Out the Ear: Tick Tock

Like every New Year, it began with a roar.

Champagne uncorked, streamers streamed, noisemakers deafened and fireworks blasted as a new decade was welcomed. For the musically inclined, 2010 begin enthusiastically, accompanied by a question buzzing in our ears: What music genre would come to define this decade?

Tick… tock. Tick… tock.

January really did not create any new music, but it brought forth an indie rock band that surpassed expectation and topped charts in a way that was almost viral.

Vampire Weekend consists of preppy, indie hipsters who broke out in 2008 and were relatively unknown to anyone but indie music loyalists. They reached number one on the Billboard charts when their sophomore album "Contra" was released. Although a relatively good album with such poppy tunes as "Cousins," "Horchata," and "White Sky," it couldn't beat their debut. Although their popularity has gone national, I am still hearing Black Eyed Peas played with more frequency.

Tick… tock. Tick… tock.

February came rolling along and as more than 100 million people watched the Super Bowl, every indie geek who happened to be watching either flinched or flipped when Grizzly Bear's hauntingly ethereal "Two Weeks" came on during a Volkswagen commercial.

Has this new decade embraced indie rock? Two months into the New Year it definitely seems so, but perhaps it is a mere marketing ploy to reach inside the pockets of successful hipsters. I believe advertisers now know the formula for catching an indie rock fan's attention: put on an obscure indie song, insert indie hipster-looking people (possibly one with the indie blazer and glasses trademark) and secure themselves a small but loyal following.

Even as Coachella and Bonaroo lineups are being sent to BlackBerries and iPhones, a new rock band has yet to arrive.

Overseas it is the same bleak scene. British music magazines, which are usually first in discovering groundbreaking bands throughout the world, have no fresh bands to pluck and profess their love for.

Is this a sign of economic woe or just a slow start? In 2009, I can remember bands like Franz Ferdinand, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a new band called Company of Thieves releasing albums. And if I stretch my mind, I can recall that Vampire Weekend and MGMT released their debut albums in the early part of 2008. But as for 2010, no song or album has rocked my world yet.

Tick… tock. Tick… tock.

As March unfolds, I will try to unearth the next big thing, whether it is a new band or a popular band's quirky new release. It may just be the music-lover in me speaking, but I'm concerned that time is passing by so quickly and that a potential "band of the year" has yet to show up. I think that every music lover out there is waiting for THE rock band to rave about, a reason to turn the volume up in the car and to rock out to at concerts. Stay tuned.

 

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