2011: Jane Child's Nose Chain “I am predisposed to vote for the underdog, and it all started with Jane Child.”

We celebrate the end of the year the only way we know how: through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music and films that helped define the year. More from this series

What Your Indie Rock Friends Hear

I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t understand a single word of my reviews/etc. And if they don’t say anything about it — and they’re friends with me on Facebook or in life — it’s even worse because they think I’m a dickhole for using an alias, referring to myself in the third person, and writing in a style that doesn’t exactly smack of mature adulthood. (I mean, of course I know deep-down I’m a king among men, but that’s not the point.) There are other pitfalls; you have to be careful with your casual-listening friends. Below is a collection of things you could say (not meaning any offense) and effectively turn your friend into a bitter buffalo and you into, well, a pedantic asshole.

You: “It’s an acquired taste.”
translation: “I’ve dulled my sense to the point where this sounds acceptable.”

You: “Well, no, my blog hasn’t made money yet.”
translation: “I’m still pretending my blog might someday make money.”

You: “You probably wouldn’t like it.”
translation: “I’m better than you.”

You: “Hey you HAVE to check this band out!”
translation: “I know your taste in music better than you do.”

You: “It’s like these guys have a direct line to my brain.”
translation: “I’m too stoned to know what’s good.”


Ye—… Yeah, you got me there

After resisting the idea for years, I realize now that it’s true: There are too many good bands out there; there’s no point in trashing the several-million disposable outfits popping up every day when there’s such grandeur afoot everywhere I seem to point my ear of ears. And that sucks, because I think people need to know when something blows. Who doesn’t want to avoid an LP that just doesn’t feel right, like one of those latter-day Violent Femmes records or an older record you pay $20 for then see at an antique shop for .99 sizzle? (For example, I paid $50 for a Tonto’s Expanding Head Band record last year, only to realize I had the exact same one, just with a different jacket.)

I remember absolutely TRASHING an Unwed Sailor album years ago and Mr P, bless his soul, totally just let me finish like a Mississippi leg hound because he respects his writers’ opinions. But he did say something like, “Well, it’s not like they’re super big-time. I probably wouldn’t have been so harsh.” Something along those lines. And though in retrospect that makes a lot of sense to me, at the time I was dead-set on taming the flames of what I felt was an overflowing post-rock cauldron. What’s funny to me now is how little genres really matter when all is said and done. People say they’re sick of post-rock, then they have a spontaneous orgasm when they realize the next Explosions In The Sky record is out. It’s all about skimming the top anyway. There are legions of fertile scenes out there, but it’s more important to extract the most inspirational material than to try and know about every band that sounds vaguely like Ducktails.

My point (still) being, I just don’t have time to listen to the shitty stuff anymore.


Make-Believe Indie-Rock-Related Christmas Songs Someone Should Write

“We Three Kinks”
“Fennesz Navidad”
“Oh Holy Nite Jewel” (“Oh Holy Fuck” also works)
“Once In Royal David Pajo’s City”
“Racebannon the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
“Sun Araw is Coming to Town”
“All I Want for Christmas is Ulaan Khol”
“I’ll Be Chrome for Christmas”
“Bluetip Christmas”
“Little Joe Strummer Boy”
“Froberg the Snowman”
“(Have a) Flogging Molly Christmas”
“Johnny Winter Wonderland”


Please, no more

NO MORE commercials depicting a band of any kind. (If I had the chance, I would grab the bespectacled, redhead lead singer from the “Free Credit Report” spots and pone him on the curb, Ed Norton-in-American History X-style. It still wouldn’t be enough to offset the damage.)

NO MORE music festivals with promotional tie-ins. (“Dude just stopped by the BP stage and got LUBED! Then I breezed by the Summer’s Eve showcase — you guessed it; I got DOUCHE’d! — and dropped in on the Lloyd’s Barbecue tent for a sloppy group sandwich. I’m bushed!”)

NO MORE bands/record shops/record labels/online distros/etc. named directly after obscure musicians. (Try working your whole life to move things forward, only to watch a fucking emo band or record label turn your name into something you never had anything to do with.)

NO MORE walking around concerts/festivals/events with a constant frown. (If you hate music so much, and it doesn’t move you AT ALL, why are you here?)

NO MORE technology-savvy-over-well-honed-skill. (If you’re going to get onstage looking like you’ve never slept with another human, at least get onstage looking like you spent all those hours alone geeking out on guitar, learning how to rock the drums, or working it out on that mutha-truckin’ oboe.)

NO MORE movies depicting poor-but-cool, bearded, post-hippy, intellectually enlightened-but-confused-by-the-contours-of-life people wearing blue indie-rock hoodies. (Lord knows how/why they live in fabulous loft apartments, don’t seem to have to work, and never get enough camera time because the movie’s trying to tell the story of 39 of them.)

NO MORE sites that say “The ONLY _____ site.” (Not only are you not the ONLY ____ site, you’re not even the only _____ site to say “The ONLY ____ site.” Get over yoursite.)

NO MORE synths. (Oh, who am I kidding? I love you Synthie.)

We celebrate the end of the year the only way we know how: through lists, essays, and mixes. Join us as we explore the music and films that helped define the year. More from this series

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