Posts from 25th June 2000

25
Jun 00

‘DOCK’ BOGGS – “Pretty Polly”

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‘DOCK’ BOGGS – “Pretty Polly”
BAN THIS SICK RECORD! “Pretty Polly” is a misogynist tract full of hatred and bile, narrating the killing of a defenseless girl from the amoral murderer’s point of view. It is not going too far to say that it turned my stomach. Of course artists in the blues genre have made records full of hatred and violence before, but “Pretty Polly” goes way beyond that. And yet, critics of the stature of Greil Marcus are giving the critical equivalent of blow-jobs to this hate-filled man. Is it because he is a good looking white boy with a nasal voice and idiosyncratic musical style? Nobody sane could listen to “Pretty Polly” and see it as anything other than disgusting trash – however, by buying ‘Dock’ Boggs’ 78, literally hundreds if not thousands of music fans are directly supporting hate. Those who claim a distinction between art and real life are liberal do-gooders who do not understand that the mass audience for Boggs’ so-called works are a thousand times more stupid than me or any of my friends. I say again, SQUASH BOGGS LIKE THE BUG HE IS! (review inspired by this, which I found via Danicki)

The changing of the avant-garde

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The changing of the avant-garde: “these songs are not, strictly speaking, songs at all. They are jams, montages, sonic experiments, unrelieved by vocal melodies or hooklines. Yorke’s voice seems to have become another instrument rather than the focus of the music” – HA HA! Radiohead’s new album is going to be wannabe-experimental rubbish which only Josh will actually like!

OK, seriously, despite the cavils of the Observer review, the new Radiohead material sounds more interesting than the old Radiohead material. I’ll reserve judgement until the record comes out, though I think I agree with Kathleen that it’ll more likely be the band’s 13 rather than their Colour Of Spring.

THE MONSOON BASSOON

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THE MONSOON BASSOON

A difficult one this, as a member of another rock band writes asking me to criticise a group I have never actually heard. Where is the sense of musicianly community, I ask you? I write back, pointing out that my ears have remained happily unsullied by the M.B., and receive this in reply: “Do you not think the name is enough?”.

OK, yes, good point.

There is a band who call themselves the Monsoon Bassoon: that fact should worry you, readers. Now, I know very well that every band has at some point given themselves a name like the Monsoon Bassoon – that point is at 14 years old, when they are sitting around in the bassist’s bedroom trying to think up ‘mad’ names and wondering how they can get the singer’s big brother to score them some cider. The stupid name is thought of, adopted, and discarded a week later, after a band member has actually had to tell it to somebody else. End of story.

But not for the Monsoon Bassoon: they bypassed the ’embarrassment’ stage and have now released several singles and an album under what is, basically, the worst band name in the world….ever (apart from Phish). This leads me to suspect that the band are, mentally, still 14 years old. If so, what music might they make? An untutored racket alternating between pointless show-offy bits and sheer caterwaulings, topped with nonsensical lyrics intended to give the false impression that the singer has ever taken any drug stronger than Benylin, I’d guess. A swift check-up with my musical contacts confirms that my suspicions are accurate in every respect, but also dredges up one more piece of information which reveals the band to be not only fools but complete arses to boot.

They don’t even use a fucking bassoon.

A big announcement about the future of Freaky Trigger

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A big announcement about the future of Freaky Trigger.

Well, more of a medium announcement.

SEMISONIC

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SEMISONIC

If Semisonic were indeed semi-sonic, that would mean that they would be barely audible, and that could only be an improvement. Semisonic, in their skittish reconstructed way released a song called “Secret Smile” which was all about a woman’s bits. Had I been that unfortunate woman, I too would be at great pains to keep my “smile” secret, lest it be interfered with by another talentless John Denver look-alike.

They also released a song called “Closing Time” which is right up there with other drinking classics like “Tequila” and “I am a cider drinker”. Let’s hope they get a much-deserved lock-in and drink themselves out of a recording career, eh readers?

I HATE DUEL

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I HATE DUEL

Of all the foul inventions – a poll which forces me to choose between two behemoths of mediocrity like The Stereophonics and Travis, the least defensible acts doing the rounds in Britain. A poll which saw the swift exit of REM and the even swifter exits of Radiohead and Belle & Sebastian. A poll which denied even to quantify the blatant poorness of Placebo, Gomez and for what its worth Idlewild. I could go on. Readers, give me the strength and courage to channel my anger at these criminals of culture, and for your own sake avoid the BBC2 coverage of that Festival of Arse – Glastonbury. I for my part will be watching intently, gathering my evidence.

THE MANY MOODS OF ELVIS COSTELLO

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THE MANY MOODS OF ELVIS COSTELLO

If there’s one thing I hate, and obviously there’s more than one or I wouldn’t be doing this, it’s Musical Chameleons. You know the type: those musicians who either ride the bucking bronco of the sonic zeitgeist, or defy the sheep-like trends of the herd and refuse to be tied down to a single ‘genre’ or ‘style’. Invariably these dabblers suck at everything they do, and most of their records sound the same anyway. Take, for instance, David Bowie: every David Bowie album may be a dazzling stylistic U-Turn, but they’ve still got fucking David Bowie camping it up all over them, haven’t they? Similarly, no matter how many genres Elvis Costello ‘appropriated’, his records all seemed to feature an unpleasant newt-voiced man trying to be clever. Funny, that. (In fact, the only good thing about Musical Chameleons is that they aren’t, in fact, in cod-epic drizzle-rockers The Chameleons.)

Shall we look further? Oh, go on then:

THE TANYA HEADON CUT-AND-KEEP GUIDE TO ELVIS COSTELLO

My Aim Is True: Starts career in poor fashion by working with Huey Lewis’ backing band. Songs either ‘political’ and incomprehensible and ‘romantic’ and maudlin. Genre Pastiched: Pub rock, basically.
This Year’s Model: Attractions look tough only compared to previous backing mob. Costello dislikes women, but very cleverly. GP: New wave.
Armed Forces: Costello breaks through the ‘pun barrier’ – fully 50% of all words now ambiguously polymeaningful and darkly witty. He hides his angry political pill inside sugarcoating of Abba-pastiche pop. 99.9993% of album buyers midly enjoy sugarcoating, discard pill. GP: pop.
Get Happy!: 20 tracks which feel like 40. Lyrics by now complete gibberish i.e. “King Horse”. GP: Soul, which is to say Steve Nieve plays more Hammond than is usual or neccessary.
Trust: Porridgey album memorable for nothing save involvement of Squeeze, which tells you everything you need to know. Several unattractive men slap each other on the back about how ‘crafted’ their songs are. GP: I fear a ‘jazzy’ mood is intended at times.
Imperial Bedroom: Monstrously, staggeringly overproduced. If the Emperor Nero had put out an album it wouldn’t sound this decadent and sickly. Costello makes genres fight one another in a sick death arena, listeners are the losers. GP: Beatles.
Almost Blue: It’s meant to be bad, so it doesn’t count. GP: country.
Punch The Clock: Apt name for time-serving stab at chart action. Meanwhile, voters listen hard to Costello’s savage political tracts and return Thatcher with impossibly vast majority. GP: whatever was in the top 40.
Goodbye Cruel World: If only. As above, but blander. GP: Muzak.
King Of America: Final surrender of crowd-pleasing EC to critic-pleasing EC with impeccably boring ‘acoustic’ album. Many ballads. Many sessionmen. GP: dadrock.
Blood And Chocolate: First of several ‘returns to form’. Ham-fisted Attractions meet hissy fit Costello. Long, aggressive songs gruelling to anyone at all well-adjusted. GP: garage rock.
Spike: Costello goes mad, tries to play every kind of music at once, lyrics contravene EU impenetrability bylaws. Worst record ever. GP: where do I start?
Mighty Like An Arse: Beard mocked worldwide, and rightly. Album also mocked as Spike Lite, which is in fact a big improvement. Still shit, though. Songs written by Macca indistinguishable from surrounding gruel. Song co-written with wife easily distinguishable as it sounds like the Cranberries on Mogadon. GP: Beach Boys, among other things.
The Juliet Letters: Epistolary classical music concept album recorded with Brodsky Quartet. Someone take his money away. GP: classical.
Brutal Youth: ‘Return to form’ again as the likes of Mitchell Froom are sent thankfully packing. Unfortunately old warhorses the Attractions are called back in their place: all involved poke listlessly at former glories. GP: Elvis Costello, circa 1978.
Kodak Variety: Covers album which sold 0 copies. GP: crooning.
All This Useless Beauty: Collection of songs EC wrote for other people, and which they sang in order to get rid of him. Now sung by Costello himself, oh goody. GP: compilation album.
Painted From Memory: Costello teams up with fellow superannuated craftsman to record stupefying album of rococo smugness. Record festooned with ‘niiiiice’ production touches which would make Steely Dan blush. Useless vanity project. GP: lounge.

Piano Magic’s Artists Rifles

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Piano Magic’s Artists Rifles: I don’t think it’s the greatest review in the world, but I’m very pleased to have bashed out a vaguely substantial piece for the first time in a month or so. (Not that a lot of the blogstuff isn’t substantial, but this feels more permanent somehow).