It’s no secret that here in the far-future world of 2014 we’re drowning in music; the internet firehose recently even blasted too-cheap-to-meter U2 into people’s smartphones, and people complained about it. (Cui bono, Bono?)
The dedicated seeker of new music has two related-yet-somewhat-opposed needs: a filter, some sort of barrier to prevent being overwhelmed; and a recommendation source, an engine to reliably feed interesting new musical information to them.
Something that performs a preliminary first-pass winnowing function against information overload.
Get the signal, lose the noise (or the other way around, depending on your preferences).
In the bad old days, this was accomplished via word-of-mouth; chats with likeminded individuals at all-ages basement shows; record stores smelling of mildewed LP jackets and incense; older siblings’ clandestine handoffs of non-parentally-approved records, passed furtively from one generation’s grubby fist to the next like well-worn Playboys; tattered, badly-photocopied ‘zines.
Now, of course, we let algorithms do most of the work for us. Pandora, iTunes Genius, Amazon recommendations – all automated methods of saying, “you liked THAT, so how about THIS [somewhat-similar thing]”.
My perhaps-unfounded worry is that the automated, unthinking continuous programmatic iteration of matching like-with-like carries the risk of sterility; an inevitable dead end of stunted, twisted, impotent scions.
So how to reintroduce the all-too-human element of randomness: tuning into the “wrong” station that turns out to be oh-so-right?
How do we get back some ill-advised musical one-night-stands, and surprises like the time you found that one life-changing unlabeled cassette under the front seat?
Well, we still gotta do that work ourselves.
Perversely, one way to do that is…to match like-with-like.
But don’t go matching on obvious musical or thematic qualities that make meaningful sense.
You want a theme that results in randomness being pulled in.
Go make a playlist of songs culled from albums with mountains on the cover.
Or ones featuring one or more players named “Walter”.
Or ones featuring the word “Charybdis” (that was a short playlist, let me tell you).
Just grab a random theme, and run with it. See what you get.
Hey, look at that.
Up top, a song I am always disappointed to find they don’t have at karaoke. I would KILL that one. One of his most fun to sing, maxing out his deep (geddit?) Bowie/Pop fixation.
Don’t watch this next one if you are prone to migraines or epilepsy, or have an aversion to noisy low-budget late-night trashy psychedelia:
Surf rockers who didn’t filter out the last 4 decades of noisy guitar music:
There’s a bit of Nirvana haunting this one:
Are we gonna get the Led out?
Yes…yes, we are:
Speaking of the U2 PR debacle:
This one’s for dhex:
As is this one:
Always dug this atmospheric song:
Flowing from band name to song title:
Those guys ^^^^ took their name from an early iteration of these guys:
It took me YEARS to realize this bandname was a pun:
I was bummed this Portland band split after becoming a three-piece, Sarah Dougher’s organ really added a lot:
An aquatic one-hit wonder:
I think this footage has been looped at a certain point, but WOW. Snow-skiing has its risks, but at least the mountain isn’t chasing you and attempting to fall on you:
All hands on deck at dawn:
How amazing is it that this band has not ONE, but TWO pretty-great songs about mantas?
Or at least…they’re all right:
I can’t hear this one without imagining the bald, rotund and kind of intimidating Black Francis flapping his arms like a loon:
They should have used this version on Doolittle. Would have added some variety:
Is that particular guitar really necessary, Mr. Cross?:
I almost disqualified the Beach Boys (too obvious), but I just love this song too much:
Drink up dreamers, you’re running dry: