Another week over, another experience to sum up. And this week, I’m getting all of my thoughts of the week done during the actual week. Yay, progress! For as high energy as the first two artists were, Pinback has ushered in a decidedly calmer and more laid back week.
Pinback is another recommendation from my friend Josh. It was a typical “new band” conversation. He tells me he stumbled on this new band Pinback, he plays a couple of songs for me. I dig it. I go home and download an album. I listen to the album, then download a couple more. Then I download the rest of the albums and some EPs. I add it all to the collection, and keep my eye out for more down the road. The first album I downloaded was Summer in Abaddon. I kind of had to, since it had a song named Syracuse on it. It was Autumn of the Seraphs for me after that, which remains probably my favorite album of theirs. After that, I picked up their earlier albums and a couple of extended plays, and got their most recent album, Information Retrieved, not long after release. I got to see them live once, when they were touring to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Summer in Abaddon, and I picked that album up on limited edition vinyl at the show.
Pinback is not something I expected to get through Josh, being a lot more chill than some of his previous recommendations. I mean, their’s a pretty big chasm of difference between Pinback and a band like Mindless Self Indulgence. It also wasn’t something I expected to latch onto so well. I’ve spent a decent portion of this week trying to drill into that.
For people who seriously listen to music (not those who just use it as background filler), I find that most music fits into one of two categories. There is music I listen to to reflect my mood or emotions, and there is music I listen to to change my mood or emotions. Pinback can be either, but due to their overall melancholy and subdued sound, they tend to be more the former and not the latter. I mean, it’s pretty infrequent that I want to feel melancholy. It’s like having wet socks. It’s not debilitating, but it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable. Besides, it happens often enough on its own that I don’t need to force myself there with music. But if you’re in a melancholy mood, it is helpful to have music that not only fits it, but provides you a way out.
For me, melancholy can be compared to driving on the highway in Maine north of Augusta. If you’re not familiar, I’ll give you a brief description:
Nothing but trees, for miles and miles.
The misunderstanding of melancholy is its confusion with sadness. I find it has more to do with apathy and lack of interest than with anything else. I find it to be a hindrance to interest. Now, I love Maine. I have family in Maine. It’s quite pretty. I like coastal Maine with its rocky beaches, and I like northern Maine with its beautiful dense forests. But the highway is so…just…bleh. And that’s how I think of melancholy. But, if you’re observant, there are ways off of it. You just need directions (I’m resisting the urge to make a joke about the old stereotype of rural New Englanders giving directions). I use Pinback, because for every song like Seville or Boo, there’s a song like Microtonic Wave that is just a bit more upbeat. It acts like a sign on the Maine highway to say, “Exit here! There’s a Dunkin Donuts and some genuine New England charm, so put on your directional and get in the right lane, it’s only a mile away. Stop getting lulled by the trees.” Pinback bridges that gap between melancholy and the eventual crawl out from under it, walking that line carefully, with one hand to pick you up out of your doldrums and the other to point you towards something a bit more engaging.
We all use music for different reasons. Some people only see it for one thing: something to make it not quiet. There are others who only see it as phases of love: the courtship (dance songs), the relationship (ballads) and the end (the countless jilted lover anthems). I see music as an entire tool chest. There is the perfect thing in there for me, no matter what my need. And sometimes that need is to rekindle my interest in being interested in things, and for that I have a healthy dose of Pinback.