Friday, February 20, 2009

The questions nobody else is asking this week

All the same, a few things that have been prying on our musical mind.

Is metal really going to make a comeback?
Now, before Justin Hawkins starts jumping up and down frantically gesticulating at his hair, two points, neither of which are "nobody cares about Hot Leg". The Darkness were an interesting case for two reasons: a) they arrived, became massive within two singles, won three Brits, then were as good as over by the second single from the second album, and b) perhaps because the labels were cautious as to how serious this actually was nobody saw it as an opportunity to foist more heavy rock bands on the public. Towers Of London came from something else, Do Me Bad Things didn't have the guts to carry off the whole deal, Tokyo Dragons never took off, Three Inches Of Blood actually signed to Must Destroy and toured with The Darkness but neither could carry it through into

something sellable. But now look. Some of the press made an attempt to cast this year's Brits as a haven of metal because AC/DC and Iron Maiden received cursory nominations for doing pretty much what they've been doing for the previous twenty years, but now Def Leppard and Whitesnake are playing Download, Judas Priest are touring arenas with Megadeth supporting, Guitar Hero is bringing solo wankery to the masses and the dual stigmas of nu-metal idiocy and yoof TV presenters in Top Shop Motorhead T-shirts has been cast to recent history. It's always been the great underground rock culture, it just required fashion to come back around. To be fair, the new bands aren't yet making themselves known - Trivium might, Mastodon have an album coming, Architects can keep up the British leg - but we suspect it's only a matter of time. Don't sleep.

What's to be done with The Saturdays?
Una! Mollie! Frankie! Vanessa! Rochelle! It's not even happening name-wise, is it? The Saturdays so far are in an odd position, hardly helped by that name. Their album had sold 141,000 copies the last time anyone counted, they've had two top five singles, Lily Allen and Emma Bunton are professed fans, but breaking through as a mainstream name just isn't happening yet, despite getting the Comic Relief single - and yes, it's a lumpen synths'n'flesh cover that everyone will conveniently forget ever happened when the comedy single comes along, cf. McFly's All About You wilting in the Amarillo heat (this year: Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon with Tom Jones. Do you see what they've done there?) They've got the modernist production style, but Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, who let's face it are one and two in this current field of three, are tied in with all that already, and they're linked to bigger names than the six credited with working on their album. They're on the same label as Girls Aloud, Fascination Records, which obviously led many to assume that Girls Aloud were on their way out so Cheryl could continue building on her own career in whatever her own career is this week. But Girls Aloud have just publicly signed for three more albums starting next year. They're huge among the poptimists, but so is Annie. They've had appearing-as-self TV placements, but no further than that thing based on Greek mythology on Saturday lunchtime BBC2 and Hollyoaks Later, which nobody's watching for the guest appearances. But they're on the cover of FHM! Oh, is it 1999 again? What this all covers is they've not had that one big radio-colonising song yet, and you wonder about their future if the label think the Girls Aloud bandwagon has scope to expand even further.

Is landfill indie really all over?
White Lies being taken seriously? The Rifles in the album chart top 30? WTF?

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