A trashy guide on how to become a pro-active listener

Every single music goer knows the classics. It’s not even worth it to mention the already famous bands as if you’ve never heard of them. To me, music is an experience. It’s something that can drastically change your mood. Some bands make you want to cry and wear your emotions on your sleeve, while others force you into a deep trance. Now take note that as you read that, a few names popped into your head. These could be artists that could appeal to a large audience, or maybe they’re an uncovered gem. To you though, they’ve already made their impact. Now the search has just begun. What’s stopping you from finding that next sound that makes you tick as you throw on their notable LP?

I’ve heard the excuses.”There’s so much music by them that I don’t know where to start!”. “I don’t like that genre!”. “That’s not music!”. Well, maybe you don’t like that genre, or the artist does have a large discography, but it’s not a solid enough excuse! I’ve garnered a large collection of favorite music by trying new things and grinding out some listens. Some of the saddest music I have is in the genre that I have the least of. It’s not because I dislike the genre, but I find it filled with musicians that don’t appeal to me. That would be “Can’t Maintain” by a Folk-Punk band, Andrew Jackson Jihad. This isn’t an invitation for me to show my musical knowledge, as I assume a lot of readers have heard this record, but this is to give out the information to people who aren’t there yet on how to become a pro- active listener.

Now I get it. The newest Drone Metal album will not appeal to large audience. It probably will not appeal to you. It most likely will not appeal to me, with some exception. This is because you haven’t had the experience with listening. A lot of more intense and ‘odd’ styles of music require a developed taste for the sound (I’ll include some of what I mean below.). Currently, I am downright digging the album, Grand Guignol by Naked City. This consists of a blend of jazz and, well, grindcore. It’s absolutely mind bending, and I highly recommend giving it a try. How I over came the over the top spectrum of sound is by the only tactic, the grind. It’s the cold turkey of music, and everyone who wants to raise their diversity must do it. You literally sit down, and absorb everything you hear. Most of the time, it’s not literally. You might have to read the history of the album, or research why you hear what you do.

A perfect example of this is Captain Beefheart‘s, Trout Mask Replica. I can hear the sighs and see the facepalms for whoever has tried to listen to this. I love this album, but like most, it requires the mood and setting to listen. What makes this album so unique is the timing and history behind the release. Captain Beefheart was an insane person, and developed a relationship with music guru, Frank Zappa. The rumor is that Beefheart abused his band to the point that all they lived on was canned beans and water for months, and were beaten if they couldn’t play to Beefhearts weird requests. The album is weird, the sound is weird, and everything does not mix, but what you hear is intentional. The whole LP is a mix of avant-garde, delta blues, and spoken word. A perfect way to go head first into the depths of music.

I understand how pretentious I must sound. Giving advice on something everybody does subconsciously. I don’t intend to come across this way, but it is something that a lot of music nerds and enthusiasts have developed. I found myself enjoying music and sounds more when I began to take my listening more seriously. It’s like drinking coffee for the first time, or taking a sip of very strong wine. You at first wonder why it evens exists, but then you feel as if its an addiction. You never know, that Sunn O))) album or that classic Suicide release might be blasting through your car speakers one day and you have on repeat since!


Published by ryanHLrobinson

Music fanatic, Canuck fan, and aspiring journalist. Taking life one step at a time.

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