Music taste is a funny thing. There’s supposedly good taste, bad taste, and then there are people who don’t listen to music (which I don’t understand). “Taste” (good vs. bad) is so subjective it’s barely worth discussing. What interests me is that there are sounds we organically like and don’t like, but it seems to vary per person. I’ve always loved loud and abrasive rock, the sound of which seems to offend most of my friends and family. But I like other music too and I don’t like all rock (mostly Alt Rock/Garage Rock/Garage Punk/Indie Rock/Lo-Fi/Pop Punk/Post-Hardcore and if you want to continue reading a list of ridiculous sub genres here you go). But why?? Luckily, the internet exists so I can answer my own asinine questions. I looked up a number of articles on the subject, but this article by Cracked says what I want so I’m going to use it even though its scientific legitimacy is questionable. Skip ahead to #2 – YOUR MUSIC PREFERENCES ARE SEALED BY ADOLESCENCE. And now my life makes sense. Refer to posts on Riot Fest for insight to my adolescence. Summary: angry suburbanite trying to be emo/xcore/punk/badass while also trying to get good grades and participate in organized sports on the dl.
Until I read this article I’d been kind of embarrassed by the very intense garage rock/pop/punk phase I’ve been going through. Obsessively listening to bands like FIDLAR, Wavves, SWMRS, and Cloud Nothings, but feeling as if it’s inappropriate for my age group or demographic (26 y.o. yuppie living in Lake View) or something. Being able to blame forces outside of my control, though, makes me less culpable and thus less embarrassed. But when you get down to it, caring about whether or not a band is “age appropriate” is moronic in itself. These thoughts really only plague me when I got to shows and see kids who I swear are 12 years old. Like, did your parents drive you here? Am I the only person of legal drinking age here? Are those braces? Why are you so mad? I’m being a little dramatic, but this was the case when I recently saw Wavves, Best Coast, and Cherry Glazerr at Thalia Hall. The great thing about live music is that once the music starts no one cares about age, gender, orientation, braces, whatever. You just watch and you are happy.
Cherry Glazerr: I came across Cherry Glazerr’s song ‘Grilled Cheese’ a few months back and was immediately smitten. I mean.. a cool song about grilled cheese? What’s not to like. While there’s something very goofy about their music, there’s also a subdued darkness to it. ‘Teenage Girl’ is a great example. The song starts off pretty real, “internalize so much but so little/don’t make us feel belittled world” and then spirals off into frivolity with a whole bunch of doo doo doo’s and ahh ahh ah’s. This isn’t by accident on singer/songwriter Clementine Creevy’s part. Speaking from my own bias, women are often put in boxes, what we should like, how we should be, and this song voices that ‘teenage girl’ box. A few different times I’ve heard their music described as “cute”, but wonder if that has more to do with young frontwoman than the music. I understand where this adjective comes from, but also think it’s a little condescending. The “cute” factor seems to comes from the fact that not all of their songs are about “serious” topics. There are songs about food, pms, pet deaths, life in LA, and the general confusion that goes with adolescence. And to the adults usually reviewing their music this isn’t legitimate content, thus cute. Adults have a history of renouncing teenage behavior/feelings (because of the hormones and all), but it doesn’t make their feelings less valid. So that’s my whole rant on that subject.
Cherry Glazerr doesn’t disappoint live. There are few things I love more than an awesome frontwoman who can play a mean guitar, always makes me wish I’d practiced mine more growing up, and Creevy is that frontwoman. At the start of their set opening up for Wavves and Best Coast there was a visible awkwardness, but by the end it was gone and their good vibes had rubbed of on the crowd. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Best Coast: I hadn’t heard much of Best Coast until Wavves launched their second ‘Summer is Forever’ joint tour with them (see, get the title now, aren’t I clever). Another band hailing from Cali, their music is what I’d describe as sunny pop/rock. It’s sweet and sad and reminds of spending summers in California as a kid. Dehydrated, sunburnt, and kind of light headed, but happy and carefree because you’re at the beach. ‘Feeling Okay’ off their most recent album ‘California Nights’ encapsulates this vibe the most for me. There are dark undertones, but still upbeat and catchy as hell. Once again, another band with an awesome frontwoman. Bethany Cosentino is effortlessly cool and goes from aggressively jamming out on the guitar to strutting into the crowd like a rock goddess. Best Coast is the kind of music I’d listen to if I was having a bad day and wanted shake it off, while still having a bit of a pity party.
Wavves: For the past few months I’ve listened to ‘Wavves’ almost every morning to start my day, if not for the entire day. It pumps me up, while still alloying me to be irritated and angst-y. The lo-fi brainchild of Nathan Williams out of San Diego, CA (I see a theme developing) with a similarly sunny and beach-y sound as Best Coast’s, but add a hangover and sand in your eyes. The sound is granular and dirty with big harmonies and a nice helping of misery. Content ranges from breakups and hangovers to car crashes and surfing. The most recent album ‘V’ is probably my favorite, even though it has been criticized for its lack of growth from prior albums. I’d agree that it’s a prototypical Wavves album, maybe a little bit more polished and concise than others, but as a new fan I’m not looking for growth yet so, I like it.
Live, Wavves was just as messy and abrasive as I’d hoped. Hair flailing everywhere accompanied by a lot of stuttered jumping. I spent the whole show in the balcony because I knew after a full day of work I couldn’t stand for four hours (even though I’d spent most of the day sitting.. .), but seriously regret not joining the pit for them. At some point they threw out dozens of plastic blow up beach balls and aliens, which threw the crowd into more of a frenzy. I cannot express how intensely I wanted one of those purple blow up aliens. Learned my lesson. Look forward to seeing these guys live in the future.
Take aways: music taste is (kind of) forever, empathy for teenagers is important, and being a 26 y.o. yuppie doesn’t mean I can’t get down in a moshpit like everyone else.