Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It List: Tuesday and Sextape

After all the talk about Denton's Sextape in the comments section the other day, as well as a discussion I had with another WSJR writer today at our virtual HQ, I felt like I had to take a listen so that I could tell all you people what to think about them before you catch one of the many shows they'll be playing around town over the next few weeks. It makes perfect sense that Sextape features one of the founders of the once infamous (and now dormant) We Made Out Once, because their music can best be described as an appropriate soundtrack for posing in Denton party pictures-- it's poppy, "stylish" electro produced by purportedly good looking people with the kind of hipster fashion sense that almost guarantees glowing coverage in the "hey me too guys" pages of the Dallas Observer's music section.

The group's sound is fairly standard as these things go-- taking cues from many of the better known hip electro groups of the decade, including Crystal Castles, Peaches, Ladytron, Sally Shapiro and Glass Candy among others, the group's music is a competent and polished amalgamation of all these sounds, and for what it is, it's fairly solid, if a little bit heavy on neon and nostalgia.

But that doesn't mean it's any good. In fact, I had planned on ranting about Sextape-- how they're late to the party by many years, how we've heard all of this before, how their tracks seem like empty, vacant fashion music for people who don't really give a shit about music anyway, but what would be the point in that? To do all of that would be to operate from the position that I'm somehow supposed to enjoy this music but don't, and thats just not the case-- at the end of the day, this music just wasn't made for me, and it doesn't seem to be asking for critical approval or underground credibility, but rather for mass appeal and cool points, so what do I care? Would I rant if Drake or Lady Gaga released a shitty single? Of course not, I don't give a shit. If some dance pop song comes off as calculated and overly reliant on image and gimmick, would I get offended? Not at all, its just par for the course, and you can either accept it or not. I suppose the only thing that listening to Sextape did for me was make me way less curious about Sextape-- we've heard this stuff over and over again, and its neither offensive (as some of the commentators here have stated) nor amazing (as I'm sure a lot of UNT freshman will soon be lead to believe). Instead, its just easily digestible pop utilizing techniques and influences that have pervaded the mainstream for years, leaving lots of room for accessibility but very little for surprise. This is music that borrows from borrowers and comes across as more "bottle service" than substantive, and thats fine. Again, Sextape does what it does, and I can see the appeal-- I guess the only thing that bothers me is the fact that I felt the need to address this group at all.

Julian Lynch/Sundress/Soft Healer/Goldilocks and The Rock (J&J's): Solid show at J&Js tonight sponsored by local website WeDentondoit, which apparently has some sort of lose affiliation with Spune Productions (sharing staff members or something to that effect). Anyway, Madison, WI based Julian Lynch is an artist I've been paying attention to for a while now, ever since he made an appearance on the free compilation from Underwater Peoples last year. Now, after releasing a rather underrated record on Olde English Spelling Bee, "indie rock" seems to be catching up with Julian Lynch, who's fresh off a "Best New Music" review in Pitchfork yesterday. Lynch's music is a bit difficult to describe since it pulls from such a wide array of influences (from funk to cool jazz to psychedelic rock to ambient and a lot in between), but it's probably safe to say that Lynch's work can be classified as hazy and dreamlike, with the charm and warmth of lo-fi bedroom recordings and an ear for soothing pop gems that sort of seems to embody the new approach to psychedelic that seems to have emerged in recent years. The great thing about Lynch is his ability to hit all of these notes at the same time, remaining equally appealing to fans of "chill wave" as well as more abstract groups like Blues Control and Sun Araw. The work feels isolated and submerged, but its humanity shines through, which is truly a rare thing in American underground music these days.

Adam Arcuragi/The County Lines/The England Ramaband/Hard Times (Rubber Gloves): Adam Arcuragi has the approval of both Paste Magazine and NPR, so stay as far away as possible.


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