I’ve been digging around for a while now, trying to find a band that I can pin my writing hopes on. A band that might ascend the pile of other bands all glued together in a fist-fighting pile, trying to see who’s going to be the next whatever-the-fuck-it-is that will define San Francisco’s music scene. It hasn’t been pretty, a lot of dirge-y, pseudo-metal bands or trios of tatted up 20-somethings trying to relive a musical era that their parents couldn’t even get into. Even more so it’s been strange to realize that as a music writer I just can’t listen to music for the sheer enjoyment of it anymore. I have to listen if a certain band is still good, or if the hot band everyone’s talking about actually lives up to the hype (and then I have to sit and ponder my relationship with hype and what that means for the way I listen to music) or if the self-released cassette I have wedged in my jacket is going to sound good and if it sounds good is it because I like the music or because I think it’s cool to like the music. And on and on and on and on. That said, Derek Ted, the solo nomenclature of one Derek Schultz, the frontman of Owl Paws, is pretty great. Not in a way I have to defend or somehow connect to another movement and open my eyes wide and flail about with my hands when I say, “Can’t you see? They’re like a new (blank)!”. No, no, just good in a way that a guy with a guitar and a big old head full of ideas and music can just sit on a hard stool in a tiny bedroom studio with those little styrofoam peaks of insulation and he can strum the guitar and close his eyes and sing into a microphone. Later on down the road there might be a little reverb added to smooth out the tuneless bits, but it’ll play well on a dark night, when it’s just getting cold, and proto-metal and nu-soul just aren’t doing it for me. At this point while reading you might interject the word “real” or “earnest” or “genuine” but that’s not what I’m really getting at. I’m just happy to hear someone content to play a guitar, very well, and sing, very prettily, and not have to overthink the whole damn process. Clearly, we can all leave the overthinking to me and mine.
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