Since the age of twelve I’ve always identified as a music lover. I struggled with the transition from primary school to secondary school and the thing that got me through it was discovering music. My favourite past time was reading music magazines to discover new bands.
Two days after my fourteenth birthday I went to my first concert. A couple of months ago I went to watch a band at the venue of my first ever gig and it filled me with so much nostalgia. I went to a lot of gigs as a teenager and saw a lot of bands I admired at the time.
At seventeen I landed a volunteering job at a music venue and by eighteen I was attending at least one gig a week. Listening to my local music scene expanded my musical horizons (and also got me really weirdly into psychedelic rock) and I felt like music defined me. People knew me as that girl who went to gigs, worked at a music venue, and knew a lot about bands.
For various reasons – mainly my poor work-life balance – I stopped making the effort to search for new bands. In college I listened to a few artists who I didn’t really love but felt like I had to like more than what I did. I still have CDs I bought when in 2013 of people who I know I was never fully ‘digged’. Some of those bands I’ve have learned to love, for example after seeing Swim Deep support Wolf Alice in 2016 I decided to dust off their debut album.
It soon got to the point where I stopped giving bands the chance and was overly critical. I would think ‘yeah, but they just sound like Arctic Monkeys’ or ‘they sound like five other bands on the scene right now’. In reality this has always been the case no matter what time period we are talking about, but for some reason I was allowing that to be a valid excuse not to listen to new music. I was so bored and this mindset has taken me three years to get out of.
Last year I watched a documentary about Andy Warhol and an entire section of it was dedicated to The Velvet Underground. I had listened to The Velvet Underground before but for some reason the beginning of ‘Venus in Furs’ enchanted me and I felt like a door had been opened. For months I would only listen to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, The Kinks, The Beatles – basically any revolutionary artist of the 1960s/1970s. I was reading rock memoirs and rediscovered my love for 90s grunge and delved into the world of Riot Grrrl. Part of the reason I am writing my dissertation on Allen Ginsberg and Patti Smith (besides them being incredible) is because of this epiphany. I’ve even shocked myself by not writing on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, but when picking my dissertation topic I knew I needed something to inspire me the way The Velvet Underground did. As cheesy as it sounds, there has not been a moment during the writing of my dissertation where I have no been excited. A nod to the music scene Ginsberg and Smith were involved with kinda runs throughout my dissertation. I had already found myself in literature thanks to Dorian Gray, but I was still trying to relocate myself in music and Ginsberg and Smith have become my mentors.
It’s all well and good listening to the greats of the twentieth century, but what about the up and coming artists? I still wasn’t there. I managed to come back to the first decade of the twenty-first century. I am always going to embrace my emo roots and scream the lyrics of Taking Back Sunday, Panic at the Disco, and Weezer at the top of my lungs. Teenage Dirtbag is still my jam at £1 a pint on Saturdays. I’m nostalgic for Phantom Planet and Motion City Soundtrack like I’m in a 2005 time warp. I proudly wear my indie band t-shirts pretty much every day and have a classic 2000-2008 indie playlist on Spotify. The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club, Foster the People and my absolute loves The Black Keys are the soundtrack to 2012 and leaving school. Peace, Swim Deep, and Tame Impala made the cut to document my college days. Wolf Alice were the only ‘new’ band I listened to during my first year of uni.
Discovering The Big Moon almost a year ago has really helped me discover new music. I am obsessed with them and cannot wait for their debut album to be released in April. Here’s a sample of their music:
For the first time in years I was really excited about new music. I have bought every single they have released, which is something I never used to do.
Listening to The Big Moon motivated me to check out more bands. I started to listen to the bands the musicians I liked where listening to. If I saw a celebrity I like on Instagram (usually someone from Alexa Chung’s circle because in my head it is still 2011) was at a gig, I would check that band out online.
So, getting to the point of this post, I think I’m cured and out of my rut. I can say I love music again! For ages I have felt like an impostor of my own identity because I didn’t really live up to the title of ‘liking music enough’. It pained me hearing people ask me why I wasn’t as interested in listening to new music like I used to be. Taking a step backwards and going to the roots of bands that inspired me when I was 14 perpetuated me forward to find my favourite bands of 2017.
There was absolutely no point to this blog post but I haven’t posted in a while and wanted to document the return of my enthusiasm. I am currently drafting a post about journaling and how to journal which should have more of a purpose.