Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Problem(s) With Music Blogs: Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Gauntlet Hair at Bunk Bar

Problem 1:

Damn you music blogs for introducing me to a bunch of great music by bands still too small to consider touring anytime soon. I’ve been waiting for a Gauntlet Hair tour since their single “I’ve Been Thinking...” was run through the cogs of the internet hype machine about a year and a half ago.

That anticipation mixed with a headlining Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Bunk Bar two nights in a row seemed too good to not be a misprint.

Problem 2:

The main way discovering new music on blogs is different than, say, the radio, is the translation of the music into text. More and more, my first experience with a band or a song is through reading descriptions and opinions of it. This acts as a music filter not at all based on just listening and deciding if I, ya know, like it.

I have probably spent more time reading about Thursday’s headliners, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, than I have actually listening to them. I’ve never liked funk music, and couldn’t get over the numerous associations made between this band the genre. In this case (and many others I have yet to discover), I was wrong to take the word for it.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra kicked out some very danceable tunes just buried enough in that haze of bedroom pop to prevent them from falling into that rut, appropriately described as “groovy.”

Their self-titled album has since become one of my favorite examples of a band capable of giving a nostalgic nod to the music of the 70’s and 80’s without actually turning around and chillin’ in it.

Problem 3:

By introducing music to fans via text, new reasons for liking a band or a song are introduced. I find myself deciding to listen to a song based on things like what effects the song is drenched in, where the band is from, or what label released the album. In short, I give myself reasons to like or dislike music before I actually have the chance to hear it.

So, when someone noticed all of my anticipation to see Gauntlet Hair channeled into, what I call, my dance moves, and asked me what I thought of the band, I found myself answering with a number of reasons—none of which were simply “They were great”.

No, I launched into a rant about Colorado bands and the DIY venue the Rhinoceropolis, and how much I like it when bands coat their music in so many delay effects that you really can’t single out any one instrument. This is, of course, way too much information to yell into someone’s ear at an already loud show and mostly just causes confusion rather than answering the initial question.

That being said, Gauntlet Hair was great and every bit as fun as I hoped they would be, and every song just kind of blurred into this large, echoey mess of weirdo dance music, which was a solid live representation of their recently released self-titled album on Dead Oceans.

The last thing I learned from this show, which has nothing to do with music blogs or either of the bands: Don’t be the one holding the pipe made out of a pomegranate when the bartender is angrily pushing his way through the crowd to confiscate it.

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