Last week, in an interview with the Guardian, generic teen-friendly snooze-rockers The Vaccines waggled a finger at blogs who provoke, “a hunger to have something new every day.”
Singer Justin Young blames ANBAD’s bigger, sexier, better-read cousin specifically: “Guardian New Band of the Day is the perfect example … blogs in particular are to blame for that. Every day they have to post a new band. Are they still listening to the band they posted three weeks ago?”
He has a point. The endless “churn” in new music culture is damaging, in some ways: bands are no longer allowed to ferment by an impatient public; nor are they nurtured, and bankrolled through the first couple of albums by a record label awash with cash. But that old, artist-friendly environment is deader than, indeed, disco.
Maybe Justin should engage the rock ‘n’ roll cogs in his rock ‘n’ roll brain a bit first. Are young musicians’ dreams and aspirations the same now? Do teenagers making glitch house on their MacBooks really long for years of touring fleapits, followed by grinding away in studios making new albums of the same stuff? Or do they just want to get their songs out there and leave it at that?
Justin: I get a ton of new artists emailing me every day. Very few of them even use a recognisable name, let alone provide a photo. Where’s my incentive to boost their career any further than featuring for one day – a process that alone elevates them above all their peers (for that one day) – if the bulk of them don’t even email back to say “thanks”?
And what does Justin want out of music blogs? Endless posts on Band X? That’s what a fanzine does in my eyes – but what do I know? I’m just a blogger, destroying artists’ dreams by finding more new bands than I have time to write about, and then writing about the ones I like the most.
If I kept on writing about, ooh, I dunno, that Vaccines’ song from three weeks ago, I might not have had space to write about Over Unda, who has cruelly been buried under 300 words of blah about a run-f-the-mill Indie band. Sorry Over Unda.
She Falls To The Floor dabbles in that fraught genre of Laptop Music With Vocals; an area of music that welcomes abject failure with open, loving arms more often than not. But Over Unda dodges the bullet, and creates a lop-sided, lo-grit, lofty, glassy and serene pop song, full of wistfulness, abrupt musical diversions and non-ponderous thoughtfulness.
Some well-known Indie rock bands are one-note, one-speed and one-dimensional. Here, in one bedroom-recorded pop song is the exact opposite. And musicians like this are doing it every day.
NB: I once wrote about the Vaccines, just before they decided to occupy the “anonymous Indie-band-by-numbers” slot that UK culture apparently hankers after every few years. I hope they are enjoying the ride, am pleased their careers have stretched to a second album, and wish them all the best.
I guess the teenagers making glitch house probably dream of doing it for a living, whether they want to tour scummy venues or not. “Putting out there” is obvs great, but if we don’t sustain artists in the long-run then they won’t stay artists in the long run.
Shows how ill-informed Justin is I’m afraid.
Yes there are blogs like ANBAD and The Recommender who only feature a band once and then move on to write about something else, because that’s what they do – it’s a blog, it’s up to its author to decide on what they write. If you don’t like it don’t read.
But there are also plenty of blogs out there (I’m one of them) who will go on and on and on about an artist until someone takes notice (yes more akin to a fanzine – fan blog / fan journalism etc – that’s whatI do). People must be bored to death with me going on about the likes of Alice Jemima and Curxes but these are new artists that I love and want others to know about (and certainly slowly but surely blogs are taking notice – Alice is becoming a bit of a UK blog crush)
Look at John Peel – he was excited by new stuff (and probably would have enjoyed ANBAD) but he also played The Fall A LOT. There’s room for both sorts of blog and music has always been full of both one night stands / shags (ie one hit wonders) and long term marriages (ie career bands) – unfortunately it seems that Justin has a preconceived idea of what all blogs are about and that’s just not correct.
PS – Quite like this music too :)
Hi Kat, and great to hear from you, Robin (aren’t you on holiday? We’ve spoken about this ;) ),
Kat: I kind of agree with you…
Yes, artists need supporting, and they aren’t very much, at the moment: I would love to find the solution to this problem. But until most people’s iTunes playlists aren’t comprised of songs that have been acquired for free, and people make a conscious decision to start paying again, it won’t happen soon, sadly.
But here’s another thing: the landscape for music creation has changed out of all recognition. There are *so many more* new musicians now. Technology has liberated ideas and made them into music, and allowed them to be distributed, and heard, and commented on, and blogged, and…
So I have a hunch that there is a large percentage of music creators who dream about success, in the same way I dream about scoring in the FA Cup Final – but I think their creative/artistic/whatever urge is itched simply by knowing people have listened to their songs for free.
Whether sustaining The Vaccines in the long term is a good idea or not is entirely dependent on your POV, of course :)
Robin: I agree with all that you said. There are many different forms of blogging – fanzine-esque, Recommender-esque, Tumblr-“Firsties”-esque, and they all have their place – just as there many different forms of bands: tedious indie here-today-gone-tomorrow bands, and genuinely innovative new artists.
The ecosystem insists they all exist, despite my protestations. I love new bands, but I love career bands too (can’t listen to glitch house *all* the time, you know)… as my slightly rabid collection of Spiritualized LPs will attest.
And yes, John Peel is the perfect example to cite, as always.
Thanks both for commenting!
The Vaccines Don’t Like New Music | popdodger
i think that the ‘mix’ of old and new will weave an interesting web for us the listener…..how great to discover new talent whilst in our pj’s eating toast via laptops, notepads, iphones …….and then to go ‘out out’ to have a pint at a live gig with 3 or more bands playing for a under £10. You can’t beat live that’s for sure. I also think that the music mix we open our ears to differs depending on location location location…..what I listen to at home, in the car and live are all different. Lovin the bombardment of sound and the openess to new music which has never been greater thanks to less ‘control’. Lastly, the track attached – mmmmm for me, it was actually very one dimentional – I’ll be moving on without a glance back to the next band of the day x