If memorable songs are a judgment of how the new record is, then they failed. The last album isn't as bad as you may think and Sky Blue Sky starts off with 3 spectacular tunes. This one is nicely varied but you cant remember specific tunes. Songwriting is the toughest thing for any musician and I really don't put this above any album in the last 10 years as critics have been saying. Ive listened about 4 times. Maybe I will listen more. Maybe I'm missing something
I really liked your review. Nice stuff.
"Please Please George" ... the best song about Game of Thrones I've ever heard.
jf22: Yr gonna die before indie does! How old are you to be spewing these fighting words, anyway?
Man they are still kicking. http://bit.ly/nt99xC
I think Lauren and many other critics have been swept up in the whole brooklyn indie-sound (aka light-sounding vocals with lots of reverb/delay, guitars with little fuzz/overdrive and lots of reverb, upper-mid eq'd bass, and drums with out any drive or depth), and have neglected to write about actual rock and punk bands because they don't fit into this narrow scope.
That's not to say that a band like Male Bonding is bad, but that what is considered buzz-worthy in the underground rock world is leading to an orthodoxy of musical stylings and an oversaturation of "musicians" (aka people with little talent and training but can play G power chord to C power chord over 1/8 notes while spending $100 on a haircut) which ends up homogenizing the club billings because bookers think that's what's in style and what the kids want to hear.
I think the point is that while there will always be more pop-oriented rock music (aka current indie-sound), I hope that the author and other critics can search out rock bands that have big sounding drums, singers who scream and howl and wear their emotions on their sleeve, and big, dirty sounding guitars that create all sorts of phasing, dissonance, and ass-kicking drive (and maybe some that even have political or societal messages larger than their pursuit of Girl X).
My thoughts are that the whole indie/80's nostalgia/60's surfer/synth rock, which popularized during the Bush years, was akin to a societal opiate binge in which we masked the true nature of our country's (and world's) turn towards an ever more un-egalitarian corporatocracy, and enabled the apathetic political culture we see evident today.
My hope is that a new generation of musicians will begin creating music that is a painful and honest reflection and reaction of the current state of our economy, society, and the world. And instead of sedating ourselves, the music will confront the situation head on and encourage others to drop their trivial pursuits and narcissistic behavior in order to get real and come together.
I agree with REALMusiclover, I don't think Jenn Pelly has any real understanding of music theory and composition.
Besides that, Wild Flag just sounds like every other indie Brooklyn band, and the reason they are getting buzz is cos they are an all female group (aka sex sells).
I can't wait for the whole indie/80's retro scene to die.
Nice one, Liz
"NO ONE should take this review seriously. There are so many things wrong with what Jenn Pelly said. I really hope she doesn't call herself a critic. Jenn Pelly doesn't understand anything about the craft of songwriting, musicianship and most importantly music in general. Jenn Pelly, please rethink your career choice, or just your choices in general."
He has it in him to do better? How about you just shut up and go make a better album, Jeff.
Wow, Michael Hurley? Awesome. Digging deep into American folk. He still regularly plays weekly gigs all over Portland. Pushing 80 at this point!
Sorry, this stuff is just so unformed. And I don't think anyone can claim that it isn't a jumble of really trendy elements that have been in the ether for a while. I think he has it in him to do better.
Most pompous thing ive read in some time. Bitter much that a 20 year old has a far greater grasp on music than you? Go watch some TV to escape the feeling rather than jacking yourself off with a thesaurus and a music blog.
Nice job here, Jeff. The Rapture are coming to El Paso this month, and I had to do some preliminary research in order to confirm that it was the same band because, A: The Rapture still exist? and B: El Paso?
this is a fucking terrible review
Hey, I love this guy and I don't watch TV. So there...
Good read, it clarifies a bit about the movement, though I still feel afro-punk as a term is a little off the mark - just cuz so many of the kids in that scene seem more metal or alternative. Paris Suit Yourself would have been nice this year
Conklin nails this on the head in so few words. While I smile at the "rediscovery", such as it is, of vinyl, I get more than a bit irritated with the fetishizing of the medium's imperfections. There's nothing "magic" about heavier vinyl pressings: the Good Stuff comes from (in no order of importance) better-quality vinyl, a higher-quality transfer from the master tapes, and less warping, among a host of other behind-the-curtain tech stuff. Done right, being charged $18 a pop is hardly outrageous if the music matters to you. And, yes, punk deserves the treatment as much as Springsteen.
Agreed. Whether or the technology is worth it is one thing. But there is nothing "unpunk" about wanting to hear the records the way they are supposed to sound. As far as "punk being at an awkward age" I'd say that happened around 1983.
Man, sorry to say this year's list is pretty weak. Yuck
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