The Emperors New Clothes

I was looking around on Rogers On Demand last night, and noticed that they have a "Free" section. All sorts of stuff you can watch, gratis. One of the sections is "Indie Music". A whole bunch of Canadian Indie videos! Cool!

BSS and Metric have 4 and 3 videos(respectively). I watched them all last night. I know this is heresy, but I came to the conclusion that I'm not all that excited by them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they're shit or anything, but I fail to see the correlation between their songs and the MASSIVE hype they get. I mean, if I had 1800 people in my band, I think I could write better songs than BSS brings to the table. Metric are ok, but pretty derivative.

Of course, that's just one hacks opinion. My band is derivative too (haha sometimes very! See Pilate). But I'm also not surprised that we don't have legions of critics kow-towing to our musical brilliance.

This is the thing about Toronto's music scene, and it's not new; this has been going on since I started singing in a crappy high school band in Newmarket, 16 years ago. Someone in Now or Eye (and nowadays it's much more intense due to blogging and the ease-of-use inherent in personal websites) decides that a band is "The Next Big Thing". The rest of the city falls in line, and unconsciously rearranges their tastes in order to agree, so they don't get left out of the hipness.

Hell, I just want to write good songs. I don't care how "pop" they are, how edgy they are, how "now" they are. I just love writing and performing them. If someone crazily decided that we were "The Next Big Thing", and people started following suit, I'd be at the vanguard of haters saying "No, we're not!". I'm much more interested in fostering a scene. In getting people and bands that I respect the attention they deserve.

There's no reason that Toronto can't get the same attention that Seattle got in the early 90's. Our talent pool is deeper. But it's not just about critics foisting hype on one or two bands (or even 3 or 4). Bookers are going to have to start putting on shows that make sense, 3 or 4 bands that have a similar sound or feel, all together on one night. No more of this nonsense of throwing 4 dissimilar acts together, and watching the fans of one band come in at 11:00 and leave at 11:40, while the next bands fans file in. Toronto music fans have been trained to do this. We need to reprogram them.


Anonymous said...

I'm in complete agreement with what you say about bookers. It's so true ... and so frustrating!

Anonymous said...

re: metric and bss -- i'm with you there man. i don't get the love of either of these bands. metric in particular really rubs me the wrong way. i admire the complete disarray of bss, but i was secretly smiling when i read of their internal conflicts, infighting, bickering, power struggles, in an article in macleans (seriously though, why is macleans writing about music?).

i caught the "ryan" documentary on the r.o.d. free section last year. if you haven't seen that movie yet it's freakin' awesome. i think it was under the 'cbc' section.

oh, and i'm quite sorry i missed your show at the 'shoe man. glad to hear it went well. the fates aligned to put many competing events on my calendar that tuesday night. when it rains it pours, is that what they say? next time for sure man.

Anonymous said...

i should also add: the toronto music scene is very clique. has always seemed that way to me. i've played in a number of bands that wrote equally radio-friendly, equally listenable music and we just didn't get the play because we weren't in the group. that bss/metric/stars thing is one big circle jerk.

do i sound bitter and jaded at 28?

me said...

Agreed 100%. I'm absolutely guilty of going in and leaving after the band I've come to see is finished - because of poor booking, usually.

I think it really is a shame that critics or so-called music lovers are trying to homogenize something so wonderfully ecclectic as the music scene in Toronto. We have it all - anything you can imagine - yet you're right in that there seems to be this 'train' of following the suit of a hype band: a train of 'wannabes'.

I remember going to a Tircky Woo/Blurtonia gig a few years ago and that was brilliant - booking, show, everything. We definitely need more shows that you can go to the 'shoe for an entire evening, ahve a couple pints, talk with some buddies and listen to some good tuneage. Live music here's becoming like the radio - you have to keep changing 'venue' every so often or listen to something you don't enjoy.