Change is gradual, not immediate. For music, that’s not always the case. This year we saw closings, breakups, and failures galore, all of which broke our hearts until there were no more whole pieces to break. Now that a new year is around the corner, it’s time to prioritize our resolutions.
Forget about intense workouts. Forget about dietary restrictions. Really, there’s no need to grab a pencil and take notes. Instead, cut this out, grab a piece of tape, and stick it on the back of your door so you keep these in mind each day of 2016 (or, you know, bookmark it if you’re reading this online). Resolutions benefit many if they’re properly carried out. So let’s stick with the ones we can realistically pull off, okay?
1. COME AS YOU ARE
It’s up to us to keep record stores alive. When you frequent local shops, owners make enough to keep their doors open, even if it’s three bucks a week on a discounted motown record. If we’re lucky, the stores listen. Case in point: Deep Thoughts, Jamaica Plain’s bizarre record store, just opened a second location in Central Square. Keep coming back, no matter how much money you have in your pocket, what you’re looking to buy, or where you live. It’s always the right time to make the trip. This year, Weirdo Records said farewell after fueling Cambridge with stacks of bizarre, experimental, and influential albums. In 2016, it’s time we swing through our remaining record stores on the regular to keep them from locking up.
2. HEAR IT THROUGH THE PROMOTER’S GRAPEVINE
Say goodbye to those nights with nothing to do and save our scene. Local promoters Bowery Boston, Illegally Blind, Boston Hassle, Crossroads Presents, and more stack our city with impressive live bills each night. If you’re on the fence about evening plans, feed back into the community so our venues (and the phenomenal acts stopping through) stick around. Saying goodbye to T.T. the Bear’s Place, Church, and (in a matter of weeks) Johnny D’s was painful enough. Don’t let us wave goodbye to another iconic concert hall in 2016 with even more tears in our eyes.
3. HAIL TO THE THIEF
It’s time to honor our inner thief by one-upping him. Free streaming, downloads, and borrowing are a part of the daily music exchange. Duh; that’s not going to change in the new year. What can change is how you share songs by rising bands and underrated acts on Facebook. Tweet a song link. Burn a band’s lead single on a mix. By spreading the word, you’re raising awareness about bands you want to hear more of in the future. The key? Including a link to purchase like Bandcamp or the label’s website. Don’t undermine the power of social media. Krill got a shout-out from Tenacious D at Boston Calling after tweeting at them endlessly. If only they were still around.
4. GO TO THE MIRROR, BOY
Stop wishing you played music and start playing music. Try out a drumset in Guitar Center, pick up a banjo at Mike’s Monster Guitar, or play around with a Jazzmaster in the back of Mr. Music. As long as you try, you’re doing it right. Because really, let’s be honest: The only thing stopping you from playing is your own fear of error. It’s time to recognize that the face staring back at you in the mirror each morning is the face of a musician. All you need to do is decide what instrument you want to play first.
5. A MOVIE SCRIPT ENDING
There’s something about seeing music on a movie screen that brings it to life with new emotion. This year blessed us with too many impactful documentaries to count, from the emotional Amy Winehouse flick Amy to the animated depth of Kurt Cobain in Montage of Heck to the stacked interviews about Elliott Smith in Heaven Adores You. Boston’s lucky enough to have spots like Coolidge Corner Theatre and Brattle Theatre to see the films before they hit Netflix nearly a full year later. Next year, there’s no excuse to miss the upcoming batch. See their sonic glory on the big screen as you chomp down (vegan!) popcorn.