I grew up with good music. My father had an impressive collection of records and cassettes I would sort through on a routine basis. I had a small Sesame Street cassette deck which I used it to play bands like The Who, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin. And, I was always willing to share my musical tastes with others, whether they wanted me to or not. When I was eight I guess you could say I did my first bit of musical writing. I prepared a piece for a class assignment which was my review of The Who album Tommy. I was very pleased. I learned year’s later that my parents received a letter home from the teacher asking that I do not write further on such topics. When I was a teenager, I used every opportunity I had to share good music. I managed to turn an English poetry assignment into an excuse to listen to The Doors, and prepared an essay for a history class on the influence of music on the counter-culture revolution of the late ’60s.
Many years later, I have that excitement for music again. It stagnated for a while. Music played an important, but lesser role through much of my 20s. These past few months I’ve found that excitement again, and I could not be happier about it. In the time that has elapsed since my school days, much changed. No longer did I have an audience of a handful of peers to share my musical tastes with, I had a whole world of people. I did not have to dig through my father’s music collection to find a new tune. I had the Internet to turn to. The medium through which I found new music, and the media through which I communicated it expanded by orders of magnitude. Under this model, literally anyone can upload a sound and promote it. Separating the wheat from the chaff would be hard, you’d think. My experience, however, paints a different story.
A few days ago I happened across a band named This Condition. As always, I skipped directly to the music prior to learning anything about the band. I rarely start with the first song in the list. I just choose one at random. In this case it was the track Throwing Stones. Often a track grows on me. It may be that I realise its greatness as the song progresses or after a few plays. Not this one. From the first note This Condition caught my attention as something special. The opening instrumentals hit you with an incredible interplay between guitar and drums. When the lyrical content begins you find a rare instance of truly unique, well suited, mature vocals. I am a very visual thinker, and in my head the elements of the music are like puzzle pieces that are fitted perfectly together. The song progresses with a dominant use of cymbals by the drummer. It provides a unique sound that is perfectly suited to the track.
I paused for a moment to get out my first thoughts on the track to the world. I’m so much like a little kid still in this regard. I have to tell someone! With this digression aside I listened through the track again. My first impressions were confirmed. I moved on to Moral Panic. Heavier, darker at the beginning. Such true quality. At the midway point of the song there is an impressive and perfectly situated exchange between guitar and drums. This is a three-piece band who individually showcase the utmost of talent, skill, and precision. Together, it just works. There is no other way to explain it.
By this point I was beyond giddy that a band like this existed and was actively producing music. To me, this is like striking gold. My attention wandered to the track Hide from the Sun. It starts out with subtle cymbals. Think Pink Floyd here. Dominant guitar work, but melded perfectly with the vocals follow. No element of the music overshadows the other. A perfect joining.
In year’s gone-by this South Yorkshire band would have gone undetected by me, a music addict in little Nova Scotia, Canada. But, here I was, enjoying every element of the sound. It was one of those rare discoveries that remind you how truly brilliant this emerging artist subset of the music industry is. With all the chaff that rises to the top and is disseminated through popular radio there is a true gem in This Condition. It seems counter-intuitive. In a different time, This Condition is a band I would have found when rummaging through my father’s music collection. They are a band I would have had this same reaction of awe to. I would have used every opportunity to tell anyone who would listen about them. Good music needs to be heard.
Michael Dakin //