Musical Musings – I : A Crucial Three

There is a sad tendency to view music as if it was an obituary. We celebrate the long gone bands of our youth, use their output as a benchmark for what follows, latch on to bands that pay clear homage to those fallen icons and on a local level embrace the backward viewpoint of tribute and cover bands who seem happy to peddle someone else’s wares to a narrow minded audience. What we should be doing is celebrating the births and baptisms of new creative forces, new torch bearers, flying different flags maybe but fired by the same spark that first drew us to the bands of our formative years.

Maybe one of the reasons my own attempts to rally around new music often get criticised is the over enthusiastic nature of my self appointed mission. Where some people see my words as being overly praising, critically imbalanced and avuncular, I see support, enthusiasm and optimism for the future. Anyone can use words to describe music, I think it is more important to use them in more vague ways to inspire, mythologize and champion.

Three bands have stood out in recent months as being the start of something interesting, something worth adding literary fuel to their fire, worthy of nurturing and promotion in whatever small way I can.

Generic musical scenes may only be the construct of lazy journalism, purposeful handles that can only be seen from a great distance or in chronological hindsight, but these three bands seem to form the core of something that may just seek to inspire and form the initial momentum of a creative wave and one that seems to be centred on the M4 corridor and more specifically Swindon of all places.

These three bands that I urge you to check out, may not necessarily be very closely related in musical terms but they do all seem to be taking the age old building blocks and shaping them into new and interesting sonic structures.

Super Squarecloud are probably the most adventurous of the three, pushing quirky, off beat indie sounds into a void vacated by free-jazz and resonating with Dadaist inspired pop that is elegantly warped, purposefully complex and impossible to dance to for any creature with an even number of limbs. Not just conceptually, but musically compelling too.

At the other extreme lay Nudy Bronque standing on a line between the Buzzcocks pop-punk drive and the distant echo of 80’s guitar jangle, somewhere between infectious fun and a perfect understanding of their place in recent music tradition. They are also in danger of writing a throw away pop song that is destined to become a timeless classic.

Between the avant-garde stance of the former and the childlike innocence of the latter you find Crash and The Bandicoots, Brecht meets Beck, lo-fi meets hi-brow, contra-flow and contradiction, angular, spiky and slightly uncomfortable music.

Musical movements often evolve as a protest to something, hence post-punk, post-rock, post-industrial and the like.  I’m not sure that we are necessarily in the wake of anything identifiable enough to cause a response; maybe these bands are just post-predictability, post-mainstream, post-boredom. Maybe it’s the obvious response to the dross, powder-pop of the celebrity age. The low octane, cheap labour, greedy, anti-thought product of a decaying music industry that does not have to rely on original talent and offers no complicated or complicating depth.

I may not have found the answer to that, but I may have found at least a small part of the answer or possibly just even more questions, which is probably better anyway. But for now, there is something worth championing and that’s all I need.

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About Dave Franklin

Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.
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