Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thoughts On Love, Elitism And Music Streaming

In a recent article published on the New York Times website - titled “Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift” - author Dan Brooks argues that widespread availability of music on the Internet has made it harder for him to identify kindred spirits and romantic interests. He also contends that a person’s familiarity with more esoteric music is less authentic in an age when the “collective record collection” is only a search query away. In short, I disagree with the author’s rhetoric and feel like he’s missing a few key points about how people interact with music in general (the music they like and the music they don’t like both).

I’ve heard variations of these arguments before. It bothers some people that the Internet makes it fairly easy to uncover things that were much harder to come by a few decades ago. These people are frustrated by the reality that ideas, research and art once reserved only for an “elite minority” is now freely available for the “masses” to “have their wicked way with.” Personally, I consider this kind of mentality rather toxic and inherently inaccurate. This discriminatory and exclusive kind of mentality implies a certain morality in regard to the information itself AND the consumers of that information. This way of thinking also requires that someone PERCEIVE certain information as more authentic than the rest, based on a measurement that is abstract, arbitrary and INDEPENDENT of its REAL authenticity.

If someone likes the music they’re hearing, does it really matter how they discovered it? Music is one of those things that doesn’t require technical knowledge or direct experience performing in order to appreciate. There are no prerequisites to enjoying music. To illustrate my point, let’s say I told someone that I like Minor Threat and they responded by saying “How could you? You’re not Straight-Edge!” A statement like that would invalidate the fact that I, personally, do enjoy the band’s music when I play it. A response like that would also invalidate the taste of Minor Threat’s current generation of fans, who, for the most, ARE NOT Straight-Edge either.

If someone is familiar with something (say, for example, the Kraut Rock band Annexus Quam), that familiarity in-and-of-itself indicates a certain amount of dedication. The fact that someone carries around a piece of information in their mind, are capable of discussing it with authenticity and rely only on their mental resources while doing so means that they have put in the work required to seek it out (or have known the “right” people) and consider it important enough to remember. The same information NOT present in someone else’s mind indicates that they either don’t care enough to seek it out or have not (by chance) been exposed to it in the environment and peer group they’re associated with.

Regardless, if I were to squeeze all of my thoughts about this article into a nutshell, I don’t think the author is taking into account that a person’s taste is more a matter of exposure than anything else. Nobody knows what they like until they’re exposed to it. If the author is really that distressed by the idea of Ke$ha fans discovering his “elite” list of “coveted” albums (to use Brooks’ own example), he first has to find ONE Ke$ha fan interested enough in his sounds to spend the long hours listening to records, researching concerts and learning about its context in music history. If he finds this person, their taste in Ke$ha is independent of their newfound authentic (I stress) interest in his music. With the method of discovery being irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned, this interest can ONLY be authentic because its pursuit took too much time, money and energy to be fake.

Exciting Sounds News And Updates For January 28, 2015

Hey guys!

I have just a few quick messages I want to get out to my followers.

First off, I’m sorry I’ve been extremely spotty about posting content. Although Exciting Sounds is just one of my online hobbies, I still plan on fully developing the “brand” and providing a resource for aficionados of obscure music from the past. Building all of this from the ground up is a slow process and I only have so much time among my other responsibilities.

Secondly, I have recently been busy modifying Exciting Sounds from a technical standpoint. The changes are as follows: 1) the main website is finally at www.excitingsounds.com and no longer the confusing “.co” domain extension, 2) the Facebook page is finally at Facebook.com/ExcitingSounds and no longer Facebook.com/ExcitingSoundsProject, 3) there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues but if you find any, I can be reached at inquire@excitingsounds.com.

Thanks to all y’all who enjoy my work, take care! :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Luniverse #105 (45 RPM single, 195?)

A Buchanan And Goodman Production / Martian Symphony Orchestra
“Flying Saucer The 2nd” / “Martian Melody”
Luniverse 105, mono [195?]

This 45RPM single released on the Luniverse label in the late ‘50s (I’m guessing) is a quirky little treat for lovers of Space Age oddities. Side A features a mock-news-report of “the first Earth ship” landing on Mars. Spliced between the spoken script are samples of popular songs from the time period including Elvis Presley and other big names. The entire piece might best be described as a slightly schizophrenic fever dream, and another example of a recording that could only have been produced and distributed when it was.

Side B features the Martian Symphony Orchestra performing “Martian Melody.” Introduced by the chipmunk-like voice of a native Martian, this song is an otherworldly mess, and it says a thing or two about musical taste elsewhere in the Solar System.

All in all, this recording is good for a laugh or two and probably for a few more plays after that, but don’t expect too great a revelation by what is offered here.

Side A - "Flying Saucer The 2nd"


Side B - "Martian Melody"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Missing Persons - Rhyme And Reason (LP, 1984)

Missing Persons
“Rhyme And Reason”
Capitol ST-12315, stereo [1984]

This 1984 release by well-known New Wave band Missing Persons is considered by some to be a weaker effort. Although this album might not pass muster for many of the more discriminating pop music aficionados, it does have a certain dark charm that sounds lacking on 1982's “Spring Session M” (even though Destination Unknown, Noticeable One, and several others off that album are extremely good songs that I love). “Rhyme And Reason” is an LP that I find myself returning to every once in a while and I always enjoy the experience of listening to it.

The best song on this album, in my opinion at least, is track number two: Give. This song stands out mainly because of its somewhat uncanny lyrics. Dale Bozzio sings/speaks along with the pulse and passes along advice that many have heard at one point or another. "When you're looking for an answer and nothing seems to fit, don't give up / you've gotta let your heart become the mirror of your mind, then give in" […] "don't wait for something to cause you reason, set your goal let your mind follow through / when you have something to believe in, you'll make all your dreams, all your dreams come true." These words speak volumes, at least to me. I believe that this advice would help out many of us, and I know because I’ve benefitted from this way of thinking. I’m not 100% sure what the meaning behind this song is, but the meaning that occurs most naturally to me is something that I can relate to.

The rest of the album carries a similar tone to the song previously mentioned, and can be described as moderately to heavily dark, romantic, somber, detached, cold and machine-like. This is what I appreciate the most about “Rhyme And Reason” as a whole. Missing Persons certainly didn’t go out of their way to be “friendly,” “welcoming” or “upbeat,” but that’s a strange mix of attributes that makes listening to this album a lot more interesting.

Regardless of my opinions, the enjoyability of this recording would largely come down to the listener’s mood and taste. People who rarely if ever experience the kind of mood this record is conducive for basically have no use for it. Those who do experience that “right” kind of mood should keep an open mind about what the band offers here — I think you’d find ounce or two of intrigue, if not a whole lot more.

02 - Give:


06 - Right Now:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jack E. Leonard - Rock And Roll Music For Kids Over Sixteen (LP, 1956)

Jack E. Leonard
“Rock And Roll Music For Kids Over Sixteen”
RCA Vik LX-1080, mono [1956]

A mid-fifties album with a somewhat enticing and provocative title, “Rock And Roll Music For Kids Over Sixteen” is definitely a “journey.” In many ways, it is also a freakish (but certainly lovable) artifact of the Rockabilly era, because nothing quite similar enough to it exists on this planet.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Jack E. Leonard was a comedian, and fairly well-known at that. In his time, he appeared extensively on television, recorded several albums, acted in movies, and was the narrator for The World Of Abbott And Costello (a compilation film released in 1965). Fortunately for the listener, Mr. Leonard performed this recording in a fully unrestrained fashion, and I can say with confidence that most people will get a chuckle or two, at the very least. Personally, I was cracking up the first time I spun this, as well as the second and third time. The humor is such that the content, tone AND musical structure amuse the listener equally, making it an all-around valuable record in terms of its entertainment potential.

This album carries a consistent “bad boy” theme, in the classic Rebel Without A Cause meets Fonzie kind of way. It is, however, also self-deprecating, as Mr. Leonard repeatedly refers to himself as fat, middle-aged and goofy. That’s the charm of this recording in a nutshell, though — it is quite obviously a parody album, and not meant to be taken seriously on any level.

To say a word or two about the label this album was released on, Vik Records was a subsidiary of RCA Victor, and was where most of their more “doubtful” acts (in terms of monetary potential) found their record deal. Personally, I’m a fan of Vik Records, and I find their catalogue intriguingly obscure and no less imaginative than the average mainstream release by RCA Victor. Needless to say, this album could never have matched the success of Elvis Presley or Bill Haley And His Comets, but Jackie Gleason DID write the liner notes and that counts for something, right? ;)

All in all, I think you’re in for a delightfully novel experience with this “Novelty” record, I certainly was myself. :)

02 - "Take Your Cotton Pickin' Hands Off My Leather Jacket"


06 - "Middle Aged Juvenile Delinquent"


11 - "The Genie"

Monday, June 30, 2014

Album reviews For WFMU's Beware Of The Blog

Some of you may know that I've also written album reviews for WFMU's Beware Of The Blog. Having already posted links to my reviews for WeirdoMusic.com, I thought I'd make a post on this blog listing all of my WFMU links too. :D

So, here they are for your reading and listening pleasure - all six reviews I wrote several years ago. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WeirdoMusic Album Reviews

As some of you may have noticed, I've been writing album reviews for WeirdoMusic.com -- about one every five weeks or so. I thought I'd post all of those links here, though, just so that you guys can peruse conveniently. :D

So, here are all ten reviews I've written so far (in no particular order). Enjoy!