Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Good things in larger airmail packages

I never sought out or read underground music press when I was growing up. I was fortunate (and maybe lazy enough) to depend on a circle of friends who constantly introduced me to alternative music they had found. Shout outs to Nicole from the middle school years; and Jennie, Amy, Becky, Claudia, Pete, and Jon from the high school years... But I realized that information about alternative music came from fragile sources like fanzines and imported magazines, and the people who made the efforts to produce, distribute and read those publications must be admired.

These days, I follow a modest collection of music blogs in an attempt to maintain my awareness. (If you are a blog reader and haven't discovered the joys of a feeder like, hie thee directly there; it makes it infinitely easier to monitor all your sources.) What I want out of these blogs and their writers is essentially the same thing those fanzines would have provided: ground-level music lovers writing about artists and music that I probably wouldn't discover on my own.

Sure, I'll read album reviews on line, published by editorial boards of music journalists. But I'd rather read a gushy, emotional paragraph by a blogger who speaks from personal love as much as critical insight. It feels more like my younger experiences of receiving a cherished 12'' single on loan from one of my friends who breathlessly insisted that I had to hear it. The boon of all the technology we've amassed in the past few decades is that now my gushy friends are all over the planet, and artists who previously would have labored in the isolation of their local community are now exposed to the world.

My newest example of the fruits of the e-fanzines comes from the annals of Good Weather For Airstrikes, whose geographic origin I don't even know. Derek has introduced me to Lykke Li, and her cooly contagious single 'Little bit', and I have been grateful for the past few days, during which I have probably listened to the song fifty times.

Of course I recommend that you should check out Lykke Li, and see her perfect video for the song, but my real point is more general. There's always talk about how the internet has cheapened journalistic discourse by allowing anyone to report, opine and exhort to a global audience. I suppose that may be true. Fortunately the internet has also enriched and expanded communities of enthusiasm about countless interests. The fanzine has gone global. That must be a good thing.

Lykke Li official website