josh and i were eating sushi at a joint off beverly and discussing music, preparing to go see relay for death and aaron dilloway make so much noise that my teeth hurt during the sets. going to an abrasive noise show perhaps isn’t as rare as it used to be, but it still takes a certain path to end up at one. josh grew up in ohio and i spent high school in small-town alaska or rural new england—places not exactly known for their cultural scenes. finding the music, and therefore the people, we could relate to back then took work.
and this is actually how we initially became friends—on a message board loosely affiliated with the punk scene around 2006. now we both live in los angeles and go to usually anything but punk shows—taste changes with time. our conversation revolved around cultural growth and how some people just stop at a certain place; how entertainment gives society the option to just never expand their experience with art beyond what is projected from the screen.
being back east last week, i had similar kind of experience, talking with my old friend dan about how much fun we had at taking back sunday shows in 2002 or how rowdy the worcester palladium would get when a band like thursday would play it. these weren’t exactly unknown bands, but that was a scene that gives the option to just stop any sort of musical growth. if i had chosen to, i could have just stayed listening to music reminiscent of early-2000s emo and still have content to consume today.
we live in a strange moment where the commodification of art is integral to the new economy. on the artistic side you have the ongoing debate about selling out and becoming a part of the machine that is eating away at every cultural scene possible; on the consumer side, there is the choice between seeking out new and perhaps difficult artists with your time or just accepting whatever an algorithm tries to sell you. but those consumer experiences are completely different—to take a personal chance on something against listening to whatever spotify spits out is actually a fairly substantial personal choice.
these choices are important because they impact how our socio-cultural growth, at any scale, is formed—and, more significantly, by who. but most people don’t think beyond their own taste, and plenty don’t even think much about that. it’s too bad, because these decisions of consideration do matter.
anyway, i’ve been listening a lot to rachika nayar’s heaven come crashing, tim hecker’s konoyo, corntuth’s the desert is paper thin, and manas’ collaboration with efrim menuck, at home unamerican—and then some placebo and taylor swift in there, because we all fall victim to the pop machine sometime.