If you've kept any sort of tab on music hype-trains lately (i.e. Pitchfork and some more Pitchfork and just an ounce of Pitchfork), you know exactly what I'm talking about when I refer to the resurgence of the "lol-fi," surf rock fad - we've seen it before (probably at your VFW or on a beach in Cali Cali), but with artists like Wavves and Best Coast again releasing slapdash comedies wrapped in egotistical, trend-savvy packages - armed with predictable Best New Music Statuses and an equally expected increase in sales - the scene is making an impact. And I cry foul - not for the concept but for the clichéd execution and the overtly trite and equally offensive execution behind it all.
The swathes of distortion and blurry clouds of fuzz are the result of an ethic which any artist can use, and some, unlike a majority of these "surfgaze" bands as I'll call them, just so happen to use it in interesting ways. It's not unique in the slightest, nor is the execution of artists like Vivian Girls a thing to embrace. I'm sure we can all wind through some forgettable surf-pop records with the same apathetic gaze, wondering why nothing is done with either surf-pop or this lol-fi stupidity. Hooks aren't catchy and fuzzy bits aren't special at all. As well, it's extremely hard to go back to King of the Beach and remember much more than that one opening tidbit of laughter. Stephin Merrit probably couldn't have come up with something so ironic - and he actually tried on Distortion.
Then again, Distortion was really fucking cool, too.
Insipid surf riffs on that record weren't the staple - fun lo-fi was, and it was apt. The usage of the ethic was unique and vital to the songs's structures, not the ego of Cosentino or Williams or whoever all else. As well, Merrit can carry out a concept and expand both musically and lyrically, something which the ugly "I want your(r poon)" tactics on these surfgaze records are unable to do, if only because the songwriters lack the wherewithal needed to turn simple theatrics into a feast. The same thing goes musically. Was this really needed? I think not. But then again, what do you expect from Miss Stoney singing frilly la-lee-doos all day long about how she wishes you were her boyfriend to the tune of forgettable, simplistic pop ad. infinitum?