Frank Black and Carl Wilson Play Nice

Canadian rock critic Carl Wilson (left) and Pixie frontman Frank Black talk about the origins of personal taste in music on Thursday, Feb. 25 at Someday Lounge in Portland, OR.

My girlfriend and I went and saw a discussion between noted rock critic Carl Wilson and legendary rocker Frank Black last night at the Someday Lounge in Portland. Like a good blogger, I went with digital camera in tow, sat in the very front, and intended on asking at least one or two questions that pertained to the night’s focus.

What was the focus of this discussion? From the Facebook invite I received:

“They’ll have a dynamic, irreverent discussion about the changing meanings of “alternative” and “underground,” the relationship of indie to mainstream, emotion in music, and how what we like defines, creates and possibly distorts who we are.”

And that they did.

So, despite all my vigor, I quietly watched on with PBR in hand, laughed and nodded when necessary, and did very little in the way of taking notes or earning an interview.

The conversation stumbled out of the gates as Wilson read from his book for about 10 minutes during which Black looked a little bored. However, the discussion picked up steam when the two began talking about origins of personal taste in music, how we identify ourselves by the art that speaks to us and why particular music resonates within certain groups. (Or “tribes,” as Black put it.)

So, no questions for me, but I did get some video. Wilson tossed up some meatballs and Black took full advantage:

The most interesting point in the night (for me) came when Wilson asked about Black about a time he stopped a Pixies show midstream because of an inflatable shark that was bouncing through the crowd:

I walked away thinking about how the music I listen to defines me. It’s an imperfect science to even name the bands that “matter” to you, because so often, that feeling is fleeting. It can be as simple as who’s got the most recent track bouncing around in your head or the most current album you’ve fallen in love with. Here’s a smattering of the albums I’ve been most enamored with the past few years, based upon my iTunes library and the play count list:

  1. John Mayer, Continuum
  2. Asher Roth, Asleep in the Bread Aisle
  3. Atmosphere, When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold
  4. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
  5. The Spill Canvas, No Really, I’m Fine

No big surprises, although No. 5 provides a good segue.

The Spill Canvas — a pop-rock band from Sioux Falls, SD — is playing the Hawthorne Theater in Portland on April 27. I went to high school with these guys and it’s been fun seeing their careers bloom over the past few years. I’ve been in contact with a few of the guys, and I’m hoping that show yields a better blog post than last night did.

So, what are you thoughts? What dictates the music you like? Do you identify yourself (at all) based on the music you listen to?

One thought on “Frank Black and Carl Wilson Play Nice

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