Readers of my daily column, Nothing Not New, might find this essay
from The Onion A.V. Club to be interesting. Basically, it asks the question: Are the indie bands of the world releasing too much product? The essay opens by stating that during their eight-year existence, The Beatles released just under 10 hours of music. That's the same amount of music indie act Animal Collective has released already.
So what, you ask? Well, for starters, 75 percent of The Beatles songs originally released were instant classics, music our grandkids will be listening to. Animal Collective? If anyone is still listening to their music five months from now, I'd be amazed.
Anyway, the point isn't to bash on Animal Collective (or Joanna Newsom, who just released a two-hour record, or Drive By Truckers, who simply cannot release a record shorter than 50 minutes), and, as the essay points out, the state of the rock-music industry is obviously vastly different in countless ways than it was in 1967 (or even 1997, for that matter). The bigger point is that being so profilic may wind up hurting a lot of current artists in the long run. Take a look at the essay and see what you think.
In the meantime, if you like concise, well-edited, relatively fat-free pop-rock, you can do no worse than the Wisconsin band Locksley. They combine the big hooks of The Fratellis and the sculpted rock 'n' roll muscle of The Strokes. Locksley's new record, Be In Love, is an engaging and easy listen if you're into power pop. It may be too radio-ready for those of you who staunchly adhere to the indie aesthetic. At the same time, it's probably too timelessly power-pop (crunchy and quirky) to break into the mainstream.
In the end, despite the solid songwriting and slick-but-with-an-edge production, Locksley is a band (like so many of them out there) that probably will never break through the clutter, and will wind up with a shelf life even shorter than Animal Collective's. Sigh.
Best song: "21st Century."
Fun Fact: Locksley was the backing band for The Kinks' Ray Davies on his 2009 American tour.
Deja Vu: That one ubiquitous Fratellis hit that you'd heard a bazillion times before you even who knew sang it. I still don't the title. Sorry.
I'd rather listen to: Any of the best music (and there's a lot of it) by Alex Chilton, may he rest in peace.
"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
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