January 21, 2011

Fuck The Golden Age: Every Year Is A Great Year In Music

The majority of rock fans and critics tend to lift music from the 1960's and 70's onto an untouchable pedestal. Yes, it was a Golden Age and defining period with the Rolling Stones, Beatles, and countless other legendary musicians airing their songs in the mainstream consciousness of acceptability. But if you know where to look and you look hard enough, the truth is every year is a great year in music. Songs like "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Blowin' in The Wind" will certainly never be written again because of the political climate and widespread social inequality and injustice of the 60's. But tell me you wish people were still making albums like Joni Mitchell's Blue and I'll play you Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me. The Baby Boomers had Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, and Brian Wilson. The Net Generation has Britt Daniel, Victoria Legrand and Panda Bear. Play me Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" and I'll play you "When My Time Comes" by Dawes.

If you're comparing, sure, the Baby Boomers have the edge—but that's not important. My point rather is that the room for argument and debate exists. The quality of music released this past year alone validates that no matter what your musical taste is. I constantly find comments on web sites about how excruciatingly terrible the state of modern music is and it's an extremely frustrating indictment. Contemporary life-changing and generation-altering music exists. The problem isn't the lack of great songs, it's the absence of a mainstream delivery service. Great music is too often holed up and trapped under the wieght of its restrictive niche and label, hoping to one day be lifted onto a more visible platform. Taylor Goldsmith and Dawes won't be playing on national radio anytime soon, but then again that medium dried up and died over a decade ago. Instead, we have small pioneers like Daytrotter and Yours Truly making up for lost ground and innumerable other miniscule blogs like Everybody Taste picking up the crumbs in their shadows.

Here's me lifting up Dawes: two honey-voiced brothers and their two friends that write subtly epic, timeless, and affective folk music. The visceral hit-you-in-the-gut, knock-you-off-your-feet kind that screams for an open window to climb out of; the rocking chair, barefoot tapping, frosty beer kind you sing-along to in the warm summer sun and tilt your head back to in a daze of satisfaction. Crosby, Stills, and Nash were great, but for now, stick Déjà Vu back on the shelf. This generation has its own Laurel Canyon sound. We have our own classic albums and anthems.

Dawes - "When My Time Comes" (from North Country)
Dawes - "My Way Back Home" (from Best of Daytrotter 2010)


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