“Where you been, man?”
“Man, you don’t wan-ta know!”
Yeah, it’s been awhile. I took a bit of a break to visit family and friends in New England and upstate New York. Australia-Cape Cod, and now back in Greenville. It’s good to be back, and I am prepared to blog away. So here it goes…
I am convinced that the past ten plus years has done more to advance Rock music and its derivatives than in any past decade. On more than one occasion, I have opined about the value of electronic distribution through outlets like MySpace, Bandcamp and others. We now hear bands that would not have sniffed a recording contract 20 years ago, and it has led to an expansion of opportunities from which audiophiles (like you and me) benefit. Oh, it’s like skipping through a meadow full of daisies!
That is, until some @$$#*!* takes his dog for a walk in the meadow, and you step in piles of dog patties that make you want to yack from the incredibly awful smell coming from the bottom of your shoe. You know what I mean? Well, that is how I feel about a couple of trends happening lately in indie music. Basically, I am kind of sick of hearing bands that fall into one of three sub-genres: lo-fi, washed out, and garage.
Put down the cassette recorder! I am not totally down on lo-fi. There are some artists that still make interesting lo-fi, and I could argue that we need to hear a lot of poor lo-fi recordings before a good one emerges (I guess one could make that argument for all music). That stated, I have listened to my share of lo-fi, and think it’s time to stop the insanity or at least give it a break.
Washed out and faded sucked on jeans, and it’s not better in music… Washed Out is the moniker of Ernest Greene, a synth musician whose single, Feel It All Around, made the rounds on all of the blogs last year. Beyond the obvious link to Mr. Greene, I refer to this subgenre as “washed out” because it sounds like the vocals and instruments (really only a synthesizer) are literally washed out. Some folks call this sound, chillwave. I have to admit that I don’t mind Feel It All Around, but I am not a fan of anything else by Greene or his colleagues in Neon Indian and Memory Cassette. There is a disturbing trend of new bands producing this type of music, and I wish that more would abandon the genre. To be frank, I am really worried that the band, Twin Sister, is headed down this path. That would be a shame, because I feel like they have a lot of talent. Ah, but that is another story.
There is a reason they are called “Garage Bands”: I am not hatin’ but I am complaining. “Garage” has gone viral in the last two years, and based upon what I’ve heard on other blogs–it ain’t going away. Some do it well. I love the Strange Boys and Real Estate. In the past, garage gave us the Standells, the Replacements, and the Del Fuegos. Hell, the whole punk movement is essentially based in garage. I just don’t understand why there are so many of these bands at this time. It is at fad proportions now, and I worry that it’s just an excuse for shitty bands to make music.
Time to reel it in… I guess I am sick of listening to new bands who:
1) mask or obscure their vocals
2) refuse to demonstrate technical proficiency with their instruments
3) fail at attempting to develop a distinct sound
Yes, this long rant is meant to introduce a new band that I am currently digging. Coyote Eyes is a trio from Brooklyn who demonstrate more than just potential, but punch and panache that are sorely lacking in a lot of new bands. I recently downloaded their set of recordings (freely available on bandcamp.com), and I can’t stop listening to it.
Coyote Eyes are an example of why I love this era of music. Demonstrating innovation, artistry and vision, they are a prime example of why this new petri dish of an electronic age works. From the opening guitar chords of Yellow Red to the post punk meltdown at the end of Island Floor, their set of recordings–essentially six demo tracks–leave you wanting more and wondering why they aren’t signed. The band is fronted by Marta DeLeon (bass) and Manny Normikos (guitar) who alternate and share vocals throughout this set of tracks. DeLeon’s vocals have an ethereal quality that hovers over the music, while Normikos sings with a vulnerability that becomes immersed within the music. Drummer Jeremiah McVay combines with DeLeon to provide a solid foundation over which Normikos’ guitar can accent, complement, or just plain growl. The result is a balanced group of songs that demonstrate their talent, and offers a reason to see and follow Coyote Eyes as they continue to progress.
Added: You can help Coyote Eyes progress as they attempt to “grow an EP” on Kickstarter–CHECK IT OUT! For a small donation ($5) they’ll send you a copy when it’s finished.