Levity Liasons

I'm not sure if they've always existed, but the presence of 'fashion bands' seems to be rapidly expanding. These are the bands whose popularity derives not just from the quality of their music, but from the sense that it's somehow cool to like them. It's not the fashion side of things that bothers me. If bands want to dress weird and fans want to copy them, good for them. It's the fact that certain members of these bands seem to think they're so damn hot that they're actually better than others and can do and say whatever they please. What's almost worse is that people keep coming to see these jerks, fueling their egos and widening the gap between their music and their image. Don't do it people! These individuals need help. Watching and supporting them is only going lead to a greater inflation of their sense of self and even more pain when they realise just how shallow they are. Do what's best for them and for the wider musical community. Quietly turn away.

Alright then! Sorry for the rant. The actual topic of today's post are the two bands signed to Levity Records: Mercy Arms and Cut Off Your Hands. Now when a band is signed to a label that grew out of a jeans brand, I can't help but yell "fashion band!" (hence the tie-in). But I know both of these bands from earlier days and I know they are capable of making good music. There is hope. By pure coincidence, I've had the chance to see both these bands in the last week. Did their music stand up on its own or were people just there for the social pages?

Mercy Arms
Cut Off Your Hands

1 comment:

you can probably guess who said...


The relationship between corporate fashion and independent music has been Siamese-twin close for pretty much ever. Only in the past the established model of record sales = return on corporate investment allowed talent to lead the way image wise instead of relying on brands for support.

Now that the internet has destroyed the established music model it shouldn’t be surprising that the fashion/image side of things has recently taken on a larger role in order to fill the income gap (in whiteboy rock that is. Hip-hop has for a long time realised the need to diversify its income sources because it’s traditionally had less money to begin with).

Asking for better, realer, less egomaniacal bands to be picked up by hip-as-fuck ‘fashion labels’ is like asking to live in the past; in a pre-sex pistols time when talent and image were more distinct selling points. And would the music community really be better off without the sex-pistols?

I remember seeing COYH in a small pub maybe a year ago. It was them, their coked up groupies, and mostly sitting punters. And no, they don’t hold up without a fluro clad (or is it flannelette now, I can never keep up) social pages audience. But frankly, their talent isn’t what they bring to the music community. They’re pistons in the engine of progress. Their primary job is to look shiny and jump up and down; which they do very well.

Fashion labels are the current way of keeping the whole scenester fuss spinning around so the rest of us can watch, waiting until it spits out the next truly good thing; which is as much a matter of talent as it is having a well oiled system of distribution available to turn the right people into enduring stars.

The best thing music fans can do is to not take the changes personally. I can’t imagine that members of uber-cool fashion b(r)ands want anything much different to any other half-way good unsigned band; which doesn’t make them shit-heads, only humans.