All different in the same way, part 2.

Hipsters, let's talk.

A trip to the campus bookmobile this afternoon (which is totally awesome by the way) led me to believe that indie music is even more infuriating than indie film.  The context: music is one area of consumption/acquisition I severely neglected in recent years (makeup being another one).  I have bought maybe 3 albums and a handful of iTunes mp3s since Napster went down in 2001.  Maybe because exchange of illegally uploaded mp3s had been so gloriously unbridled, not having to pay for music started to feel more like a right than a clandestine act.  And so, I didn't pay, and my only source of music in the past few years has been terrible radio play, pandora/launchcast, and the 2000 or so mp3s I had amassed in that short but wonderful year when Napster and my newfound university-provided broadband intersected.

Today I decided to remedy this sad situation and begin my musical re-education by borrowing, at random, some 10 CDs from the bookmobile.  Some I had heard of somewhere, at some point.  Some I just like the album design/illustration.  All pretty much looked like the kind of 'edgy' stuff that hipsters are so keen on. 

I put the first CD in: The Pierces, Thirteen Tales of Love & Revenge.  Sounded intriguing.  But as I listened to it, I realized it sounded exactly the way I expected it to.  Uber unconventional, so chock-full of its own langorous oddities I half expected it to be featured on an iPod commercial, or maybe on the soundtrack of Zach Braff's next film (don't get me wrong--I loved the Garden State soundtrack).  I mean it's GOOD, most of it is just so typically different.

One of the albums I really hated, Days of Wine & Roses by The Dream Syndicate.  It just made me want to throw my hands up and shake someone.  There is something wrong when music makes you wonder if you hate it because it's bad, or because you are just not cool enough.

But others I liked: Paramore's All We Know is Falling, and The Owls' Daughters and Suns, and parts of The Deadly Syndrome's The Ortolan.  And a lot of the Kings of Leon (which I had read about somewhere).

After so much unbelievable coolness, my ears were bleeding a little and it was such a relief to put in something familiar and so beautifully conventional: Alicia Keys, As I Am.

Developing an acceptably cool taste in music seems like more work than it's worth. Anyway, here are a couple I liked from the stack.

12 responses

You had me up until Alicia Keys ;)

don't be a hater.

pretty, wicked.

whoa, you're living in the land (almost) of KCRW, can't you just let Nic Harcourt make all your cool music choices for you? ;)

You should give a try!

First of all I love me some mainstream music too (alicia keys is amazing!). Second, you have great taste in music! I loved all the selections you posted.

Finally, check out

It's a great site for checking out mostly undiscovered bands and songs. I feel like I should be their PR agent 'cause I pimp them so hard.

Let me know what you think!

@Barbara, I don't even know what the frequency is for KCRW (garry would be ashamed of me)
@Linh songza requires that you already know what bands/songs you want to listen to
@Eileen I will have to check that site out! thanks for the tip =)

I believe it's - check out "Mornings Become Eclectic" - that's my favorite show! Good mix of music too.

KCRW has 3 streams on iTunes radio (under: Public) and at

My iPod is positively embarrassing, so I'm definitely inspired to go out and get some new CDs... I'd totally forgotten that I can just listen to things and like them, without going through some kind of arbiter of cool. :P

Oh, and: "There is something wrong when music makes you wonder if you hate it because it's bad, or because you are just not cool enough."
It can be said about books too. :P I keep running into that problem.

Oh lordy, 'cool' books are a totally separate issue and probably merit their own blog entry.  I am probably more of a literature snob than a music snob, but one writer i positively can't stand is murakami.  gawd.  i feel like people say they like his work just because it's cool to say that.

...and here's where I feel silly for not even having heard of Murakami. T_T I'll have to give him a shot now. My main problem is just that English classes have drained my patience with classics. I'm liking trashy paperbacks way too much right now...