Rockety Bye

I’ve been reading various snippets about a band in the UK currently getting hyped by the long-since-post-relevant NME and various other media as the “saviours of rock”. Music blog (and my chums) Both Bars On have alluded to them in passing tweets, and then yesterday I read this piece on The Quietus, which discusses the whole thing.

It points out that this band have had a number of different names and styles over the last couple of years. This isn’t a crime in itself – musicians do this all the time, but to jump from genre to genre and name to name just to chase the hype, at the same time as trying to make a name for yourself as gobby upstarts with an opinion on everything, playing proper rock and standing out in a supposed sea of mediocrity, smacks of dishonesty. If your shtick is that you’re raw and real and new, thereby implying that stuff that isn’t raw and real and new is inferior, you don’t get to have a history of cynically changing your shtick to get the press to like you.

Also, “new”? From what I’ve read, they sound like a sloppy pub rock band. “Oh but they’re so raw” – do shut up. “First four Oasis singles” – you too.

It reminds me of how Tiger Lily, an also-ran glam rock band from the UK in the 1970’s , changed their name and style and became slick New Romantic bandwagoneers Ultravox: a shameless switch to the new big thing.Although Love’s Great Adventure was pretty good, and I remember the battle for the top spot between Vienna and In The Air Tonight. It was a pretty divisive competition amongst the pre-teens of Plover Way, and I can’t honestly remember which side I was on, but I know I was right (even if that means liking a Phil “I Thought You Said You Were Leaving The Country” Collins song). I was young.

The Quietus makes a good point about how the not-so-hip not-so-young gunslingers of the traditional music press are pushing this lot, while the huge independent music blogosphere doesn’t give two shites about them, because it means that if they “make it” (whatever that means nowadays – playing a Buckingham Palace benefit?), then the press get to say “they’re ours”, and then proceed to drive them until they break, then pull them to pieces.

(And then later they get to write books about Royal celebrities, and claim they have GRAVITAS – had to get that in)

Meanwhile, people are making music, people are listening to it and going to gigs, and the world turns, all without the need for next-big-thing hype.

The band seem to revel in calling music from this side of the pond “that American shit” – but what do they mean? I’m no music expert, and my tastes have been calcifying with age as I’ve mentioned before, but they surely can’t be unaware of the amazing variety of music in the US and in the UK. Unless of course they mean the stuff that gets into the charts, and that would reveal a not-particularly-startling level of (studied?) ignorance. Surely they know the charts are barely relevant these days, and arguably haven’t been for years, perhaps decades.

It’s another example of the dangers of describing something as more real or authentic than then others: if something is “real”, then something else is unreal, unauthentic, and saying so can have a alienating effect. To be continued.