Torr and I had a little online discussion on Nightmare of You yesterday. I have yet to hear Nightmare of You's self-titled debut album in full, but from what I've heard, the word needs to get out that this band is not some goofy emo band, a vampire rock band or a sleazy '80s retread band.
I'll admit to some initial prejudice with these guys. Looking at this line-up pic of the band and reading a little about them, I figured I wouldn't like their music. Yet another band with a singer donning the vampire look, saying he's a fan of Morrissey and the Cure and he's an ex-member of a mall punk band, I just rolled my eyes.
Most indie music bloggers don't talk about these kinds of bands, so when Torr posted some stuff on Nightmare of You a few weeks ago, I was curious. Pulling up iTunes' music store and listening to the 30-second samples, I was pretty amazed by what I heard. This wasn't jokey, mall goth. This is some really poppy, melodic guitar rock with a very slight nod to the atmosphere of the Cure and the Smiths. So I wonder, why is a band like this getting very little exposure outside of the youth/mall punk world?
Taking a cue from a David Fricke line in I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, I'll say this: If I were to listen to Nightmare of You, I would not know who exactly this is for. This is good music, but I don't know what kind of person would buy this. Stepping out of the businessman look, I'll say this from a music critic stance: demographics shed little or no light on quality. Besides, good music isn't confined to a narrow, single demographic.
In the case of Nightmare of You singer/guitarist Brandon Reilly, his ties with Drive-Thru band the Movielife are brought up in every article. I vaguely remember the Movielife, but the way that people talk about them, they were loved and are missed. Well, the band split off into two main bands: I Am The Avalanche and Nightmare of You. Without having a strong point of reference with the Movielife's music, I can't really make comparisons with its spinoff bands like I can with a band like At the Drive-In.
What I hear from the total two minutes of clips from Nightmare of You is a really good album. Not just a good album for a certain crowd, but a good album that can appeal to a variety of people. So, where's the crossover? Do I think Reilly's ties with the Movielife puts the band in the emo ghetto by default? Maybe, but when people that are trying to do something different do a good job, they should live on past their shadow.
Does Alison Mosshart's pop-punk past with Discount mean that the Kills should be catered towards the pop-punk crowd? Should Big Star be catered to the R&B crowd because of Alex Chilton's past with the Box Tops? Should the Killers be catered to the ska-punk crowd because Brandon Flowers was in a ska band? The answer is no to all of these, so what's the hold-up with Nightmare of You?