Welcome to Little by Listen, the music blog where the every man gets his say.

This blog is the culmination of years and years of three high school friends wasting minutes, hours, and days listening to music, making long concert road trips, and having ridiculously trivial arguments about which is the best Rolling Stones record or who would you rather be, Jack White or Jim James. More recently, we had a Facebook message to share our thoughts and opinions on music, and eventually thought out loud, “our conversation might be entertaining for others to see”.

Though we do have our disagreements, we as a whole, do share a majority of favorites and thus, most of the music discussed on this site will indeed be consensus favorites for all three of us. However, that’s not to say we won’t disagree. In fact, we plan on making our reviews and opinions open for counterpoints and arguments.

Here at Little by Listen, we live by three simple rules:

  1. No Pretention: One thing that seems constant in music sites is pretentiousness is like a height restriction for a rollercoaster: you have to be super elitist to own a music site. Whether it’s the self-appointed hipster kings at Pitchfork, the hoity-toity, overly academic approach of the NY Times Arts & Leisure, or the “We invented rock ‘n’ roll” mentality of Rolling Stone. We are just three guys with a love for music that we would love to share. No more. No less. If you catch us being pretentious, feel free to call us out.
  2. Open for discussion: This ties in with the first rule. As part of staying unpretentious, we want to hear your thoughts as well. We want our reviews to be less criticism and more discussion. Also, if someone wants to give their two cents on the state of hip hop or review their favorite new punk band, we are open for outside submissions. This will become clearer as our blog develops over time, but we want you to know from the get go, that Little by Listen is a conversation, not a lecture.
  3. Giving all music a fair shake- Anytime a song or album hits our ears, we promise to try to throw our preconceptions aside and give it a fair listen. Whether it is in regards to challenging avante garde music that grows on us little by little with each listen (Little by Listen?), or reviewing a new album from Miss GaGa, we promise to throw aside our preconceived notions for our reviews.

On top of our three rules, we thought it would be best if we gave you a mini bio and including our musical preferences, so you know a little of what to expect when each of us post.

Todd “Tinseltown” Reynolds

Todd was a good-natured, friendly Midwesterner, until he moved to L.A. and turned Hollywood. From producing Ca$h Money music videos to catching the next clichéd surf rock indie band out of Long Beach, Todd brings some west coast glam and flair to the blog. Todd is also a punk rocker at heart stuck in a tall, gawky body, but is able to still find joy in a good pop song if it makes that same gawky body move to the beat.

Turn up: True grit and grunge (Iggy Pop, Black Lips), filthy-dirty, sonically-charged blues (Jimi Hendrix, Jack White, Black Keys), intelligent punk (The Clash, Television), unintelligent punk (Misfits, The Cramps, The Creepy Creeps), artist/production combos that seemed to be forged by the hands of musical titans (TV on the Radio/Sitek,Radiohead/Leicke/Godrich,Kan-yeezy West/Kan-yezzy West), musicians who destroy their personal health and well-being by performing outlandishly beyond their own physical means (My Morning Jacket, Pixies, Tom Waits). I also has a soft spot for cool jazz on long drives (Miles Davis, Charles Mingus) and pop musicians of the drunk-n-horny nature (Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Kings of Leon (pre-Americana-esque abandonment)).

Turn down: Emo-“Punk” musicians that piss and whine about how they can’t stand seeing their ex-girlfriend “Facebooking” another guy (Hawthorne Heights, AFI), anyone after Bush, that still sounds like Bush, including Bush (Bush, Nickelback, Chris Daughtry), and Wilco (yes, THE WILCO, a band that hasn’t had an album worth staying awake through since the 90’s).

Austin Knepp aka The Gavel

Austin brings judgment to the blog, as the recently minted lawyer is the driest, harshest, and most opinionated of the bunch. Austin is also our resident hip-hop guy, even though he does most of his shopping at Banana Republic. Expect Austin to lay the hammer down hard on some unsuspecting bands.

Turn up: Industrial sounds (NIN, Cold Cave), mastery of the English language (The Fugees The Score), British Post-Punk (I say British to exclude U2, but mostly love Echo & the Bunnymen), incarcerated/previously incarcerated rap artists (Gucci Mane, Lil’ Wayne, Mystikal), Neil Young (no explanation necessary), eccentric female solo artists (Cat Power, Joanna Newsom), oh, and for Wes’ sake, Toby Keith (because I don’t want him to put a boot in our a**).

Turn down: About 50% of Radiohead (you know, the 50% where Thom Yorke whines for the entirety of the song), straight-edge hyper-intensity (I’m looking at you Tool fans), Jack White’s refusal to just sack-up and make a solo record, most anything that is put on contemporary alt rock radio, metal (alright, I get it, you are super talented musicians and can play your instruments REALLY fast).

Wes Jakacki, aka Pooh Bear

Recently tamed by his new wife, Wes is the big softy of the group. Having over five years of music writing experience, what Wes has in experience he lacks in style. While being the youngest of the three, Wes is a bit of an old soul, having been cornfed on the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Oldies radio. Much like Pooh Bear, Wes loves his honey (on his chicken nuggets), and all too frequently finds himself covered in the stuff in the back seat of a car on the way back from seeing a show.

Turn up: Beach Boys harmonies (Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear), bands with “Bear” in the name (see previous), ambition (think Sufjan Stev ens, Kanye West, not Rush) unabashed Americana that’s not overly patriotic (Grateful Dead, Ryan Adams, Wilco), soul music (Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye), blistering rock ‘n’ roll ( Exile on Main Street), and the Talking Heads or anything remotely influenced by the Talking Heads (the Dirty Projectors, Yeasayer).

Turn down: Horribly 80’s guitar solos (see Eddie Van Halen), rap rock (anything from the late 90’s), self-titled albums that aren’t debuts (Weezer’s last nine albums), Matt & Kim, Toby Keith, big 80’s drums, and white rappers (minus the Beastie Boys, who get a pardon for strength in numbers).

Enjoy as we dive into the world of music.

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6 thoughts on “About”

  1. I’m not sure about your views on awards. My own are very guarded. I do believe that it’s important to show one’s appreciation for another whose work evokes respect and admiration. But at the same time it should be merited and not gratuitous. I’ve been following your posts for a while and I’d like you to know that I thoroughly enjoy these. I have taken the liberty of nominating you for a ‘Sunshine Award’. There are NO strings attached and it’s perfectly fine for you to ignore it. There’s absolutely no need to take cognizance of the rules – it can get quite meaningless if it’s done as an obligation. If you’d like to get to know a bit about it, you could check this http://dyingnote.com/2012/06/04/sunshine-in-my-life/ .

    Thanks for the work you do on your blog. You bring much joy.

  2. HAHAHA I remember when Austin was dissing me on your site, claiming that “he didn’t know who Ed Sheeran was cause he wasn’t a good musician”. Who’s eating their words now, Austin? Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber run the quality music game.

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