Another band that always sucked has gotten its just desserts from Pitchfork. Now if we can just get the Smashing Pumpkins to release a comeback album, maybe we could finally all agree that they sucked as well.
Memorial Day weekend, the wife and I decided to pretend we were still young, and made the trek over to Eastern Washington for Sasquatch, a rock festival focusing on what used to be called indie rock, although most of the bands are now on major labels. This reviewer is right, the highlight of the day was Arcade Fire, a band from Montreal that plays epic soundscape rock with hyperemotional lyrics and lots of weird instrumentation. More punk than I expected, given their tight arrangements and the violin and French horn on stage–two of the guys were banging on everything they could find with drumsticks, including railings, each other, and a motorcycle helmet (which one of them put on his head). If emo had balls, it’d sound like them. Their album keeps growing on me. Plus, self-recorded and released by indie label Merge although the major label sharks are circling.
Other highlights included Wilco, who are aiming to be the Grateful Dead of 2020 with Jeff Tweedy’s extended fragmented solos and on-again off-again heroin addiction (the song “A Shot in the Arm” is the best paean to smack since Lou Reed) and The Dears, another Montreal band who I’ve written about before, and who were even bigger and more dramatic. Smoosh were good, considering that they’re not even teenagers, Modest Mouse is getting more polished on stage (although their show still can’t compare with their albums), and The Pixies…well, let’s just say that Charles/Frank/Francis (or whatever he’s calling himself these days) had a bit of a sore throat and leave it at that. The rest of the band sounded great, though.
Overall a great day of music, although the venue gets away with a lot of bullshit sheerly by virtue of being in such a beautiful location. Endless lines for beer, food, and water. Almost no shade in the 95-degree heat. Chain link fences separating the seating areas. Concrete floor with no seats. Crowd control that does its best to quickly squash any fun: no standing in the shade, no drinking in public without a wristband, no taking beer out of the bar even though if you buy it elsewhere you can drink it outside the bar, no drinking outside the food area after a certain time of day, and so on. Basically, concert attendees are cattle. Which is why I don’t go to big shows, and why the concert industry has been suffering. Why pay to be treated like dirt?
Nothing makes me happer when a band that has always sucked alienates its last die-hard defenders and reaps the horrible reviews it’s always deserved. I always associated Weezer with early 90s joke bands like POT USA, and never understood why indie rock critics who took them seriously. I guess if you had a cool older brother who listened to rock and roll, and you really wanted to piss him off, this is what you’d listen to.
Perhaps it takes about 10 years for ironic to be recategorized as moronic. Which means that other artists that came out of the same wave of music-industry-sponsored anti-Nirvana pro-shallowness backlash, like Gwen Stefani and Scott Weiland, should almost be out of time.
What a phenomenally stupid idea. I was never a big fan of 96.5’s altrnuhdiv format–way way way too much repetition and no risk-taking at all–but this is even worse. They compare it to an iPod on shuffle, but the playlist appears to have been programmed by tasteless marketing-drones. It’s like, “every bad marketing trend of the last 20 years, thrown together like a dog’s breakfast!” ’80s hair bands and bad grunge and the same classic rock tunes that KZOK’s been playing for 35 years.
Anyway, I like the fact that commercial radio’s suffering at the hands of iPod, but the solution is to throw out the New York-based marketing consultants and get back to DJs who actually listen to and care about music.
I give it 6 months, then it’ll be replaced by talk radio.
(Hats off to Lisa Wood for an interesting blog on radio in Seattle–she’s the first I saw to write about this.)