Tag Archive: alternative


Top 10 garbage music of 2014

 

HornsIf we go through every year with a deluge of horrible shitty music, why should this year be any different? Not that Taylor Swift pop shit. That other shit. That other shit that people listen to and wank to the idea that they’re listening to cool alternative or indie music, but really it’s just more drivel.

This is my list of that other shit. Shit that music know-it-alls – the college radio stations, the indie music rags, the self-proclaimed underground pundits – tout as big and clever, but really, it’s all just derivative bollocks.

It takes almost nothing to impress someone these days. The music industry isn’t fucked because of piracy. It’s fucked because the music itself is shit.

Before I go on, I must qualify that while this list seems overly skewed towards females, it wasn’t designed to be so. Gender didn’t factor into the equation. It just so happened that this year, we seem to be lauding a lot of shitty music being pumped out by bands that just so happen to have a woman take centerstage.

So, here we go.

 

  1. Angel Olsen. I was fucking duped by Angel Olsen. Or is that with Angel Olsen? A friend of mine at work pulled me into his office excitedly one day to play me Angel Olsen. He played the slightly crunchy track, “Forgiven/Forgotten.” Hmm, not bad, I thought. Not terribly original, but it was a familiar grind that I was fond of. So I picked up the album. Talk about fucking bait-and-switch. Maybe with the exception of “Hi-Five” which like one of the best efforts to channel Roy Orbison in recent years, the rest of album was boring, moaning shit that’s been done a million times better by the likes of Beth Orton, Laura Marling, and about a hundred others before her.

 

  1. Sylvan Esso. Why the fuck are we even listening to this band? Admittedly, I only just found out that this was a band was more than one person. I thought Sylvan Esso was just some woman’s really unfortunate name. But no, this duo actually chose a name that sounds like a gas station handing out GEDs. But never mind the name. Is there anything new or interesting we’re hearing when we’re listening to Sylvan Esso? Seriously, they sound like a mopier version of a shitty band that are shitty at making any money off their music despite being tapped for a Hyundai’s Christmas TV campaign. Fuck those guys and fuck these guys.

 

  1. Future Islands. For fuck’s sake, just watch this and try not to want to fucking die. At least David Brent had the decency to be goddamn satire.

 

  1. The Black Keys. I’m glad I chose the right side in the Black Keys-versus-Jack White let’s-see-who’s-better-at-ripping-off-the-blues feud. “Lazaretto” was fucking superb, even if most of the appeal was the cool-as-hell Ultra LP vinyl issue. Because, let’s face it, it didn’t take Jack White’s album to make you realize that the when The Black Keys aren’t recycling the blues through a fuzz pedal, they’re pretty shit. Stop trying to “grow” or whatever shit musicians feel they need to go through to try and reinvent themselves. We all bought your first records because we liked the way they sounded. Keep making the shit that we used to like from you. There’s a reason AC/DC’s lasted all these years – they’ve spent 40 years singing strictly about their cock and balls; granted, they suck, but at least they had the brains to figure out what’s working for them.

 

  1. tUnE-yArDs. First off, you’re a grown-ass woman.   Stop spelling your name like an Adderall-fueled 6th grader who posts selfies on Instagram at least 75 times a day. Second, forced quirkiness is the worst kind of quirkiness. Covering up a sheer lack of talent with the fog of deliberate eccentric noises doesn’t make you an artiste, it makes you a charlatan. Or Jonny Greenwood. Which is sorta worse.

 

  1. Real Estate. If you can find a more boring band to make it big in 2014, you’re either lying or… you know what, let’s just leave it as you’re a goddamn liar. I have no idea how such boring music can make me feel so fucking pissed off, but hey, Real Estate, you got it done. Also, I fucking hate that they’re named Real Estate. Sunny Day Real Estate should sue them for sullying half their equity.

 

  1. FKA Twigs. You, too, can be FKA Twigs. Pull 8 to 10 random records out of your music collection, and play all of them AT THE SAME TIME. Then grab a mic and just sing some shit into it in your most wispy, twee voice. Voila! You just made an FKA Twigs record. I wish she’s fucking tell me what her name is now, not just what it used to me.

 

  1. Courtney Barnett. Take what you like about Dylan’s signature monotonous vocal style, rip any heart out of it, give it to some shithead from Australia who nags herself through every song like she’s trying to push a heavy bicycle uphill and you get Courtney Barnett. Sorry for even drawing you into this comparison, Bob Dylan (even though you kinda suck these days).

 

  1. Perfect Pussy. What made Minor Threat, Big Black, or Black Flag so much fun to listen wasn’t just the angst; they had songs that had form, some trajectory. Growing out your armpit hair and screeching into a mic for 3 minutes does not make you a formidable punk act. There’s no fucking way these guys actually write or rehearse anything. It’s all just “play really fast and loud, and Meredith, just act like you’re really pissed off that someone fucked up your kombucha order.”

 

  1. Tweedy. What better way to produce an album of dad rock for the pleated khaki masses than for a dull dad to record with his even less interesting son. Tweedy are the Dockers of pop, the sort of band that English teachers put on when they’re feeling “alternative.” I never liked Wilco or Son Volt or any of that shit, so to see that this is now being passed on generationally is really disappointing.

 

Honorable mention:  Foo Fighters.  Sonic Highways wasn’t their shittiest album to date.  But it’s right up there.  The only reason they get a pass is because of their HBO series.  As rock docs go, it’s pretty lousy and pedestrian.  But I’m glad that someone mainstream’s taking the time to try and bring Nashville, Steve Albini, the whole Positive Force scene, and desert rock to the masses.  But Sonic Highways is still a shitty, shitty record.

 

Boy, did this year fucking suck when it came to music.

 

 

 

Last show at Terminal 5

KVT5

I don’t go to a lot of concerts (relatively speaking), but I probably go to more than my fair share.  Thankfully, majority of bands out there are absolutely deplorable, so that certainly helps me set an artificial limit to my concert-going.

One thing I’d still like to do some time is go to a random concert every single night of one week.  Just randomly pick five different venues, then go check out whatever bands playing there that night.  Probably better if I don’t recognize the band so I’m not prejudging the show.  If I’m lucky, at the end of the week, I’ll have found a few new bands I want to listen to.  At worst, I’ll have uncovered a bunch of unlistenable bands to completely avoid like the plague.  Either way, it’s five night out, and there are worse ways to spend five nights out.

One venue I’m excluding from the list of venues is Terminal 5.  Fuck Terminal 5.

For as long as it’s been around, I’ve been going to Terminal 5.  After all, what choice do you have if a band you like decides to play there – you suck it up and go.  You go despite it being the worst fucking concert venue on the planet.

Last weekend, I went to what is probably my last time at Terminal 5.  The show’s line-up was absolutely brilliant, on paper at least.  The Beach Fossils, followed by Lee Ranaldo, followed by headliner Kurt Vile.  That’s a lot of talent packed into one night.  No throwaway bands here.  For the first time in the long time, we headed to the show right when the doors opened, unwilling to miss even a minute of the opening bands.

Getting there to Terminal 5 is both easy and hard.  “Easy” because being about as far west as possible in Hell’s Kitchen, it is surrounded by absolute shit.  There are no decent bars or restaurants within a 3-block radius to keep you from getting to the joint on time.  Most other concert venues have probably dozens of better than average watering holes where you can get a few brews and a decent meal before the show.  Not Terminal 5.  Terminal 5 is in the middle of Manhattan’s black hole.  There is jack shit around Terminal 5.  If you wanna grab a brew before a show, you’d have to walk a half-dozen blocks away to find anything.  It is also for that same reason that it’s hard to get to – it’s nowhere near any subways, and it’s in the anus of Manhattan.

Since it’s in such a shithole part of the city, the least you’d expect is for the joint to make up for it by being extra awesome.  After all, why would people keep schlepping all the way out there, right?  Well, the concert hall itself is fucking terrible.

T5 audience

Shaped largely like a cube, the main floor is peppered with large obstructive pillars.  The second floor balcony protrudes so far out that if you’re in far corner of the hall – any corner – you’re not seeing shit.

And that’s before you’re assaulted with what is indisputably the worst sound system in the universe.  It doesn’t matter if you put Jimmy Page or Jimmy Buffett on that stage – both will sound equally shitty.  Everything out of those speakers sounds like muffled farts through a bullhorn.  There is absolutely no articulation whatsoever (which is really important when you’re trying to listen to farts).  Honestly, I’ve had more pleasant afternoons listening to my neighbor’s dog bark incessantly at squirrels.

But that’s not all you have to listen to when you’re at Terminal 5.

You see, when you combine the fact that Terminal 5 is middle of the downtown Baghdad of New York and the fact that the sound is fucking dreadful, it becomes clear that Terminal 5 is being kept afloat by people who don’t really like music at all.

You go to any show there and you will invariable – and this entirely without exception – be surrounded by chatty assholes who don’t shut the fuck up.  People talk throughout entire gigs.  Whomever and whatever the fuck is playing on stage matters not one iota to these assholes.  Somehow, these assholes have rationalized the idea that the middle of a crowded thousand-decibel concert is the best place to carry on a meaningful conversation for two hours.  It’s always the same sort of person, too – it’s always either some tall bearded douchebag in a flannel shirt, or some overenthusiastic chick who looks like Marnie from Girls.  In other words, everyone in that place.  I can’t remember the last time I was at Terminal 5 when I’ve had to turn around to tell people to shut the fuck up.

Not one thing about Terminal 5 makes it appealing to see a band. I’ve been suckered into going to that concert sphincter for years, but I can’t bear going to Terminal 5 anymore.  I’ve seen my last show there.  I like Kurt Vile.  But Terminal 5 made me hate Kurt Vile.

And that’s what it comes down to: I’m not going to let Terminal 5 ruin the bands I like.

Fuck Terminal 5.