Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why I will not personally review in full the new Broken Social Scene or Animal Collective

Or Devendra or Franz. I don’t need to. I can leave that task to People magazine and Teen Vogue.

What happened? I feel like the new definition of indie means we have a slightly higher ratio of stupid haircuts and eat less meat then those top 40 loving types. The press… like every fucking magazine and website I read is interviewing and reviewing the same “underground” artists over and over again and these bands that once felt like the most awesome secret in the world now have equal billing to Demi and Ashtons' wedding on the page.

I actually asked my friend today what Justin Timberlake was up to tonight because if I read one more wee tale of Devendra's recording experience in a big studio or My Morning Jackets take on politics, I was going to poke my eyes out.

I knew this party was over when Kirsten Dunst proudly told a national TV host that she is listening to this little underground band called Postal Service. ( In the same breath she also dropped Maroon 5 and Rufus Wainwright who “is so under appreciated” as her other favorites) It can’t be long before E! tells the behind the scenes story of the Shins in the recording studio or has Arcade Fire offer Americans fashion tips for the Winter season.

Elija Wood has more obscure taste in music than half of the Pitchfork staff and while I am stoked to hear massive stars have great taste in music I think it isn’t the knowing part that upsets me. I always assumed there were all sorts of superstars out there with incredible taste in music but now there appears to be 1 million ways to exploit this information and turn it into a sales tool. Yes I want the bands I love to make money and live off their art by selling more records but do I want to see Bobby Hill wearing a Clap Your Hands shirt? I haven’t even seen that CYHSY live yet nor did I keep my copy of the record but I already don’t ever want to hear their name again. When I hear people use that band as an adjective I have to fight back the urge to point and laugh at them. There is such a thing as overkill and I am not talking about the awesome metal band either.

Isn’t anybody else mildly disturbed that there are records Pitchfork, The NY Times, US magazine, and Modern Bride all talk about? Are hipsters writing and picking music for ¾ of what’s on TV (commercials and actual programs), film, and are well positioned in the press or are we elite rockers the new prime target market and thanks to the internet anybody can tap into what’s new and cool and fake their way into insta-indie rocker?

All these overlapping strings of media hype is killing the mystery and allure of the bands I once enjoyed. I don’t want to know what kind of tooth paste the White Stripes use. I don’t want to know if Wolf Parade drinks Red Bull and vacations in Palm Springs.

I am learning everyday that there are press agents who shouldn’t allow their bands to speak to journalist at all because some artists really are only good at making music, not talking about making music. As fantastic as it might be for a band to be fueled by a political climate, the number of people who can actually articulate this without sounding like a complete twit is rather small.

The very definition of underground is being challenged or perhaps more correctly redefined with each passing day. New bands (as well as a few old ones) are caked with new layers of attitude, opinions, fashion, and all sorts of other nonsense that detracts (for me at least) from their music. Underground no longer means a band won’t be discovered by the mainstream, it just means their gift bags for playing the Carson Daily Show must include products that weren’t tested on animals.

Supermodels at a Melvins’ shows? The apocalypse is upon us.

If I have to weigh in on an absolute favorite over-hyped record I will say without hesitation Animal Collective. I never cared for their music much before but the new compac-tune edition of AC brings the band to a palatable level that no longer requires my patience to love and appreciate.

If there is a stronger word for love then please apply it to the first few tracks on Feels. That is devotion for life material.