Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Just a thought..

American music is far superior to British music these days. From all corners of the continent North America seems to be producing the most original and exciting bands that have emerged in recent years, whilst over here all we seem to come up with is more and more substandard indie bands obsessed more with image than music, that are so beloved by the NME and Radio One. Animal Collective, No Age, Grizzly Bear, Telepathe, Health, Abe Vigoda, Yeasayer, Deerhunter... The list is seemingly endless, with thriving scenes in Williamsburg on the East Coast and LA on the West providing a real community spirit (just look at The Smell), and other big names showing that the rest of the country has something to offer too: Fleet Foxes are doing a pretty good job at keeping up Seattle's musical heritage, whilst bands like White Denim and The Dodos, although not the most original, are still a far more interesting proposition than another Scouting For Girls. Even the side projects, like Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound or Grizzly Bear Daniel Rossen's Department of Eagles (whose last album is one of the best things I've heard in quite a while) are getting more praise than our own homegrown 'talent'.

There are, of course, exceptions. I believe that Foals are one of the most exciting British bands of recent years, their debut album consistenly great from start to finish, and their B-sides are often as good as the A-sides, which bodes well for a second offering. The Big Pink are another band promising greatness, and I look forward to hearing the debut long player, and Fuck Buttons deserve a mention. However, and I may just be making a terrible sweeping statement here, it just seems that the only bands getting any exposure are the dregs of that last great British musical revolution, New Rave (any band with some synths), a third rate Joy Division wannabe band or another female solo artist whose songs are kind of average, yet just because they are a girl making music they are thrown into the limelight. I mean, there are many far more talented female musicians than Little Boots (Emmy the Great?), we just don't seem to be trying very hard to find them.

That seems to be the whole point, we don't seem to be trying very hard at all. It seems our musical standards have slipped, there no longer seems to be a clamour to find the next Beatles, all we want is another radio-friendly sing-a-long or the next X-Factor winner. Perhaps it's the recession, and no-one being brave enough to invest in good music, but even so it doesn't seem like there's much of an underground scene trying to make its voice heard. It's time for the independent labels to come along and remind us that we can make good music, just as they have done in America.

Anyway, some songs I've been listening to the past few months. American, of course..

No Age - Teen Creeps
Wavves - Gun In The Sun
The Dodos - Fools
Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood
Times New Viking - My Head
Animal Collective - Grass
Health - Perfect Skin
Yeasayer - 2080
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Bon Iver - The Wolves (Act I & II )

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