Posts from April 2000
THE POP GROUP – 3’37” (B-Side Of She Is Beyond Good And Evil 7″)
The thing about The Pop Group is that – get this! – they weren’t a pop group. The thing about “3’37″” (best currently found on Virgin’s Jazz Satellites comp) is that, without Mark Stewart’s fevered vocals to churn things up, they sound exactly like you’d want a modernist, aggressive pop group to sound like. This – juggernaut dubriffs, twisty videogame guitar, a poppin’ beat and the odd bit of adrenalised noise – is the music Primal Scream would be making if their current stuff amounted to more than rhetoric and old records. It sounds violent and sexy without any DHR-style crassness – so much of the music recorded around this time could’ve been the future, could still be if we let it.
SAINT ETIENNE – “Wilson” (from the Foxbase Alpha CD)
I was under express instructions not to mention this in my main article, which is a shame, because in a way “Wilson”‘s the most English (and best!) thing on the record, a two-minute nugget of psychedelic studio nonsense which sounds like the band have tape-recorded a child’s dreams. In 1971, Britain decimalised its coinage, switching from pounds, shillings and pence to the current 100 pennies in the pound system. Records were produced to ease the nation through the change, and it’s cut-ups from such a record that you can hear on “Wilson” – a plummy Auntie and a cheeky Nephew, trying to figure out the “new money” in a sweetshop. The old money was always abbreviated as L, S and D, a beautiful cultural coincidence which Saint Etienne exploit to the full, turning “Wilson” into their most blatantly ‘trippy’ track, a fragmented picture of a country being dragged into modernity by drugs and the metric system. You could do a similar thing with Ecstasy and the Euro: now there’s a thought….
Britpop In Oz: also new on Freaky Trigger is Tim Finney’s penetrating article on the Australian anglophiliac ‘scene’.
A very late Happy Birthday to my friend Kate, who requested I write about Foxbase Alpha as part of the Freaky Trigger Birthday Article Scheme.
The josh blog is really, really good at the moment, and I suspect this is precisely because he’s got revision he should be doing instead. I may not like the songs I’ve heard by them very much, but from the quoted interview the Dismemberment Plan seem to have their heads screwed on the right way.
underpop e-zine – which stands I’m presuming for underground pop, and indeed most of this stuff is underground enough that I can’t vouch for it’s popness or otherwise. Still they’ve got a big singles column and for that, three cheers.
surface vs depth has a new address (which I’d link to properly if I wasn’t a lazy bastard who never updated his links page) and new reviews, which nail Bowery Electric good and proper. And a couple of links which I’ll follow and blog where necessary…
Simon Reynolds’ The Nineties–The Best and the Worst is, of course, essential reading. Dare ya to disagree! (Well, alright, a bit of explanation as to why Autechre are overrated wouldn’t go amiss – not because I don’t think they are but because I suspect that SR, like me, can’t put his finger on the exact reasons….and I’ve never quite worked out why the author of Blissed Out would be so down on the Dead C.)
April 2000, Piccadilly
The sun comes out over London and the Summer starts: everywhere you look you see people in love, snogging on the tubes and holding hands on the escalators so you can’t get past them. Baggy shorts and halter tops all over the place, kids sitting together on Eros and choking on the traffic fumes, everybody walking slowly, tourist couples clogging doorways. You need a lover yourself to cope with it all: if they’re not there or not anywhere, then you need a walkman. You could play gloomy music all day again, I suppose, but the weather isn’t going to change on your say-so. It’s nearly May and the city’s coming to life: time to dust off those Saint Etienne albums.
Phew! – Britney Still ‘Intact’: Phew! indeed. Still, I was at her age, not admittedly due to my hem-hem strong Christian values but more likely due to the fact that I had bad skin and liked The Fall too much.