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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Little Time

There are times when I question my habits in discovering great local bands. I argue that I love who I love and choose to see them frequently. If I happen to be exposed to an exceptional band via a slot on the same bill, there's no problem in that. If a friend who understands my tastes in music gently recommends me a band, I'm inclined to check them out. Otherwise, I just don't have the patience to listen to MP3s from bands I've never heard of. I'm busy enough listening to the bands I love (national, international and local) over and over. So when I come across a band that blows me away, it's a nice surprise.

A recent case in point is Denton's the Marked Men. I've heard about them for years, mainly due to the fact that I know the brother of one of the band members. He might have played them for me before in his record store, but I can't remember. Hearing "A Little Time" on Sound Opinions this week, I'm very, very interested in catching their next show and hearing more of their recorded material.

So, it's a good time to ask: what took so long?

I argue that we, the listeners, do not choose when or how a band rocks our brains. There are so many factors that factor into why we are blown away, intrigued, indifferent or turned off at any given moment. I trust and respect Jim and Greg's views on Sound Opinions, so I'm more inclined to listen to what they have to say than say, an anonymous, disgruntled commenter on a We Shot JR post.

In the case of the Marked Men, I have to admit to some prejudices. Since they are signed to a label owned by a former member of Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt and Hot Snakes (three raved-about bands that I've never really gotten into), I've never been all that inclined to check out their roster. Plus, there are thousands upon thousands of bands playing the exact same style as them. That mix of garage rock and punk rock describes so many bands -- a style that I don't care to really dig into that much. I dig the Nuggets box sets and a number of modern bands that came out earlier in the decade, but there's only so much I can take of them.

If anything, what sells me on this band is their melodic hooks. It sounds so simple, but that's it. A lot of garage/punk bands turn me off because it's all "whaa-hooo!" boogie with very little tasty melodies. I know I'm generalizing here, but when I hear poignant melodies in songs like "A Little Time" and "She Won't Know," I want to hear more.

So there you have it. As stubborn as I am, there are reasons for the stubbornness. I want to be moved by the music I choose to listen to -- not feel like I'm listening to mediocre blah. So the surprise element is very nice.

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