Earlier this evening, before sitting down to watch some internet, I had a quick chat about music with Tilzy.TV editor Josh Cohen. He was saying that he felt disconnected from a lot of contemporary music and as I was about to respond to his lament, but his phone rang for a call he had to take. I was going to comment that it definitely takes a lot of time and effort to find quality music today, but instead of getting to properly finish the conversation, I got to chew my word-cud on the way to the subway.
As unfortunate as it is to have a good music conversation cut off so abruptly, it turned out to be rather fitting given the circumstances. When I got home to watch a new show for the site, I clicked on Black Cab Sessions and immediately empathized with Josh.
Like Austin KUT 90.5’s Retread Sessions and Blogotheque’s Take-Away Shows, Black Cab Sessions is a series of live music videos shot while a band performs in an unusual location. Featured on the home page of this “indie”-centric music site are a few dozen videos of acts performing in the back seats of London or New York City cabs. I only remotely recognize a handful of them. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about certain genres of music and I actively seek out new work all the time, but it tends to be in a very different milieu than that of the bands seen here.
The internet has made it incredibly easy for bands to disseminate their work or for fans to blog about them, though that also means there is great deal more waste material to sift in order to find anything of value. Regardless of how much information about this or that band you’re bombarded with, it still takes time to listen and judge for yourself.
To be perfectly honest, I find that most of what passes for “indie rock” these days has little to do with actually “rocking” and, thus, is perfectly suited to be played in the back of a cab on acoustic guitars or what-have-you. Long before I became a curmudgeon, “indie” pioneers Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth destroyed many an eardrum, but you don’t see that much at all these days. Anyway, instead of whining to my wall all evening I decided to watch at least a few bands’ videos – lest all the bile eat away what remains of my brain – and posted these couple that I know and like.
Getting away from my rant to something more positive, the idea to capture live music in such an unorthodox, yet intimate, setting is a rather great one. The producers didn’t list their recording methods here, but I assume they’re using proper microphones as the sound quality is surprisingly good given the circumstances. And the artists appeared to be enjoying themselves, which certainly enhances performance.
Another twist is that in order to get on the show the artists get in touch with the BCS folk; possibly a major reason why so many of these names are so unfamiliar. Given how word spreads through certain communities this “volunteer” factor could also be why the bands seem confined to a select few genres.
For anyone who enjoys these bands already, this is a great place to catch a favorite act in an unusual setting. It also happens to be a great resource for finding new artists for both scenesters and n00bs. The sidebar on each video’s page has a “You might also like…” section that can be helpful to those less familiar with the featured acts.
My personal biases to amps and hard rockin’ aside, I applaud the folks behind Black Cab Sessions as it is a site really worth keeping tabs on. In fact, to really spice things up here I’d rather like to see how some of the more progressive metal bands could rework their material for the back of a cab. The blackness would be quite fitting.