Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yeasayer Or Neysayer

Brooklyn, the current hotbed for talent and cool, has recently given us such buzz bands as Grizzly Bear, MGMT, and The Dirty Projectors, to name a few. These three bands are a tiny representation of bands that have critics and fans all agog, bands that I feel are all part of this musical epidemic called "hype."

Grizzly Bear left me cold, MGMT fared a bit better, and Dirty Projectors even better, but all three suffer from the same malady that seems to plague so many of today's current artists---lack of melody. The three records have a handful of hooks, some interesting instrumentation, and a whole lotta cool, mostly in the "boy that sounds like something else" department. But if you strip it all down, and just take the melodies, you'll find few that are very memorable. Or maybe I should say, I found few.

As I listened to MGMT and The Dirty Projectors, I noticed about midway, that I had this grin on my face, sort of a frozen smile, as if I was engrossed in some comical set up, waiting for the pay-off in some hilarious punch line. When I got to the end, the punchline never came. It was a fantastic set up, but I won't be addding that joke to my repertoire. No need to tell it again. That's a lot of new music in a nutshell for me. Once is enough.

Let me preempt the shitstorm by saying, I am not renouncing new music. I am not some sixties leftover, clinging to his Temptations albums, and declaring all music after 1972 worthless. It just seems that we've lowered the bar to the point where just about anything is a 5-star record. There used to be a time when we bought the new LP by one of our favorite artists and we listened, over and over. We knew every word to every song on every album. I want to do that again. It's just becoming more rare with each artist.

One band out of Brooklyn that has kept me interested longer than most is Yeasayer. Yes, they suffer as well from a little too much style, evoking such 80's pop electronica as Depeche Mode, OMD, and Tears For Fears. But underneath the swirling synths and sound effects are infectious hooks and melodies that I would trust on their own. The key with Yeasayer is that I keep going back.


Christine said...

Great post Sal. Brings back memories of the days before the words were included when we'd sit on the floor listening to records, one person writing the words down, one person controlling the needle on the records, determined to learn every word to every song.

Don't worry. I know you can weather the oncoming shitstorm.

Anonymous said...

Yeasayer is too artsy fartsy for me.

Tom Pennington

steve simels said...

I thought the water sounds at the beginning of the song were fetching.

Seriously, whatever you think of the other Bklyn groups you mentioned, you can say this for them --

at least they don't suck as bad as Fleet Foxes.

Anonymous said...

Sal, I like to think about it this way. When I was 12 and I bought a record by a 23 year old I thought, this guy is a genius, a philospoher even. When I was 23 and bought a record by a 23 year old, I thought, wow, this guy is speaking to me, he knows where I'm coming from. Now that I'm 48, I listen to a record by a 23 year old and 99 per cent of the time I think, wow, what a moron. I don't think 23 year olds have gotten stupider since I was 12, I think I've gotten wiser.

Same thing with the melodies, Sal. Play the Beatles for a 50 year old in 1964 and most of them would have said, where's the melody? What is this crap? Today, a 50 year old says, why don't these new bands that get all the hype sound like the Beatles?

(I dont know how old you are, Sal, I'm just guessing based on the music you like)

Roy Bivins

Sal Nunziato said...

For the record, Steve, I don't think the bands I mentioned suck. I just don't think they are anything. And man, don't the Fleet Foxes stink?


I don't believe age has anything to do with it. I may show my age by the music I often call my favorite, but as I said, I am not a grumpy old man shouting, "Turn that damn thing down, Kid."

I love Locksley. Their average age is 20. Have you heard The London Souls? Look for their debut. They are no older than 25, 26. I think Muse is pretty great. They can't be that old. I could go on. I don't dislike young people's music. I dislike overhyped, mediocre music.

FD13NYC said...

I can't imagine that with the wealth of music that you have that you don't spice up our BW and peoples interest.

I love you, I love the blog, I love your knowledge and tastes in music, keeping within a certain musical realm can paralyze.

Just wanna hear some good old fashioned harmony rock and roll.

Do a tribute to The Romantics or The 4 Seasons or CSN or some Doo-Wop or Edison Lighthouse, change the playlist a little

Just some advice that I figured you don't need. F

FD13NYC said...

Oh, and I'll never forget the triangle on He's On His Way. Brilliant!!

Sal Nunziato said...


Thanks, I guess.

I'll get to work on that Edison Lighthouse mix.