Monday, August 21, 2006

Ta Ta For Now

Late this past Saturday, I spent time with some friends in a very 21st century activity – sharing music on each other’s iPods. Each of us had an iPod and our host had one of those iPod boom box things. We stood around in his kitchen, drinking beer and swapping out iPods, each of us dialing up a favorite track for the others. Listening to Boris, The Cult, Clutch, Parts and Labor, Sybris and more, we stayed up way too late talking about music, which wound its way into other talk about drinking, pot and houses.

Now, I’m not pushing Apple. However, it struck me how remarkable it was that each of us had a large portion of his collection with him and we could pull songs instantly from them. In the past, I’ve been known to invite friends over for dinner, and then swap CDs or records in and out of my stereo, playing them songs while we drank. Now, we were standing around with shelves worth of music in our hands, picking out favorite songs with the ease of dialing a telephone while drinking a beer with a free hand. We were using new technology, a device less than five years old uses a file format just a little over a decade old, but still doing something that folks have done for decades – listen to and talk about music they love.

For over two decades, I’ve talked about music with friends, band mates, bartenders, fellow college radio DJs and co-workers. The best times that I’ve had talking about music have occasionally involved a drink or two, but always have been face to face – whether in a practice space, a record store, a club or in a car on the drive back from a show.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy reading about music and writing to other people about it. Shortly after I started using the Internet 12 years ago, I quickly found out about Usenet and the various music newsgroups. However, until Pitchperfect and I crossed paths last year, I never thought much about publishing those thoughts. I was content to be some guy talking about music to a few friends and fellow fanatics. The last few months have been nerve wracking and occasionally sleep depriving, but they’ve been something new that I’ve come to enjoy.

For all that we heckle Pitchfork Media, they’re far from devils. I’ve read them for at least four years and have many favorite records in my collection because of them. I believe that the writers who started it and most of their current writers love music. However, Pitchfork would do well to remember that more people are bypassing professional writers and going directly to other fans. That’s not to say that a journalist cannot speak to what’s great in music. However, it does mean that readers will quickly sniff out feigned ardor and faulty knowledge when it comes to music. Music fans don’t want style and attitude – they want knowledge and passion.

Like Pitch perfect, I’ll probably take a breather for a while until my paying job settles down. I’m very thankful to her for letting my words share some space alongside hers and I’m equally thankful to those of you who’ve dropped by and taken the time to read.