Most of my free time is spent reading music blogs and talking about new music with the people around me. Recently, the topic of buzzbands has been coming up pretty often. My friends are sick of reading about buzzbands, sick of hearing about them on Pitchfork, sick of obsessing over them and then forgetting them a month later. It’s a weird, endless cycle of mediocre bands gaining temporary fans and then being replaced almost immediately by some newer, cooler band.
But is that really what’s going on here? I’m not convinced that all buzzbands are so bad. In fact, I think there are some great bands out there that are being unjustly overlooked and forgotten as a result of their status as “buzzbands.” I’ve seen countless articles online mocking buzzbands and even providing step-by-step guides to becoming a buzzband. I’ve seen writers try to undermine hipster media by publishing scathing satires of what it means to be a buzzband. But this just seems silly to me. A lot of bands that were once classified under the apparently reputation-ruining label of “buzzbands” are actually talented musicians putting out quality music.
Buzzbands have a bad reputation because people make unwarranted assumptions about them. People assume they aren’t actually very talented or that they won’t matter in a month, so why bother? But the reality is that buzzbands do more than occupy the blogosphere for a few weeks. They can use their newfound fan base as a way to get noticed by record labels, which puts them in a position to grow as musicians and put out more music with better production and professional promotion. Bands like Girls, Twin Sister, Real Estate, and Neon Indian are prime examples of genuinely talented artists who have continued making quality music despite their previous status as buzzbands. So next time you find yourself rolling your eyes at some new, hip artist on Pitchfork, stop and give them a fair listen instead of immediately writing them off. You might be surprised.