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Sunday, January 13, 2008

The "It Doesn't Suck" List

The one fairly consistent element in my podcast lately has been my "It
Doesn't Suck" list. I have tried to remember to explain it to the various
artists who've had songs on the List, but explaining over and over can be
inconsistent and possibly unnecessary. Anyway, I don't think I've ever
done one, central explanation of what the heck is an "It Doesn't Suck"
List, anyway?

I've just recently produced my 40th Episode of Grizzly's Growls. It's
changed some since the early days. When I started, it was just me talking
about whatever I scraped together out of the dark and twisty passages of
my aging mind. It still is, but I added music.

Initially, I devoted a lot of effort to finding the right music. I wanted
truly excellent music that stood out in some way, and that hadn't been
played on any other podcast. Trying to accomplish that, though, took up
vast amounts of time with little left for actual show content, and left me
with the sort of music I always listen to, anyway.

In trying to find a solution to that, I came up with my "It Doesn't Suck"
List. The current list is built from a search I did on, a
site that hosts the music of Indie artists for free; I searched every
single song listed on Garageband as from a Minnesota musical artist or
group, in order by Title. And I decided on one rule: I will play every
song I can from that list on the show, in title order, no matter the
genre, as long as It Doesn't Suck.

First, why Title order? Because it introduces a randomness to the artists
you hear. With a few early exceptions, artists' tunes don't show up one
after the other on the list. And there's less likely to be a long run of
one particular style or genre of music. That is, except for the fact that
there are a preponderance of certain genres in Minnesota, or on
Garageband. I was looking for variety and diversity, which I couldn't get
by simply playing the handful of artists I could discover by myself. And
you already know who they are, if you listen to Grizzly's Growls.

Second, What Doesn't Suck? If I don't play a song that's next in name
order, does it Suck? Nope. While I don't know art, I know what I like --
or at least what just doesn't work for me or my show. If I feel a song
arbitrarily uses curse-words, I'll skip it. Don't have a problem with
curse words that are, well, used in a sentence and spelled correctly, if
you will, if they add value to the tune, no problem. And I listen to
everything before I use it, and if I say, "Oh, hell no!" and stop it in
the middle, I don't play it on the show.

And some songs in the Search aren't on the List because they're
differently purposed: found a couple of perfectly good beats some rapper
somewhere will use someday, but I won't. And some aren't on the List
because I can't download an MP3 file, and I figure that's a clear
indication they don't want me to play them. I ask the people who have
MP3s downloadable, and don't ask the others.

And some aren't on the list because they Stink on Ice. Naturally.

Since the podcast is a Minnesota podcast, I like promoting artists from
Minnesota. They get some promotion, and links back to their Garageband
site, and I get a variety of music from local artists, some excellent,
some good, some okay, and ...

I went with and only them because, well, they're the only
indie music site I've found so far that allowed a search by artist
location. When the other sites have such a search available, I'll be sure
to come take a look.

If anybody has music from Minnesota artists that folks would like, I'd be
glad to hear it and use it, though I can't pay for it. With my new Zoom
H2 (I'm getting one, yay!) I may even be able to record some local
performers live. That'll be fun.

In addition, I do still play some music I stumble across online, or that
gets recommended from whatever source. I do still have my favorites.

I hope that clarifies things. I encourage all of you to start listening
to my show, and if you like it, keep listening and tell the world, and if
you don't, well, tell me, and thanks for stopping by. After less than a
year doing this, I'm still not entirely sure what the show's about. It's
about 10 minutes, I guess. But I look forward to seeing how this goes.

To quote Uncle Don from the old radio show, "I thank you for your kind

Nota Bene: If I don't hear from you, since so many bands start a site and then wander away and take up Real Estate Sales, I'll assume you're okay with my using your music. If I hear from you, I'll assume you're fine with it, and play it. Maybe you'll become famous and have to tell your employers at the Real Estate Agency you're too busy with your budding music career, but on a slow day, you might drop by.

If your song is not available for download, or if I have to join a "Fanlist" before I even hear the damn thing, you're NOT on the "It Doesn't Suck List." If I can't even listen to it, yeah, it definitely sucks. If that breaks your heart, surely it's not -my- problem. But you might wanna do some thinking.

And another thing...If your intro annoys me, even if it's just cause most of my Special Breed are sensitive to some sounds, I move on to the next. I don't need to devote my time and resources to annoying my audience.

By the way, if you're a Garageband artist that's going to be on an upcoming show, it wouldn't be impossible to set up a live show on Stickam, or one of the other venues I tinker with from time to time, and do an on-the-fly (more or less) interview regarding your music. But maybe that's just me; I gather publicity is a bad thing, if you want to preserve the integrity of your art.

If you want me to show up somewhere I can get to and do a live recording, you just gotta ask. Gotta be somewhere I can get to, of course.

On the other hand, if you just want more people to know about you and your music, make sure I know that, and I'll set up something fancy, assuming I can figure out all the different software and online services I have to use. Hey, I'm a stranger here myself!


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