Saturday, January 24, 2015

First Post - An Introduction to Jay's Jams

A pleasant good morning, good afternoon, or good evening to all of you!  Welcome to Jay's Jams - a music blog dedicated to presenting new and exciting alternative music to the masses, one post at a time!  I should probably kick this blog off by giving you a little information about myself before I get into filling your head with great tunes.

I am a musician.

Specifically, a pianist.

I'm finishing up my undergraduate studies as a piano principle at Berklee College of Music, with a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production.  What exactly does that mean?

No idea.  Although, I could give you my best guess!

It probably means I'll end up running coffee errands in a recording studio for an extended and unknown amount of time, before finally (and hopefully) landing a job as a sound engineer or mixer someday.

Glamorous, isn't it?

Anyway, as for how this blog came to be.

It seemed natural to me with my enormous amount of free time I have (at least until I land that dream job), that I should write about what I love and what excites me as a musician:

Alternative music.

What, specifically, do you ask?

A plethora of different artists.  A cornucopia of acts spanning at least 50 years of music, old and new.  Like any listener, my musical taste and awareness is broadening all the time. 

But it all started with just one artist.  

Like many others before me, I grew up with the Beatles, and proceeded to make it my business to know everything about them: birthdays, favorite food, spouses, musical influences, everything you could possibly imagine.  I read books on the Fab Four (specifically, Jerry Levitan's 'I Met The Walrus' is a captivating read for anyone who admires John and Yoko).  But my musical palette started to branch out in many different directions when I was a sophomore in high school, c. 2009.  A chance visit by my older brother from California to home in Pennsylvania left me with many musical gems: For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes' eponymous debut, High Violet by the National, and many others.

I was a changed young man.

For a few years, I mostly dabbled in contemporary alternative music trending just shy of the Billboard charts but within full reach of Pitchfork reviewers.  

Then, I had another revelation in 2012.  

When I arrived in Boston to attend the very awesome (and sometimes overblown) Berklee College of Music, I stumbled upon some obscure little band from the 90s called 'The Brian Jonestown Massacre' after picking up their album Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request in a Newbury Comics store.

Well, jeez.  How in the world could anyone miss nominating this for a Grammy!?  An Ivor Novello?  SOMETHING?!  How come more people don't know?!

But it was alright.  I had found something truly special here, and I was bound to discover more gems previously unknown to me.

Yes, I had discovered the landmark Loveless, the pillar of shoegaze, and a watershed in the history of alternative rock.  The distortion and reverb was like a mountain of sound, crashing over my ears and leaving me slightly disoriented, but pleasantly complacent. In my eyes, Kevin Shields was a rock n' roll genius.

I've had many moments like these since then.  Not just with older bands, but with newer bands as well.  Over the past year or so, I've discovered amazing acts such as Pavement, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Guided by Voices, Foxygen, Bass Drum of Death, Tame Impala, Slowdive, Nothing, and so many more.

I love listening to music as much as I love making and performing it, and since I waste a LOT of time doing nothing but listening to my record player or whatever's on shuffle on my iPhone, I figured why not put some of my talents to good use and pepper the interwebz with my ART!

Thankfully, I haven't gotten to that point yet where I'm relegated to serving mass amounts of caffeine to a distressed public as my job for life.  But I won't count anything out just yet! Before I make it to that point, I will have constructed a mass of writing dedicated to the alternative music that is ready and waiting to grace us every day!

Album reviews will be the most common weapon of choice, but I will spend some time engaging in casual discussion about new bands or upcoming shows that I think will excite people.  I already have visions of the Boston Calling music festival in May dancing around in my head.  A cursory look at this year's lineup will indicate why. 

Anywho, that's about all I have to say for now.  I'll see you all back here soon!

Oh yes, and just in case you wanted to know what I look like:


Peace and Love!

- Jay