All month long you’ve been bombarded with year-end lists ranking the best albums of the year, songs of the year and the like. Here at Vs., however, we decided to give you a more unique year-end list; the year’s biggest music beefs. Feuding musicians is nothing new to rock and roll, but the advent of the Internet and sites like Twitter give artists an easy platform to take shots at each other—and we get to watch it all happen in real time. So without further ado, the music world’s biggest beefs of 2011:
4. Bon Iver vs. The Avalanches
This one all started back in February, when The New York Times held an interview with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. There was an unpublished excerpt in the interview regarding the GRAMMYs, where Vernon called them “ridiculous” and “not important,” and also slammed any artist who was hoping to win a GRAMMY. But after Bon Iver was nominated for four GRAMMY awards, the unpublished excerpts leaked online. Electronic group The Avalanches took offense to these comments, especially since Vernon is appearing in ads for Bushmills whiskey. The band said via Twitter, “a musicians ‘art is compromised’ if he/she desires a grammy .but endor$ing a product with proven devastating health risks is ok? a product which kills 100k p/a in the US alone..man kids look up to you. #rememberwhenitwascoolNOTtosellout.” While the Avalanches do bring up some good points about the dangers of alcohol and how Vernon’s appearance in the ads might possibly affect the younger members of his fan base, their comments about selling out seem a bit over dramatic. With record sales dwindling it’s become common practice for indie artists to license their music for advertisements in order to make a living. Artists like The Black Keys, Vampire Weekend and countless others have done so in recent years while maintaining their artistic integrity. Our advice to the Avalanches? Quit trying to pick fights with other bands and finish your second album already! We’ve only been waiting eleven years….
You didn’t think RR&R would torture you with anything as tedious as another year-end Best-of list, did you? Granted, we do have a piece in the works that will inform you of some excellent albums you might have missed along the way, but that’s as close as we’re willing to get. Instead, this time around we’ll simply take stock of both the magic moments and the missteps that the last twelve months have brought us—works that delivered delight and dismay in equal measure.
Wire – Red Barked Tree
As the original post-punk outfit, Wire has always lived or died by how well they balanced their arty side with their edgy side. Their discography isn’t without its share of miscalculations in that area, but thirty-four years down the line from their debut album, this one is right on the money.
Gang of Four – Content
The Gang were right on the heels of Wire in first-gen U.K. post-punk, and were just as groundbreaking, but their twenty-first century revitalization has been marred by some dodgy moves. First they re-recorded a batch of their classics on 2005′s Return the Gift, and then they made matters worse with this irksome outing, which is considerably more annoying than the output of the worst third-hand Go4 copyists.
Social Distortion - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
True survivors, old-school SoCal punks Social Distortion have been through every rock & roll tribulation—death, drugs, you name it (How did VH1′s Behind the Music miss these guys?)—but not only are they still going strong, they added some extra bluesy swing and Stonesy swagger to their latest.
Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants & Rumors: 2011 in the Rearview Mirror’