…Would anyone care?
A friend of mine and I were driving through the back roads of New
England in a pickup truck a few weeks back. We got on the subject of
perfect moments in music. Pushing aside pretension, we racked our
brains trying to come up with songs that we believed would outlive the
artists who produced them, and serve as lasting reminders for a specific
time in music. For about fifteen minutes, we discussed several songs,
until “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins came up; the entire conversation
then became focused on that one song.
What we both agreed on was
that for us, two ex-Midwesterns in their late-20's, the song served as
an anthem for our particular not-quite-Generation-X generation. No
matter how badly we wanted to protest the unpunkness of Billy Corgan and
crew, “1979” is one of those songs that I can't find anything wrong
with, and I'm prepared to say it's because I have such an emotional
attachment to it for reasons I won't bother getting into.
began to wrap up the conversation, and I had to ask if there was a song
out today that could have the same effect on the weirdo kids of 2010, as
song 5, disc 2 off Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness had
for us. My friend hesitated for a second — I think it was due to the
fact he was driving, not because he had to think about an answer — and
said “Weed Demon” by Wavves: not exactly the answer I was expecting. We
ended the conversation not because his answer was awkward, but because
we arrived at our destination, and I was left to ponder: “Where the fuck
did this whole Wavves thing go wrong?” And/or: “Was it ever right?”
thought about it over the next few days. About that weird moment last
year where Nathan Williams had it; he had something, he was the fucking
zeitgeist of the brave new world that music was moving into. He got some buzz, played a few shows,
then shit the bed in the course of six months. It was a weird
little ride, but it did yield a few little gems like “Weed Demon”; a
perfect little slice of burnt out fuzz that made a few too many people
think that they could do what Nathan Williams was doing, and led me to
believe that we had the second coming of Lou Barlow on our hands.
things just got weird and bad, and then things got
quiet as a new year of lackluster releases and “chillwave is the new
shit-fi” became this weird banner we (the people who write about this
stuff) became disgruntled about.
So now we have Wavves, 2010.
New album is coming out during the dog days of summer, and after a few
quick listens, it sounds like Williams is attempting to be the next
Rivers Cuomo, but post-Pinkerton Rivers Cuomo.
That's a shame, because in a perfect world, Wavves could
just fly under the radar and give us an album that is just one big “fuck
off, I'm awesome and worth the hype”, but instead we get him doing the
least awesome thing I can think of: releasing his first single to the
world via the music
website of that soda that kills your sperm. Which is fine, I don't
have any attachment to Williams or his music. I'm not going to find
the guy and tell him he's a huge sellout because he's taking money from
Mountain Dew. I'm not fifteen anymore, I've accepted the dark side of
What does irk me? I find it weird and a little
sacrilegious that Zach Hill (one of the greatest drummers I can think
of) now gets to play solo shows as “member of Wavves.” Despite what
people at record labels who dealt with Williams pre-Pitchfork are legally binded to tell me, I'm
willing to assume (sorry to perpetuate the shitty blog rumors) that he
fucked over a few people to get to this somewhat awkward spot he's in;
which is approximately between being Brad Pitt in True Romance and
a guy who makes his career off licensing songs to commercials that
attempt to package youthful rebellion in 30-second ads.
point I've written off Nathan Williams and his whole thing. I tried. I
got philosophical. I looked deep inside myself to find meaning in an
artist. I ended up writing nearly a thousand words on it, and now I'm