Posts from July 2000
The liberals and bleeding hearts on other sites may be carping, but let me say here and now that NYLPM absolutely supports PopJustice in its bold campaign to NAME AND SHAME indie so-called stars. If even one boy band is saved from chart ignominy, surely that’s worth a million people being stoned to death because they’ve got thick glasses and a piercing?
In Review makes a good point about my American Psycho piece, and yes, the choice of tracks do work as a commentary, but I still felt that the film was more generally effective than the soundtrack makes it out to be. As for “less hip than dark” – well, yes, though dark is hip these days as often as not. Incidentally I think the movie’s score is being released separately – whether it’ll be Cale-heavy or not, I don’t know.
IR also singles out this piece from the lacunae.com archives, which is definitely one of the most original lists I’ve seen for a while – ‘buzzkill’ tracks which set up expectations and then slap their audience up by denying them. That said describing a ‘radio edit’ of a Napalm Death track as being “a brilliant if nasty trick on radio” does rather suggest that radio stations were queueing up to play Napalm Death. Hm.
Stephin Merritt has a great voice. What’s more, he has a great, unwavering voice live: this I know from last week’s Magnetic Fields gig. So the forlorn-sealion thing he’s doing here comes as a gruesome shock: lines like “I’m lonely as Mount Everest and probably as high” cement his position as pop’s most assured gagster, but it makes me wince every time because he cracks so badly delivering it. That sizeable concern aside, solid stuff: Future Bible Heroes is the most pop of all Merritt’s bandlets, and while the arrangements are never quite as crisply original as on Fields albums, he brings the hooks with good-humoured pastiche panache.
Plus, even if you doubt his sincerity (and for the record I think the question’s perfectly irrelevant), he’s a master at pinning down particular mindstates and spinning them into a song. “I’m Lonely” is a layer cake of similes and one liners with no message whatsoever beyond the title – Stephin’s been dumped and by God he’s happy about it. Maybe all songs used to be like this, before they started rooting around in singers’ souls and pop turned into a voyeur’s funhouse, and while there’s no going back it’s lovely to have a few songwriters are playful and knowingly slight as Merritt is.
The collected pieces (mostly but not entirely music-related) of the guy who does lacunae.com. Damn, he’s a good writer – really wide-ranging, too. Another one to get jealous of.
For godsakes, it’s fucking PAT METHENY trying to sound like Derek Bailey with Bailey right there. What could be worse? Well, Kenny G trying to sound like John Zorn with Zorn right there, maybe, but only because we could count on Bill Laswell to horn in with the same shitty-ass nut-hugging dub punk funk bunk bassline he’s been playing for the last twenty years. The only person in the ENTIRE WORLD who likes this album is Thurston Moore and Thurston likes fucking EVERYTHING. This album is even more unlistenable than the first Material album, a record which consisted of future Hole/Chili Peppers/Soul Asylum producer Michael Beinhorn SINGING (tuneless Orwellian toss, no less) over a backing from some new whipper-snapper named Laswell and guitarists (Fred Frith, Sonny Sharrock, Henry Kaiser) so awful they, just like Metheny, only wish they were Derek Bailey. Yet Sign of Four is STILL WORSE. I bet you Thurston doesn’t even like it that much.
I Hate Music FAQ – Tanya’s written this in response to all the e-mails she gets. May be of interest if you like that part of the site.
American Psycho seems to be a film about pop music, among other things. Its anti-hero, Patrick Bateman, is a handsome and successful man desperate to retain his standing among other men, often a sliver more successful or handsome than he. To manage this, his lifestyle has to be both minutely detailed and very elastic. He has to be able to calibrate precisely the effects that a certain woman, a certain choice of restaurant, a certain tint of business card might have on his rarefied social standing, and he also has to be willing to discard any of his own choices at any point in order to keep up. In Bateman’s hypercapitalist world, Mary Harron’s film is saying, there is no room for personal taste, because personal taste implies an inner life, and to succeed in Bateman’s arena you have to make sure your aesthetics are as public and sharp as your suit.
American Psycho, or rather its soundtrack, talked about by me as part of Freaky Trigger’s long-delayed film issue. But it’s here now and I hope you enjoy it.
Also from the FT mailbag, the electro-funk-dance-noise-sitars outfit Sound Storm have got in touch again (after a very nice humanclick chat the other week) to ask me to publish details of their forthcoming gig, on this Wednesday (2nd August). So here we are:
The El Dorado Supper Club Presents:
THE SOUND STORM
featuring Matthew Harden and his offbeat orchestra.
67 Wornington Road, London W10 5QE
Corner of Goldborne Road.
From the Freaky Trigger mailbag:
Dear Sir or Madam,
A few days after Freddie Mercury died in November 1991, I wrote and recorded a song for him. It is now available for free at
I have received wonderful feedback from Queen fans from all over the world and I am sure that many of your readers would also appreciate it very much to learn about the existence of this song.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email or phone me: Germany – [no.withheld]
Holger Bauer (Holger B.)
So now you all know.