Posts from 8th January 2002

8
Jan 02

As a final bit of community service

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 245 views

As a final bit of community service, I’ve updated the NYLPM Archives – every review from May last year to today now nicely alphabetised and linked, and though in memory it was a fallow patch there’s some grand stuff there. Thanks to Sundar, Dave Raposa and Fred for picking up the slack at a time when I was preoccupied.

And the future, I think, is bright. At one point last year I was planning to revamp NYLPM and bring in a new daily feature – I didn’t do that and I’m glad about it (though if the people who volunteered to be part of that still want posting rights here, please say!). Looking back over the year I’m bloody proud of NYLPM – even if sometimes it isn’t the best-updated site around, there really isn’t anything else quite like it on the Internet. I think ‘Internet Awards’ are a load of nonsense in general, but if we did ever win one I’d think it deserved. Thanks very much to all the contributors, and thankyou for reading, and why not waste an hour or two of your time in the archives while you’re here?

More From The FT Archives

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 519 views

More From The FT Archives – I’ve replaced another three old articles. First of all there’s Tanya Headon’s “My Lover The Record Collector” – except now is the time to make a confession. This wasn’t actually written by Tanya – it was done by a friend of ours who wanted to remain anonymous, and Tanya (in the pre-IHM days) lent her name to it. There’s also Tim Finney on Britney – the only full article on Ms.Spears we’ve ever run! And there’s me talking about The Pixies.

They’re Out There Somewhere – The Kids and The Scene

FTPost a comment • 1,742 views

Before we go any further, let us get one thing clear between ourselves: I am 31 years old. It’s not a fact that adds a jaunty skip to my gait but then again it doesn’t make me want to lay down and DIE either – it is what it is, and that is just FACT. I’ve seen what Denying When You Are looks like, and it looks like Fred Durst. Given a choice between EITHER a) obsessively ringing the forthcoming week’s programmes in the TV guide and thinking Mortgages are an interesting conversation choice OR b) wearing shorts and a baseball cap and whining about being misunderstood DESPITE BEING A COMPANY DIRECTOR I know which one I would choose.

So I wonder, am I alone in this pleasant state? Surely I am not the only person EVER to appreciate that, though some things are forever now denied me (Being Allowed On Bouncy Castles; Hangover-Free Drinking; Receiving Handouts About Nightclubs in the Street), some are now MINE all MINE (Getting Served Quickly In Pubs; Guilt-Free Enjoyment of Friday Night Telly; Occasionally Voting For The Party That Wins)? Because judging by the amount of BLEATING going on it surely seems that way – how many MORE times must I hear otherwise perfectly delightful people say “Hey everybody! Let’s create a scene! Let’s support each other, and hey! Foster new talent!”

For these are the words of THE ELDERLY – Well Meaning but fundamentally WRONG, INCORRECT and WRONG. SCENES are not created, MUSICIANS only support each other if they HAVE too, and even then they are BENT ON DESTRUCTION of all those in any competition with them (anybody who denies this is either a liar or a fucking folk singer, or both), and “Talent” is something you put on display at Christmas e.g. playing the spoons. THE MIGHTY POWER OF ROCK, however, exists untrammeled, untrained and unmolested by those who seek to smother it by “guidance”.

See, here’s the thing – there IS a scene out there, there always has been and so long as THE KIDS can get their hands on something that makes a noise and a place to meet others who do the same, there always will be. The FACT that you and me don’t know about it only PROVES how healthy it is. Think back, if you can, to the halcyon days of the late eighties, when Armageddon still hung like an unhooked stage curtain above us, when a rip in the knee could be quite continental, and baggy was a boy’s best friend (NB fill in your own giddy reminiscence if this does not apply). Do you recall when YOU were part of a scene, when loads of YOUR friends were also in bands (or whatever form your funkiness took)? And do you remember there being people of your age now around and about?

Of COURSE you do – they were the ones you took the PISS out of! You slagged off their bands! You moaned about them hogging the decent gigs! YOU STOLE THEIR GUITAR LEADS! Let us be frank here old chap, you HATED THEM, just as THE KIDS now hate YOU – that is, if they know about you at all. Go on, try it out – put on a Battle Of The Bands as an exercise is encouraging young talent, I would wager realistic cash-flavoured MONEY that at some point you will describe someone as having “attitude” and being “tight” AND MEAN IT AS A COMPLEMENT. Oh come ON, you must remember when that happened? When the old sods always gave the prizes to Those Most Like Themselves?

Look, here is a Futuristic Brain Hologram of the event – there at the front are the Old (but well-meaning) Sods, shaking hands with the “soulful singer” of The Whetstone Blues Travellers (or whoever), with their Slap Bass Player smiling all the while. And those young scamps at the back? Why, that’s You! And your MATES! COMPLAINING bitterly about how shit it all is, and how old twats like this will be destroyed one day, SWEARING you will never EVER clog up ROCK in this way.

Fast forward fifteen years and OH MY! It is YOU standing at the front, and just because you are shaking hands with one of the Fashion Children from THE STROKES doesn’t mean it is ANY different. They’ve got “attitude” haven’t they? And look at those haircuts! The witless remarks about “keeping it real”- that’s how a REAL band should be isn’t it? Or perhaps it’s some “urban” “collective” with their FRIGHTFULLY innovative use of technology to whom you are giving the Vouchers Worth Two Days In A Professional Studio? Does it MATTER? IT IS THE SAME. You have BECOME the people you used to LOATHE, and are doing EXACTLY the same thing.

But hey, don’t feel bad, you ENJOY your White Stripes or what have you, it’s FINE. The KIDS have their own things now. Why, just a couple of weeks ago I caught a glimpse of an ACTUAL GIG! There were five bands playing for free – I’ve been to these before, HECK, I have played enough of them, but this was different. Foor one thing, the room was PACKED. Everybody DIDN’T know each other, but absolutely EVERYONE was going MENTAL. The bands were sharing equipment (because they had to), the sexes and races were all mixed up, and there was a JOY in the air that I only very vaguely remembered from when I first started my crazy journey into the heart of sound all those many years ago. The music itself, of course, sounded absolutely APPALLING, like some half-arsed Endsleigh League Punk from 1979 with a dash of the second wave of GRUNGE drizzled atop it, but WORSE, but then I would think that wouldn’t I?

I left them to it, and went round the corner for a Quiet Pint, safe in the knowledge that THE KIDS are doing fine. There IS a scene out there somewhere, but time makes REVERSO QUANTUM OBSERVERS of us all, and to even try to see into it would be to destroy it. We shall know it when it finally arrives in the mainstream, fear not, for we will BLOODY HATE IT.

MJ Hibbett

ARE Weapons – “New York Muscle”

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 521 views

ARE Weapons – “New York Muscle”

Meanwhile here’s what New York is up to (Paris and Munich updates surely due from our foreign readers). A.R.E. Weapons play semiharsh electro-rock in the style of Suicide, with maybe a bit of early Beastie Boys and Velvets attitude. They’re punky and nasty and for real – “I dreamed up this beat when I was sleeping on the street and I cooked up this verse when I had nothing to eat”. Which underlines the importance of a healthy diet and comfortable lifestyle as A.R.E. Weapons are a bit rubbish. The unformed-ness put me off first time: chanting and half-rapping and synthblurts and hand-cranked beats all falling into each other.

On second listening that’s all fairly invigorating but it’s their aesthetic which seems unformed – or maybe stunted would be a better word. If you liked Suicide you might be happy that there’s a band following in their footsteps but while they follow very closely in some ways (New York is vicious – sum it up with sleazy electro sounds) they also miss out some of the disturbing campiness you find on Suicide records, that Elvis-impersonator vocal shuffle for instance. You need a pinch of the ridiculous if you’re making this sort of thing – for instance the reason Soft Cell worked so well initially was Marc Almond’s understanding that a life lived on the sleazy edge might be shabby and laughable at the same time as it was glamourous and tough.

On “New York Muscle” the way the backing vox chant “New York Muscle! New York Muscle!” as if they’re on a Village People track is quite funny – though it’s muscle as in hoodlums not muscle as in Marys. But otherwise A.R.E Weapons sound strained and bizarrely out-of-date. Avoid, unless the idea of Americans suddenly discovering the Age Of Chance tickles you.

CALL ME TANYA SAURON

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 321 views

CALL ME TANYA SAURON

Well as Jackie Roper says, if I’m going to talk down on Led Zep, I might as well talk down on musicians everywhere. And you know that poor girl touched a nerve with me. Not that I was being too harsh, after all what I do is talk down on musicians everywhere (some people can be remarkably dim). Nevertheless she did remind me that talk is all I ever do. She is right, I need to be pro-active. I need to take a stand.

Incidentally I saw the Lord Of The Rings over the Christmas period, and no-one felt fit to warn me that it had Enya’s sick and vile warblings all over it. No-one also felt fit to tell me that the film also had Brian Eno in it as an elf, not to mention that all the Hobbits were played by members of Reef. At least the spawn of Steven Tyler got a cut on the face, though that is nowhere near enough punishment for Love In An Elevator. (As part of my new pro-active regime I have considered buying a gun a shooting all of Aerosmith, but I fear for my aim – as a I don’t want to miss a thing). Anyway, watching the film with my fingers in my ears, and seeing the flaming Vagina of Sauron got my thinking. Well initially it got me thinking on Marianne Faithful, but then it hit me. If the evil dark lord of Middle Earth can use the beasts to conduct his campaign again the amassed forces of pop, then why can’t I.

Straight down the library went I (with nary a stop at a hostelry for a reviving G&T), to get out a book on bewitching animals. And already I have my first success. A cat attacking Moby. Look at his poor little punchbag face, in so much pain after my agent went and delivered a good chomping to his pinkies. If only tetanus had set in properly, no fingers means no keyboard playing, means no sampling of tedious Southern Spirituals and hence no Moby. Instead he would be reduced to shuffling around New York whinging to himself “Why Does My Hand, Feel So Bad”.

Watch the skies popstars everywhere. For I now have the beasts at my command…

Is it Be With Me by Mis-teeq or B With Me

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 253 views

Is it Be With Me by Mis-teeq or B With Me – even the bands website is not clear how it wants to spell it. Spelling aside I had a chance radio encounter on the bus (the best place to encounter new music) and it made me break out in a broad grin. Really there is no call for for a record quite this summery in January, and I can only think that this might harm the singles chances to do exceptionally well. That and it being the fourth single off the album. But what a joyous noise it is, it showcases all the good sides of the band whilst playing down the cookie-cutter R’n’B stereotypes they have occasionally fallen in with. There is a garage flavour but the whole affair is much more Caribbean – with a real carnival style atmosphere. The chatting section is fantastic, dropping out of the beat completely and tantalising us with a “is it sped up, is it one of the girls” allure. All suggesting that this is the year the British MC makes it big, when even the pop records are doing it. A bit of sunshine in a cold grey winter? Maybe its as simple and as cynical as slinging steel drums on the track. But even if you take cynicism into account it still makes this a truly London concoction.

A LED ZEPPELIN FAN WRITES

I Hate Music2 comments • 797 views

A LED ZEPPELIN FAN WRITES

“Dear whoever,

If your gonna talk down on led zepelin like that you may as well talk down on musicians everywhere. Led Zeppelin is one of the best rock and roll bands every. I am appalled that you would ever show your face in public with such irrational and foolish opinions. Do you self a favor and never talk again… so long as its going to be outta your ass. You wanna know why your on some shitty web sites and that it… cause you suck. Ahh well someone had to tell you… i hope you get numerous e-mails that tell you the same. Good luck trying to write something GOOD! Jackie Roper”

If there is one thing worse

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 372 views

If there is one thing worse than the closing and makeover of a once beloved boozer, it is the slow lingering death of a pub – which still looks like the pub you used to love, but has gone bad. This happened to the Rising Sun on Tottenham Court Road five years ago. What was a relativly solid pub with pleasant idiosyncrasies (good range of Grman & Blgian beers, Oatmeal stout) slowly morphed into a Scottish & Newcastle clone. I still go there due to the fact it is handy and everyone knows where it is, but less and less out of choice. Now the same is happening to another favourite.

The Blue Posts Rupert Street has had a steady decline over the last six months, constantly closing its upstairs room and having a more than dictatorial line on the jukebox. You could happily score a straight seven line of pop only for the staff to turn it off at the vague whiff of Pink. But now it is all over. The jukebox has been removed. And with its removal the downstairs has turned into an oddly soulless room. The best of the multi-ethnic staff seem demoralised, and a pub landlord – cut directly from the Al Murray cloth – was seen lurking around. I am no pub doctor but I fear it will take but one more visit for me to declare the whole joint dead.