Read this first: Hey Kids, Grow a Pair: How Indie Blogs Neutered Indie Rock
I’ve been forwarded this article a lot over the last 24 hours. I think because their blog is called “Your Music is Awful” automatically people who love/hate this blog think of me.
If I can summarize Kitty Vincent’s article:
– Music was the best when I was 12
– Some year end lists I read featured bands that had nothing in common with the bands I liked when I was 12
– Music being made popular post-9/11 doesn’t reflect the times we are living in.
– Smaller indie blogs parrot P4K
– Nirvana and L7 were cool in the 1990’s.
“Hey guys, remember when grunge changed everything?”
Thanks for the reminder VH1.
If you’ve been alive since grunge broke, and you have had any interest in music at all in that period, you would know that you don’t have to look very far to see that GRUNGE IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL.
To the point that I have become physically intolerant of it. As soon as I hear a band throw in some grunge elements, or even worse – take up the guise of a neo-Grunge act – I will go stand outside and wait for the set to be over like the grumpy asshat that I am.
You can’t miss it because it didn’t go away. It just moved north to Vancouver.
“nobody has bothered to notice their wagon train has been driving in a circle for roughly a decade now.” says Kitty. I’d peg that number at two decades.
INDIE MUSIC BLOGS / YEAR END LISTS
This point is a tad confusing too. I think I’ve complained about year-end lists (whilst posting my own) since the Internet picked up on year-end lists as link-bait. There are actually hundreds of thousands of year end lists every year, to the point of uselessness.
Here’s a trick: google your favourite album for the year, and then add “+year end lists.” Magic, you’ve just entered a WHOLE NEW WORLD!
While it is certainly true that little blogs are often parroting bigger blogs, but there are also as many mutually exclusive echo chambers. Try sticking your head in the Garage Punk echo-chamber, and a whole different hierarchy emerges that has no connection at all to the Pitchfork sphere or (even worse) the Radio3core/Starbucks-core sphere.
There are also blogs out there who are hacking away with a machete at the overgrowth of music and forging their own path. My advice: find these, because they will keep you from completely losing faith. I’ve got about a dozen or so that I trust and I’d say a good 50% of the music I end up buying comes as a direct result of these music writers with whom I have a good track record.
The real problem here isn’t the blogs, or the echo chambers, or the shitty year end lists: the real problem is how those echo chambers are fed, the next bigger piece I’m working on is all about scammy/scummy/hacky P.R. firms that, I think, are the real culprit. A P.R. hack is one of the four horsemen of the music apocalypse.
POPULAR MUSIC POST 9/11 DOES NOT REFLECT THE WORLD WE ARE LIVING IN
On one hand, I don’t think popular music will ever reflect the world we live in ever again. Those days are long gone.
Or maybe the popular music is EXACTLY reflecting the world we live in.
We use music for different reasons. We are more likely to hear it on headphones as a personal emotional soundtrack, and so music that can play that role well (neutered indie rock) will gain favour over music that forces us to confront our real problems.
Maybe things have gotten so bad that we use it like a balm.