Tag Archives: music


During the year I stopped writing words, I wrote a bit of music instead. Not songs per se, but notes on lined paper, like some sort of powder-wig fancy lad. I used to do this when I was in high school, as I detailed here a long time ago, but hadn’t given much thought to it in 20 years or so. I gave composing up because it was damn near impossible for me to turn paper notes into the kind I could hear with my ears, being neither a talented multi-instrumentalist nor the sort of person who could gather together a small wind ensemble.

The advent of sophisticated composition apps changed that. A few years back, the desktop composition application Notion came out with an iPad version that’s nothing short of stunning. It allows you to not only write music but also hear how it sounds, with a ginormous number of orchestral sound samples to choose from. For someone like me, who has music theory knowledge but can play no more than one-handed piano on a good day, it’s a godsend.

Continue reading Decomposed

Music Is None of My Business

Sadly, music has fallen off my radar in a big way. I used to be on top of things when it came to music: the bands, the labels, who was playing with who now and where. Parenthood went a long way to sapping my energy for keeping up with such stuff, even if the interwebs makes it easier than ever to do so. I will latch onto someone new every once in a blue moon, and I try not to be one of those people whose musical tastes stalled at age 30. Still, when I put on my iPod, I am much more likely listening to a comedy podcast than music. Sigh.

I was into music for so long (and also writing about it on occasion) that I still get press releases or blasts from someone looking to promote their latest find, someone who has no idea they’re barking up the wrong tree. I rarely read them, because I fear they’ll just be depressing: wide-eyed 20 year olds conquering the world, listing as influences other bands I’m already too old/unhip to have heard of. Double sigh.

But since I have a foundation in this world, creaky though it might be, I was quite amused when a tweet from @samirmathur alerted me to a web site called Shut Up, Bands. Created by a former British gig promoter (I mean he was formerly a gig promoter; he remains British, I assume), it gathers the most inane email blasts and press kit blather from a wide array of bands.

Is this shooting fish in a barrel, making fun of presumably young and inexperienced musicians? Yes, but it’s also really friggin funny. It’s also coming from a place of exasperation, from someone who’s so inundated with such garbage that they have to lash out somehow. Some are presented with extensive, MST3K-ish riffing. Some are presented without comment. Others are summed up with one neat phrase, for no more words are necessary.

(I would have just linked to this entry, but Shut Up, Bands has kind of an odd permalink structure, so here we are.)

In a similar vein, I’d also recommend following the tweeting of @Folder_Rock, whose feed is exclusively comprised of press kit excerpts like, “Their debut EP is an intense, warm guitar riff dick slap coupled with thick syrup bass lines…” This came my way thanks to WFMU’s Evan “Funk” Davies, and I am very glad it did. Otherwise, I never would have read such gems as, “Their slap-happy bass and slyly sweet vocals embrace both death metal and Western swing.”