Don't believe the hype?
October 1, 2005 1:25 AM   Subscribe

"I bet you look good on the dancefloor" is the new single by a hitherto unknown Sheffield band called the Arctic Monkeys. [warning direct QT link] Media hype has meant demand for their London gig is so high they have moved from playing a pub to playing the London Astoria. Their observations on northern culture have drawn comparisons with Oasis and Kaiser Chiefs - or will they go the way of other bands picked up then dumped by the media? (anyone remember Gay Dad?) Whether or not they last, you will probably be hearing them quite a lot in the next few months.
posted by greycap (46 comments total)
Thanks greycap, now I can practice my indie-snobbery. Be ready to begin the backlash tomorrow!

Actually I thought it was pretty cool. I'll be on the lookout for more from them.
posted by kyleg at 2:04 AM on October 1, 2005

Argh! That video is never off MTV2 in the UK. It's an okay track, but quickly gets very dull. The same thing happened to The Magic Numbers - a gig of about that size (the Astoria holds about 1,200) before even the first single was out. That album is vastly over-hyped. As for the Kaiser Chiefs, I'll stick with Liam Gallagher's description of them as a bad Blur. I'm so glad they didn't win the Mercury award. Bring back Menswear!. no please don't.
posted by TheDonF at 2:07 AM on October 1, 2005

This really smells like astroturf.
posted by srboisvert at 2:08 AM on October 1, 2005

According to this article in yesterday's Guardian, they don't even like that song anymore. Which is a pity because I prefer it to their other single. I'm going to reserve my judgement until their album comes out next year.
posted by macdara at 2:11 AM on October 1, 2005

The Kaiser Chiefs write tracks that sound great for 5 listens, then lose all of their flavour immediately on the 6th listen.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 2:26 AM on October 1, 2005

yeah, that astroturf is kinda smelly...
posted by slater at 3:11 AM on October 1, 2005

Wow. I just really, really hated that. Insanely dull and repetitive. Funny how attractive the tepidly sexy lead singer looks when he's surrounded by morlocks.
posted by Ryvar at 3:38 AM on October 1, 2005

ruubish. they couldn't be more derivative if they tried. they'll be huge.
posted by brautigan at 3:41 AM on October 1, 2005

Another vote for 'suspicions of astroturf'...
posted by i_cola at 3:57 AM on October 1, 2005

It's more the account doing the pitch than the pitch that makes this suspicious.
posted by Ryvar at 4:00 AM on October 1, 2005

What is meant by the term astroturf?
posted by dazed_one at 4:30 AM on October 1, 2005

For what it's worth, I have no connection with the band - I simply saw the video, read the article in the Guardian and thought it was an interesting example of how the media can pick up bands out of nowhere and propel one good-ish single into everyone's notice. That probably does make me slightly guilty of spurring on the hype, but I did try to make my cynicism clear in the post.
posted by greycap at 4:43 AM on October 1, 2005

I'd just like to say that, yes, I do remember Gay Dad.

For about two months back then, they were absolutely the greatest band ever. Then he posed as Jesus on the cover of Select magazine, and it all went downhill a bit quickly. The old, old story.

*off to look for my copy of 'To Earth With Love'*

posted by flashboy at 6:17 AM on October 1, 2005

These are the people who have decided you will like Arctic Monkeys, despite their crap name and boring music.
Go, street team, go!
posted by klangklangston at 6:50 AM on October 1, 2005

I found the linked song rather unmusical and awful.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:13 AM on October 1, 2005

What is meant by the term astroturf?

"In American politics and advertising, the term astroturfing pejoratively describes formal public relations projects which deliberately seek to engineer the impression of spontaneous, grassroots behavior." [1]

Increasingly these days folks are "shilling" products in conversations and on-line. Companies like BzzAgent (previously discussed here and here) have people "talk up" a product or service in casual conversations and in on-line forums without the participants being explicitly aware that they are being "pitched." In my opinion it's a less-than-savory and ethically-questionable practice -- and one which is not allowed on MetaFilter -- referred to as PepsiBlue shilling here.

Check out this article from yesterday's Times Online which talks about this form of advertising.

I, too, was suspicious when reading this FPP, but now take greycap on his word that he is not astroturfing/shilling here, but these sort of posts raise peoples' suspicions.
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on October 1, 2005

@klingklangston: interesting article. Even though the article conveys the impression that these people 'decide what you will listen to and buy', I always get the feeling that people in the UK are much, much better off in terms of musical variety on the airwaves than people in my home country, Germany, where at least 80% of the frequency spectrum is devoted to stations doing extensive market research before they add a track to their playlists, which hardly consist of 300 songs at any given time. They ruthlessly edit tracks (they cut out intros, outros and solos) and even pitch them up to shorten them. To make up for their lack of quality, they try to outmatch each other in doing braindead giveaways (sometimes exceeding money prizes of thousands of Euros per day). If you happen to be fluent in German, this website will give interesting insights from the insiders' point of view. In contrast, the BBC alone seems like music lover heaven, even sans Saint Peel.
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 8:46 AM on October 1, 2005

I came across these guys not all that long ago with Fake Tales of San Francisco and have dug them ever since. They've got some good stuff.
posted by fenriq at 9:17 AM on October 1, 2005

That track is exceedingly mediocre. I'm not even inclined to listen to samples from any others, no matter the hype.
posted by blendor at 9:51 AM on October 1, 2005

In contrast, the BBC alone seems like music lover heaven, even sans Saint Peel.

The BBC is a government run entity that gets some of it's money from taxation, who's job is to provide quality content. Quite amazing really.

The track itself is aite, but it sounds very derivative. Like all the other brit-pop these days (Franz Ferdinand, the killers, ad infinitum) Quite bland.

I can see this as Astroturfing, but I can also see that this is what someone might post as their first mefi post.
posted by delmoi at 10:03 AM on October 1, 2005

What absolute rubbish. Yick. Reeks of the same cesspool that all these new shitty UK bands crawled out from (save Bloc Party - now there's a pleasant surprise). I'm gonna save this thread with my own form of shilling, for bands that really deserve it:

Circle of Birds - Circle of Birds
Aurore Rien - Hindsight 20/20
Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather for Ducks

posted by Mach3avelli at 10:30 AM on October 1, 2005

For all those Libsfans out there for whom 'Fuck Forever' was the final straw, look to Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys: the perfect combination of unfettered yoof and relative sobriety (well, they look kinda healthy).

So they're the new Libertines but without the drugs and the drama... and the catchy songs. Bet that's going to appeal to their fans eh?
posted by funambulist at 11:07 AM on October 1, 2005

The BBC is a government run entity

No it isn't.

It's run by a Board of Governors under Royal Charter.
posted by the cuban at 11:14 AM on October 1, 2005

I've heard high school ska bands that were better.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 11:32 AM on October 1, 2005

These guys owe the Buzzcocks a lot of money.
posted by bardic at 11:56 AM on October 1, 2005

Mach3avelli: The video for Lemon Jelly "Nice weather for ducks" is here. (Warning: earworm)
posted by iviken at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2005

Sweet justice. Thank you!
posted by Mach3avelli at 1:10 PM on October 1, 2005

No it isn't.

It's run by a Board of Governors under Royal Charter.

The word "Government" is used diffrently in the US and UK.
posted by delmoi at 1:28 PM on October 1, 2005

Like all the other brit-pop these days (Franz Ferdinand, the killers, ad infinitum) Quite bland.

Oh, come on. Those bands aren't britpop, don't sound like one another, and don't sound like this track.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:40 PM on October 1, 2005

yeah, and the killers are from Vegas (duh)
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 2:31 PM on October 1, 2005

And britpop was in the 90's, it's long been over. It's not a shorthand for any 'British pop'.
posted by funambulist at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2005

posted by ddf at 4:12 PM on October 1, 2005

The BBC may very well be run by a board of governors however the term government means the same in the UK and the USA. The BBC is a state owned . Period. There is no question whatsoever in the matter.
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:24 PM on October 1, 2005

wow, they look about 12. So is what the kids are into?
posted by gwildar at 5:27 PM on October 1, 2005

The BBC is a state owned

As I understand it, it is.

In the UK you pay a "TV license fee" (i.e. a tax levied by the government) which, along with "a Government grant,...provides 8 interactive TV channels, 10 radio networks, over 50 local TV and radio services and"
posted by ericb at 5:46 PM on October 1, 2005

Part of me really wants to say "They're so pants."

Bands like this (and Kaiser Chiefs, Futureheads, etc.) should be labelled "Fruit Stripes" as in Fruit Stripe Gum! (which is probably a very americentric product reference, but many folks here should get the idea.)
posted by shoepal at 6:15 PM on October 1, 2005

Cripes, they're like Maximo Park - but not very good. Still, yes, they do seem to be 12, they might improve yet. Give me The Shins or Jaga Jazzists instead, please.

Why Fruit Stripes, shoepal? I'm confused...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:15 PM on October 1, 2005

Kill your television monitor.
posted by furtive at 8:11 PM on October 1, 2005

Good song, cheeky drummer. What do you people *need*.
posted by seanyboy at 6:01 AM on October 2, 2005

The BBC is not state owned. There is law in place to ensure that anyone with a TV must pay a TV licence, but that is it. It's not a tax. Any other affiliation with the government is loose and informed mainly by political struggles between powerful monopolistic media companies and the government of the country the BBC operates in.

If I use Microsoft Office on my computer, the Government also insists that I pay for a licence. Does this mean that the Government also owns Microsoft??
posted by seanyboy at 6:12 AM on October 2, 2005

And keep your stinking paws off the Kaiser Chiefs. They are a very good band. You just don't know understand this fact.
posted by seanyboy at 6:20 AM on October 2, 2005

I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it in a, "Good Lord, it's 1977, I'm eighteen again, I'm waiting for The Damned to come on and whilst these support chaps 'Arctic Monkey' are straight out of the cookie cutter coat tail riding 'vaguely punky' mould, they're fairly bouncy and by the time I've had another pint I may even assay a minor pogo or two", sort of way.

Maximum point deduction for wearing the guitar up around the tits like a bloody jazz wanker, mind.
posted by Decani at 6:41 AM on October 2, 2005

I am sure we will all be throughly sick of them in a few months, at which point everyone will move onto the next "next big thing". They are a particularly vivid example of one of those bands that the music industry picks up, chews on and then spits out a little bit later. It seems not many people got the Gay Dad reference, though - which I'd hoped would make it clear that the post was not related to an artificial sports surface... (thank you flashboy for sharing the nostalgia).
posted by greycap at 7:07 AM on October 2, 2005

Cripes, they're like Maximo Park - but not very good.

Surely that makes them exactly like Maximo Park then?
posted by anagrama at 4:10 AM on October 3, 2005

I'd just like to add, by way of further confession, that I thought Gay Dad's "To Earth With Love" was a very fine pop single. There. I said it.
posted by Decani at 7:44 AM on October 3, 2005

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