The Airborne Toxic Event is a very local band because they are from my close neighborhood, Los Feliz/Silver Lake.
But there are tons of bands in this LA area, and I have never really paid attention to this one, although I found quite interesting the controversy the band has triggered, a controversy recently revived with the release of their latest video for their song ‘Changing’.
First of all, many music authorities hated their 2008 self-titled album, Pitchfork gave it a 1.6 out of 10 – and how they came up with such a number is really a mystery to me – the reviewer expressing his hate with sentences like this one: ‘This represents a tipping point where you almost wish Funeral or Turn on the Bright Lights or Is This It? never happened as long as it spared you from horrible imitations like this one, often sounding more inspired by market research than actual inspiration’.
Ouch! The band responded to Pitchfork by the way: http://www.theairbornetoxicevent.com/news/open-letter-to-pitchfork-media-from-the-airborne-toxic-event.html
But if it has only been Pitchfork!…. They are getting the hatred treatment again with this new video in the LA Times and other music blogs, which are questioning many aesthetic details of the short film, like the use of motorcycles to buff up their image, like the fact that the drummer is wearing the band’s tee-shirt, but especially the overall racist (?) undertone message of the video, showing the band performing in a bar with black customers, who are suddenly taken by the music and begin to do some acrobatic dancing.
I don’t know if they are channeling the Boss by wearing sleeveless shirts, may be, but can we criticize a ‘indie’ band because they have gone global and cannot be called indie anymore? Their debut album sold 200,000 copies in the US and 300,000 copies internationally, their single was #4 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, they toured aggressively, playing more than 350 dates and even performed at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, while doing the TV talk show grand tour. A really hard-working bunch of people.
At the end, I don’t know, I would have to listen to more of their songs to form an opinion and to know if they have ripped off all these other bands,… this one is catchy, the video looks more like an add for some kind of alcohol or man cologne, I admit it, but videos do not mean a lot for me, does anyone take them seriously anyway?
I wonder why there is so much hate for The Airborne Toxic Event…
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