Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Getting Out the Hud

Indie, for all its problems with mainstream 'product', has but two ways to play a pop song, and both fall under the category of "the radio wouldn't stand for it": turn things acoustic and underplayed (this is called "sparse", and is frequently praised for "getting to the essence of the song") and sing it with a mumble or a whine (this is called "ironic sincerity") OR make it noisy as fuck, using loud guitars (this is called "making it rock", and is frequently praised for its use of real instruments). Now I'd sooner listen to a compilation of Cheiron Production's most rote album tracks than have to sit through Travis smirking their painful, unplugged way through "Baby One More Time", and the original "Toxic" rocks several times harder than Local H have ever done (Britney's still the uber-pop whipping girl, it seems).

When indie gets to covering pop-rap, that's when it really gets ugly and lost. So does !!!'s cover of Nate Dogg's "Get Up", but that's only in the last 3 minutes or so - before that, we get some great, non-reactionary ideas about using guitars (yes, guitars), excessive reverb, gating and the !!! guy's-normally-grating-but-here-very-suitably-low-and-swaggery vocals to make things bigger, brighter and hotter. Just before we lose control in an almost formless jampunk session (ie. "noisy as fuck"), we get about the most thrilling use of space in a punk-funk thing since the "Stupid Mix" of LCD's "Yeah", and what Jon Spencer Blues Explosion sounded like in my head before I actually heard them.

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