Semi-Ironic Narcissism is what music bloggers do best, after all.
So, here’s the plan – as of today, ANBAD will run through all the best bands of the year, in my particularly humble opinion.
And for the first time, I’m going to try and offer some sort of reasoning for how the bands are chosen, and commentary on what it all means. (Spoiler: not a huge amount).
I mean, it’s not much in the way of novelty, but after nearly five years, it counts as progress, right?
The bands were all chosen on any number of bases, ranging from, but not exclusively:
- Stickability – a song that wedged madly, happily in my head;
- Slickability – a band that was impressive by producing really great songs with little or no help from The Pros;
- Brillability – a band or song that was simply so terrific that only a fool would ignore them;
- Neo-bility – something so new that they had nowhere else to go but the end-of-year chart;
- Punnability – as always, a jokey name counts double here on ANBAD
And here’s the only real commentary I’ll add: for all the bitching and hand-wringing about the is-it-isn’t-it-dead state of guitar music (much of it from me) – the bulk of the bands who made it to the top of the chart are, indeed, guitar bands.
It’s true that I spent a lot of the year yearning for something different, scratching around away from the six-stringed world, and it resulted in some unusual discoveries – witness the glut of Japanese Glitch-Juke producers who started appearing recently (Here, here and here, for example).
The source of all this yearning was a belief that I still hold: that the bulk of the current guitar bands chasing attention and success are actually chasing ubiquity.
By simply picking up guitars because that’s what new bands do, they’re already chasing their own tail, when they could be doing something just a little bit different and a little bit more daring, and squeezing out something that is – whoah – new.
My favoured theory on the guitar music front is that rock music has, over the last decade, quietly retired into the same roots-y place that Folk occupies: often learnt by rote, usually performed simply because. Music in this position is by no means to be sneered at: it’s often beautiful and thrilling – but there’s no denying that true innovation and guitar music are not as close bedfellows as they used to be.
But what’s maddening is a mass denial that rock is anything other than rebellious – when in fact, the true rebels who express themselves musically put down the guitars a long time ago.
I still think this is true now, even though the majority of my Best New Bands of 2012™ are guitar-flavoured. The ones that got this far are only here because they’ve excelled at making their music, and deep-down, I love guitar-driven songs. But these artists would be here if they were making Neo-Donk remixes of Solange Knowles songs, assuming they were good enough.
Tomorrow, we’ll begin in earnest with numbers 15 – 11. Try to contain your excitement.
But today, here’s one (non-guitar, *SHOCK*) band from 2012 that could, honestly, have snuck into the Top 15, but didn’t simply for the reason that they appeared on ANBAD so late, I forgot to factor them in. Shoddy work, yes. But worth it, because Heavy Heart‘s music is simply lovely.