Why bother?

Does the world need another music blog?

The answer to that tiny question is obvious, but also (as it turns out) irrelevant. Skipping out on doing a thing, based on the idea that no one cares if you do that thing is a logical, bottomless cop-out.

The enthusiasm of youth drove me toward punk music, and everything surrounding it. Such is adolescence in a boring town, during an uneventful American decade: it was sports, drugs, or ‘other’ and I’m grateful to have chosen correctly. I never remember wasting time wondering if my contribution would matter to anyone. The momentum and energy from youthful curiosity was addictive, powerful and (lucky for me) automatic. A desire to be involved in this thing took on many forms, though the niche of zine publishing was deepest. Lacking the confidence (or delusion) of a future as a great writer or graphic designer, I spent more energy cracking the code of publishing and self-financing. The result was a mountain of pro forma record reviews and band interviews, but a black belt in the logistics of bulk mail permits and newsprint quantity discounts.

Of the internet’s earliest casualties, CDs and black and white newsprint were high on the list. With it went my means of production: fewer mid-sized record labels existed to send me $100 every three months and fewer people sought information off floors near record store entryways. I trudged along for a while, self-publishing for the sake of involvement in a thing I still loved. Then, what followed was a decade of life getting in the way, but also a vague, persistent desire to write about music again.

My old crutch of focusing on the nuts and bolts was gone. Most printed information about art and almost all recorded music is packaged and sold as souvenirs. Publishing itself is mostly screaming into a void online, but it’s also free and essentially automatic. Even as my enthusiasm for music grew out from punk and hardcore, it hadn’t faded. What’s gone is my interest in live music, at least what much of it’s become. As many bands I follow are necessarily swept up in a thing that annoys (but doesn’t offend) me; the idea of “Indoor Music” followed.

What kind of music do I like? The indoor kind.

It’s not the dreaded “everything but country” or more accurate “well, punk and hardcore, but mostly ambient and heavier stuff.” It’s a snort and an eye roll, but also the most succinct explanation for the music I care to talk about.

Then, as I was finally shaking off a decade-long habit of procrastination and self-sabotage, the world entered a dire situation. For the foreseeable future, all music is indoor music. I hate it, and can’t wait for the boring people to be able to trudge back toward their sunny fields and weekend edibles. The minority of interesting bands on the festival posters can charge triple their usual guarantee, and LiveNation can pump zombies full of $9 Bud Lights to cover it. But there will also be so much else going on, far from the glare of festivals or Spotify “Yoga chill-out” playlists. My plan is to be buried deep in that pile of ‘everything else,’ typing out some thoughts on it.