side-effects of having an iPod and using it every day is the enhanced appreciation I have gained for some of my favourite indie musicians. I have always had a preference for small bands who release their own stuff, and for a couple of years I might even have been mistaken as an expert in Canadian pop-alternative music, as I saw at least 100 shows a year from 90-95 or so, across the country. I have a ton of CDs that were sold from merch tables from Halifax to Victoria and everywhere – literally – in between.
I have a lot of that stuff in my iPod now, and it’s given me a new perspective on all of that material. A lot of it isn’t particularly interesting, frankly, and is more enjoyable as a document of a particular scene or moment in a local culture. But some of the stuff I have on this little box holds up very very well against the more popular material I have stored.
Jr. Gone Wild material is a great example. Edmonton’s seminal country-rock band was (and is) one of my favourites back before alt-country had been invented. They preceded and outlasted Uncle Tupelo, and although they never received the wide, genre-founding acclaim that Tweedy and Farrar and the boys did, their material hangs together and remains just as fresh-sounding as anything from UT, the Jayhawks or any of the rest.
Danny Michel is another great example, though more recent. I always listen to music now on full-library random – and so a Danny Michel song from “In the belly of a whale” came along… and it totally held up. Musically, lyrically, in terms of production values, however you slice it, it sounded just as great as the Tom Waits song that preceeded it and the Michelle Shocked song from Short Sharp Shocked that followed.