Trends in youth music are diverging from the expected. Just like the young people listening to them, the bands and record labels influencing contemporary trends refuse to be categorized. They combine disparate elements to create new genres with an emphasis on constant, fluid evolution. What these elastic youth are today is not what they will be tomorrow.
Many contemporary bands are finding inventive ways to combine synthetic elements such as beats and samples with more traditional rock instruments; both acoustic and electronic. An emerging trend is the use of downtempo beats juxtaposed with more traditional indie-pop; the manic energy of rock translated through a new age “chill out” filter. This sound is simultaneously undanceable, yet driven by infectious pop sensibilities. The song “Fête D’Adieu” by Deerhoof is an excellent example of this movement.
Many independent record labels are similarly refusing to identify with a specific genre. Following the youthful whims of music listeners, inspiration is found in an ever changing kaleidoscope of influences. Hozac Records, a reliable cultural barometer, has recently shifted away from jangly reverb laden garage pop to more dissonant and dark synth-pop. Much like their young fans, these labels are reveling in what they are but always looking ahead to what they will become.
In the past, strong identifiable music trends were directly linked to the visual; how artists dressed, acted, and branded themselves. Modern musicians and fans refuse to be defined in these terms. In the video for the song “Manhattan” from Cat Power’s recent album, we find the singer performing a soft and warm pop song while dressed in an aggressive punk style with spiked, bleached hair. A disconnect between identity and craft is representative of the overlapping fluid nature of youth culture tribes.
Deerhoof – Fête D’Adieu
Cat Power – Manhattan