Trying To Get To You

Monday, October 22, 2007

Some Worthy Reading

Another year, another CMJ, another four nights of me standing in clubs wondering what the hell the big deal is about buzz band _______. No matter, for this is not a post about me whining about my incomprehension at the continued ascendancy of indie rock. That's because I've got an article for you to read that sums it up much better than I could. It's Sasha Frere-Jones' piece in this week's New Yorker about indie's lack of soul. It's sure to cause a major (mostly negative) reaction in the blogosphere, as indie is dis-proportionally influential in media circles, and here is one reaction from Slate, which I enjoyed as well.

I especially admired Jones' willingness to slaughter some sacred cows that, well, needed some slaughtering. Espeically Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the sentiment but not all the arguments. Indie music these days, especially live, bores the hell out of me. And its lack of soul is often what I attribute to my tired ears, but I think those of us who are at least a few years out of college forget that indie-rock is just an extension of college-rock. Pavement, Built to Spill, early Modest Mouse - these bands were so great and necessary in those years, but you move on. Today's indie-college-rock bands are just more sophisticated and artsy, which leads many older adults to think they should be listening. Then they do and they're disappointed.

My suggestion: Get out of Webster Hall and into Joe's Pub or The Stone. Check out folk singers like Tom Brosseau or funk groups like Budos Band. Find out which bands' audiences feel the need to tape every concert (concert bootlegs started in the opera house). Explore the underground avant-garde scene (again, the Stone) or the classical festivals at Lincoln Center. Download classic, forgotten albums on blogs like the Heat Warps or Grown-So-Ugly. And remember that just because you like an indie album doesn't mean it's necessary to hear it live. I base my willingness to attend indie shows on the amount of room for improvisation I hear in the album.

The massive lifestyle and fashion trend accompanying today's indie-rock indicates that it's just that, a popular trend. And with the Internet we know about way more bands that are on the bandwagon than rock music fans did in the sixties. However, I think readers of this blog and Sasha Frere-Jones are well-versed enough to filter out the bullshit and find the goods.

Anonymous said...

Sasha's article is hilarious. I love how he pimps his own band in it (so subtle!) And it's fascinating to learn that Wilco's lyrics are "embarassing poetry laid over plodding rhythms...." as opposed to say, 50 Cent or Dr. Dre's lyrical masterpieces? Maybe Sasha's just bitter no one cared about Ui. Why doesn't he mention Bloc Party? Beck? Or Jon Spencer? etc, etc. Sasha sounds like a bitter old dude grousing about the kids today. Maybe he needs R. Kelly to sex him up and get his juices flowing. I bet if someone slipped Sasha some LSD, he'd come to his senses and realize that the greatest artist in the history of the world is R. Kelly. I really do love R. Kelly. I think he's a genius. The world needs more R. Kelly. Can you imagine a "collab" between R. Kelly, Prince, Gnarls Barkley, Beck the Scientologist, and Kraftwerk? It would be a multiheaded electro-sex octopus love machine religion band! But I digress, now where were we? Sasha is boring. I'm going to put on some R. Kelly now. Please go buy my record "Statecraft", it is a work of genius and you can find it for 1 cent in the bargain bin! Time to go smoke some crack too!