Sunday, March 20, 2011

Odd Future: Wanting A Father's Respect (Mine)

The keynote speech at the 25th annual South by Southwest Music festival, which took over downtown Austin from Wednesday to Saturday, was a bit grumpy. Bob Geldof, the Irish rocker who led the Boomtown Rats in the 1970s and went on to assemble the global Live Aid benefit concert in 1985 and its Live 8 sequel in 2005, bemoaned music’s loss of relevance. Although there was no shortage of “cool bands,” he said, music didn’t have the kind of broader social impact that it did with the Beatles, Bob Dylan, punk and grunge. He argued that music was no longer channeling rebelliousness and discontent.

He might have changed his mind had he seen Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, the teenage Los Angeles hip-hop collective that tore across this year’s SXSW. Rapping about drugs, rape, murder, getting pulled over by the police and wanting a father’s respect, over blotchy low-fi tracks, members of Odd Future climbed stage scaffolding and dove into eager crowds. Audiences responded with mosh-pit surges and hearty chants of “Wolf Gang!”

Odd Future’s foul-mouthed gross-outs were exactly the kind of music to appall parents and stoke youthful adrenaline. It has disseminated them not through record sales or radio play but in the digital cloud: giving away a dozen full-length albums by its members online, making videos for YouTube and through constant social-networking posts. Lately it has made television appearances, including one from Austin for the Woodie Awards given by MTV’s “college music” spinoff channel, mtvU, which latched onto the underground cachet of SXSW. Members of Odd Future now have recording contracts and coming retail albums; at SXSW no less an insider than Diddy (formerly P. Diddy) praised them as “the future of the industry.” But with maverick cool, Odd Future stormed offstage 12 minutes into its official SXSW set, complaining about bad microphones.
--The New York Times

I'm not sure if I approve yet - this video is the best thing I've seen - but they're kids, so give 'em time.