As much as I love ‘listening’ to new music, the act of ‘discovering’ new music is even more rewarding. When I say new music, I don’t necessarily mean current music, more so music that I personally wasn’t aware of. For the better part of a year I’ve been digging deep into Psychedelic and Blues Rock of the late 60’s and early 70’s period of the genre. Navigating my way through this era of music has been a daunting, yet satisfying journey. Every time I feel I have a slight grasp on it, I get thrown into anther world of bands and musicians that is seemingly endless. It is however, comforting to know that it’s all happened some 40 years ago, and if I delve deep enough, I can get to the bottom of it.
This latest ‘act’ in my musical life has kept me pondering what people mean when they say, “music just isn’t the same as it used to be”. I tend to be skeptical of this point of view. More often then not it comes from people who don’t give any new music the time of day or search out anything that isn’t presented to them through the radio or other forms of media. However, I do agree that music in the late 60’s early 70’s era has an undeniable sound, attitude and aesthetic that few bands can recreate today. I'm still very passionate about keeping up with current musicians because of the extraordinary time for music we live in. While on the other hand I'm becoming more gravitated towards what started it all.
To get back into the ‘discovery’ aspect of music, I would like to share one major tip that will lead to a more fulfilling journey. It is essential to get beyond ‘hit singles’ and ‘best of albums’ and start listening to a band from their origin. You really can’t fully experience what a band has to offer without looking at the career progression, from start to finish. It’s getting so difficult to hear a new album from a completely unbiased point of view with countless reviews telling you it’s an amazing or mediocre effort. The beauty of listening to a band’s debut release from 1968 that you’ve never heard of, is you have no expectations going in. So when the album blows your mind, you feel like you’ve just discovered life on another planet and can’t wait to share it with your friends. What I’ve been trying to get at here is there’s no advantage to writing off music you’ve never heard before, instead, go find it for yourself, new or old, and see where it will take you.
Through one of my latest musical exploration periods I really started to hear specific sounds that have found their way into music released in the past few years. In hopes to bridge the gap between then and now, I will share a few examples of how music of old has crept its way back into our lives.
In 1969, the English Blues-Rock band Free released their debut album, “Tons of Sobs”. The entire album is an amazing feat, especially when you take into account all the members were under 20 when they recorded it. Take a listen to the third track of the album, “Walk In My Shadow” and then give The Black Keys anthem of a song, “Everlasting Light” a listen and you will see what I mean.
The song, “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds” by American Psychedelic Rock band Jefferson Airplane came out in 1967 on the album, Surrealistic Pillow. The sounds of Jefferson Airplane are unmistakable but follow it up with a song by The Black Angels entitled “Haunting at 1300 McKinley” from their masterful 2010 Album, Phosphene Dream.