Here are a few thoughts on "the state of music" 2009. I'm not one for careful evaluation of music past and I am already tired of the myriad "end of decade" lists on the inter-web. For an astounding compendium of end-of-year or end-of-decade "best of" online lists go to http://blog.largeheartedboy.com/ Here you will find everyone with an asshole and an opinion telling you why LCD Soundsystem is our guiding light to the future. This sort of hindsight infuriates me. Nostalgia is a mild form of depression. I am, however, a big fan of trends and trendy things. When someone asks me what my favorite album or song is, I'm thinking, "You mean this morning?" I have a severe case of musical ADD. I must move on to the next big musical thing immediately. And then after enjoying this new musical idea briefly, I must discard it and move on to the next trendy sound. Here are a few musical trends that I see emerging for the new year/new decade. Take this all with a grain of salt. Remember, two years ago I thought Vampire Weekend was going to usher in the golden age of Indie-Afro-Pop. Never really happened.
Glo-Fi. I don't know why I have such a soft spot in my heart for scuzzy, lo-fi, bedroom electro-psychedelia. This is music that is completely disposable with no discernable hooks made to be listened to through crummy headphones. Perfect music for loners. "Please don't try to talk to me I have my headphones on." I like Neon Indian, Toro y Moi, Delorean, Memory Tapes, Washed Out, Small Black, VEGA, Christmas Island. Just Google "Glo-Fi" and see what pops up. Probably some sort of hallucinogen involved, but they've taken the acid out of the black-light-midnight-rave, and put it on a sunny beach. Ah, the beach.
Neon-Surf. Many have worshiped at the alter of Brian Wilson, but few have lived to tell the tale. If you want to ignite a music-geek firestorm just casually drop "Elephant 6" into any conversation and watch them drop their Wii controller into the bowl of coconut M&Ms. The leaders of the pack here is Girls. Their album "Album" gives you a good idea of the sound. Also see Surfer Blood, Real Estate, Pearl Harbour, The Drums, The Best Coast. Which brings us to the best coast--the left coast.
Smell Bands. A small performance space in L.A. has produced a crop of sativa-soaked pounders who owe as much to Animal Collective as they do to Ornette Coleman. Listen to Wavves, No Age, Abe Vigoda, Women, Japandroids, HEALTH for a refreshing slap in the face.
The Rest. Making musical predictions makes the psychic business look legitimate or something like that. Frank Zappa made the original pithy comment, I'm sure. I like Kurt Vile, The xx, Fool's Gold, Free Energy, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Yeasayer, Harlem Shakes and a few other bands I can't think of right now. They go by so fast--thank God. Bob Girth 2009