Thursday, March 15, 2007

The South By Southwest slowdown

That giant sucking sound coming from blogland all this week is the annual South By Southwest extravaganza in Austin, Texas. It's an excuse to party masquerading as a showcase for music journalists. Music is knee-jerk enough with blog hype and follow-the-leader magazine and newspaper people. Now you have those writers, fueled by beer, barbecue and no sleep, running around to dozens of gigs and screaming "BEST SHOW EVER" about some all-Korg metal band with a lead singer named Gorf.

Thing is, SXSW can be a huge boost for bands. Tapes 'n' Tapes got a major bump from playing, seemingly, three times every day last year. Before they were playing arenas, Bloc Party played in an Urban Outfitters.

So I can understand why someone would be a little hyper-sensitive to the hype and try to kill it before it begins. But this is just silly: Someone has started a blog dedicated to stopping Swedish pop band Peter Bjorn and John, which is going the Tapes 'N' Tapes route, playing a bucketful of shows this week.

This is about as close to shooting yourself in the foot you can get without an actual gun. The whistle-happy single "Young Folks" got a little overplayed among the indie kids, but this is a band that about 2% of the world has even heard of.

The blog's main worry is that PB&J will be "hailed as the standard bearers for a whole genre of music." We have a LONG way to go before that happens. Want to make music better? Try to stop the popularity of the gunk that's ACTUALLY POPULAR. Upset about Death Cab or Modest Mouse being the current indie standard bearers? Well, remember what was on the radio before "Soul Meets Body" and "Float On"? Creed and Limp Bizkit.

It's insular, elitist muck, and I would say that about any kind of "Stop (enter indie band here)" effort.

Sorry if I sound really bitter about this. It's just that there's so much good/great/different music that nobody is hearing because of all the usual label/radio crap. This just seems so misguided.

For your consideration:
Stop Peter, Bjorn and John blog
Peter, Bjorn and John — Amsterdam (MP3)
Peter, Bjorn and John — Chills (MP3)


troy said...

Well, counting the Middle East and Santee, Heisman, I'm betting it's more like 0.9% know about PB&J. That's fucking retarded (and I mean that in the way of "people with average brains who fail to develop them" rather than people who are genuinely injured in the brain). I mean, wasn't it bad enough that we started the backlash when bands got on MTV? Now we have to start the backlash when they have enough money to replace a broken headlight on their tour van? I say we start the backlash when sales clerks at Guitar Center report a new mother bought a guitar for their kid. Let's squash that little fucker!

The Baby Heisman said...

Troy: Glad you agree. I get that SXSW is a great place for young bands to get noticed on a national stage, and with blogs the stakes can be really high. But how worthwhile is it when the bands all bleed together and you gotta fill posts/column inches with SOMETHING. And anyway, you gotta save SOME money for when your gear is stolen, which seems to be the hip prank right now. Har har.