With our end-of-year listing shenanigans in full swing, now seems a prime time to ask the DiS readership: just what is a ‘DiS band’ in your opinion?
Every music magazine across the ages has had its own acts, by which we’re talking about bands that feature strongly and regularly in that magazine or website over any other. Sure, many are covered elsewhere, but they’re not as loved, clutched so close to a virtual collective chest and hugged tight, warmth shared. They become synonymous with that publication, perhaps because of a symbiotic relationship, perhaps because said magazine has ‘broken’ the act in question. Perhaps it simply comes down to an editor’s preferences.
DiS has, over the past seven years, been influential in the emergence of a number of domestic acts, from Muse through Biffy Clyro to Foals and Youthmovies. Since its earliest days the site has focused on rock bands, playing to kids like those who wrote the words that filled DiS in its formative stages. Or indie acts, if you’d rather; where the line is, few are sure. Previous Albums of the Year lists have seen high entries from Radiohead, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Biffy and Muse: the usual suspects so far as particular perceptions would have it.
But are perceptions changing? That’s the question we’re dangling this week, awaiting DiScussion to enlighten the editorial eyes and ears at the DiSopolis. This year’s end-of-year list might feature a number of Big Expected Names, but are they residing in the top ten? Tomorrow and Friday, you’ll see. What’s a fact is that the acts up for inclusion in our 50 albums of the year are more varied than ever: the inclusion of the likes of Aesop Rock and Clipse, HEALTH and No Age, Panda Bear and Andrew Bird is something that more than likely wouldn’t have happened as recently as two years ago, when tastes at the site’s core were rather more… conservative. It’s refreshing, personally, to see such acts get the democratic nod of approval over Bright Eyes, Biffy Clyro, Queens Of The Stone Age, The White Stripes and Reuben this year… i.e. a slew of would-be ‘DiS bands’.
As we move into a new year, and set ourselves new challenges and objectives, it’s vital that DiS has an idea of what its readers are clicking their way here to read about: is coverage of acts outside the mainstream of particular appeal, or do the aforementioned heavyweights attract the most attention? Should we be looking at the US underground, plucking the likes of Abe Vigoda and Telepathe out from the mire for your listening pleasure, or are regular readers more interested in reading about bands playing their town before long? It’s interesting that recent message board comments suggested that ‘DiS bands’ could include the likes of Meet Me In St Louis, Rolo Tomassi and Yndi Halda – all UK acts of growing profiles, but hardly big news beyond a small handful of websites and magazines.
Is a ‘DiS band’ big, or is a ‘DiS band’ small? Do you think of The White Stripes, Battles, Muse, Radiohead, The Strokes, Daft Punk, Kings Of Leon, et cetera as ‘DiS bands’, or has the site’s highlighting of a select few smaller acts from time to time made them ‘DiS bands’ in the place of major label alternatives? What do you think of when you think of DiS? Indie rock, straight up, or something refreshing with a twist?
DiScuss, if you’d be so kind…