Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pataphysical Introduction, Pt. 1

The Rockaliser blog now officially has two contributors, and I am the second of what could very well be three or four. My name is Nathan S., and like my colleague here I grew up in Ames, IA, and I tend to like music a lot. Before getting back into the music-blogging game, I thought I'd create something in the way of an introduction. I have undergone numerous blogging efforts of little note, including a recently wrapped series that reviewed DC's weekly comic series Wednesday Comics.

So yes, like Mendy I grew up in college-town Iowa, the son of an Iowa State professor, with all the privileges and problems that come with the territory. I got into Zeppelin and the Doors when I was in 7th grade; I got into the Velvet Underground and the Stooges when I was in 9th grade. Everything flowed organically after that, from the Pixies onward. I was not shy about my musical opinions at this time, and I took particularly pleasure in demolishing easy targets like U2, Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead in my own writings (I have since come around on the latter two). During this time, I went to Cornell College, graduated, and decided to move to Washington D.C. Right now I live in Rockville, MD, because I needed to establish my R.E.M. bona fides. I just recently got a job at a communications firm, which will cut into my music-listening time but at least I'm no longer unemployed.

Describing my taste would be difficult, but I'll try. I suppose my predilections if anything tend to gravitate toward "indie rock," but my general distaste with the term, and particularly with how it is too often associated with Garden State-variety tweeness, keeps me from generally stating such things in public setting. I have an abiding love for late 70s punk (American, British, Australian), and then for the kind of stuff Azerrad talks about in Our Band Could Be Your Life. Plus the Pixies and R.E.M. Then Nirvana, and Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees thereof. Backtrack and include stuff like the New York Dolls and the Modern Lovers. And of course I reject the label of "rockist," just as I often reject the top 40-apologists who tend to bandy that word about (Frere-Jones, I'm coming for you). I listen to plenty of hip-hop, when it suits me, but I do not choose to engage in tokenism.

Expect a lot of amateur(ish) musicology in my posts, with a lot of attention paid to individual band members and theories of group dynamics, plus a lot of conjecture about whether said musicians are probably horrible, unpleasant people. Also, expect a lot of talk about guitar solos. I can't explain why, but many of my favorite albums can be described as dark, soul-searching, focused on heartbreak and misery, plus brilliant guitar work. Albums that fall into this category include Nick Drake's Bryter Layter, Johnny Thunders' So Alone, and Blur's 13. There are a few others that I will get to later.

1 comment:

  1. Rockaliser readers should know that Nathan runs (ran?) a blog devoted to sweet guitar solos

    Good to have you on board. Feel free to promote the blog, lord knows I've done a piss poor job of that.