For those of you not up-to-date with latest in internet lingo, “trollin'” or “trolling” refers to the practice of an individual on the internet saying something on a message board or posting something on a blog that is deliberately meant to insight anger, contempt, and downright vision-blinding fury (if they are a good troll, that is). Well LA Weekly, much like the “hipsters” they are trying to flame, have grabbed right onto this trend with a recent post on their blog entitled “The 20 Worst Hipster Bands.” Now don’t get me wrong, the list itself is not the problem here. There are some pretty horrendous “hipster” bands out there, but it’s not the bands that are on the list that I have a problem with.
The Top 20 Worst Hipster Bands (as voted by LA Weekly):
01. Bon Iver
03. Arcade Fire
04. Bright Eyes
05. Grizzly Bear
07. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
08. The Airborne Toxic Event
09. Beach House
10. White Rabbits
11. Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes
13. The Decemberists
15. Death Cab For Cutie
18. Sleigh Bells
19. TV On The Radio
20. The Black Keys
LAWeekly is quoted as saying, “On its surface, hipsterdom seems to be an individuality-grab, but most of today’s 20 and 30-something bands from Silver Lake and Williamsburg sound shockingly similar.” They go on to say, “They’re all playing variations of retro garage and soul music.”
This is where I had troubles letting it go. Let’s put the hipster tag aside for a moment and just examine these quotes. With the exception of a few bands on the list, none of them sound very similar at all. Take MGMT and Grizzly Bear for example — both reside in Brooklyn and really that’s about where the similarities end. MGMT has a funky electronic vibe, and Grizzly Bear has more of a stripped down, acoustic sound. Let’s try it with some bands on the West Coast, Tune-Yards, who recorded their last record in Oakland, and Wavves, who are based out of San Diego. Tune-Yards is very avant-garde with an eclectic afro-beat feel. Wavves is a drone latent noise rock group.
I could go on and on giving examples of some pretty stark contrasts between most bands on this list, but let’s discuss the second part of the quote: “They’re all playing variations of retro garage and soul music.” This quote makes me laugh. It is about the point where I realized I was being trolled.
If you take a moment to think about music in general, it is all a variation of another form of music or, in the case of the first music ever, a variation of sounds. So you could make the argument that all music is similar if you use this mentality. That would be like saying “Oh, Pantera and Converge are so similar; they both draw from heavy metal and hard rock” or “Man, Outkast and Jay-Z are such hipsters. All they do is play variations of old school hip hop and R&B.” The argument could pretty much be made in any form with any music for any genre because guess what?! That’s how music works! It evolves from music past.
Basically what this article boils down to is an LAWeekly blogger who saw an opportunity to start some controversy took to flaming some pretty good bands in order to increase traffic to their music section. Instead of trying to actually come up with compelling arguments for their inflammatory statements, they ooze out TMZ style segments that attract casual music fans but are primarily targeted at gossip junkies whose short attention spans are sparked by dribble and controversy.
So why bring more attention to rubbish like this, you might ask? Am I trying to seem holier than thou? No. But I do believe people should be held responsible for their actions and maybe it’s the Will McAvoy in me, but I have always believed that a writer “even on a blog” or someone who reports news of any type should do so with a certain amount of integrity. We at LA Music Blog believe we have a responsibility to inform and educate the masses in a civil and respectable manner and debate issues with some level of intelligence instead of “trolling” our readers and inciting controversy for the sake of gaining a few extra hits on our website.
What do you think of the LA Weekly article? Sound off in the comments.