Friday, March 13, 2009

Good advice from Frank Black

"I think it's great that there's independent outlets for music, and independently-minded artists and fans, but I think it's okay too for people to listen to the new Bon Jovi album or whatever, it doesn't really matter. That dude has a Rush hat on, right, because there's people in the world that like Rush. I don't, but that's just because I don't. I'm not cooler because I don't, you know what I mean? The whole cool thing, corporate rock vs. indie rock, it's all baloney. It's just rock and roll."


  1. This is, of course, not necessarily true. Part of the reason I listen to independently-produced music is because of HOW it's made, who is making it and for whom, and of course HOW the music treats its listeners. Regardless of individual musician's intent, radio top-40 corporate crap is boring, repetitive (seriously, can we get a new take on the love song? Isn't anyone tired of this yet?) and treats listeners like crap. Do I think it's funny and a really very sad? Of course. Just like I think it's sad that there are people out there who think anything with Denzel Washington is brilliant and moving; there are people who think that Al Pacino is still the "greatest actor in the world." These people are, of course, very wrongheaded in HOW (and not what) they inform themselves.

    Am I sometimes guilty of this? Of course. But indy represents a newer possibility (using old low-fi, in some cases, techniques) in a field of boring, old drugged out rockers. Give me the nerdiness of Battles or Don Cab anyday over the gross "this is ROCK" faces of the Rolling Stones.

  2. I listen to top 40 involuntarily when I'm in Subway, but it's so easy to ignore I usually just ignore it. I don't like it, but I don't mind if other people do. What I never want to be is one of those "High Fidelity" guys.

    For a long time I listened to KEXP Seattle at work. Then I realized that most of today's indie rock is pretty annoying and wuss-like. It's all "subtle" and "sophisticated". Like, does anyone know how to rock anymore? It seems like the guitar has lost its prominence. I keep listening nostalgically to my Pixies, Nirvana, Jimi--I was listening to Voodoo Child (Slight Return) the other day and I just thought godDAMN now THAT is rock music. It seems like kids today have forgotten about the blues, sex, and Satan. (Oh and I just basically (re)discovered the B-52's. Did you watch that Private Idaho vid? Awesome.)

    Don't get me wrong, I do like a lot of new stuff--I notice that my itunes top 25 includes Magnetic Fields, Ladytron, CSS, LCD Soundsystem, Santogold, Boards of Canada, Fiery Furnaces...

    but I also notice that 10 out of the 25 are some combination of Pixies/Frank Black/Black Francis. Ha. I think that's because I feel like the Pixies were one of the last "real" rock bands, and thankfully Charles Thompson has never forgotten how to rock in his solo career, and I'm just very nostalgic already at age 27 somehow. I've also been listening to the Smashing Pumpkins nostalgically. And I always listen to big band music nostalgically. Not much of my listening is non-nostalgic, I'm realizing as I type this. I want the past back.

    The New Pornographers I just remembered are one of the few bands that still rocks. I don't really follow popular music that closely anymore so I'm sure there are some I don't know about.

  3. Yeah, I think subtlety is sometimes overrated. And I hate groups that get by on gimmicks (Joanna Newsom's voice; The Decemberists "narrative").

    There are groups that rock, still. Man Man is a great band. Mahjongg is good too. Lightning Bolt is from Providence, though I never listened to them when I lived there....

    Hella is good too, though not for everyone.

    I do like indy, but I also don't. It depends. As it gets more and more hyped (and thus becomes an easy indicated of cool and "intellect") I think I'm going to end up sharing your opinion.