Saturday, June 16, 2012


I've only heard them tonight, but yowsa- Antlered Man have the rock. Straight up Amrep styled skronk with a British twist, like I've not heard since Barkmarket. I just downloaded the free EP, but I may very well get the LP before the week is out. Just listen, and tell me I'm wrong.

Metric Synthetica

Timing can be everything. Had I heard this at another time, I might have enjoyed it a lot more. I can hear that it's a really good album, probably Metric's best. They've been on an upward trajectory. The first couple of records were spotty affairs that could connect really well in bits ( " Combat Baby" especially) but never as a whole album. Despite Punk, despite Mp3's, I'm still an Album guy. I like to have a collection of songs that not only work on their own, but also work together. Fantasies was getting closer: with about an EP's worth of strong songs, but this finally feels like an album. However, here's the twist: I heard the new Silence Is Sexy, first, and where Metric is reaching, Silence is Sexy have been. This could be a transition place between "This Ain't Hollywood" and "MODERN Antiques". So, I'm going back and listening to Silence is Sexy, instead. Metric are a good band, and "Synthetica" is a good album, but Silence is Sexy have done what Metric do best, and I think they did it better. There's no shame in being a runner up, and I'd rather listen to Emily Haines than any of the current crop of Jessie J wannabes ( and she, herself, a weak shadow of  Gwen Stefani, who was  less than a copy of Debbie Harry and Madonna) because at least Emily is trying to stay relevant, and does bad girl/ free spirit better than most. So, it's not really fair, but timing is everything.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Magnet magazine

I've complained a bit about The Big Takeover, so I think it's only fair to mention that, despite the misgivings, I'm starting to like Magnet magazine again. While they have been less than fully reliable, and the journalism standard is fairly low, even by American standards, let's put it this way: we have The Dandy Warhols, the Cribs, Austin TX,  and Rhett Miller on the cover, they give a higher rating to the new GBV than the new Japandroids,  and  a truly funny bit taking the piss on Record Store day. Seem like my kind of people.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Saw some Blockbusters

I really am not a big summer movie kind of guy. I'm also not the  go-to guy for really small kitchen drama indie films. I'm more or less a Cult film type of guy. So, what was I thinking, going to see both Snow White and the Huntsman, and Prometheus in the same weekend?
Well, different reasons for different movies. I saw Snow White because my wife wanted to see it. I agreed to see it because the CGI promised to be awesome. That it was. Very little else going on. I think re-imaging the Snow White story in a more adult context is a laudable idea, but that wasn't what this was. This was just as cartoonish as the Disney version, just not as charming. But, yes, the visual effects were awesome. They are called "Movies"- not Talkies, any more, right?
Prometheus on the other hand- well, Alien and even more so Blade Runner is my ideal for SciFi, and Ridley Scott was behind this. Not to mention Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are both very good up and coming actors ( That Charlize Theron Was in both speaks more about her agent, and the lack of decent actors than anything else). And, again, Special Visual effects. And a great online series of adverts.
Was it up there with Alien? Blade Runner? Nope. Very good, though, and visually intoxicating. The plot was fairly straightforward, and the themes were fairly standard. But there were some subtle interactions concerning equality and belief that were fairly sophisticated. It was worth a few bucks, but I think I would have enjoyed it as much, had I watched it at home on the TV- bear in mind the TV is well, let's call it "medium Screen HDTV" ( bigger than average, but definitely not a 'big screen") so, I wouldn't spring for IMAX or 3D, like I did. But, yes, it's worth seeing. Most of the reviews that I've seen that are negative are all about the authors having problems suspending disbelief- that is the reviewer's fault, if you ask me. It's a Science Fiction film. Right off the bat, you have to accept that A. Someone can predict what the future will hold B. That this future will involve Alien things ( lifeforms, technology, something) and C. Problems and conflicts we can recognize. All of that completely defies science. So, going from there to question how fast the spaceship travels is missing the point. Going beyond that is pedantic, didactic and boring.
So, mass culture? Sure, a bit, but not terrible, either.

This is important

Quicksand reunited probably just for a one-off, but Videos are Here. Check it out. Awesome, awesome stuff...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Hives, ETC

I still like the Hives. I don't think that's entirely popular. Oh. sure, I'm sure there's going to be enough sales of this new CD, Lex Hives, and there is a hype machine whirring into place for it. But, I feel a kind of counter-swell developing, as well.  Sure, they're not entirely an Indie garage band, but they're not entirely not an indie band, as well.
I think the resistance is that people feel they're getting shorted somehow. That's precisely the point. The Hives are one of those "smart/dumb" bands, like the Ramones, or more exactly, The New Bomb Turks. The trick here is that they are both a parody of, and a celebration of Indie/Garage rock. To me, it's obvious, but I get the sense that some people can't see it. You know the stage banter, and the image? That's part of the parody. You know the bone-simple riffs? That's part of the celebration.  The songs are a bit more complex than what they might seem, as well- riffs can comment on lyrics as much as lyrics can comment on the riffs.
I can distill the whole thing down for you, though- what if your indie rock heroes are just as stupid, and just as  much puppets as the corporate sellouts you despise? Now, what if that doesn't matter?
What if all that matters is that The Hives play solid riffs in catchy songs? What if a good time listening and dancing and singing to rocknroll is just a good time?
Now, of course, I wouldn't just leave it there, but for this new CD, I think that's all there is to it- it's just a damn good time.
Sad news, on the other hand- Silence is Sexy announced that they're breaking up. Here's the thing: my philosophy on Art and music is that it's a communication between people. The emphasis is on people, not the Art(ifice). So, if the people involved want to create art as "Silence is Sexy" that's great. If they want to create Art as something else, that's OK, too. I really like the Silence is Sexy rubric a lot, but, what's more important is that they, as people, feel like they're leading good lives, just like it's more important that I like my life, than whether or not I like some form or format of Art. This is why I'm ok with Bob Mould going disco, or with Silence is Sexy breaking up. Of course, I prefer listening to Husker Du than LoudBomb, and I prefer Silence is Sexy being a band than not, but that's not as important as people leading lives that mean something to them. So, it's sad for me that the band is breaking up, but I really hope it's a good step for the people involved.
Next, I got the new issue of The Big Takeover. As with every issue since number 54, it's a frustration. I guess I'm just still having a difficult time with changes in taste. I'm much more into the post-punk, shoegaze and "Artcore" mix that The Big Takeover specialized in from Issues 17 through 54 . Now, if you consider that the magazine comes out every six months, that means 18 years I liked the magazine, and 8 years that it's frustrated me with a shift to more of a  Folk/Indie/Baroque pop emphasis, so the math explains a bit why I'm still talking about it. What makes it all the more frustrating is that I'm pretty damn certain that I've got better taste than Jack Rabid, these days, and he used to help shape my tastes. He would not have been satisfied with The Decembrists and The Shins when he could be listening to Killing Joke, Silence is Sexy, USOT, dEUS, Workers, Torche, and Tona- all of whom he's completely sleeping on.  I've gone from learning and opening my mind with every issue to wishing I could explain things to the writers. When will I totally give up? I don't know, but I can see it coming.
Finally, that brings me to the new Patti Smith CD "Banga". When will I ever learn? Sure, she's got the reputation- fierce warrior poet, androgynous Ur-punk, etc, but I find about 75% of her stuff to be pointless hippie drivel. It's totally her right to do that, and it's what's in her heart, and it's all good for her. The 25% that remains is utterly compelling and revelatory, but now that we're in the digital age, there is no need to wade through that 75% of dross to get to the good stuff- I should have just downloaded the 3 tracks I really like  ( Amerigo, Fuji-San and Nine) and left the rest.