“And now, we proudly present
songs perverse and songs of lament.
A couple of hymns of confession,
and songs that recognize our sick obsessions.”
(“Some Red Handed Sleight Of Hand” – Cursive)
Music has always been an important emotional anchor for me; the perception altering first time I heard Big Black’s Songs About Fucking when I was just into my teens, or the emotional rush I had hearing Tim Kasher’s voice on Cursive’s The Ugly Organ for the first time in 2003 or seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor or *shels play live for the first time; these were all pivotal moments for sure, but on a day today level its more than that – a way of life, an obsession, a deep seated need. I know I’m not alone in this, I wouldnt be so arrogant, but by way of intro, I can’t explain it any other way.
It’s difficult to pin down what it is that’s going to inspire you, or wring emotion from you; a simple chord change, a scuzzy riff, a charged vocal perhaps, and just as difficult to answer is that inevitible question ‘what kind of music do you like’, which always seems pointless when its such an emotional thing, so ‘a bit of everything’ is the answer to that, and even then it is mood dependent.
In my 40s I’m as enthusiastic about finding new music as I was in my teens, perhaps more so, in part because of the frustration I feel when I hear people my age saying there’s nothing new to find, listen to, or be inspired by, because its simply not true. There is almost too much to keep up with; just scroll the front pages of Bandcamp any day of the week for starters. In some way I feel I need to prove them wrong but also hearing great music makes me feel alive and inspired, so I’m constantly on the look out.
I’ve been reading a lot of fanzines again, which I’ve come back to after becoming disillusioned with mainstream music journalism, and the enthusiasm and passion of zinesters has also renewed my energy for new discoveries. It is so much easier to find new music now – word of mouth, physical mix tapes and print media have been usurped, in part, by online sources, but fanzines have survived and hold a vital spark, a raw physical energy you can’t find anywhere else.
Whatever your need, just keep discovering, keep listening, keep it emotional.