Lately I’ve stumbled across an oddly appealing kind of music that’s completely new to me, mainly because it’s totally radio unfriendly. It’s a genre I would describe of as anti-pop; it’s full of orchestral arrangements, odd mixes of instruments, and completely atypical song structures. Sometimes there’s singing, sometimes there’s not, sometimes there’s a chorus, sometimes there’s not. There’s a lot of distortion and just plain weirdness.
I think the music revolution that we’re just beginning to experience will most help bands like this. Thanks to their radio unfriendliness, bands like this usually don’t have a chance at mainstream success (and they probably don’t want mainstream success, or they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing).
All of three of the anti-pop bands that I’ve heard of (I’m sure there’s more out there, I’m just uninformed and unwilling to sample new songs on a 28.8 connection) I discovered through the Internet. One was mentioned in a friend’s blog. Another had a funky animated video linked on a web site. And the third appeared in a VW/Apple TV commercial, and I discovered the band’s name not in the commercial, but by e-mailing a friend who was able to freeze-frame the commercial online and decipher the band’s name. Not only did I first hear about all three of these bands through the Internet, but I was able to further explore all three bands online. This is the musical revolution. I’ve yet to buy any of these albums (mainly because I’m poor and unemployed), but I’m very tempted.
Flaming Lips is the next band I heard of, thanks to a friend’s iPod list. It seemed a little too funky for me, but still very intriguing. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is their latest album, and with a title like that you know it’s funky.
The Polyphonic Spree is the band I heard about today. They’re the band behind the song “Section 9: Light & Day” that plays during the VW/Apple “Pods Unite” commercial. This band is so anti-pop they consist of 22 members and perform in white robes. Their latest album is Beginning Stages Of… .
And did I mention that all three of these bands have amazing websites? Funky, whacked, and crazy — but beautiful. I’m sure other anti-pop bands are out there (VW’s “Pods Unite” site hosts a number of mp3s that my connection is too slow to bother downloading), just waiting for you to get lost. Welcome to the music revolution.