Do you guys like Wales? Yeah, I mean it wouldn’t end up on my top 10 countries list or anything, but it puts out some decent stuff, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, for instance. Los Campesinos!, less famous than CZJ, is a not-so-underground group also from Wales that has gotten a lot of buzz right off the bat. The youngsters were blogged about incessantly even before any proper release, and their first full-length album, Hold on Now, Youngster … just came out.
Buzz is such a strange, abstract idea. It’s kind of like the concept of race — it is socially constructed. One person isn’t to be blamed for its invention and proliferation; it’s a societal trend that arises from conventions and norms over time. The buzz a band benefits from isn’t created from a singular all-powerful tastemaker, but a large segment of the population in general. But just like society constructing the notion of race, the collective population doesn’t always act rightly in matters of band buzz.
Did the masses react properly to the handful of Los Campesinos!’ demos, or were they too quick to deem them saviors of the indie ideology? Well, I’ll get there in a bit. Bands like Justice, Vampire Weekend, and anything else you’d find on the iPod of any given girl you see wearing an Urban Outfitters shirt and smoking a cigarette are recent beneficiaries of the omniscient buzz. And with that in mind, another way that buzz is constructed similarly to race is the idea of power.
People look for a way to seem important and, to some degree, influential and therefore powerful. People buy into the buzz because it makes them feel that way; they have something over everyone else. People look for a justification of what they want to believe, that they are the best. Europeans used the backwards science of eugenics. This led to the “racial hygiene” that led to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. One man didn’t determine this ideology; it was born in and accepted by the masses.
It’s the same way with buzz. Buying into and contributing into the idea of buzz, supporting the agenda of these up and coming bands and their beneficiaries, allows people to have the intangible advantage over those who are not part of the buzz. What I’m basically saying is, girls that wear clothes from Urban Outfitters and listen to Vampire Weekend are Nazis. Next fall, there are going to be a lot more Nazis once Urban Outfitters opens on Green Street and Vampire Weekend will likely end up on some trendy summer movie soundtrack.
But back to Los Campesinos!. Are they worth the buzz, are they going to sing us into the Fourth Reich? Well, I think it’s a good album, but with their use of exclamation points, glockenspiel and hipster in-jokes, it’s hard to see them more than a product of the global environment. Taste is dictated by mass consciousness. It’s almost like nothing is good or bad but simply accepted and endorsed. Like a political agenda, it’s not always what’s best but what makes the most sense. I actually can’t even tell you if Los Campesinos! is good or bad. It would have to be determined by Googling them and comparing the number of relevant results with a mean of a number of similar bands and dividing it by a yet to be determined constant.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that Google is the modern eras’ Mein Kampf.

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