OK, so I’ve been going a little hot and heavy on the political stuff lately, so, in honor of Obama’s 101st day in office, I’d like to lighten it up here and talk about music, which we’ve gotten away from recently.
My bandmates and I have been discussing the latest indie fad, the resurgence of lo-fi bands, groups like Wavves, Vivian Girls, Times New Viking and others, that have found success by burying their hooks (0r in some cases bad songwriting) in a scuzzy layer of fuzz.Here’s “an interview” with Matt Whitehurst from Psychedelic Horseshit on The Post’s music blog, in which he goes off on the New Wavve(s) and tosses [expletives] aplenty in the process.Whitehurst is practically incoherent, but he throws down on the lo-fi crew. (On a sidenote, I frankly find the fact that The Post doesn’t have the balls to just print the interview with the nasty swear words included distracting, distasteful and stupid).
Then there’s this Pitchfork review of the Japandroids record, in which you start to see some cracks in the facade of the lo-fi fad, which Pitchfork had a heavy hand in building.
Due to their two-man setup and no-frills recording, Japandroids risk being lumped into the increasingly tiresome no-fi/noise-pop scene that finds bands using distortion to tear through the fabric of the medium and, in some cases, drown out weak songs.
I’m ambivalent about Wavves, and I think No Age and Times New Viking are actually kind of badass. But I hate the fucking Vivian Girls — they’re talentless hacks, who built a following based on their charming faux-punk bullshit. Pitchfork bought the bridge and now VG are as ubiquitous as T.G.I Friday’s, or Applebee’s, or whatever.
So the lesson here is: A group of bands that record trashy, fuzzed-out does has caught on to make a half-baked movement, ginned up by the military-industrial highly-influential Pitchfork, a publication that clearly relishes its role as the tastemaker for its generation.
I’m as big of a fan as Sebadoh and Guided By Voices as the next alcoholic-in-training schlzub, but these new bands are offering much weaker sauce. Lou Barlow and Bob Pollard weren’t hiding behind fuzz, they wrote songs that shone through limited recording technologies, and succeeded in spite of those limitations. Anyway, this is obviously a long-winded treatise, but let’s get at this. Are these bands onto something? Or are they just hiding?
And lastly, this Bob Mould-No Age interview is pretty dope for anyone who has an interest in rock and roll and recording.
I’d like to credit my friends Alex and Ben for starting this discussion.