Posts from July 2001
And now, we interrupt the usual intelligent pop discourse for yet another MuchMusic testimonial, proving unequivocably that MuchMusic (USA or Canada) is the only video/music channel worth a damn. As if the obvious superior aspects of the channel aren’t convincing enough – the sock-puppet VJ, the abnormally high ratio of video content:non-video content, the ability of their executive producers to shamelessly broadcast folks flipping off the camera and videos featuring such hot-button words as “hashpipe” or “cold” without scampering to the post-production gadget closet drenched in waves of nervous sweat.
It’s funny that Ned should post an article on summer festivals past, given that I was attending a summer festival of my own this past weekend. The Siren Music Festival (sponsored by the Village Voice and various folks) offered the usual festival fare, albeit with a decidedly corporate slant. There were clothing kiosks (sponsored by Abercrombie & Fitch), there were CDs for sale (via Tower Records), and there were transvestites (schilling for Budweiser – it’s quite the sight, seeing a pair of righteous drag queens say in unison, without a whit of irony or self-awareness, “And remember – This Bud’s For You!”)
Freaky Trigger updates — this time around, you get to put up with me rambling on about Tool’s Lateralus and summer festivals, while Mark Sinker considers Simon and Garfunkel. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
No, not Nirvana. I could talk about it, but you know, no. In the cold light of history “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a dividing line for better or for worse, though NWA’s chart-topping feat with Efil4Ziggan or Dr. Dre’s smash success with The Chronic the following year is as much as an indicator, if not more so. Look at the bands of the now, and everything seems perfectly distilled from the implications of all three of those events — hip-hop’s own continuing reach, the explosions of anger=intensity=perceived depth via rough-voiced rage and disaffection and the ultimate combinations of the two that produce bands like Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park.
“And you read your Emily Dickinson/and I my Robert Frost”
— “The Dangling Conversation”, Simon and Garfunkel
The LP Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme came out in 1968: my father bought it for my mother that Christmas, and it was played a lot in our house over the next months and years. They had many records, but not much pop: aside from Beatles, S&G was as out as it got. They were in their early 30s, felt somewhat of the age, but mostly somewhat older, caught already in the rhythm of work and kids. Too late to be freaking out, anyway.
Tool’s Lateralus and Willful Withdrawal in a New Summer of Love
It is, of course, a brilliant time to be alive. Sure, there’s another idiotic president raising international tensions in hamhanded ways, but this one lacks ol’ Ron’s gift of the gab and is currently finding new ways to screw up and be compromised and attacked by both left and right, so I’m not too worried quite yet. And while part of me is convinced that somewhere somehow right now the past products of American foreign policy are about to result in something horrific, that’s something most people who have put their mind to it have expected for years anyway. So relax and enjoy the music.
Concerts in the American Sun
Late last night I went to the rock show. Or so was what I was hoping the other day, but I ended up being unable to float along, and thus alas had to miss the Frogs, a severe pity but not life threatening. However, that would have been your usual gig-in-a-club deal, where the drinks were overpriced and where the clink of pool balls would likely have drowned out the quieter moments. I would not be surrounded by about 20,000 of my closest unfriends or rather nonfriends slathering on the sunblock and experiencing that unusual frisson of feedback blowouts combined with fresh breezes and the desperate hope that the speaker stacks would provide enough shadow to mosh in peace with. And yet for all that such a description sounds horrible, I’ve been there more than once and don’t really mind — too much.
Peaches, The Bowery Ballroom NYC, 26 July 2001
Making fun of Peaches is beside the point because she gets it over with immediately, like taking off her clothes. Like her costume, your titters are mostly gone by the first song. The show Peaches put on at Bowery Ballroom that Friday night was not a slow-strip triumph of soft-porn lighting and rehearsal, it was something else. (Maybe that’s why she didn’t open for Madonna as she might have, in another pop time or place.)
A Quick Mention of Club Sussed III at which I’ll be DJing TONIGHT (Thursday) under my ninja guise DJ Cockfarmer. I will be for the first time playing the CLIMACTIC SET of the night so do not miss it (Club Latino, The Plain, St Clements, Oxford, 10pm-2am). Unfortunately I have had to promise no erection section in order to win this privilege BUT I will be attempting some proper mixing at about 1.55am so you should if at all possible be there. Cheers.
Dancing About Architecture goes eighties with an album-a-year trawl through what (sez they) made the Eighties less “synthy, spiky and safe”. In other words, ten albums which try to wrench back the 80s from their rightful nostalgiapop weirdness into a context Proper Rock Criticism might understand. So for a start we might point out that “spiky” and “synthy” still don’t equal “safe” and for a second we might point out that in a paranoid fittest-survives era ‘safety’ might be a subversive value. Maybe this is why – contra Peter Gorman’s “five eighties myths” – I’ve listened more to Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” than anything by the Clash, ever. I’m keener on the Mick Jones who seems behind the gloss for four minutes not to know anything than the one who seems behind the grit to happily know everything.
(Though, actually, The Clash were a gang for fucksakes, i.e. a confederation whose only purpose is mutual support and ‘safety’.)
Of course some of DAA’s picks are excellent records, all are underconsidered and worthy of attention…but still and all, the “synthy, spiky” eighties got something right: the reason ’1982′ feels like a spell to me isn’t anything to do with ironypunkers Flipper and is everything to do with each gasp from Billy Mackenzie’s urgent lungs. And more still needs to be said about that! Meanwhile, praising a 1989 album for being “rock and roll as it was meant to be”? Sure, but they’d had since nineteen fifty fucking five to get it right, so one would hope so, eh?