Arts Desk

Forever Uncool: The March of History Will Never Make These Bands Fashionable


As the '00s have come to a close, a lot of ink has been spilled over the balkanization of the music community. It seems that 10 years ago, trends were a little bit easier to define. You had your metal heads and your bus-gypsies, and indie rock didn't sound all that different from regular rock. But new technologies—blogs, file-sharing, iPods, etc.—have changed the way new music is discovered and made genre labels a lot more hyphen-heavy. Now you have your Afro-indie, shit-gaze, and Baltic-punk, to name a few. For the most part, this is considered a good thing. Other folks aren't so sure. According to über-producer Brian Eno, we're living through the "death of uncool."

Writing for Prospect Magazine in November, Eno had this to say:

We’re living in a stylistic tropics. There’s a whole generation of people able to access almost anything from almost anywhere, and they don’t have the same localised stylistic sense that my generation grew up with. It’s all alive, all “now,” in an ever-expanding present, be it Hildegard of Bingen or a Bollywood soundtrack. The idea that something is uncool because it’s old or foreign has left the collective consciousness.

In a broad sense, I think this is true. Nobody is blowing up disco records anymore.

But I wouldn't say that "uncool" is totally dead, at least in music. Some band and styles will always be too taboo, too leprous, or just too damn nerdy to be fully reabsorbed into any micro-scene, no matter how desperate.

A few of my picks after the jump:

Fields of The Nephilim:

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Hooch – Everything

The Rippingtons:

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  • MN

    I think you could even stretch these into subgenres of uncool:

    * Post-Beck Alt Bands of the '90s (ie Everything, Bran Van 3000, Smashmouth)

    * Bands who advertise in Jazz Times, but are not actually reviewed (Rippingtons etc)

    * Anyone who has played a Republican Convention/Inaugeration (Ricky Martin, etc)

  • Vel

    Where's the rest of the article? It goes as far as "A few of my picks after the jump:" Then there's the 2 videos but nothing else...whah?