Benches – Violent
Similar artists: The Strokes, Interpol, The Drums, Arctic Monkeys, The Maccabees, Wet Leg, Wallows
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Rock
Being a proper rock star is a lot like being a leading man, or a striker for a big-name club. It’s hard to do the role justice, everyone thinks that you’re a bit of a wanker, and you get a lot of money for being you. Yet, what everyone forgets is just how easy it is to step from the pedestal. Once the stars have planted one foot wrong, everyone will feel like they have the authority to demand that their privileges be revoked. It’s how the world works.
The rock stars that end up having the greatest staying power are a rare breed. In my theory, this is because they need to pull off an impressive balancing trick. Sure, half of their personality has to reflect the nature of the rock star as someone that is above reproach. But, the other half must make ordinary people feel as if they could be just like him, make would-be songwriters think that they could come up with tunes of the same caliber, and would-be vocalists decide that taking singing lessons is silly.
Benches’ Violent is a perfect example of what one can achieve when they believe that they can replicate the stunts of their heroes. This is a song that is clearly inspired and even shows its reverence to 2000s indie-rock, chiefly to The Strokes. But, that’s merely the starting point. Benches take the fervor of that sound and bring their own effervescence, the nice instrumentation ideas, and their own swagger. This is what can happen when you let the kids know that they can grow up to be just like you.
Mike and Mandy – Ricochet (extended version)
Genre: Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, Alt-Pop
Similar artists: The Ting Tings, Dressy Bessy, Oingo Boingo
Let’s face it, pop culture has programmed us! It started out the other way around. Even rock n’ roll was just country music played faster so that it could accompany what at the time was a naughty dance. Even television entertainment, that biggest of evils, was initially just a tool created by adults to keep kids off the streets and have them spend them less money on the cinema. And, even the well-respected pieces of classical music or masterpiece paintings were, likely, created at the bequest of a rich patron.
But, nowadays we can’t get out of bed without the right sound buzzing in our ears. Brides can’t get married unless they walk to an appropriate number. And, even exercise happens to a familiar beat. Let’s face it, sounds make the world go round and these sounds act on us almost in the same way. We’ve hypnotized ourselves.
Mike and Mandy’s Ricochet is pop music hypnotism. It’s a song that makes perfect use of all the left and right turns that you know are coming next. It doesn’t matter! Their impact is inevitable. Ricochet could just as well be a pop tune programmed by computers that have finally cracked the code on using AI to make records. You know how it will make you feel from the first seconds of hearing it. And, that won’t make any difference.