“The latest musical climate — perhaps a sonic reply to the sluggish, humid global warming trend — is rootsy, VU folk-pop à la Beach Boys.”
I wrote that nearly a month ago, after the hype surrounding the new Fleet Foxes and Beach House records. Hoping it was a phase and nothing to get overly excited about, I saved it to my drafts. But after reviewing this week’s Canadian college music chart, I discovered a band from Calgary called Women, and — alas! — the lo-fi, lazy movement continues with surprising strength…you know…because the music is so sluggish…where would they get the energy…oh, forget it.
Now, I understand the appeal: aren’t we tired of the bombastic, excitable baroque-pop that nearly makes us want to dance (but of course we would never really dance because we are too cool for dancing)? Could we perhaps non-dance to something other than that overwrought “meatslicer” beat? Wouldn’t we rather just take a huge break from this complicated “indie” thing? Well, I’d like to. I’ve renounced indie before…but I do not necessarily condone this new business that’s going on. My problem is that I’ve heard it all before. I’ve listened to Pet Sounds and that Velvet Underground box set with the banana on the cover and everything by David Bowie and the Beatles and, well, shouldn’t we be moving forward? I loved Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, the “Wall of Sound” and the 60’s. But what about onwards and upwards? With our songwriting and our production? References to the past are lovely and intriguing, but a band’s entire thing being a reference to the past? Too quaint. Far too much so.
I suppose I am continuously trying to cope with our saturated modern musical climate. You know, I was a huge Elvis Costello fan in uni, and as fromaggio as he can be at times (
Shipbuilding Good Year For the Roses, anyone?…Wotty, you win.) you’d be hard up to find talent like his anymore. It’s few and far between, being a good songwriter and then presenter of those songs, both live and on record. I noticed that the Elvis Costello wiki classifies him in earnest as both punk rock and new wave. Nowadays if you’d see some new band classified the same way, their music would you’d probably make you want to: 1. vomit, then 2. commit suicide.
Maybe this new, mellow sound can be likened to the popularity of ambient music in the 90’s with musicians like The Orb and Aphex Twin: everybody needed a break from all that serious, alternative stuff. In conclusion, The Besnard Lakes is to Bloc Party as Global Communication was to Nirvana.