When I was a kid, the music I listened to came from one of two sources:
1) Local radio stations. We didn’t live near any big cities, not even Lexington. We did get one station from Knoxville, WOKI, that back then played what would now be called “classic rock.” The DJs were live and some of the evening patter was fun. But most of what I heard was from a local AM station called WYGO. They did a mix of pop, pop/country, and “soft rock.” Nothing cutting-edge at all. At least I got Casey Kasem once a week to keep me educated on Top 40. I knew Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Journey.
2) My mom’s records. Mom ordered vinyl from Columbia House. We’d get these cardboard-wrapped packages at home every month or two. Mom’s collection contained Kenny Rogers, Bob Segar, Crystal Gayle, Anne Murray, The Carpenters, ABBA, Donna Summer, all “safe” stuff.
Years later, we moved to an even more isolated town by Lake Cumberland. On a really good day, you might get WKQQ (back at 98.1), which meant more “classic rock”. The only college station was WUKY, and they did not play the “rock and roots” mix they play now. It was jazz, and not the good Miles Davis stuff. It was The Rippingtons and the rest of that noodly stuff. Depressing.
The first time I remember being enthused about radio was when Georgetown College launched a station that played some good stuff. That was short-lived, sorry to say. Eventually WUKY got on board with some decent material. But that’s it.
Thank God for the Internet. I have pretty much ignored terrestrial radio for years. Occasionally I’ll be in the car and listen to WUKY, when they’re not playing some Lucinda Williams wannabe. I like Lucinda Williams, but not the knockoffs.
My #1 go-to for several years now has been Foo Fighters. They just feel real. More on that in the weeks to come.
I like recommendations from others, but I ain’t turning my Spotify feed to Facebook on and getting in that mess. I ask for fresh stuff occasionally, but it mostly ends up being WUKY’s stuff that people think is cutting edge.
So I cast about, looking. Anytime I hear something that grabs my ear, I fire up SoundHound and find the track on Spotify. Sometimes I am surprised at what I end up digging. Like right now, I am listening to Lana Del Rey. I almost feel like I should apologize, but I like this Ultraviolence album.
I have been tracking back into some 1980s punk, local bands from metropolitan areas, Canadian stuff — certainly nothing Top 40. Stuff like Scream, Nomeansno, Hüsker Dü. Then last night I ended up listening to several Bee Gees tracks, analyzing song structures.
I’m in the middle of a project right now, but I think I need to dig into some fresh stuff soon. And I want to cast a little farther afield, too. And maybe even backward. There is a treasure trove of stuff from the past that I never got to hear. I’m sure I could stay busy for a while.
But first, I finish all the stuff on this whiteboard.
“I guess you’re stuck in the Habitrail.” – DG, FF