Over the past few weeks Iíve spotted a few articles online stating guitar music is on the decline, and you know what? Itís a big fat fucking lie!
It annoys me that publications like The Guardian tend to assume that because guitar-based bands arenít selling tons of records, theyíre on the decline. Admittedly rock music and itís several thousands of sub-genres isnít setting the charts alight; especially the singles charts (but who buys singles these days anyway besides the general commercial radio listener.) Whilst the album charts is in a similar position, although this weekís Top 10 includes releases from Kasabian, The Vaccines, and Noel Gallagherís High Flying Birds, and Enter Shikari are current at number 1 in the midweek chart.
Although sales of guitar bands isnít brilliant, I think articles like the Guardianís and comments Kaiser Chiefsí Nick Hodgson tend to forget guitar bands are doing better in the live music market.
Like I said in a similar article on Alter The Press last year, the number of festivals is vast; although last year some suffered and were ultimately cancelled, but nevertheless the sheer range of festivals in the UK alone shows that guitar music is alive. Whilst a quick look at any venue or ticket websites shows there are a range of bands touring, often multiple times a year.
Away from the live music area, guitar bands are still receiving airplay on daytime radio; at present The Black Keys and Twin Atlantic are on BBC Radio Oneís daytime A-List, whilst Pulled Apart by Horses and Band of Skulls are on rotation.
So there you have it; guitar bands are still selling records, still touring, and still receiving airplay.
Is guitar music dead? No youíre just tied up in hyping the likes of Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran to take any notice.
Last week a British newspaper, The Guardian, released an article that claimed rock was dead, after statistics revealed that only three "rock" singles made the top 100 best-selling singles of 2010. What followed next was a poorly researched piece, where the writer suggested that the major stadium rock act; in case the example used was Bon Jovi, would not be around for much longer and that "Promoters are panicking" because of this. Whilst the three "rock" singles were Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin'', 'Hey, Soul Sister' by Train and 'Dog Days are Over' by Florence + the Machine; three tracks that are in my opinion more pop then rock.
I'll admit rock music as a whole isn't as "mainstream" as it was but to declare it "dead" is plainly ridiculous. Yes single sales are down, but in reality how influential and important is the single format in the digital age? For many bands I would think not much. Of course album sales do play a part in declaring a bands success but so does ticket sales, and from a fans perspective the live music sector is rather strong at the moment, with more bands touring more often and more festivals springing year after year.
In addition claiming that the era of the stadium rock band is over is terribly wrong, just look at the likes of Muse, Foo Fighters and Green Day who in the last few years have held major stadium shows on their own. On top of that rock/alternative music make up a large proportion of the UK festival market, with Leeds and Reading, Download, Sonisphere and even the Slam Dunk Festival growing on a yearly basis.
Whilst the UK "underground" scene is incredibly strong and thriving, with endless bands to be excited about. Most notably bands such as We Are The Ocean, Architects, Lower Than Atlantis and Blitz Kids have been tipped for bigger things in various circles, including this very site. Some UK bands are even breaking through into the "mainstream" for example You Me At Six and Young Guns; both have been given regular national radio airplay.
Add to that the fact that numerous UK bands are making themselves known across the Atlantic; Bring Me The Horizon and You Me At Six have been involved with major North American tours, whilst the likes of Gallows and The Blackout have played the Warped Tour in recent years. Whereas Epitaph Records, a major US independent label in recent times, have highlighted the growth of independent British rock, with Bring Me The Horizon and Frank Turner making a strong impact on the label, whilst up and coming punk band, Sharks recently joined up with Rise Records to form their own label.
Some maybe wondering, "if rock is still going strong, why aren't the figures showing this?" The internet maybe an easy target to blame for the downfall in both singles and album sales, but it has brought out positives. As previously stated more bands are touring; although some don't have a long shelf life, thanks to the online methods such as social networking, blogs, webzines etc, bands have been given the opportunity to be given more exposure. The knock on affect is clear to see, more tours, more festivals and more bands getting heard. Whilst as a fan and a writer it is hard to work your way through the good and the bad, on the whole its a fact that British alternative music is thriving.
Whilst some newspapers/publications are still waiting for the new Arctic Monkeys or Oasis (as much as I have a soft spot for Brother, they're more or less a poor intimation of classic Oasis,) and at the same time hyping up the latest series of the glorified karaoke contest that is (the) X-Factor, those who are fans of rock and alternative music in general and are willing to delve beyond "the mainstream" know and realise that rock isn't dead. Its a genre that will never die. It's been here for a long time and whilst the growth of hip-hop, rap, dubstep and other genres are currently making the bulk of said mainstream, declaring rock dead is a terribly foolish mistake. A stupid as it may sound but "Long Live Rock".
Whilst sitting in Starbucks today whilst flicking through the new issue of Rock Sound and not paying much attention. The above image suddenly caught my attention.
ALTER THE PRESS! IS MENTIONED IN ROCK SOUND MAGAZINE
I know I say print is dying but for a website like ours, this is a big(ish) deal for us, as it is a magazine with Nationwide distribution (and maybe more). In addition to this, it is alongside establish names like Kerrang!, Rock Sound, Big Cheese, Punktastic and Spin in a printed publication, which by many is still considered more influential and important that online press.
So go and buy Rock Sound (because the brilliant Futures album is included for free with it) and go and buy Person Lís ďThe PositivesĒ because itís ďa wonderful albumĒ.
You buy a book and you can never be bothered to finish it?
A few months ago I came across a book called 'Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo' which is written by Andy Greenwald and published in 2003. It basically tells the story of how "emo" music has evolved and developed from it's origins to it's mainstream state in summer 2003.
It documents band's such as Minor Threat and Rites Of Spring to 90's band such as Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate and The Promise Ring (who have an album which the book is named after) to major 2003 bands, Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional, which is heavily featured in the book, as it was the period in which Dashboard Confessional brokethrough to the mainstream.
So why havn't I finished it? Well I've got to the point where Greenwald has joined Dashboard Confessional on their US supporting, I might be wrong but I think they were supporting Weezer on this tour. But anyway I've got to the point where the book is dragging and I just don't feel like reading it, even though I should really finish it. What's the point buying a book and not finishing it?
Oh well. I'll put it on my to do list.
However the book has introduced to some good bands such as Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring, Mineral, Texas Is The Reason and Jets To Brazil.