Posts from September 2000
Popcentric covers all your pop linking needs, with site owner Brad scouring the web for links and commentary on Britney, Jessica, the Backstreets, N’Sync, etc. etc. Nothing on Daphne And Celeste, alas.
Can it be???
“Well it was just another day at the Evening Session studios. After my brilliant show – featuring spleen in session – finished I went off to Underworld in Camden to see kickstool bollocks in concert – they were magnificent. They came off stage at 9pm – so I took a three-seater bicycle up the road to the Fitzroy Tavern where Tony Parsons were playing a really low-key gig. They were scorching! I ambled home humming “Number One Dominator” and set to work on my 25,000 word JJ72s retrospective. By the time it was finished 31 minutes later it was only 75,000 words long, so I was happy! I set my alarm clock – which plays “I Milked Polly Harvey’s Cow” when it goes off – and fell asleep dreaming of Speedy. I love my job.”
Can Steve Lamacq – the Steve Lamacq – be writing for NYLPM? Heh, heh heh. No, readers. I’m afraid he’s far too busy writing mind-numbingly tedious memoirs to take any kind of position with Britain’s contrariest pop-blog. But you can get your very own sample of gripping Lamacq prose by going to Ten Years Of The Evening Session, a tribute microsite set up by those scamps at PopJustice, who have returned from the wilderness where they went to do penance for forcing that bland Spiller single down our throats for weeks.
Some of you readers may have noticed that Radiohead have got a new record coming out. Goodness knows how, there’s barely been a mention of it on the web or in the music press after all. Oh, wait, excuse me while I utter a weak consumptive laugh and spit bloody bile into a handkerchief. Judging by the ever-growing shitstorm of expectations and expectorations around Kid Arse, you’d have thought a second moon had been seen in the sky and Thom Yorke, pinch-faced poster boy for self-pitying prigs the world over, had been the first man to walk on it.
And for what? The oldest trick in the pop star’s book – make that the oldest trick in the history of human fucking culture. You have a hit. You have another one. You then make something difficult in the sure and perfect knowledge that people will buy it anyway, and you look incredibly brave, all the way to the bank. And it works, every bastard time. Yorke, that weeping sore on the face of pop, has taken things a step further, showing a cynicism so monstrous I might find it admirable if he wasn’t such a mealy-mouthed puswit. He’s already dropped strong hints that Kid Atrocious will be swiftly followed up by an album of ‘proper’ songs, administering another fleecing to the fanbase while keeping the little lambs loyal. He has his artistic cake, the fans eat shit.
Believe me, I’m as horrified as Thom’s accountant that I’ve been able to hear Kid Abcess early: three weeks more of my life without this preposterous mewl of a record would have been three sweet, sweet weeks. That said, the Napster thing has certain advantages – the £14.99 a Radiohead fan might save on Kid Abysmal could possibly go on shampoo, clearasil, Prozac, or maybe just trepannation.
And maybe for some fans this most useless of records will help break Thom’s clammy grip on their tastes. Already some are making disappointed noises – Kid Abominable is the equivalent, they might say, of Shakespeare following up Hamlet with a new play whose characters are a tree and a dead fish, written using only the letter ‘g’. (“10.0! A masterfull piece of stage-crafte!” – Sir Brent Of Crescenzo, Pitche Forke).
These footling sycophants miss the point that OK Cash Register, while a thousand times better than the eternal parade of bum that is Kid Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh, was in itself a dreadful monument to Millennial navel-gazing. Buying it was the cultural equivalent of shagging someone disasterous at a pre-2K doomsday party, and the world needed a new Radiohead record as much as you needed a dose of the crabs come January 1. Kid Actionable‘s title apparently refers to the ‘first human clone’, implying that the lights on the band are really quite blinding when they’re up on stage. The actual content of the record has zero to the power of fuck-all to do with this rotten concept, which is probably the only positive thing you can say about Kid Agony.
So what’s it sound like, Tanya? Like my ears being scraped out by vinegar-tipped apple corers, dear reader. No, it sounds like a crap IDM record, obviously. A really, really, crap one, with electronic tones in every shade of grey and Thom Yorke, Crown Prince Twat of the Royal House of Twat, moaning over the top of it. “Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon” he begins. And today you wake up selling a lemon: congratulations. And, oh of course the band try their hand at free jazz (still the surest sign of wankerdom ever devised – when oh when will bands learn that free jazz is called so because no fucker would buy it). Kid Anus is possibly the flattest, drabbest, most shoulder-shrugging pathetic LP I’ve ever had the opportunity to hear. It’s the sound of an unpleasant man wiping his arse on your money and goodwill. He wants you not to buy it, for Christ’s sake! The least you could do is oblige him.
U is for “U.G.L.Y.” by Daphne And Celeste. Excellent records are often extremely difficult to write about: this is not an exception. Daphne And Celeste put the Smurfs, the Shangri-La’s and the Sequence in the same Laff-A-Lympics team, and when the starting gun goes off out comes a big flag saying “POP”. They might be some forty-year-old’s idea of what teenagers are like, but who isn’t these days? And never having been a teenage girl, what’s it to me if D & C don’t get it right?
“U.G.L.Y.”, then. It’s the cruellest record of the year, and according to Isabel it horrified staff rooms the nation over. “I think you should wear a mask and book that plastic surgeon fast” gets a laugh, but the chantalong chorus – “You’re ugly, yeah yeah, you’re ugly” is platinum-plated playground dynamite. When pop this brazen gets written about it’s usually in terms of how fine it sounds. Beats this and production that, with a dig at silly, solid old indie rock for good measure. Daphne And Celeste aren’t brilliantly produced, or phuturistic or groundbreaking: they don’t even have the sexy cybernetic poise you expect from the pop crop. They’re two girls who shriek a lot over catchy tunes and call people names, and even if that was no more realistic than Britney and company, it’s surely every bit as fun.
Another request. An avid reader has asked what I think of this band called the Flying Luttenbachers and directed my attention towards a website put together by the band. Well, at the very least it should go without saying that the band’s leader and central bore, Weasel Walter is a ridiculous clowny tart. Mime make-up? Oh dear. I think it is completely unnecessary to recollect my feelings towards the miming (hur-hur) “art.” However…that gunk under the eyes? Well, I have been told that in American sports, black streaks are put underneath the eyes to reduce the glare of the sun or somesuch other thing. In Mr. Walter’s case, of course, it is an “ironic” affectation, seeing from his delicate physique that he was one of those skinny yobs who got beat up repeatedly in school for being such an uncoordinated, unathletic, uninteresting cow. I cannot say that I can blame his oppressors one jot. My only regret is that they clearly did not finish the job.
If you enjoyed this ‘Jessica Simpson’ piece, then you’ll certainly want to read this interview with Daphne And Celeste. Incidentally, apologies to my readers for freakytrigger.com being down: this is, needless to say, nothing at all to do with me.
T is for…..”Take On Me” by A-Ha. I was at a festival at the NFT this Spring celebrating the 100 Greatest Music Videos. One of them was this, of course: line drawings, racing cars, beautiful girls with highlights and tragic boys in leather. We all laughed but I thought it was as effective now as it had been then, the perfect match for Morton Haaket’s breathy singing and his band’s serious-pretty pop, generic before its genre even really existed. And now it’s back, in the hands of A1, part of a slew of 80s remakes greasing up our charts. “Take On Me” – technical, sexy but vulnerable too – is the Ur-Song of the Boybands, just like Madonna’s remarkable “Into The Groove” has every girl group song ever sung hidden in its beats. And A-Ha’s video is still the most romantic representation of the sad fan-star dyad to ever make it to screen.
S is for….”Shot By Both Sides” by Magazine. There aren’t many lyrics which change the way you think. There aren’t any lyrics which changed the way I think. But there are a few which summed something up better than I could ever hope to.
It helps of course if you have that tightrope riff at your heels, Magazine’s flat-out greatest service to pop, reeling up its scale, popping your ears with vertigo and ecstasy. But even so, “I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd / I was shocked to find out what was allowed” are probably the truest things alternative music has let itself utter. Rock critics, heed them: repeat them every time you want to use words like “mass” or “sheep” or “herd”; consider them every time you pout and preen yourselves for being so averse to the ‘mainstream’. The widest part of the river is, after all, generally the deepest.
Zepwar!: Fred is a good friend and a perceptive listener, but his logical faculties seem to have deserted him here. I don’t dislike Zep because they rock too hard, silly, I dislike them because they don’t rock enough: I like my rock fast, hard, and loud, and preferably without some caterwauling castrato hippie on top. As for me being unable to appreciate Led Zep because I’m a wimpy Brit….what nationality were that band again? (Mind you, I am a wimpy Brit, albeit one who bought a Motorhead best-of at the same time as that Zep disc. But I still rock harder than Fred.).
There was a red rag in my Zeppelin review – my gross generalisations about the blues – and there was a bear pit, which Fred merrily leaps into with his mind/body dualisms. You can’t think about Zep, he bleats, you need to feel them. That’s a cop-out argument at the best of times, the direct equivalent of fans of Zappa or Mr.Bungle upbraiding people for not being clever enough to ‘get’ the music: you can think music and feel it, right at the same time. More on this in the forum, if you like.
I’ve finally updated the archives. And! We have some new team members, though a few of them have been new team members for quite a while now and haven’t posted anything…! But Pete you’ve already met.