When it comes to engagement in music (consumption, not creation!), I’d say that my engagement is moderately high. I’m always reading reviews, checking out new music, posting music blogs, attending gigs (when I can afford them) etc. I’m not an obsessed teen and my interests do vary, but when I consider my extended group of friends, I’m pretty sure I’m more into this music thing than 90% of them. Despite all this, I am continually perplexed at the proliferation of genre’s, subgenre’s, and subsubsubsub genre’s that are out there. Who comes up with names like ‘Dreamcore’ and ‘Chillwave’? What the hell is that supposed to tell me?! I must be getting old…..
Anyway, Beach House is apparently a central part of this dreamchillcorewave movement, and if they are anything to go by, I’m in. I heard about this group through the Guardian Music Weekly podcast a few months ago, but only gave them a chance recently after stumbling onto a fantastic music blog called letmelikeit. I suppose I can understand the ‘chill’ aspect, as Beach House‘s music certainly evokes the languid, laid back feeling you may have while chilling at…well…a beach house. Yet the truly arresting aspect of Beach House’s music is the fact that the detached ‘chillness’ is really just subtle camouflage for the melancholy and nostalgia that filters through the melody and lyrics of their songs. Gwaan, listen to it!
Genres are by definition an attempt to draw a clean little box around something that is by its nature often very difficult to categorize. I suppose conventional wisdom would put Badmarsh & Shri in the catchall ‘World Music’ or ‘Asian Electronic’ genres. I don’t doubt that genre labelling is a necessary evil, but I can’t help but feel that sometimes we should just relinquish this obsession with categorization and just appreciate the creativity. These two songs are from Badmarsh & Shri’s Dancing Drums LP (2001). Just love it!
Finally, lets take a trip back to some good old post/punk alternative (no genre bending there!). The Hold Steady seem to be intent on bucking the recent trend toward more instrumentation and the infusion of electronic sounds into what was traditionally hallowed ground for the guitar, drums, bass, and maybe a piano key here and there. There is something strangely alluring about their under produced meat and potatoes sound. Surprisingly, they still manage to sound pretty contemporary, perhaps because their lyrics reflect the ironic, sarcasm tinged humour that the kids these days love. These two tracks are from the Stay Positive (2009) and Boys and Girls in America (2006) LP’s respectively.