Lo-Fi Mojo: Vivian Girls, “Moped Girls”

Written by Lo-Fi Mojo, Music

Ed Murray is back with another edition of Lo-Fi Mojo, in which he travels through time to have an argument with himself about prog rock, hype, and the Vivian Girls.

Lo-Fi Mojo

Me, yesterday: Oh, hey, have you heard the new tune from the Vivian Girls? It’s called “Moped Girls” and it’s great!
Me, today: I can’t believe you still like this crap. They suck.
MY: What? C’mon, man. OK, they’re not exactly virtuosos, but they have a great lo-fi, garage-y vibe I thought you’d be all over.
MT: Gimme a break. Whatever influences they’re trying to channel – C86, surf, lo-fi, garage, whatever – they’re doing a piss-poor job of it. They don’t even sound like they’re into it!
MY: Listen, it’s not easy sounding as detached as they do. Of course they can play. And they have a ’60s girl-group quality to ’em, to boot. What’s not to like?
MT: ’60s girl-group sound? Are you kidding me? They can barely sing! And what they’re doing is absolutely NOT “harmonizing.” It’s caterwauling at best.
MY: Oh, you must be one of these “everything has to be pristine and perfect sounding” purists. What about the punk DIY ethic…
MT: Stop right there, old me. These girls are about as punk as my mom. It’s like they’re playing at being musicians. I just don’t get why people like this band so much.
MY: I think they’re fun, which is missing in a lot of music these days. Especially in a lot of indie rock, where they take themselves SO seriously.
MT: Hey, I’m all for fun, dude. But I can’t understand why people would want to listen to, let alone BUY, something so bad. I just can’t get over how poorly they play. The drummer can barely keep time, the bass player is having a LOT of trouble holding down that uncomplicated little riff, and I don’t know WHAT in hell the guitarist is playing, or how (or even IF) her guitar is tuned. And I absolutely can NOT get over that horrible singing.
MY: Stop being so dramatic, you closet prog-rock fan.
MT: I am NOT a fan of prog-rock!
MY: I bet I’ll find at least one Rush mp3 in your iTunes library, dude.
MT: Well, er, um…
MY: Gotcha! But seriously, I think the Vivian Girls and bands like them are doing something unique and actually pretty well-crafted, despite the whole amateurish sound aspect. Beneath the loose harmonies and just barely competent playing, there’s a solid foundation of pop music.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/KirAFfKGdlI" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]
MT: You’re kidding me. I think the Vivian Girls are victims of their own hype. Have you seen the video? You can only get that kind of bemused detachment and outre humor with a rich kid background and an unused college education. Let me guess, they live in Brooklyn?
MY: Well, er, um…
MT: Gotcha!
MY: Well, I still like ’em. The video is a hoot, too.
MT: You just like the idea of ’em, you don’t actually like ’em.
MY: I think they’re more of a live band. Their shows are killer.
MT: Oh, the ol’ “they’re better live” argument. I never bought that line about the Grateful Dead from the old hippie me, either.
OHM: What?
MT: Never mind…go back to cleaning out your Grafix.
MY: I think you’re getting old, man. This is one of their best songs.
MT: For real? I think it’s lazy, pretentious, hipster crapola.
MY: Is this the inevitable blogger backlash? A few months ago you (er, me?) loved ’em.
MT: Well, I wouldn’t say I LOVED ’em…
MY: Liked ’em, at least.
MT: I thought they sounded new, different and, as you’ve already said, fun. Now I think they’re just mediocre.
MY: Are you sure you’re not just getting old? Going to dive back into your ELP and King Crimson collection?
MT: Stop…hey, I still like the Black Lips, and King Khan, and a bunch of other bands no one’s gonna accuse of being virtuosos…