One of the most difficult questions to answer is one of the ones that always pops up at the start of any friendship. Impossible to dodge, the lure of answering the dreaded ‘what kind of music do you listen to?’ icebreaker always proves too tempting, even if there can be few people who have ever managed to provide a reply that they’re satisfied with. Too niche and you seem like the ultimate elitist prick, as if you’re trying to show up the other person’ lack of musical knowledge, whilst opting for a more mainstream choice can leave you condemned to a friendship based upon a love of ‘indie’ music, batting away invites to terrible clubnights and battle of the band gigs.
It would be nice if, rather than having to fudge together a few words and hope that you’re not considered a prick, you could just play the interrogator a piece of music. For instance, you could probably tell if your counterpart was worth expending energy on judging by their reaction to Perth’s Craig McElhinney. Despite having the name of a third-rate footballer, McElhinney specialises in making ambient, drone-inspired experiments that sound both life affirming and positively weird. It’s the kind of stuff you can get lost within – like if Solar Bears stripped away the majority of their melodies and left the cold, uncaring noise that underpins them – chillwave inspired by musique concrete rather than big Balearic beats. It’d be a hard way to start a friendship, but given all the people who’ve dropped by the wayside who you’ve feigned an interested in Razorlight for, playing some of these way out there musings would be a much easier way to sort the wheat from the chaff – just remember to carry around a ghettoblaster and a copy of Temple Pathworkings at any forthcoming social situations.