Posts from July 2002

Jul 02

THE BUGGLES – “Video Killed The Radio Star”

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THE BUGGLES – “Video Killed The Radio Star”

Cheap Eighties Nostalgia right? You listen this to remind yourself of high school.

But it is deeper then that, it is about the relentless push forward modernism. He listens to the wireless and then those songs are rewritten “by machine on new technology.” This music was listened to by the young, but the children grow old and by the second verse he is talking to the children of those children. The wireless is played back in an abandoned studio. This new technology got the kids excited, but led to the destruction of everything they held sacred (the authenticity of the artist.)

This is the start of the “abandoned studio”.

This is the start of A Life in Plastic.

Although like most people blessed with prescience, the details make it sound a bit out of date. The chorus has the nostalgic sadness of 1950s popular mechanics. When the future was sexy and there was something dangerous about it. We cannot rewind to an age of guitars. Welcome to the wondrous world of the synthesizer.

Jul 02

Coming back yesterday

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Coming back yesterday from Elk Island with my friend from Victoria, we sang “Blake’s Jerusalem” and “Should I Put My Sail to Rest” in the Kingsfold Tune and other hymns. She has a lovely crystalline alto, and it is a pleasure to hear her sing.

In Toronto, the most complaints lodged against pilgrims using the trains coming home after World Youth Day was the singing. Whole trains would shake heavily from the Youth’s joyful noise.

I have to cross in front of Saint Joseph’s at noon to get to work. St Joes is the Catholic College, at noon the mass is conducted . The last thing I hear before work is Kyrie Eleison.

20 percent of the English population go to Church , Temple or Mosque. That’s about 7.2 Million people who sing along and know the words. 40 percent of Alberta goes to church, which is a little over a million people who listen to hymns once a week. What does all this mean? This blog is about pop music – or popular music. There is an implication that this is the only thing people listen to. There are, however, large streams of the vernacular that keep only to their own occasions.

Jul 02

BREAKFAST OF BANALITY 7: ALL SAINTS – Black Coffee & Lady Marmalade

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BREAKFAST OF BANALITY 7: ALL SAINTS – Black Coffee & Lady Marmalade

Without a doubt one of the most hateful bands ever for recording not one, but two breakfast themed records. It was a happy day round Headon Towers when this West London girl-group gave up and threw in the rag. A girl group of transatlantic foolishness which could only have come together in that hellish hive of media arse-wankery that is Notting Hill – the band named themselves All Saints as an obvious attempt to try and distract attention from how diabolical they were. They were marketed as the credible answer to the Spice Girls, which was like saying Ian was the credible one out of the Krankies.

I’ve attacked the Moulin Rouge version of Lady Marmalade before – and at least the All Saints version does not make the error of thinking the word is pronounced Marma-Lard. It instead makes the error of being frighteningly bland, and their second cover version in a row to show that their songwriting skills were not quite up to scratch. But then what do you expect from the illegitimate offspring of Anastasia and a woman who has a sofa for a mouth. Black Coffee was at least an original composition, just one which lacked the basic understanding of song composition in as much as it is never a good idea to end with the intro. It was also lyrically complete guff “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here” they sing – and then they promptly split up – never ever to sing together again. Yay!

Jul 02


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Some guitar wankery and a beat. The beat is not hard enough to be house or techo, its not nearly fast enough to be jungle and not dry enough to be electro. Thats it, not other instruments nor other parts, just the wanky guitar and the half-arsed beat for 2 and a half minutes. This man can barely turn a computer without Patife or Xerxes by his side and is the biggest face in brazilian music today. Shoot me, please.

The fifth and final part

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The fifth and final part of the Pinefox’s Jubilee Stuff leads off a four-article Freaky Trigger update, which has quite unintentionally turned into a kind of indie rock then-and-now themed special. Representing the NOW, we have David Howie’s review of Oxes. Representing the then, I write about the new Jesus And Mary Chain best-of. And bridging the two, Dr. C’s personal memories of the Stockholm Monsters. Hope you enjoy them all.

Jul 02

The New Adventures of Tarkus

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Tarkus vs The Strokes

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Jul 02

The Jubilee Stuff

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The Jubilee Stuff – the fourth and penultimate section.

Let’s Push Things Forward

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Let’s Push Things Forward: if people are going to keep on talking about acid house, then a crucial point to remember is that over here the acid fuse wasn’t lit by the records, it was lit by the clubs – Balearic Beats, as the style was known, was about looking anywhere for the right sound, the magic sound, looking at old records and new records. You could play the Woodentops or a remixed Chris De Burgh if you wanted to. Anything went, as long as you could join the right dots.

Jul 02


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The lecture theatre is off warm, a faint scent of natural gas pitched on the air. Some students doodling matrices of multiple Xs or stickmen sex on their note pads, some scripting every single word the lecturer says. On the black board are forgotten Shimura variations, faded Fullerine formula, and ‘The Russian Futurists’ in foot-high block capitals. The room is quiet out of a tacit fear of rejection, of looking like an idiot if you are actually to question what the lecturer is saying. In the middle of the hall, the middle of the lecture, a boy stands up and tears his shirt off, full-on Superman rip, on his chest is inscribed ‘Have you seen my dignity?’ He begins to shout: ‘Equal rights does not include nudity! You are risking your life! Inhibitions? No! Exhibitions? Yes!’ He looks an incredible fool. Standing up in the middle of the conforming mediocre shouting like a mug. Rowdy and lairy – mentally crossed-off the list of all the boys’ Prospective Best Men lists: ostracised.

In order to avoid the uncomfortable sit of fiction in a music review I have to tell you that this happened. In Baltimore. Some of the facts are loose – this is to protect my right of not doing proper research. However the substantive gist of the account is true. It should be apparent now that I’m sketching the backstop for a metaphor.

Aim, release, flow through points one and two then connect. Not yet – hold, bide, don’t go to sleep on the possibilities here.

Alternative rock covets the scabrous; Andy Gill, guitar as shards of split electricity sound. Witness the ascendancy of the Albini sound: the dirt and scree of scraped string and clipped chords. His name is almost ubiquitous in alt.rock circles [blame In Utero]. Indeed, it is arguable that the rutting guitar-rape of Steve Albini’s Shellac of North America, avatars for the crunchy stopanstart fretlove of modern alt.rock, is the apotheothis of this bent. Listen to the records, though, and it’s hard to think of anything less structurally messy. Sure the sounds are itchy and corrupted but they’re all placed just so. Left a bit, right a bit, there.

Tell them about the scrawny kid in the faded Battle of the Bands: 1981 tee-shirt and Don’t Mess With Texas badge shouting up the place with his crazy slogans?

Now, the Oxes: studied insouciance. In a genre characterised by its own dour po-faced guitar-seriousness they are conspicuous. They’re Will Smith at Carlton’s private school in the Fresh Prince. All coquettish cheek and blank irreverence towards formally accepted structures and institutions. The opening riff of “Boss Kitty” churns like a palm-muted buzzsaw – I can see them in black spandex suits, tongues thrust spastically deep under their bottom lip, heads high. [On their boxes.] The structures of the songs are phenomenal – the engineered cascade of momentum perfectly judged. The only equivalent reference point structurally may be the Delgados’ The Great Eastern – though the Delgados’ deconstruction of Conventional Song is not nearly as extreme.

The lengths to which the Oxes push this disembodiment are obscene. If you completely disembowel the song then you re-cast structure – you can obliterate verse chorus verse. The first Oxes album achieved this annihilation but ironically it had no focus. It sprawled and songs chewed into others, grafts of guitar here, there etc. Say, for analogy, album X is full of conventional songs (song A, B, C, etc) and A is made up of 1a, 2a, 3a; B of 1b, 2b, 3b etc. Where this Oxes album achieves over its prequel is in its ability to successfully cheatsteal 1a, 2b, 4d, and 5n+1 for its song A. Little fragments of rock, glimpses and gasps of heavy metal grafted onto percussion – to make one heaving tapestry of all out spizzazz.

At this point I lost my thread and was unable to write a further paragraph. So I passed the computer to my girlfriend. This is what she wrote:

Oxxxes is generally a great album; see above. However, although it is mostly killer, there is that tiny element of filler in the middle section of the album. And does it have an “And Giraffe Natural Enemies”? You decide.

Which is fair. The almost stringent adherence to non-repetition means that the songs can be disparate and disjointed, each section a different rhythm, riff, and momentum. The result being that, as they’re unable to hit a 100% great phrase rate, they inevitably stumble upon a rubbish theme.

Now’s the time to shade the light you’ve cast. Show them their relationship to other rock bands. Follow through. Now.

They’re starkly contrasted with Shellac – they play the same music, differently, from a different philosophy and, unlike Albini, they are punk as fuck. They’re unique, their sound taking its structures and riffs from math.rock and heavy metal. It’s an injustice that I must explicate them by way of comparison and contrast to other bands within their field. But they are utterly indefinable by way of positive definition hence my requirement of negative demarcation. Not just another rock band having fun. A rock band that in their hyper self-conscious genre aren’t afraid to breach their dignity, to stand on boxes, to stalk through the crowd (wireless instruments are the fourth member of the band) rocking, ‘Excuse me, I’m in a band,’ to wear illuminous camouflage cargo pants and strip mid-stage. Why do I love the Oxes? They make me want to talk to strangers in the street, make friends with them; to look the idiot, ask the idiot question. They make me aware that I am risking my life.

David Howie

SANDY & JUNIOR – Love Never Fails

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SANDY & JUNIOR – Love Never Fails
PAULINA RUBIO – Don’t Say Goodbye

So, next round of Latin American superstars trying to get all the fame and money (but moslty fame) out of the US market, but probably this time neither of them will manage to do it since to “breakthrough with the gringos” a amazing single is needed. And these are not amazing singles. Love Never Fails starts simple to the point of boredom, kicking off with the catchy chorus, its corny but corny is whats expected from Sandy & Junior. Some acoustic guitars, a ok beat and a verse i cant even remeber how it goes, but there is a very small pearl on this song wich makes up for it. Near the end a cheesy guitar solo attempts to ruin the whole thing but the whole beat drops, the instruments go away and Junior shuts up. Huge strings kick in and Sandy starts to sing the beautiful C part, it only lasts for about 8 seconds but its the heart of the song, Junior strums the guitar and the chorus start again but after that C part the chorus is different now it makes sense and you think “yeah, this is a okay song”. Its good, it will probably wont make it big in the US but just listen to the C part. Wonderful.

Now Paulina Rubio’s single fill me with pure attacks of rage. They just take away the current chart-pop singer with the best voice(a motherfuckin sexy voice that has a adjective that i dont know the english name) that released a kick-ass album to put on some trance shitty producer that besides making a trance song filter and alter her voice so she doesnt actually sound like anything at all singing this dumb song. This is what happens when you take Estefano out of the album and puts some anglo assholes to write the songs. grrr…