Frontier Station – Mediocre
Trends are an interesting, inescapable thing in modern music. On the one hand, real music nerds will maintain that they are not guided by such empty notions when choosing the music they want to endorse. However, a good haircut and the right type of production have often provided bands with more in terms of popularity than their playing or writing abilities alone.
Folk music has not been cool for a while but sits at the foundation of much of what we refer to as pop songwriting. Because of this it always has to be dressed up. Recent trends, be them to add punk to folk, or to arena-size it and boost it with a chorus of Heys and Hos have increased the style’s appeal.
Mediocre by Frontier Station is a piece of old-fashioned, heartbreaking, humorous songwriting. Structurally it could have been written in the 1950s by travelling-folkies, in the 1980s by guitar strumming DYI Brit-rockers, or in the 2020s by corporately endorsed indie-folkies.
Frontier Station does not rely either on trends on well-known formulas exclusively. Mediocre is a touching song about those affected by the Miner’s Strike that took place in Britain in the 1980s. It’s earnest and heartbreaking, a kind of Thunder Road minus the glamour of the open highway.
Mild Wild – Medium Weekend
Those involved with Mild Wild sound like the kind of people you notice once the touring guide asks “Are there any questions?“. They’re the ones raising their hand, asking about a dozen questions, half of which involve minute details that put all other attendees’ brains’ in terrible pain but forces them nonetheless to learn new things.
Medium Weekend joins the highly-populated ranks of musicians that are a bit too clever for their own good and that we’ve featured on Alt77. Musically, this is an otherworldly construction featuring complex, yet understated, jazzy guitars and lively basslines. This provides a backdrop for the singer to recite his impressionist poetry. It sounds great, like Julian Casablancas conspiring to lose the Strokes their recording contract.
I’d like to think that this song is about wasting your weekend with bad friends. But I could be wrong. I suppose that the point is to allow multiple interpretations to become a possibility.
What sells the tune is Mild Wild’s way of speaking. It reminds me of a co-worker that made sense but didn’t really and never could be depended on to carry out deadlines. In the world of music, it’s not a characteristic that anyone is likely to pay much mind to.