They’re losing the name ‘The Neptunes’ because ‘phase one’ is over. Chad is learning guitar because they’re fed-up of Spymob. Pharrell is the richest man in the universe and wants to marry a girl ‘still at college’. They’ve run out of beats. The video really badly sucks ass. Chad’s the musical backbone, family man keeping outta the spotlight; Pharrell’s a media-whore.
All of the above is True! And also False!
So some dog barks, and that’s like musique concrete, right? A nod-of-the-head to the avant-garde? And then some big winging drums like a tribal thing, except that Boredoms do it much better. (How to label the genre for Boredoms on iTunes, that’s the question? Krautrock? Electronica/Dance? Rock? Japanese Groove Noise?) A nod-of-the-head to the avant-garde? Isn’t that what Timbaland does, by taking everything in his little sonic box and sticking it all together, and making every last little sound a separate hook? And The Neptunes do the opposite, right; make one hook and par everything else down into that moment, strip it all away? What the fuck.
Yeah, I’ve gotta be honest, despite naysayers, it does make me want to move. But that little yelp that Pharrell does - “she’s SEXY!” – where his voice jumps up like it sat in the damp-patch, that just reminds me of Cameron Diaz in Being John Mlkovich when she first travels into Malkovich’s head and finds him towelling down after a shower; i.e. however often you say “SEXY!” it is not sexy. At all. The piano that guides the bridge into that strung-out, two-note guitar whine that might just be very fucking 80s cop-show if I could remember any of them, that’s passable, and I love the guitar over the chorus, like Hot Hot Heat sounded in my head before they were fucking shit in my CD player. And that lyric! “Her ass is a spaceship that I want to ride” – c’est magnifique, mon frere, c’est tres magnifique (le sange c’est dans l’arbre, oui oui, voulez vous kiss my ass?). But no, it’s no “Loser” and it’s no “Brain” and it’s no “Provider” and it’s no “Things Are Getting Better”. Will it do? For now.
Sometimes, the failures are just more interesting. That’s not to say I Am A Lion, Bravecaptain’s recent release, is one, per se, just that some of it doesn’t seem to work. It’s just that, having been inspired to listen to it by Scott McKeating’s excellent interview with Martin Carr, I’m having one of those moments when I wonder why that should make any difference at all.
As a piece, the EP can fairly be called a wreck – four ugly cuts, each shot through with messy, glitchy music and barely-there half-melodies. One minute, you’re listening to a garage track – the next it sounds like your computer’s pissed out right in the middle of playing the General MIDI-version of the Star Wars theme. Even though coherence has never been the strongest suit of the former Boo Radleys mainman, by all rights I Am A Lion should be the release where we say, “Enough already, Martin – how’s about retiring that Kid 606 mixtape you got from an ex-girlfriend 3 years ago and giving Sice a ring?”
But I’m not saying that. Rather, what grabs about this 20-minute collection that the Captain couldn’t even give away (he’s posted it for free on his website) is how damned prescient the whole thing feels. Which, for a guy who now holes himself off in the Welsh hinterland like some drug-addled Hobbit, is about the last thing I’d have expected.
Tossed off? Most definitely – I’d be shocked if Carr spent more than a few hours on all four of these tracks combined. But at a time when America seems to be struggling mightily with its role in the world (and its attendant responsibilities), when cultural “wedge issues” like constitutional amendments banning gay marriage and the “controversy” surrounding Mel Gibson’s whackjob opus (dei), “The Passion of Christ” rule the airwaves, it’s more than a relief to say that Carr’s captured something here. In fact, it’s cathartic.
Seemingly willing to play the predictable Angry British Liberal, I Am a Lion at first appears to be taking the easy route, professing outrage and portraying political leaders merely as those who “cling to their religion and rules that spread fear” (yawn). But here’s the thing, this isn’t your typical bitch session, where we all agree that Bad People are Wrong and pat ourselves on the back for having the guts to say it. Rather, Carr makes damn clear he’s not feeling inclined to sit back and take it anymore. More than that, with references to himself as a “bombmaker” and “a lion amongst the Christians,” Carr’s throwing their incendiary imagery right back in their faces. I fucking love it.
And that’s where the music begins to make sense. Carr’s at last found the ideal vehicle for that thin, weedy voice of his: a vocoder. Which is perfect, really, because intentionally or not, every time-stretched drum sample and robotic vocoder suggests systemic breakdown like his lyrics never could (or attempt, really). At the same time, the half-melodies start to sound deliberately fragmented and desperately melancholy.
Of course, maybe it’s just the timing of it all – maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and hate his voice again. But right now, Bravecaptain seems to at last be back on course. And you can’t feed me this shit fast enough. More, Martin, more – get up off your ass and give me more.
Every time I get into my car, I have about 75 CDs at my disposal. Inevitably, I spend the first few minutes of every drive trying to find that one CD that most perfectly fits the weather and my mood, failing much more often than not, forced to fall back on the same few discs that happen to be in heavy rotation for me at the moment.
Well, this afternoon I experienced one of those truly perfect moments of synchronicity, and I can’t even take credit for it. It snowed here in Athens, GA last night, and while that might elicit a big “so what?” from our neighbors to the north, it’s a pretty big deal here in the Deep South, big enough to shut down UGA for the day, at least.
It’s probably been a few years now since I’ve even seen snow, and just like anything else, I’m sure it’s one of those things you start to take for granted when you see it all the time.
Anyway, I bundled up for a run to the store around noon, got in the car, then realized I had left those CDs in the house. It was only a 4-5 minute drive, so I figured I’d just flip on the radio and forget about it. I know better than to go anywhere besides the college station (WUOG), but even still, I was nothing short of overwhelmed to hear Sufjan Stevens’ “Holland” coming back at me from the airwaves. Not because it was such a surprise to hear an indie-rock radio station playing an indie-rock artist, but because the music just seemed to make everything in that frozen, crystalline world even clearer.
I was admittedly a latecomer to the brilliance of Greetings from Michigan, and I think it’s simply because it only recently got cold enough for me to really appreciate it. It’s such a perfect winter album that I’m positive it would have made my year-end top 20 if I lived in Minnesota, Maine, or of course Michigan itself. Shit, we were still getting’ crunk with Lil Jon while y’all up north were getting turned on to this gem of an album.
“Fragile” is the best word I can come up with to describe how the world looks when it’s covered in snow and ice, and it’s also the first adjective I think of when I hear “Holland,” a fragile little sketch of a song with only a few evocative lyrics and no real chorus to speak of at all. This winter weather makes everything feel muted, and that’s how Sufjan sounds when he sings, like there’s all this sadness and grief and regret, but also longing and hope and happiness, but that it’s all been buried just beneath the surface, under a few inches of snow.
POP WILL EAT ITSELF - Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!
Pop Will Eat Itself were from Stourbridge, and at least one of them went on to be in Bentley Rhythm Ace. They had 11 top 40 hits, of which this was their only top ten hit (#9, January 1993 - so effectively, 11 years ago, they were the Scissor Sisters. Sort of). I decided to give it a listen, based mainly on the fact that:
a) everyone I know who knows who they are hates them (usually a good sign)
b) I think it’s a really good title for a song. By way of comparison, here’s this week’s top twenty. When was the last time there was a song with a really good title up the business end of the charts? (Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) is not a really good title, it is a shit pun)
So anyway, I listen to it, and… it is very much like I remember the vague snataches of youth culture I absorbed when I was 9 being. That title, which is used for the sort-of chorus “Gonna get the girl! Kill the baddies! And save the entire planet!” It feels exactly like the kind of thing the computer games journalists of the time would have danced badly to at their student indie disco whilst discussing The Mary Whitehouse Experience and drinking snakebite. You can smell the crustiness, as the two shouting men groan “Rough justice, rough law, rough justice, rough law…” (this being the song’s other line) like an inferior West Midlands Black Grape. For no actual reason, this song lasts over five minutes. There’s a keyboard bit which sounds like Altern-8 covering Carter. You could imagine Terry Pratchett really liking it.
I dunno if I like it or not. It does have this air of a band that had a really good song title, and a half-decent keyboard riff, then couldn’t work out what to do next. I could imagine Busted covering it quite badly.
In the end, I suppose I admire it more than anything, because it is that badly dated, and somewhat impossible to imagine happening nowadays (not with the same degree of success in any case). A bit like ‘Get Stuffed!’, the late night cookery slot where some mature students cook bread and butter pudding whilst shouting, and occasionally a man runs round in a chef’s hat with an inflatable baguette. In any case, Deepest Blue are #9 in the chart this week, and it’s tons better than that.
But anyway - if you’d care to push me further down this road of listening to songs that are a bit old and dated that people don’t like very much, post us a comment with a suggested song. I’ll try and get a listen to it then write up my thoughts next week. I’m thinking Jesus Jones right now… but any other suggestions welcome.
ipod is “yet another winner
ipod is coming to a best buy store near you
ipod is more than just a music box
ipod is telepathic
ipod is oneway”
ipod is here hardware
ipod is a good deal
ipod is useful after all
ipod is coming to a best buy
ipod is the best
ipod is de beste
ipod is the apple of our eyes today
ipod is simply the best digital music player i’ve seen
ipod is for me
ipod is best hard
ipod is “yet another winner tuesday
ipod is very different from the other mp3 players in two distinct ways
ipod is cool and i think for the features the price is competitive
ipod is the evolution of the hard drive not the mp3 player poster
ipod is a winner mar 10 ‘02
ipod is oneway
ipod is here
ipod is a true object of desire
ipod is the coolest mp3 player ever a revolutionary idea a washed up idea outrageously expensive in an overcrowded market another let down from apple worth
ipod is a good deal by michael flaminio
ipod is no larger than a deck of cards
ipod is perfect for music on the go
ipod is useful after all being somewhat
ipod is connected to the computer with a firewire cable
ipod is pushed toward the headphones jack exposing the orange patch under
ipod is an extraordinarily well
ipod is the mac must
ipod is a bargain
ipod is plugged into a macintosh
ipod is as easy as drag
ipod is overpriced
ipod is significantly lighter
ipod is in its diversity
ipod is also a handy 5
ipod is now windows compatible
ipod is smaller than a deck of cards
ipod is simple
ipod is the first portable to use a firewire interface
ipod is designed to work with itunes 2
ipod is its attractive appearance
ipod is apple’s digital music player that allows users to carry their entire music collection in their pocket and take
ipod is the tiger woods of mp3 players
ipod is now reduced to $299
ipod is housed in a smoothly contoured
ipod is plugged in
ipod is easily the greatest portable mp3 music player yet
ipod is a hard
ipod is intended to be tied to one macintosh that automatically synchronizes the ipod’s music library with the music library on
ipod is the lightest mp3 player to store up to 1
ipod is the size of a deck of cards and holds about 1000 mp3 songs at 160 kbs
ipod is smaller than a palm
ipod is the first mp3 player to be this discreetly
ipod is identical to the mac version
ipod is a wonderful item
ipod is apple’s first delve into consumer electronics since the ill
ipod is useless
ipod is the only portable digital music player with auto
ipod is simply the best digital music player i’ve seen
ipod is a well
ipod is better than its competition
ipod is now so popular
ipod is placed face
ipod is a case of a different breed
ipod is a hard disk
ipod is pitching it solely
ipod is on the expensive side
ipod is sure to satisfy any music lover’s thirst for portable tunes
ipod is a registered trademark of apple www
ipod is hooked up to a computer
ipod is er nu in drie uitvoeringen
ipod is the best portable digital music player on the market
ipod is in use
ipod is up
ipod is the best music player a mac owner can buy
ipod is awesome
ipod is fantastic for music
ipod is an mp3 player
ipod is an ipod sleeve featuring a 3 mm neoprene exterior with vulcanized neoprene sides for great looks and superior grip
ipod is the only portable music player with auto
ipod is connected to find out how the system recognizes it
ipod is stylish and practical
ipod is revolutionary in a number of ways
ipod is the best music
ipod is very chic
ipod is not just for macs anymore
ipod is quit basic
ipod is much
ipod is shipped in a shipping container made of convoluted polyurethane foam and 200 pound test corrugated cardboard
ipod is entering a crowded field
ipod is taking your music with you in a very small package
ipod is limited by 3 issues grahamfair
One of the joys of my ‘day’ job is having the opportunity to expose people subliminally to music they might not otherwise hear. An academic library isn’t a place where you’d expect people to be playing music anyway, but the department I work in (Audiovisual) is sealed-off from the main stacks and full of records and films, meaning noise is par for the course.
Anyway, over the last 18 months I’ve been working here we’ve played everything from post-punk to techno to bebop to Qawwali to hiphop to tango at the students and academics who pass through, with varying responses from complete ambivalence/ignorance (”you play music in here? I didn’t realise…”) to distaste (”what’s this shit?”) to bemusement (”…*?*…”). Occasionally, of course, someone reacts well to whatever we’re playing - I’ve made a couple of people CD80 ‘best ofs’ for Bark Psychosis and Disco Inferno, a colleague lost his shit for Dave Douglas’ Freak In. But the record that’s inspired by far the most positive reaction is Drive By by The Necks. 50-year-old women, 20-something dance kids, PhD students, professors of film - the variety of people who’ve been intrigued and beguiled enough to ask “what’s this?” and then grill me for information has been unusually varied.
I think the thing with The Necks is that one actually needs to hear the music to be bewitched; simply reading someone else’s reaction to it isn’t enough. Postrock? Ambient? Jazz? 60-minute songs? It doesn’t sound too appealing or make much sense until you actually hear the sound of those drums, that bass, the piano, the layers and twists and hypnotic repetition that lures you like sirens calling to a sailor. As much positive feedback as I’ve got from this, and as much as I enjoyed writing it, it’s pretty redundant if it doesn’t inspire people to hear the record, and, as radio isn’t amenable to 60-minute instrumentals and P2Pers seem keener on amassing huge stocks of individual 3-minute pop songs than downloading whole albums (which, although only one track, is what Drive By is), hearing the record at all isn’t easy.
So I guess what I’m doing is imploring people to download, or, even better, buy (you can get it pretty easily from Amazon UK or Amazon US) the damn thing and hear it for yourself, because unless you fancy a trip to Exeter University’s AV department you’re not going to be able to hear it without making an effort. And, trust me, it’s more than worth it.
I have been sitting on my hands since Monday, desperate to not say anything about how bad The Darkness are. But, after last night’s Brit awards (which I didn’t see because I was out watching real bands) I just can’t stay silent anymore. I am well aware that people have different tastes which all make up the wonderfully diverse quilt of music that we all wrap ourselves up in, but usually the damp patches stay far away from my side. However, The Darkness is so in my face that I can’t avoid them anymore. Since my turf is the London live scene, I have been privy to their shtick for over a year now. I remember when those first posters went up – it was just a close-up shot (no text, just an image) of Justin’s flames-shooting-from-below-the-belt-area tattoo. And hey, flames rising from a guy’s nether regions – if that is wrong then I don’t want to be right. But then I started getting emails about them and people starting talking about them (He wears a lycra jumpsuit! He sings falsetto!) And I saw them – I can’t even remember where and I did think – yeah – that was fun, they are like Thin Lizzy meets the Sweet, Peter Frampton sings and they wear second-hand Ice Capades costumes. Hooray! But like a candy bar, once that initial sugar rush is over, you need a little something like a club sandwich to get you going again.
I think that the reason The Darkness works is because they make people who would normally be embarrassed to like cock-rock feel comfortable about their tastes - and it’s all because of that ironic edge they’ve got. If it were completely serious it wouldn’t work, but because it’s not serious it’s suddenly ok to rock out to cheesy rock riffs again. I am not saying they don’t put on a great live show (they do) and its refreshing that they care about that (and the audience having fun). But are we supposed to genuflect in front of them like they are doing something no one has ever done before and hail them as the new saviours of rock? Sorry, no. They are cock-rock hair metalers. They are Whitesnake, if Whitesnake wore feathered unitards and didn’t date porn stars. The Darkness are a flash in the pan (albeit a very shiny one) and no one will give a toss about them next year.
They’re like an STD on rawk’s groin – weaseling its way in via a sparkly outer package, wreaking havoc, but you take some penicillin so it all becomes something that was fun and foolish, but with time becomes a silly, embarrassing memory.
I’m troubled. I keep singing School Of Rock, a pastiche; for all intents and purposes I might as well be singing a jingle.
Can pastiche ever be pure pop? Or is it too knowing, too calculated? Sure, a lot of the music created by the pop industry is calculated to high heaven, but I’m talking pop music (semantics explosion!). Pop classics become classics because they manage to tap into the collective unconscious; there’s a universal quality that people respond to. Chord-progressions, sounds, noises, phrases. Apart from this ‘I-know-what-I-like’ quality, it’s built out of ephemeral, almost accidental moments, like John Lennon nearly laughing during the second verse of If I Fell, or the jangle of the singers’ jewellery as they’re stepping up to the mic on Boogie Oogie Oogie (listen to it again, with good headphones on). This is why I love Seconds so much.
Pastiche, on the other hand, is generally assembled shrewdly from nearest-common-denominator sounds and phrases. At its best it is thrilling, funny, affecting - but in an altogether empty way (I’m leaving musical comedy out of the equation here, that’s a whole other ballpark), in that you’re reacting to the concept of emotion or energy rather than the ‘real thing’. The soundtrack to That Thing You Do! says a lot about this; the songs are convincing, fun, moving even, in the context of the film - but would you actually listen to them on a Saturday afternoon, at a party, on your Walkman? Probably not.
So, all of this is why School Of Rock by Jack Black and The Kids has me tied up in knots. In so many ways it is a pastiche of classic rock - you could list five references within the first verse alone - and yet there’s something indefinable about it that pushes it into the realm of perfect pop. Here’s the clanger - I cried when I first heard it. When was the last time some adbreak piece of Matrix-penned dreck did that to you, eh?
I can pin-point ‘the moment’, the Seconds if you will, that did it for me: those plangent few bars after the breakdown at about the 3:04 minute mark where the guitars go all low-key High Voltage, you catch a far-away handclap, and Jack purrs “this is my final exam”. There’s something so bittersweet about it, like the best rock and roll, which alleviates your troubles for a moment without denying their existance. It could be in the songs School Of Rock note-checks (High Voltage, The Beatles’ You Won’t See Me, The Doobie Brothers’ Listen To The Music, Kate by BF5, Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’…), but that deflects credit from Jack and the kids (and The Mooney Suzuki) since School Of Rock is more than just the sum of its parts.
It goes deeper than this; it’s the fact that Black’s apparently throwaway line (see before) is actually more affecting than first given credit for. Yes, it is his final exam (derr, like, we so know he’s gonna get kicked out on his ass as soon as the Battle Of The Bands is over, no matter how dewy-eyed the uptight parents are getting), and like The Beatles’ The End or Zeppelin’s Misty Mountain Hop or The Darkness’ Friday Night, it’s the fact that School Of Rock rocks so righteously and joyously, all the while keeping the inevitability of the party finishing firmly in its sights, that makes it that much more affecting and real. Nothing lasts forever.
So I recently got The Whole Story, which is excellent (I finally understand all the Bowie comparisons, particularly with ‘Sat In Your Lap’ and ‘The Dreaming’, either which of could have been on Lodger). I did notice something, though; unbeknownst to me, the MP3 I had of ‘Wuthering Heights’ was the old vocal, with The Whole Story having of course the new.
It’s a magnificent song either way, Bush’s approach lending the whole thing a kind of deranged stateliness that fits the subject matter to a t; but I can’t decide which one I like better. I know this is apparantly fairly hotly contested by Bush fans (and I’m willing to bet peoples’ preferences usually come down to whichever version they first got familiar with: cf. ‘Temptation’), so I’m wondering if anyone out there would grace us with an opinion on the matter, especially one that is more substantial than “I like the old one because it’s better”.
I’ve really been getting into My Morning Jacket recently, and this pseudo-EP (it’s forty minutes long!) is an interesting little aside for the band as a whole, but I’m most interested in the twenty-four minute epic ‘Cobra.’ It’s rare for a meandering jam-track to capture my attention; many of the Allman Brothers’ tracks off of their landmark Fillmore East concerts drop me off a few minutes in only to pick me up a few miles down the road again. Pink Floyd’s Echoes, a song of very similar length to ‘Cobra’, tends to fade into the walls at points with its odd submarine effects and squalling Siren sounds. With ‘Cobra’ MMY seem to fuse four or five different song fragments into one long track, and thus lose the jam-band effect of senseless noodling and prolonging a track for its own miserable good. Even the most repetitive ambient phases of the song are interesting, as stop-gap measures and resting points, moving with a sense of fluidity that approximates the best in classical music. This is a band I resisted for so long, if only because they retuned a genre of music I thought was best left untouched (classic Americana) unless something novel was brought to the game. From what I’d read, I wasn’t sure MMJ qualified. The Neil Young/Allman Brothers/blah blah blah references hold weight, but this is Americana for a generation which realizes the value of return-to-form songwriting and musicality. Clearly, I was missing the boat on this one. Ain’t I just like a kid who’s just discovered the glories of coffee when all his friends are now into Jell-o shots?
Bull-SHIT. Winamp has been lobbing this limboid d ‘n’ b tossagasm in my ears all day. I have no desire to ever listen to this bobbins ever again. Still haven’t deleted it. Or those LCD Soundsystem songs. Possibly because I secretly fear that if I ever make any music it will sound like LCD Soundsystem and I don’t want to get done for plagiarism (though surely J. Murphy does not own the trademark on vocal unjustifiable insufferable smugness ).
Chris Isaak - was his stuff that wasn’t ‘Wicked Game’ any good? After reacquainting myself with ‘Independent Love Song’ for The Non-Definitive Guide I comprehensively failed to find anywhere selling Scarlet’s records in Birmingham. I think I might have a bit more success with Mr Isaak. I am not sure.
I’m waiting for Justin to apologise for Outkast’s nipples. It’s got to come along sooner or later; after all, Janet Jackson only has one tit that America’s been exposed to, whereas I counted at least 7 tits in the “Hey Ya” video, all wearing green. Never mind the real nipples they actually exposed at the Grammies; male chests have never been enough to incite riots. Are the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ sock-encased cocks more or less offensive than Janet Jackson’s steel-wrapped nipple? (Where the hell did she get that thing that was clamped to her teat anyway?- from an advert on the back page of Metal Hammer?)
A breast isn’t offensive. There are more breasts in the world than there are people (and that’s not counting Meatloaf’s). A breast isn’t pornography. But I guess that a government/establishment/country/culture (delete as appropriate) that pumps millions of dollars into programs like “The Ring Thing” isn’t going to be overly hot when it comes to developing positive attitudes to the body and self-worth and so on and so forth, especially not when encouraging a generation of kids to grow up afraid of sex and believing in some kind of unholy duality between body and soul is much more lucrative in terms of cold hard economics, or something.
But the morality/pornography thing isn’t the only issue with Janet’s breast baring. I’ve read spurts of outrage in various places about her wardrobe malfunction being a publicity-seeking tactic, mammary-based marketing for a new single, shameless self-promotion, proof positive that ‘pop tarts’ are willing to do anything to help them shift another thousand units. But this attitude fails to realise that Janet Jackson’s exploits during the Superbowl are no different to the promotional duties and spurious ideological posturing undertaken by any number of rock bands or alternative ‘artists’ in order to sell more records; Janet’s just got a different target-market, dear. If anything the pop audience is less taken in by this kind of stunt because they have no pretensions of the music they like being authentic or real or ‘of value’; they just like it. JJ exposes her breast / Britney dresses up in a red leather catsuit / Xtina dyes her hair and pouts her cleavage while Oasis trash hotel rooms and beat up photographers, Coldplay name check John Kerry and witter on about Fair Trade again. The Stone Roses manager during the first period of their existence, Gareth Evans, used to deliberately lie about their drug-intake and carry around a suitcase full of used tenners to increase press interest; never mind the band’s own self-mythologising, sabotaging TV appearances, graffiti-ing their name across the facades of Manchester city centre before they even had a record out, proclaiming they wanted to play a gig on the moon, beating-up members of Kajagoogoo in pub toilets and vandalising the cars of record company executives who dared to cross them. Indie singers wearing their hearts on their sleeves in interviews is another example of exactly the same thing - product-specific advertising. (“If you like reading about me complaining about my dodgy love life you’re sure as hell gonna LOVE listening to me sing about it!”) Johnny Rotten saying “fuck” like a naughty schoolboy on The Bill Grundy show in 76 or 77 (I forget – I wasn’t born) is the same thing yet again; likewise Lennon and Yoko getting bed sores for ‘peace’. It’s all marketing, it’s all prostitution, whether you dress it up in good intentions, anarchy or a nipple-ring. Dismissing one form of marketing and accepting the other, and what’s more suggesting that it’s not actually marketing AT ALL but rather REAL people being REALLY REAL, demonstrates a lack of awareness of how the modern world works, shows that you’ve got no grasp of critical thought and are thus at risk of being an unwitting slave to ideology (the whole point of which is that people don’t even realise it’s there, people). Rock kids love myth-making and pop kids love a bit of tit. Me? I like a mythical tit.
But what is authenticity anyway? It’s still hanging over us no matter how many times we try and kill the bastard thing. Chris Ott can hit Caps Lock and type “WHERE’S YOUR CRED AT??!!” all he likes, but the kind of romanticist-career-aiding lies spouted about Beethoven (“he wrote all his symphonies in one sitting, you know, visualised them completely in his mind and then just sat down and wrote them straight off; he must be a genius” – analogues of such claims as made by people like Heinrich Schenker, who are supposedly respected and knowledgeable, but which encourage the idea that great artists don’t ‘create’ or ‘work on’ art but rather ‘channel it’ from some kind of undefined spiritual plane) only help to perpetuate the kind of culturally accepted lies that cause the artist to be separated from the audience and reasoned discourse about music as a cultural/academic topic to be dismissed as untenable and pointless, reducing everything to the awe-filled gawks of small-minded relativists and subjectivists who can’t fathom how people can actually gone done make ‘em some art stuff, son. As for all those old blues men who got ripped-off in the fifties and sixties when white artists were given their songs in order to get hits and Keef used their riffs to get laid; isn’t it a bit late to be feeling apologetic for that? And even if it isn’t a bit late to apologise it’s certainly a bit rude to pretend you’ve achieved the same level of emotional pain and spiritual hardship in order to feel good about all those copies of your CD in all those Mondeos.
Plus, you know, I think Janet’s breast was rather nice. Or maybe not.
Just got back from seeing the Super Furry Animals in Toronto. Amazing show - even better than last time I saw them. Some reasons:
Playing ‘God! Show Me Magic’? Great. Going from that directly into ‘Do Or Die’? Genius.
The yeti costumes were, of course, awesome. The way they trashed the set and raised all their instruments over their heads was hilarious. And, while on the subject: yeti guitar and bass players are a great idea; a yeti drummer is pure class. The guy next to me with a digital camera took my email address and promised to send me copies of the yeti pics. They were great.
The version of ‘The International Language Of Screaming’ they played tonight was, in my opinion, definitive. Ditto for ‘(Drawing) Rings Around The World’ and (complete with Gruff chewing carrots) ‘Receptacle For The Respectable’.
The Lenin footage during ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’ always cracks my shit up.
Kind of annoying dealing with the overly e’d couple near the front though. Jesus, I’m all for taking drugs while listening to music, but doesn’t anyone know their limits any more?
I need to find a copy of Radiator. This may be a matter of waiting for a while and then ordering it over the net, but that’s better than nothing…
(Drawing) Rings Around The World
God! Show Me Magic
Do Or Die
Run! Christian, Run!
The Piccolo Snare
Juxtapozed With U
The Internation Language Of Screaming
Hermann Loves Pauline
Receptacle For The Respectable
Out Of Control
The Man Don’t Give A Fuck
A sweaty pasty face, mini-barrel belly and compulsive smoker; that doesn’t conjure images of rock deities (shouldn’t it be dieties) to me. But regardless of these superficialities, Greg Dulli’s Twilight Singers performed the greatest gig of my life so far. The last night of the UK tour saw them in great spirits judging by the huge grins, shared smiles and status quo rocking poses.
Its not a large venue but the crowd were rapt and noisily appreciative and we (me and Mikael) were about 5 metres from Dulli. 5 metres from one of my favourite vocalists of all time; the man who wrote Gentlemen.Their first set of material from Blackberry Belle and their debut lost none of their more tender moments live, the band were in no rush to get home as Dulli bantered, smoked and quoted through the musical intermissions.
They played it cool as fuck, smoking perpetually and looking like a ragtag bunch of musical misfits; the drummer in silver DMs, sparkly shirt, overcoat and necktie scarf thing, Dulli in regualtion smart black, leag guitarist (Todd?) in pink gingham shirt, keys player in obscure band T-shirt and the bass player (who was fantastically on point all night) in paint splattered jeans and an anti fascist T-shirt.
Their first encore Medley was in turns poignantly dark and intentionaly hilarious (how could the lined up, open legged “Layla” moment be so cool) with Dulli on the keys doing a brief solo turn. Their “Hey Ya!” encore was word perfect, reinventing a catchy pop song into a furiously fun and raw singalong punk/soul anthem which they have to record soon! Dulli has a knack for covering/rebirthing rnb (old and nu) songs with the Whigs and this is one of his finest.
How amazing is it to see a man you consider a legend bring out a setlist for their second encore! Last song “Faded” was a surprise, as Lisa Oliver’s earlier Turntable comment hadn’t mentioned their final song was the Whigs’ greatest moment. Grown men smiled from ear to ear and sang along under their breaths awed.
In preparation for ‘School Of Rock’ opening here, The Guardian newspaper decided to conduct their own experiment with rock and a group of six and seven year olds. They played the group a series of guitar anthems, and got not only their feedback, but their attention spans as well. Here are some highlights:
THE WHO: Substitute
“It sounds like when your wee goes back up”
“He’s getting things stuck in his mouth and he can’t chew”
“Is this the Beatles?”
Attention span: 40 seconds
THE DOORS: Touch Me
“Is this Beethoven?”
“It’s too pointy”
Attention span: 28 seconds
CREAM: Sunshine Of Your Love
“This song is about a man and a woman and it’s a bad marriage”
“You could play this at a dude disco”
Attention span: One minute
NIRVANA: Smells Like Teen Spirit
“It’s making me think about doing bad things like putting snowballs down my sister’s back”
“This is amazing. The bass is amazing. Its brilliant”
“12 out of 10. Actually 3000 out of 3000”
Attention span: Whole song
JIMI HENDRIX: Crosstown Traffic
“It’s making me feel dizzy. Can I have some juice?”
“It’s about a crossed-out Christmas. Maybe Father Christmas has been crossed out.”
“Maybe he has been run over”
Attention span: One minute five seconds
THE SEX PISTOLS: Anarchy In The UK
“He sounds like the baddie in Scooby Doo at the end”
“I love it. It’s all about this man and he’s trying to destroy boxes of oil and stuff”
“Who’s Annie Key?”
Attention span: 44 seconds
I know I’ve picked up a few choice phrases for future reviews. Hope you have too.