Finding new music on the internet
November 17, 2005 2:25 AM   Subscribe

Is the 'next big thing' lurking somewhere on the internet?
After the phenomenal, internet-based success of the Artic Monkeys, record companies are scouring the internets for new talent. But who will make it big? Will it be Goblin Cock, Unicorn Love or my current favourite, Jeremy Walmsley?
posted by johnny novak (63 comments total)

 
Definitely Goblin Cock. Definitely.
posted by grouse at 4:02 AM on November 17, 2005


It's funny that the author of the Guardian article mentioned above, Alexis Petridis, is such a music snob that he once wrote a whole feature for G2 on his sickeningly saccharine fan-boy love for Kraftwerk, and yet he doesn't realise the connection between Goblin Cock and the wonderful, not-really-obscure (and not at all metal) Pinback, even though it's mentioned in the first sentence of the Pitchfork review. Sigh.
posted by macdara at 4:16 AM on November 17, 2005


macdara, the difference is Kraftwerk are a seminal band who influenced thousands of musicians whereas Pinback are a second-tier indie rock band who most people have never heard of. So who is the snob here?
posted by dydecker at 4:30 AM on November 17, 2005


Nuts to that, MC Frontalot will be the next new thing. You heard it hear first.
posted by shmegegge at 4:54 AM on November 17, 2005


"I can't imagine a record label signing a band who didn't have a presence on myspace," notes [hideous overgrown child and editor of the NME, Conor] McNicholas

More fool them, then.
posted by Grangousier at 4:58 AM on November 17, 2005


I would just like to also point to this BBC article, on musicblogs, for two reasons:

1) I like very much how it understands that you can't speak of "the internet" and what "the internet" has done, because the Net's got such a huge abundance of communities, opinions and memes. "The internet" didn't make the Arctic Monkeys, but fans of the Monkeys, using the Internet, and the Arctic Monkeys themselves, transmitting music over the internet, did.

2) Because it quotes me!
posted by Marquis at 5:12 AM on November 17, 2005


Love the site Marquis, particular fan of the Michelle McAdorey stuff, just posted.
posted by johnny novak at 5:28 AM on November 17, 2005


Oh! Marquis is Sean from Said the Grammaphone! (I see you more on ILX).
posted by klangklangston at 5:36 AM on November 17, 2005


But who will make it big? Will it be Goblin Cock, Unicorn Love or my current favourite, Jeremy Walmsley?

How about none of them?

In a perfect world, anyhow.
posted by jimmy at 5:47 AM on November 17, 2005


in a perfect world people would know what a rhetorical question is, but we can't have everything can we...
posted by johnny novak at 6:09 AM on November 17, 2005


How dare you bring Kraftwerk in to this!
posted by phrontist at 6:19 AM on November 17, 2005


Isn't the point of the internet that it doesn't matter who "makes it big next"?
posted by FieldingGoodney at 6:23 AM on November 17, 2005


In a perfect world FPPs wouldn't consist of articles from the Guardian padded out with links mostly from said article, but we can't have everything can we?
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 6:24 AM on November 17, 2005


in a perfect world people would know what a rhetorical question is, but we can't have everything can we...

No.
posted by jimmy at 6:25 AM on November 17, 2005


in a perfect world people like dhfs would actually post links to the front page
posted by johnny novak at 6:26 AM on November 17, 2005


It's funny that I've never even HEARD of the Arctic Monkeys, yet they managed to top the UK charts with their album release. WTF. Apparently I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what
I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. :)
posted by antifuse at 7:08 AM on November 17, 2005


Sorry, they topped the UK *singles* charts. I have no idea how they did with their album.
posted by antifuse at 7:09 AM on November 17, 2005


in a perfect world people like dhfs would actually post links to the front page

but we can't have everything can we...
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 7:10 AM on November 17, 2005


Artic Who?

Have I not heard of them for not being British, or am I just walking around here in the U.S. musically ignorant?
posted by Atreides at 7:17 AM on November 17, 2005


In a perfect world you wouldn't try to foist your shitty taste in music on us.

Maybe you should stop playing the "perfect world" game before I get all Candide on your ass.
posted by klangklangston at 7:30 AM on November 17, 2005


Gogol Bordello will be the next big thing.
posted by mike3k at 7:32 AM on November 17, 2005


I'll say this:
Being from a small, geographically isolated redneck city, the only attention my band has ever garnered was a result of our music being on the web.
posted by Quartermass at 7:40 AM on November 17, 2005


"I can't imagine a record label signing a band who didn't have a presence on myspace," notes

The person in charge of my current band* kept being asked why we don't have a myspace page, he would half-jokingly reply "we have a real website." Plus, as a form record label intern, he felt sorry for whoever had to put together bands like Weezer's pages. Though for our band, the victorian internet would be far more appropriate.
posted by dial-tone at 7:44 AM on November 17, 2005


Have I not heard of them for not being British, or am I just walking around here in the U.S. musically ignorant?

Well, I'm in Ireland, and I have two roommates who are into that whole "Myspace band pages" scene, and I've still never heard of them. And I listen to the radio, which is theoretically playing "Top 40", all the way to and from work every day. Hrmph.
posted by antifuse at 7:55 AM on November 17, 2005


Now, what
I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.


welcome to adulthood. :)
posted by quonsar at 8:03 AM on November 17, 2005


I'm not sure if there CAN be a next big thing anymore - in the sense of something that becomes hugely popular and captivates everyone. Music only has life or death significance to teens and adolescents, who are are no longer the net's dominant demographic (i.e. retailers finally clued in that they don't actually BUY things, therefore they are of no importance) for the rest of us grownups, music is like clothing or furniture. It doesn't really make any sense to talk about the "next big thing" when music isn't really a "big thing" to start with.
posted by slatternus at 8:05 AM on November 17, 2005


Sorry kids, show's over.

THESE GENTLEMENS WILL BE TAKING THE INTERNETS BY STORM.

Thank you.


posted by stenseng at 8:39 AM on November 17, 2005



posted by wakko at 8:49 AM on November 17, 2005


Sorry kids, show's over.

THESE GENTLEMENS WILL BE TAKING THE INTERNETS BY STORM.

Thank you.


Hmmm. Peppermint Patty hair, wide belt with the hip huggers, "vintage" (reissue) equipment. Yep! As soon as I'm done listening to the other 37,000,000 bands with the same schtick, I'll give them a try.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:56 AM on November 17, 2005


Fuck Ratatat and all your haircut bands.

I wish wish wish that Slatternus was right, but I doubt it. The "Next Big Thing" is a creation of people who sell music and own media properties. That there is a whole level of bloggers willing to fellate whatever flavor of disposable music is pushed at them helps generate the feeling of a "next big thing" even if that NBT doesn't actually go anywhere. I mean, Christ, we're a country of 300 million, and selling 1 million albums is a HUGE accomplishment. There's never going to be a Thriller again, though there will be plenty of White Stripes, Strokes, Arcade Fires and Test Icicles, regardless of the quality.
posted by klangklangston at 8:59 AM on November 17, 2005


why not us?
posted by willns at 9:04 AM on November 17, 2005


Because aside from the Autechre/Squarepusher background, you guys sound like a million other bands right now?
posted by klangklangston at 9:15 AM on November 17, 2005


mmmm....Test Icicles...

Ratatat has one of the shittiest live shows I've ever seen.
posted by hototogisu at 9:16 AM on November 17, 2005


But Ratatat make some great music. Heaps loads better than any of the bands mentioned in the FPP.

Just wait until The Appleseed Cast releases their new album come April...my God it's going to change the landscape of music.
posted by Mach3avelli at 9:41 AM on November 17, 2005


just like the fab four did, huh?
posted by quonsar at 9:50 AM on November 17, 2005


macdara, the difference is Kraftwerk are a seminal band who influenced thousands of musicians whereas Pinback are a second-tier indie rock band who most people have never heard of. So who is the snob here?

Well I wasn't making a value judgement. I was simply pointing out the inconsistency of being a music critic who has a fetishistic love of Kraftwerk (I mean, what's not fetishistic about writing an article about a fan-boy trip to Germany searching for their secret studio?) and not knowing who Pinback are. Whether Pinback are 'second-tier' or not is beside the point, but if you want to be snobby about it, by all means go ahead.
posted by macdara at 10:19 AM on November 17, 2005


johnny novak - thanks! carl wilson is a marvel.

klangklangston - hi! who are you?

As for the people who haven't heard (of) the Monkeys... They've been all over the british music rags, and on the radio a lot, with their first single. If you don't ever see the cover of NME or follow the charts, though, (or if you live outside the UK) it's not surprising that you haven't heard of them: the album's not been released yet, and it's been a slow-blooming, almost viral thing. But the band is selling out really big venues across Britain, certainly selling more tix than, say, the Decemberists.
posted by Marquis at 10:45 AM on November 17, 2005


What's that you say? The British music press is hyping a heretofore unknown indie rock band??? Hold on while I fetch my credit card....

/ nothing against the Arctic Monkeys in particular, as I haven't heard a note

/ old enough to remember the issue of NME declaring Gay Dad to be the Next Big Thing
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2005


As soon as Lo-Fi stream-of-consciousness weirdness becomes mega-popular, my band Miracle Beard is primed for success! Top 40, here we come!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:24 AM on November 17, 2005


See, this is why IP banning is a bad idea:
The fan forum of the official Libertines website doesn't want to know. When I try to access it, a message flashes up: "You have been banned from this forum." This seems a bit much, considering I've never been there before.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:44 AM on November 17, 2005


I'm js over there. I would be here too if paypal hadn't fuxxored my signup. I have a crappy music blog and a mediocre to decent local music column in a free rag around here.
Strangely enough, I seem to provoke ire from strangers whether on the internet or in print...
posted by klangklangston at 11:49 AM on November 17, 2005


No, it's going to be THIS band.

Although, if Gogol Bordello were to become huge I'd be incredibly happy, as well. They know what's up.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:33 PM on November 17, 2005


Petridis (like many here) often writes rubbish just to get a reaction, although Kraftwerk are worthy of praise, hunkered down in their klangklang-klingkong studio... playing with their damn bikes instead of churning out some new tunes...
posted by Blip at 1:01 PM on November 17, 2005


I didn't think the Arctic Monkeys were all that obscure, seeing as Steve Lamaq on BBC 6 has been playing the hell out of You Look Good on the Dancefloor for what feels like months. The interesting thing about the story is that perhaps the connection between "offering music for download on your site = sharing/word of mouth/transmission = intangible cultural wealth in the form of attention = genuine wealth in the form of sales" might become more evident.
posted by jokeefe at 1:02 PM on November 17, 2005


Oh and the whole British music press "We Eat Our Young" thing is really squicky. Don't even get me started on The Libertines and what happened there.... such a fine and brilliant young band, and so unprepared for it all.
posted by jokeefe at 1:05 PM on November 17, 2005


Erm, that's I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. Hasn't really found a place in my heart, as you can tell.
posted by jokeefe at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2005


can everyone shut their pretentious, hipper-than-thou, nonsense spewing maws long enough to come to terms with the fact that circus contraption is undoubtedly "the next big thing"?
posted by punch_the_mayor at 1:49 PM on November 17, 2005


i think we are the next big thing...but that's just me...
posted by RockPaperScissors at 1:56 PM on November 17, 2005


In reference to Gogol Bordello, I have to say that just got out of a walking boot I had to wear because I jumped around so much at their show that I messed up a tendon. They're so good it's physically damaging.
posted by lunalaguna at 2:07 PM on November 17, 2005


Fuck you guys, Derailleur's going to be the next big thing and that is that.
posted by COBRA! at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2005


klangklangston, because your post was in the form of a (snarky) question, i'll offer up my answer. so, i don't think we sound like "a million other bands," and i'd guess most would agree. i'd agree that we borrow heavily from the squarepusher/autechre types, although i think i might owe much of the $7 in profits from our wonderul CD to mr. richard d. james. fwiw, i would have accepted the similarly tired but slightly more accurate critiques, "tim kinsella sucks," "that's so formulaic," or "you guys suck."
posted by willns at 2:23 PM on November 17, 2005


Goblin Cock = 6.5. Not what I expected at all, but not bad.

Unicorn Love = 0. All songs 404.

Jeremy Walmsley = 7.5. Pretty good. dEUS meets Postal Service, but speak up, son.

why not us?
posted by willns


I wasn't going to be as snarky as klangklangston ... until I saw you stole the cover image from a Crying of Lot 49 paperback. C'mon. The music is OK, but pretty rough.

All first impressions, of course.

More hooks, please!

(I hardly think music on the internets is "bleeding edge" anymore.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:33 PM on November 17, 2005


all excellent UK bands, likely to stand a chance of hitting it big and giving in to "the man"

bromheads jacket [mp3]

the bridge gang [mp3]

The Playwrights [mp3]
posted by takeyourmedicine at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2005


mrgrimm, sure there aren't any hooks. but what does one have to do to earn the right to use the lot 49 image? the radiohead fan club is called WASTE i think. is that OK? i suspect you think it's pretentious. to that i can say i am in no way suggesting the quality of our music approaches that of mr. pynchon's writing. but C'MON yourself, that's a great image, i mean a GREAT IMAGE, and to the vast majority of the world who don't know about that paperback, it's just a real cool image of a girl dancing, and that's it. have some fun man.
posted by willns at 8:24 PM on November 17, 2005


macdara, I wouldn't know if Pinback are second tier or tenth tier because I've never heard of them. Which doubtless Petridis hasn't either. Which is why he doesn't mention them.

I think you're overestimating the importance of indie rock in the scheme of things.
posted by dydecker at 8:29 PM on November 17, 2005


mmmm....Test Icicles...

Ratatat has one of the shittiest live shows I've ever seen.
posted by hototogisu at 9:16 AM PST on November 17 [!]


Interesting. I've had the pleasure of seeing them open twice for Interpol and thought it was, infact, one of the best live shows I'd ever seen.
posted by nonmerci at 8:41 PM on November 17, 2005


it is IMPOSSIBLE to overestimate the importance of indie rock in the scheme of things. indie rock is, pure and simple, the answer. it's why the internet exists. it's the cure for stupidity and religious fundamentalism. that, and you can dance to it. or, you can just stand there with your arms crossed and kind of rock back and forth.
posted by ab3 at 8:43 PM on November 17, 2005


ab3: And The Shins will change your life.

Willns: I know you're going to be defensive about your band, and that's fine. Do you want me to be less dismissive? Your vocalist's range seems limited and he doesn't use that well. The mp3s evidence no real depth in recording, with the mix coming across as flat. The glitchiness in the background is what interests me and sets you apart to my ear; the rest could be any number of bands with good haircuts and mediocre songs. You're working in the pop form, so you do have to have some good hooks, even if they're non-traditional, and the programming could help with that. But at the moment, it's too busy and doesn't seem to serve any real purpose. If the goal is to make it sound cool, isolate it more and mix the vocals down further. The lyrics aren't particularly good, so you don't need to call attention to them (especially not by repeating phrases without, again, a hook there).
The rudiments of a good band are there, but by setting yourself up as a contender for "Next Big Thing" you have to be able to answer "why?" I don't think that your band can, and I've heard a LOT of bands that are at your current level of accumen.
I'd work on cleaning up your sound, simplifying your mix, and either getting a new singer with more of an identity or pushing the range of your current singer. If they're going to compete with the electronics behind them, they're going to need more distinction.

That said, Taproot got big without my support (big enough to fuck over Fred Durst), and Tally Hall is a local band that's been on MTV that's not too far away from your sound, while the local bands that I champion are still just local cult favorites, proving that not only are my tastes not a good barometer of what will become popular but also that I have no real ability to influence greater culture anyway.
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 PM on November 17, 2005


It's funny that I've never even HEARD of the Arctic Monkeys, yet they managed to top the UK charts with their album release. WTF.

That's the whole deal, though. The internet reaches everyone who's interested in the band in ways that popular media only used to be able to with massive amounts of promotional money. In a mass media environment, a band can't open big unless everyone's heard of them. In a long tail environment like the internet, they can open big if they successfully reach their audience, no matter the size of the niche, without ever rising above the mass media water level.

Whether they're good or not is, of course, beside the point.
posted by dhartung at 11:08 PM on November 17, 2005


The other interesting thing about the rise of the internet in bringing bands to record companies' attention is whether it also encourages short-lived, ephemeral success. When companies had to invest huge amounts in bands to promote them, there was an incentive to keep any that were successful on for a few albums. Now there is an alternative source of unsigned bands - you don't even have to go and hang out in a scuzzy pub or wade through thousands of demo tapes to find them, you can just sit at home and surf the net - and I'm sure there must be a temptation to drop "the next big thing" as soon as the profits start to look a bit dodgy, and move on to "the next next big thing". So artists may not get the chance to develop much beyond a first album. For instance it will be interesting to see if the Arctic Monkeys make it to a second album, or even if their second or third singles do as well. Everyone will be going crazy about a band who are currently all 14 years old and playing covers in their dad's garage.

There have been some really interesting bands linked to in this thread - thank you to takeyourmedicine, in particular.
posted by greycap at 11:49 PM on November 17, 2005


I'd just like to point out that I do NOT like Goblin Cock...or Unicorn Love for that matter, they are linked because they are mentioned in the article.

Thanks to takeyourmedicine for the links.
posted by johnny novak at 12:59 AM on November 18, 2005


Artic Monkeys are setting up to be the next Menswear. Or maybe the new Nancy Boy. I actually liked Nancy Boy and Menswear when they came out, but I don't see Artic Monkeys hanging around much longer.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:29 AM on November 18, 2005


What, no Romo references?
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 AM on November 19, 2005


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