Hipster Garbage: The Indie Band Drinking Challenge, Round 1
Here's the deal. A lot of hipster garbage music lands on my desk. I want to try to like it, I really do. I listen to the streaming albums these artists send, and try not to giggle when they're dressed like bearded trees or sporting gender-bending granny clothing in a bid to look the part, but it's pretty absurd at this point. Despite the attempt by said bands at being so painfully different, it's becoming easy as hell to spot them.
These bands are also all beginning to sound like the next one; what used to be a distinctive use of layered vocals with a smattering of distortion has become pure, unadulterated junk. There's nothing original about it anymore -- every. Single. Hipster. Band is using the same technique. And not only are they using the same template for their albums, the majority of these albums are just not very good.
(Look. I'm well aware how much hate I'm about to get for writing this blog, but screw it. It needs to be said, so I'll man up to the challenge. But be gentle; I'm a sensitive soul somewhere under all of this bravado.)
But to be fair, most of these bands come across my desk in the stone-cold sober hours of the day, and I've started to wonder if maybe that's why I don't understand them. Perhaps beards and flannel are infinitely more attractive when skewed by the haze of Lone Star, and their lo-fi/no-fi noise and offensive reliance on distortion is, in fact, the type of shit I've been missing in my life.
It was with that mindset that I began this journey from sober to shit-hammered, blogging to find out if there is a point where the alcohol begins to clarify the musicality of this stuff. I'm downing Lone Star -- yes, because that's what hipsters drink, so stop -- and writing my thoughts in the interim to let you know at what point, if any, these bands who normally cause my eardrums to jump ship become a siren's song of beauty.
Here's the worst offenders of said hipster bands, and what happened when we tried to drink them pretty, listed from most palatable on down to "I'd rather pass out on Lone Star than admit I'll listen to them." Oh, and the commentary is courtesy of my (very) patient friends, who were unwillingly dragged along on this journey to music hell.
Capital Cities It's rock-opera indie-band bullshit, but it may be the least offensive of the pack. We'll see. There's always the off chance that it may get worse with beer.
Beer 1: "This sounds like it belongs on Yo Gabba Gabba!. I dig it. It's upbeat. I don't know if it's the drink or not, but I'd listen to this."
Clear winner; everyone would listen to this, even when sober.
Cherub Retro electro-pop that is full of half-spoken falsetto and stupid-ass lyrics like "to all the bitch-ass hoes that hate the most." Give me a fuckin' break.
Beer 1: "I can tell already, they're just going to try to be different. Wait -- what the hell is that?"
Beer 2: "I like that one. I don't mind it. I didn't mind it the first time." Giggling from the dudes. "I can do tai chi to this."
I can't believe this is in second place. It wins, though; it's tolerable as shit after two drinks.
Titus Andronicus Responsible for the entire premise of this blog, Titus's screechy, screaming lyrics are layered over what can only be summarized as pure noise. Not to mention, they're named after a Shakespearian tragedy and have the balls to quote Springsteen, much to the disdain of my darling coworker.
Beer 1: Friends dragged along on this little mission threaten to open the whiskey. Everyone agrees the music isn't bad.
Beer 2: "Oh, fuck this song. This is still painful. That guitar riff is badass, though."
Beer 3: "It's still not good, but after this many drinks I can listen to it. They look like the biggest fuckin' douchebags, though. It sounds like the guy on Herman's Head."
Yeah, I don't know. It gets better if you chug beers, so thumbs up to this garbage.
Photo by Jim Bricker
Wavves Surf-rock garbage with a hint of narcissistic noise vocals, Wavves (not THE Wavves) belong on this list.
Beer 1:: There's some head-bobbing. And now wide eyes. "If they didn't sing, it'd be okay. This is painful."
Beer 2: Still some head-bobbing happening. "It's fine 'til he sings."
Beer 3: The beach! We like the beach!!
He still can't sing worth a shit, but it's better than the others.
GROUPLOVE Quirky in a bad way, with growling staccato -- which I'm not even sure is a real thing. The video for "Colours" proves this band's hipster-douche credentials, as they're dressed as Native Americans and someone gets his hand chopped off.
Beer 1: "They don't sound that bad, musically, but the video is gross." (She doesn't count; she's downed an extra beer while stuck listening to this.)
Beer 2: "Why, with the 50-second intro of static? They forgot it was supposed to start. Someone hit the record button by accident." (And someone put on the Kanye glasses. This is going nowhere good.)
Beer 3: "There's no alcohol in this. Seriously."
Beer 4: "Don't worry. It's all part of the intro." Incoherent mumbling. "I don't mind it, now, but the fucking intro."
This is the best we've heard out of the other shit left to torture us.
It gets really bad tomorrow. Won't you join us?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.