Saturday, September 24, 2011


So, I got the new one, "Velociraptor!", and I think it's quite good. I'm not going to throw around words like "brilliant" or "genius" because no, it's neither of those. It is very enjoyable, however. The right mix between Oasis-styled laddish Beatle-isms, quasi-Bollywood sampled strings, and minimalist techno. I would still group them in with the more continental Art-Rock semi-scene (Everyone from Danes like Mew, and Kashmir, to the by-now over-mentioned dEUS, with stops on Silence is Sexy, Millionaire, etc, etc- basically about 80% of the non-stoner, non-Punk I mention on this blog). It's rather enjoyable, too, to watch the notoriously clannish, faddish and fickle English Press attempt to pigeonhole it. I truly believe it's because there's something new underfoot in Europe. Bands that are influenced by Radiohead and Kanye West and still trying to make organic-sounding music- not embracing the icy detachment of even the most grimy dubstep- but instead trying to apply some of the post-rock experimentation towards decidedly more rockist fare. It's hard to define, because it's not finished, yet. However, as such, it also cannot be strapped down to a neat category, either. To show you a bit more what I'm getting at, here are three Videos. One from dEUS, one from Mew, and the latest from Kasabian. Am I full of it, or can you hear the thread there, as well?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A little Follow up

Still listening to the new dEUS. I like it. It's more "Pocket Revolution" than it is "Vantage Point", but I guess I am American, so I like the brashness of Vantage Point. Still, I like Pocket Revolution, and this fits very well with that record. But, I cannot simply listen to it over, and over like I can with Vantage Point. I've been mixing it with the new-ish Beastie Boys (Hot Sauce Committee pt 2) and the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse combo "Dark Night of the Soul" and it fits in very nicely with that combination, if that makes any sense...
My point, beyond a fanboy gush, is that I still am enjoying music more than I'm thinking about what I don't like- and I'd encourage you to do the same.

REM stage complete

Yeah, so REM are broken up. I was a big fan, back in the 1980's. I was less of a fan in the 1990's, and now?
Let me put it this way- I'm glad they've packed it in. Michael Stipe can go do visual arts, which he's both better at, and seems to like more. Peter Buck can go play his guitar with musicians who actually mean it for a change, and Mike Mills? Go play on your private yacht, dude. No, you don't know me, because you didn't seem to give a damn about us "little people", but I know you, pal, and no, I'm not impressed. Seriously, I know all the members of REM have had severe cases of "rock star-itis" , just like the members of U2, but I never had to work with most of them, so I can't speak about them. Mills, yeah, him I've worked for, and I'm glad that it wasn't often. I'm OK with them being very wealthy men. I'm even good with them feeling like they are important. I'm not good with them making music as REM, because it just hasn't been worth it, for quite awhile, to me. I'm even less good with deifying anyone, and not at all good with worshipping some people I know inhabit a different planet from what people think. I'm glad they're done. For those of you who are fans of their millennial output, good for you, enjoy those CDs, but don't play 'em around me, thanks. Here's hoping that folks know when to kill it before it gets old.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Keep you Close

Ok, thanks to a Belgian friend, I just secured a copy, and I've got it downloaded. I'll commence listening, now. For those without such connections, it'll be out everywhere by mid-October, but you can listen Now. I've not listened enough to pass along much in the way of what I think, but suffice it to say that I love dEUS, both the version that self destructed in the 1990's, and the new, suave, sophisticated version that came about in 2005. I might even like that version more, because I'm a sucker for pop music. Regardless, I know that a goodly percentage of those who check on this blog are in such a position that they are getting their copies this week, and I'm with you people. I'm excited, and I'll say more when I know more.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

a Fetish for those Arty magazines

(OK, bonus points for anyone who gets the reference without looking it up)
I've been reading two magazines that I don't usually. One, I'd really reccomend, the other, not so much.
The one I'd suggest you pick up if you find it is "Twisted South". I got the issue with Headcat on the cover. What a lovely bunch of puff-pieces this thing is! It's not investigative journalism, it's promotional material for very-loosely defined "Southern" stuff- but most of it, I'd say 85%, is fascinating and awesome. Check it out, really.
I didn't really care for the Wire magazine, though. I've seen it around, and it seemed like it might be the kind of thing I'd be into- I really am pretty versed in avante garde music, even if it's not all to my taste. But I'm completely turned away by the pretension, the elitism, the cultural hypocrisy and the plain snobbery of this thing. It was bad enough that I actually decided against buying a book by an author I have previously enjoyed. They had a bit in there by Simon Reynolds that was just awful about fetishising vintage NME's because it's too hard to fetishize vintage vinyl, or some other claptrap- I honestly couldn't be bothered to read it deeply enough to appreciate his full point it was so poorly written and so full of logical fallacies. So, I looked up some of his other stuff, and it's basically caused me to think that it's only because I loved the post punk era so much that I thought so highly of his "Rip it up and Start over Again" . He's just not that good.
So, I guess I'm with the Brutarians, then, yeah? Not exactly... I'm still an over-educated geek, and I still value intellectualism, and I would rather have a chat with a genius than "juss Folks", but I value sincerity and joy over irony and Schadenfreude.

Pitchfork doesn't get it

So, I have been listening to some "b-listers" recently. Bands that I know aren't making great Art, but that aren't straight mainstream fluff, either. So, as part of that, I read the reviews, and it strikes me just how opposite I am from one of the biggies- Pitchfork. If they rank it a 2, I'll rank it a 7, if they rank it a 7, I'll rank it a 3. I tend to be much more positive on music, in general, than they ever are. I think that might be because I have worked in the actual business of music in America. I'm not talking about the artistic side, either. I mean the straight job end of the business, and all innuendos should remain intact. I've done stuff like advertising sales, and final mixing, and editing video, and live sound, and promotions, and so on and so on- all the loathsome stuff to the high-minded aesthetes.It has given me both a cynicism that ties in nicely with my punk rock roots- I have no heroes. Wanna know why? Well it's because of things like having to set up a late night last minute stretch limo to pick up a bass player for a certain rock band noted for being heroes to many alternative types, a band noted for charity and high-minded aesthetics, from his private yacht, and then, having to work with local authorities to get this spoiled brat a police escort for his late night limo hijinks, so that no punters show up in any inopportune papparazi shots that may or may not occur. I'm sorry, but having to kiss that guys' ass more than ruins any notions of Art or beauty. But, on the other end, I can really appreciate the compromises, and the sacrifices made by one of the many little bands around, and so I'll be much more kind to them than some pompous, yet ignorant blogger at Pitchfork is likely to be. They don't understand that if you're a band playing at 700-1000 seat gigs, with a couple of records out on major label subsidiaries, or larger indie labels, this isn't just about Art, anymore. It's a job. You're trying your damnedest to make enough cash that you can fit a little Art into your resume.
So, which bands am I talking about, explicitly? Four of them, and they all fit in together- I'm talking about Glasvegas, White Lies, Blonde Redhead, and the Foals.
Now, my individual reviews of each would not actually matter, and I'm not planning on reviewing any of them. They're all fairly mediocre, but enjoyable somewhat dreamy, somewhat echo-ey takes on synth-alt hybrids with heavy nods to the kinds of 1980's bands that would've been played on 120 minutes. My point is more or less that such bands might just have a bit of nostalgia for things like 120 minutes because it was the kind of promotional tool that just doesn't happen all that often. These are bands just trying to get by on concert and album sales because they're just big enough sellers that if everything goes right, they won't have to work day jobs. As a guy who never had a silver spoon, and is getting by ok, now, and is a bit of a pinko, I can totally appreciate that, even if the music is only OK.