Friday, 29 June 2012

-Music Videos on my Mind- The Maccabees’ “Went Away”

Lest we forget the plight of our white guys with guitars.

The poor fellas are suffering, losing steady ground to a music culture that embraces manufactured pop over stringed instruments. Even a national institution like The Smashing Pumpkins could only shift 54,000 units of their new album Oceania this week, which in a country comprised of more that 300 million American consumers, is pretty poor in terms of sales numbers.

Britain―a country that coined all modern perceptions of rock 'n' roll―has been the worst offender of neglecting alternative music. If ever we needed proof of that then just look at last week's massive Radio 1's Hackney Weekend, where famous generic urban pop stars (you know, the type that readily lend their voices to crappy animated kids films at the drop of a hat) dominated the event, while the few alternative acts on the bill looked massively out of place. Ten years ago such a thing would have been unthinkable.

One indie white band playing at Hackney Weekend was south London's The Maccabees. Even though the biblical name of the band may indicate a Christian rock affiliation, The Maccabees are truly British in that they don't do God, and the band's title is an ironic feature as many of their songs have atheistic undertones, ridiculing the nature of organised religion. The irony is further heightened by the actuality that The Maccabees' sound feels very similar to Christian rock in some ways.

Went Away is the latest single taken from the band's third album, Given to the Wild. Even though the album charted in the Top 5 on release, it's hard not to think that music of this nature would have made much greater impact in past years.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

-Music Video on my Mind- Icona Pop’s “I Love It”

Will Icona Pop's new single, I Love It, be this summer's smash hit? Can this be the tune that drunken holidaying European kids will be partying to throughout the sunny season, only to look back on it in years to come as being little more than a embarrassing novelty track that marvellously typifies the characterless era it was conceived in?

Worryingly, it may do so, only because the Swedes are so good at producing universally adored pop music, and also because singers, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, seem energetic enough to get the attention of their core market.

Sweden is hot property right now with everything coming out of the country turning to gold. Sweden's crime books, gritty genre movies and, according to some music aficionados, its pop music, has the world's attention right now. It seems Icona Pop is giving us one more reason to pay close attention to Nordic pop culture.

Yet, yet, if Swedish pop music is so great then why on earth must it continuously play such derivative homage to ABBA, forever either overlapping one girl's profile with the other's full face, or just basically shoehorning a two girls and two guys formation? (Ace of Bass, anyone?)

And if Sweden is so good then why have the girls of Icona Pop relocated to London?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

-Music Videos on my Mind- Poliça’s “Amongster”

Poliça are a bunch of local musicians from Minneapolis who are, right now, struggling to maintain their low-key persona. This has a lot to do with the six-piece embracing the attention they are getting from celebrities like Jay-Z and renowned music bloggers like me.

Lead singer, Channy, has a voice that defies nature. Her ethereal tones overlap, warble and echo in beautiful ways. It's tempting to think much of Channy's vocal range is down to skilful producing, which it kind of is. Nonetheless, the production on Poliça's output really is technically epic, and Channy's ghostly voice is always at its core.

Amongster is the lead track from Poliça's debut album, Give you the Ghost. The video goes with the strange nature of the song, matching images of outdoors lovemaking and weird creature shots. It's odd, but then so is the band.