Now, this is going to sound really negative, I know, but I can't believe quite how mediocre sounding so many of the "hotly tipped" bands for 2008 all sound.... and that's without even hearing some of them. It's their bloody names. Check out this lot, and tell me that it doesn't conjure up images of shoddy, low-fi mediocrity:
The Ting Tings
These New Puritans
Pete & The Pirates
Does it Offend You, Yeah?
Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong
Now, some of that lot might be brilliant for all I know. Hell, I'm seeing three of them live in February and I guarantee that before the end of the year, I will own an album by at least one of them.... but that's not really my point. My point is that I hear their names and my heart sinks because they sound so drab and uninteresting before they've even started. Frankly, some of them sound (and look) like they're trying too hard too (and Joe Lean, I'm looking at you here). Perhaps I'm getting old, but how many times do we have to hear a band firing off with their mouths in the press about how brilliant they are and how they're going to be the biggest band in the world long before they've recorded much more than a couple of limited press singles? (yeah, that's you, Liam Fray from the Courteneers).
I was listening to Zane Lowe on Radio 1 the other day. God love him, the Zipper is enthusiastic about absolutely everything, but some of the new stuff he was playing left me pretty cold. He played something (and looking at the tracklisting for the show, I think it was either by Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong or by Does it Offend You, Yeah?), and to my ears they just sounded sloppy; a bit like the Libertines or Los Campesinos, but without any of the talent to fall back on. On first listen (always a dangerous place to make a judgement) it was just nothing music, with little interesting to say. Apparently this is the great hope for 2008. All this on top of the fact that I'm already pretty unconvinced by the crop of 2007 that includes The View, The Hoosiers, Scouting for Girls, The Wombats, The Pigeon Detectives and the like....
Hmm. Perhaps I am getting old.
As I say though, I'm not trying to be negative, and I will try to give these young pups a fair crack of the whip, even if they are starting somewhat on the backfoot. Not everything new is rubbish either, and it's fair to say that I have also heard some fantastic stuff in the last few months too: they're not new bands, for sure, but I absolutely adore "Boxers" by The National, and I'm currently really enjoying Cat Power's "Jukebox", British Sea Power's "Do You Like Rock Music?" and on the same Zane Lowe show, I heard an absolutely entrancing song called "Out Come the Wolves" by a guy called Jacob Golden, so it's not all bad.
Music is brilliant.... sometimes even when it's played by people with big mouths and rubbish names....and I suppose band names have always been kind of rubbish, haven't they? There must be more bands with crappy names than brilliant ones, I reckon. Oasis? Red Hot Chili Peppers? The Beatles? The Rolling Stones? The Beach Boys? All appalling names!
Actually, whilst I'm ranting, I should also mention the bunch of appallingly pretentious twits I read about in this article in Observer Music Monthly about the "New Eccentrics" - bands like Foals, These New Puritans, Lightspeed Champion and Ox. Eagle. Lion. Man. (seriously, that's the name of the band. See what I mean?). Not only do they all have awful, awful haircuts, but they come across as utterly humourless no-marks who think they're clever. A winning combination, I'm sure you'll agree.
Get this lot from Frederick Blood-Royale (real name, Frederick MacPherson) of Ox. Eagle. Lion. Man.
'I almost feel ashamed when I go home and watch Neighbours. I feel like I've let down my forefathers'
'If someone's made it their life to make music for you to listen to, I can't have it on in the background while I'm making a fucking bacon sandwich'
'There's nothing to gain from choosing chemicals or alcohol to change your reality. Nothing can take you away bar death'
'I write music for the mind. For the library.'
They released a single on VHS, for heaven's sake. VHS!
What can you do? They'd have to be pretty bloody good to get me past the haircuts, to be honest.
Speaking of music, go check out Cody Bones.... he's currently wondering who the greatest frontman in the 1970s was. His rules are pretty stringent (if they play an instrument then they don't qualify), but it's an interesting debate none-the-less. He's plumped for Robert Plant, but I want to break the rules and go for someone like Joe Strummer or Johnny Rotten.
Anyway. Go lookee.
Returning to the routine
1 hour ago