Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Conduit for sale

All right, so by few, if any, objective standards am I old, but when bands from your college days reform and do reunion shows--and you buy a ticket--there's definitely a feeling of the years having gone by in a hurry. It doesn't seem that long ago that I heard Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain for the first time, yet when I see Pavement play in town this fall, it will have been 16 years since that album was released. What?!

That recognition of time flying by was reinforced when I saw the announcement for a record label's 21st anniversary three-day concert this fall. The lineup is a ridiculously great collection of bands. Then I realized that many of them were big in an underground sort of way when I was still in school or just out of it.

I remember when obtaining Belle & Sebastian's first album was relatively difficult as only a limited number of copies had been printed on vinyl and sold in Scotland. Until it was released on CD, all I had was a copy someone from a listserv recorded on an audio cassette (!) and mailed to me. The second side of the tape featured a BBC performance with songs that were otherwise unavailable as well. I really liked the music, but in retrospect, the mystery about the band added to the allure.

Make no mistake that it is too soon for any serious reminiscing, yet part of the accelerated nostalgia that's in the ether probably stems from how monumentally things have changed in a relatively short period of time. While doing the math doesn't show that many years have passed, it practically looks like another era from when I first heard the majority of this music.

The album I mentioned above was released in 1994. Using that year as a milestone, I can say that:

-I didn't have an e-mail address or use the internet. In fact, I doubt I'd heard about these things.
-I can't think of anyone I knew who had a cell phone.
-If you wanted directions to somewhere, you needed to check a map and figure it out or talk to someone who knew.

Does that world seem familiar at all now? Dial back sixteen years before that and would the times have been significantly different?

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