An exploration of the unsigned talent currently on MySpace.com.
The first I ever heard of Myspace was that it was the platform from which the unspeakable evil that is ‘My Chemical Romance’ was launched. As I grabbed my gun and headed off to wage war on what would inevitably be the end of the world, a good friend said to me, ‘I think Myspace has other stuff too.’
Of course, he was right. As I investigated further, it appeared that Myspace was a useful networking tool, a place to meet other people for fun, for love, for business; an exchange of ideas and words, music and film. There were pages dedicated to a whole range of artists from Bob Dylan to Metallica, via the nuisance that is ‘My Chemical Romance’. I was satisfied. Myspace would no longer be the target of one of my insane rampages against terrible music. Remember ‘Busted’? – they didn’t really split up… I killed them. And I did it for your benefit.
Getting into the swing of Myspace, I began to browse around. I found I could listen to music samples for free by new and established artists. It is even possible to discover great new bands by simply typing in the sort of music you like listening to normally. What a great idea – no dick-head record labels and shitty gigs to deal with (yet). Here was a place where talent spoke for itself, it was not dependant on money to promote it, or luck to discover it. An artist can tell the world what they’re about and show the world what they’ve got. This, I was sure, was the future of music.
One aspect I found very useful, in reference to music, writing, film, or whatever talent was on display, was the ability to give feedback. Sure, maybe Bob Dylan and Metallica don’t go checking their Myspace inbox on a daily basis, but I know for a fact that the unsigned bands and undiscovered authors do. Telling someone you respect what they are doing, or maybe providing some much needed constructive criticism, is something that you can’t as easily do standing at the back of a crowd in a little pub, or reading a book in your room. These words of encouragement and support can make good artists great.
When I first discovered Myspace I was going through a transitional period in my music tastes. I’d matured significantly since my nu-metal youth, and was currently exploring a wide range of sounds. The internet helped certainly helped, telling me what my favourite artists liked and were influenced by, forming chains of bands that I could explore. At the time of my Myspace enlightenment, I had just gotten into ‘The Shins’, ‘Modest Mouse’ and ‘Death-Cab For Cutie’ (Yes, I’ll admit had been watching ‘The OC’).
By listing these three bands as influences upon the results to be generated, in a well laid-out search facility, I was able to ensure the music I sampled would be at least inspired by something I like. I also entered ‘The Libertines’ to add a little British influence to the results.
More than anything I was impressed by the ingenuity of this mode of search. If I’d typed in ‘Indie-Rock’, god knows what nonsense I could have found, but I was impressed with the hundreds of bands thrown at me by the website. There certainly was a lack of talent in certain cases, as can be expected in any assortment of amateur musicians, but the results were listenable. Some bands were really impressive, and others not bad. The influences clearly showed, which is not a bad thing by any means, I had after all searched with this in mind.
I decided that I would seek out unsigned or unknown bands, rather than the seemingly popular ones that popped up. I’d never actually heard of these bands, but I wanted to make a musical discovery, something few others were really aware of.
A few artists really stood out in my mind. Perhaps at the forefront of this group was an Irish band claiming to be ‘Arctic Monkeys… only a lot less hype.’ Their name was ‘15 Minutes’, and according to the information given on their personal Myspace, they had been around for three years, with two permanent members. Vocalist/ guitarist, Robert McGlade and Drummer Adam Steele were the two constant members, although since the arrival of lead guitarist Aaron Mooney and Bassist Keith Bernard, the band has reached unprecedented levels of creativity.
With a Myspace music page, chosen tracks will automatically play when you log on, so you have no choice but to listen to the music of whatever band you want to read about. When I first clicked on the ’15 Minutes’ page, I assumed I had stumbled upon another well-established band. Perhaps I had even found the Irish ‘Arctic Monkeys’.
’15 Minutes’ are, however, unsigned and underappreciated. Their sound is reminiscent of ‘The Libertines’ and ‘Arctic Monkeys’, but there is a fierce uniqueness there. The lyrics may not be as intelligent as those of our Pete, but they are far superior to those of the ‘’Monkeys’. The guitar is incredible, particularly on a brilliant, ludicrously catchy track called ‘Can You Help Me (Richard Hell)?’ This song could easily be one of the biggest around, which is ironic given the subject matter is the problem of not being successful. When I asked Rob McGlade (guitarist) what exactly the song was about, he told me ‘I just thought that it would be good to write a song with [Richard Hell] in it, basically begging for his help, because I think most new music is absolute bollocks.’ Amen.
‘In Dublin’ must be ‘15 Minutes’’ best song. After one listen I was singing along; it had burrowed deep into my head like only the best or worst of songs can do, and I assure you, ‘In Dublin’ is of the former rather than the latter. Every member of the band is on form, and there is so much energy and passion in this song that when listening, it seems they cannot fail in their quest for recognition. This is truly a modern, nihilistic take on the ‘fairytale/ballad’ of Dublin’s fair city.
‘The Boy Who Cried Woolfe’ begins with a jumpy guitar intro that will surely be the soundtrack to many a hard night’s drink-fuelled shenanigans. Many of the scuffles and drunken states I’ve found myself in over the years come to mind when I listen to this track, and it occurs to me just how well ’15 Minutes’ have captured the non-glamorous, and utterly confusing, world of contemporary youth.
‘Miss Liberty’ is perhaps the least impressive and most vacant of ’15 Minutes’’ impressive array of tracks. The lyrics are disappointing when compared to other tracks, and the guitar is certainly weaker. The bass, however, drives the song well and salvages much for the band. ‘Miss Liberty’ might not be clever or musically sophisticated, but it is bouncy and enjoyable nonetheless.
‘15 Minutes’ have tapped into the culture and music of today and it is an inevitability that they will become the biggest thing in music in a very short time. Even their worst song is still good, and I could definitely see ‘Miss Liberty’ become a huge success. If my predictions for Myspace are correct, it will catapult them to stardom in no time.