Today’s recommendation is inadvertently poignant. The band have no idea that it’s poignant, but it is. Just yesterday a debate raged online, particularly on Twitter, among music bloggers following an interesting article in which the founder of Drowned In Sound, Sean Adams, was interviewed on a piece entitled, “The Slow Death Of Music Blogging“. Don’t panic people, The Recommender isn’t going to die any time soon, what Sean was discussing was the end of the blogging spectrum that indulge in what we dismissively call ‘Churnalism‘. It’s when an exciting band arrives exclusively on one blog, but is then re-blogged by dozens and dozens of others immediately. The main issue is that they post the mp3 (or the video etc) but write zero commentary, or opinion about it. These blogs have proliferated widely in recent years, chasing visitors in an imaginary race, often posting music before they’ve even had a chance to hear it, so they’re seen to be ‘relevant’, fearing the situation where they look like they’re late to it. It’s facile and it’s a rather dangerous indictment on the music lover. It incorrectly suggests that people no longer spend time with music, getting to know and love it. It also removes any heart from blogging. It’s the music blogging equivalent of entering X-Factor to become a famous singer. It’s the short cut to hits.
At best these sites are ‘news blogs’ for music and that’s fine if that’s their modus operandi. Thankfully most of these blogs don’t usually last long, often due to a lack of originality. Also, can you imagine how dull it is to continually post exactly what everyone else is posting, then hurrying to check your stats to see how many visitors have come to your blog. It’s madness really, when you consider that everyone visiting your site simply arrives, takes what they came for and leaves immediately afterwards. We can imagine, (fellow blogger of the decent kind), Robin correctly describing this as ‘one-night-stand’ blogging. These sites are more of a busy news stand, whereas The Recommender, and others like it, prefer to consider themselves to be a rather enjoyable, independent cafe, where you can grab quality products and take your time to digest them in friendly surroundings. We like to blog with thought and consideration. How else will you be noticed if you have no opinionated voice? How do you get that voice if you don’t spend time with the music? And so today we are going to be speaking about a band that have caused a precise example of this churnalism. You might well ask why are we also posting about them? A fair question. Let us explain…
Today sees the release of the first song and accompanying video by an exciting Manchester girl band, a quartet called Pins. They’re hot in every sense of the word. They look incredibly awesome, but their music is so spot on that it’s as if they’ve written it using a Nasa-designed laser-guided pen. When the buzz around a band is this loud the debut material is always going to be given as an exclusive to the right blog first. That duly happened, in a campaign that we have to state is being brilliantly operated by their manager – and fellow music blogger – Matt Britton, of Pigeon Post and Lost Lost Lost fame. What then exploded around the blogs is nothing short of turbo-churnalism, as every mp3 blog you can imagine immediately put the new song and it’s accompanying video up on their sites within minutes. It was like lifting up that first blog only to find a thousand frenzied maggots scurrying underneath. OK, so that’s a little harsh – we love our blogging network after all – but you get the idea, this went properly blog-viral and everyone wanted a piece. Including us.
We therefore feel like we should explain why we’re entering this silly scrum. Well, firstly we’re not into churnalism – we put our opinions on this piece of editorial having actually taken the time to watch the band live and to meet up with them after the show for a chat, then we’ve been in touch with Matt Britton and asked the right questions so we have the facts straight. Secondly, we truly believe this band are exceptionally good – we told them so to their faces and we stand by that – so this blog post, just like every other on The Recommender, is posted because we genuinely adore the artists we cover. You will fully understand once you’ve clicked the below play buttons too, as this is a band finally worthy of the hype. They’ve been put together by the impossibly-adorable singer, Faith Holgate, who searched out the three other girls, forming a band that not only have a wonderful chemistry on stage, but that we also couldn’t imagine would quite work the same way if it was punctuated by a boy. They dress like they’re the coolest 1970s New York punk band you ever saw, although we noticed the drummer had on a dress that finished above the knee giving most of the crowd an unexpected view, but we figured she didn’t give a flying fuck about it. Their sound hits somewhere between the style of My Bloody Valentine – something that’s finally made The Horrors accessible – whilst infusing it with the fuzzed guitars that wash all over The Velvet Underground, but importantly they never forget to include sensational pop melodies in a manner reminiscent of Beach House. Finally they’ve poured sackfuls of grit on top of it all.
Girls will want to be them, boys will fancy them. In fact girls will fancy them too and boys will also probably want to be them, so deadly is their concoction. Imagine EMA, without the cliches, such as drinking straight out of the Jack Daniels bottle on stage, or 2:54 but without the forgetful tunes, or Warpaint without the over-indulgent psychedelia. It’s no wonder every tastemaker in the country will hit on them and every mp3 blog will attempt to ride their glorious trail of hype. Did we mention their debut release, Elevneth Hour, is being released on a hand-made, gold-painted cassette tape too? It’s equal parts gimmicky and utterly useless, but we still want one, just to hang on our wall, and then to perhaps sell on Ebay for millions when the band are massive in years to come. By keeping a keen eye on the need to write pop into what is otherwise a straight up garage guitar band they’ve bottled something that will broadly appeal and have the record labels salivating. With their chemistry – we adored how the bassist, Anna Donigan, kept looking up from the fret board to smile across the stage at the other guitarist, Lois McDonald – in a manner that reflects their youthful excitement, but also reminding us that this is a band at an early stage who seem to be truly enjoying the attention. It’s so utterly refreshing and watching their rise will be very interesting. So ignore the saturation that churnalism brings and consider why this band are getting the mp3 bloggers excited in the first place – you can’t create a bandwagon for the blogs to jump upon without writing exceptional music. Today Pins bandwagon just started rolling. (MB)