On one level, it barely feels like a full year since we hopped up on our soapbox to look back at the work we’ve put in here at ID:UD; on the other, when we think about the amount of work that’s been put in, when we scroll back through the archives, when we realize that we’re closing in on five hundred posts…then yeah, two years begins to sound just about right. Regardless, we’re glad to be here, and we’re glad to have you along for the ride. Let’s get reflective up in this!
Like we said this time last year on the occasion of ID:UD’s one year anniversary, writing for this site has brought with it an incalculable number of perks. We’ve checked out dozens of amazing records, some of which well before they were released to you peons (we kid), others (more importantly) that we might not have heard had we kept our industrial yakkery to ourselves. We’ve made loads of new friends. We’ve come to know (not in a biblical sense) bands we’ve listened to and loved for years as well as those new to our ears, along with plenty of folks not unlike ourselves: straight-up record geeks who love nothing more than talking shop. Thanks to all of you for being so awesome, and thanks to Tim Berners-Lee for inventing this here series of tubes which allows us to keep in touch with folks from Stockholm to Stanford and all points in between and beyond.
It’s been a year of ups and downs. On the sunny side of the street we got to see some amazing shows, DJ in far-off lands like Los Angeles, interview luminaries like Douglas McCarthy, the dudes from FLA, and Jerome Reuter, drink deeply from numerous and deep wells of collector goodness (ask us about the paperwork we scored at the Nettwerk Records garage sale), and genuinely feel like people were reading us and that we weren’t just shouting into the void. On the more worrisome side of things we’re still seeing the closure of scene friendly venues and the end of long-running club nights (including our own beloved Sanctuary just this past week in Vancouver), tours becoming harder to justify financially and execute regardless of means, and, despite the rise of great platforms like Bandcamp, the profitability of releasing music is still an uncertain and open question.
We don’t claim to have any great insight into these latter concerns, and truthfully they aren’t local to Our Thing and have far-reaching consequences for every genre of music and field of performance. What we can say with confidence is that there are still people who care enough to try to make things happen in spite of those challenges, promoters like our friends Rev. John in Los Angeles and DJ Pandemonium here in Van City, label heads like Paul Nielsen of Tympanik, David Schock of WTII, Jason at Engraved Ritual or Jeremy and Jacek at Artoffact, historians like Alexander Reed (whose amazing book you must, must, must read), festival organizers like Kinetik’s Jean-Francois Fortin Gadoury and Terminus’ Chris Hewitt and the countless bands who love this music so much that they’re willing to sacrifice and scrape to make it all happen. And then there are the fans: whether running a fanzine like the good folks at Coma and Brutal Resonance or just shelling our for a release by a band you dig regardless of your personal financial circumstances, you’re all heroes to us and we’re proud to share a scene with you.
In that spirit of positivity, there’s something we’ve been wanting to address for a while that seems pertinent while we’re doing the ol’ state of the union: if you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while, you’ve probably noticed that we tend to end up reviewing records we like and endorse. That’s not by accident, nor is it indicative of a Pollyanna-esque “everything is great!” attitude. The simple fact is that it’s often not super rewarding to write about records you find either boring or horrible. Yeah, it can be fun to hack on stuff you hate (catch us offline at the right moment and mention the right record and we’ll tear it a new one MST3K style), but it’s not fun at all to have to listen to a mediocre record enough times to feel like you can offer an informed dissection, and call us old-fashioned, but that’s the standard we hold ourselves to. We’re in this blog game for its own rewards, and so we’d much rather listen to, say, new records by Kite, Comaduster, and The Klinik which aren’t a chore to listen to (quite the opposite!) than something that just merits the five hundred word equivalent of “meh”. That said, there is the odd record which feels important enough to Our Thing that we feel the need to toss in our two cents, even if we have uneven or mixed feelings (Puppy’s latest being a prime example).
What’s on the horizon? Well, it’s pretty much business as usual and smooth sailing as fair as the good ship ID:UD’s concerned. We’re talking off for Calgary this weekend for Terminus to catch Haujobb, Legend, ∆AIMON, and so many of our other favourite acts, spin some tunes between bands, and just generally see how they do in Canada’s Texas. We’ve got a mess of new releases we’re excited about and are looking forward to writing about them. We got a fridge fulla beers (and in Bruce’s case a whole cellar full) to drink, a lazy intern to admonish, and some fresh tapes that need mixin’. This is Our Thing, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Don’t even know how to stop. Sing it with us, brothers and sisters.