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.