Sunday, May 15, 2011

Au revoir...for now.

Hey all,
Long time no see, I know. I've been busy with schoolwork and a myriad of other things taking up my free time, and so I haven't been able to post.
No, that's not entirely true. You see, I'm no music journalist. I'm not much good at explaining why I like the music that I like. I just like unique types of music. But is just saying "I like this. Here you go." enough?
I think, ultimately, that this is not persuasive enough. You see, I don't have a level of authority necessary that I could do that. I'm not the Rolling Stone, let alone Ryan Schreiber. And besides, even if I did have this authority, I wouldn't want to just be an arbiter of taste, deciding what is popular at my own whim without explaining why.
It is in my own opinion that I lack the skills to explain why a work of art (including a musical work) has the effect that it does.
For these reasons, I am putting this blog on an indefinite hiatus.
But, fear not, dear readers! for I am embarking on a new adventure altogether.
What is this adventure, you ask?
I recently purchased Mortimer J. Adler's How to Read a Book, and this book has fueled a pre-existing interest I have had in the classics.
Yes, the classics. With all those dead white males and stuff.
As such, I will be attempting to follow the massive reading list to be found in the back of Adler's book, in Appendix A.
Anyway, here's the link for my new blog, if you so desire to follow it:

Enjoy, and goodbye for now!
-The Anachronist

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moss: Sub Templum

Hey all,
I've been a little down lately. Perhaps it's for that reason that I haven't been updating as often as I said I would.
Regardless, I have an album for you that has been getting me through these tough first-world white boy problems.*
It's by a little doom metal band called Moss, from Southampton, England.
Just a little disclaimer: this is some HEAVY material. So heavy, in fact, that it lends itself to feeling heavy and lethargic when you listen to it. Paradoxically, listening to it has somewhat expunged the heaviness I've felt in my heart.
But that's just me.
It's hard to write about this album, primarily because so much of it is not based on melody, but on raw feeling.
With that said, "Subterraen" does have a pretty cool riff, when you catch on to it. Especially the little bit where the same chord is played twice, but the second time with feedback.
This album is not for everyone. If the idea of twenty-odd minute songs with almost no semblance of melody or commercial appeal does not sound like your cup of tea, it probably isn't. But for the exceptionally open-minded, I present a cup of a dark, robust brew.
For people who are any two of the three below:
  • advanced-level music listeners**
  • people struggling with their own personal demons
  • stoners
Enjoy, if you dare...

-The Anachronist

Video for Subterraen, and footnotes after the break.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shoutout for a fellow blogger

I wish to publicly express my thanks to my buddy Christian Buckler for linking to my blog on his blog.
For those of you reading this from his link, hi!
For those of you who are not, I say hi, and I also advise that you check out his blog, a so-called "electronic dumping zone" for his "major ideas, memories, and writings."
There's some pretty good stuff on there, and, in particular, a great post about our education system! Check it out!

-The Anachronist

Japandroids: Post-Nothing

Rock and roll, in its nascent years, was focused on a central theme.
No, it's not love, nor is it sex or drugs; it's youth. Youth, that time of our lives where actions are filled with a desperate vigor, all the more desperate for how ephemeral that thing fueling it is. Youth, that thing that amplifies puppy love into something grand enough to serve as subjects for works of art; in this case, songs, even as nobody in those years considered rock music to be art. Just for the kids, they scoffed. But, I ask, does that make it any less art? Shakespeare didn't write for the kids, but my idea's still there; he wrote for the rich as well as the poor. Shakespeare wrote works for his time, and a main contention of rock and roll is that our time is now, and this music is for our time. As the times have changed, so has rock music. But the cornerstone of the genre was youth.

I bring this up because this is something a lot of rock music has become estranged from (I have Radiohead in mind as I write this, as great of a band as they are), and which other musicians have addressed in less than artful statements (I have Weezer's new albums in mind as I write this). This has been the rule for much of modern rock, with a few exceptions. One such exception is Japandroids' blistering debut, Post-Nothing.

While other artists did the whole Metallica: S&M thing and employ orchestras as backing bands, like the Foo Fighters did at the Grammys a few years ago, Japandroids stripped rock down to guitar, drums, and vocals, and turned it up to 11, so to speak. They aren't exceptionally fast or loud on record, but this album is nonetheless great, for its focus on that subject I expounded so much on: youth.

Much of this album has the giddy and heroic yet oddly sentimental spirit of taking your dad's keys and sneaking out at night to drive outside of the town you grew up in - not giving a shit what happens if your parents find out - and finding that it now seems much smaller than it once did. The album opens with this in mind, with the self-explanatory "The Boys Are Leaving Town". It also surfaces on the penultimate track, "Sovereignty": "It's raining in Vancouver / But I don't give a fuck / 'Cause I'm far from home tonight."

Other themes are: puppy lust ("Wet Hair") love ("Crazy/Forever"), losing love for the first - and, you say to yourself, last - time ("I Quit Girls"), and, in one epiphany, realizing that, as young as you may be, you are only mortal, as illustrated in "Young Hearts Spark Fire", which might also be about every other theme I just mentioned. I don't know.

But I should say this much, as Japandroids have often been compared to their L.A. cousins, No Age. While I like No Age, I personally prefer Japandroids. I heard No Age's Nouns, and, although I liked some songs, I just don't believe it is any comparison to Post-Nothing. This statement might irk the Pitchfork crowd, but don't say I was the first person to do so, nor will I be the last. Nor will this be the last time I irk that crowd, for that matter.

To end on a higher note, I will just say that this record should be required listening when you are in those years in between being a kid and being an adult. I don't believe in rites of passage; the transition is much more gradual. It's a strange and emotional time, which has been captured on record exceptionally by Japandroids.

Videos for "Young Hearts Spark Fire", "Sovereignty", and "I Quit Girls" after the jump.

-The Anachronist

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Charles Mingus: The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady

Ladies and gentlemen, I must make a confession before I proceed any further. You see, although I profess myself to be a music aficionado, the fact is...I'm just not a huge fan of jazz.
I like it, don't get me wrong; it's just sort of like hearing poetry in another language. Yeah, on one level, I can appreciate it, but I don't totally "get" it. I don't know. Maybe you have to be an actual jazz musician to get it, or at least just have the ear of one.

With this said...there is one jazz album that I hold near and dear to my heart, and that is Charles Mingus' 1963 opus The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.

This is a tremendous album that makes me say, forget Davis, even Coltrane; Mingus brings something startling here. This album was apparently composed partially as a ballet, but with swirling cadences are juxtaposed the wails and shouts of a rioting crowd. Or it might as well be one. On the second track, "Duet Solo Dancers", this contrast is best illustrated by...hold on, is that a hardcore drumbeat I'm hearing?!

A lot of jazz these days is synonymous with background music. If you want music to play for your elevator, stay away from this album. You might singe your hand just touching it. But if you want to find out how raw and soulful jazz can be, check this album out. It might just blow your mind.

-The Anachronist

Videos of Track 1, "Solo Dancer", and Track 3, "Group Dancers" after the break.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hi, how are you?

Listen: Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time.

This is my flagship post, and the beginning of what will be a strange and hopefully worthwhile journey through modern musical history. With me, a young and self-professed music nerd, as your guide, genres and sub-genres of music will be explored (but not overly genre-fied, don't worry).

Since there are so many blogs on the Internet, I suppose I might as well justify the existence of this one.

As a relatively introverted, socially awkward kid growing up in suburban Denver, in good times and bad, I found solace in music. I have loved music from a very young age onward, and this love has stood with me today. What made much of the music I liked different from that my peers liked was that my music wasn't necessarily new.

Hence, I am "The Anachronist".

The older I got, the more my musical tastes skewed away from the mainstream, and away from the present day. I understand that to an extent there is a desire to stay "current" with pop culture, music included. But, at the same time, I figured, when there is so much good music out there (and I don't just mean "classic rock") from the past, why bother with the mediocre stuff we get as the "flavor of the month"?

Not to say there is no good music out now. But let's use common sense here. Will it be easier to find good music looking in the past month, or in the past 40 years?

The answer, for me, is quite simple.

The reason this blog exists, then, is to introduce you, dear reader, to music that isn't necessarily from this year, or even this decade, but that would, IMHO, qualify as good music nonetheless. Hopefully, you will react the same way to this music that I did to the music I listened to when I was growing up.

That's about all I have to say. But before I close, I should put down a few more of my biases and other limitations just so we're on the same page.

-I have a personal preference for alternative rock, specifically punk and post-punk in general.
-My favorite music comes from the 1980s and 1990s.
-My knowledge of music pre-1970 is somewhat hazy. (Sorry, Tin Pan Alley.)
-I just do not like screamo. I like plenty of music with screaming. What I don't like is xXCRABCOREXx, Devil Wears Prada-type stuff. (No apology for you, Hot Topic.)
-My knowledge of country music is also somewhat limited. I don't hate country, I just don't know much about it. I will try to change this.

And that about wraps it up. I will try to update weekly, as time may permit; I am, after all, a college/university student with many other priorities.


-The Anachronist

(image from Wikimedia Commons: