Why We’re Stuck
Stuck Between Stations, founded by longtime friends and musical co-conspirators in the San Francisco Bay Area, seeks to forge an online music community that values irreverent, honest writing, has little regard for coolness or trends, keeps its sense of humor, and won’t flinch from the sloppy and surprising ways music gets under our skin. Our tastes and backgrounds diverge wildly, but we’re united by common beliefs that rock isn’t soft, jazz isn’t smooth, country isn’t young, adults aren’t contemporary, and genre restrictions are very overrated. We’re open to the possibility that music from Mali or Madras (Chennai) or Memphis might sound more alternative, and more rocking, than the latest prescribed dose of “alternative rock.” We will report on new releases, but also recognize that something Son House recorded in the 1930s or Albert Ayler recorded in the 1960s might be exactly what we need to get through tomorrow.
Equally important is what Stuck Between Stations isn’t. This is a music-writing site rather than simply a music criticism site; we’ll post music-inspired essays and fiction as well as music reviews. We love lists and will have plenty of them, but ours will be situation-specific rather than lists of grades and rankings. Other sites already pontificate about whether, say, Dylan’s Modern Times or TV on the Radio’s Return to Cookie Mountain is a more “significant” 2006 recording, and there’s a place for that. But these aren’t likely to help the next time you select music to accompany an all-night drive, recover from an argument with your best friend, or break into convulsions of hysterical laughter, and that’s where we fit in. Music deserves to be messed with as you find your own way, and we don’t want anyone, including ourselves, to become your new orthodoxy and dictate what you’d like if you were only smarter. We’ll try to surprise you with something new, or a new way to hear something old, with the hope that you can help do the same for us.
If one person represents the approach to music we hope to bring to this site, it would be our friend Matthew Sperry, a brilliant Bay Area bassist and composer whose life was cut short in a 2003 accident. Matthew would probably dislike some of the music we’ll feature here, including the Springsteen-meets-Replacements sound of the Hold Steady song that provides our site name. But he brought his restless enthusiasm and passionate dedication to all four corners of the country and the music of an entire world in his short life. Without pretension or heavy attitude, he could, and did, play just about everything–Anthony Braxton-style jazz and improvised music, regional music from gamelan to klezmer, Eastern European and Latin ensemble pieces with the Black Cat Orchestra, bass accompaniment for the likes of Tom Waits and David Byrne, glam-rock with the cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and garage rock in bands with names like Grecian Formula 69 and Melon Fumble. To him it was just music, and a chance for him to do the job he loved. He never stopped thinking, traveling, questioning, or listening. We dedicate this site to him.
Roger Moore, March 2007
What are our stations?
- Quick Shots: simple posts, with entries roughly under 300 words.
- Slow Jams: longer essays or stories of more than 300 words.
- Rants and Raves: entries focused on a particular recording or performance.
- Diatribes: opinion pieces exploring the political, metaphysical, or hypocritical.
- More Cowbell: music technology, tweak and sound-related postings.
- Playlists: our situation-specific song lists, from sublime to ridiculous.
- Heavy Rotation: what our contributors have been listening to lately.
Some entries are stuck in more than one category.