Monday, May 24, 2010

An Open Letter to Sub Verso and every little band in CT


We're here because of Within The Hour. I'll start where I will end.

Do it again.

There are some tonal issues with the vocals, mixing is spotty but more important than anything, the EP lacks passion. Passion by way of nuance, passion by the way of conviction, passion as evinced by an attitude that conveys "I need to tell you this."

Why the broad assessment? Why so little specifics? Because the point is this: You don't suck. You're just not doing what you set out. I've literally spent hours on your review because I want this to be crystal clear to you and every talented band in CT. CT needs you. More on that in a second.

Everything is in the right place. All the notes are played well all the changes are crisp, however not groundbreaking. But that is my point. 99% of music and art is nothing new. It's made worthy of attention by a uniqueness that is the artist's. No one is going to give you a second look if you aren't unabashedly yourself. And it is the sincerity that carries the music through triteness, through rehashing of old genres, through themes that have been explored a thousand times. The author is the message. Throughout Within The Hour I hear a concern for the presentation and not the intent.

Somehow, at some point, being "too cool for school" became, well, cool in music.

Fuck that.

Anyone who actually listens can hear the "look at how good I am at this!" quality in a recorded performance.

Fuck. That.

The aim should be to convey to the listener not "Look at how good I am" but "Look at how much I love this" or (for the tortured) "If I don't show you this I'm going to explode". I don't get a too cool attitude and I do get a detached innocence that is charming. In addition the four songs fit together well, but that's where it ends.

You don't suck, and CT needs you. Why employ such a backhanded compliment? I mention it because on the face of it, one of the missions of CT Indie is to build the CT music scene. Something I believe in. (tips hat to Mr. Devin, and Mr. Hall)

Being born between two major markets and seeing first hand medium sized bands (very often the only bands worth a damn) go to Boston, New York or even Providence for more money and a scene that isn't blazed about their arrival is angering. So Connecticut needs good bands that hit the notes at the right time but also create with a presence of mind. We need good bands to tip the balance and create a culture where original music is valued and where cover bands don't earn 5 times more a gig (if a tiny original band is even paid). I've seen too many of my friends work to the bone for pennies, fighting the apathy that is rampant between Greenwich, Enfield and Stonington. Killing that apathy should be every one's aim. In addition, if I bullshit you about your art, I'm part of the problem.

So do it again, Sub Verso. You have it in you. Otherwise I wouldn't spend hours on listening, discussing at length with much more knowledgeable friends and writing this. If you have to walk around inside yourself for a while to find the back room where it resides, well, start walking. If you play with sincerity, you won't fail.

Don't fucking fail.

With more concern than you know,
Rich P.


Ryan K. said...

Hey Rich P.,

You certainly got our attention and it's seems like you caught onto something that I haven't seen in any other reviews/responses to this EP. Among other things, we were very shaky about our vision for these songs, having the motivation to write but being very skeptical about who will actually listen to us, judging from a number of previous experiences we had with people who openly shit on us to our faces or cared very little for us. I suppose we all go through that, and the uncertainty of most of the band leaving for college for the first time out of state(which, I will be returning to CT for the next semester and so on). As we got to work recording in the studio, there was an feeling of "does this even matter?" going around, and I'm surprised someone picked up on that, that someone took the time to come to that idea and acted on it. Thank you, it means everything to us.

As for Sub Verso now, we've built up a confidence in ourselves, from our first winter tour, playing together constantly, and, speaking for myself, developed a sense of confident passion for what I do(verses a sense of skepticism of its value). I'm no crowd-pleaser, I'm not someone who draws a line on a panel and calls it art, being serious about it (I am an art school student, I couldn't tell you how many times I've been faced with the question "art or bullshit?", obviously, this is just an opinion I hold about quality in art and nothing more, but I do think something like that is quite amusing). I just do what I do and love what I do.

We wanted to let you know that we read this and greatly respect your concern and the time that you took to give us something much more than many have before. Thank you very much once again, I hope to run into you in person someday soon. Feel free to contact us, that goes for anyone who wishes to as well.


Ryan K. from Sub Verso.

Matt Sokol said...

This post is really inspiring, it's so easy to lose sight of what the whole point of music is when all the sudden you get stars in your eyes and you're trying to "make it". I didn't think about being some sort of rock star when I hit my first snare drum and I sure as hell shouldn't be worrying about that now.

Thanks for this.