Hello, my name is Nico Franks, and, for fans of irony, this blog post, intended as a first-foray into music criticism, puts to you that the thousands of internet blogs devoted to finding new music (like this one) are killing music criticism. The days of paying the seasoned rock critic for their opinion are over, because all we need do now is enter the blogosphere to find out what anyone thinks about a new band, gig or album. Is this tidal wave of free-criticism shining a light on the cream of the crop, helping us choose only the best and most worthy bands to listen to, or is it creating a whirlwind of undeserved hype around new bands?
The thing is, in this post-Arctic Monkeys world in which we now live, we expect any band getting a lot of attention on the internet to replicate what few bands can do, which is release a definitive and trend-setting debut album, like the Arctic Monkeyâ€™s debut. And the blame for this lies with the blogger. With everyone so keen to find the â€˜best new bandâ€™ and to be the one that found them first, a blogger will tell us that this band is the â€˜newâ€™ whatever and the music journos follow suit. Unfair predictions of grandeur and comparisons with previous successes risk the destruction of a band at the first hurdle.
Look at The Twang, once hailed as the new-Stone Roses by the NME and looking likely heirs to Oasisâ€™ throne at the top of the lad-rock kingdom in 2007, now damp-squibs at the bottom of a tired and tedious scene, releasing a second album last year that went by unnoticed. Some bands, however, do deserve the hype that they get, and this shows largely in the reviews. The XX, Wild Beasts and These New Puritans have all been hyped to high heaven, but justify it with distinctive and forward-thinking albums.
Itâ€™s the easiest thing in the world to rubbish a band that clearly doesnâ€™t warrant the hype that engulfs them. But itâ€™s not really the band’s fault that theyâ€™re a bloggerâ€™s wet dream, is it? Look at new internet-darlings The Drums, dubbed by NME as â€˜New York’s official Coolest New Band… the most contagiously energetic NYC band of the past 10 yearsâ€™â€¦ ridiculous hyperbole certainly gains attention, but how can a band be expected to live up to that kind of introduction?
Thereâ€™s no doubt that the internet means bands can get their music out faster and to more people than ever before, and weâ€™re the ones that benefit from this. And maybe the hype being spread through the blogosphere is helping great bands get noticed and exposing the shit bands for the pretenders that they really are. But we should start taking the blog-hyperbole with a nice handful of salt and, in the words of someone who has survived the bloggerâ€™s curse, Alex Turner, make sure, whatever happens, we â€˜Donâ€™t believe the hypeâ€™. Oh, and don’t stop reading this blog.