A familiar comment labelled at today’s music scene is that it’s “all the same” – that hundreds of artists are just churning out effectively the same song to continue brainwashing the gullible masses and consolidate the hegemonic dominance of the major labels, furthering the evil capitalist project and contributing to the gradual destruction of planet earth.
Okay, that was exaggerated to sound like a BA English theory text, but the opinion that “there’s no originality in music anymore” is certainly a widely held one. I, personally, can understand this view, to an extent; Jason Derulo, followed by Kesha, followed by One Direction in the Lemmy is not the best demonstration of any musical originality beyond a predictable “catchy chorus” structure. And there’s nothing wrong with that kind of music either – it’s fun, listenable and the perfect soundtrack for strawpedoing VKs to. Ahem. However, there is certainly a whole world of interesting, quirky and downright weird music out there that challenges this perceived monotony, and I’ve tried to compile a short selection here of some of the more, shall we say, “acquired tastes” in the music world, in the hope that they’ll confuse you, entertain you, and maybe, just maybe, become your new favourite band.
Joan of Arc
Okay, I’ve got to admit that this first one is a bit self interested – I think that Joan of Arc should be everyone’s favourite band. I have this view for a good reason, though; Joan of Arc are eclectic, polemical and fiercely original, refusing to conform even to their own sound, let alone another’s. Fronted by cult frontman Tim Kinsella, the band have released over twenty albums and countless EPs since their formation in 1995, and continually push the boundaries of experimental music. A recent albumLife Like, for example, opens with a 10-minute song, and lyrics such as “we all know that monogamy is just a function of capitalism” are standard practice. Check them out above playing “Love Life” at SXSW, a song that’s about robots….or something.
Micachu & The Shapes
“Art rock”. Pretentious hipster rubbish, right? No! As students, we should cast off that horrible term and replace it with something else: creative. Sure, Micachu & The Shapes may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and that’s fine) but they are undeniably interesting and one of the art rock scene’s favourite bands. Focusing as much on the visual as the musical, the band recently released a Warhol-esque music video for every song from their latest album Never. Listen / watch track 9 “You Know” above, and get a bit weird.
I’m not kidding. A genre called ‘seapunk’ actually exists. Rearing its soaking head on Twitter in 2011, seapunk is primarily an online phenomenon which combines the sounds of the 90’s rave scene with dolphins, palm trees and early Internet explorer clip art in a bizarre postmodern mashup that’s oddly brilliant. Briefly a ‘microtrend’ in fashion, seapunk has influenced both Unicorn Kid and Azealia Banks (check out her video for “Atlantis”) and is perhaps the ultimate expression of the weirder side of the blogosphere. Check out Ultrademon’s “Yr So Wet 3.0” above and dive deeper athttp://coralrecords.bandcamp.com/.
Make of this what you will. Yes, it’s serious, and yes, it’s more popular than all of the above put together. #swag #gatorade
and a few others:
Weird, cynical, jammy indiepop.
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
Organic, expansive and extremely lengthily named.
Keep an eye on this band.
By Joe Stewart, Razz Music Correspondent