Best of the Week…

September 24, 2005

To dispel the myth that our generation lacks in music innovation, style, and passion, all you have to do is turn off your radio, and turn on, or if you happen to live in Seattle, just turn on your radio. KEXP is listener powered radio (aka low budget radio) but miraculously finds a way to connect with a highly diverse audience in places all over the United States and the world. How? Well, with KEXP you get a station that supports and is supported by local music scenes and those scenes are loyal . The local music scene is the quiet dictator of all that is "cool" in today’s music culture and with the support and endorsement from this multi-layered behemoth of a conglomerate, stations like KEXP, which feed and nourish trend thirsting youth and adult alike, are poised to be increasingly successful as technology and FCC regulations evolve. Sooner or later, satellite radio will include stations like KEXP that you can get in every car, every stereo, every mp3 player on the earth and no longer will towers of broadcast power dictate what you listen to on a daily basis.

I thought that when I moved to Chicago, there would be a myriad of stations where I could find music that was new and interesting, but what I found was a majority of quasi hip, neo nu-wave stations that market to adolescent boys. It’s not that I hate the nu-wave trend, in fact I hinted at the fact that it was an improvement last week, but it’s the radio stations that play said music that trivialize any growing genre. And even in that descriptor, "growing", we find problems. First, growing means that no longer is the music creative or innovative. If The Bravery stole from The Killers, and The Killers stole from Franz Ferdinand, and Franz Ferdinand stole from Duran Duran, there are four degrees of separation from the genuine musical innovation. Second this means that kids growing up today only hear the second, third, or fourth best renditions of a revolution that has past them by, leaving them gasping for breath and striving to catch up; always. But things are changing. Technology is supporting local music scenes and KEXP is a perfect example. The website has been a leader in the newest "pod-casting" trend with many different options for download of popular shows on the station, not to mention the fact that they have been offering Internet radio for years.

If stations like KEXP and, to a lesser extent, can survive to see the new media as it will come and is already coming, we will all be in for a new revolution of choice AND convenience, not to mention great music.

Please go and support this innovative, exciting, and trend setting station. While you’re at it, turn on the radio.

Music’s Best: Echo and the Bunnymen: Siberia

Echo and the Bunnymen are survivors. With their newest release, which exceeds in its simplicity and dark sensibility, the band remains one of the lone survivors of the post-punk/Brit-rock/gothishdarknessbutgoodsongwriting genre. The album is ultimately a like-able collection of songs that continues a couple decades of solid songwriting and modest releases. Although it won’t win any awards, and in fact it may go unnoticed completely, it’s nice to hear something that feels nostalgic and new at the same time.

Honorable Mention: Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride Soundtrack, Bloc Party Remixes, New Buffalo

No grumpy critic today.



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