and my favorite bands from my teenage years are releasing fantastic new music, plus there are a crapload of new acts out there, plus I'm no longer tied up in representing my tribal ID by my musical aesthetics so whole new areas of music that I would never have listened to in my insecure teens and twenties are open to me. Getting middle-aged and stopping giving a damn has been great for my enjoyment, if hard on my pocketbook.
posted by immlass at 7:44 AM on October 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm wondering if it's notable that this decade loves to imitate the 80s so much... The former highpoint of manufactured chart music and vacuous excess.
posted by Artw at 8:07 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


let's all put our elaborate opinions about this and that down tonight and maybe take a sincere-type look in the mirror and then lie down and listen to a good album without scrolling through some endless snarky thread, no social media permitted whatsoever during this time, because every day that we just TALK about this, the spirit of music living inside of us starves to death a little bit more
posted by mbrock at 8:10 AM on October 17, 2011


I made a long stick bomb this weekend, while listening to The Sight Below.

It is scented candle wallpaper music, and it was perfect for making a long stick bomb to. As usual, I have no point.
posted by everichon at 8:25 AM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


This article is a setup, halfway between a softball and a trap, pushed by an industry publicist to give the forgotten Cocker some inches around his book release. It's too bad he doesn't listen to music anymore, because there's more of it and it's better than it was throughout the 90's. Reading lyric sheets doesn't count.

Jarvis Cocker presents a two hour music show on BBC 6 every week, so I presume he still listens to music and isn't entirely forgotten.
posted by dng at 8:27 AM on October 17, 2011


Jarvis Cocker presents a two hour music show on BBC 6 every week, so I presume he still listens to music and isn't entirely forgotten.

Heh, that's awesome. Once again I'm thoroughly embarrassed by my ignorance.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:41 AM on October 17, 2011


Huck500: “At 42, I'm still listening to a lot of music... All my friends think the pinnacle of music was in 1985, my brother thinks it was 1975, etc.”

Chairboy: “Age 44 here. Don't be ridiculous. Everyone knows the pinnacle of music was 1983.”

Lovecraft In Brooklyn: “Age 26. The pinnacle of music was around 1965, though it may have been as early as 59.”

Not really sure what you folks are talking about. The pinnacle of American pop music, at least, was 1932.
posted by koeselitz at 8:43 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


IMO, music never got better than this.
posted by empath at 8:58 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading Jarvis Cockers answers to questions in a Guardian interview isn't really the best way to expeerience Jarvis Cocker.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2011


"The Alchian-Allen Theorem has profound explanatory power when applied to the internet. The harder it is to gain access to cultural elements, the higher the quality of those elements will be consumed. On the flip side, if it is easy to access culture, people will prefer to consume shorter lower quality pieces of culture. In the middle ages, people had to travel long distances to view concerts, which were performed by live musicians. Thus, the fixed costs of consumption were very high. If you bothered to pay a huge amount of money and time, you might as well view a long complex opera or symphony."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:05 AM on October 17, 2011


Hey guys, remember when music was good!?

Those heady times when Tonic and Matchbox 20 sung the songs of the heart so boldly
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:29 AM on October 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Will we ever be so blessed again?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:29 AM on October 17, 2011


Interest in Cocker's nemesis MJ seems to be at it's greatest peak since the 80s too...
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on October 17, 2011


Empath, when I clicked on your link, I first registered it as "Van Dyke Parks" and so was very confused when it started playing. :-)
posted by everichon at 9:35 AM on October 17, 2011


For me, the trouble with saying it's all relative and age-based is that as a father I meet kids who are into music as more than a mood soundtrack, and they don't like most contemporary pop either. My 19 year old just went to see Portishead; I can't think of any band that rose to popularity in this decade that he would pay money to see except for the Arcade Fire, maybe.
posted by mobunited at 9:55 AM on October 17, 2011


everichon: “Empath, when I clicked on your link, I first registered it as "Van Dyke Parks" and so was very confused when it started playing. :-)”

Me too. It was a pleasant surprise, though; Paul Van Dyk is a hell of a lot better than Van Dyke Parks.
posted by koeselitz at 10:05 AM on October 17, 2011


How do people even know about new music these days anyway? All the traditional methods appear dead or dying.
posted by Artw at 10:06 AM on October 17, 2011


How do people even know about new music these days anyway? All the traditional methods appear dead or dying.

I can't say for other people, but for me it's:

- through friends
- through 8tracks.com
- an opening act or an act at a festival I was unaware of
- linked here at Metafilter
- osmosis
posted by Windigo at 10:11 AM on October 17, 2011


I can't think of any band that rose to popularity in this decade that he would pay money to see except for the Arcade Fire, maybe.

Noel Gallagher has never listened to a record made after 1974, it doesn't mean that there was nothing decent recorded in the '80s.
posted by howfar at 10:24 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do people even know about new music these days anyway? All the traditional methods appear dead or dying.

Pandora, Spotify, the 'If You Like This, You Might Also Like...' things on iTunes and Amazon; it's much better than how I did it as a kid, which was trolling through record shops and picking up used stuff based on the cover (although I did find some amazing music that way, as well as some total crap).

Also, friends recommendations, although none of my friends like anything current, 'cuz THEY'RE OLD, so...
posted by Huck500 at 10:25 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


mobunited: "For me, the trouble with saying it's all relative and age-based is that as a father I meet kids who are into music as more than a mood soundtrack, and they don't like most contemporary pop either. My 19 year old just went to see Portishead; I can't think of any band that rose to popularity in this decade that he would pay money to see except for the Arcade Fire, maybe."

My 22 year old son seems to be mostly into '70s metal and/or prog-rock mixed in with euro-metal. I'm pretty sure that he has no idea who Portishead or Arcade Fire are.
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on October 17, 2011


Don't forget college radio!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:35 AM on October 17, 2011


I'm gonna be 49 in a couple weeks. I just discovered Neko Case a few months ago, and am in love all over again, just like I was when I found Patti Smith & Chrissie Hynde back in the 70's.

2 or 3 years ago, it was all Porcupine Tree, all the time. Then it was Chris Thile & Nickel Creek. There's a ton of fantastic music being made daily, and it keeps just as big a place in my heart as it ever did. I'm sad for those who forget its power.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:39 AM on October 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Artw: "How do people even know about new music these days anyway? All the traditional methods appear dead or dying."

Word-of-mouth, Advertising, iTunes, Last.fm, Pandora, Spotify. Radio. (At least 15-20% of the population still listen to the radio on a regular basis, and many of them do listen to music stations. Noteworthy: certain cultural/ethnic minorities listen more than other demographic slices. African-Americans (for example) outnumber the tween radio listener population here in the US.)

Online websites, including (especially) VEVO, which has smartphone apps. The VEVO app shows top videos, and on Android at least, allows a user to see what videos are popular to local/nearby users.
posted by zarq at 10:42 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really dislike Port-a-shed, though. Bland, bland, bland. Where's the flame in that stuff? Labels and commercial radio have always pushed mediocrity and presented it as excellence, though. G*d bless the internet for allowing us to bypass the supposed arbiters of taste, to find what works for us as individuals.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:44 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where's the flame in that stuff?

I'm not really a huge Portishead fan, but it is the best music for sexy-times ever made.
posted by empath at 10:48 AM on October 17, 2011


Also, the Portishead Essential Mix
posted by empath at 10:49 AM on October 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Next, you're going to tell me okra's not slimy the way you cook it. o_0
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:50 AM on October 17, 2011


Would i need to know what a scented candle is to get this?
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 10:54 AM on October 17, 2011


I'm gonna be 49 in a couple weeks. I just discovered Neko Case a few months ago, and am in love all over again,

Neko Case's sultry voice and flame-red hair inspires a violent emotion more than love...
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 AM on October 17, 2011


I find it rather more prurient at times, yes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:59 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not really a huge Portishead fan, but it is the best music for sexy-times ever made.

Maybe not Three...
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clicked post too soon. I jua read Monkeyluv based on a mefi recommendation. In the last easy the author talks about his research on the ages at which most people will stop 'getting' new styles of things. With plenty of exceptions, as documented here.

Body modifications: 23
Food: 38
Music: 35

He makes the point that keeping an open mind about these things is good for slowing down brain degeneration and senility, at the risk of destroying new musicians careers by a bunch of 40 year old geezers listening to them in public where the cool kids can see.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 11:01 AM on October 17, 2011


I can't think of any band that rose to popularity in this decade that he would pay money to see except for the Arcade Fire, maybe.

Reading this (and mentally throwing together a huuuge list of counterexamples) made me realize I have no idea what the metric for "popularity" is anymore, because aside from other music nerds, I never really meet In the Flesh People who actually know who Sigur Ros or Joseph Arthur or Gorrilaz or other artists I think of as, "Huge, everyone knows them. Right?" are.

I'm not really sure that this counts as proof that pop music has become a diaspora, though, because Jarvis Cocker had seemingly never heard of the Goo Goo Dolls.
posted by byanyothername at 11:03 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The various recommendation engines which give you lists of songs and artists with similar metadata to content you've liked that that users who liked similar content also liked always seemed like way of disapearing down ratholes of saminess to me... sure, going off on a 70s proto-alternative retrospective binge every once in a while is fun, but it's unlikely to deliver something that's shocking and fresh and new.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on October 17, 2011


not to mention the KLF and Killing Joke.

Hey loq - you know that Killing Joke's released "Absolute Dissent" just recently (well, in 2010) and are still touring and showing everyone how it's done? The album's got rave reviews and I think it's bigger and more powerful than anything I've heard in ages.

I noticed the latest PWEI was up on the usenet ~binaries.mp3.2000s. Anyone heard anything from it?
posted by Zack_Replica at 11:25 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way you hear about new music is the same as it ever was: you have your radar habitually attuned for new signals. Just because those signals no longer (necessarily) come from crate digging or from reading NME doesn't mean the habit changes.

I couldn't enumerate all the places I cobble new music from, and I don't even try anymore, here in my dotage.
posted by everichon at 11:29 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't forget college radio!

Hell yeah KALX 90.7 Berkeley!
posted by pianomover at 11:29 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sans Clint Mansell? I would not be expecting much.
posted by Artw at 11:31 AM on October 17, 2011


One of my favorite places to get turned on to new truly cool music is the blog Water Dissolves Water. This guy goes to tons of shows by upcoming bands, posts great live clips, has impeccable taste and is contagiously enthusiastic. He's also a 50-something Zen practitioner, and the blog is sprinkled with, like, insightful explanations of the Buddha's doctrine of the dependent origination of consciousness. I want to be a cool old man some day.
posted by mbrock at 11:37 AM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Joe Cocker is cool and all

You have confused your Cockers.
posted by dhartung at 11:40 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Port-a-shed

Lemme guess: you never listened to their newest album (from three years ago) and are basing your opinion on music they made 15 years ago.
Good work. Your argument is irrelevant. Move along.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:41 AM on October 17, 2011


The live versions of their first two albums were surprisingly storming as well - makes me wonder what they are up to with the new stuff, which already has more of a live sound.
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on October 17, 2011


"How do people even know about new music these days anyway?

In my case, mostly I learn about new music ("new" meaning new to me, not necessarily new to everyone) by reading about it. I read a lot of books about music—more on periods and kinds of music than on specific musicians or performers, but those, too, occasionally; I read or skim music blogs and publications as well as blogs in general; a couple of times a month I look at the new releases at Aquarius Records, Forced Exposure, Dusty Groove, Squidco, and at a dozen or so of my favorite labels; I talk to people at shows that I attend. Now and then I discover a new favorite through Amazon or some other recommendation engine. I very much agree that the real tragedy is that I'll never live long enough to hear all the music I want.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:49 AM on October 17, 2011


You have confused your Cockers.

I didn't confuse them. I wasn't confused that we were talking about Jarvis Cocker from Pulp - I just typed the wrong name due to brain flatulence. I corrected just below my comment.
posted by loquacious at 11:58 AM on October 17, 2011


I'll list some ways. It's a shorter list than a lot of people could make. My sources include: KXLU (college station in LA; sometimes great, sometimes annoying) many many shows I cannot recommend enough on WFMU, regular old radio, Dublab, ILM (total goldmine, everybody else does the digging for you and then argues about it), The Wire, Pitchfork, Resident Advisor and its podcast, 20 Jazz-Funk Greats (this particular one is kind of nichey and random and unlike most other blogs will not give you an entry point into a network of hundreds, but I like it), the KEXP podcast, recommendation racks at stores, venue mailing lists, the Forced Exposure and Aquarius Records mailing lists, finding out which record labels take care of bands I already like and then investigating the other artists they put out, borrowing music from people, noticing what musicians and writers and DJs I like (and also friends) mention on Twitter. Once you get started the problem is really that there is too much music.

The various recommendation engines which give you lists of songs and artists with similar metadata to content you've liked that that users who liked similar content also liked always seemed like way of disapearing down ratholes of saminess to me... sure, going off on a 70s proto-alternative retrospective binge every once in a while is fun, but it's unlikely to deliver something that's shocking and fresh and new.

I think this is where you just have to kind of go nuts, since it's free, and you can hit skip or change your parameters whenever you want. If you want to find new music on Pandora or Last.fm you can always type in a genre (maybe "experimental" will get you somewhere; maybe something as broad as "electronic" or "rap"), or just pick a random name you've seen mentioned by somebody who otherwise seems to have good taste and skip as many songs as you care to and then start a new station with any band that does catch your ear. If you can't find a jumping-off point, allmusic.com's ideas about who "followed" any given band don't seem totally terrible. I looked up Wire just now and was told to look into Disco Inferno (yes!), the Breeders (a little random, but OK), Slint (really?), and Fugazi, among others. Most of them worthwhile, many not-too-similar-sounding. That particular search didn't quite get me past the '90s, but following the links to those bands would. It's just regular internet experimentation.
posted by Adventurer at 12:26 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


In agreement with Adventurer, WFMU has some great stuff (their blog is crazy fun), but I also find "new music" [1] either through friends, KEXP (we listen to it all the time), local festivals, opening bands for acts we like (or just liked the name) or just random internet links that makes me go listen to samples and then and decide to buy an album.

Like Adventurer, my problem is more that there is too much awesome music out there and not enough time (not if I want to do things like, you know, learning to make it myself). And possibly not enough money.

[1] New means new to me, not necessarily recently created in time.
posted by R343L at 1:05 PM on October 17, 2011


I honestly don't know why anybody would use something rather lifeless like Pandora now that turntable.fm exists.
posted by koeselitz at 1:21 PM on October 17, 2011


Devil's Night Radio (autoplay) plays a wide variety of music from all eras. I usually have it streaming when I'm online, and if a song comes up that I like, it's pretty easy to find. No commercials at all. The guy who runs it, Morgan Night, is very helpful via email if you ever have any questions about a song or a band. He does a live show with requests on Sunday nights.
posted by Sailormom at 1:28 PM on October 17, 2011


People are still discovering Neko Case in 2011? Where have you been for the last 15 years?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:30 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I quite enjoyed the article, but for this:
At 40 he had decided he was too old to perform – but then worried that he wasn't much use at anything else – so he released some solo records, but they weren't terribly good

WHAAA??? I love Jarvis and Further Complications. I honestly like those better than some of the Pulp stuff. Especially FC, which seems rather Elvis Costello-like to me. And I'm talking about the good-era Elvis, not the North-type shit. (though his recent Americana-y albums have been rather decent.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:43 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


WHAAA??? I love Jarvis and Further Complications.

Yeah. Not convinced that the author knows anything about Pulp or Jarvis Cocker. But that's the nature of this sort of interview.
posted by howfar at 1:51 PM on October 17, 2011


This article is a setup, halfway between a softball and a trap, pushed by an industry publicist to give the forgotten Cocker some inches around his book release.

Pulp played here recently and it was huge.
Portishead are playing a festival I'm going to, so I'm trying to listen to them. I find them bland and confusing, but the last time I saw a similar act live I got so flustered I had to leave and see a local alt country band.
Pulp are probably on the edge of what I'll listen to, experimental-wise
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:55 PM on October 17, 2011


Jarvis Cocker presents a two hour music show on BBC 6 every week, so I presume he still listens to music and isn't entirely forgotten.

Heh, that's awesome. Once again I'm thoroughly embarrassed by my ignorance.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:41 AM on October 17


Pulp played here recently and it was huge.

Once again, heh, that's awesome. Once again, I'm once again throughly embarrassed by my ignorance, once again.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:12 PM on October 17, 2011


KokuRyu: "Don't forget college radio"

Absolutely. On the off chance that there are any KTUH folks here, let me say: THANK YOU! (And also, although I haven't lived in the area for many many years, another big THANK YOU to KUCI, since I'm pretty sure we do have some alumni here among us.)
posted by lex mercatoria at 2:21 PM on October 17, 2011


To argue Cocker's side a little - I think if you compare the current Occupy Wall Street protests to their 60s predecessors, music had a much more integral part in the movement back then. Overabundance, commercialization, and headphone culture all play a part in some way, I'm sure. In the end, there will always be Background Music and Foreground Music, but I do think thing's have taken a turn recently.

It's always bugged the hell out of me when you hear people referring to jazz and classical as relaxing or 'chill-out' music when, if listened to actively, both genres are intensely stimulating. "Let's ignore the context of decades of standards and let's put some Miles Davis in the background for our party." I think it's because, as in general retail, people tend to consume what's pushed to them, no matter how discerning they think they are (e.g. pitchfork). And the music that is pushed and written about tends to be music for young people and if you combine that with the tendency for peoples' tastes to plateau after a certain age, we as a collective audience are stuck in a sort of arrested development music-wise, where even the most earnest and ambitious musicians in pop are still making, ultimately, kid's music and that is how we're gradually losing our ability to be active and engaged listeners. Thoughtful, receptive audiences are out there, but we're all susceptible to this dumbing-down cycle to varying degrees. Or, what Cocker said about capitalism. It all goes back to Elvis.
posted by marco_nj at 2:41 PM on October 17, 2011


Lemme guess: you never listened to their newest album (from three years ago) and are basing your opinion on music they made 15 years ago.

You are absolutely correct. I found their music to be so droll and lifeless that I was utterly unable to bother with them again. I've got plenty good music to listen to without waiting for mediocre artists to slowly improve. Good for them though, I guess.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:55 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh. I'm of the opinion that Devil's Rancher doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about re:Dummy, either.
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on October 17, 2011


People are still discovering Neko Case in 2011? Where have you been for the last 15 years?

I tried the Whoosamacallits? What's that band she was in, The New Decembrists? and didn't like 'em one bit. And yes, I did crawl out from under a rock.

Actually, I was having my Free Jazz & Prog Rock revival period, and I set the radio on Ignore for a while. Steve Earle figured prominently in there, too. I absorb stuff slowly, and sometimes have to turn off the spigot on purpose so I can soak in the last umpteen albums I've gotten. I'm also slowly catching up on all the great stuff I missed out on when I was a kid, like most of Stevie Wonder's back catalog, The James Gang (don't laugh - I'm a reformed hippie) all the Fleetwood Mac, and one of my old faves, Leon Russell. Carney blew my mind all over again. I've probably spent almost 5 years mostly filling in old holes with only the odd new artist. It's not that I think there's nothing good out there -- exactly the opposite. There's a glut of great music, and I just can't absorb it all. I got to Neko when I could.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:11 PM on October 17, 2011


I find them bland and confusing

If you're talking about the Essential Mix I linked to, that's just a 2 hour DJ set by their live DJ with a few original Portishead songs scattered in here and there. It's a fairly standard mid 90s trip-hop/hip-hop mix.

Just listen to their first two albums on Spotify if you want to hear them at their best..

I wouldn't be too psyched to see them live either, tbh. The haven't done anything interesting since about 1996 or so.

Pulp are probably on the edge of what I'll listen to, experimental-wise

Musically, Pulp are just middle-of-the-road rock and roll. There's almost nothing experimental about them.

I mean, compare them to Stone Roses from the same time frame?

And that's not even getting into all the far out electronica stuff that was getting made at that time.
posted by empath at 3:12 PM on October 17, 2011


Heh. I'm of the opinion that Devil's Rancher doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about re:Dummy, either.

Next, you're going to tell me Nickelback is really coming along these days. Might be true, but I might not bother.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:13 PM on October 17, 2011


If you're talking about the Essential Mix I linked to, that's just a 2 hour DJ set by their live DJ with a few original Portishead songs scattered in here and there. It's a fairly standard mid 90s trip-hop/hip-hop mix.

Nah I've got a few of their albums. They're playing at a festival with Flaming Lips, Bright Eyes and The National, so there's no way a mope like me won't be there.

Musically, Pulp are just middle-of-the-road rock and roll. There's almost nothing experimental about them.

I mean, compare them to Stone Roses from the same time frame? yt

And that's not even getting into all the far out electronica stuff that was getting made at that time.


I was using that line to qualify exactly how reactionary my tastes are. You know that Frank Turner guy Ahab linked to? I've seen him twice, and evangelize him to all my friends. And he's so old-fashioned he sings songs about old English civil wars and the Magna Carta.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:14 PM on October 17, 2011


Portishead are playing a festival I'm going to, so I'm trying to listen to them. I find them bland and confusing

Of course it doesn't matter what I think, but I think it's excellent that you're trying. Bland is one thing, but bland and confusing at the same time would seem to indicate that the idiom is too unfamiliar to you for you to get anything out of it yet. The way you talk about your tastes here and in the Meatloaf thread, it sounds like you kind of never listen to anything but the musical equivalent of pizza and hot dogs. Not that these are necessarily bad (except for possibly some of the hot dogs), but to the exclusion of all else?

Do you have any favorite albums that didn't really sound like anything the first two or maybe five times you tried them? Not because there was nothing going on, but because you couldn't follow them? If not, you're missing out. I think it's like this: I don't play guitar or read music very well at all, but when I try to sight read something unfamiliar, the first two or three times through, even if I'm technically getting the notes and the timing right, what I'm hearing doesn't make any sense to me. I'm too busy trying to keep track of each note to remember what I just played well enough to hear one note in relation to the ones that came before it, or to benefit from anticipating what comes next. Because there is a certain pleasure in the completion of a phrase. More so if it's surprising and fulfilling at the same time. But of course you don't know what's surprising or good in this context yet.

This seems like as good a place as any to pull out the Proust: "As all novelty depends on the prior elimination of the stereotyped attitude to which we had grown accustomed, and which seemed to us to be reality itself, any new form of conversation, like all original painting and music, must always appear complicated and exhausting. It is based on figures of speech with which we are not familiar, the speaker appears to us to be talking entirely in metaphors; and this wearies us, and gives us the impression of a want of truth."
posted by Adventurer at 3:20 PM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whatever... I'm pretty much assuming you're some know nothing who heard a snatch of them on a soundtrack ort at some party here or there back when they were overexposed and now hating on them is your little canned hipster peeve. Boring. When Glory Box and Sour Times first came out there really wasn't a hell of a lot out there that sounded like they did bar the other nascent proponents of the Bristol sound. You don't get to push something entirely new by being a "mediocrity". And, FWIW, plenty of fire.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course it doesn't matter what I think, but I think it's excellent that you're trying. Bland is one thing, but bland and confusing at the same time would seem to indicate that the idiom is too unfamiliar to you for you to get anything out of it yet. The way you talk about your tastes here and in the Meatloaf thread, it sounds like you kind of never listen to anything but the musical equivalent of pizza and hot dogs. Not that these are necessarily bad (except for possibly some of the hot dogs), but to the exclusion of all else?

The variation comes in the lyrics, not the music. Musically, pretty much all I listen to is either bar band style rock, old fashioned punk, indie pop, or acoustic/country/folk/people with guitars. Lyrically, though, there's everything from love songs to Anne Frank to a 5 album story of fucking up and redemption to the Civil War as a metaphor for teenage alienation.

But yes, when I've tried to get outside that idiom I just get confused. I'd focus on expanding it, but honestly there's no real need. Last weekend I skipped seeing my favorite local Irish punk band for the millionth time, and I missed K$ha showing up. There's so much happening right now that I'd rather focus on expanding my tastes incrementally - to Britpop and freak-folk and power pop and what is dismissively called IKEAcore (bland hardcore) than take a risk.

as for finding out about new bands, I get e-mails about about 20 new bands daily
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:24 PM on October 17, 2011


I found their music to be so droll and lifeless

'Droll' means 'wryly amusing'.

The more you know!
posted by Sebmojo at 3:25 PM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]



Whatever... I'm pretty much assuming you're some know nothing who heard a snatch of them on a soundtrack ort at some party here or there back when they were overexposed and now hating on them is your little canned hipster peeve. Boring. When Glory Box and Sour Times first came out there really wasn't a hell of a lot out there that sounded like they did bar the other nascent proponents of the Bristol sound. You don't get to push something entirely new by being a "mediocrity". And, FWIW, plenty of fire.


Huh. It appears I only have 'Third'. I used to like Massive Attack, so maybe I will get into Portishead. But I'll be too busy crying over Conor Oberst and The National to really care.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:26 PM on October 17, 2011


I feel like LiB should just pick a new genre of music and just immerse himself in it until he gets it :) Doesn't matter what it is.

Okay, LiB, your homework is this:

Here is 12 hours of late 80s and early 90s house music on Spotify.

Put this on shuffle while you clean your house or play video games or something, and play it fucking loud. Maybe this will open your mind to a whole new way of enjoying music :)
posted by empath at 3:26 PM on October 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Whatever... I'm pretty much assuming you're some know nothing who heard a snatch of them on a soundtrack ort at some party here or there back when they were overexposed and now hating on them is your little canned hipster peeve. Boring. When Glory Box and Sour Times first came out there really wasn't a hell of a lot out there that sounded like they did bar the other nascent proponents of the Bristol sound. You don't get to push something entirely new by being a "mediocrity". And, FWIW, plenty of fire.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on October 17 [+] [!]


Plus, Wandering Star. That opening organ riff/snare hit!
posted by Sebmojo at 3:26 PM on October 17, 2011


Oh, and one last note - I saw Portishead live in '98 and they were phenomenally good. One of my top five gigs as a live experience.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:28 PM on October 17, 2011


Empath: Or I could try and figure out if Jarvis Cocker is Britain's answer to Craig Finn or whether it's actually Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. Evidence for Jarvis includes at least one song that mirrors You Can Make Him Like You and both of them having their work adopted as a comic by Jamie Hewlett.

Since I've derailed this thread long enough, here's the Common People comic
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:31 PM on October 17, 2011


'Droll' means 'wryly amusing'. The more you know!

In the words of Curly: "I'm tryna think, and nuttin's happnin!"
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:40 PM on October 17, 2011


Well, I go to sleep, return, and this thread has turned in to a Portishead debate. Good work, always liked them much more than Pulp.

Here's an awesome live beatbox cover of Wandering Star.
posted by mannequito at 3:44 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty much assuming you're some know nothing who heard a snatch of them on a soundtrack ort at some party here or there back when they were overexposed and now hating on them is your little canned hipster peeve.

I heard a lot of 'em -- 101X in Austin used to play them pretty constantly, and I had a couple employees who insisted on listening to that station for a good three or four years. Also, my daughter had some, and I got bombarded with it from her room a pretty good bit. It's not a pet peeve so much, as I haven't thought of 'em in quite a long time until they came up in this thread, but they sort of stuck out as a Platonic ideal of formulaic commercial radio rock, back when.

Being honest about not personally liking music that other people feel strongly about is a thing that has its pitfalls on MetaFilter, but I guess I'll take my lumps. I am beginning to feel vaguely bad about the cheap shot at their name, so let me apologize about that, at least.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:50 PM on October 17, 2011


this thread has turned in to a Portishead debate. Good work, always liked them much more than Pulp.

They're actually a perfect example of music that works so much better when listened to, as opposed to the background / scented candle approach.

(preferably loud, on a rainy night, alone with a bottle of shiraz)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:51 PM on October 17, 2011


Here's an awesome live beatbox cover of Wandering Star.

Here's my fave version of Sour Times. Bland my arse.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on October 17, 2011


PS - I mean Portishead & Dummy, not Third.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:52 PM on October 17, 2011


They're actually a perfect example of music that works so much better when listened to, as opposed to the background / scented candle approach.

Huh? Isn't the whole point of trip-hop to be background music for coffee shops?

Pulp works because of the bitter lyrics combined with the pop
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:53 PM on October 17, 2011


Trip-hop was what they called it once it had suffered that sad fate, LiB.
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh? Isn't the whole point of trip-hop to be background music for coffee shops?

That may or may not be true for the likes of Tricky or Massive Attack, but Portishead have a soul-wrenching existentialist core wrapped up in icy, fragmented jazz / blues cloak, more like Amy Winehouse broken down in a club & coming down hard at 4am, than anything remotely to do with tripping or hiphop.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:56 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, we're dissing Massive Attack now!?!
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, we're dissing Massive Attack now!?!

Well, as it turns out, I've never heard a single note by them, so I'm the prefect man for the job.

*clears throat* I bet they're lousy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:11 PM on October 17, 2011


Portishead's Third is trip hop provided you have no idea what the words "trip hop" mean.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:11 PM on October 17, 2011


Massive attack also did an essential mix in the 90s.
posted by empath at 4:13 PM on October 17, 2011


Massive attack also did an essential mix in the 90s.

you know, I bet if you had terrible taste and mistook being snotty about things for insight you'd really hate that...
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on October 17, 2011


I think that describes everyone in this conversation still.
posted by empath at 4:22 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


You guys only think that music is good because you're sorted for E's and whizz
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:22 PM on October 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


LiB wins the thread.
posted by Artw at 4:24 PM on October 17, 2011


is this about the new Starbucks cd?
posted by pianomover at 4:39 PM on October 17, 2011


MetaFilter: mistook being snotty about things for insight.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:43 PM on October 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Massive Attack is for coming down off E while Portishead is for the next day.
posted by mannequito at 4:46 PM on October 17, 2011


For happy mondays, in other words.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:06 PM on October 17, 2011


Listening to Wandering Star for the first time in forever... holy shit is that good.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on October 17, 2011


Listening to Wandering Star for the first time in forever... holy shit is that good.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on October 17 [+] [!]

Bwar Bwar Bwar Bwar
Bwur Bwur Bwur Bwur
Bwar Bwar Bwar Bwar
Bwur Bwur Bwur BLAP
posted by Sebmojo at 6:17 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for sharing this article (and I've found many of the resulting comments so heartening that I have a list of Mefites now that I would like to actually hug)! Jarv is one of my musical heroes, and I've always admired both his work and his intelligent opinions on such matters as covered. I completely agree with his assessments (including the quote in this post).

Incidentally, I also really agree with and admire Lovecraft in Brooklyn's very well-put comment: ...or it might be because of the rise of the sort of bloodless indie pop that's mostly meant to accompany festival hookups and car commercials.

I just know that, as time marches on, I have what seems like a curmudgeonly old person's response to the music and culture of today, and I can never quite voice my restlessness and unease about what I'm feeling alienated by in our current existence (in general, not just in music but in every aspect of our culture -- though especially, and loosely termed, 'the arts'). Lovecraft's comment really hits it on the nail (and, as I've continued to peruse other comments beneath, I find that I'm nodding my head to other like-minded responders). That's exactly what I've been feeling but haven't been able to express. I feel like there's no escaping from this sort of... cheapness and regurgitation in our culture now. It's here, and everything that was once original, fresh, and had some meaning and impact is now so flat and meaningless. I think it is partially because, with technology and the internet putting everything at our fingertips 24/7, everything really does seem to mean less to a whole generation, but even older generations seem to kind of get trapped in this quicksand. I know there's always going to be exceptions to every rule, but it's that trend that the outsider (ie people who are not of the younger generation) inevitably sees and responds to, regardless of whether or not it is as accurate as you believe.

I don't mind the cultural wasteland. That's always existed. It's that it's less possible to get away from it. The media seems to feed off of what they consider these 'viral' aspects of our culture. And I seem to be surrounded by people duped into thinking that the unoriginal/not good is absolutely fucking brilliant. And they seem gobsmacked by the fact that I say I don't like anything they like. It makes me feel like an old man (rather than a 30 year old woman) who hates everything. What's happened to individualism? Not everyone needs to 'stay relevant' to be content!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:38 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know how you have a hard time escaping the cultural wasteland? Just stop watching cable tv, and listen to NPR instead of top 40.
posted by empath at 8:47 PM on October 17, 2011


when I've tried to get outside that idiom I just get confused. I'd focus on expanding it, but honestly there's no real need. Last weekend I skipped seeing my favorite local Irish punk band for the millionth time, and I missed K$ha showing up.

I assume that's a self-deprecating joke, but why would broadening your listening habits mean that you couldn't see the same punk band every weekend if you wanted to, or make you love the Hold Steady any less?

Are there any other areas in your life in which you don't feel like tolerating confusion and uncertainty, learning new things, or expanding your horizons is worth the effort? Getting to know an entirely new genre of music might be good (and safely non-social, if you want it that way) practice. And that's aside from the intrinsic rewards associated with finding an entirely new field of music to also explore and love and hate things in.

Maybe you'd like a bridge from one place to another? I don't know who would necessarily work for you, but Caribou's Andorra album showed me a way into electronic music just about four years ago, by way of some Beach Boys harmonies and a massive drum sound. I know you don't just like the Beach Boys for the lyrics.

I don't believe you really want to be a reactionary. Reactionaries don't have their own heads, they just have reflexes. You've gotta be aware of the irony of the fact that the dude in your profile passionately believes in a punk who demanded "No more Beatles, no more Rolling Stones," and of the fact that your attitude would not have permitted the invention of the type of music you like. Which, you must admit, is not going to get any healthier or more robust as time goes on.

I'm gonna go listen to empath's house mix.
posted by Adventurer at 8:50 PM on October 17, 2011


@empath I don't listen to the radio at all. I'm not crazy about NPR, though. I haven't listened to top 40 since the 80s. And if it were still the 80s, I'd be quite happy to still the 80s, I'd be quite happy listening to top 40 (at least sometimes). I was just making a observation, not necessarily looking for an attack.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:57 PM on October 17, 2011


Yup, I didn't preview, but it should be evident what I meant. Also, it looked like enough other people above seemed to be of a somewhat similar sentiment, so I thought I wouldn't be singled out as the only Andy Rooney here! Without fail.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:00 PM on October 17, 2011


hey if anyone actually is interested in broadening their rap/hip hop horizons, I'm working on a diverse experimental mix for this winter's mix cd swap. I don't guarantee you'd enjoy it, but it will certainly be interesting.
posted by mannequito at 9:02 PM on October 17, 2011


when I've tried to get outside that idiom I just get confused. I'd focus on expanding it, but honestly there's no real need. Last weekend I skipped seeing my favorite local Irish punk band for the millionth time, and I missed K$ha showing up.

I assume that's a self-deprecating joke, but why would broadening your listening habits mean that you couldn't see the same punk band every weekend if you wanted to, or make you love the Hold Steady any less?


Nah that's 100% true. There are pictures and everything.

I don't know how you have a hard time escaping the cultural wasteland? Just stop watching cable tv, and listen to NPR instead of top 40.

I don't have cable, and that's the cultural wasteland. I feel like the real culture is stuff like Breaking Bad, which I don't get into.

Are there any other areas in your life in which you don't feel like tolerating confusion and uncertainty, learning new things, or expanding your horizons is worth the effort?

All of them? Videogames, books, etc? I've got some bad shit in my head, and I'd rather I keep it under wraps.

Maybe you'd like a bridge from one place to another? I don't know who would necessarily work for you, but Caribou's Andorra album showed me a way into electronic music just about four years ago, by way of some Beach Boys harmonies and a massive drum sound. I know you don't just like the Beach Boys for the lyrics.

Craig and John have worked with some wrappers, and I think the guy from LCD knows Brian from Gaslight. But honestly most of the pressure seems to be going in the other direction: THS seems to lead into hardcore and Mountain Goats, believe it or not, keep trying to get their fans into extreme metal.

My friend is promoting an experimental electronica fest this Saturday. Maybe I WILL go
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2011



Craig and John have worked with some wrappers


Rappers, even.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2011


Bwar Bwar Bwar Bwar
Bwur Bwur Bwur Bwur
Bwar Bwar Bwar Bwar
Bwur Bwur Bwur BLAP


eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeOOOOOOOOOOO eeeeeeeeeOOOOOOOOOOO EEEEEEEEEEOOOOOO
posted by Artw at 9:19 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Music's changed in that way. People still listen to it, but it's not as central, it's more like a scented candle. It sets the mood.

I don't believe this for a second. It's as central or not as it's always been, depending on the individual.
posted by juiceCake at 9:24 PM on October 17, 2011


Mountain Goats, believe it or not, keep trying to get their fans into extreme metal.

Because extreme metal is where lots of interesting music is happening. What passes for "indie rock" these days is mostly English majors noodling around on synthesizers or bashing acoustic guitars. Or retreading Mission of Burma, which is only cool if you're, you know, Mission of Burma. Yawn.

Metal, for all its excesses and ridiculousness, is still fertile musical territory and I find myself listening more and more to bands as disparate as Kverelak and Shining and Finntroll and Baroness and Sunn0))). It's not all great, and sone of it is perfectly awful, but at least metal is still willing to take some risks and be foolish, which is, really, all you can ask for in rock'n'roll.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:10 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the people who are ragging on Jarvis here are mostly misreading his point. He's talking about the music business, not music as a whole. Yes, there's all kinds of crazy radical awesome groundbreaking music being made today, as there always has and always will be. But this happens largely outside the music industry, and Pulp worked within the music industry.

To my mind, the cool stuff has always happened kind of on the fringes, and bands like Pulp making it big have always been more the exception than the norm, but I can see why Jarvis might see it differently, being at the center of his world.

It's definitely something that gives me pause. I mean, look at how consistently amazing Motown was! It's pretty much impossible to imagine anything like that coming about today. But it rose out of a particular set of historical circumstances, and was unlike anything before or since. Pretty soon there will probably be something else new and unheralded. Here's hoping, anyway.
posted by speicus at 11:21 PM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and one last note - I saw Portishead live in '98 and they were phenomenally good. One of my top five gigs as a live experience.

I saw Portishead live last Wednesday and they are still phenomenally good.
posted by Windigo at 4:43 AM on October 18, 2011


I saw Portishead live last Wednesday and they are still phenomenally good.
posted by Windigo at 4:43 AM on October 18 [+] [!]


And they're playing in Auckland in November! Hmmm, can I jack up a work trip up there...
posted by Sebmojo at 12:53 PM on October 18, 2011


I'm an unapologetic rockist and I dig Portishead. But I got into them through Live at Roseland, which a pretty rockist thing to do.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:28 PM on October 18, 2011


Portishead Live in Seattle 10/23
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on October 24, 2011


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