Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Musical Consumption Variances

The title of this blog "Musical Consumption Variances" (MCVs) sort of sounds like something from some marketing analysis company, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot because I've been observing the different ways people I know listen to music, and not just in a practical, "iPod or cd player" sort of way, but rather the way they respond to it.

Some people seem to have a deep connection to the lyrical content of songs, others are solely concerned about the technical aspects of the music, some just want a strong beat. Most people are a mish-mash of all these things, but everyone favors something.

I think I'm more of a technical guy, though at times I'm a sucker for a well-spun lyric. I like hearing clever voicings on the keyboards or guitar or vocal harmonies. I like cleverly-structured songs and odd time signatures. I think it's partly because I was raised on classic and progressive rock and far more concerned about putting all the music together than the end product, necessarily.

But then I was also raised on punk rock and hip-hop, so the songs, the lyrics, the energy, and the beat are a big part of my musical experience. And beyond that music, let's not forget to include the oldies from my parents - the British Invasion bands (Beatles, Zombies, etc.) and Motown (which taught this white boy how to groove). "The Music Of My Life" (ah, memories of WPDQ)

But I guess that's part of the reason I'm such a schizo - there isn't much I don't like.

I'll be honest, though. I get really tired of "super-extra-dramatic" music, like slower U2 stuff, some Bruce Springsteen, almost all of Coldplay's music, and all those cheesy "extra-deep" new bands like Snow Patrol and The Fray. Don't get me wrong, I like a well-written pop song. I LOVE a well-written pop song.

I just can't understand the appeal of their music...which I think goes back to my different MCV than many people.

Their music does nothing for me, because though it's well-produced, it's not interesting in its production. It's a lot of the same textures, and very "perfect" in a bad way.

I like dirty stuff that sounds like it was made by people. None of that "dreamy" new stuff sounds that way to me - the vocals all sound autotuned, the dynamics on the recordings are completely SLAMMED so that even quiet parts sound sort of loud.

Heather (my lovely wife) was just saying the other day how she finds it interesting how I listen to music, because it's nothing like how she does it or how anyone else she knows listens. It's very clinical - almost as though I'm diagnosing the song by looking at its symptoms: the chord progression, the timbres used, the instrumentation, the beat, the overall vibe it gives, the way the song is structured and the lyrics and melody composed.

I never realized that I listened to music like that, but I do. I can recall one time when my little brother was sharing some of his music with me, and he pointed out something I used to do all the time, which was to immediately relate what I was hearing to other music I've heard. Of course, this was the wrong answer for Rob, because he just wanted me to listen to it for what it was, which was truly an excellent lesson for me to learn at the time. I needed him to be a little offended by my automatic pigeonholing of his music. It was unfair, because I wasn't really letting it settle in and move me.

So I guess you can even learn things in situations where you wouldn't expect to - like when your little brother, ever the nascent songwriter, decides to share some tunes with you.

Regardless, I've decided that my MCV is fluid. Sometimes I like a piece of music purely because of how visceral it is, and other times I'm enamored with the way it's constructed. I suppose that might be the problem I have with that new moody music - it does neither thing well enough for me. It's not powerful enough (kind of drab), and not interesting enough (often simplified to convey the not-strong-enough emotion).

Just some things to ponder...

Fill ins, New Drummer - News from Schizoland

So...things have been pretty busy/interesting in Schizoland.

Got a new drummer in the Roman Holiday - her name is Rachel Fuhrer, and she totally kicks ass, both as a drummer and as a person. We're looking forward to having her with us as part of our little "gang".

Let's see...what else...oh, I'm filling in with one of Central Texas' best party bands this weekend for the first time - it should be fun. Lots of tunes from back in my Slaphappy days, so it'll be a nice walk down memory lane. Plus I get to do a 30-minute acoustic set to start the night, so it should be just dandy!

My pals in Something Distant just released their debut EP on iTunes - go check them out and buy the album. It has 6 new songs and 2 live bonus tracks. They kick ass in a mainstreamy sort of way, and it has my favorite rhythm section in Jacksonville, Florida on there - Jon Kretzer and John Palmer. A lot of the tracks (perhaps all the studio ones?) were produced by former Monkey The Fish (Jax people might know them)/current Story: Side B frontman/musical genius Lu Rubino.

Also, this Friday up at the Duck in Temple will be our last Roman Holiday gig with Rob Wade on drums - we will miss him immensely.

I'm going to be working on some new music and some remixes of my songs really super soon, so hopefully I'll have some new shizz to share within the next week or two.

And as a footnote, I'd like to share this:

I loves me some Jimi Hendrix. And Chef.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wow, It's Been A While...

I just realized I haven't posted in quite some time, so here it goes...

My musical life is pretty much the same, with one notable exception:
Roman Holiday's drummer is quitting the band!

So, my FAVORITE process begins again, going through and hearing drummers, trying to find just the right guy to fit our weird little "80s-and-more-power-trio" dynamic...let's just say it's something I really don't enjoy. I like playing with people, but sometimes it can turn out so bad...just either a complete asshole personality or bad drumming. I'm not absurdly picky, but being a singing bass player, the drummer needs to have solid time and consistency, otherwise it makes my job really hard, holding down a groove while singing.

Our recent shows have almost all been pretty awesome. I just wish I had more time to work on music - I essentially have just about none...not even time to really rehearse the songs we are currently playing.

I haven't written anything since the American Idol song (which didn't make the finals - no shocker there), but I have remixed a couple of the songs with Jon on drums and those mixes will hopefully make the site soon.

I think my next step is finding a means to get out there and play some acoustic shows - I know I've mentioned this scores of times on this blog, but I think it would be super fun to do. I got a teeny taste of it after our show at the Duckhorn up in Killeen, and it reminded me how much I really want to do it.

Time to make a demo!

Also, time to find a good drummer!

Until we meet again...