Tag Archive: indie


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.

 

 

 

I’ll be the first to admit to not having the most open of minds when it comes to music.  But I won’t be the first to claim that 99% of what’s out there is absolutely unlistenable.  Un. Listenable.  But that’s alright, since it’s become fairly easy to avoid the unlistenable shit – turn off the radio.  What becomes tricky is finding the good shit.  More importantly, the new good shit.

Now, if I wasn’t so fucking picky, it’s a short click away to Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, or some other new music site and I’d just eat everything up.  Thing is, I still find myself doing the former but fail to do the latter – mainly because I tend to puke at most of what’s being shoved in my face as new and sexy.

But because the hunt is often better than the spoils, I keep fishing.  Because I keep believing in that 1% that doesn’t blow.  Only thing is, lately the hunt for the 1% is starting to grow weary.  And worrisome.

Worrisome, why?  Because I have a crippling Peter Pan complex and that complex forces me to acknowledge that the vast majority of the music I’m searching for is probably made by kids who were born in the ’90s.  I don’t dislike kids born in the ’90s, but I will get to this later.

This past weekend, I went to a concert in Brooklyn, and for whatever reason, made it into the venue before the opening band even got on.  I almost always never make it for opening bands.  I mean, who’s got time for that bullshit.  I think the last opening band I made was The Kills, when they opened for Primal Scream.  I didn’t know The Kills then, but I was glad I showed up for their show.  That was an example of trying out a new band, and having it pay off.  Since then, it’s been shit show after shit show with opening bands.  Fuck opening bands.

So after giving opening bands a miss for so long, I was a bit weirded out by the prospect of actually having to watch one.  I scrammed to the bar, grabbed a couple of PBRs and came back right when the opening band were taking the stage.  I did my usual scan of the stage.  Rubbish vintage guitars.  Those shit instruments that would never stay in turn, but these douchebags continue to play because they think it makes them big and clever.  A two-tiered keyboard with a collection of a dozen effect pedals on the floor.  Maracas.  Oh shit, this was going to suck.  Hard.

The keyboard player started playing a single chord in perfect time.  One guitar player joins in on the same note purposefully.  Same thing with the bass player.  And the drummer pound the floor tom in the exact same time.  Everyone’s hitting the exact same beat with the same note.  And the band kept at this for a good five minutes.  The action was broken up infrequently by the singer mumbling and moaning into the mic, while the guitar player turned his right hand into a complete blur playing one note.  At the end of five minutes, splash cymbal, end.  Kids in the front row roar with approval.  And I realized that this band just played an entire song with one note.  And some kids in the crowd actually went bananas over them.

I try to track with this band for the rest of their set.  I’m really fucking trying here.  Each song was the same fucking routine.  Drummer with no ability vary a rhythm, or throw in a break.  The singer who’d mumble into the mic in a monotone until he decided it was timely to rev a single note on his guitar at 20,000rpm.  The bass player who’s run on the one note, then reach down, and ever so slightly twist a knob on one of his pedals, as if it made a lick of difference in the din.  And the keyboard player who was getting so psyched that he was fractions of an inch from pounding his head right into the keyboard in front of him as he head-banged through everything.  (The night would end in disappointment for me, as he cleverly missed his keys with his forehead.)

And the perplexing bit was you could tell that these guys genuinely thought they were playing shit that really mattered.  They thought that their loud single-noted performance was high fucking art.  They threw in single-noted raging guitar riffs in specific portions of their songs, as if it just needed to be played right there and then – not a second sooner, not a second later.  They tweaked the knobs on their pedals, as if twisting it from 2 o’clock to 3 o’clock would make the song go from great to greatest.  And the keyboard player getting way too psyched over one note – mind-boggling.

What the fuck were this band and their fans listening to that I was missing?  I keep thinking that maybe I’ve missed something out of this whole performance.  Maybe I shouldn’t write them off so quickly.  Maybe I’m the asshole ’cause I can’t figure what the fuck was going on here.  But at the end of the half-hour, I’d given up.  Who the fuck were these guys anyway?  Who gives a shit.  Like I said earlier: life’s too short.  I’d decided that this band was completely shite.  I don’t give a fuck if I was the only schmuck in the venue who decided that they were shite.  They were shite.  They were awful and tedious.

And this is when my Peter Pan complex kicked in hard.  Maybe I don’t get this shit because I’m growing old.  God, that scares the hell outta me.  I mean, early on I knew the difference between growing up and growing old.  (And my fear of the latter is what tends to annoy the shit out of my wife – ask her sometime)  Maybe me not getting why these kids on stage were getting cheered for their monotone cacophony is because I’m starting to turn in my own dad who hated – and still hates – everything I listen to.

But then, it got a little more fucked up in my head.  I started thinking, “These are sorts of assholes who are supposed to be forming the new sounds I’m constantly looking for?”  Could anything be more depressing.  These pretentious products of helicopter parenting who spend more time on their stupid Bieber-like hair than learning how to put four chords together, because they genuinely believe that their carefully-orchestrated discord is their art.  I started to think that for every one of these stupid bands, there are probably a hundred more just like them.  And by the law of averages, there are probably a hundred other bands out there who are shittier than them… but believe that the musical abortions they’re playing in their parents’ garage actually sounds manna from heaven.  Holy fucking shit.  Is it any wonder that I put more faith in the likes of Frank Black, Kim Deal, Bobby Gillespie, Jim and William Reid, and God knows any other band from yesteryear who may still be trying to put out new stuff.  It’s not like I can only listen to the old shit.  I clearly don’t.  But if this band and their reception are anything to go by, the new stuff’s fucked.

That, and I really, really don’t wanna grow old.

Today’s shit list

[Originally posted September 2010]

  1. The jerk-off who was balancing his laptop with one hand on the railing along the train tracks at Grand Central Terminal this morning, while pinching a mobile phone between his shoulder and his ear, and holding is bag in his other hand. Are you fucking serious?  Ooooh, I’m so goddamn important with mad techno-balance skills that I gotta stop right here and talk you through the Excel charts on my laptop.  I have to do it RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.  No time to step out of the way, this shit’s important!  And this was right when about a hundred or so work zombies were pouring of the train cars so that they can hurry to their shit jobs.  It took every ounce of self-restraint not walk up to this self-important douchebag and give him an ever-so-slight nudge… which would’ve been enough to send his shitty electronic playground tumbling like a house of cards right onto the train tracks below.  God, that would’ve made my week.
  2. Pedestrians who read. Put that stupid book down, and pay attention to where you’re walking, assholes.  Or better yet, don’t.  Because I’d love for you to walk right into traffic, or some ghastly steaming massive hole in the road which Con Ed dug up overnight.  And I’ll guarantee that whatever you’re reading is some Oprah Book Club piece of shit.  It’s always some shitterific Dan Brown book or some hackey John Grisham atrocity.  And this gives me twice as many reasons to hate shit writers like Dan Brown.  Not only do they write crap, they write crap for shitheads who read this crap while walking into me.  If I punch this walking offender in the face, do I punch Dan Brown by proxy?  I should try it one day and see if I feel like I’ve gotten back at Dan Brown in some way for littering the literary world with his bullshit.  Anyway, back to assholes who walk and read at the same time: I hope that book puts you in front of a speeding cab.
  3. Moms and dads who think they’re clever by boasting about how their kids like their indie music. Fuck off, your kids don’t know jack-fucking-shit.  I fucking loathe every other parent in town who just happens to know some band other than the Stones tell me how he played the Pixies or the Hold Steady or whatever other fucking band for kids, and the kids were singing along to it and what not.  Fuck off.  We, grown ups, love the discordant tunes and lyrics because they bear some meaning to us – sorry, the bore a certain meaning to us when they were released – and it rebels against the saccharin pop of the rest of the stupid universe. If your kid likes it, he’s probably an imbecile. Kids don’t know any better, and if they do, they have an inate appreciating for music thats melodic and fun.  That means top 40 pop.  That means shit like the Black Eyed Peas or Katy Perry.  Fucking deal with it.  Don’t tell me that you played your 3 year-old your Jesus And Mary Chain “Psychocandy” CD and he loved all the fuzz.  If my kids told me they liked the new Flaming Lips record, I’d take ‘em right to the doctor to see what was wrong with them. Knock it the fuck off, you pretentious shitheads.