Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hunting Season

Remember, popular artists can turn unpopular in a heartbeat (Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, The Strokes), so you would be best to stick to the following statements: “I love the Arcade Fire,” “I still think the Montreal scene is the best in the world,” “I would die without Stereogum or Fluxblog“* and “Joanna Newsom is maybe the most original artist today.”

*-do not substitute Stereogum for Pitchfork, as this is one of those things that used to be cool, but is now not cool.

This pithy bit of commentary on indie music comes from Stuff White People Like - a website that sadly confirms I am 80% cliche. The reason I bring it up is that Katie's blog has got me thinking about my relationship to music and I have a confession to make - I hate all the cool indie music at the moment.

Now don't get me wrong, I have often fallen behind the cool barometer and I have never been into fads (that whole brit indie shite a while back like Bloc Party and Kasabian was appalling and Vampire Weekend sounded like a Talking Heads cover band) but the current crop of bands that Pitchfork and Stereogum are going weak at the knees for sound like crap to me. I think I am, gulp, getting old.

This pains me because I buy and listen to a lot of new music. I have a philosophy that I hope that I have yet to hear my favourite album of all time - that it's somewhere unheard or not even made yet. Recently I've found myself going back to the warm climes of bands I've always liked. There's been a lot of Bob Mould, Superchunk and Mogwai. Of the newer bands - I've come very late to the Death Cab party (about five years after they were cool) and the Future of the Left (who are made up of McLusky members and sound just like, well, McLusky - and that's when I'm actually not listening to McLusky or Death From Above 1979 who sound kind of similar).

Some (actually, many) would argue that I have terrible taste in music (I won't argue) and while music is subjective, I have often failed to appreciate the artistic merits of some bands. But it's the current crop of animal bands that are hot at the moment that I have a problem with: Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Deerhunter etc... I just think they are unlistenable twaddle and I'm declaring hunting season OPEN on animal bands and the fevered hysteria that follows them.

Don't get me wrong, the music is passable but I just find it depressingly derivative. I know music has to come from somewhere but you can add to a canon rather than unimaginatively replicating the past or taking its worst elements and turning it into a living, breathing parody. I have spent quite a bit of time exploring these bands looking for the nooks and crannies of melody that would make me love them; trying to find the lyrics I'd make mental notes of and ponder at odd moments during the day; and wanting riffs that make me swoon or better, play air guitar. And I have come up with nought.

So I have decided in my esteemed wisdom that I am not old or past it but these bands are just not my thing (ie crap). I'll snooze through this period of cool and hope that the next wave of music that we're supposed to love are in fact, lovable. Wake me when it's over.


1 comment:

  1. Hear hear JH (or is that "here here"?).
    My friends and I have been having email discussions about this very issue. One friend thought he was getting old b/c his musical tastes aligned with Pitchfork's (ie. their love of said animal bands) whereas I thought I was getting old b/c mine didn't.
    Seems that, as far as current indie rock is concerned, there are no winners.