Utne Blogs > Literature

A Golden Moment for Lyrics

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: literary news, the Guardian, literary bands, music festivals, scene, Vampire Weekend, the Hold Steady, the Mountain Goats, Fleet Foxes, the Silver Jews, Ally Carnwath, n+1, Benjamin Kunkel,

It’s a “vintage year for writerly U.S. bands,” reports the Guardian. Festival season is in full swing in the United Kingdom, where “a slew of witty, hyper-literate American groups [are providing] a much-needed corrective to Britain’s indie malaise.”

Citing acts such as Vampire Weekend, the Hold Steady, the Mountain Goats, Fleet Foxes, and the poet-fronted Silver Jews, music writer Ally Carnwath concedes they don't represent a homogenous bookish scene. In their work, however, Carnwath recognizes a shared “sense of lyrical ambition and adventure,” and the writerly bent is coalescing into a golden moment for literary bands. Carnwath talks to n+1 co-editor Benjamin Kunkel, who points out that these days, rock ’n’ roll is a genre with lifelong appeal—not just for youthful rebels—which puts “new pressure on lyrics to be meaningful and intelligent.”

(Thanks, Bookforum.)