Any to-do list for becoming an active participant in a local music scene includes knowing your local music writers. These critics, bloggers, writers and champions provide a valuable chronicling of people, places and things that contribute to the activities of the living, breathing organism of music culture and enthusiasm. Audiophiles can keep up to date with the latest trends in local music. Bored citizens can read published pieces to find out about must-attend events. Bands can read and interact with their peers, after all, wouldn’t you want to participate in a discussion about your life?
Having aided Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis with Sound Opinions over the past years, I have fairly cemented views of the difference between a music critic and a music writer. They play vital but different roles in the health of a music scene though. The role of a critic is to dissect and comment on the state and art of music while attempting to maintain journalistic integrity. If I want careful analysis, contextualization and an attempt at an unbiased report, I’ll read a music critic. For a little lenience on grammar, rigid bias guidelines and the allowance for more word play and narrative structure in the genre (I miss Lester Bangs), I’ll read a music writer. Music writers focusing on the local scene can act as champions and cheerleaders as well as putting a constant thermometer to the heat of the community. Here in Houston we have both talented critics and entertaining music writers.
If you want to be a contributing member of a music community, you should be reading the press that is being written about that community and the music that it produces. Here’s your required reading list:
Photo credit: Facebook.
1) Too many artists cannabalize their own draw by playing too often (not as part of a residency).
2) “…far too many bands think that pimping their shows on MySpace is sufficient promotion. It isn’t. It’s barely a start.”
3) Sideshow Tramps have demonstrated that residencies can be a successful endeavor for clubs.
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Andrew Dansby – Houston Chronicle music writer. Covers mostly nationally based music issues and bands, which is standard for a paper as large as the Chron. I’m looking forward to having a nice discussion with him and trying to convince him and the Chronicle to shed more light on the local music scene for people who are looking for local music alternatives to Live Nation and Cynthia Woods productions.
Ryan Clark - Writes a really popular local blog for the indie rockers called The Skyline Network. Offers free banner ads to any local musician. Tirelessly promotes, champions and reviews local music and events. I have absolutely no idea where he gets his hysterical slang from but there’s a PhD thesis in etymology lurking in between the acronyms and constant use of the word “whips” as a noun.
Photo credit: Ramon Medina.
Photo credit Heather Cobb
Ramon Medina – Writes for the Free Press Houston and used to write for NonAlignment Pact (Ramon, do you still contribute?). Along with his wife Rosa Guerrero they are tireless personal champions and advice givers to bands and members of the local Houston music scene.
Photo credit: Ned Raggett.
Photo credit: Ed Schipul.
Adam Newton – Performs double duty as a contributor to Houstonist as well as his own music blog Dryve Tyme Onlyne.
Photo credit: Houstonist.
Photo courtesy of Mark C. Austin.
Photo credit: Myspace.