I don't listen to music as much as I used to, but I still have a great infinity affinity for it. My musical taste has changed quite drastically since my formative years in middle school, and thank God it has because what I listened to back then was quite dreadful, but I was 12, who has good taste in anything at that age? But alas it has also expanded and I can identify five key moments that fundamentally shaped. Please note the detail on some of this is quite startling. Why do I remember all this detail? Who knows. I remember a lot of details for a lot of things, many times on hugely insignificant matters that will likely never need to be known to anyone for the rest of known human existence. Probably explains how I went through three years of grad school without taking more than four pages of notes.
1) The day when I went on Amazon.com's Indepedent Rock CD section in the summer of 2001 and discovered the Millencolin album "Pennybridge Prioneers"
This moment was the foundation of everything to come, the watershed moment so to speak. It is the very moment in time that took me out of the stone ages of relying on MTV and the radio telling me what was "good". It opened my eyes to a whole world of wondrous music for me to consume and created a genuine hunger and passion for wanting more and more.
The world of punk and other styles of music that typically goes hand in hand with it or broke off from 70s punk (ska, psychobilly, oi!, riot grrrl, new wave, post-punk, hardcore, emo) was such a paradigm shift from what I was exposed to in the media.
And it just so happened that my high school years proved to be the "golden age" of the local and independent music scene with numerous high schoolers and Liberty University students who were passionate about the same music. These folks, headlined by small-time music booking company Burning Bush (run by Liberty students who brought in Christian bands) who was alter absorbed into Liberty, actively helped draw bigger name independent bands to the area while supplementing the shows with some local acts. I didn't go a ton, but this leads directly into moment #2.
2) The first local show I ever went to during January or February 2002 at a Knights of Columbus club in Forest, VA, featuring some band I forgot, Beloved, Winter Solstice, and Further Seems Forever.
I can still see the scenery around the building in my imagination to this day and the exact set up of the building from the stage, the bathrooms, the water fountains, the entrance/exit, the merchandise tables, etc. So to say the least this is an epic moment considering sometimes I can't even remember something I said a mere five seconds ago.
I went to this show solely because of Further Seems Forever. I loved this band back then and still do now. The band was still riding high off the release of their first album, The Moon is Down, and was the headline act being that they were on Tooth & Nail Records, one of the biggest record labels out there for Christian acts. More of an emo band, it was one of the genres that I was exposed to shortly after the discovery of Millencolin.
Beloved and Winter Solstice were drastically different acts. I never heard of them before that show and had heard their style of music performed by others and thought it was awful. They would go on to be two of my favorite bands at that time and still are.
Beloved was a melodic hardcore band and the mix of the catchiness found in the punk and emo world with the sheer violent sounding hardcore music was perfect and still is. It opened my eyes to a new type of music that I had originally cast off just because I hadn't heard much of anything good.
Winter Solstice, on the other hand, was pure violent hardcore. Screaming vocals, insane guitar riffs, etc. What most rational human beings would call complete garbage. But oh it is so lovely. The amount of hardcore music and other similar types of offshoots from it in my iTunes collection is beyond massive. If I had to make a list of 10 of my favorite bands, I would not be shocked if at least half, if not more, are hardcore or a derivative of hardcore.
3) My discovery of Pandora
Pandora is the single greatest thing to happen, at least for me, to the music industry since the invention of the internet. I shall not go into Napster during it's glory days :)
Discovering new bands before it was a chore. Being in Lynchburg, I obviously was not exposed to a whole lot of music outside of the occasional small-time show put on once every few months or so. I had a small set of friends who liked the same music as me and so I heard via word of mouth from them. Then there was looking in the liner notes on CDs (many don't even know what that even means anymore) for the bands that were thanked. Of course there was also going to websites specifically dedicated to the type of music I liked and checking out the bands on there. See, a chore isn't it?
Oh but Pandora did all the work for me instead of me having to actively pursue it, I just created a station and it pushed new bands to me I never heard before. There are many bands I like that I would have never discovered had Pandora not played them for me. Pandora made the difficult and taxing easy. It is a invaluable invention to the music industry.
4) The day MONO and World's End Girlfriend first played on my Pandora in the summer of 2007
Specifically the song "Trailer 1" from the album Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain. Music revelation was scarce during college. Between academics and basketball, time was not much available for music discovery and Pandora had not really come to the forefront for many until around the time I finished up my undergrad. Post-rock music wasn't exactly the kind of music that performed in local shows in Lynchburg. So to get exposed to it was difficult.
I had heard a few post-rock songs, but much like with hardcore, none of it was ever good and I more or less prematurely dismissed the entire genre because I didn't like all that "peaceful" music and that violin and piano "junk". If you said post-rock was a polar opposite of hardcore music, one would be hard to disagree. Hardcore is Fight Club style violence on the ears, post-rock is complete serenity. It's the most beautiful music you will ever hear in your life. It's almost entirely instrumental, devoid of an vapid and meaningless lyrics. It's pure, minimalistic music.
So why is this moment so great aside from the exposure to another new world of music? Most people want to learn an instrument like the guitar, the rums, etc. Not me. This is THE moment in time that made me want to learn how to play the violin and piano. Yes, one song made me go from thinking the violin and piano are junk to making me want to learn them.
5) The first time I ever heard "Alive" by Krewella
This happened just a mere month ago. I've hated this dance and dubstep music for over a decade. This song changed everything. I listened to this son on repeat for hours on end. Yes, hours. This song is addictive. It made me want to dance. I hated dancing. I really do, I hated it. Hell, I still do really. I can't say I love the genre as a whole, there is still a massive amount of this type of music I just wholly dislike, but it showed to me that their is actually some quality in this realm of the music universe. Haven't discovered a whole lot of this music yet that I like because of time, but this will change for the better before too long.