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2013 is the Year That Guitar Music Rises From Its Grave In A Blaze Of Jangly Indie Glory. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not, simply because a whole host of respected media outlets – all entirely coincidentally, of course – have announced that that’s what will happen in 2013.
(The crafty among you may find this to be an appropriate time to use free voucher codes to get discounts on instruments at Amazon,then to form your own band and capitalise on such temperate musical climes.)
ANBAD would never sanction such ruthless, lucre-centric behaviour, but couldn’t blame anyone who did. If the predicted rise of any musical movement seems so carefully predetermined, why stick to your guns when cynicism forms the start, middle and end points of the alternative?
There is, unusually, an important point here, and it all boils down to artistic value, personal fulfilment, and – ha! – money. Moreover, it all has to do with which order you rank these closely connected (and yet seemingly aeon-distant) facets.
So, while the rise of guitar bands this year might mean a glut of gigs, allowing you to find great deals on gig tickets, you may also ask: at what wider cost?
Guitar bands are potentially hugely lucrative to muzik bizniz people. The Arctic Monkeys et al have historically made shedloads of cash for all involved. It’s easy to see why the music biz, wizened and dazed, is keen to make guitar bands the focus again.
But it does smack of falsehood, of minor desperation and of one last roll of a battered dice: it’s harder to monetise, on a grand scale, the brilliant music that is flowing forth out of laptops all over the world – and straight onto Soundlcoud and Bandcamp, as opposed to the old label-distributer-high street system.
Guitar bands fit that system – however broken or archaic – better.
Now, guitar bands aren’t going to vanish simply because a few pasty music bloggers have mooted the feeling that everything new that can be done with a guitar has now been done, yeah?
People still love guitar bands and demonstrate this love via their wallets (dig out Paramore’s gig ticket receipts from 2012 and prepare to set your mind to ‘boggle’).
So, caution should be exercised by all, but especially from new artists tempted to put down the laptop, pick up a knock-off Gibson SG and join in, just because there’s a nagging feeling it’ll make them more likely to appear on Radio 1.
And here’s that cautionary tale you were waiting for, in the form of 2010’s most unknown band, Wu Lyf – a guitar band who had hype galore, tours, limited edition vinyl, expensive merch and appearances on Letterman, for God’s sake – and then who fell apart at the seams before they even released a second album.
They appeared to be a group for whom being a guitar band was just part of the package. And why not? But the facade – their look, their hype – was front and centre. Where would they be if they’d followed their hearts? Or did they?