this is the music collection

I know I’ve been super-silent when it comes to music and writing about music these days, and honestly, there’s a couple of reasons for that.

The main reason is that I’ve just been too busy. I don’t have the time to sit and actively listen to music. I put music on in the car, I put it on when I’m working, but I rarely put it on just to put it on.  Even when I do, it ends up somehow being the background soundtrack for something else. So it’s hard for me to be able to get the impressions I need from various albums to be able to write about them.

Also, with teaching, writing and drawing comics, having a young dog, and settling into (still, to an extent) our new lives here in Columbus, OH, some stuff has to take precedence.  Right now, writing critically about music (and other stuff) just isn’t something I can do right now.  I have to prioritize my workload, so stuff gets dropped.

I’d like to say there’s some sort of mega-personal battle with writing and blogging and music journalism and criticism or whatever…but it basically boils down to me being more into exploring a new city, cartooning, and teaching.

That being said, I did want to say a little something about the two records I’ve been listening to a lot these days. It’s nothing formal, mostly pieced together from the more “formal”/official reviews I was writing for these records that are languishing half-finished on my laptop, and might not necessarily convince you to buy them, but this isn’t about doing reviews convincing you how awesome these records are. It’s why I like them.

Small Brown Bike, Fell & Found – I love Small Brown Bike.  Absolutely adore them. Rough, melodic, ambient-influenced post-hardcore with passionate honesty in every single word, this is the kind of band that’s grown better and better with every record.  Fell & Found‘s their first in a while and immediately, a few things have popped out at me.

One…the indie bands they’ve all been in since initially “breaking up” as Small Brown Bike have rubbed off on their post-hardcore sound, and it’s awesome.  The melody and experimentation and power and emotion of the band’s previous works like The River Bed or Nail Yourself To The Ground (two of my favorite recordings EVER)  has been tempered with…something.  I can’t quite place my finger on it because the energy and experimentation is just as vibrant.  Two…this is a perfect road trip record. I’ll talk about it later, but we were just driving long distances recently and had this playing in the car the entire time. I needed it.

Restorations, S/T – This plays a lot when I’m working, works well both as something to actively enjoy as well as not-quite-background music when I’m doing teacher-stuff or cartoonist-stuff.  It’s…surprisingly haunting, with a power I don’t think I’ve really ever heard in the recent wave of punk-guys-playing-Americana/folk/country.  It’ll start out great with a lot of energy and, by the end, peter out of whatever “punk” energy’s left and become boring barely-two-guitar-strings-away-from-Garth…you get the point.

I personally think it’s because the music’s tempered with a healthy dose of rock ‘n roll, in spriit if not in literal sound.  You know when you can just tell that a certain artist is a fan of one type of medium, even if it doesn’t show in THEIR art?  Like a mixed media/performance artist being a genuine fan of Charles Schulz’s brush work, even though there is zero trace of Schulz in this person’s work.  I think it’s because of the air of hopefulness in their music.  Hope’s important.

So yeah…that’s it really besides listening to hours upon hours of Fugazi.  I keep meaning to get back on doing stuff at Fistfight At The Arthouse, but I’m making no promises.  Hope you guys check these two albums out if you already haven’t.


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