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Absolutely no sarcasm here: the esoteric National facts you’ve dropped for this post are most welcome. Thanks
After the popular breakthrough that Boxer was, I feel like they would have already Coldplay-ed it by now if they were going to do so. I think were safe (please let us be safe).
I figured either Purple Toupee or Ana Ng would be number one, but no love at all for Purple Toupee! I know it seems like a lazy pick, but that’s because it’s one of their absolutely catchiest songs.
In a similar line with the “Punk Rock is Bullshit.” article, all the negativity thrown at the Mumford and Macklemore’s of the world feels like a shitty misappropriation of punk ethics. It seems like we’ve thrown out all the good bits of punk (not giving a shit about what’s popular, freedom, individuality, independence) and just kept the crap bits (puritanical righteousness, us vs them). The original response of punk or any underground music to shitty pop was not to bitch about it, but to make an alternate reality where it didn’t matter, in other words a positive/creative response, not a negative one.
File the bands in question under “Mostly Harmless”
I agree, but it’s hard to firmly convince some people that Mumford is not very good while something like Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, TMoE, Frightened Rabbit, etc. is genius when they hear a lot of aesthetic similarities. However, these similarities are the kind that the Pandora algorithms notice, i.e. a clinical checklist of parts of music that often have fuck all to do with the whole. I think the real distinction is not about authenticity, which is hilarious considering the statistics how much the average person lies in a day (answer: a lot), or corporate influence (I’m sure there are polls also showing most people accept more money when its offered), but rather about risk. I can hear a song by Mumford or .fun and have to admit its a catchy earworm, but after actively listening to it, I can hear all the reasons why its catchy. In other words, none of their appeal is subtle or risky. The real distinction for me between these seemingly similar acts is the level of surprise their music offers, the fact that they take chances by adding a touch of uniqueness or imperfection that could easily derail the whole thing, but instead makes it perfect (the Japanese terms wabi and sabi come to mind). It’s hard to express all this because what makes great music great defies language; that’s why it’s great! That’s also why good music critics will remain fed.
I had a similar experience seeing Wampire/Foxygen/UMO in New Orleans. Wampire seemed alright, but nothing to write home about. The Foxygen show seemed completely forgettable either because it actually was or was I just a little too sauced. Then UMO came out and were phenomenal and well made up for the preceding mediocrity. I think a lot of folks at the NOLA show were also there to see Foxygen, but UMO got a hell of a lot more reaction. We didn’t get shit for an encore though and a Jay Retard cover would have been the cherry on top.
Also, even if the story behind Wampire’s name was something like “a burning bush spoke to them and told them to name their band Wampire,” it would still be a weak band name.
Thank you for interrupting my plans to check out some new albums this morning by forcing me to listen to half the GBV catalog in order to verify my opinions about this list. Arbitrary or not, these lists are indispensable solely for triggering discography dives. And honestly, what album that came out this month could make me happier than listening to Under the Bushes, Under the Stars right now.
Completely agree on all the similarities with Built to Spill. The two used to be compared pretty often, but it’s interesting to see how differently they ended up. I think the likelihood of at least one more mind-blowing Built To Spill record is greater than a mind-blowing MM record.
I mean ‘their most ambitions.” Ugh
Pink Floyd list on here would be a shit storm and a lot of fun. And I’m not usually such an asshole about things like this, but pretty much any Gilmour Floyd albums go straight to the bottom of the Pink Floyd list.