Recently, when I asked some opinionated acquaintances in the music scene what CityBeat's Local Music Issue meant to them, I got some rather, well, opinionated answers. Halfway through their responses, I had to remind myself: I asked for this.
It's so every band in town, no matter how crappy, can have their 15 minutes.
I think it's an excuse for your paper to sell more ads.
It's a chance for snotty music critics to shit on a bunch of local bands.
Geez, sorry I asked. But then one voice piped up and gave me exactly what I wanted to hear:
For me, it's one of the few issues I keep of CityBeat. I'll keep it near my computer and read the reviews when I have time and check out some of the ones that sound cool.
Well, at least that person's keeping it by the computer and not the toilet. But, for me, that comment encapsulated what the Local Music Issue and, specifically, the Great Demo Review are really all about. It's about discovery. For the seventh year now, I've participated in this issue, only to watch more and more local CDs roll in every year while also discovering for myself some of the best new talent in town. Some have gone on to do great things (Transfer, Anya Marina), while some blew our minds and then seemed to disappear (The Nowhere Men, Wilderness Survival).
One of my favorite stories was when former music editor Troy Johnson, fashionista that he is, showed up at Buffalo Exchange one year and was greeted by a diminutive shopgirl who'd just moved here from San Francisco with her band. She slipped him their demo and within a few days, he was raving about it on FM 94/9 and in the local music issue.
That band, Grand Ole Party, was on the cover of the local music issue the next year. And while they've since split, it's still a revealing tale of what this issue is all about. Some of these discoveries blew our minds. Some made us wanna blow our heads off. But we know that there's gold in the hills of submissions that come in every year.
Either way, I know you'll have your own opinion and I look forward to reading your comments and letters. Well, some of them.