Just an update on that whole Kindercore thing… I got this email from their publicists yesterday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KINDERCORE RECORDS FOUNDERS FILE SUIT AGAINST THE TELEGRAPH COMPANY,
Kindercore Records founders Daniel Geller and Ryan Lewis today filed a
lawsuit against I.D.E.A. (International Development of Entertainment
Alliances), also known as The Telegraph Company, Kindercore General Manager
Jerod Gunsberg and I.D.E.A. CEO Stanley Hartman for breach of contract,
slander, libel, and a host of other infractions. (Supreme County of The
State of New York, County of New York Index No. 03603716)
A strategic partnership formed in 2001 between the Kindercore label and
Telegraph was intended to strengthen the label’s administration and further
the aesthetic and ideals that Geller and Lewis had established. The
partnership quickly devolved over the 18 months that the relationship
existed, culminating in the recent announcement that Kindercore was folding.
Geller states, “We were as surprised as anyone on November 12th to learn
that Kindercore would be closing. We were also surprised on November 14th
to find out the label was not closed and would now be run by Stan Harman who
had previously stated to us that he wanted nothing to do with the creative
side of running a record label”.
In the beginning, Geller and Lewis expected that their partnership with
Telegraph would allow them to continue guiding the artistic direction of
Kindercore while also allowing more time for them to work on their own
music. Geller and Lewis perform in bands on the Kindercore label - I Am The
World Trade Center and The Agenda respectively.
Lewis says, “We’re artists at heart and have always been about the music.
We saw this partnership as a chance to keep the label going in the same
artistic direction that we had established and to also uphold our
commitments to our artists.”
Instead, after the agreements were signed, Geller and Lewis began to see
their roles at the label rapidly diminish, a situation that came to a head
when Kindercore signed two bands that Geller and Lewis had passed on (in one
case) and had never even heard (in the other). Compounding this lack of
control over their own company, Geller and Lewis’ own bands were then
dropped from the label, a curious move considering that I Am The World Trade
Center is the second biggest selling act on Kindercore.
“Since being in bands on the roster was essentially the last real connection
we had with the label we started, we had no other choice but to await
further news on the future of Kindercore”, Geller says. “At this point, we’
re very concerned for the bands that are still associated with Kindercore.”
Lewis elaborates, stating that he and Geller are doing “everything we can to
bring a quick resolution to this situation. Bringing this legal action was
the last thing we wanted to do, but we felt it was the only thing we could
do to help the friends and artists who had faith in us when we entered into
this arrangement with Telegraph.”
Quinn Heraty, of the law firm Heraty Hall, is representing the plaintiffs. A
legal fund has been established to help offset the costs associated with
furthering this action. Please visit www.heratyhall.com/kindercore for more
information on how to contribute.
Legal inquiries can be directed to Quinn Heraty at Heraty Hall.
212-979-3728 | email@example.com | www.heratyhall.com
Press inquiries can be directed to Joshua Bloom at Fanatic Promotion, LLC.
212-616-5556 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.fanaticpromotion.com
I think most fans of Japanese independent music have some serious misconceptions about the actual Japanese music scene, myself included. When I first came to Japan, I didn’t expect anyone to know who Makoto Kawabata was, but I thought they might know Cornelius. I’ve lived here for eleven months now, and met one person who’d heard his name before. And i met two Boredoms fans. I saw one interview with Takemura Nobukazu in an English newspaper. That’s it. With the sheer volume of Japanese independent music that is exported to North Amerika and Europe, you’d think that some of it would be for domestic consumption as well. But mainstream pop has an even stronger grip on everyday music here than it does in Vancouver, where I’m from.
But there is one great thing about Japan. You can play music in the street, at all hours of the day and night. In Vancouver, you can grow hundreds of pounds of pot a year, but if you try to bang on your acoustic guitar on a downtown street corner without a permit, you get busted. By contrast, when you come out of the main train station in Osaka, you can hear music coming from four different directions at once. There’s a four-piece generator-powered punk-pop band playing on a highway overpass: there’s a guy in the stairwell busting rhymes over portable turntables: there’s three highschool girls singing an Ayumi Hamasaki song and banging tambourines behind you: and there’s a guy practicing the flute on the other side of the street.
Now it’s November, and it’s getting chilly, but people just put on gloves and keep going. It’s impressive. Most Friday nights when I finish DJing at 3 am, there are half a dozen groups of teenaged girls and boys hanging around the train stations, strumming pop songs or practicing breakdancing, smoking, eating 7-11 sandwiches and waiting for the first train to come. It’s cool. I guess they aren’t allowed to play guitar at 3am in their parents’ homes, but out here on the street, despite the cold and the cacophony, there’s a community.
Gasoline-powered generators are sold in guitar shops. Small guitar amps come with batteries. If you cant get a gig in a club, that’s ok - you’ll probably make more money and more friends playing in the train station. For myself, before I got a chance to DJ in that little restaurant/bar in East Osaka, I would just grab 4 AA batteries and a pair of portable speakers, plug them into my laptop, and beatmix with Ableton Live while sitting outside the Hep 5 Department store. That’s democracy, baby.
The title of this post is a slight bit baiting, but, seriously, what makes- especially online writers- worthy or unworthy of being labeled a critic, rather than, say, a fan? In one of the many year-end list threads on ILM this idea was brought up by DJ Martian and others. The link to the Fast ‘n Bulbous “rant” here was put up as an idea of the ridiculousness of some of the so-called cultural barometers that write for magazines being able to do so if they vote for things like Ryan Adams, when there are obviously things in the genre that are qualitatively better and SHOULD have been heard by these people. To take the edge out of this criticism of others, and as an experiment for myself, I’ve taken up the gauntlet and started a blog where I catalog everything that I listen to that is being released in 2004 here. But back to the original question at hand. How many albums does it take to be an authority on the year’s releases? 100? 500? 1000?
The population of Georgia had the right idea. Now only if us in the online culture “journalism” (LOL1985) business could equally go up to those in the field who weren’t pulling their weight, just making the quality of life worse for all involved, and go “Here… would you awfully mind fucking the hell off? Before we kill you? With guns? That’d be great”.
First things first, though: the funniest thing anyone ever said to me was when I mentioned to a guy called James that Albert Camus had been quite a good footballer, and made the Algerian World Cup qualifying squad on a number of occasions. His response: “Well, truth is “stranger” than fiction”.
Brilliant. Nearly as good as the joke about the guy whose wife miscarries on April 1st.
Anyway, yeah. Music writing has plumbed new depths with this piece of cockmuppetry: http://www.thestranger.com/current/feature.html. I have no pissing clue who The Stranger are, or what their schtick is, a quick skim around the website seems to suggest the kids who I spent all my time at university throwing bottles of piss from windows at as they made their way to the debating society (“This house believes that u r teh gay”). I mean… oh boy. Wanna go giggle-giggle ker-razy?
“English critics love to hate Martin Amis–and here’s why: because he’s so fucking talented.”
That’s a genuine quote from these guys! That’s some genius there. “English critics love to hate The Thrills because they’re so fucking talented”. “Police wish to speak to Lee Hughes, because he’s so fucking talented”. “I hate the assorted petsplits who make up the writing staff of The Stranger’s lead article this week because they’re so fucking talented”.
Student newspapers are full of a mixture of people who a) can’t write b) think they can write c) think “getting a reaction” is a substitute for good writing. So, what’s The Stranger’s big old jizzstain on the face of all that is good and holy then?
First the facts: Courtney Love is not dead.
OK, good, start off with a factual stand, first rule of journalism, your media studies teacher has obviously got through to you. Where we gonna go now?
Not physically, at least–though no one could blame you for checking the newswires to make sure.
Where we are going to go is downhill rapidly. It’s a brave man who combines overblown prose with a kind of “Simon Cowell just got the fastest lap time on Top Gear” smugness, but, dang it, David Schmader manages it!
Witnessing Love’s brazen downward spiral, no one could be blamed for bracing for the worst.
I mean… you see what I’m saying here? This is just the damn introductory piece, and it comes across like my mum’s copy of Family Circle or some other “ISSUES!!! AFFECTING YOU!!!” piece of cock magazine.
Anyway, I don’t hate you, so I won’t quote at length any more of Davey Boy’s writings (needless to say he uses the phrase “heroically tenacious”- EIGHT SYLLABLES! HE MUST BE A GOOD WRITER!), but the upshot of all his blabberings is that him and the assorted other rhesus monkeys that make up The Stranger have decided to write about Courtney Love as if she was dead!
Tip: if I went to Todd and said to him “How about we all write fifty six articles on Courtney Love as if she was dead, that’d be the interesting?”, he would probably come to my house and beat my father to death. Stick with Stylus kids, we listen to every microhouse album ever made so you don’t have to.
So, Schmuckder’s intro finally comes to its conclusion. What’s next on the menu? How about… an obituary! “A career eulogy from a former fan” it’s called! Sounds like a Guided By Voices album track LOL2020.
It’s “written” “by” someone called Hannah Levin, whose previous efforts include
articles entitled “New Country That Doesn’t Suck”, and “Dudes, Dicks, and Dildos”. As I was saying… I fucking hate student journalism.
Love used to have zillions of fan sites lovingly documenting her every move–now there are more of them devoted to hating her
Google’s directory (which I’m sure we can agree gives a decent slice of the internet) gives us 69 (LOLSEXLOL) Hole and Courtney fan sites, and 3 hate sites. Thanks for turning up Hannah, though, do stick around and offer some more crappy analysis.
Then Hannah spends the next ˝ of the article talking about herself. Nick Southall just messaged me saying “This is where you make a joke about Pitchfork”, but I don’t know what he means. Anyway, as you all know, obituaries feature lots of discussion about the obituary writer, especially if you’re someone behind such groundbreaking pieces of journalism as “New Country That Doesn’t Suck”, so, like my man Miles Lane, I’ll allow it.
Oh god… you wanna laugh? This made me laugh so much, my grandfather just asked me if I feel OK, and he’s been dead 22 years.
I’d entangle myself in relationships with bad men, drink too much, and listen to Guns N’ Roses and N.W.A. as often as I listened to Team Dresch and Bikini Kill.
I really don’t think I can say anything about that, being as I am rendered comatose by the amount I’ve just laughed at it. Hannah’s boyfriends be the baddest clique up on the scene. And I think we’re all getting bored with these fake-ass broads writing FUCKING AWFUL SELF-IMPORTANT BADLY RESEARCHED “CAN WE GET OUR PAGE LINKED TO AT SOME FAN FORUM SO WE CAN GET PEOPLE WRITING HATE MAIL TO US SO WE CAN FEEL IMPORTANT SO WE CAN VALIDATE OUR LIVES FOR ONCE IN OUR PISSY FUCKING EXISTENCE SO WE CAN GO OFF AND WRITE AN ARTICLE CALLED “New Country That Doesn’t Suck”?
Hannah Levin’s favorite Courtney moment was driving down Lake City Way ten days prior to Kurt Cobain’s death, listening to an advance copy of Live Through This and feeling confident that Kurt, Courtney, and Frances would be fine.
Oh, just fuck off already.
Anyway, what’s the next article?
THE HOLE STORY
Courtney Love’s Recorded Legacy, Assessed
by Hannah Levin
I really envy AIDS sufferers.
Anyway, you know exactly what this review is going to say before you’ve read it: I liked them before you, and Pretty On The Inside is a better album than Celebrity Skin which is POP. POP IS EVIL. I SHOOT IT WITH A GUN, NOT A CAMERA. Sample piece of top critical insight:
Live Through This
**** The timing of its release couldn’t have been poorer (less than a week after Kurt Cobain’s death), but the quality of its content couldn’t have been any better.
No, it could have, or else you’d have given it *****, you stupid woman.
alluding to critics who had dismissed her as a starfucking phony (”I want to be the girl with the most cake/I fake it so real I am beyond fake”)
That lyrics actually about the riot grrrl game of adding characteristics to cakes you’d baked, but, you know, actually reading a single Courtney Love interview from between 1993 and 1998 to find something as basic as that out would have been actual research, her? Ms Levin’s research seems to consist of looking in a mirror.
They continue with the other articles, some of which aren’t about Hannah Levin
and some woman called Courtney she read about in Seventeen once.
The coming years brought only disappointment in Love’s career on celluloid, most notably in the video for Celebrity Skin’s “Awful,” a wonderful song ruined by a concert video filled with images so mundane–screaming into a wind machine, crowd-surfing in slow motion–it made me wish Kurt had pulled a murder-suicide.
David Schmader wishes someone dead because they made a bad video. What a great person to work in the field of music criticism. Get the feeling the boy Schmader’s led someone of a sheltered life?
Actually, one of the best things about this is that Dave’s intro to the whole she-bang makes a big fuss of the fact that Courtney was “joking” about her overdose. MUST WE SLING THIS POP FILTH AT OUR KIDS??? Anyway, here’s the cartoon from another article featuring someone talking about themselves at odious length:
Disposable shit music writers of hypocrisy.
Jennifer Maerz (who may have the remedy, we’re not sure) kills this thing off big style though. Her article… WHO IS THE NEW COURTNEY!!! Yes, because Brody Dalle and Courtney Love are EXACTLY THE SAME PERSON!!! They were both married to a rock star!!! FUCKING SLUT! Brilliant. Who else is THE NEW COURTNEY???? Is it Wildflower? No, she’s black, silly fool, what would she be doing here? IT’S KAREN O!!! SHE’S A WOMAN! ALL WOMEN ARE THE SAME!!! Jennifer Maerz- cook or whore?
I mean, this is the worst kind of female Uncle Tomism that you can imagine, the sort of article beating off commissioning editors (Mr David, we can only assume) approve because it’s the sort of thing they wish they could write themselves, because they hate women. The third entry is Ursula Android. She’s a drag queen. That is the worst drag queen name ever. I WISH KURT HAD KILLED URSULA ANDROID. Good drag queen name: Rose DeWitt Bukkake.
The final piece of writing is too fuck-wittedly awful for me to even write about. Basically, some guy called Pollack writes fiction. LIKE MARTIN AMIS WHO IS FUCKING TALENTED LOL1982PAOLOROSSI. It features him stroking his ego with a vigour more commonly associated with Michael Fawcett’s wrist. It’s a wank-fantasy about him being of some minor importance and intereracting with celebs, rather than what his life actually consists of (I dunno. Raping children or working in a cheque clearing office or whatever).
It’s depressing, that’s what it is. It’s the equivalent of those underground MCs who throw off diss tracks aimed at Eminem. What’s the point? They’re never going to hear it. Your friends, who already like you, will laugh and go “Hahaha, you are clever”. Everyone else will just see you for what you are: a fucking idiot coat-tail riding. Goodnight.
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, it’s a little embarrassing that it didn’t occur to me before now to write about this particularly fine chronicle of the event - especially when you consider that it inspired the name of a certain Stylus feature. Alas, it would appear this seemingly perfect moment in pop writing here at Stylus was lost.
Still, like the man referred to in “Seconds” as the “golden one,” I suppose we can still ponder what might have been. Perhaps I would have written about the subtle tension that builds in the first half of the song, the driving electronic percussion pulsing underneath the shifting synthesizer suspension chords, paralleling the anticipation of seeing the president’s motorcade pass by.
But I won’t.
Or maybe I would have mentioned how the song subtly refers to the 1966 John Frankenheimer thriller, Seconds, starring Rock Hudson - a movie, I would add, that led Brian Wilson to believe that Phil Spector was conspiring with his Jewish brethren at Columbia Pictures to nudge the Beach Boy toward insanity (not that they would need a movie to do that).
But I shouldn’t.
Possibly, though, I would just dwell on that synthetic gunshot sound in the middle of the song - how such a patently cheap theatrical device is used so effectively that it becomes positively terrifying. Or better yet, I’d discuss how the “shot that was heard around the world” is followed by a line repeated over and over, “It took seconds of your time/To take his life/It took seconds” - emphasizing the temporal nature of the event to the point the concept becomes spatial. Like the event itself.
I was picking through Mystery Train by Greil Marcus the other day, and I came across a section in the author’s note that summarizes the way I feel about the intersection between the arts. It was one of those why-didn’t-I-put-it-this-way-long-before sort of moments:
“What I have to say in Mystery Train grows out of records, novels, political writings; the balance shifts, but in my intentions, there isn’t any separation. I am no more capable of mulling over Elvis without thinking of Herman Melville than I am of reading Jonathan Edwards. . .without putting on Robert Johnson’s records as background music. What I bring to this book, at any rate, is no attempt at synthesis, but a recognition of unities in the American imagination that already exist.”
For me, there’s always something on in the background when I read, be it Schubert, Herbie Hancock, or LFO. The music twists itself through the narrative and vice versa, and I can no longer imagine a separation between the two.
Holy shit, this is incredible. I never thought I’d be going this apeshit over yet another indie-pop record, but here I am loving this to death anyway. It’s like the Microphones, but even more hook-crazy and possessed by the fierce spirit of over-the-top power pop. The first time I listened to this the other day, when that first riff from the fourth track “Sea Ghost” came on I couldn’t resist turning the volume way up, murmuring “oh my god,” and just stopping everything I was doing to engage in a wide, silly grin. This is so beautiful, the songs just flow naturally from one remarkable melody to another without ever slowing down. All those ba-ba-bas and overdubbed lead vox perfectly complement the relentless charging energy of their perky punk-pop. Some of it’s just really silly and fun, some of it has more of an edge to it, and all of it is fun as hell. I think the Pitchfork review completely overestimated how original this is, but nothing could possibly overestimate how sheerly GOOD it is.
Columbus has gotten a lot of good acts lately, it seems like. Last week was Plaid, Luke Vibert and Chris Clark playing together on one bill and a few nights ago we had T. Raumschmiere, Ellen Allien and Apparat performing in the same space.
While the notoriously non-dance friendly and stand-offish crowd will be right at home at the Tord Gustavsen Trio concert this Saturday (featuring the drummer from Supersilent (Joe- I’ll see you there, right?)), I can’t help but think that perhaps it was the crowd that helped to make the Shitkatapult and B-Pitch Control show a little less enjoyable than it could have been. Rumor has it that Chicago went all out for the three performers and I only wish that Columbus could have gotten a bit more hyped for the whole thing. I suppose the Sunday night and strict one-hour playing times could have contributed to it, but it didn’t seem to bother the energy of any of the players.
The aforementioned trio this Saturday should be a nice capper, either way, to the college football season. We can listen to the sublime funk-jazz improv while the rest of Columbus riots in the streets, no matter whether the biggest draw in town wins or loses its game earlier in the day. Knowing the time-conscious Wexner Center, though, we’ll probably be out of the show and put directly into the eye of the storm.
It’s apt that Limp Bizkit and Korn are going to be touring together (Back 2 Basics Tour) to promote the hairless bollocks they have the nerve to call their new LPs. Both are suffering from an obvious and total lack of creative energy and these fragile egos on their way down the helter skelter probably wouldn’t survive getting blown off the stage by energetic and talented youngsters.
Korn’s Take a Look in the Mirror is a boring rehash the same old lyrical themes, riffs and song structures which they began recycling halfway through Issues 2 LPs ago. It’s an atrocious collection trying desperately to be heavy and raw, but sounds so frantically stale that Linkin Park seem like innovators of Can like proportions.
Having a history of working with excellent MCs (Cube, Tre, Q-Tip, Durst) they signed up Nas for “Play Me”…I’m speechless with what a shit verse he’s offered up, are him and Jigga both on lazy pills or something?
“Everybody’s an Enemy,
Telling me lies and it’s killing me,
Why they only wanna get rid of me?
Everybody’s my enemy,
Several try to disguise the devil in them,
Wanting to get into my cerebellum,
But I’m ready and willing to tell them that I can’t F with them
Exhale so hard it got my chest swelling,
like my dick does when watching nikkid women,
do sick stuff on my porn collection on television
Trust nobody I don’t know who to call a friend
they all just pretend to be,
Fuck everybody this is to all of ya’ll
Cuz everybody is an enemy
Watching my own back strapped with chrome
to my homies where the tombstones at, where the hoes at?
Cuz too many Men act like dikes,
Hermaphrodites with pens,
They got men, look at the trash they writing,
They life in time is kinda weirder than the life and time of the Sandman on Apollo theater
Imagine that brother black with a hook who pull the wack talent off the stage,
Blink-182 sounds so much like Disintegration it makes me want to wet myself; especially “I’m Lost Without You,” a completely worthy successor to “Untitled” — okay, maybe not a worthy successor, but perhaps the best SoCal punk goth song I can think of right now. Lots and lots of synthesizers and crazy Travis Barker drum cut-ups abound on this album — I suppose “Feeling This” is a nice reference point; replace those harmonies at the end with guitars and you’ve got a third of this album (that song is really great, too).
I don’t know if I’m obligated to dislike this ’cause I so regularly trash things like this — and I’m surprised that I’m not pissed off there’s no bangers like “Josie” on here. No more crazy punk thrash. In comes Robert Smith (his appearance is pretty great, too).
I think the only thing holding this back from being an arena-rock golden nugget are the ridiculous teen (like, fifteen-year-old) angst lyrics. I mean — lyrics were never Blink’s strong point, and now that this album is “emotional” or whatever, of course they’re gonna be pushed farther up and noticed much more.
But this lush wash almost completely makes up for them. No Doubt, eat your collective new wave-pillaging re-punking hearts out.
Wow, I just caught the latest of conservative demagogue Bill O’Reilly’s talk show featuring none other than two of Roc-a-Fella’s finest. O’Reilly, obviously in a slump for ideas, did some token “rap is bad for kids” spiel, which was adequately defended by the quite eloquent Dash and the markedly less articulate Killa Cam. O’Reilly absurdly argued that Cam’ron should make records that substitute for absent parents, and that Cam’s records influence kids into selling drugs (rarely have I seen O’Reilly so sluggish… is he slipping?). Dash’s retort: Cam’ron is a good role model: a successful entrepreneur, owner of his own record label, a movie star, and a musician. Cam maintained he was keeping it real for telling it like it is, and had a great point about Gov. Schwartzenegger’s movies having more of a violent impact on kids than the Dipset Anthem. In the end, Roc-a-Fella came out on top — they give back to the community through youth involvement programs that keep kids off the street. What’s O’Reilly done for the ghetto? Shill for Bush?
Seeing Roc-a-Wear plugged on Fox News: delightful! A wonderful moment of television weirdness. Also, Cam offered to bring the Diplomats to speak positivity at any school that contacts him. That would have been a school assembly I would have actually attended.
I was listening to Pink Floyd’s Meddle on my headphones last night as the world twitched in its sleep. “Fearless” came on, and I must say that I still feel as hypnotized by that track as I did upon first hearing it my sophomore year in college. In fact, there are few tracks that I repeat as quickly upon their close. My tastes may have evolved past the acid-drowned psychedelia of much of Pink Floyd, but this track still makes me mourn for that first listen. Goddam nostalgia. I rushed over to the stereo in my bare feet and almost tripped over the tangled cord of the headphones to push it back to the rambling shuffle of the acoustic guitars and the quickened collapse and pound of its drums. It rolls and rolls, never really morphing all that much, and the snippet of Rodgers/Hammerstein chorus that sounds like a soccer chant simmers along its base. It stops and retreats, and Gilmour’s guitar at one point bends into a country whine. I used to see myself as a musical pedagogue, bound to instruct and inform the audio-blind (I still may but that’s neither here nor there). I would turn this song up at full shrieking volume and wait unil the neighbours came knocking. Maybe I would give them a copy. They never knocked; they just turned up their Dave Matthews and left me to my endless repeats. And damn if that ain’t all I have the right to ask.
Regardless of how you feel about Pitchfork’s reviews, their news section is usually pretty accurate. And today, they’ve got this story: Kindercore is shutting their doors, kind of. No more new releases, but they’ll continue to distribute what they’ve got out there and the artists on tour. Their financial backer shut them down.
Every time I see Erykah Badu on an awards show, she looks like a total junkie. Last night’s Source Awards presentation did little to discredit my suspicions. Can anybody confirm or deny this? Maybe she’s just a little stoned and malnourished?
I don’t want to say I’m ignorant of rap; I mean, I listen to quite a bit, probably not as much as I could, but regardless; I feel like I don’t connect to it so purely just because I don’t really give a shit about lyrics. Does this seem like a valid reason? I just listened to “99 Problems,” and I really loved it, but I can’t for the life of me repeat one line from it, except for the chorus and that I remember loving Jay’s cadence earlier on in the song. But that Rick Rubin beat sure is awesome!
I dun get it. Do I just not love hip-hop ’cause I’m white? I dunno. I mean, I loved Blazing Arrow and Aquemini and So … How’s Your Girl way more than, say … shit, I dunno, albums where the lyrics are top-shelf and the beats are MOR. Is this a common problem among people like yourselves — I only really like rap if it’s got a great fucking beat?
Maybe not news to die-hard hip-hop heads, but (surprise!) Jay-Z apparently has (at least) one more album in him. The marketing spin will supposedly have Dame Dash putting out the collection of “rarities” etc., with the obligatory four or five new tracks, “without Jay’s permission” next summer. A tad on the ridiculous side. Will the promotion of this album feature him on TRL telling fans “not” to buy it? That’d be awesome. And it would probably boost sales even more than the perpetual last album/retirement spin he’s been working. I find this all particularly funny as Gavin just made the commented on everyone getting old and tired. Will Jigga ever really call it quits?
While revisitng some of my old favorites from the techno/big beat/electronica (I never really understood the technicalities seperating the genres) era this month, I made a sad discovery linking quite possibly my three favorite groups of the time (Underworld, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers). All three had:
a) Just released an album nearly unanimously considered to be the worst of their career (A Hundred Days Off, The Altogether, Come With Us)
b) Just released a greatest hits album in a mad bid to stay relevant
c) Put the years that the collection spans in the title of the album as if to say “we’re not dead yet! Please don’t give up on us!” (Anthology 1992-2002, Work 1989-2002, Singles 1993-2003)
Sad, really. My first period of real love for music coincided with the techno explosion of ‘96/’97, and as such, the only CDs I bought from the time period that I still love are Dig Your Own Hole, Fat of the Land, and the soundtrack to The Saint, among a couple others. As such, the genre will always have a special place in my heart, and it’s very sad to see these bands grow into irrelevancy.
Escape from the period isn’t impossible, however, as shown by Daft Punk–Homework was as much of a classic as any of these albums, but Discovery was arguably even better, and just as relevant. Could these groups so tied to a place and time buck odds and have life after the death of techno?
I guess this is partly inspired by Sam’s Britpop entry, but this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Britpop was already more or less dead and useless to me by the time I really got into music (I loved “Song 2″ for about four years before I first heard Parklife) but the groups of this era have stayed with me all the way through my musical development. It’s hard to say goodbye.
I want Jeff Buckley back. Do people really believe that effecting that falsetto is all they have to do to channel this man’s spirit? Knock the last three letters off ‘falsetto’ and you’re there.
It wasn’t a dramatic death; it was a stupid one. Booted, suited, larking in the Mississippi whilst hollering along to Led Zeppelin, showing off in front of a younger, less prodigious friend, consumed by the little demon that drives all performers and pushes them towards that edge of ridicule, step up to it, step on it, step over it, it’s alright, you can pull it off, you can keep your balance… It’s a dangerous business, opening yourself up to an audience, giving in to their desires, taking control of their desires; the further you push yourself the further they want you to be pushed. Such is the mind off the exhibitionist, shirt drenched in sweat, tearing at his chest and opening blood vessels in the hearts of all those near enough to make out that voice, arcing through the octaves, skipping notes and lines and keys, a whisper, a rumble, a yowl, a screeching echo. He doesn’t mean it; who could mean it? He’s an entertainer! He doesn’t mean anything! The key is the illusion; look as if you’re meaning it enough to drive the story forward, enough to catch people in your wake and carry them along behind. There’s a reason why he posed in a golden jacket, the most iconic of microphones in hand, gazing moodily downwards on the cover of Grace. Image is important. But go and listen to “Je n’en connais pas la fin / hymne a l’amour” from Live at the Bataclan; he’s a man so caught up in his audience, so desperate to please and beguile and astound that he’ll change language, brazenly beg for acceptance, anything just to get an astounded reaction. The master manipulator. No wonder the Europeans loved him so. The Americans didn’t quite get him because you’ve either got to be 100% real or 100% fake in the US, Cobain or Carey with no staging posts in-between, and Jeff was always about blurring things, about making the fake, the contrived, the illusory and the ridiculous profound and magical and real through the sheer ability he had to emote like a bastard, to swoop into the dramatic heart of a song and take it two steps too far but to take you with him.
I’ve had enough of the hand wringers and quietly downcast, the ones who confuse melancholy with depression and children with angels, who are earnest and committed where they should be theatrical and exceptional, breaking rules and bonds and hearts. I guess it’s not their fault; they see the signified and don’t understand the signifiers, don’t understand the process that takes you from one to the other. How could the university-educated son of a conservative caravan-salesman understand the drama and passion, the flourish and gaze, the pose and poise and hyperbole? The sense of theatre and performance? The sheer bloody-minded ego, the void that needs filling with the tear-soaked adulation of all who hear the voice? But the semi-orphaned son of the tragic avant-folk singer and his temporary muse, schooled in the bohemian environs of New York’s most ponce-heavy cafes, alone with a guitar and a million different songs from a thousand different cultures; he knew. Jeff Buckley’s legacy doesn’t belong with the whingers and whiners. It belongs with the freaks and fools and the two-dimensional shadows of the stage.
History hasn’t been kind to Jeff Buckley’s legacy, even if it has been kind to Columbia’s coffers. His voice and name have become a short cut to a particular kind of troubled male sensitivity, a misappropriated signifier of a certain type of angst and emotional resonance utilised by dour young men with ulterior motives, cynicism masquerading as romanticism, who only see one side of the many-faced thing that is a human being, who assume the public face is the only face and who don’t even understand the public face anyway. If you sound like someone else who is passionate, doesn’t that make you passionate too? Buckley would have hated the bands that sprung up in his ‘image’, the conservatives, line-walkers and risk-avoiders who want nothing more than safety and comfort. How could a man who’s musical passions swung from the pomp and sex of Led Zeppelin to the irritated thrash of The Dead Kennedys to the spiritual rapture of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan feel anything for the innocuous guitar whimpering of Coldplay or Starsailor?
Buckley was as much a wolfish imp as he was a romantic idol, as given to and guilty of petulance and ego as the worst of any of us, a tardy time-keeper with a closet full of skeletons. Someone once said that Jeff’s music was akin to the music of his father filtered through the revolution of punk, electrified and spitting bile. Were it that simple we’d have no need to still listen to it, some six years after he sank to the bottom of that river because he forgot that you should never swim with your boots on.
What’s been lost most over the last six years of obfuscation and misappropriation of the supposed (and misunderstood) muse of Jeff Buckley is the actual music of the man. One proper album. A handful of b-sides and live cuts. Two-disc’s worth of out-takes and unfinished ideas. It’s not much to base a mythology upon… The indecipherable vaults and stomps of “Haven’t You Heard”, in which a boy is lost in pure joy at his own ability, stretching and contorting the voice in bizarre directions with fantastical, ludicrous words. “The Sky Is A Landfill” flirting with grunge-y doom, attempting to bring down society or the government or something through acts of sexual defiance and rebellion, the too blissful and eager call of “we’ll share our bodies in disdain for the system” signifying a desperate and heady lust that runs through and beneath everything else no matter how sentimental or angered or abstracted. Sex here, sex there, sex every-fucking-where in Buckley junior’s music, sex and myth. The sussurant murmur that opens “Mojo Pin” is the sound of the male human voice sullied beyond reason and then wrung-out until it is pure again, a moan to bring dancing girls to melancholy and misanthropes to ecstasy. Buckley’s ostentatious vocal antics on Grace were underpinned by a backing band who were magnificent at making their frontman look stratospheric, once again pushing him further and further. Where the songs came from unimportant (Benjamin Britten, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone [definitely not Elkie Brooks!]), a vague allusion to his father and a premonition of being submerged; what was important was that Jeff sung them. Two minutes into “Last Goodbye” when he suddenly, shockingly caterwauls “kiss me / please kiss me / kiss me out of desire / baby / not consolation”, and it might be the most honest thing any man has ever uttered.
Yet still whenever I put on a record now I hear less than I see; and I see images of fools and thieves and earnest young men who think they understand but don’t. Where is the pomposity? The showmanship? The guile, bravery, ridicule, idiocy, genius? Whenever I used to see Grace on sale I would want to buy armfuls of copies and hand them out to people on the street who looked as if they would understand it. Now I’m not so sure.
Those paragons of MOR glam Britpop, Suede, announced their breaking up — my bad, hiatus — as reported by the NME yesterday.
Today in English class we were supposed to write journal entries or some shit like that, so I wrote down the lyrics to “Animal Nitrate,” perhaps one of four Suede singles that I genuinely enjoyed. Oh it turns you on on, now he has gone / Oh what turns you on now your animal’s gone? Ah yes. Brett Anderson, you didn’t have a thing on that other rude snot with vaguely shit lyrics Liam Gallagher, much less Damon or Jarvis.
This actually makes me think, then: is Britpop dead and done with this band’s extinction? Over the past year, Pulp has met a similar fate, and Blur has turned into the Damon Albarn Traveling Techno Afropop Shithouse — and Oasis, I think, could be deemed as more trad-rock; funny then, that they’ve kept doing the same old shit, only to find other bands — Jet, The Darkness, etc. — pouncing in on their glam/throwback rock un roll and striking gold.
It’s only a matter of time, then, before the inevitable Britpop/acid-house resurrection of 2013, where we’ll have a punky Happy Mondays rip-off, or some ol shit like that.
I’ve received word on this from a couple different places, but wanted to share it with anyone here who may have missed it. It’s part of the new “Rock the Vote” campaign in which RTV challenged all the dems to create an ad that would hit home with the kids. Not only is Clark’s the only funny one, it’s the only one half decent. Check out all the spots, including Dennis Kucinch’s sweet “hip hop” ad here: http://www.rockthevote.org/rtv_cnn_video.php
Excellent pop playground today; as someone who doesn’t really follow the pop scene (except through sites like this one) but is riveted by the stories all the same, it was quite excellent to have all the information presented lucidly, comprehensively, and most importantly entertainingly.
Also, it then caused me to chuckle when I ran into this just after reading the article. Ja Rule, just like ODB, is for the children. Apparantly.
I’m sure there are discussions going on elsewhere, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in on the new Jay-Z while it’s been out for half-a-day. Zeitgeist ahoy! It’s better than the Blueprint 2.0, but I don’t think it touches the original Blueprint or even my classic- Hard Knock Vol 3.0.
Here is the rundown on producers via www.sashafrerejones.com
1. D3c3mber 4th, Just Blaz3
2. What Mor3 Can I Say? The Buchan4ns
3. 3ncore, Kany3 West
4. Chang3 Clothes, N3ptunes
5. Dirt Off Your Should3rs, Timb4land
6. Thr3at, 9th Wond3r
7. Mom3nt of Clarity, 3min3m
8. 99 Probl3ms, Rick Rub1n
9. Public Service3 Announc3ment, Just Blaz3
10. Just1fy My Thug, DJ Qu1k
11. Lucif3r, Kany3 W3st
12. Allur3, N3ptunes
13. My F1rst Song, Aqua
You can tell on each track without knowing the producer exactly who it is: Eminem with his orchestral builds (one trick pony called out by Todd Burns weeks ago in the Rubber Room!), Just Blaze with his sped up soul samples, Rick Rubin with his updated Run DMC/Beastie Boys dead-end (it actually sounds good here) and Aqua with…well…it’s a great track- not necessarily my album closer, but whatever.
In other news, however, Sasha’s blog has been blowing up lately with all the underground newz on all of the super-producer’s. The Jay-Z album leak news, the new NERD album (Chad Hugo comes on time for interviews, who woulda thunk?) and Timbaland (big Bonnie Raitt, Joan Jett and banana fan apparently). It’s these sorts of asides- and the exquisite photography, that keep me coming back there quite often lately.
Mr Mather’s recent Playing god piece on Spiritualized’s Amazing Grace raises, for me, an important question. Are the LPs I love, the ones I dismissed and the ones I thought were simply Ok as much a product of scheduling and presentation as they are about the quality of the songs?
And Ian, kudos for using Playing god from a non-fanboy perspective.
An outside source has pointed out to me (correctly, I think) two things about Belle & Sebastian’s “Stay Loose”: The organ is very “Incense & Peppermints”, and the vocal treatment on the verses is reminiscent of first album Pink Floyd.