all signs point to black kids (the name of the band) being totally hot right now. all the essential ingredients of indie fame are there: awkward synths abound, the lead singer sounds like robert smith doused in reverb, the songs are "dance songs" without even a hint of a backbeat (perfect for white audiences), and the choruses are dependably louder than the verses (which makes rock critics happy). the band's self-released EP ("wizard of ahhhs") is available for download at their myspace page. check it out for tomorrow's hype today.
if anybody's reading this, i'd be interested to see if you actually like these songs ("i'm not gonna teach your boyfriend how to dance with you" is apparently good). please leave a comment explaining what you enjoyed. usually when i make such a request, i'd be baiting someone into a fight. this time, however, i'm genuinely curious.**
to my ears, it sounds like music meant for a john hughes movie (maybe "the breakfast club" or "weird science"). it's not uniquely terrible in any way; it just doesn't seem exciting or new. perhaps "indie" music has, at last, fully evolved into the new bubblegum pop.
pitchfork tells me that black kids "make catchy, tightly executed songs that put a memorable stamp on pop's classic themes." catchy? perhaps. tightly executed? whatever (claims this vapid are tough to disagree with). i hear "classic themes" all over the place, but what their "memorable stamp" is, i can't quite tell.
black kids don't have a label yet, but it's only a matter of time. and who knows? maybe they'll make a terrific debut record and i'll be eating my words. but i can't avoid the feeling that they're destined to be yet another moderately fun band, just waiting for effete college students to chew them up and spit them out.
in the course of his review, marc hogan manages to drop the arcade fire, the go! team, morrissey, jim henson's "labyrinth", and motown (most of these references make sense, but that last one really comes out of left field). critics love saying that stuff reminds them of other stuff, and "wizard of ahhhs" certainly lends itself to that practice. maybe this is what's good about it.
in the end, this episode seems to me like one of the final stages in "indie" music's regression into irrelevance. entering our seventh year of global war, our fifth year occupying the heart of the middle east, as the constitution continues to be dismantled amendment by amendment, we are told to enjoy songs that even a young molly ringwald may have found trite.
whatever keeps the educated class in lline, i guess.
** i really mean this. feed me your thoughts.