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Friday, February 18, 2011

jess harvell’s great essay about blog band hype




don’t get me wrong, i like the stuff i’ve heard from the black kids just fine, but jess harvell’s essay about the perils of blog band hype (aka the dark side of the pitchfork effect) makes a lot of really good points. plus harvell’s not talking so much specifically about the black kids as he is about the environment in which they can go from being a band with a myspace demo to the next big thing – but only for a few months, before they’ve been chewed up and spit out, and people stop caring.

What kind of madness is this? Blog-era indie fans are among the most promiscuous music listeners around, and it’s precisely this insatiable need for new bands among both fans and blogs desperate for more content that’s forced Black Kids into this position. For every major band that fits Pareles’ description like the Arcade Fire, where fans tape their photos to their lockers like they were Soulja Boy, there is an endless progression of “important” next big things to be forgotten about with the next iPod cull. The genre maybe have always been crowded with nonentities, but now it feels overpopulated with “bands to watch” to the point of polluting its own ecosystem, with listeners acting like game wardens mercilessly thinning the herd once they become bored. Most of these bands, even the ones more technically accomplished or even “interesting” than Black Kids, are obviously less than deserving of the attention. And yet it’s almost hard not to feel bad for them, considering that if they get written about in July, they’ll be forgotten by Christmas. (This is not exactly restricted to new, unsigned, or unknown bands either. Just ask Bjork, who apparently released an album this year.) It’s a “one chance to blow” kinda deal, with the idea of a band refining or improving or changing a distant memory from an era with, you know, albums and junk.

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