I've been spending huge amounts of time with the Hype Machine 'popular' list over the last couple of months. It's very rare that there are fewer than 10 songs in the top 20 that I think 'this is good' about - I listen to it more than the radio, Spotify and iTunes now. Because a song can only make the list if it's been blogged about in the preceding 48 hours, 80% of the music I listen to I only hear only a couple of times, and I am more likely to get a second or third listen to a song somewhere like the Custard Factory or the Rainbow when it is played on a night out.
Does this mean music has become a disposable utility? An endless stream of newness replacing meaningful relationships with collections of songs such as those I had with 'The Best of the Lightning Seeds', The Eels' 'Dasies of the Galaxy' and The Futureheads debut? These were relationships that meant I knew every single word and every little drum part, and could speak with authority on the relative merits of each track. I fear that this could just be another one of those subtle, unexplained aspects of encroaching adulthood, like feeling the cold more, worsening hangovers and a career.
Anyway, as I was listening to Hype and thinking this, a track by New York band Freelance Whales came on. 'Generator First Floor' is a shivering bit of Autumnal brilliance, mixing electronic swirls and beeps with, well... a banjo. A bit like if Holy Fuck collaborated with Stars, or, as my brother put it "like a hick version of Time to Pretend." Listening to the rest of the tracks available online, in the state of mind that I began this post with, I thought maybe here's a band I can love in the same way as those from my late teens; maybe this is a case of following the advice of Ferris Bueller and stopping to look round - and maybe cutting down on electronica that has replaced its soul with a repeated order to dance. There's nothing not to love in the music music Freelance Whales make; I'll get back in touch when I know every word and every little drum part.
Absurdly, not signed and so not on Spotify.
And on Myspace.
And gosh - here's a bit of a live performance in a Brooklyn subway stop. Time to move to New York, then.
Generator First Floor, live in Brooklyn
p.s. the only downside that I can see at the moment is that in 'Location' they pronounce beret as beh-rett. The exact opposite to Jack Straw's wonderful pronunciation of papyrus as pappy-russ on Question Time this week, and so cancels it out. The world is a tiny amount less magnificent, and only some quality innovative punctuation from another government minister can make up for it.
*edit* Thanks to some helpful commenting, I now know that it is a barrett, not beret. The world of pronunciation swings back into 'outstanding' and I learn a little more about American words for girls' hair accessories. Good.
Freelance Whales Generator 1st Floor