I’ve read that society’s love for nostalgia isn’t just “a thing you noticed”, but rather an actual cultural trend that for as long as I remember paying attention to cultural trends has been increasing in it’s reach.
I remember in college getting shit ape giddy over a VHS of the GI Joe movie gifted to me and previously viewed circa 1988 or maybe it was the transformers movie.
In music the white stripes were the next big thing made possible by some old thing revived.
The saying goes that fashion is cyclical, which is to say at some point people feel nostalgic for the clothes of yesteryear. My first experience with this was the formidable “grunge” era when flannel shirts were the rage and everyone ransacked their parents old clothes storage areas to find that all important plaid and worn look. Coincidentally flannel is back “in”. But lets not get into that, I will save my “how flannel came back into fashion” diatribe for a different post.
My focus today is retrofitting in music. Spawned by just having listened to the new You Blew It! album “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” I wanted to explore some thoughts on just what the fuck is going on in music with all this re-birthing.
YBI!’s schtick is the late 90’s early aught emo sound. To their credit this album sounds as much like it was actually released in 2000 as a white stripes album sounds like it came from 1970. Yet it doesn’t come close to matching the intensity of the great emo releases of the early part of the century. Still YBI is advertised as leading an emo revival. But after listening to this album I can’t help but notice how underwhelming it compares to greats like Deja Entendu and Tell All Your Friends.
Much of this disappointment is probably a mix of maturity on an emotional/personal level as well as a music preference evolution and the fact that I actually was around / aware / involved in the original scene when it broke into mainstream. Like love, nothing beats the first time … at least that could be the working title of my hypothesis.
Last year saw a revival of sorts for another bygone era of rock music. I’m not sure how to tag it, though personally I would loosely refer to it as music i listened to by myself in the 90’s cause most of my friends were into heavy bro rock and no one gave a fuck about pavement … disclaimer I too was pretty into some heavy ass rock … though I have maintained since i was 14 that i only listened to the “good” bands.
Bands like Speedy Ortiz and Pity Sex sought to reclaim that mid 90’s indie feel and judging from the hype machine’s noise they did a pretty good job at tickling that nostalgic itch.
There is also the argument to be made that a person’s preference for a genre at some point becomes closer to static than evolutionary. In fact I would consider myself in the twilight of my genre exploration era. But I would take up the argument that it’s because the low rate of return and downturn in quality of the sources I rely upon for exploration.
So now that I’ve reached the acceptance phase: There are almost no new ideas being explored by musicians in pop music any more.
It’s time to examine some questions.
Is this a good or bad thing, and why?
What is important to you for the future in music?
The good or bad question merits a lot of thought but on the surface it’s easy to tally a list of both pros and cons.
For the pros:
Yay, more music that sounds like (enter band that you really liked 15 – 20 years ago)
Oh cool, guitars!
I already went through this phase
The people reviving it are doing a disservice to the originators by making a shittier version of a genre that ran it’s course.
The band is simply trying to feed off our insatiable appetite for nostalgia to get famous more easily.
This realization leads to a stunting of creativity since music is a business and bands that make money will be afforded contractrs and fame for copycat music ahead of those forging their own way.
I guess since music is my hobby it’s a bit of a downer to think that due to current cultural tendencies I may be done finding a band that has something original to offer. Luckily the one saving grace behind all great music is the musician. Musicians might take similar paths to prominence, and share similar attributes with other musicians, but people are complex, and typically unmatched, and I think there’ll always be artists whose personality transcends their medium and offering something unique to their audience.
But then again people are pretty shitty these days. I mean just look at their addiction to the past.
For a more thoughtful and interesting perspective you can start here
Re:Boot would have been a more fitting title for yesterday’s post in which I welcomed my own voice back to the blogging community. However cleverness is not a strong character trait of mine. I’m more of the George Constanza “oh yeah, well the jerk stored called” … sort of person.
Moving on … also mentioned was my disappointment in the lack of rock and roll commentary in my life and how I also missed writing on the topic. I thought perhaps a good way to get back into all this would be to revisit an old core post trend … album review. So here’s some stuff about that….
I probably won’t ever get around to doing a “favorite albums 2013” list. Which is a shame because last year felt like a huge success in how many albums came out that I thoroughly enjoyed. For probably the first time in maybe 5 years there were truly interesting and excellent albums ready to be consumed. The list of bands included old staples (Vampire Weekend), solid sophomore efforts (Local Natives), underground rawk (Hausu) … and I could easily continue the list of band and types of albums that came out strong. But for now I want to say a few words about what I would say was my favorite album.
Deafheaven’s Sunbather. I know no matter how much I rave about how good this album is I won’t probably be able to get many people to that same place of reverence. I can understand that it’s a tough barrier to get a non-metal listening person to crave some black metal, which is the at the core of the Deafheaven’s sound. I personally would argue that the album is metal because from an instrumental standpoint I think it relies heavily on a more classic prog rock and shoegaze sound than metal. However the vocals here are of a classic black metal nature (think hissing growl … also note to self … hissing growl would make a fucking sweet band name, diarrhea planet should consider making the switch). And to be fair this is a valid reason for someone to not be able to “get into it”.
As for myself by about the 4th or 5th listen I stopped even noticing the vocals… which just aren’t my thing. However the music here was so enthralling that it wasn’t hard for me to feel the draw to keep listening after that first and second spin. I think part of the draw is the nostalgia the album elicits from me. Half the songs have pieces that could have fit on any number of Deftones albums as one of their long playing deep cuts. Then there are parts that go straight up ocean’s 11 ripping off the hazy beauty of The Cure..
Throw in a track devoted to a piano piece and you have yourself an album easily tagged as “something different”.
Even though there are these aspects to the music which don’t fit the traditional black metal sound the band still uses, what I think is the best part of black metal as an anchor for the album. What black metal does great is promote a grandeur in it’s sound. Like you’re listening to deity anthems or music of an epic tale. It invigorates. It swells. It makes the listener feel like they’re listening to something important. I think sunbather does that. I’m not sure if it’s release timing up with the start of summer made a difference in my experience, or if I would have liked it as much if i had listened during a different season, but the music soundtracked every beautiful moment of my summer. Loud and beautiful, it often ripped the air while blasting from my car in a perfectly delightful, if not giddy way.
This album is for people who like rock. As mentioned influences like the Cure and Deftones and Isis can be heard here. As all great albums go this one doesn’t have many if any weak spots. I really can’t think of any tracks I wouldn’t recommend. Most reviews early on lauded album opener Dream House as the strongest piece. I immediately was drawn to the title track “Sunbather”, which found it’s way onto a lot of year end “best track” lists. But that certainly shouldn’t take away from the rest of the songs which taken apart from the aforementioned jewels can stand on their own right as being tremendous.
Here’s hoping the band continues to produce such sparkling doom, and dear lord lets hope they tour around these parts soon.
I think they’ve earned some well deserved attention as well. Back in June I went to the local record store and at the time I had just started listening to Sunbather. I asked the owner if he had gotten the album in and he said he hadn’t heard of it. I asked the same guy last month when I stopped in for some christmas shopping and he said they had 3 copies but they all sold out in a like 2 weeks. So it would seem that I’m not the only person who has a high opinion of the album. Hoping for a follow up soon, but even if that doesn’t happen Sunbather still stands as one of those albums you can always put on and enjoy and never really wear out.
Deathheave: Sunbather … 5 out of 5 boners
Yep. Blogging again. Gonna skip my usual post on why I decided to try this again.
Meta: I just tried to write a clever line that rhymed seasons and reasons. It fucking sucked. There’s your reason. I can’t write any more and it bothers the shit out of me.
At one point in my blogging life I got to a point where I thought I was being intellectual by being snarky. This is a trick that forms the basis of all the most popular internet sites these days. I’m not saying I invented it. I definitely learned it and was an early adopter of the style.
I also credit some of the humorists I followed in my youth as making impression on my style.
Anyway I want to write again in a way that I’m proud of and in a way that is different from the gawker media of the (internet) world.
Not every line has to be clever or catchy. It could just be meaningful or eloquent. I’m not looking to become a deep thinker’s writer. I’m not smart enough for that. And at my core I’m an angry soul. So that is sure to continue to be prevalent. But I’m giving writing another shot because I like it.
Also, I have no one to talk to and blogging provides a false security that someone cares about what I think.
2013 ended and even though I engaged a few people about their year in music listening experience I really was never asked in return. Which is a totally selfish way to feel, but I had spent a lot of time having some significant internal dialogue on the topic, and hoped that I would be able to use it externally at some point. That made me miss blogging I guess. I liked writing all those “best of” lists. Even if only 2 or 3 friends ever checked it out, and fewer actually finished, and probably no one actually went back to check out any of my recommendations. Still, the false importance of it all was missed. Yes, I am that silly and shallow.
Not only did I miss the writing, I also felt challenged and life is all about finding challenges. If you’re not challenging yourself you’re probably in a bad place. I’m trying to think of an example either real or theoretical of a person who isn’t challenging themselves in some way. The only examples that come to mind are of people who I feel bad for and don’t seem to enjoy life much.
So I’m back. Hopefully I’ll find some challenges and write about them here. Hopefully the writing will get better.
Older. Wiser. Maybe just one of the two.
Well Sunday came and went. I spent most of it bedridden as penance for over-celebrating the Sabres OT victory on Saturday, a lot of which still eludes my memory. The penance continues as a self imposed prohibition shall enable me to spend more time dissecting the pointless minutiae of a hockey team whose arc seems destined to still fall short of the hopes of it’s fanbase.
And with that I figured better late than never to get this week in review kicked into gear. I should consider changing this running log’s name to “the worst sports blog ever” … but with such a bold title i’d feel compelled to try and match that grandeur.
Perhaps something like “A very average blog”. Still could be a bit self crediting.
Anyway here some shit …read it .. or don’t.
– Captain Ron is slowing turning the ship around. After an 0-2 start under the new coach the Sabres have gone 3-0-1. Albeit 2 of of those W’s were in SO’s. And 2 of the W’s were against teams whose geographic latitude coincides wit h their respective overall standings. But W’s are W’s and far be it from me to not give credit where it’s due.
The other 2 games were a bit more impressive. One versus a hard nosed Devils team that seemed like the exact type of game that caused the squad to crumble so far this season. Followed by a tough nosed dog fight against the Rangers which led to …
– The 2nd biggest story of the season so far (after Ruff’s firing). Patrick Kaleta gives a shove to the top of Brad Richards’ back on a penalty kill early in the 3rd. Richards lands face first into the boards and looks to have a serious head injury. A dumb and seemingly unnecessary shove resulting in a high profile player coming dangerously close to a career ending injury…. let the pundits rage!
And they have. I’d be happy to argue the case against everything any of the pundits said because most of it is complete bullshit.
That being said it was a dirty and irresponsible hit. Just like the one Mike Brown put on Kaleta earlier this season. You know, the one by the guy Grapes just got through patting on the back. Zing!
-So what’s on the minds and agenda this week? Well, it appears the media’s biggest eye toward consternation is regarding the Sabres 30th ranke PP unit. Yep, dead last. After a few years standing in the middle ground in the league the PP unit has severely regressed this year.
to me … there’s a lot wrong. Most of this has been pointed out already. First, why is Stafford on the bench? He’s been on the lead unit for some years and is typically effective. His spot was taken by Ott and/or Ennis. Which seems like trading out the combination of size and handling skill for someone with a bit more size, and somone with a bit more possession skill. Why not play the guy who has both skills in 1? Plus, it could help his confidence to bury a couple of close range shots. Maybe he got dumped earlier in the year because of his slow start … i can’t remember. Any, Ott looks terrible out there.
Ennis is useful with his ability to hold the puck and also is one of the better playmakers on the team.
I don’t know about you but “getting more pucks to the net” is a stupid cliche and not at all what appears to be the issue. To me it looks more like the Sabres are having trouble gaining the zone and setting up. It’s seems like a frantic mess. They need to learn to set up better, not pray Ehrhoff’s bombs luck out and drop at someone’s feet in the crease.
In any case it seems like it’ll take a mix of personnel changes and coaching instruction to help remedy the mess, but if they can hold on a little longer they have some breaks this month in which RR can try some new things.
– The Sabres play Carolina and then have a rematch with the Devils on Thursday. I’m not sure W’s or L’s against either squad tells us much at this point. It’s all about playing for their playoff lives at this point. They have a few extra games played than a couple of the teams vying for 8th so they’re in the precarious position of also probably hoping for some bad luck to their surrounding teams.
– Leino might come back this week. That should give fans something new to complain about. I’ve heard a lot of Gerbe griping this season. Yet, since his promotion to a line with scoring talent he’s been productive. I still think his liabilities outweigh his positive characteristics, but production is production and there wasn’t much coming from Stafford or Foligno on that 2nd line.
I kind of like the illusion of RR playing guys in the positions they’ve earned. If that is truly what we’re seeing.
– The team has a serious logjam for roster spots on it’s hand though. With Kaleta counting toward the total despite being out the next 5, plus Leino and Leo on the mend questions arise about the fate of Porter and Pardy.
I won’t mind seeing Pardy sent back down. He’s been a big body that can man up and take guys off the puck, but he’s been prone to mistakes and gotten caught out of position, subsequently causing a couple of ill timed penalties as a result of attempting to cover up for those gaffes.
He reminds me a bit of Myers without the weird self confidence in the offensive zone.
-Ok, well that’s enough for now. Gotta save some terrible observations for Sunday since this is going to be slow week with only 2 games till next post.
-Till then … please try and drink this one out of your memory. That way maybe you’ll forget how terrible this is, and find yourself back here next week.
Well, if you’ve payed any attention to the Sabres this week then reading this column might not provide much more insight than you’ve already garnered.
The Sabres are bad. Like worst in the NHL bad. In my decade of fandom I can’t really recall any time where it felt quite THIS bad. This is what it must be like to be a Columbus fan. Which is ironic, because this year I had decided to take on following the Blue Jackets as my adopted Western Conference team. I like their plucky, underrated, underdog status.
Turns out my “home” team could have used some of these qualities. It’s weird to be less than halfway through the season and realize that your team has no shot at the playoffs. Which, mathematically they do, however if they keep producing games like they did over the last week. Well, it could be a while till they get lucky enough to steal a game from some unsuspecting foe.
So the big stories were
-Meltdown on National TV … yup, that’s the most depressing way to frame last Sunday’s game. It could also be framed as the Sabres playing a tight game with one of the best teams in the East, only to have a lead slip away at the end. Either way a loss is a loss. The momentum from the game before once again immediately put to a stop.
The good news is that they had a fragile Jets team who doesn’t play well away from home on deck Tuesday
-Lindy and the Jets – No better way to get back on track. Turns out no better way to get your 15yr tenured, community icon, face of the franchise coach fired … kind of game. Yep, that happened. The Sabres lay a stinker against a stinky team and all that stink gets shoveled into a fan ….
Cody McCormick waived / assigned to Rochester: Well Cody … it was nice while it lasted. This wasn’t your fault. I thought you were a great role player. Always willing to stick up for your mates. Ready to do whatever you were asked. Guys like you are necessary and also completely replaceable. Unfortunately the management thought it was time to give another guy a shot to do the same thing.
Lindy Ruff fired: It’s the classic mob movie scenario. We got the head of the family at an impasse with the behind the scene puppet masters. The untouchable boss. The audience knows Don Lindy has to go. He’s running the family into the ground. The business is flailing. There’s unrest amongst the families!
Then it happens. A knock at the door. An unexpected trip in a car that ends up in a dark alley or some non-descript warehouse. The untouchable becomes untraceable. My imagination and flair for the dramatic can only imagine how the decision to fire Lindy really came about. But it came about. We feel for him though. He was the best character in this movie! The best lines. The best scenes. The best character. And now he’s gone.
But … as the script shows … this had to happen. Queue the funeral procession.
I don’t have much to say about the whole thing. At least I don’t feel like I have anything different to say that hasn’t already been processed by the various branches of the internet.
It’s been a tough couple of days moving forward. When all you know is the past moving forward can see scary.
Well, it’s been 2 games since that fateful day. It’s clear to see the problems with the team were at least partially masked by Lindy’s coaching. Things have only gotten worse as the Sabres put in a lackadaisical effort vs the Leafs. Only to put in an even worse loss at home against the Islanders.
The Islanders game was perhaps the most depressing regular season game I’ve watched as a fan. The players look defeated. The fans … as they are still calling themselves … even though I would characterize them more as ticket holders and event spectators … have determined that the best way to lift the spirits of the team is to boo them for every mistake.
While I can certainly understand the frustration on all sides. At this point … what are you getting from booing? It’s clearly not helping. In fact it seems like it might actually be hurting? If you are booing … you are actually increasing the chances that they play even worse? Isn’t that counterproductive from what you are trying to accomplish with a boo?
Whatever … I’ve been to plenty of events where I booed my team. I’m no saint. But it’s almost like booing the Sabres has become “the thing” to do. That seems … as Buffalonians are known to be … a little classless.
The team sucks. Get the fuck over it. We’ve still got a lot of games to go here. It’s not going to be pretty. I’d be amazed if the team can pull itself out of this funk to make the season at all redeemable. My best suggestion is to stop being in the mindset of turning it around or working towards anything more than going out there and letting things fly.
At this point there really is nothing left to lose. Time to get over the depression and start moving towards having fun. Fans be damned. Lose a couple of games 8 -4 or 6-5 … time to start opening things up. Get back to loving the game you’re paid to play and shut out the negativity.
Easier said than done … but right now these games are straight up depressing to watch. The players look depressed. The coach looks nervous. Miller looks pissy … wait, that’s normal. It’s just a really sad kind of situation. Lets hope a few days off to recharge helps the team come back refocused on Tuesday.
The depths of winter is upon on. A still bitter cold morning is upon up in Buffalo. The type of morning good for sitting inside, sipping coffee, and reflecting on how sometimes, despite petty complaints it’s pretty damn nice to live in a place like this.
And after that moment of reflection immediately turn back to the petty complaints. This dawning day those complaints will congregate around the topic of hockey, and more particularly the Buffalo Sabres.
The Sabres take on the Pittsburgh CrosNeaKins at 12:30 today here’s your lead up to what it’s store:
-The Sabres played the Bruins AGAIN on friday. Almost so many times that it’s kind of drained the rivalry for me. On the other hand these games have so far given fans the best examples of how good the Sabres can be. This one was no different, and possibly even more of an anomaly as Drew Stafford finally got on the board and Tyler Myers did his best Erik Karlsson impression (too soon?).
-And speaking of Myers. Call me crazy but does it seem like the balance of power from Karlsson went directly into Myers body? How freaky is that? As Karlsson has progressed, Myers has regressed. Then the next game after Karlsson is down Myers looks like he can win the Norris. No stupid passes out of his zone. He did have one incident where he tried to carry it down load, got it stolen, and cause a rush, but it didn’t lead to an odd man rush, and it didn’t lead to a score. He looked like he was making passes with confidence. Holding onto the puck with confidence. And choosing his offensive rushes with confidence.
-So Myers is a head case? Remember when that was the line on Vanek? This should be fun.
– WGR got me all pumped up with it’s stat heavy proclamation piece on why the sabres should attempt to trade for Ryan O’Reilly. As I am want to do, I came away juiced that this was a great idea. However, as reality of the situation set in I’m not as enticed by the idea. O’Reilly’s stat lines are questionable in terms of his stability and overall quality. He had one good year, and it’s hard to convince me if this was progress or anomaly. Another thing I recall is that he was a burden on the +/- in fantasy last year. Yes, I realize that both +/- as a stat and fantasy hockey might be the worst way to judge a player. But it sure can take you from fully confident to at least having some questions.
What I will take away from that article is their point made on the Sabres need for a 2 way Center. I think the jury is still out on Hodgson. It’s only his second full year. To me, he really seems like the type of player who could totally develop into a solid 2way. Why not just ride him into that mold? The guy, in everything that I’ve seen and read is a hard worker. I think his back checking, and Dzone responsibility can get better. But I also think it’s too early to write him off. I can probably keep going on about the merits of Hodgson, but let me get off this detour and get back to the Center position.
– Ennis, also is young, and can be molded. I’m not saying he will become a great defensive center, or even that they should try to make him one. That’s not where his skill lies. To me they should keep letting him flourish in the offensive zone, because it’s clear he’s got serious play making ability. Consider the fact that he’s on a line with Stafford, a guy that until Friday was on a career worst cold streak, and Foligno, a rookie who is more of banger than a skills player. What has Ennis done? Oh, 13 points in 12 games you say? He’s an offensive firecracker. To alter his game I think would be stupid.
-All of that then goes back to a general what to do? Personally, I think the Sabres are good where we are. I think they should sit Cody down and talk to him about where he wants to take his game. I wouldn’t show my hand to him and let him know they are asking because they are assessing long term plans, but I would at least see if the kid is ready to take the next step responsibility wise.
-The sabres only seem to show up for the Bruins games. Any chance we can trick them into believing the Pens are the Bruins. Same color scheme and all. I have a feeling this game goes to the Pens. They’re just better than the Sabres. I think offensively they have the ability to match up to the Pens fire power. Not based on offensive skill (sorry, overall, not even close), but on potential matchups against their D. Orpik is solid. Letang is dangerous. But they don’t do much to strike any fear into me. Not like facing Chara / Hamilton / Seindenberg / Boychuck. Not to mention Bergeron.
– The best bet for the Sabres to win this is to play a squeaky clean game. The Pens power play is unreal. They will convert. Don’t test it. And to get in MAF’s head early by scoring early. He’s prone to bad games, and the sooner the Sabres start breaking him down, the better.
That’s all I’ve got for this edition. See you next sunday.