Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Some Bands Suck - or - Space Management

Lately I've had the opportunity to listen halfheartedly to a good deal of new independent rock and roll music, which in itself, is a pretty funny idea. Maybe as little as ten years ago the term "indie rock" meant something to someone, but by this point I'm not convinced it should mean anything to anyone anymore. I even heard from a reputable source that the Killers released a gaping arena rock song about how great indie rock is. I think that's both amazing and indicative of how useless the term is to describe anything that's been released since Sebadoh.

Anyway, I've listened recently to a bunch of music ranging from [Fernando Rodney right here throws the ball over Placido Polanco's head, ceding the tying run to the Cardinals in game 4 of the World Series] the boring ambience of Peter and the Wolf and Christopher Willits to the boring sort of pop-punk of Grey Does Matter, and it's all indie rock. And anyway, without getting too bogged down in semantics, the reason most of it sucks has a lot to do with space.

Bands in category a (the aforementioned PandW and C-Willits as well as people as revered as Grizzly Bear) basically exist in order to create an idea of vastness with instrumentation. Lots of reverb, not a whole lot going on in musical terms, openness - or I mean, at least that's what they're trying for. And failing. Most of it sucks and is as boring as it sounds. Like a good man once said, it is hard to imagine that nothing at all could be so exciting, or could be any fun at all.

Category b bands (Grey Does Matter, pretty much most guitar drum bass bands you've never heard of) are more fun, but in many ways no less bad. They don't generally give a shit about space at all. Wether they want to rock out, write a catchy ditty, whatever, they aren't concerned about space. They do their thing, and I understand that people like it, whatever, whatever. Whatever.

I listened to Paranoid by Black Sabbath this week for the first time in probably like 8 years. These guys had it right. There is space in this album of a nature that no new band I've heard in a while is capable of creating or has even attempted to create. The tension created by the 15 beats between instrumental hits during the opening of "War Pigs" is something people need to study. I know I already wrote about this in the Wolf Eyes thing, but it bears repeating. Good music is nothing more than tension and it is very difficult to create tension when you're just noodling or trying to be clever.

Maybe I'm not being coherent, but mainly my beef is with these bands that are, I think, all trying to be Animal Collective - folksy and completely nuts at the same time, acoustic guitar drones, whoopy tribe style vocals, you know the thing. They're going about things all wrong, because they heard Animal Collective was good, listened to songs like "Mouth Wooed Her" and that one from Here Comes the Indian that has the word "Ships" in the title, didn't realize the cool songs were the ones like "Slippi", "We Tigers" and "Who Could Win a Rabbit", and tried to imitate the wrong thing. Which isn't completely wrong. Animal Collective is good, and I wouldn't mind hearing more bands that actually sounded like them, but you can't have it only one way.

And this is getting more and more incoherent. I apologize. I can't watch my Tigers die like this.

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2 Comments:

At Fri Oct 27, 03:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're an idiot

 
At Sun Jun 03, 11:52:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

For the record, I just remembered that this comment exists. And how much I love it.

 

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