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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are You Receiving Me?

Michael posted a very interesting story about a recent encounter at his rehearsal space. After rocking out to XTC's "Down in the Cockpit," a member of another band asked him if this was a new song. Politely explaining to this mid-20-year-old it was a song from 1982 by XTC, this got him thinking.
. . . there are some exceptions, but for the most part rock music's evolution has slowed to a crawl in the past quarter-century. To illustrate what I'm saying, think about this: 1982 was 25 years ago, and music from that time can still sound contemporary even to relatively discerning ears. But what if it was 1982 and I was practicing to a record from 25 years before that — i.e., 1957 — and the same guy walked in. Would he have said, "Is that your band or…?" I doubt it.

So what's up with that?

I shared my perspective in the comments section, but I'm not so sure I have a full answer to his question. I'm still baffled as to why modern hipster culture is so tied in with, in Michael's words, the "1978-1982 post-punk golden era." Be it Gang of Four, Talking Heads or even PiL, this stuff sounds incredibly modern today. Blame this on the Strokes, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or Franz Ferdinand, but that style has been very well respected by people my age. We were too young to understand Drums and Wires and Underwater Moonlight when they were first released. I guess we've been playing catch-up.

What I ask of my older friends/colleagues/mentors is this: don't discount us simply because we have 20-30 less years of experiences than you. We may be forever behind the curve, but that doesn't mean we're unable to learn more about artists that were before our time. In some cases, modern bands help me understand the older bands they are often compared to. I probably would have passed off Gang of Four as a funky Clash clone had it not have been for Bloc Party's Silent Alarm. So, cut us some slack. We're already having to deal with younger music fans trying understand the music we grew up on.

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