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January 22, 2008


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I like where you're going, but would stay away from The Eagles if possible. Maybe some solo Joe Walsh, but that's it.

Funnily enough, my music fandom begins with the Eagles. They were like the water for me; I know that first mega-selling greatest hits album backwards and forwards, had all their albums on cassette tape, even got a couple of them on cd when I switched formats; in 1989, a freshman in college, I was still basically a classic rock sort of guy (though just beginning let newer bands seep in, like REM, the Replacements), still sufficiently a fan of the Eagles, that I was excited by Don Henley's album that came out that year. It's hard to believe now. Anyway, I come from a position of deep knowledge when I affirm that the Eagles suck. They weren't untalented, and they did come up with a handful of decent songs, but... they were a smoothing out of everything, all the influences that went into them. Have you read Christgau's famous piece about them?

On post-rock: I know what you mean. For me it wasn't quite the post-rock bands you list (though Slint, the best of Tortoise, Gastr del Sol, are all still favorites, plus I still dig my June of 44 albums); I got way into those sort of sprawling collective-type bands. You know, Godspeed You Black Emporer; A Silver Mt. Zion, the Shalabi Effect, Do Make Say Think. Those four still mostly hold up, but as I delved further, it got ugly. I realized when I found myself with the utterly boring 2-cd set from Molasses that I had gone too far.

Also, I should clarify. In my earlier comment, it wasn't my intention to presume that you were worried about the direction your taste was taking you (though I did sense, or perhaps recall, that you'd explicitly worried in the past). It was merely meant to say something about my own tastes. Given where I'd come from, the questions you're asking yourself simply never came up for me.

Go the Gram Parsons route instead, and follow his descendants (excluding anything involving Glenn Frey or Don Henley).

When considering The Eagles, consider the wisdom of Mojo Nixon.

I must say, that you have introduced me to a ton of great bands over the years - including Dianogah, Mogwai, Low, Ida (ill never forget you introducing me to dan littleton at modified!) Tortoise, and a list to long to say that its ridiculous. I initially found a sound that got me into rock music to begin with (christie front drive, mineral, boys life etc.) Going into the record store a few times a week, to find more bands that sounded exactly like this (or poor attempts at trying to sound like these bands) you would constantly play new bands to me, that got me interested in new sounds that i never knew existed. I began to be more curious, and discovered new (old bands) a lot of which you steered me into. Its weird (and a bit embarassing), as I get older to think that I actually own a chapter of the emo diaries! Boy am I glad that my tastes have changed...

I realized as I delved deeper (similarly to how Paul said), "it got ugly" and finding new sounds became either so pretentious, or just un-inspiring to me. not that it was bad, just that it was more of the same. its impossible for me to think, that anyone who loves music, can listen to only one genre, and continue to be excited. its good to grow regardless of your previous dislikes for an artist (you may find some jems!)

all the best,


I remember when I first started listening to Brian Eno and I found out that Phil Collins was his drummer. I hated myself for a while there.

ha! the eagles... very scary (although i would definitely say the first eagles record is better than america or fleetwood mac...:-). i have to say in spite of my constant jabs at your approach to the 70's, that you should NEVER try and control where your tastes might take you. the best part of loving music is that you never know what you might discover if you are open.

i remember the strangest musical moment i've had in the last year or so, i was in someone's studio and they were playing some music that sounded vaguely 60's rock and i couldn't place the singer. i THOUGHT the guy said it was jeff beck; and for 5 or 6 songs, i was thrown off because A. i never liked jeff beck, and B. it just didn't sound right - but i spent all that time thinking it was a jeff beck record... well at some point i said, "man this is terrible... i never liked jeff beck, but this is really crap, can i see the cover" and of course, he hands me a BECK cd. actually this doesn't tell you anything about music and love; except if you can hear the first few eagles records detatched from what they've become, maybe you will find more in them than i found in jeff beck or beck.

because of a tendency for serious wandering, i've ended up with records in my collection that i wouldn't share with anyone - because i know they'd never hear the parts that kill me (i tried once and it was pretty depressing... me with goosebumps, my buddy looking at me as though i'd put on the wrong record).plus, i know they'd give me the same amount of grief i give you for even trying to like a band that wrote muskrat love.

when i was a kid, my dad was a huge dylan fan, and eventually got into the eagles, jackson browne, and a slew of other crap. (now you know why i got into punk rock!)at the time, the eagles were nobody, and to him, it was fresh (hotel california ended all of that of course). i'm sure there's something there if you are open enough to find it - although i'll leave that domain to you. i've purchased and returned various graham parsons cds a number of times and can't understand how anyone could go gaga over it... but such is how these things are.

there are probably other byrd-like trajectories to follow... but even more important, why do you have to follow any of them?... maybe the byrds were the last word in that particular road (or maybe they simply sing to you)...as an aside, i would HIGHLY recommend love's forever changes if you want to hear LA at the same time.

maybe you have to start rooting through disco bands or 60's korean pop music instead. single trajectories are the path of the anal... multiple trajectories are for the messy. i think that the deeply personal messy connections that are born where multiple trajectories meet, keeps us human and full of musical loves.

first, who are you dave (or, if dave's not reading, who's dave)? I ask b/c, scott, remember how me and sarah and our friend brett drove to AZ from SLC years ago just to see Ida and how you introduced us to Dan Littleton at Modified? It's funny to have someone else relate the same story. We must have been in the same room right then (Littleton was only there for a few) having the same experience (being star struck -- I think brett actually hyperventilated a bit).

second, this was a really good post. maybe it's what I need to inspire me to get back on the interstate. I need to start really digging through something new (new to me). I was thinking about starting with LCD Soundsystem, but I'm afraid that access road (to continue the anlogy) might be really short.

hehehe - worlds are colliding!

You two may or may not have met - dave was in the AZ band fightshy, who played in utah at least a few times I think.

dave, jeremy was in the band player piano (sunset alliance!).

Lots of great comments in this thread, which I hope to respond to later today.

WOW!!! That is soo crazy. I just posted a bulletin on myspace about the re-press of the player piano album (japanese release). Everyone should own it!!!!!!!!

Yep, that show was worth driving from SLC from Im sure... the line up of an early death cab, pedro the lion, harcuvar and ida?!?!?!?!?! INSANE!!!!

I have that ida set on video... and its well amazing.... Elizabeth getting upset with Dan when they start Shotgun... cause he cant hit the notes.... soo good!

Steve, you're throwing me off... did you just recommend an Eagles album?

>>you should NEVER try and control where your tastes might take you. the best part of loving music is that you never know what you might discover if you are open.

Indeed. And just to clarify a point, again to the idea that I'm "worried" about or am trying to "control" my path - I'm not. This post and those that have come prior--and in fact, this blog overall--are self-aware in the extreme. If it's possible to view my own listening habits with some detachment, that's kinda what I'm trying to do. To let my tastes take me where they take me, but to think with some critical detachment "why did I turn that corner? Why did I NOT turn that corner?"

I think a quick look at this post--every album I purchased in 2007--shows that I'm not totally obsessed with the Laurel Canyon thing. Maybe still not the widest variety of musical purchases (more on that tomorrow, hopefully), but also not quite as narrow as this week's post might imply.

Nevertheless even when you are casting a wide net, within one's big-picture music consumption there are still identifiable phases in which one is following one path more than others. Maybe you buy a string of 60s Korean pop albums in a row; maybe you unconsciously-but-consistently buy free jazz albums. That seems totally natural. So to does eventually easing up on those purchases. I think I've been sucked into a variety of mini-trajectories in my life, though the current one may be the first that I've really been aware of, really thought about in that sense.

>>single trajectories are the path of the anal... multiple trajectories are for the messy.

Keep in mind you're talking to a guy that is reading 30 Graham Greene novels in chronological order, and who TiVOs every movie made by Alfred Hitchcock and every movie starring James Stewart, checking off my list as I go (and forcing myself to watch the movies all the way through no matter what!)

I get and appreciate what you're saying though. I love making coincidental--and therefore, sometimes, transcendent--connections between songs and sounds and albums. But when a certain band or sound sings to me, I get an undefeatable urge to know it.

In fact I think I spent most of my 20s making a lot of those messy connections; now in my 30s, I've realized on numerous occasions that I'm far less knowledgable about music--music I want to know--than I ever thought. That's a big reason for what fuels my musical obsessions.

Jeremy - I still owe you some Tropicalia CDs. Maybe that'll put you on a new road.

oh yeah, the graham greene, hitchcock, jimmy stewart thing is different - that's once you've fallen into the obsession hole. the trajectory just gets you to the rim, but if you jump in, you are out of trajectory mode and drowning in obsession... but it's rare when it works for an entire genre (like "laurel canyon").

a ton of my life is about obsession over one thing, once it kills me... every painting by alfred jensen i love unconditionally. but, within that there are still many favorite artists who have moments i hate (can somebody please tell me why the jam felt the need to cover "heatwave"... arrgh!!!!!). but like yourself, there have been moments with writers, filmmakers, artists, music where i've gone whole hog overboard (although i think with your greene obsession you are the master because you can articulate it so well!)

i was really talking about the idea that your post suggested, which was if you are obsessed with something like "minimalism" that you need to like philip glass, even though he's fairly tame and uninterresting compared to steve reich, lamonte young, or terry riley...

your eagles post reminded me of the first time i heard steve reich's different trains - a work that many people love, and a work i can't stomach. most of his work i really love, but that piece just doesn't do it for me, and unlike some things that i think i'll come around to, that one i've given up on, and to be way too judgmental... i actually think it sucks.

judging from your postings, your taste is pretty darned varied, so i just wanted to give you a little nudge to make you feel it would be ok to try and "get" the eagles...

but just because i suggest you to be brave enough to take a swim, doesn't mean i hope you like the water :-)

Funny you mention your problems with Different Trains. For me, it was my entry point into Reich; I think it's marvelous.

no seriously.


hey, did you ever listen to boys life?

departures and landfalls is A LIFE-CHANGING ALBUM for me, in the way i commented to you before.

sleeping off summer alone makes it all, all, all worth it.

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