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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hype gripe

Ah, the Pop Explosion.

Posted on Wed, Oct 17, 2007 at 2:03 PM

Maybe it’s me, maybe because of my rapidly advancing years, but I’m finding it hard to be excited about the new band from Montreal or Winnipeg or Moncton or New York.

Is this what happens? First it gets too loud, then the shows get too late, and that’s it, you’re old.

It’s not that I’m not into discovering new music, but the hunger to be the first find them at a 12:45 AM set at The Attic is withering.

You know what it is? It’s a growing resistance to From Away hype. There’ve been so many hot-new-things coming down the pike, and I can count on my knucklebones the times they’ve actually registered for longer than the press release lingers online before being vomited into your inbox. They divert, then they pass. For example, last year’s hot band, The Coast cover-worthy combo Pony Up or The Organ from the year before. Will we see them again or were they just having fun for a few months? And its not to say their sound wasn’t interesting, or they lacked talent, but I’m needing something that has a bit of substance… and maybe the long view. The new hype rarely does, these days.

Bands described by the advance word as “indie” or “collective” or “emo” or “post-” anything get an almost instant pass from me. I’m sure I’m missing good stuff by instituting this policy, but I can’t bear the rhetoric.

Perhaps it’s a need for the uncatagorizable, the Lily Frosts and Josh Ritters and Controller.Controllers of the world. People who come here to play live and inhabit their songs.

And I’m not talking about the Arcade Fire. Along with Broken Social Scene, their across-the-board success is an enormous mystery to me. Yep, they were here at The Marquee a few years ago for HPX, and yes, their stage presence and instrumental talent was phenomenal. Then, about six songs in, it occurred to me, The Arcade Fire have a damn fine record collection: every song sounded like some other quality act from the 80s, Talking Heads, The Smiths, Alphaville. But what is their own sound? I’ve heard Neon Bible, and I’m still trying to figure it out. What are others hearing in their songs that I’m not? Can you dance to them? Sing along? Are the lyrics profound? Meh.

Don’t get me started on Broken Social Scene. Since the E Street Band, there hasn’t been a group with over 7 members that sounds any good. Period. Think about it, rock starts to suck over 7. Jazz, hey jazz can get big, but not rock and roll.

The Tom Fun Orchestra might be the exception that proves the rule. They’re at the Seahorse, Saturday, and they rock.

There’s some hype you can take… to the bank.



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