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Finding music is up to you
Give The Pogues a listen, and you might learn to love one of the greatest drunken Irish poets of the past 50 years.
FILE/Robert E. Klein/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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By Jonas Beals
DISCOVERING The Pogues was a big moment for me, and not just because the music pushed all the right traditionalist and subversive buttons. A friend--a cool friend--introduced me to The Pogues, making me cool by association. Well, maybe not cool, but perhaps a bit cooler than I was before.
And that's the way people used to discover new music. You knew a guy who had an older brother who listened to Mr. Bungle, and a tape would eventually filter down the chain into your Walkman.
Music moved in fairly tight circles. If you wanted to hear something new, you had to find someone new, or maybe take a chance on an interesting album cover at the record shop.
A lot of music lived in the shadows, passed from fan to fan like a top-secret dossier. A road trip in someone else's car, a freshman year roommate, a new girlfriend--those were all opportunities to broaden your musical horizons.
Actively seeking out new music took effort. You had to go to a concert, or go early for the opening band. You had to buy magazines, go to the library or strike up a conversation with a stranger.
Times have changed. There aren't many shadows left in the music world.
You might expect me to lament the loss of personal interaction in the discovery process, or decry the effortless way people can tap into fresh wells of music these days. But I can't. As much as I want to be the cool friend exposing you to new music, you just don't need me. We are living in the golden age of music discovery.
A number of readers tell me that they just don't know the music that I mention here. Thirty years ago, it might have been cruel of me to simply mention a band or a song and not delve into the intricacies of their sound. These days, it really is easier for readers to delve on their own.
JONAS' IN-TOWN PICK: Jon Wiley & Ashleigh Chevalier at Bistro Bethem. All ages, no cover, $3 drink specials and some excellent local music. Tuesday at 8 p.m. OUT-OF-TOWN PICK: Gov't Mule at The National in Richmond. Not the rock beast it was before Allen Woody died, but still a band making some top-drawer power-blues. Monday at 6 p.m. LISTENING TO: "Lorca's Novena" by The Pogues. You would be hard-pressed to find a better rock song about Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.