A couple of weeks ago I made a passive-aggressive remark toward the current "scene" of music - that new wave of substance, that for the most part, is already beginning to have its own breathe of "I want to do that!" talent. Like the upward cycle we've been on in the last couple of years, my concrete evidence of the regurgitation and lack of bracing challenge among the punk community is the ramped return of "Recommended If You Like" lines I'm getting in personal messages and press releases all the same. "Hey, I've read reviews saying you like this, this and this band. I know you'll love THIS NEW BAND!" Do you? Or do you know that I'm a cynical asswipe who thinks this new band does sound like those bands that I like - only not good. It's happening. The same thing that pissed me off as a teenager with those stupid stickers that labels would put on CDs to dupe you into buying their newest signings with hopes to turn a buck - I'm really seeing that trend strongly coming back as of late.
While good music will always and does continue to exist and blah blah blah, I agree. What is good and what isn't can be hard at a time like this. We're at the "everyone's on the bandwagon to be genuine" train because it's the hit thing right now. No matter how deep you get into the underground, everyone uses the same tricks as the mainstream uses to get buyers to jump through hoops. It's marketing, and it's genius. You guys made vinyl big again, and because of it, now Hot Topic is cashing in. It's fucking genius. Still, you kind of have to wonder why someone would pay upwards of $300 for a second pressing of Deja Entendu and no one has re-pressed that yet?! The music world is a funny place that way.
I'm getting off track as usual.
Then there are the reunions. Numerous ones at that. Music seems, for the most part, pretty damn good right now. Great bands. Great albums. Great labels. Grand community of self-worth and an overall sense of great leadership from some - but with respected leadership comes blind following. It's not just in the "hardcore" or "punk" scene either. It's everywhere lately. Commercials seem like washed out, forced internet memes to sell a soft drink, and the nostalgia of how cool a Nerf commercial was in its appealing "camp" is room to remember when a band was a band to be a band and how that will never die, but unfortunately it takes time to be recognized by the general public years later.
At the beginning of the month, I was given an advance of Duck. Little Brother Duck!'s Don't Take Our Filth Away. It was captivating from the start. While I could pin down a lot of influences of what the album pulled from, those influences cross a spectrum of bands I would never see on tour together or who probably never even listen to each other respectively. I'm not saying Don't Take Our Filth Away is a game changer, but it's certainly fresh among a sea of "too closed-knit communities" of late. That's where a banner decade can take a turn for the mundane only years later. This is where we experience the final breath of the third wave and the drudge of the fourth through sixth thereafter. Duck. Little Brother Duck!'s full-length showcases dynamics, tempo shifts and enough gang vocals (which sometimes get a bit annoying) to keep some sort of heightened appeal all the way through, even though repeat listens draw on the album's ability to run together just a bit too much. Those aforementioned elements draw an A.D.D. listener like myself to the album's captivating core of "we can do anything here and do it with confidence."
In short, Don't Take Our Filth Away is the first record of 2012 to completely take me by surprise and bring me coming back for more just in the first day. It contains elements of everything I want to continue to see among the young underground today and the older rockers with sharp chops as well. Duck. Little Brother Duck! took me a bit out of some of the boredom of the last few months. My most anticipated records have come out swinging so far this year from bands that already had my attention, but this time the one inbox listen on a whim pulled me away from what I knew I'd enjoy into something exciting from left field. I want more bands to do this to an elitist shit like myself. Don't buy into what's around you, buy into the spirit of what lives inside you. Don't try to be a part of something, make what you're doing the thing to do. It's that sort of confidence that will keep music interesting and lessen the gap of lulls throughout the years.