One of the things I find as I get older is how little patience I have for musical fads and/or theatrics pretentiously masquerading as counter-culture art.

The primary example is the glut of folk rock bands. At first I assumed it was specifically an Albany problem, but in looking at what’s dominating indie rock right now, it’s mostly that tripe; childishly simplistic acoustic arrangements with an accompanying ukulele while some kid who grew a beard 18 months ago whispering high school notebook scribblings.

I was at one of those shows recently, and it was like watching the Muppet Babies cover Iron & Wine. And they’re supposed to be one of the better acts in this area.

I’m not one of those who demands that any and all rock have some fucking balls (though God there’s times when I wish it all did). But I do think that the folk rock movement of the last few years is based more on laziness, complacency, and cowardice than on any real effort to expand horizons or, even, to play good music. Because if it’s not fun and it’s not good art, then what is the fucking point?


Here’s what I’ve been jamming to lately. I know saying it like that makes me sound old and unhip. Fuck you.

Twin Shadow – “Confess”

King Tuff – “King Tuff”

The Henry Clay People – “Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives”

Fiona Apple – “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do”

The Soundtrack of Our Lives – “Throw it to the Universe”

The Tallest Man on Earth -“There’s No Leaving Now”

Cadence Weapon – “Hope in Dirt City”


One Response to In my Ears of Late; Enough with the Folk Rock Already

  1. Bob Thayer says:

    Music is one of those subjects that is rather difficult for me to discuss.

    With the success of what I consider fluke acts – where everything just happens to line up perfectly for long enough to get noticed – like Bon Iver and Gotye (he’s a one-hit wonder, and his one hit is on his 3rd album), we’re hit with a wave of these kitschy garbage acts that are trying to identify with that publicity. It’s almost like riding on their coattails, waving little signs that say “Look how unique we are! Just like that band everyone likes!”

    It’s not a new thing at all. In the 90’s you had a flood of local bands trying to be the next Pearl Jam or Nirvana, gracing the stage in their flannel shirts and Doc Martens, grunting out lyrics that had ‘such a deep meaning’ if you took the time to listen. Then comes the next wave in the later 90’s with acts like Blink 182 and Green Day – the “being a teenager sucks!” crowd, singing about how much they hate school and want to hang out with their friends.

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