March 18 • Bogart's
0 Comments · Monday, March 11, 2013
When people of a certain age hear the name Chevelle, they
typically think of Chevrolet’s high performance sports coupe from the
’70s. Oddly enough, the brothers Loeffler had the same thought when naming their band in 1995; the
Chevelle was their father’s favorite car.
by Kyle Pope
Posted In: Music Commentary
at 03:24 PM | Permalink
For a band that is called fun., I sure find it ironic that
their music sparks nothing close to that feeling.
I admit comfortably that when I was 16, I was a fan of Nickelback,
Disturbed and other bands that would fall under that “Cock Rock” territory. That’s
a pretty bold statement.
While I’d say that (most) of that fandom is long gone, I
have been finding myself coming back to a lot of the bands the shaped my
childhood and early teenage years. Yes, partly for nostalgia (although no
amount of that could ever make me listen to Nickelback again), but I think this
is mainly because I am finding more and more that I am losing my place in the
ever-changing world of music, specifically alternative and indie music.
Three years ago, I was always into the cutting edge of what
is “now” — what many others and myself thought was good. I survived Arcade
Fire’s The Suburbs winning Album of
the Year at the Grammy’s, braved the great King
of Limbs debate of 2011 and forced myself into thinking that a band like
Chevelle actually sucked.
I read Pitchfork religiously to stay on top of music’s
latest and “greatest” new bands. I even pretended that I loved Bon Iver, but
that fell short when it was revealed that for about a year I thought Bon Iver
was one person. Sorry I’m not sorry Justin Vernon.
Truth be told, I hate Bon Iver. I also think Neon Bible is a much better Arcade Fire
album and even a Radiohead album like The Bends was better than King
of Limbs. I think Chevelle kicks ass, but you’d never hear me say that
out loud until now.
I guess I’ll stop brown-nosing my ego and get to the point. I
like music that is accessible and fun. No, not the band. My friends and I, “We
Are Young,“ but if that’s your idea for a great indie party song, then your
I use fun. as my main example, but this also applies to
Mumford and Sons, Gotye, Imagine Dragons, Lumineers and others. I find my
friends and acquaintances throwing it against the wall and, beyond my understanding,
I’m seeing it stick. It might be just me, but I find these bands depressing.
Not in an Alice in Chains “I’m a heroin addict and I don’t know how to stop
ruining my life,” kind of way either, but more like a Simple Plan, “My
girlfriend left me and now I can’t stop complaining about it” kind of way. Yes,
I just compared Mumford and Sons to a pop-emo band from the early 2000s.
There’s a difference between depressed and depression and
these bands embody that very essence of momentary sadness that really doesn’t
matter in a few months.
Despite the very real and very dangerous depression of the
guys who fronted Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Butthole
Surfers and several other bands during the ‘90s, the final product of that excessive
drug use was great and often fun music to listen to.
You don’t put a hand on your heart and shed a tear for Kurt
Cobain when he screams out the lyrics to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Of course
not! You crank it up to 11 and scream loud and out of key with the guy.
Fun has become such a dirty word in alternative music and it’s
not because of any form of stereotypical pretentious hipster nonsense. I really
think the reason is, well…just because. I don’t think there’s a reason why
Mumford and Sons’ Pop-Folk-with-a-Bluegrass-flare fusion is striking big, while
Old Crow Medicine Show has been doing that for years.
What do I know is this: I miss when indie music was something
new, exciting and fun to listen to. When I think of indie, I think of the
playful lyrics like “We could go and get 40s” from the song “12:51” by the Strokes,
the iconic bass line of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and the voice-raising
howls of “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire.
I realize this is all personal interpretation, but indie music
has become something of a boring passé before it even got old to begin with.
Bands have no foreseeable longevity because songs like “We Are
Young” will be replaced faster than you can say “something that I used to
know.” Ha, see what I did there?
And while Mumford and Sons have proven to have some lasting
factor on modern music, I find their songs empty, repetitive and lacking any
real expressiveness. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. “Little Lion Man” and
“I Will Wait” are the same damn song.
They just don’t make good indie like they used to anymore,
but then again maybe I’m getting too damn old for it anymore.
Anger, pain, jealousy and atheism, but tell me this song doesn’t get you going!
I dare you!