For me, it's always easy to find something I like but hard to find something that completely devours me. Those are the bands that become part of your identity, that never leave your playlist, that you will listen to when you're old in a rocking chair with your grand children. If you find someone that hates them, your brain can't wrap around that possibility. You don't need to be in the mood to listen to them, you just do and it works. I've been blessed to find many - Cursive, Sufjan Stevens, Bright Eyes, M. Ward, Broken Social Scene - and every new album is like going home.
I need this every few months. I need to find songs to absolutely love, to sing every morning when I get up, and to fall asleep to every night. Music just isn't as sweet when something new and beautiful hasn't smacked in the face. A few years ago, when I was going through new music in one of these valleys, a band called Okkervil River took me to a peak.
It was the album, "Black Sheep Boy." It didn't happen from track one or two. Instead it was a slow build, a gathering of strength. The trumpets bled these beautiful notes and the vocals were a bare, beaming wound, but it was the writing that grabbed me. Reading the lyrics to their song can improve it tenfold. At my personal high point of the album, the angry-catchy "Black," you were unsettled as you delved into the words and story. That's one of the hallmarks of Okkervil River - they are a band that will unsettle the shit out of you if you let them. Plenty of bands make you happy, plenty more make you sad, and some entire genres are dedicated to scaring you or channeling your anger. There are a few bands that hit that subtle, delicate spot of unsettling. It's rare and real, and one of the few things that carries over into the way you live your life.