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Dinosaur Tracks

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The other day, while perusing my iTunes library for the umpteenth time, my wife asked me if there was any new music on my list. I thought about it for a minute and went blank. What was shocking was that I really don’t have anything new. Riding the train this morning, listening to Sabbath, Cash and Run DMC, it suddenly became clear. Richard Kriheli is a dinosaur. And my tracks are old.

Time upon a once, I was quite the music enthusiast. Clocking in at close to 700 cd’s, and most of them ripped to my Mac – you can safely say that I have a modest obsession. Or had one. From my first Walkman in ’83 to my iPhone today, I rarely go a day without headphones on at one point or another. But something has changed. You won’t find many current tracks on my playlist or any new cd’s on my shelf. Why is that? Did something happen to music, the industry, the distribution or did something happen to me? Am I just at that age where I frown upon anything that didn’t excite me like the past? Or does music these days just flat out blow? Lots of questions to address.

What is confounding is that with the internet, the ability to freeload music or buy single tracks if need be, I find myself looking for nothing. In a time where music is everywhere and underground is mainstream, it is still hard to find anything great – even stuff that is recycled. These days it is obviously hard to justify forking over fifteen bucks in a record store for a cd as well. As far as problems with distribution and industry saturation are concerned, allow me digress a little and focus on the music itself.

In short, it doesn’t speak to me anymore. It doesn’t inspire or excite me. Aside from buying my annual Prince release or getting something slightly radical and new from Patton or Reznor here and there – almost everything else is dry. Gone are the days where I am counting down to a new release and running home to absorb it. Gone are the days where I had to be selective about what to get because I just simply could not afford everything. But now, that I can afford enough, the music cannot afford me. So I turn to you, my friends, in hopes that there was no extinction-level-event that precluded this mass good music die-off. In hopes that maybe there was a lull in the evolutionary process and I am just missing out on unearthing good tunes.

Help me excavate. I know there are gems out there that I am missing out on. We are living in one of the most effed up and depressing eras in many generations. I fully expect that should spawn some really great material. Where can it be found? Give me some suggestions because if my tracklist is stagnant, thus is my life.

Every morning on my trudge to work, I walk by Virgin Megastore Union Square which houses both great and crappy music. And there are people inside, standing in line, cd’s in their hands. I am outside looking in. Way outside, and Triassic.

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15 Responses to “Dinosaur Tracks”

  1. Woland says:

    I feel your pain, though I must admit not quite as much. I’ve never been one to listen to the radio, but I do browse iTunes every Tuesday to see if there are any gems hidden amongst the matrix of shit, and rarely do I come away with anything that isn’t from a songwriter or band I’m already a fan of, if I come away with anything at all (case in point: the last thing I bought on iTunes was the new Mogwai album, a band I’ve been into for ten years or so). Emusic.com is a bit different – you can subscribe for different levels of fandom (at 30, 50, 100, etc. tracks per months) for different fees, and it is quite economical – especially when you consider they offer better quality mp3’s that iTunes and are DRM-free. However, if you aren’t into the indie scene the site doesn’t offer much else new. But the indie scene is where I find the only exciting new music these days.

    My suggestion to you, other than of course listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds all day, every day, is to try out old bands or recent-but-not-new bands that you never tried before. If you never heard it before, it’s new to you, regardless of how long it’s been out. Don’t force yourself to try to get into anything brand new if it doesn’t speak to you – knowing you as I do, I assume you aren’t looking for something new in order to feel “young and hip” again. Age definitely plays a part in musical taste, and we will always feel that the current trends are shit compared to what was fresh and new when…well, when we were fresh and new. But if you let go of that, you’ll find some old gems you never knew were there and you will wonder how you ever lived without them.

  2. Naz says:

    I have found myself feeling the same at times. I love discovering oldies but goodies, but I do crave something fresh and new. More often than not, I’m usually waiting for one of my favorite artists to drop something new. I also admit to getting a lot of my new music from watching some trashy teen soap operas on the CW Network as well as some others. Sure, I’m letting someone else do the dirty work for me, but I find there is always something worth listening to. I had a similar complaint not too long ago about the fact that there are few story tellers left out there. Everything was Pop, cookie cutter, and repetitive and absolutely NO story to reflect our times.(American Pie anyone??) 🙂
    Great blog Rich.

  3. John Erigo says:

    Wow, where do you start with this subject? As a person who has been obsessed with music for a long time, I find that most people change dramatically(when it comes to music) as they get older. You will often hear the term “Oh, I grew out of that kind of music”. Well, to me, that means you were never into it for the right reasons. Maybe you thought Bon Jovi was cute, or Marilyn Manson was the Devil—but now you could care less. Maybe when you were younger, it wasn’t ALL about the music, about the songs, the way it should be. It’s like anything else in life–as you get older, you weed out the s**t and keep the good stuff close to you for the long run. I am someone who is in a band, and still makes music. My musical tastes have not really changed all that much for more than 30 years now. Why? Because the music that I love is more than just a song on a cd, or a cool video that was on MTV’s daily countdown show–it became my best friend. Sure, along the way there are bands that I pushed to the side, and there are some I might not have listened to all those years ago and I do listen to them now, but…I still search for the next great band, that is, great to me. There are 2 things in my mind that have killed the music industry. The odd fact is that both those things had, at one point or another either saved the biz, or revolutionized it. First is the format of CD. The format of the cd changed everything–no longer did you have the bulky 12 inch vinyl to store, you now had a compact disc, 5 inches by 5 inches–WOW! The big difference was not only the size was smaller, but you could now fit 75-80 minutes of music onto a cd. For those that don’t know, you can really only squeeze about 30 minutes on each side of a vinyl album, and that’s pushing it. If you listen to older music, it is obvious that the albums are shorter in time. It wasn’t unusual to get a “record” and it be under 40 minutes. Imagine getting that today?! There in lies the problem–cd’s made artists HAVE to give you more music. More is not always good, and bands started throwing songs on albums(yes, a cd is still called a “album” because a album is a collection, not the format!)that normally wouldn’t be on there. So, now you are getting a sub-standard product because what used to be “throw away tracks”, are now making it onto the album to fill it up(thus the term “filler” songs). The other monger is the internet. Yes, as amazing as it is for downloading and finding new bands, it also has killed the industry(unless you’re Metallica!). Now bands don’t even have to make good albums! “Here’s my new single on iTunes!”. Now it’s all about one song, and not a collection of songs, which makes a lot of artists lazy. You’ll see the “here today, gone tomorrow” one hit wonders come and go much faster because of this. All in all, there is so much new music to be found it is unreal, you just have to know where to look, it can be done Rich! I have so much passion for the music I love, I just keep looking and looking until I can’t look no more! LOL! Don’t give up RK, there’s a band or an artist calling your name, you just can’t hear them……..yet.

  4. y2clay says:

    Interesting, long ass answers and no one has answered the question. Yes, technology changes…but also creates new possibilities. Yes, we age… though, I’m not sure why I wouldn’t find some value in changing tastes. BUT WHAT ARE SOME GOOD NEW BANDS????

    ARK, I’ve been going through the same thing. My attempt at a solution: watch the bands performing on the late night variety shows (I can now see all of them in a given night thanks to dvr). But, the last interesting thing I saw was the Roots playing with a tuba player. I admit, I do love a tuba. But, everything else completely blows. The reason no one has answered the question, I think, is because of this… EVERYTHING sucks now.

    Technology can’t be blamed, since it should make it easier to hear new music, in the best case. Maybe age can be blamed… maybe my tastes are antiquated. But, I blame capitalism: cost concerns and audience administration rule. As a result we are all dumber and so is our music. There is rocket fuel in drinking water… and we believed the “smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud” bullshit. We are a society in total decline. We’re all poorer and dumber. It’s no surprise that music blows. Everything sucks now… except the Roots… and they’re starting to suck.

    I defy anyone to show me or ARK a band that doesn’t, to my old ass ears, suck.

  5. John Erigo says:

    y2clay–you’re right, technology has helped out in the fact that you can cruise the net and get music for free, and fast! But like I said, it also has made artists lazy. I too, am older, but for me or anyone else to suggest bands would be difficult unless we know what you like. Everybody’s taste is so different, and especially younger people because it is cool to be diverse. I am a metal head/rocker–so if I suggest some bands here, you might not like them. Most new music does “blow”,that’s a fact! One of the ways I have used to discover bands is to go to Amazon.com and search for a band I like. Amazon will suggest other bands you might like based on past ordering patterns of consumers that bought the band you searched for. It’s worked several times for me. I wish everyone good luck in their quest. As for me, I am still throwing up the metal horns baby! YEAH!

  6. Filthy Rich says:

    thanks for the feedback, guys! john – i listen to pretty much everything, so I am open to suggestions for any genre. speaking to a few close friends, i have a list of new music to check out. i will be giving nick cave a good listen (thanks woland) – but so far, ‘the black keys’ and ‘tv on the radio’ seem to be striking a chord with my fossilized ear canals.

  7. T says:

    He’s not really “new,” but do you have any of Martin Luther’s music?

    I understand where you’re coming from, Rich. I am SO very selective of whom I choose to spend my music dollars on. I think I was always a bit of a musical snob of sorts, but now even more so.

    T

  8. John Erigo says:

    Well, like I said, try the Amazon thing. Search for a band you like, and they’ll make suggestions based on what people who bought what you’re searching for bought. Then, go to their suggestions and see if there are samples you can listen to. As for me–I have recently discovered some music that’s new to me, but they are by far not “new” artists. One guy is a Canadian Rocker named DANKO JONES. Danko has an angry style, but not like angry metal. He’s a rocker, and his songs are mostly about relationships gone bad, or stealing someone’s girlfriend. Sounds cliched, I know, but he does have his won style and way of saying things–cool! The other band is from Oslo, Norway and they’re called TURBONEGRO. Man, you want hilarious lyrics—it’s like a punk/rock/metal version of Zappa! Here’s an example–they have a song called HELL TOUPEE(instead of the cliche HELL TO PAY). The song is about a guy struggling to come to terms that he’s losing his hair and he winds up “googling for wigs”. Great stuff. They were a PUNK band for many years, their singer had bad drug addictions and they broke up for 4 years. Since they came back(I think around 2002/2003), they have more of a Hard Rock sound. Remember, I am the local Metal head here! I know ARK is more of Prince fan–check out something by THE DAN REED NETWORK. he was like a more rocking version of Prince. Check ’em out an enjoy! Don’t give up!

  9. John Erigo says:

    Oh, yeah—how about back to the original theme–NEW music by NEW bands! Here are some ROCK bands I have discovered–Stone Rider, Endeverafter, Maryslim. How about new music by old bands? The new AC/DC and the new Metallica albums are quite awesome! Play it loud friends! JE

  10. muze says:

    heyyyyyyyy!

    okay, so i didn’t read this. i’ll be honest. but i will be back. just got home. just wanted you to know i came by.

    so glad you’re back! must add now.

  11. Allegra says:

    can i say it any clearer. Tori. ToriToriToriToriTori. yes, i have fallenoffthefaceoftheearthagain but that’s just because i have learned that 99.9% of all people r shitty. u r not included. i believe u r one of the very few who r not included in the awful people & u still Rock so hard u roll.
    but seriously. Download Scarlet’s Walk. remember i didn’t steer u wrong when i told u 2 buy Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing. ;o)
    miss u.
    Love n’ stuff, allie.

    ps… hope u & u’rs r doing wonderful ;oD

  12. Josh says:

    madlib, prefuse 73 (any and all), J Dilla aka Jay Dee, FLYING LOTUS (new shit, awesome, nephew of alice coltrane), Burial, Blockhead, Dabrye, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Yesterdays New Quintet, and of course Duke Ellington, Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn…….So much good music still pulsating through the veins of the digital data lines…. absorb it and you might find something worthwhile. I think nowadays its harder to find “good” music because everyone has their niche, itunes, and there is so much shit out now…… but there is plenty of awesome music now but you just have to dig, dig, and dig….. to find it. Happy hunting.

  13. Jay says:

    Rich – I spend a lot of time searching for new music, there is sooo much out there now that it’s tough to dig through all the bs…I’m sure you’ve heard of Pandora, right? You should make a Prince station and see what else comes up, not that anyone can come close…but that’s a good way to find new stuff! Here are my top ten that bands/artists as of late.

    In no particular order…TV on The Radio, Hot Chip, The Dodo’s, Bright Eyes, Sea Wolf, Bon Iver, Okkervil River, A Band of Bees, Why? and Iron and Wine.

  14. Maria Llompart says:

    To each their own but stories are still being told with some humor Eric Hutchingson try it. It has a little bit of blue grass feel to it, but new and interesting. Love his outlook.

  15. Mark Schlesinger says:

    Music died around 2003-2004. The internet exploded, mp3’s everywhere. The extinction of vinyl.

    I used to go to a club and when the hot track was playing everyone new it. Now you go to 10 different clubs and you won’t hear the same song twice. No familiarity. Nothing to trigger the synapses.

    Hip hop used to be NY and West Coast. Now there are “artists” from all over, new tracks constantly being published. It just doesn’t feel the same.

    I still cling to my collection from days past. There’s still good new stuff out there, no question. But in our world of SMS, YouTube and instant gratification, there is not enough time to absorb it.

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