I have made some good and bad choices in the past few years, but the best was making sure that I mostly listen to new music. It is truly mindblowing how much good music is out there, and how much work it can be to access it sometimes. Despite those difficulties, listening to new music helps keep me fresh in middle age and from becoming yet another Gen X bore getting high on nostalgia.
Sometimes, however, I cheat a little. A lot of my favorite new music strongly recalls the sound of new wave and post-punk. It's kind of great to hear so much music that strips out the best aspects of 80s music and leaves its excesses of overproduction out.
Pale Blue Eyes is a band in this vein I just discovered via the Sound Opinions podcast. The name is such an obvious Velvet Underground reference that it's almost cringy, but the band still delivers. You'd have to in order to get away with such a bold move. Despite the Velvets' name, the sound recalls other sources. The insistent, pulsing bass owes much to Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order, the nervy rhythms are pure new wave. The airy synths recall the textures used by The Cure. Somehow it's not in any way derivative. I like a lot of their songs, but "Globe" brings the elements together most beautifully.
This is a style of music I always come back to in October, as the leaves die and fall and the nights get darker and longer. In years past I might have been content to spin Echo and the Bunnymen's Crocodiles yet again. I am glad in my middle age to find someone current to give me the same spooky vibe.