Touche Amore – Non Fiction

Is Survived By
Year :
La Dispute / Pianos Become the Teeth / Converge

Touche Amore was my most recent “phase” band, i.e. the one that I would cite as my favorite band and that I listened to exhaustively and repetitively.  Back in 2010, I went to see Converge and Thursday for all intents and purposes “co-headline” a show at the Worcester Palladium.  Touche Amore was one of the openers; I knew nothing about them.  It became quickly clear that they had a passionately devoted and fired up fan base.  Throughout their set, kids were jumping up to scream lyrics into lead singer Jeremy Bolm’s mic and then stage diving back into the crowd.  The band’s set-ender at that time was “Honest Sleep.”  The crowd was at its wildest for this song, culminating in everyone that knew the band screaming back the anthemic lyrics,

I’m losing sleep
I’m losing friends
I’ve got a love hate love with the city I’m in
I’ll count the hours having just one wish
If I’m doing fine, there’s no point to this 

It was one of the most exhilarating live music experiences of my life, and I was merely spectating a band I’d never heard of before.  I bought their record …To the Beat of a Dead Horse that night and a year or so later I did the same with their follow up Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me that was released in 2011.  I’ve seen them multiple times since that first night.

I recently realized that it’s been over a year since I updated my iPod.  Isn’t that something?  I had gigabytes on gigabytes of locally stored music, legally obtained or otherwise.  There was a sense of ownership, even in the tunes that were illicitly obtained.  Anything that I was putting onto this device and maintaining on my computer’s hard drive was a reflection of not only my existing tastes but also my willingness and wish to expand them.  I own my tastes, and anything occupying a place within that spectrum (mp3 files included) was bestowed a sense of ownership through my association.

I didn’t stop listening to new music in 2013; that is not the reason why my iPod is stale.  It’s that I abandoned the notion of local storage of digital files as somehow equating to not-exactly-legal ownership and learned to suffer streaming music services gladly.  Really, the ease of use as compared to downloading files and importing them into a playback client is pretty goddamn evident.  There’s this dissociative aspect to the sheer access of the streaming experience, though.  With a rabbit hole of related artists easily clicked to, it’s very easy to listen to an album and not be compelled give it another listen.  With all of the effort and/or money it took to obtain new music and load it onto my iPod, I would end up listening to albums and songs multiple times.  Connections to music can be immediate, but equally as often they are created through repetition.

I haven’t had a “phase” band since Touche Amore.  I think that the advent of Spotify and its ilk have turned music into a disposable, fragmented, and ethereal experience.  I suppose that’s the trade off for access, and that it’s on me to be more disciplined in seeking to connect with new artists, songs, albums, etc.  Fair enough.  Touche Amore had a new album out this year, though, and it was the first one that I experienced through streaming rather than through ownership.  “Non Fiction” is a highlight for me, and probably an appropriate selection given the tenor of this post.  Having said that, I’ve been bummed out this album did not connect with me like the last two.  Maybe it’s a matter of quality and maybe it’s a matter of shifting taste, but I also think it’s a matter of distribution.  When all new music is immediately accessible, how deep can my commitment to and my sense of ownership of any one band really dig?  First world content distribution problems…

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Jeff Bennet (@JeffBennet) goes with Drake any time someone asks him who his favorite band or artist is, because he has this personality flaw where he needs to be all things to all people.

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