One of the few funny things the hipster internet outside of Carles HRO has ever come up with is the concept of “hipster garabe”. It has its roots on last.fm, where somebody with hardly functional English left the comment “his music the hipster garabe i ever heard” on the Aphex Twin bio page. Fans of hipster garabe, if you can pin them down before the mise en abyme “I’m-not-a-hipster-but-he/she-is” claims recede into infinity, have adopted the term as their own.
Hipster garabe is the Venn diagram encompassing all hipster music from 2009’s chillwave scene to Hijokaidan shitting everywhere to Animal Collective banging a trolley to the woos in Wavves and the ohs in Xiu Xiu. It’s not really negative any more, it’s just a descriptor. Hipster music.
But sometimes it can be negative. Like for example when you want to trash something as utterly substanceless, pretentious wank. And/or when you want to review a Crocodiles show.
I didn’t really listen to Crocodiles properly before I decided to go see them. I just knew I hadn’t been to a Skinny Wolves that didn’t involve soundchecking, drinking free beer and staring at my keyboard in a couple of months. I remembered hearing some positive stuff about them in the chaff of my Google Reader stream. And the songs I heard were passable, if a little bit derivative. Plus Wounds were supporting. So why not go?
Here are some reasons not to have gone:
– Crocodiles are often linked to Jesus and Mary Chain. This is because they approximate the Jesus and Mary Chain with every inch of their musical existence, including distinctive guitar sound, lazy singing style and massive reverb-snare.
– Crocodiles are often linked to the Velvet Underground. This is because they dress like the Velvet Underground. Not so much influenced by their fashion, I’d say, as that they found their way to Whelans after being diverted from a fancy dress party dressed as Lou Reed (both of them).
– They only played five or six songs.
– Two guys wearing sunglasses indoors at a venue as small as the upstairs of Whelans and playing to drum machine tracks are always going to have trouble following Wounds.
Speaking of Wounds, Wounds are great. They’ve dug out a niche of their own in the Irish scene, playing with anybody and everybody who asks and gradually honing their Liarsy drone punk thing into an undeniable sound. Plus, with the singer and guitarist both doing the whole show off the stage in front of the crowd/in the crowd/on top of the crowd, you’re not going to leave a Wounds gig without a fairly solid opinion of the band you just saw.
My fairly solid opinion: hugely positive. Their energy is not only infectious but really refreshing, just seeing a band who stand honestly and sincerely 100% behind their face-shredding noise music and bring that certainty to the live show. No raised eyebrows here. They’re gonna have a 7″ out in October on Fierce Panda, rumour has it, but until then you should really try to get out and see them.
I honestly wouldn’t envy any band in the world who tried to follow Wounds. Unless you’re actually Minor Threat or something, it’s going to be nearly impossible to match them for volume and energy, and if you drop either of those off, you’re always going to come off a bit tame.
That happened to Crocodiles last night, but to honest they were tame anyway. They have some decent, listenable songs, particularly I Wanna Kill, but there is a repulsively raised-eyebrow pretentiousness to them that really put me off.
Also, what’s the story with sunglasses-wearing bands doing tiny sets? Crystal Castles in Kennedys in 2007 when they were at the exact same hype-stage as Crocodiles did about six songs. Crocodiles did about six songs. You’re after spending money to get here and spending money to stay here, why the hell don’t you make it worthwhile?
Anyway, despite the excellent showing by Wounds, I’m going to have to bust out the rarely used minus rating here.