This timeline depicts the musical journey I made to find my passion for indie music, and, to fondly quote the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip it's been.
Created by nechyno on Dec 7, 2010
Last updated: 12/08/10 at 10:36 PM
Tags: music creativity musical musicians
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I started my blog this past September for my Introduction to Multimedia class. It was very easy for me to decide the best blog topic for me would be music reviews. Over the course of the semester, I have listened to a wealth of phenomenal talent. Some of my favorites have been The Weakerthans, Marina and the Diamonds and Buckeye Knoll. I am so grateful for what my blog has done for me. I never imagined my musical horizons would broaden so much. I love that my blog gives me an opportunity to diversify my listening. Most of all, I love that my blog reminds me how much my taste in music has changed and how it will continue to change as long as I keep listening.
Since I have been at Point Park University, my intake of music spans many genres because I have been fortunate to make friends who are as passionate as me about sharing the music they love. I have a friend who makes sure I listen to Lady Gaga's music the minute it leaks. I have another friend who floods my computer with adorable indie pop everyday. Friendships like that are so rewarding to me these days because I am so focused on listening to new music and forming an opinion of it to benefit my craft.
After graduating from high school, I decided to further my education at Point Park University. Deciding on my major was super easy. I love music. I love writing. Why not pursue a career in journalism? All my life I have wanted to find out how the minds of all of my favorite musicians worked, so this career choice suits me perfectly. I managed to snag some exciting journalistic experience within my freshman year. I was given the opportunity to interview Anthony Raneri of Bayside, one of my favorite bands of all time. I felt like such a fan and had to fight myself so hard not to act like a giddy child on Christmas Day. I met one of my idols. I did not even know where to begin in taking it all in. I was almost disappointed to realize after my chat with Raneri that my favorite musicians really are just people. That perspective definitely filtered into the way I listened to music after that interview. Suddenly, the messages of songs felt easier to grasp because I understood that those messages came from someone no greater or smaller than me. Musicians are people, too, and it is important to remember that when judging their music.
For my last two years of high school, I spent most of my free time at local shows getting to know the musicians behind the indie music I started falling in with. My weeks were punctuated with these performances that somehow tugged at my heartstrings more than any other form of art had before. I became particularly enamored with The Sunflower Spectacle, an abstract indie rock band with a 60s vibe. I attended nearly every show they played in my hometown. Going to these shows evolved my music taste because I watched so many local bands grow and progress. I learned to appreciate the creativity process, what goes into recording an album and perfecting stage presence.
I continued my delightful discovery of music with my first two boyfriends, Andy and Jake. During my one month with Andy, I was introduced to the likes of Something Corporate, Plain White T's, Kids in Glass Houses and House of Heroes. I credit most of those findings to Andy. I remember listening to a lot of pop punk and rock pop when I dated him, and when we hung out we listened to Dashboard Confessional and Something Corporate like it was our job. A month after Andy and I broke up, I dated his friend Jake, who came along just as I was cultivating an interest in hard rock, metal and grunge. I worshiped Bullet for My Valentine, loved Nirvana and followed around several local metal bands. In fact, for one of our dates, Jake invited me over to his house to watch a Nirvana DVD. How romantic? In addition to liking his taste in music, I also loved that Jake played guitar. I had my own little rock star to admire on a personal level. I think dating him made me realize my ideal mate is some sort of dark, mysterious musician. Obviously I dream big. Around this time, I also became obsessed with going to local shows. They were more opportunities to find new music to listen to. My neighbor/best friend Nick was a member of a pretty decent metal band called The Alluminati, so I had plenty of chances to go see local talent because of him. I went to shows almost every weekend. I was nuts for that atmosphere and loved what it did for my awareness of music.
My entire outlook on music changed when I attended my first concert. I saw The Thrills and Maroon 5 perform at Pittsburgh's AJ Palumbo Center. My father took my friend Nikki and me to the nearly sold-out show, and I have never been the same since. While we waited for the bands to take the stage, we watched large projection screens that played music videos of various music genres. An artist called Sondre Lerche mystified me with his song "Two Way Monologue," and I suddenly realized though the classic rock I listened to was great, there were still bands out there that represented the same things I loved Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones for: powerful vocals, roaring guitar riffs, and contagious drumbeats. After that concert, I created a Yahoo radio station based off of Maroon 5 and Sondre Lerche. From there, I was introduced to a vast array of music I probably would not have heard had I not taken notice to that silly little music video. At first, I felt a little disgusted with myself for not having prior knowledge of artists such as Dashboard Confessional, The Killers, New Found Glory and Gavin Degraw. My passion for music was reignited with the discovery of contemporary alternative rock artists.
Upon my entrance into high school, I abandoned most of the pop music I had devoted myself to and swapped it for the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra and Bob Seger. I was fascinated with the history of these bands and the progression of their respective sounds. The only pop music I continued listening to during this time were artists that employed guitars, basses and drums in their music. I desired a "real" sound rather than overly produced, synthesized beats and manipulated vocals.
My adolescence included a lot of pop music: Pink, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Lifehouse and Train. I listened to whatever came on my hometown's pop music station Hot 92 and bought the albums of whichever artists appealed to my ear. I would listen to these mainstream musicians' work over and over until the CDs were scratched, all the while comparing them to the artists associated with my earlier childhood. I wondered why Ashanti used synthesizer beats instead of a drum-kit and dissected her lyrics to find the meaning. Nothing satisfied me as much as the rock gods I grew up with, except for Pink. I looked up to her like she was a saint.
My father has been in a classic rock and oldies band ever since I can remember. When I was younger, I went to many of the festivals he performed at. Hearing the same set lists over and over again caused me to develop interest in some of the artisits they paid tribute to such as Dusty Springfield and Jethro Tull. I looked forward to my father practicing at home because it meant I would get to hear some of my favorite music. Seeing my father's band perform also instilled an appreciation for live performance in me. I definitely consider live performance a vital element in reviewing a band because of my early years spent in front of stages next to blaring amps.
Throughout my early childhood, I relied on the records my father played on our family record player to communicate to me the capabilities of music. Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, The Who and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer became my heroes. Eventually I began paying more attention to what the local radio station 96 KEY was playing such as soft rock and alternative rock from the 70s and 80s. Despite the shift in my listening, I remained loyal to most of the artists my father introduced me to such as Steely Dan.