You're not worthy! You're not worthy!
Ben Myers gets his knickers in a twist about the State of the Art over at the Guardian. And as anyone who's dared indulge me in conversation about music knows, I certainly sympathize... but not completely.
Let's start with Myers' claim that he "can scientifically conclude that 2007 has been a stinker for rock music." What, as opposed to every other year? Ever since I was first aware of music that wasn't just what my friends listened to, I've ended each year asking myself if this wasn't some new nadir of audial abomination. (I'd especially hasten to caution Myers about getting misty-eyed over nineteen-fuckin'-ninety-seven.)
But mostly, Myers is just looking in all the wrong places. Of all the "indie" acts he references, none are actually on an independent label - and if there's anything that should be clear in the dawning post-In Rainbows period, it's that you can only fuck around when you haven't got Big Money behind you. Asking Razorlight or The Enemy to be daring or different is like asking KFC to present its "food" with a li'l dignity - not gonna happen, period.
And as long as we're discussing derivative acts, Myers had better be damned careful pining for the '01 hypecrest-surfing Strokes, 'cuz they certainly didn't bite anyone, did they? In tracing the roots of blame for this shallow gene-pool of an incestuous (self-loving?) genre, if Myers starts with the View, hops back to the Libertines... I'm pretty sure he'd find Casablancas & Co. are Patient Zero. Okay? Okay.
When Myers finally gets on to listing contemporary acts he does enjoy, it's not particularly revelatory either. Les Savy Fav are unlikely to pack any surprises they didn't six or seven years ago (back when no one cared, naturally), and the fact that the Gossip are fronted by a fat chick doesn't make their music any better. As for the Dillinger Escape Plan: lightning struck eigth years ago; good luck getting it again.
Now, if it seems like I'm advocating everyone rush over to Aquarius Records and become a psych-noise-experimental Geek's Geek... well, yes, maybe I am. Fuck pop.
But seriously, folks, the trope that drew the heaviest sigh from me was that ol' chestnut that "cultural Armageddon is due. I await the band with the balls to instigate it." Yes, indeed, revolution, woo-hoo, power to the peo-YAAAAWWWWNNN, what's for fuckin' dinner? From Pete "I'm just happy to be here" Holmstrom to Preston of The Ordinary Boys (a dead-giveaway of a band name if ever there was), I can't count the number of times I've heard people espouse "rock 'n' revolution" rhetoric while insisting that it can be achieved within the paradigm of Pop Culture and the MSM. Great thinking, lads! Do you call it a "bank robbery" when you make a withdrawal from an ATM as well?
Besides, if another blog post from today's Guardian is to be believed, there are bigger fish to fry than how reductive Britrock's current crop may be.