“They’re all just voices on legs”
I tried to submit this post from the Guardian’s New Band of the Day column to gazingmales a while back but I guess it isn’t quite the right kind of gross to fit there, that quote up there aside. So I’ll just have to post myself about how much it pissed me off. Not least because I didn’t have to go out of my way to find it - it’s a column that I read regularly and generally like, and is where I first heard of Niki & the Dove and Exitmusic among others.
I won’t even say anything about the way that it gives all of the credit for the quality of Yuna’s songs to the (male) producer since I don’t know enough about her to get into arguing about the writing process, though I rather suspect that Paul Lester doesn’t know either.
No, I’ll just go with the first two paragraphs:
We were always a bit uncomfortable with the term “landfill indie” because we felt it was just a convenient way for journalists to get out of the tedious business of having to listen to a new band closely. Why bother when you could, metaphorically speaking, just toss them in the dumper? Trouble was, those indie outfits, like any acts speciously grouped together, had, on closer inspection, less in common than was first supposed.
That said, we can sort of see how easy it is to be confused into coming up with a catch-all by an avalanche of vaguely similar-sounding stuff, because we’re having that problem right now with all the female singers currently lining up to be written about. We know they’re all operating in different genres, but we’re struggling to find anything sufficiently striking or original to warrant 600 words of hyperbole in the work of Lulu James, Elle King, Little Nikki, Purple Ferdinand, even Lucy Rose who we appreciate is getting loads of YouTube action and approbation from all the right places. They’re all just voices on legs.
Yes, he knows that they are all in different genres BUT GOES AHEAD AND CONFLATES THEM ANYWAY. I know two of the names mentioned - Little Nikki does energetic dance pop and Lucy Rose does lush folk-leaning indie; there’s very little in common in their voices either.
It makes it even worse that it comes after a paragraph defending the diversity of landfill indie, a phrase coined to describe a scene of bands that actually did share influences and sound to a great degree and that, you know, were almost exclusively male.