Monday, September 08, 2008

Breakthru Radio

This week, we're cross-blogging at Breakthru Radio, a cool online indie radio station. Please check them out. We begin with a post that originated here last week, but that has been tailored to fit the new audience.

Hello Breakthru Radio listeners. Thanks for having us. You don’t know us and we don’t know you, and since we’re going to spend the week together, some introduction is in order. First, we’re probably a little older than you are, and that may be reflected in what we do (and don’t) write about. Second, one of us lives in Philadelphia and the other in Kansas City, which may explain any regional biases that pop up. And third, we might not have the conventional mindset for a place like BTR. We love lots of indie music, but we like what we like regardless of the business model that delivers it to our ears, and we rarely ponder the distinctions. If we lapse into discussing a band that’s on a Sony subsidiary, rest assured that it’s only because we’re not paying attention.

We don’t much engage in music criticism at Teenage Kicks. We engage in music enthusiasm. I get no kick out of telling you what I don’t like, because it might be something you like, and no one likes a killjoy. Every once in a while I hear someone say that The Hold Steady sucks or that Bruce Springsteen is an irrelevant old relic, and I know in my bones that they’re wrong, but I can’t put an equation up on the board to prove my thesis. Recently, when discussing the Booker Prize for new literature, Nick Hornby wrote “there is no such thing as an objectively good book, and there is certainly no such thing as a ‘best book’; there are only books we love, for reasons too complicated and personal ever to articulate convincingly.” While I think there’s a one-percent exception (saying that London Calling is better than The Clash’s debut is an opinion; saying that it’s better than Cut the Crap is a fact), I know it’s true. I recently got an e-mail taking small umbrage to something I wrote in praise of a certain album, and offering in rebuttal a heartfelt appreciation for a record I believe to be a stunning mediocrity. I was surprised to read an impassioned case for music that sounds like audio mayonnaise to me, but heartened, too. Being a musician is a hard job. You take something deeply personal, give it over to the world, and watch as your bones get picked by the public, the critics and the hipper-than-thou blogging crowd. If you can make a connection to even a few people, you’ve succeeding in communicating your vision and bettering their lives in some unexplainable but undeniable way. Who am I to tell you that what you feel isn’t valid? And why would I want to do that?

So that’s what we’ll do here for the next few days. We’ll enthuse. We’ll enthuse about Ezra Furman and Ike Reilly and The Broken West. We’ll enthuse about Langhorne Slim and Delta Spirit and Gaslight Anthem. And hopefully we’ll engage you and you’ll enthuse back to us about some band we’d never otherwise know. We think that’s how this is supposed to work. We’re looking forward to it.

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