A topic came up on Facebook today, one that I see pop up every so often. A friend posted a story in which a ‘70s rocker said that something like how rock is “dead” because of downloading and filesharing. That’s some major bullshit right there. Not to mention any names, but maybe this rocker who used to wear a lot of makeup and has an extremely long tongue is just pissed because HIS music isn’t selling much anymore!
Anyway, my friend went on to say that he thinks rock is dead because “a lot of the new stuff sucks.” This isn’t a slam on him, by any means. He is one of my favorite Bookface friends and he posts a lot of great stuff (love ya, Gregg!). But I think he is dead wrong on this and I said that I disagreed with him. We had a productive (if short) discussion there, and he asked for a few recommendations.
I really don’t like this pronouncement and I hear it way too often. No, rock isn’t dead. No, current music doesn’t suck. Some of it does, that’s for sure! But as I pointed out, you aren’t going to hear the good stuff on the radio. This is where the dedicated, proactive music fan needs to step up. There is all kinds of great music being made out there, but you have to step outside your usual zone in order to find it. This is one reason the Interwebz is so great; even if you don’t have a vibrant music scene in your community, you can still check out music that is being made all over these United States and all over the world! It’s wonderful!
Here are a couple of ways to find new music that trips your trigger.
- Free download sites like NoiseTrade. This is where I’ve found tons of great new music I never would have found otherwise. You can tip the artists whatever amount you want, but I’ve found that if a band just immediately jumps out at me (one of those “Holy shit, this is GREAT!” moments), I usually seek out their music to purchase via whatever method I can. It is often Amazon, but sometimes I get it through Bandcamp, which is another great site to find new music. Speaking of Amazon, they also sometimes offer free MP3 downloads of compilations or single songs. I’ve found some good stuff that way, too.
- If you have a local music scene, GO SEE THE BANDS. Groove to their music, get up and dance, cheer them on, buy their merchandise, and as I always say, show the band some love! We are fortunate in that South Bend has a vibrant music scene and quite a few venues to see these local bands. It’s not like a big concert with the light show and big-time audio. It’s just local bands setting up their own equipment and working hard to entertain the audience. Be in that audience! Let the bands know that their talent and hard work is appreciated!
- Have a pal or a relative who is into finding new music and is always willing to turn you onto something they think you’ll love or who posts about the new stuff they find. Shane and I have been Music Buddies for decades, and we are always saying, “Hey, check this out!” One of my fantastic recent finds was, if I recall correctly, a free download from Amazon. That was Temples, one of the best new bands I’ve heard in years. An amazing throwback psychedelic sound. It blew me away and I knew that Shane would love it, too. I was right!
Since Gregg asked for some recommendations, I told him a few of some of my recent finds through these avenues, and I’ll share some videos here.
First up is Shake Before Us out of San Diego. I immediately loved the ‘70s garage band sound, complete with...not sure about my instruments here...is that a Moog? A Farfisa? I don’t know, but it’s a rave up!
Next is Broncho. They are out of Oklahoma City (What?! I know!) and they are so much fun! We actually got to see them live in Chicago when they opened for Billy Idol on several dates on his North American tour. They were great live, and I only wish they had played longer than a half an hour.
Next is Velcro Mary out of Charlotte, North Carolina (What?! I know!). More garage band sound (are you sensing a pattern?) and it turns out that Velcro Mary consists of one guy, Jason, making music in his home. We exchanged several emails and it was fun to learn more about him and about his music. You can get VM’s new album, “Leave a Light On” here.
Finally, here’s a video from one of our most-beloved local bands, The Rutabega, from right here in South Bend. They are an absolute blast to see live and we do so every chance we get. They make an amazing sound for just two guys, with an additional vocalist on some songs.
If you love music, get out there and look for the good stuff. It really is out there. (I haven’t even touched on long-established artists who are still making great music, including The Rainmakers, Prince, Devo, Bowie, and of course, my beloved Duran Duran!)