So I have been waiting for the universe, or at least some of my readers, to tell me what to do. I don't feel at all in the same critical space I was all last year, when I was angry and embittered towards most bands. My time with Anna C. in Austin has taught me that the whole point of making music is to have a good time with your friends, and part of me wants to delete every review I've ever written. A couple of days in a mental institution can fill you up with impulsive thoughts about dramatic gestures. But Austin does need good music writing, and bands do need to hear from time to time that they're not perfect. So I guess I can't quit the blog. And I guess I have to keep being honest about who I am, because otherwise how is anyone going to relate to my point of view?
Went to see Good Lazy System last night at the Parlor. There were some other shows this week I was more excited about going to. Literature and A Giant Dog were at Beerland on Wednesday and I really like both of those bands. Their seven-inch singles have been in regular rotation at our house. But I'm on some new medications, very strong ones, and I chose to sleep instead. Anna went and reports that those bands are still excellent, and she also liked the punk band Teenage News who were sharing the bill. Wanted to see Isle of White on Thursday since I quite like their songs and they were one of the first Austin bands I ever wrote about. But again I was out like a light by 9:30. So much for my rock and roll lifestyle. I guess I will have to work out how to stay up a little later.
I like Good Lazy System a bunch. I think they're on their way, and they were a lot tighter last night than the first time I saw them. They also chopped down a lot of the waiting between songs, which was their major hangup before. I listened more for their style than their individual parts this time, which is what I usually do when revisiting a new band. They have a good group sound and I particularly like the interplay between three different singers. They remind me of a Lookout! Records punk band, like Screeching Weasel or NOFX. Ben Gibbs contrasts Ariel Sauceda's more melodic singing with a rap-like bark. Guitarist Adam Antonacci sings a bit of lead too, and my favorite parts of Good Lazy System's songs have all three shouting together. I love multiple vocalists in bands of any type. I think drummer Aaron Bromberg should sing too, if he could hear himself through his heavy-duty ear protection.
My new strategy is to write about bands after talking to them, so I don't make any goofy mistakes. Some of the stuff I wrote during Free Week, when I was in a hurry and losing my sanity, presupposes that a writer can tell what a band's story is simply by listening to them and observing them from a distance. That's wrong. I always justified writing negative reviews based on the principle that you can learn something from every band, good or bad. I still think that's true, but I think for my part that if I'm going to learn anything and get better at whatever it is I do, I have to let bands tell me their stories themselves. Everybody is seeking something different out of their music.
So I'm going to keep telling you what I think, but I'm going to try and get the voices of as many Austin bands as I can represented on Big Western Flavor as well. It's what I need to do, personally and professionally. I bought a new phone and everything!