When I came to San Antonio in 2004, I was so excited that my friends told me I was crazy. They couldn’t understand my excitement: I was going to share a place of residence with Manu Ginobili, I was going to eat gorditas, and, most importantly, I was going to live in the world’s conjunto capital!
But instead of the music scene, what surprised me the most was the number of artists per capita. Tejano music was all but dead; conjunto was still producing interesting stuff, but it was a shot genre; the rock bands didn’t impress me; and the scene didn’t seem to have a unified, in-your-face presence that demanded I take notice.
I’m not claiming to know the exact moment when the music scene awoke from its hibernation, but I do feel that between late 2004 and today something has happened.
In 2004, I never felt what I feel now. Today, there are more and more good bands. Local 782, the Texas Music Coalition, and others are organizing meetings that are much more crowded and interesting than ever. There are more magazines and fanzines dedicated to the local scene; independent entrepreneurs (like Sucio Magazine Alejandra Roma, to name one, who designed the Gordon Raphael T-shirts worn by the A-Girls we referenced in last week’s music feature `see “The Loser & The Lame,” December 22, 2010`) are sprouting out of nowhere; and even the fact that someone as notable as Raphael is producing local bands should tell you something. He didn’t just come because someone invited him. He came because there’s something going on.
San Antonio is a time bomb waiting to explode. It has an ideal population — people are directly or indirectly connected to one another in a way unseen in LA or NY. It’s a big metropolis, but small enough so that you can step back to actually observe and think comprehensively about what is happening.
I really hope that by the end of 2011 this vibrant and creative cozyness will make it possible for us to have the strongest-ever lineup of best local albums of the year. You can do it, guys. I’m a believer now. So keep on writing and recording, and send me what you’ve got.
I don’t promise coverage for everyone, but I do promise I will listen to every single album.
See you next year, and thanks for the music.