The Strafing Run: “Painfully Unhip”

Well Helllllllo there…

I see you like music.
Wow dawg, me too.
You like good music?
Yeah man, me too.
So what’s good?

The eternal question. Spend 100s of hours searching the corners of the interwebs for great music like I have, and you’ll still have a hard time answering that question. There has never been more music available to listen to, ever. It’s staggering to think about how rapidly our musical options have expanded, and how every new day brings an unending tide of new music, re-releases, and remixes for us to listen to. Yet you take your chance, jump from band to band, genre to genre, hoping to land on something that will invigorate your soul like the first time you heard ______, or make you jump out of your chair and punch stuff in joyous mindless destruction, or bring you to weepyface by striking sad tones reminding you of that love you had/lost.

We listen to music that fits the mood we want to cultivate in ourselves, and search out new music hoping to find sounds that fit even more snugly into the shapes we’ve created in our souls.

I read a study some labcoats did a while back, claiming the majority of people stop listening to new music at around age 25. Whatever they had listened to up to that point was all they’d ever be into after, which would explain why many of our parents seem stuck in the past musically, endlessly replaying Hendrix, Zeppelin and the Doors, but unable to groove out to Radiohead, The Black Keys or the National. (I tried to find the study online, and couldn’t. Maybe they took it down when they saw how absurd it was)

Now me, I don’t really buy that study. I’m past 25, and listen to new music all the time, as do many folks I know. Yet this idea was on my mind when Jennifer (editor for THE BOMBER JACKET) first roused me from beneath my pile of discarded CD cases and Vinyl to write this column for her new website. A conversation ensued:

“What does anyone care about what I have to say about music? I’m way past my theoretical music listening prime. I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, the Ramones and Ween. I can’t even wrap my head around dubstep.”

No, you’ll be perfect for this.

“I’m not a music journalist, I can’t write about music like you can! Sure, I’ve interviewed a few musicians before, been to a lot of shows, and love music like babies love breasts. But that doesn’t mean I can just jump feet first into writing about music.”

You’ll do fine, Rob. Don’t worry.

“I don’t even know what I would write about.”

Write about what you’re listening to. Post some of your interviews. Write about the State College, PA music scene. Show people what they’re missing.

“People won’t like my style. It’s not pretty. I’m painfully unhip.”

She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Because Jennifer is a dear friend of mine, I couldn’t give her no for an answer. And so here we are, dear readers. You may be asking yourself, “Self, what can I expect from this bizarre music column?” Well, dear reader, you will get the best I have to give. I’ll do my best to turn you on to stuff you should be listening to, new and not so new. With so much music out there, it’s important to not only grab onto as much of the new great stuff as you can, but to remember the classics as well, and dig up sweet rare gems.

I’ll give you my honest opinion of what’s out there, and key you in on some of the best tracks from a given artist, because not all of an artist’s tracks are equal.

I’ll tell you about the music scene I’ve been a part of for the last few years; bringing you some of the music, pictures and stories of one of the most diverse, bizzare and underrated locations in America.

I’ll wax philosophical about the music industry, the state of music (and the world) in general, and how everything is interconnected.

I may even review other media, or turn you onto cool things to read, watch, or make. (Yeah, I’d do that for you. It’s like that between us.)

And I’ll do it all from a point of view far from any mainstream.

So let’s get to it. Here are a few things I’ve been listening to lately, just three to start, because I don’t want to get you all too worked up.

Here’s a track by a great Australian band, Tame Impala.

Yes, more then dingos and Uggs come from our friend Australia. They also crank out some good music.  I’ll bring you a collection of awesome Aussie music in a later post. For now, groove on these kids and enjoy. How would I describe Tame Impala? Like Of Montreal crashed into Jeff the Brotherhood and got covered in psychadelic sludge from the tour bus of a travelling 60’s band, maybe it was Love. I was drinking at Zeno’s one night when I started exchanging music with a friend. “Are you listening to this? How about this?” The first band on his list for me was Tame Impala. Good call. They have an expansive, diverse sound. Try a few of their songs before you make up your mind, like “Expectation,” “Half-full glass of wine,” and “Solutude is Bliss.” Speaking of JEFF,

JEFF the Brotherhood – The Ripper

This is the kind of stuff that makes me wish I could skate. I’d love to bomb everything in front of me listening to JEFF the Brotherhood. If you haven’t been turned onto these guys yet, and you find this kind of shredding and energy to your liking, go to the playlist on youtube here and listen til your ears bleed from the Rockitude. I really dig the energy in the music, how alive and raw it is. These guys are mining some solid rock ground. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out.

Lest you think all I’m listening to lately is guitar-based, allow me to introduce you to Count Bass D:

Count Bass D is someone I got turned on to fairly recently. Great beats, smooth style, with a voice and delivery that split from MF Doom at an embryonic stage, sharing the same DNA. The track I started you with, Brasilian Landing Strip, is a “featured video.” But do yourself a favor and dig deeper into count Bass D, and you’ll find some other great tracks. Try “No.3 pencil,” “Dro Grown,” “Truth To Light,” and “Pink Tornado” for a taste of this Nashville, TN product.

Here’s hoping one, or all three of these clips will send you on a music safari to find more tracks you like. Maybe I’ll go more into depth in the future, and share all my favorite tracks from these artists with you. Let me know if that’s something you want. Cause if you want it, I gots it. But for now, I want to leave you wanting more.

Next up: The first installment of my 38 and 1/3-part series about the State College music scene, where I discuss in brief a certain minor scandal you may have heard a passing blurb about, and how it relates to the divide in the local music scene. Might as well get it out of the way, so we can get to the good stuff. While you’re waiting for my next post, check out this wonderful playlist I’ve made for you, dear reader. It’s full of quality tracks from the 3 bands I’ve just been telling ya about. Imagine that.

That’s all you, dawg. Get at it, and get back here for more of this, whatever this actually is.

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  1. […] readers of THE BOMBER JACKET will remember me mentioning Tame Impala in my first ever article for this esteemed site. Turned on to them by a music exchange, I was immediately won over by their […]