14
Sep 17

EMINEM – “Without Me”

Popular34 comments • 1,649 views

#928, 1st June 2002

without me Eminem produced “Without Me” himself, and the sound of this song is the best thing about it, a thick, soupy, snaky bassline and a brutally four-square beat. Ironic that this is the record where he calls out Moby – “nobody listens to techno!” – as the goonish thunk of “Without Me” is the most robotic version of Marshall Mathers yet. And the least funky, not coincidentally. It’s a production stripped back to make more space for Eminem’s tongue-twisting insults, and to be as legible as possible to the army of new, white hip-hop fans he’s presuming are out there, waiting out a turgid pop landscape until their rascal prince returns.

11
Sep 17

The Dan

New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 194 views

Walter Becker of Steely Dan died the week before last, and so I spent last week listening to each of their seven LPs, one a day. “The rim of salt around the cocktail of my taste”, I called them on Facebook: this last week I’ve been amazed all over again by how much I enjoy them and by how divisive they are (particularly among US listeners, where they seem to be a real line in the sand, even though most of my own connections there are strongly pro-Dan).

This is a playlist I made, three tracks from each of their albums. Not necessarily my all time favourites, just the songs that stood out to me most this time through the catalogue. RIP, Walter Becker.

8
Sep 17

Love And Rockets: Notes On A Re-Reading (I)

The Brown Wedge/Post a comment • 97 views

Repurposed and edited Goodreads reviews of the Love And Rockets Library (by Los Bros Hernandez; published by Fantagraphics).

Heartbreak Soup (Gilbert Hernandez)

This is my third or fourth time reading these stories, but the first for a decade or so. No criticism here – these are foundational for me, some of my favourite ever comics. The first time I read the early stories here – 25 years ago now – I remember feeling a little sad at how quickly Gilbert Hernandez moved time forward. The world of the first Palomar story was so charming I wanted to stay there longer – but time and change, the steady accretion of consequences and histories, is the essence of both sides of Love And Rockets.

human d

31
Aug 17

LIBERTY X – “Just A Little”

Popular11 comments • 1,315 views

#927, 25th May 2002

liberty x The remarkable speed with which their public turned on Hear’Say left things open for readymade rivals to add a twist to the story, and Liberty X – a band of Popstars runners-up – stepped up. Their angle was obvious – you, the discerning pop connoisseur, would show yourself a better judge of star potential than “Nasty Nigel” et al, rewarding the group with the real chemistry and talent. Hear’Say had been so popular they quickly became embarrassing: Liberty X would be reality TV pop done right.

This position was greatly helped by “Just A Little”, which really was a lesson in how to build a good pop single for a lashed-together group. It did two things that winners’ singles tended to botch. It sounded like its writers had bothered to listen to music from the last few years, and the group was blessedly unable to take the dire metatextual route of singing about their gratitude for winning.

27
Aug 17

free-form thoughts on john coltrane and how NOT to remember or talk about him next time, maybe

FT14 comments • 309 views

so a friend and i went to see the john scheinfeld coltrane doc at the the ica a couple of weeks back: that’s one JC-stan and one JC-sceptic…

… and we both agreed it’s bad and here’s why

Chasing-Traneit does the usual documentary thing, of hunting out a bunch of talking heads — family, professional, the commentatative pundit — and then merely stitching them together with stills and live footage into the same version of the story we always already know… anything odd or interesting that pops out of someone’s mouth is not returned to or dwelt on or even apparently noticed

15
Aug 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 8: The Phantom Carriage & A Ghost Story

Do You See + Sound Barrier Podcast3 comments • 98 views

phantom carriage ghostie storySpooky happenings over on Silent London this week, where the Sound Barrier Podcast dabbles in the supernatural, otherworldly and ectoplasmic. Or rather, a pair of meditative films which use death, and the afterlife, to dwell on the nature of existence. But if that feels a little dry, don’t worry there are madmen axing down doors, car crashes, poltergeist activities and the most unpleasant TB vector in all of Sweden. In the modern corner we have David Lowery’s oddity A Ghost Story, wherein Casey Affleck stand under a sheet for about an hour and a half. And in the silent corner, the Victor Sjöström starring Victor Sjöström film The Phantom Carriage, a New Years Eve ghost story about redemption and repentance (finally). Who will win, the director of The Wind, or the director of Pete’s Dragon?

The Silent London Podcast can be listened to here on Silent London and it is also available on iTunes and Stitcher. The podcast is presented in association with SOAS radio by Pamela Hutchinson and Peter Baran.

10
Aug 17

The Sound Barrier Podcast: 7: The Battles Of Coronel And Falkland Islands & Dunkirk

Do You See + Sound Barrier PodcastPost a comment • 51 views

sound barrier 7 dunkirk battlesWe are back from our summer holidays, which we luckily didn’t spend off the coast of Chile, the South Atlantic or a beach in France. I’m sure all of those are nice places now, but as shown in this weeks two films, they had their moments of horror in war. In the modern corner we’ve placed the Christopher Nolan short Dunkirk, packing the cinemas at the moment with its big screen re-enactment of multiple parts of the pivotal World War II evacuation. On the Silent Corner we have Walter Summers’ 1927 World War I docu-drama The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands, depicting an early lost sea battle, and a triumphant round two in the Southern Hemisphere. We talk realism, action, and even soundtracks (since we all saw the same silent with the same score), to see what has changed in the depiction of war, and glorious defeats, in ninety years. Joining us in the studio was Nick Dastoor to help adjudicate.

The Silent London Podcast can be listened to here on Silent London and it is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

26
Jul 17

21 Lists

New York London Paris Munich4 comments • 457 views

A list in which the descriptions match the wrong entries.

A list in which the order is determined drunk and the descriptions are written sober.

A list in which the order is determined sober and the descriptions are written drunk.

A list in which the reader’s task is to guess what is being ranked.

A ranked, definitive and fully justified list in which the contents have been selected by lot.

A list in which the descriptions are written by ex-lovers of the voters.

25
Jul 17

RONAN KEATING – “If Tomorrow Never Comes”

Popular13 comments • 1,579 views

#926, 18th May 2002

ronan tomorrow I have been playing a lot more country music than usual lately, thanks to recommendations by wise friends of foundational albums. It seems to me that listening to country is, inescapably, listening to tradition. Country artists emerge within a tradition and while they may modernise, criticise, expand, revive, reinvent or inherit that tradition, they do not reject it. Roberto Calasso, the Italian philosopher of tradition and ritual, was talking about Vedic seers and the Catholic Church rather than Garth Brooks when he waxed lyrical about how tradition confers a gauze of quasi-mystical legitimacy on individuals and institutions, but the point applies just as well.

Calasso is no idiot – a conservative via pessimism rather than conviction, he knows full well that legitimacy and tradition are just what happens when enough people have chosen to forget past thefts and usurpations. Country music isn’t really more authentic or sincere than all the other kinds, but the investment in tradition gives it an aura of sincerity, of straight-talking honest-truthing God-fearing realness, whose aesthetics and effects are visible enough even if the aura itself is often flimsy. (Calasso understands that the gauze of legitimacy is, by its nature, quite easily shredded – he just thinks that what happens after tends to be worse. What he makes of former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating is unknown, but may be guessed at.)

What makes country music great is that this aura is itself a gateway to expression and tonal play – once the tiresome question of “do they mean it, man?” is taken off the table, the music is opened up more to camp, schmaltz, vulgarity, corn, lust, metaphysical awe and dread, and yes, honest attempts to couple with thorny adult problems and emotions, of which, whether I actually like it or not, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” is one.

18
Jul 17

HOLLY VALANCE – “Kiss Kiss”

Popular16 comments • 1,681 views

#925, 11th May 2002

valance “Freak Like Me” is a rare case where hit covers and mutations keep building on the foundations of a song, finding new things in it. At this point in pop, the opposite was more often true. “Kiss Kiss” is a good single – in the context of the charts, its dipping and rolling Turkish rhythms are delightfully fresh, a showy flourish across a grey backdrop. But hearing the singles it was based on – Tarkan’s “Simarik” and Stella Soleil’s remake of it as “Kiss Kiss” – lets you hear possibilities this version closes down.