Friday, March 30, 2012

Spotify playlist: Rock with a 70 percent chance of keyboards

Posted By on 03.30.12 at 12:42 PM

Hunx
  • Olivia Hemaratanatorn
  • Hunx
These days my relationship with rock music consists largely of two phases. First, there are periods where I complain at length about the way rock has become terminally obsessed with picking over its own past for recyclables. It seems to have given up on staying with the cutting edge and maintaining the vitality that comes with constant innovation, yielding them to rap music, EDM, and pop—and in the process basically committing itself to a future on the margins of pop culture. Then, there are periods where I listen to a lot of rock music. I hear that this sort of vacillation between bitching about the worst qualities of the partner you've chosen for life and then embracing that partner for some of those very same qualities is common in 30-year-plus marriages.

Seth "Hunx" Bogart (who plays Double Door tonight with his Punx) is the perfect example of a rock musician with his eyes set firmly on the past (in this case, golden oldies and the gay fringes of the early punk and new-wave scenes), but he has such a knack for piling hook upon sugary-sweet hook that whenever he puts out a new record, I binge on it like a kid the day after Halloween. Pop trio Terry Malts plays a similar game of music-history mix and match, blending 60s bubblegum pop with punk influences from bands like the Ramones and the Buzzcocks, who revived the style and sped it up in the 70s. (They play a free-with-RSVP show at the Empty Bottle on April 24.) Bay Area punk outfit Ceremony (who play Subterranean on April 13) don't bring much to the table that any middle-aged former hardcore kid doesn't already have in his seven-inch collection, but they do it with such verve that you might forget you've heard it all before.

Meanwhile synthesized music continues to out-evolve rock at a rapid pace. Some of it—Chromatics, White Car, Drake and Rihanna's "Take Care"—does what most people expect of electronic music, which is to sound like something you might see people with conversation-starter haircuts dancing to in slightly snooty nightclubs. Others—Grimes, Chairlift, Neon Indian (who plays the Metro on April 6)—are using electronics to show up guitar bands in terms of making muscular, melodic pop, which is pretty much rock's home field. But if the future is anything like the past (and it always is), expect a sudden resurgence in big ol' guitar music any second now.

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