Beer and Pavement

Too Old for Music

Posted in Life by SM on January 12, 2011

I’m 35, married, and a parent, but I somehow do alright when it comes to keeping up with music. I receive about a record a week. My pace of seeing bands live over the years has hardly slowed despite my move to a sleepy college town. My RSS reader is loaded with music sites and blogs. I keep up.

Still, I somehow feel music is passing me by. Many of the bands I follow are either from the nineties or sound like they’re from the nineties[1]. There are a load of shows set to fill the coming months, but I’m just not that enthused about any of them. Is this where I slow down with my music obsession? Is this where I grow out of it?

Granted, slowing down doesn’t equate giving up music forever. No one’s actually too old for music. However, it certainly becomes less important as one grows older. Plus, a downward trend has to start somewhere. Is this where I lose interest?

I was recently shopping in my favorite record store[2], Insound.com, for pre-orders coming out in early 2011. To my chagrin, few excited me. The records were either by bands I’ve purchased in the past who underwhelmed or bands I have never heard of. The first issue is an effect of buying so many records over the course of my fanaticism[3]. That, I can live with, but it does limit my options. The second issue is mostly a case of me no longer reading half the music blog posts that hit my Google Reader everyday. Sure, I’m paying way more attention to beer these days than I used to, but I’m just not that interested in buying new music.

Even the bands I did order, aren’t really that exciting. I ordered records by Danielson[4], Iron & Wine[5], Destroyer[6], and Bright Eyes[7]. All these bands have been around for a while. Danielson and Destroyer are difficult listens. Sure, they both can be brilliant at times, but I have to be in the right place to really connect with their music. Iron & Wine and Bright Eyes have been around forever and haven’t released anything that interesting for a long time. We’ll see, but I’m not expecting much.

Then, there’s the lineup of bands coming to town to play, not to mention bands stopping in nearby St Louis and Kansas City. Liz Phair[8], Tokyo Police Club, Cold War Kids, Tapes ‘n Tapes, Menomena, etc. are all playing town in the coming weeks and months. Meh. Most of these bands haven’t recorded anything worth listening to in years and the others are just plain uninspiring. Although I’m sure something worthwhile will come through town, I’ll at least save some money this winter.

So, what do I do? How do I regain some of that passion or at least my interest in music?

Well, the first step in this recovery is to return to what got me here: underground, often local, music. Someone was telling me about this motley group of musicians who get together and write songs in 48 hours just to turn around and have a shotgun battle of the bands. That sounded great, exhilarating. I had forgotten how many creative types and musicians just hang around college towns. Right after that, the same guy Facebook-invited me to a free show of locals at a club I frequent. Then, another friend invited me to a gig featuring his band. So, there are things to see and hear.

The hope is that I’ll regain my indie rock legs by going out to watch bands with a little more urgency and something new to say. That’s how I got into independent music. I went to crappy clubs and watched a lot of shitty local bands. Some of those bands were good or would have one good song. Still, the passion they put into playing for a sixer of PBR and a hangover the next morning was incredibly good for my soul.

Hopefully, I’ll have something to report in the coming weeks as I make myself go to clubs and watch some local bands for a change. It still kills me how out of touch I am with this scene. It’s time for that to change and for me to remember that I’m actually not too old for music[9].

Notes:
1Even when they’re from the past decade, I’ve been listening for 8-10 years. That’s hardly new music.
2OK. So, a website doesn’t really constitute as a record store. However, when you live in a town without a good, physical facsimile of a record store, you do what you can. I’ve found that I can get any record I want from one website. I’m cool with that as I know there is a small group of kids trying to make this thing work. I can support that. I want Insound to be around for a while, maybe long enough to build real stores across the country…
3I am way more efficient a music buyer than I used to be. Now, I can get a sample of pretty much any band I want via the internet. That and the numerous blogs and music sites keep me pretty informed. It was never this easy in the nineties when you had to read zines and go to shows or watch MTV. (MTV used to show videos with music.)
4Hipster Christian you’re the only one.
5The beard is back with songs that sound more like the Eagles with every passing release.
6Always weird and easily the best New Pornographer, but this video and song aren’t doing it for me yet.
7Don’t give me a hard time over this one. I have a history with this band and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
8This one has already been postponed. I predict it won’t happen. I’m convinced I was never intended to see Liz Phair as every opportunity has passed me by in one manner or another. Nowadays, I’m not sure I would even want to see her live just to hear her crappy new material.
9But maybe Liz Phair is. JK, Lizzie! BFF’s 4eva! ❤ U!

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