Monday, 7 January 2008

How good are Johnny Foreigner?

The hype machine spits out it's fair share of passion-less bullshit every three months. A&R departments churn and each new influx of twenty something 'really excited' mini-executives regurgitate marketing plans signed off by their previous incumbents. Cynical - OF COURSE I AM.

You'd be right in thinking that end-of-year lists the indie world over have a certain consistency to them, it's as if you could plot a chart of the taste-maker's tastes versus time and eventually they'd flatten into a straight line over the course of twelve months. "Fuck! We Forgot Battles and Panda Bear - How Could We Have?!" The internet for all it's wondrous invention, allows people to confer to the point of ridiculousness. We are relentlessly agreeing on what is hot and what is not - and the Emperor has never seemed more naked.

Christ almighty, I would love to be surprised for once; I'd love to actually hear something on the radio that makes me have to pull the car over lest I crash into a traffic signal. It's my own fault I suppose, through doing this job I have to skim the channels, read every magazine and jump to each myspace as they materialise.

I've complained at length before in Backlash Magazine about bands writing to us before they even get started. I've actually been sent myspace links by bands who haven't even got songs on there yet. I will admit I've added them as friends 'just in case they do something'. Fuck me I'm becoming one of them (albeit sans credit card and lifetime guestlist for Monto).

The Arcade Fire Effect is without doubt one of the most powerful tools in existence for indie rock marketeers; and know this - it is being manipulated to the Nth degree as we speak, by teams larger than you or I can fathom. There are of course unimpeachable bastions of good taste, I think you can always tell a good blogger if they don't reply to emails from record labels - 'I will not be manipulated'. But these are growing fewer and farer between. If we are not careful, these indie outposts that we currently hold dear and lovingly blogroll will become as redundant an arbiter of good taste as Domink 'Gamesmaster' Diamond.

Poor Black Kids - can they survive the spotlight before they even get started. Clearly, one of the US' brightest hopes - can they bear our scrutiny?

Enter for my money, the the UK's brightest hope, Johnny Foreigner. Combining the best pieces of Bloc Party and Los Campesinos with the best parts of Capn Jazz and The Van Pelt - this is an amalgam of the highest possible order. Their music is cerebral, visceral and inspirational. Alexie leads a trio of musical historians plundering a lexicon of influences diverse enough to include bad soundchecks and The Wedding Present. Excited? Of course I am - Worried? A little bit. Alexie's previous band Panda Love Unit were fantastic, this is even better.

But I'll come to my point, for all my annoyance at the fact we have no secrets anymore - I have faith in the skills of our musicians to navigate these waters; I really don't know if JF will end up presenting The Friday Night Project, I would like them to - but what I am certain of is that the best bands (see dananananaykroyd in this group too) will constantly surprise us in a world where it is almost impossible to do so anymore.

No MP3 is included in this post - just go and buy it

1 comment:

goatboy said...

I agree 100%. I've been following this guys for a while now and have been falling more and more in love as times goes on.

Can't wait to see them next month in Newcastle.