Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cassette Review:
Coping Skills
"Worst New Music"
(Citywide Records)

$6 // // //

First impressions can sometimes make all the difference.    Though I was presented with a single called "Bagel Fruit Water", I still listened to it and you know what, it's actually a good song.   [Side Note: I hope the idea of the song title is for a bagel, fruit and water to serve as breakfast rather than have them combine for a new flavor of Snapple]   Then you take a look at Coping Skills' new cassette: "Worst New Music".   As a writer about music, I tend to not listen to things and, um, write them off based on the slightest of things.   Someone is from Nashville?  Eh, they're probably country and I won't like them so I won't listen.  It's something you have to do in this world where people are shoving thousands of streams down your throat and they are all to be perceived as equally important.

As a name, I like the idea of Coping Skills.  You need coping skills in life.   I tend to find that it's not about what happens to you in life that matters but rather how you handle it.  In all fairness and to be blunt, my father has a lot of issues with coping- he doesn't know how to process these things to an extent- and late last year it all became overwhelming for him and he ended up in a psychiatric hospital.  But I also enjoy the fact that people might look at this and go "Bagel Fruit Water? Worst New Music? Pass".   It's got an Andy Kaufman feel to it in that sense- cut out the bullshit and get right to the real.

The music of Coping Skills ranges from slower to faster, heavier  to lighter, but overall it has this path somewhere between dreamy pop and dreamgaze.    It has this feel of Weezer quite a bit, though I only really base that on their first two albums (Blue and Pinkerton) because I kind of checked out after that.    At the same time, a song can come out just as pop rock n roll as something from the 1960's or such (Think of the Buddy Holly era)   There are any number of shoegaze and -gaze bands in general you could compare this music with and though it is precise- never a missed note or one there without purpose- the music is not the most important part of this cassette.

My favorite part of this cassette has to be the lyrics and as we all know, good lyrics are not that easy to find.   In many ways, these are songs about staying inside or just not feeling social and so the idea of trying to screen people before they even hear the music itself is smart because not everyone shares the same beliefs.  (I am an introvert by nature, so I can really get behind the idea of a line like "I'd rather not leave the house today")  Though the music itself can have a certain pop appeal, I'm not sure the lyrics will translate universally, but hey, you never know, look at grunge.

Of all of these songs and all of the lines on all of these songs my favorite is this one: "How could I like someone who loves Morrissey?"   Lately, my Twitter feed has been full of people bashing Morrissey and it's not that I don't know why as much as that I don't *care* why.   I'm not saying this to try and be cool or whatever, but in all honesty, I've never really been that into Morrissey.   If you asked me to name one of his songs or a song by The Smiths, to sing a few lines or whatever, I'd be hard pressed to do it.   I don't know why but I guess I was just always listening to other music at the time and never got around to hearing him.  (Although I do remember this movie where one of the characters loved Morrissey and so I was exposed to him in that sense but I never owned any cassettes related to him or anything.  I was more into The Cure)

I fully understand that my ignorance of Morrissey may not convince you to listen to the music of Coping Skills.    That's fine.   There is this great sea of artists out there who make music which I feel Coping Skills would fit right in with (And a lot of them are under that Burger Records banner) and in a lot of ways I don't know if this is the lonely/regretful/honest type of music that everyone needs to have in their life.   Technically, in a music sense, it is sound and better than most, yet the lyrics just really stand out to me and I really can relate with them personally.   Again, you might not, but we are not all the same are we?  And that is okay.

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