Hi everyone! It's not my job to be your teacher; this shit is incredibly easy to understand if you spend 10 minutes doing some reading. However, I had a pretty good night last night, so in the spirit of charity, here I am to take some of you to school.
Ant89: Calling someone 'racist' IS a harsh accusation, and one we should all be using more often. Racism is still prevalent and frankly I'm more concerned with calling out people for their racism than I am about them getting their feelings a little hurt. If I have to ruin someone's day a little bit so they'll go home and think about their role as an oppressor in the world, I can live with that. Call more people racist. It'll make the world better.
BeHonest: Hey! The 'having fun' defence! I'm sure it's super fun to dress up like a caricature of an indigenous culture -- a privilege afforded to you because white settlers committed genocide upon Native Americans so they could become the dominant inhabitants of North America. Same thing with the Aboriginal Australians. Congratulations on being afforded a place in society where plundering other cultures for fun is an option available to you. You have no idea how lucky you are.
Ms Oh: The Mikado IS a racist opera. That exact issue is in the media right now! How can you believe yellowface is any more excusable than blackface? You wanna know the line? It's DON'T EMBODY RACIAL STEREOTYPES. It's more complicated than that, but as a base line, that's probably not gonna steer you wrong. You don't realise this, but you're putting the value of art above the value of breaking a legacy of centuries of senseless and often violent oppression. There is a difference between inspiration and cultural appropriation, and it's not actually murky at all. Take inspiration, don't take the thing itself.
Right you are. Fixed.
I serve to live, Woobie.
So lemme preface this by saying that I'm a fan of yours - sincerely - but I won't deny that your Who The Hell review was one factor in me pushing back against this tide of shit. Far be it from me to accuse you of being disingenuous, 'cos lord knows I've written a bunch of gump when reaching for something to say, but DMA's are far from "fully formed." They sound like a nascent band who haven't yet figured out how to distinguish themselves from their influences. That's not unusual, I reckon it happens to anyone doing anything creative at some point, but at the very least it contradicts any notions of them being "fully formed" 'cos they aren't really formed at all. They're an imprint, a shallow trace, and while it's plenty nice that what they're tracing happens to resonate with folks who aren't as skeptical of the industry as I am, it doesn't make DMA's any better. When they start to assert a distinct identity to accompany this songwriting you allege is well-constructed (anyone could build the Eiffel Tower were they to thieve the blueprints), maybe I'll start paying attention.
Identity is ultimately what matters here. It's not exactly coolness, but you're not completely wrong. I grew up with mid-aughts British indie and I don't particularly revere it, certainly not enough to feel bad about DMA's digging up its grave, but it's still so fresh that a rehash seems like pointless self-indulgence for kids born just too late. As for Dick Diver et al., I don't agree that they sound like the bands you mentioned. In the same tradition, sure, and influenced by, almost certainly, but it's not the same thing. As soon as Dick Diver arrived, you knew who they were and what they were about. They were inimitably Dick Diver. Who the fuck are DMA's?
You're also not wrong that there are plenty of mediocre bands making lazy shadows of Dick Diver, but I can only assume you haven't followed my writing very closely 'cos I've written plenty about how d*lewave enabled any whiny, privileged child to air their pathetic grievances over totally tedious folk music. I've also written a bit, although more often just avoided doing so out of sheer boredom, about how dire a lot of the buzzed-about punk and post-punk bands are in Australia. Unfortunately, the parameters of this column - namely, writing about recent music - prevent me from illustrating every week the crushing disappointment I experience thinking about the consensus picks for Happening Bands in Australia. Fortunately for me, every now and then a band comes along which so neatly encapsulates the fucking back-slapping fair-go on-ya-mate horrorshow that is Australian music writing, and that's how we came to talk about DMA's. Just 'cos I pick on them - and to be clear, I'm really more interested in picking on I OH YOU and everyone complicit in their forced promotion than the band themselves - doesn't mean I don't see every other embarrassment too.
Annie, I'm sure you have a much easier time enjoying music than I do, but I can't forgive something for sounding derivative when it doesn't bring anything else to the table. It's 2014. If you're jonesing for Oasis, go ahead and listen to Oasis. I'm sure every song Noel Gallagher ever wrote is on Spotify. I won't hold it against these kids for wanting to be in the bands they thought were cool last decade and getting a chance to live out that fantasy, but why should I - or anyone else - be expected to indulge that, let alone champion it? And the real thing of it is, judging by how many emails I got agreeing with me re: DMA's - or any other band I've shit on in the past year in this column - I've realised that readers of music writing are totally starved for honesty. Don't you think it's about time we stop giving a pass to all this mediocre wank, calling it "pretty good" for no other reason than it sounds nice, and start being a little more discerning? The only thing you have to lose is the respect of the flacks spamming your inbox with their godawful faux giddiness, and if you're writing for them, the end has already come. If someone gets a thrill outta DMA's, then more power to them, but I'm not gonna pretend like I don't know better just 'cos they happen to have had the startling revelation that pop music sounds good. I reckon the people who read this column are smart enough not to get hoodwinked either. I'm not infallible - I can only evaluate based on what I know - and I'm probably real generous about bands you think are average, but at least I'm willing to wield that judgement when I can instead of going along to get along with this misguided notion of fairness.
As for All The Colours, don't mistake politeness for endorsement. In this stadium, politeness is indifference. Credit to DMA's - at least we're talking about 'em.
It was a struggle but I endured it all for you, Woobie.
I'm not sure our ideas about what constitutes 'wrong' are aligned on this one, littlelegrunda.
Open yer ears, Jerry!
You're right pshrg, well spotted. Still, I didn't want to recycle a spurious news report about someone's death without some more concrete confirmation.
I completely agree. The only reason I mentioned those numbers was, as you said, if one was basing their assumption on YouTube alone, One Direction would seem like a sure-thing. And that was obviously true as plenty of people made that very assumption, suggesting that for the people confounded by SNSD's win, YouTube was their primary source.
On the topic of other video portals, though, I'd like to gratuitously shout out to Nico Nico Douga and the dance videos of Furukawa Mirin. Since she joined Dempagumi.inc they've stopped but her archives are all online and I have lost literally hours of my life in that particular void.