The Lumineers. "How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can't even trust his own pants."
Capitol Hill Block Party is this weekend, and while there's plenty of good to celebrate in this year's line-up (which we'll get to later this week), I wanted to kick off a series of preview posts with, what else, a gripe. Up at the top of the CHBP line-up, you have two shining paragons of two awful, over-saturated, and ultimately retrogressive trends: vintage-style soul and indie folk. I am so, so tired of them both. Representing the former are LA's Fitz and the Tantrums, the latest retro soul revue to serve up comforting, white-washed takes on the classic Motown sound (we'll leave Allen Stone out of this, cuz local boy done good and all). For the latter we have Denver trio the Lumineers, a fedora-and-suspenders busking disaster gone big-time thanks to the sort of breezy innocuousness that offends no one while accomplishing absolutely nothing of interest. So, obviously, these are both terrible, creatively bankrupt bands, cashing in on trends which should have reasonably died out years ago--say, with Jamie Lidell and Devendra Banhart--but which is worse?
Let's cut to the tape to find out...
I died of boredom. Tie!
Or, look, I like the computer music, sure, but I'm no futurist. I don't think music necessarily needs to be formally or stylistically "innovative" to be good; all music draws on what has come before to some degree or another--even music that makes a radical break with history still acknowledges it to do so. And above all: a good song is a good song is a good song. But this stuff is not only deeply Retromaniacal and rote to the point of hilarity, but, worse, just face-numbingly dull. Call it further proof of what you might term the McDonald's rule--that popularity remains no great indicator of quality--and then go watch (equally popular?) Grimes or Major Lazer or something, because even joke dance-hall and keyboard pre-set electro-pop buries this claptrap.