Posted by: ableanna | February 6, 2010

Music to my eyes

I don’t know where this rule came from, but I often think I shouldn’t post on weekends. Even though, really, it is the most ideal time for me to write. I’m in my pj’s, E’s working on her bricks in the living room and it’s freezing outside… so what’s the problem? But I digress… already.

Swell Season St.Louis tour poster

If you are a first time reader or even a seasoned one to this space, you may not know that my original idea for this blog was to explore the changing relationship between music and the visual components that came packaged along with it. More specifically, I was interested in the way we think about music NOW versus when I was growing up and would involve myself throughout the length of an entire album staring at the artwork provided on the album’s sleeve. Also, we rarely need to listen to an entire album now, the technology reduces us to singles and shuffles without ever grasping an artist’s intent of telling a complete story. It’s like we’re only allowing ourselves to listen to the climactic parts without allowing for context or the complexities involved with the full plot.

Swell Season Seattle poster

Abandoning the visual component (ok, so iTunes shows the cover art of an album online… but really, it no longer acts as a secondary layer to the whole story of the album) has always felt tragic to me. True – video and remix culture has allowed a new, more interactive, way in which we interpret music that can be shared with millions, but it feels too literal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the ways in which we adapt and change the way in which we explore our collective creativity. However, the combination of one artist’s interpretation of another artist’s composition, through a static representation that acts as a suggestive conduit to how the listener makes their own interpretation of that album is lost. I feel less participatory in the intricacies of that story.

swell season washington tour poster

And so it always pleases me when I find a musician/band that also feels connected to that type of visual interpretation (Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Radiohead are what come to mind immediately). It also always please me when I find a new album/artist that I like, not that I’m picky about music, but I feel completely disconnected to what’s going on at most times in that area. So comes The Swell Season on replay most often in my house these days (with the occasional Black Eyed Pea and/or “I like to move it move it” request form the three year old resident of this household) – I also love their library of tour posters that you can find on their site. To replace my parents collection of milk crates stuffed of Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, Ramones, Beatles and Bruce Springsteen albums, I have taken an interest in the tour posters you can find online (and order) that can act as that static visual cue that I so obviously enjoy.

swell season boston tour poster

Now I have lost my train of thought… E is bringing in her Lego creations, it might be time to flip on the Swell Season and bake a sheet of cookies with her. But before I go, I suggest you go read gypsy bandito’s latest post – which is the indirect reason why I broke my rule about weekend posting today.


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