Monday, March 29, 2010

The Psychotherapists & The Fate Of An Outsider Band

The Psychotherapists are part of a small contingent of Bay Area bands that take pride in defying every law of music those big-wigged classical squares wrote down on their musty scraps of parchment. If the five members of the group have any sense of rhythm, melody, or musicianship, they choose to put it all away so they can focus on music that sounds like a bunch of squabbling cats being dumped on a piano. Is this bad? Your average Flyleaf fan would shriek in disgust after hearing a single note of “PB&J Pizza” or “Canabalistic [sic] Monkeys.” Hell, even people like Frank Zappa or Henry Rosenthal might have their doubts about these guys. But how easy is it to break free from the iron fetters imposed on musicians by traditional conventions, especially in an era where a disturbingly large portion of the pre-teen and teenage music-making world spends hours trying to nail every single note to Randy Rhodes’ solo on “Crazy Train?” While many of the Psychotherapists’ recordings were made before any of the members hit puberty, it's clear from even a casual listen that they have balls.
Of course, the vast, vast majority of bands, particularly challenging outsider bands like our dear friends the Psychotherapists, are left to toil in obscurity (and likely break up) while a tiny handful of their contemporaries climb the pop ladder. It seems to me there are three possible things that could happen to these guys. One: their awesome goofiness could reveal itself to be merely a product of their youth, and they would shed their quirks as they burst from their cocoons. Two: they would stay exactly the same and be completely unacknowledged for the entire history of the earth. Three: they will stay the same, and long after whatever demise they might suffer in the future, interest in their music will increase, whether for the sake of novelty or the American outsider tradition. I sincerely hope for the band’s sake their future will be the latter--and nothing would be a worse catastrophe than for them to somehow become popular in the near future. They say it’s better to burn out than to fade away, but sometimes it’s best to stay dim and burst into flames at any odd time. We can only wait and watch time unfold to truly know the fate of this little five-piece from Fogtown.

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