Monday, January 24, 2011


First Impressions playlist.

I've oscillated between two ways of programming the drawing sessions: head and ears. The first is more knowledge-based and often requires research. The second is more intuitive, yet also involves occasional research (see Diddley Beat... uh, wait, I never posted that playlist, huh?). The fun part is seeing the overlap between the two. For example, hearing a theme can spur questions to seek more information. Admittedly, the heady themes so far have been hard to hear.

First Impressions dealt with first songs on a band or artist's debut album -- the literal first thing a listener might have heard. The idea is held together by a few assumptions: that the debut single is also the first track heard on an album; and that a listener is hearing an artist when he/she first "comes out." It's also a dated concept. We are back in a singles era when albums come months, if not years after an artist has circulated in the press via appearances at awards show, celebrity events, mixtapes, some other celebrity's hit song, social media, etc.

I took to the idea b/c, real or not, there was a romance in reading into the mythology. The anticipation of waiting for that record. The excitement from laying down that slab of vinyl or plopping in that cassette. The sounds of the machine springing to life before the music wrapped you in its embrace. The record could be a jarring middle finger (Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown," PE's "You're Gonna Get Yours") or engrossing (Leo Kottke's "The Driving of the Year Nail," Jackson Frank's "Blues Run The Game"), but the build-up and response is similar. I like this commonality of experience between different music listeners.

This week we're back to familiar ground: Wes Anderson. Is that both bookish and sonically familiar?

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