Posts from November 2001
rebellious jukebox: here’s Jess’ own blog again! I need to put this in the sidebar though. He’s counting down his top 50 albums of the 1990s – ah, the memories that come flooding back. I don’t like reviewing albums, though, least of all my favourite albums because, well, a great album is just so big that how can you do it justice in a weblog entry? There are individual songs I feel I could write for hours about, after all, and there are only so many words I know.
let’s build a car is a fine new addition to the sidebar links. It’s by David Raposa (NYLPM’s own) and Jess Harvell (ILE’s own, and whose blog should also be sidebarred but the dog ate my link. I will seek.). It’s about their quick impressions of the records they listen to. You might be able to guess what kind of records they listen to quite quickly. I’m holding out for a Hacky Sack review.
A fair bit of talk lately — on my personal Internet haunts, but in the wider popmedia too — about guitars. A lot of people quite like them you see, and want them to ‘come back’ — question is, what can you do with them these days? ‘This!’ says Pink as she winds up her beatboxes and then sprays chunka-chunka glam guitar* all over them.
Or, the further adventures of Outkast in the Land of Do-As-You-Please. Like no other hip-hop group since maybe De La Soul, Outkast have their commercial and critical bases dependent on the idea that they can — and will — do anything they want to with their music. Playfulness, curiosity and pop radicalism aren’t just something Andre and Big Boi can get away with — since ‘Ms Jackson’ those qualities are their unique selling point. It’s a heady, wonderful, dangerous place for a band to be. Where do they go from here?
Not only is there the evidence of increased hangover potential, decrepitude of the drinking arm and ever-advancing gut to consider, but I have started getting angry at VOLUME in pubs. Back in the day I would bullishly head for the seats directly under the jukebox speaker the better to hear my drunken choices eg “What Do I Do Now?” by Sleeper. (For instance this was my policy in The Nelson in Wood Green, now a – heaven protect me – Rattle And Hum pub). But recently myself and my Carsmile Steve found ourselves rendered grumbly due to the playing of ‘pre-club’ music for the assorted SLAPPERS (of both genders mark – this is not a sexualist weblog) at weapons-grade volume. Yes yes the music was fabulous – “You keep on giving me the HOLD UP” etc. but my dears it limits the conversation.
Even worse in the Firkin in Epsom yesterday we parked ourselves in a table away from the foorball (a gripping confrontation, poor old Australia) and below a speaker. The Manics were playing, oh dear, but then the speaker switched to the satellite channel so though we could not see the football we could hear the commentators like invisible (and very very loud) drinking companions. We retreated to ‘the snug’ to complain about the youth, sub-section Bar Staff. They have, I fear, no respect.
(Apologies for lack of recent postings, faithful readers!)
Superficially, Belle And Sebastian’s latest reminds you of last year’s ‘The Model’ — a meticulous arrangement, a melody that’s likeable but not forceful, a puzzle-box lyric. Actually, the lyric starts off pretty direct — winningly so — though Stuart Murdoch’s delivery is so stilted it sounds like he’s sight-reading. It’s only as the song goes on that the words tangle themselves up, and I stop caring and start thinking about how the song and the sound are setting round the band like plaster.
Oh, sure, he came off as street smart & gruff, talking smack about smack users and transvestities and other miscreants, showing off his track marks like the badges of courage he wants them to be, living the Raymond Chandler pulp life he epitomized & canonized in his best songs. But as with every tough guy projecting an air of wizened detachment, there’s a tender heart seeking shelter from its own need for solace — it’s a cliché because it’s true. You can make a good case that he’s just reporting what he knows, drawing a rough sketch of the Warhol Factory to shock all the squares and put all those freakish fuck-ups in their lowly little place, where they belong. He’s better off without them, damn it.
Yeah, as if I wasn’t going to take the opportunity to talk about The Cure’s new single on NYLPM. One thing notable about this song is the strong beat. One thing that Jason Cooper has brought to the group is a much less abstract sense of rhythm; Boris Williams is a god among drummers due to his complete willingness to create an entire beat based on doing rolls on the various toms in his kit, but his sense of dance rhythm can be seen as limited. Cooper can do the abstract thing, too (see the 12/8 groove of “Jupiter Crash” for the best example), but his dance-rock rhythms incorporate a lot more drive and fun in them.
His rock-solid beat propels “Cut Here”, supporting Simon Gallup at his most New Ordery and Robert singing in the lower, more comfortable-sounding part of his vocal range. The overall effect is a startlingly-assured pop song, a fresh-sounding wistful eulogy for a relationship taken for granted too long. The juxtaposition of the spry and the melancholy is a Cure trademark that’s been left slightly by the wayside in recent years and may be one reason why their recent upbeat-sounding songs have been so painful. (I’m still trying to pretend that “Mint Car” and “Return” don’t exist.)
All in all, it’s a fantastic single destined to never be played on American radio. Oh well, at least I have my copy.
(and the) native hipsters are back! With a retrospective compilation CD featuring “There Goes Concorde Again” and a lot of other stuff. Buy buy buy! (Thanks to the band themselves for putting me onto that)