Friday, November 27, 2009
Shitgaze: The Rare Indie Rock Subgenre That Actually Is What It Says It Is
This idiot is why cocaine is bad, kids.
The only thing about indie rock more disappointing than its music is its labels. Inventing some nonsense term like "blipcore" or "nu-jungle" or whatever to describe indescribably odd music is so facile that the labels aren't even relevant. I got to the point where I could speak these terms (sort of) by realizing that you basically just smush words together in some vivid-sounding manner depending on how you feel. It's basically a bunch of arrogant crap. It's a rare pleasure to encounter a classification that actually works, that isn't just the verbal equivalent of "you got chocolate in my peanut butter."
A few minutes ago, while reading an excellent write-up of highly recommended 1000 Times Yes reviewer Christopher R. Weingarten, I was introduced to a word so fantastic that I felt compelled to share. It even gets its own paragraph. Behold:
Holy hell, is that a fantastic term. In a sea of names whose sounds are better than their meanings, I believe this is the most accurate that I've ever come across. Every single band that qualifies as shitgaze is, in fact, very shitty! No Age? Sucks! Vivian Girls? Unlistenable! WAVVES? Goes without saying! Combine "shit" with the evocatively deprecatory -gaze suffix, and you've got maybe the biggest face-forward diss possible. It would be like inventing a subgenre for Animal Collective and Neon Indian and stuff called "overratedgaze" or "waste of fucking timegaze," and then having the label stick. I can't imagine what I'd do if that happened. [Ed. note: not true; what would happen is I would get an erection.]
Anyway, shitgaze calls out the vast majority of the laziest, most unfairly overexposed indie acts on the planet, the bands that can't help but appear in my worst-of lists. It's a real thing, and it's awesome. Sure, many of these bands could adopt the term ironically, or as a compliment, but I prefer to pretend that it's nothing but an insult. I hate the music, but I love the word. My day is better thanks to shitgaze. So there.