Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate The 70s

There is a strange cultural wind blowing that has made the 70s, specifically the late 70s, a "cool" time period.  I just hopped onto a website for a music festival in Atlanta, the Shaky Knees Festival.  This was brought to my attention by an old friend that suggested we attend to see the Replacements.  While I am always up for seeing The Replacements, the chance of this friend of mine seeing this trip through is roughly the same as if he had suggested we go to the moon together in a rocket ship that we build together from particle board and discarded twelve pack cartons.  Still, the festival itself seemed pretty good to me.  Replacements, Spoon, Tokyo Police Club, Alabama Shakes, Modest Mouse, Jason Isbell, Deer Tick, The Hold Steady...  That's a lot of good music in one place. 

While I weighed the event back and forth in my mind, it began to soak in how many bands I didn't know.  I have no idea who Man Man, White Denim, Wake Owl, Apache Relay, Houndmouth, The Weeks, or Paperbird are to name a few.  There was once a time I could wax poetically on the merits and faults of any band on a major music festival.  "Let me tell you the problem with Interpol's latest record..."  I actually knew what I was talkin g about (to some degree).  Now there is so much music out there it is completely overwhelming.  Recording is so cheap that just about everyone can put out a serviceable sounding release.  Hooray!  Bad news.  Recording is so cheap that just about EVERYONE can put out a serviceable release.  Ugh!  I just don't have time to sift through all the shit.  It's overwhelming, and I have about two friends that have obtained any new music since the first White Stripes record came out.  It's me against the elements.

This event looked good though.  I figure that the proximity of the unknown bands to these other bands I liked meant that I would therefore like a reasonable amount of the other mystery bands.  This is when I decided to utilize something that I have become aware of called "the worldwide web".  (I like referring to old technology in clunky language like I just discovered it.  It reminds me of the time Leo asked a group of Swiss people in 2013 if they had "The Facebook" yet.  They did.)

What I discovered on The Worldwide Web was that an amazing preponderance of these bands sound mysteriously like Steely Dan outtakes or 10cc, both artistic landing spots I would wholeheartedly argue are disastrous.  Why America's Young People have decided that the late 70s commercial radio sound is a desirable voice for their own music is really confusing to me.  That ocean of terrible music was so bad that it created punk rock.  Think about it for a second.  Steely Dan sucked so fucking bad that groups of people that had no idea how to play instruments came together organically and said, "Despite the fact that we don't know what we are doing, any noise we happen to make has to be better than Rikki Don't Lose That Number.".  Large groups of people were willing to make bands with others even though at least half of the other members of that band would be discovered to be mentally ill to some degree and drive everyone else crazy.  These people willingly placed themselves in a mental asylum of their own creation just so they wouldn't have to listen to Supertramp or Foghat anymore.  The sheer effort just to mount a band rehearsal was like chiseling Mount Rushmore into a mountain.  The expense and difficulty of recording was so large that buying a beach front house in the Hamptons would have been easier.  Yet, large groups of people walked through these walls of fire just so they wouldn't have to listen to that type of horrible shit music.  And now here in 2014, many people that would have probably been in punk rock bands in the late 70s, are willingly attempting to make music that sounds like the soundtrack to the movie "American Hustle".

It's confounding.

To those that were not alive in the 1970s, it appears like it was all wild ass clothes and people getting fucked up all the time while "Dream Weaver" played out of stereos.  It wasn't key parties and driving around in El Caminos having fun.  It was uncomfortable synthetic fabrics.  It was men's platform shoes.  It was "smoking sections" on airplanes that made a flight to Chicago like hanging out in a pool hall in Manila.  It was awful looking cars like the AMC Spirit, fake wood paneled station wagons, and shrunken Ford Mustangs.  Disco wasn't fun.  Disco sucked.  I was seven and I knew disco sucked.  Food was bad.  There were gas lines.  The economy sucked.  Haircuts were terrible.  TV had four channels, one of which was PBS.  The best show on TV was Fantasy Island, and that show was horrible.  The 70s were just plain awful. 

I don't understand the appeal of that 70s sound.  Who are the people that think "Man, we gotta write some shit that sounds like Fleetwood Mac or America.  If we can get that going, we'll really have something."  The only reason people wrote that shit in the 70s was they had lost the cultural revolution and had apparently given up completely.  "Well, we didn't overthrow The Establishment.  Let's listen to some Randy Newman and hope things work out on their own."  While all these hipster bands try to cop licks from "Pretzel Logic", it only made me more resolute.  I gotta write some new songs.  We gotta play some shows.  We gotta rehearse.  We gotta get better.  We have to let people know that music doesn't have to be awful.  At least we can maybe inspire someone.  That stuff those ironic little fuckers are playing?  What they want to sound like?  That stuff?  That shit sucks.  Just like the 70s.



At February 21, 2014 at 7:43:00 AM EST , Blogger Walter Zoomie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At February 21, 2014 at 7:44:00 AM EST , Blogger Walter Zoomie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At February 21, 2014 at 7:47:00 AM EST , Blogger Walter Zoomie said...

"Steely Dan sucked so fucking bad that groups of people that had no idea how to play instruments came together organically and said, "Despite the fact that we don't know what we are doing, any noise we happen to make has to be better than Rikki Don't Lose That Number."


With all due respect, you are out of your fucking mind with this comment.

While I will agree that Rikki Don't Lose That Number isn't a world beater and doesn't rise to the level of Trucker Bomb, the body of the band's work is pretty special.

Donald Fagan and Walter Becker are goddamn musical geniuses. Their attention to detail and perfection is amazing.

I would suggest to you that you put on a good set of headphones and listen closely to some of their work, and maybe watch the behind the scenes program "Classic Albums: The Making of Aja."

You could learn a lot from those two guys.


Now...if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go put on Fool For The City.

ps-sorry about the multiple post deletions. I kept coming up with more brilliant shit to add...and found more typos. I know. I suck.

At February 21, 2014 at 11:17:00 AM EST , Blogger vfh159 said...

When that James Mercer piece of crap Bee Gees sound-alike comes on S/XM for the 997th time, I get a full body shiver.

At February 22, 2014 at 2:56:00 PM EST , Blogger j said...

I'm lmao at how butthurt walter is getting.

At February 26, 2014 at 1:03:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Even Steely Dan doesn't like Steely Dan as much as Walter...

At March 2, 2014 at 9:31:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

This just in... I think I like Blitzen Trapper, Graveyard, and maybe even Mason Jennings. I still hate Steely Dan though...


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