Sep 18, 2013

The Song Remains Mundane

Dear Ask A Punk -
Oh my god. I have to stop going out to clubs because every band, and I mean every band, seems to sound the same these days. It is unbelievable. I am sick of everything being so predictable and it makes me want to scream. Don't tell me to form my own band. I'm not saying these bands are necessarily BAD and that I could do better, I'm saying that they're all the same. You always tell people to make their own music, but some of don't want to make it, we want to enjoy listening to it. We want to find a band or a couple of bands we really like so that we can listen to THEIR music and enjoy seeing them play. I know you always say that punk rock made it so anyone can be a musican. I get that, but that doesn't mean that everyone HAS to be a musician. Almost everyone in the world likes listening to some kind of music, but most people have no interest in spending their time learning how to make music. So What is a potential music fan to do? - In the Mosh Pit 

Dear ITMP -
OK, you're right, not everyone needs to, or wants to, be their own source of music. As for why every band in your town seems to be "the same," here are a couple of possible reasons.

An entrenched scene.
If there are established clubs for punk rock and alt music, even those places can become pretty rigid in their booking polices etc. because, like it or not, club owners, even if they do love the music, are really most concerned with packing their club with paying fans (and beer drinkers.) They tend then, to go with what they know will work. The bands then, either consciously or unconsciously, start conforming with the established "sound" because they know that is the best way to book gigs. 

Low Tide.
Even in the best music towns, sometimes a fallow period occurs between waves of interest. A few bands catch everyone's attention and interest, they get bigger and leave, or they implode, or any of a million other possibilities, and then, for a while, there is no new interesting band to take their place, but the venues still have bills to fill, and so bands that arent' all that interesting, or unique rush in to fill the void. No town or scene can expect to always be "amazing" and groundbreaking, sometimes the tide just goes out on the talent pool... but the good news is that, eventually, the tide always manages to come back in sooner or later.

In the meantime, while you're waiting - sure, maybe you can take a break from clubbing. Save your money and maybe try expanding your listening into new areas you've never considered before. On that score you've got no excuses... it has never been easier to find "something new" to listen to. Search randomly on Spotify or Pandora or Soundcloud. Explore the 'radio' button on iTunes - I have found some amazing stations there, like one that only plays music by unsigned bands in Norway... I mean come on, how cool is that? Listen to classic ragas from India (or punk rock from India) or awesome tapes from Africa. Put new sounds and beats in your head. 

You'll save money and you'll increase your understanding and enjoyment of music while you keep an eye on your local scene - waiting for that next awesome band to come along. 

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