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Is British Music Dying?

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Initial post: 25 Sep 2008 16:02:32 BDT
To me, the fact that Elbow's 'Seldom Seen Kid' (by no means a bad album) has won the mercury prize this year goes a long way to making me feel Britain has very little to offer in the modern musical landscape. Only a handful of British bands spring to mind when I think of modern greats, Radiohead are an obvious one, I've always respected the work of SFA and Mogwai and while Shack are still around we won't have too many problems.

However, most of the rest only garner a passing interest at best. Elbow are solid if not spectacular, Muse are either remarkable or ordinary and the Arctic Monkeys are average. My point really is that we seem flooded with average bands but not many are truly special, with only M.I.A and The Twilight Sad in the past couple of years really showing any signs that hte future is any brighter. (although Detroit Social Club are shaping up extremely nicely).
Your reply to Mr. H Chinaski's post:
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In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 16:09:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Sep 2008 16:15:22 BDT
Sera69 says:
No, i think there is plenty of life in British music tho maybe not in the 'Indie boys with guitars' genre at the moment, Sway, Roots Manuva and Dizzee Rascal are all pushing music to different extremes and exporting it across the pond. And if The Klaxons can stay focused their second album should be worth waiting for.

But these things are cyclical, the good will out and the guitar bands will return... The Guillemots show great promise, Bloc Party haven't lost it and Puressence have been around for donkeys years yet no one seems to have picked up on them...

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 16:28:34 BDT
Yeah, your right as in regards to Dizzee Rascal (although I don't think he's ever followed up his superb debut) and Roots Manuva. Although I disagree on Guillemots as I think they are exactly the sort of band I'm talking about, i.e they don't do anything particulary wrong but are never truly outstanding.

I look at America and I see TV On The Radio and Arcade Fire, plus countless others, who are constantly releasing superb and intelligent music and I feel we got left behind in the early 2000's. The Mercury Prize is a shadow of its former self with 'Boy In Da Corner' being the last truly deserving winner (although I don't begrudge Elbow their success) and we seem stuck in a cycle of hype and emptyness.

I'm not really talking about the 'Indie Boys With Guitars' genre, because I gave hope up on that years ago (don't get me started on One Night Only or The Kooks) but the inventivness I heard in SFA's early work or Radioheads Kid A period, seems to have given way to a bunch of university students playing at creativity with The Klaxons and The Horrers (who are so indebted to The Cramps its sad) standing at the top of a pretty poor bunch.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 16:38:39 BDT
Sera69 says:
Have to agree with you on The Kooks and The Horrors. Dire... But i think the Klaxons need time. They could go either way.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 16:55:11 BDT
Yeah, there were some good points to their debut, just not enough for me to get excited about. Has anyone listened to The Twilight Sad's debut ?.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 17:54:32 BDT
British music is alive and well in the shape of Porcupine Tree - a prog rock band that are currently putting out stuff that is as good as Pink Floyd were in the 70s.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 19:16:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Sep 2008 19:16:52 BDT
I actually really like Editors and Muse, but i fear they may end up as the next Coldplay and U2.
I personally wouldnt go to the end of the street to see Coldplay or U2, but their supergroup status seems to at least convince the americans that quality rock is still a product of these islands.

For me i refer to a statement i made somewhere else in these comments. The record companys are not allowing enough bands to grow and mature, all the quality bands you mention stand a good chnace of releasing one good album and disappearing. So we are left to rely on bands offering true originality at the outset, instead of nurturing promise.
As an example I enjoyed The Engineers, sappy soft sounding album, and thought the sound could grow into something spectacular. Dunno where they are now.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 20:03:48 BDT
Yeah, I remember The Engineers as well!!. On the case of Editors, yes they started o.k, 'Blood' being a particular favourite of mine, but they soon descended into the stadium rock of their second album, but hopefully they'll rediscover some of their original promise on album 3.

On the point of record companies not giving these bands a chance, I agree, however I look at todays groups and see all the opperunties (sorry never been able to spell that) they have with the internet and wonder why they rely so heavilly on these companies. In Scotland the (much sorely missed) Delgados created their own record label (Chemikal Underground) and released plenty of great albums not only by themeselves but by bands such as Mogwai and Arab Strap. So if a band could do that 10 years ago why can't more do it now. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah also self-released their debut album just two years ago in America. It seems to me that the old D.I.Y style that this country so proudly displayed with the post-punk scene is now dead, when it should be easier than ever to do.

I would just love to see the ethic of the 60's and 70's return, when music was about creating art and not about record sales, in todays world, important bands such as Wire and The Smiths would probably only get one album to prove themselves and then would get dropped, so instead we get big sellers to the Tesco market like Coldplay and Snow Patrol.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 20:18:33 BDT
Agreed, well articulated points. so are you from north of hadrians wall Mr Chinaski?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2008 21:04:35 BDT
No, I'm from Wiltshire. I think that explains my hatred of the music scene (seeing as we haven't got one, well, except P.J Harvey). But I do have a deep appreciation for the way Scottish bands go about their buisness. The simple reason being that because Scotland is so far from London, the big record companies don't get to see these bands, so they make their own success. It is something England is desperetly lacking in, because english bands have it so easy there is no hunger anymore, so we get anoydyne copies of our past successes.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2008 15:41:50 BDT
SK says:
I'm from America and I enjoy listening to British rock groups/music so much more than American rock/pop/rock/garbage. I don't think British music is dying, but most Americans just don't appreciate it as much as other countries do, or as much as they should. Muse is my favorite band and has been for several years, but there are still some people that I've known almost all my life and would have never heard of them if not for me.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2008 17:19:46 BDT
Ben Faulkner says:
it depends on what sort of bands you like. i personally love The View and the Kaiser Chiefs, but i think mcfly are the worst thing to happen to music since Keith Moon died. so really it doesnt matter of british music is failing, coz there will always be two sides to the arguement.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2008 19:41:12 BDT
Yeah, I know people from other countries who like British music better than their own, so maybe its just one of those things. However from a personal view I think you should look closer to your home. America is producing many great acts at the moment like The National, TV On The Radio, My Morning Jacket and The Shins (amongst many others). Although, they do also have an extraordinary amount of crap like Nickelback.

Ben Faulkner, yes I agree music is a matter of personal taste and I would'nt dare tell you what to like, but can you honestly say that The View and the Kaiser Chiefs are gonna be remembered in 20 years time as anything other than ordinary.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2008 20:20:57 BDT
British music isn't dying and never has. It is just going through a quiet period after the outburst of fresh UK talent 2003-2006. There was a quiet period after the Britpop fall out (something l like to call "The dark days when plastic pop ruled everything".) Musical history loves to repeat itself.

The UK and US music scenes have always stood equal to my mind, neither one is superior or inferior.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2008 01:01:36 BDT
Cake says:
Hi, Mr H
I review loads of unsigned bands am repeatedly amazed at the breadth and depth of talent and passion of Brit performers. There are loads of amazing new sounds bubbling up out there, you just have to go look! Having attended a big European festival this summer it was a joy to get back home for the real thing. Personally, local scenes in small venues are where it's at, big names and signed acts are not the whole deal by any stretch of the imagination.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2008 10:32:15 BDT
Cakeman, beleive me I look!!. As I have already said I think Detroit Social Club could become something special having seen them earlier in the year. Broken Records also show some promise. Beleive me I'm not your typical NME reading fool who just goes by what they say. I travel the breath of the country searching for great new bands, and as you so rightly say, there are some goods ones out there.

However, once many of these bands get placed in a recording studio, with a dull producer (such as Jacknife Lee) they produce a poor album and then disappear. Maybe my main problem isn't actually with the bands as it is with modern production techniques. Maybe the best example (although maybe a little too obvious) is with the Arctic Monkeys, who when I heard their demos seemed really exciting, but come the album sounded as dull as the rest. Honestly, go and compare their sound with Seasick Steve's album and tell me which sounds better.

I would just like to see some more innovators out there, with only M.I.A springing to mind at present, who challenge music again. I listen to bands such as PIL and Swell Maps, and they still seem to come from the future even nearly 30 years after their output. Whereas nowadays we seem stuck in a retro, Stone Roses influenced hole.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2008 18:58:24 BDT
M.G.H.B says:
British music isn't failing, across the genres people are still pushing forwards and building on what has been before. I have to point you in the direction of Oceansize. Not as big here as elsewhere in europe, but a heavier elbow, they are from manchester too. Three albums in and there is nothing better out there, and I look very very hard. Beauty in form of music. People get worried if there aren't enough good new bands on the radio, but the experienced and long forgotten are often still plugging away... just slightly left of the mainstream.

The current of the mainstream is too fast for many bands to last and return every two years... the pressure too high, missed oppurtunity, fragility, excess. Everyone knows this crap. But it doesn't stop bands falling in to the same trap, as countless before them. British music will never fail, if you only listen to what you like, subjectivity is everything and no one is right or wrong in this arguement, regardless of sources, influences or genre. Or something/

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2008 01:05:30 BDT
Cake says:
I deffo agree about the havoc producers wreak on exciting bands. I Was A Cub Scout as another example. I saw them a couple of times very early on but they got well tamed in the studio, painful to see the frantic percussion contribution of Will Bowerman mishandled. On the other hand, a nice surprise were Jonquil who I saw this week (they blew away This Town Needs Guns live) and their CD is a bit too tidy but quite sensitively put together. Also gotta give a shout out the Chip tune tour which I saw recently - no instruments but just Nintendo Gameboys and laptops - but it was amazing - Henry Homesweet you are the man/nerd! Live music is where it's at for me, played to a hundred people or less in a sweaty dive. Yeah this country has a sea of bands but just when you give up hope something special comes along and blows you away and your week is lit up.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2008 14:37:43 BDT
Ben Faulkner says:
to be honest, the view may disapear like like a poor 80s band, but i think the kaisers will do well, a bit like u2, you dont want to like them, but when you hear the new album you always think, damn, they've done it again. however i think mcfly will be remembered and thats really not a good thing. if they just stop playing a poor cover of queens brill dont stop me now, we make take them seriously, its abad song, their a bad band, but we will remember them. so in 20 years, it really wont matter whos remembered, coz anyone will be able to do it

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 17:08:47 BDT
Well the UK rock and indie mainstream has been a very dull place since the early 90s. The fact that people got all sweaty and worked up over pub rock Slade tribute band Oasis is indicative of that. Now we're submerged in a wave of p***poor indie bands who should all be tipped into a simmering volcano. Away from the attention of the inkies and the rest of the meejah there is some good stuff lurking around and about my own particular areas of interest being the ever fine Warp, Tru Thoughts and Ninja Tunes labels.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 17:13:20 BDT
Sera69 says:
Hi Cakeman
--"I review loads of unsigned bands am repeatedly amazed at the breadth and depth of talent and passion of Brit performers. There are loads of amazing new sounds bubbling up out there, you just have to go look!"

Please keep the names coming.
It will save me hours trawling the black holes and dead ends of myspace!


In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 19:00:50 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 16 Nov 2011 14:43:39 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 19:54:49 BDT
TUM says:
British music, at least from the point of the mainstream, is almost without exception, aload of rubbish......want proof? Listen to radio one.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Sep 2008 20:58:39 BDT
Adam Jackson says:
From a purely Metal pov, Judas Priest and Motorhead are still going strong, as well as Iron Maiden but there are no 'new' British hard rock/metal bands that impress me :-(

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2008 14:17:12 BDT
British music is alive and well if you ask me.

Basing any opinion on what goes on in the charts & what gets played on Radio 1 you could definitely say that British music is at a low but music over here is still as relevant as ever.

We are undoubtedly the more pioneering & inventive when it comes to electronic music - think of the most innovative electronic music producers and a vast majority are British.
The folk scene is still burgeoning and we have quite a few heavy bands that easily compete with the Americans, not to mention Led Zep, Sabbath, Maiden etc. who invented metal in the first place.

I'm still proud to be British when it come to music anyhow!
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Discussion in:  rock discussion forum
Participants:  36
Total posts:  55
Initial post:  25 Sep 2008
Latest post:  2 Mar 2011

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