From The Show Conflicts File

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 19, 2010 - 12:53:17 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Direct from the 'regrettable show conflicts' file - Dead Hot Workshop were originally scheduled to be playing at Teakwoods tonight. A week or so ago they were re-scheduled for next week. Which admittedly does free us up to see Shelby James & The Crying Shames tonight.

The terrible news however is that next Friday is the big Black Moods show at Martini Ranch, with Strange Young Things opening, which takes precedence over everything. Which is really saying something, but it's extremely rare that anything trumps Dead Hot Workshop! The more concerning news is that we're lead to believe that Thomas and Marc are going to open things up - we can only assume, at least until we get confirmation, that that has also been rescheduled also. Now that really hurts. Though, if Strange Young Things don't go on til 10:30, we might be able to work something out! [smile]

Take Your Aesthetic Atrophy...

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 19, 2010 - 12:12:11 am
(Posted Under: Rants, Music Music, Phoenix New Times)
And you know what can you do with it.

This is a follow on from the last post. I could have written it a few weeks ago, but got over it, however the events of the last post have me fired up enough to do it.

I don't have any issue with the primary underlying sentiment - be open to new music. That's a great one, and who can argue with that? We all have friends who like pretty much two bands, and we all know how tying that can be. Similarly, Cizmar's first article (The Scourge of Aesthetic Atrophy, and the Top 50 Albums of the Aughts - Phoenix New Times, Dec 31, 2009) wasn't too opossable, and more or less carried the simple message. It would have been fine if 'aesthetic atrophy' had ended there. But it didn't.

There are so many things wrong with the follow up article. It started with a huge problem from the outset - the title. "Nothing Not New: I'm No Critic But I'm Also Not a Fan. I'm a Listener". Maybe it's just me, but what is the point of just listening to music? Any sort of art form is suppose to illicit a response. Negative or positive. But a response. I'm both a fan and a critic, probably both equally as passionately. I know what I like, and I know what I don't like. I've been listening to music for the last 32 years, so you would hope that I would.

With that said, I don't think my music tastes could be classed as anything but confined. At least as far of genres go. Throughout the years there have been slow periods here and there, but overall, and especially of the last 5 years, there has been a lot of variety in new music, and at many times, old music that was new to me. Similarly they've been numerous bands that I've written off initially, only to become a fairly big fan of later down the track. There are several instances of that all over my blog. But y'know, it's all related, all tied together (typically geographically based - ie: local Tempe music or projects) and I listen to it and like it for a reason - not for the sake of listening to new music, nor to be a "listener". The implication that there is going to be any worth in me listening to the next Nickleback record that comes out is just ludicrous. And unneeded. There is a remote possibility that there it may have a song that strikes a chord with me - but with the amount that I currently listen to, do I need to loose 40 odd minutes of my life to find out? Considering that I'm not a fan of Canadian music, any previous Nickleback works, or any bands related to Nickleback? In my opinion, no. And I'm fine with that.

And then there is Bennett's definition of being a critic, and the implication that is wrong. News to the wise - I am infallible in my ascribing opinion. I am always right when it comes to my opinion. Why? Because I'm listening to music for me. I'm not listening to it for anyone else. And anyone on the receiving end of my infallible opinion can take it and form their own opinion. Probably an infalliable one. Anyone who takes my infallible opinion and takes it for gospel without any thought simply needs to grow a pair. It doesn't bother me terribly whether you agree with my opinion or don't. I wouldn't have survived this long with my musical tastes if I did. If we agree, that's great, we've got some cool musical common ground. If you don't, then we don't, that's cool man. My opinion that Dead Hot Workshop is one of bands to grace a valley stage is 100% correct. If your opinion is that they're not, you're 100% correct. It's a fucking opinion! And is perfectly valid when they're honestly believed by the opinion holder. Nothing shits me more than fence sitters without an opinion, and sadly the article is advocating just that, encouraging us to be "listeners". If you don't have an opinion on artistic expression such as music, you're just missing the point.

One of the bigger issues of contention with us is the inclusion of "avant-garde" as a type of music that the lack of appreciation thereof is a symptom of 'aesthetic atrophy'. The article goes on to imply that readers of the column can be helped (by the oh so wise New Times music writers staff) to overcome this. Arrogant much!?!? When it comes to "avant-garde" music, I have to quote my most respected songwriter / guitarists - "It all sounds like gibberish to me and I don't give a rats ass if they break up tomorrow". I don't know if there is anything more accurate than that to sum up this "avant-garde" music. It'd be interesting to hear his take on the New Times article if he were still around.

Avante-garde music blows. I should know, it's the latest "hip" music scene in the Phoenix area and I've been exposed to enough of it - both prior to moving out here, and as a result of moving out here. The irony of course is, with the amount that it is embraced around here, is it still techincally avant-guarde? [wink] On certain given nights around town you could be mistaken for thinking it was the status quo. It's horrible (read: my infallible ascribing opinion), and there are numerous bands that I'd rather chain smoke outside of Yucca or sit in the car than actually watch. It ain't my thing, and it ain't going to my thing. I won't mention any of the local offenders by name. Different strokes for different folks, and I'm all for them letting their freak flag fly. Plus, it just doesn't seem right to me to trash a local act unprovoked (and this beef is actually with the New Times, not any particular band). There are also musicians that I respect who are into such "avante-garde" bands, and I can respect that, but at the same time, it doesn't make me have any less of a negative reaction to the music.

And the biggest issue of the article is the sheer fact that both Cizmar and Bennett come off as preachy, self important, elitist assholes. I don't know, maybe that's the imagine the New Times music department is going for these days. And seriously a "ground breaking experiment"? I have no inherently issue with "Nothing Not New" project, but come on guys, let's be honest here - it's your fucking job. I don't know at what point reviewing nothing but new music wasn't the job of a music reviewer. So you not reviewing best of's - that's hardly a revolutionary slant nor is it anything close to "ground breaking". I don't think it's anything other than an excuse to write a preachy fluff article and attempt to coin a new phrase. It just ain't that clever.

Furthermore, it's makes it's going to be harder to give articles authored by Bennett credibility given the roll over response to the diagnosis of 'aesthetic atrophy'. I certainly know what my response to Cizmar (or anyone) who tried to give me a diagnosis of 'aesthetic atrophy' would be. And it would have been significantly different to Bennett's.

As they say, everyone's a critic. So don't be a critic. And you know what? Don't be a fan, either. Just be a listener.
I say fuck that! I'll continue to be a fan, and a critic. I'll continue to listen to music that gives me a rush, and vermently argue against the music that makes me want to puke. In other words, I'll listen for a reason, and have an opinion. And along the way will find some good new music. I always have, long before professor Cizmar coined 'aesthetic atrophy'. Who knows if the Phoenix New Times is going to be any help in that regard. Maybe if they start reporting on music rather than how clever they all are. One can only hope.

As for anyone that wants to diagnose me with 'aesthetic atrophy' - my top played album for the year is a disc yet to be released. But that ain't because it's fighting off 'aesthetic atrophy'. It's just that I know what I like - and I know who will deliver.

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