The new year has set in. We are approaching that point in the month where it is only acceptable to use the phrase, “new year” just a handful of times from this point on. It’s a trip how years mature and are no longer considered new after the first few weeks. By the end of January, most people are tired of it and consider the year old enough to no longer me reminded of the youth it once had when it hasn’t even hit the quarter end yet. Time to transition to my main point.
For some of us the new year is a time to start changing one’s self for the better or to keep up a tradition you may have set a previous year. I for one decided I was going to fully transition into a plant-based, vegan diet at the beginning of 2014 and will continue to do so for an immeasurable amount of time. A second tradition I have conjured up early last year was a recent obsession with music albums. In my quest to further my musical, cultural, and personal maturity, I am listening to new music I wouldn’t have considered listening to at a younger age. Back in high school it was all double bass breakdowns and extreme tone contrasts from angsty singers who loved to talk about relationships and secretly murdering people. I was (and still am) a sucker for that heavy type of music. After having listened to it for so long, that is a place I know I can go to and not be disappointed by. There is no question on whether or not I enjoy the sounds of distorted guitars with weird time signatures and informal song structures. That being said, this in some strange way has sparked an interest to dip my feet in new sounds and new settings. Thus leading me to formally introducing a thing I started up with a friend called, “New Music Monthly.”
It’s a simple concept. For every month of the year, you are to purchase three albums from an artist of any type, style, or genre. The catch is their album has to come out that same month. I for one have found my three albums that are coming out this month to purchase:
- Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper Panda Bear (Jan. 15th)
- The Mindsweep Enter Shikari (Jan. 20th)
- Juggernaut: Alpha/ Omega Periphery (sucker for the breakdowns) (Jan. 27th)
While this isn’t venturing too far out from my comfort zone, it is still a good start. For the month of December I discovered the “Black Messiah” album form D’angelo and the Vanguards. Not very many words can be said about this album other than, “wow.” So much soul and sensuality. Listening to this makes you want to get close to someone and all events that take place after are at the mercy of the artist. I love how empowering being an artist can be. Just like what I imagine a movie directer might feel once a film is conducted. There are highs and lows, and every measurable sound is in place for a particular reason, to bring up a particular type of emotion with the listener.
Last year’s new music monthly purchases left me on a fun ride. I discovered music I had no idea existed and never saw myself buying for my own personal catalog. Choosing to do this obligates that person to keep their ear on the pulse of emerging artists and new sounds that come. Not only that but I have found out that the time of year an album is released is just as important as the content. There are seasons for certain types of music and can fit tremendously well with whatever events may be going on in the world at any point in time. One of the most memorable parts of recollecting on music is how an album gives insight to what they found mentionable at that point in history.
One of the best parts is, it’s a conversation piece. Interact with those around you, bring up albums you happen to come across that may be coming out in the near future with someone whom you know would like that artist. You don’t even have to like the music (at the time.) The mention of an album to a fan and their enthusiasm towards the craft might be what it takes to get you to see something new from a new perspective. It’s what got me to like the new Taylor Swift album.
I remember discussing both the highs and lows of new music discovery. There have been months where I’ve gone overboard and grabbed five albums instead of three (three albums is the minimum. There is no maximum.) And other times where I don’t know if I’ll find that third and final album to complete the month’s buys. The more this is mentioned amongst others, the quicker it will catch on. People who know me well know that this is a conversation piece I am more than willing to talk about. One of the troubles is provoking interest in those around you. I find that I am the guy who bring up new artists to others in hopes that they too will enjoy it. Just like wanting to share a new restaurant, sharing new music can be equally satiating.
My final word to those that read this is, give it a try. The topic of where someone obtains their music from can be a slippery slope. In discovering a deeper appreciation towards what it takes to create and release an album, I have justified the purchase. For the price of two specialty cups of coffee, you can carry with you a soundtrack for your morning routine, your evening driving tunes, your workout jams, or your lazy days in bed or at the beach or in the middle of the forest. Matching an album with a particular mood can bring about such a high level of elation that it leaves you speechless.
So go on, we are still early in the month and that leaves plenty of time to look for and take the plunge into an album you’ve always wanted to check out. Until next time….