“OMG! I’ve a jittering case of FOMO RN cos YOLO. Bae, it’s BYOB 4 the Netflix’n’Chill sesh. BRB. K, G2G. TTYL.”*
There are a few reasons why it scares me that this is how a large portion of people are speaking to one another, presently. Shortcuts are no longer exclusive to finding the most time efficient route from one destination to the next. They’ve turned a corner and found a way into our conversational language. It’s sad that we’re losing touch with how we use words and have adapted to an unsavoury dependency of abbreviating almost everything we say. We’ve dumbed down language to avoid overly exerting ourselves and to seem efficient. The constant updating of social media has sped up modern interaction (we want to be the first to tweet about something, we send Snaps to friends that last seven seconds before they vanish) to the detriment of our rapidly depleting vocabulary.
It feels like everything now needs to be immediate, otherwise it loses relevance. This urgency is seen in all aspects of life, food, fashion and especially music. In the case of the latter, musicians and artists put under an unforgiving amount of pressure from record labels, management, critics and fans to produce new material constantly and consistently. If there is more than a two year gap between albums, the band is considered to be on hiatus only to make a comeback with their subsequent release. It’s baffling, and, in truth, unrealistic to place such expectations upon an artist. Just look at Frank Ocean and Bon Iver. They both released albums in 2011 and then went away for a while, taking time before they began work on new material. People became increasingly impatient (a by-product of this culture of urgency) with Ocean, in particular, but when he finally unveiled Blond(e) it was as though the anguish of the five year wait was forgotten in an instant because he had created a masterpiece full of honesty and ingenuity. He didn’t dilute his music because he didn’t succumb to the pressure of rushing or taking shortcuts. Too often are musicians forced into releasing new material when they aren’t entirely ready to because there is popular demand. You can always hear the disconnect between the musician and the music in the playing or the lyrics of those songs, and that transpires to the listener. We need to appreciate the vastness of our brains and be more excited about challenging, and stop looking for, everything to be so instant. Instant coffee isn’t desirable, neither is instant music.
*“Oh my god! I have a jittering case of fear of missing out right now because you only live once. Babe, it is bring your own booze for the Netflix and chill out session. Be right back. Ok, got to go. Talk to you later.”
Devendra Banhart – ‘Saturday Night’ (Nonesuch Records)
The audio for ‘Saturday Night’, surfaced online about a month ago, giving us an initial glimpse of Devendra Banhart’s newly released ninth album, Ape in Pink Marble (our review here). The single was described as overtly sexy and one suitable for those long autumnal evenings spent indoors, the ones where you chill and binge watch Netflix, obviously. ‘Saturday Night’, a lethargic drum pattern and oriental influence marks a completely different sound to the Venezuelan-American singer-songwriter’s previous albums, which were far more folk informed. The video for the song could not be further from what you would expect then, in encapsulating the lusty nature of the tempo. Devendra is accompanied by a dog and a few concerned looking babies in an empty bar. It’s a strange video and slightly uncomfortable to watch because Devendra and the babies look uneasy throughout.
Fake Palms – ‘Holiday’ (Buzz Records)
I love sweets, I have an insatiable sweet tooth. I adore smearing ice cream or melted chocolate on my face in public places for the amusement of my friends. I’m drawn to bold and bright colours. I really like dream-pop and find it immensely invigorating discovering new, independent bands. Naturally, I was instantly attracted to Fake Palms, the Toronto based quartet formed by Michael la Riche. La Riche began Fake Palms in 2011 but it only grew into its current formation last year. They’re definitely a band to follow, especially if you’re feeling a void in good guitar based indie-pop.
Bon Iver – ‘29 Stratford Apts’ (Jagjaguwar)
Last Friday a community of music enthusiasts rejoiced with the timely release of 22, A Million, the follow up to Bon Iver’s five year-old sophomore album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver. This has been an exceptional year for new records, it has also been one brimming with albums by artists that we have been waiting impatiently to hear new material from for five years (Frank Ocean and Bon Iver, coincidentally) and have delivered the strongest releases of the past nine months. Justin Vernon said that he needed to take time away from Bon Iver because at the time of touring their second album there was too much hype surrounding the music. Luckily Vernon didn’t feel like he needed to rush the writing, recording and mastering of a record in quick succession to maintain momentum. Instead, he took his time. He ventured into other projects and collaborations with other artists and then, when the time felt right he started to work on ten songs which would become 22, A Million. The passion and genius of 22, A Million is a testament to how important it is to be aware of your own time and to work at your own pace free from the stressful preoccupation of feeling the need to churn out music for the sake of reminding people that you still exist. Instead, do things because you want to, no matter how long it takes because then it will mean more to you and your audience. That’s how you make something that is timeless.
Drugdealer Feat. Ariel Pink – ‘Easy To Forget’ (Domino)
You can feel free of time when you’re aimlessly driving around or listening to effortlessly good music. You could easily lose a few hours listening to Drugdealer, the latest musical project by Michael Collins who formerly went by the monikers, Run DMT and Salvia Plath, respectively. Collins released The End of Comedy at the start of September and it’s a really enjoyable, very Californian sounding collection of songs featuring his friends and fellow musicians like Ariel Pink. The video perfectly encapsulates the environment of Drugdealer’s sound, a sunny atmosphere with a stoner edge. I cannot recommend The End of Comedy enough, especially if you have an crisp autumn afternoon to wile away.
The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – ‘Starboy’
MTV caused a stir this week when they announced the list of nominations for the upcoming EMAs, which featured The Weeknd’s collaboration with Daft Punk on ‘Starboy,’ being recognised in the Best Video category. The controversy stemmed from the video receiving a nomination despite the fact that it had not been released. Once again, we’re subjected to powerful institutions playing a game to keep record companies happy instead of valuing good work. So, what is it that makes for a worthy video, according to MTV? Well, Abél Tesfaye cautiously moving through a darkened home furnished with an oil painting of Daft Punk reminded me of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me a River’ video. It was all I could think about. I was waiting for Tesfaye to find himself in the bathroom watching his supermodel girlfriend, Bella Hadid washing away a tiring day at the office in the shower. It isn’t a particularly spectacular or original concept, which is surprising then that it should be selected as a contender for best video, amongst Kanye West, Beyonce and Tame Impala who were the wildcard inclusion. It just shows how eschew the industry is sometimes and how content or originality are irrelevant.