Monday, March 17, 2008
Abba/Music Fatigue/Fuck Bands
That’s Abba. They had an accordion player. I didn’t know they had a drummer, but they did. I guess it makes sense that somebody had to lay down the beats for the dancing queens. He died yesterday, falling through the roof of his greenhouse and slitting his throat on the broken glass. This sounds like a very suspicious way to die (slitting his throat on the broken greenhouse glass? Really?), but that’s what they say.
I am reaching a point where I just don’t care that much about new music. It will pass. It always does. But right now I’m quite weary of reading breathless reports from SXSW about this or that buzz band. You know why? Because it’s all been done before, and I get tired of the artificial hype. Some 1,600 musicians/bands played at SXSW, a few of them well known, but most of them neophytes looking for their big break. Vampire Weekend, the current Big Buzz Band (last month it was Columbus’s own Times New Viking) played at SXSW, and drew lots of attention to themselves. They are, get this, a bunch of preppy students from Columbia University who mix Afro-pop with their indie rock and write songs about Oxford commas and mansard roofs. I don’t mind that they steal from Paul Simon. If you’re going to steal, Graceland is pretty great source material. I just find the relentless hype about the Next New Thing to be really old. One thing for sure: there’s nothing new about Vampire Weekend. Check out the Indestructible Beat of Soweto compilations on Shanachie from the mid- to late-‘80s to hear the people who did it first, and who had more important things on their minds than Oxford commas and mansard roofs.
Two of the big buzz bands have the word “Fuck” in their name: Holy Fuck and Fuck Buttons. I suppose this was inevitable, and probably represents the penultimate way to proclaim one’s independent-thinking, anti-authoritarian stance to the sheeplike indie masses. But I get tired of that, too. And why the hostility toward buttons? Zippers, hell yes. The damn things break, and pretty much ruin your winter parka. Fuck zippers. Fuck ‘em all. I’ll probably feel better tomorrow. But today I think I’ll take a break from music.