Ruminations on modern (local) music fables; our own thing, our own time, our own story

. May 16, 2012.

New Year’s Day was not long ago… and everyone’s broke but ready to build; we’re feeling unified in an occupy-sort of way, each of us motivated by the respective songs and noises of our contemporaries. At least, that’s the view through my fan-boy lens.  
 

The year ended with that typically somewhat-calm-ish-period for the players and partakers of local music, where most bands are either staying in to write more songs or getting their latest recordings mixed and ready for a late winter (if not, early spring) release.

 I just put down a stimulating book, indeed an entertaining, enlightening, altogether exciting book (for a music-head, anyway) called Love Goes to Buildings On Fire, an account of just about everything that happened, in the underground arts scene (but, majority of it on music) in New York City, from ’73-’78, (written by Will Hermes).

 This book’s enough to drive me crazy – it being the essence of my and any other local music follower’s mad motivations, the kind of lore and breathless anecdotes of iconic rock n roll astonishment that keeps pushing us out to current live shows – to catch and catalog anecdotes of our own, to be there for that moment, to see that band live so that you can be the one to tell someone, anyone, the next day.

 Now, those who still prop that same oft-heralded past, as Hermes, those chivalrous new-wave/post-punk preservationists, will always clear their throats at me when I rave and ramble at the dynamism of our contemporaries. My trumpeting is always presumed by doubters as putting them up against punk icons touted in Hermes book, be they Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, or DJ Grandmaster Flash.

 That’s probably because I’m raving and rambling too early, Hermes book, seen through the lens of a comparably energized-fan-boy, frames concerts, collaborations and various iconoclasms that occurred 35 years ago.

 My long-winded point: Yes, this book drives someone like me crazy because I’m someone who wants to be telling the same kinds of magnificently colorful, dashingly blunt and bodacious accounts about the energy I get from Arbor/Ypsi’s rockers, rappers and electro-dabblers.

 I shouldn’t get so anxious. I remind myself that we’re telling our own story here, right now, every other weekend. You are, too, you bands with your Facebook updates, your tumblrs and bandcamps. We’re all our own bloggers, in a way — camaraderie is seemingly girded in the age of Facebook. One band posts a new song and members of other bands are quick to acknowledge that they, in fact, ‘like’ that — whether that’s empty or not, there’s something to be said for the new tangibility between bands and scene-members, the new instantaneousness of keeping up on other’s works or establishing contacts for new collaborations. It's a new kind of echo-chamber of inspiration — something Patti Smith or Springsteen never had, comin’ up.

 Genres can mingle more so than back then, when CBGBs had the punks and The Loft had disco or the hip/hop parties were on Sedgwick Ave. Embrace the mix and see what we come ‘round with, compared to then. It’ll be a different story, to say the least. Hopefully Chris Bathgate and I can further these half-cocked ruminations on the impact of our community if he and I ever organize a sort of ‘scene summit’ that we’ve been spitballing since Halloween.  

We’ll see what happens…

Trending

Monticello Van Odom – ‘In My Mind’

An essential way to craft a resonant piece of music is to unpack the existential pondering, the fleeting but insistent anxieties, the hard truths and easy reminders, that are swimming around up inside the head of the songwriter. The sublimity of Saline-based folk/Americana artist Monticello Van Odom‘s album is in how its spilling out all

Heavy Color’s River Passage

Toledo’s future beat/psy-jazz/hybrid electro duo Heavy Color recently premiered a new music video that commemorates an inspiring musical odyssey charted by one of its songwriters back in 2015. The group formed several years ago around the collaborations of Ben Cohen and Sam Woldenberg. Their Toledo’s answer to cerebral ambient electronica acts like Four Tet, Caribou,

Green Book is Worth the Trip

An elite black pianist tours the segregated south with a white roughneck chauffeur. Green Book combines two crowd-pleasing formulas—the road movie and the true story—with two stellar lead actors, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Mortensen plays Tony Lip, a white, working class second-generation Italian-American from the Bronx who works as a nightclub bouncer. Ali plays

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

The most recent book of Kalamazoo-native Bonnie Jo Campbell is as visceral as it is honest. A compilation of short stories, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters explores the lives and relationships of women in rural settings. With varied character perspectives, the book runs the gambit of trials and tribulations: sexual assault, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancies, neglect,