I Hate Music

30
Sep 00

KNIVES OUT

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KNIVES OUT

Right.

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 Ł14.99 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.

WEASEL WALTER: A SAD CLOWN

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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.

26
Sep 00

SPEARMINT – Sweeping The Nation

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SPEARMINT – Sweeping The Nation

A single that many indie boys hold dear, because it fulfils all their dreams. You see most indie boys secret harbour a desire to be in a band. The fact that they are not in any way musically gifted is not the reason most of these bands never surface. It would be a positive advantage to be tonally inept if it was a own label, lousy live and on record standard indie band. Instead it is that lack of gumption that most indie kids have, a geneticically induced lethargy which prevents them from rehersing, performing and then getting beaten up after the gig.

Sweeping The Nation is all about no mark indie bands. And we’re not talking the Senseless Things or Midway Still here. These are bands so tiny, so poor and so lousy that they never even make it into the NME or Melody Maker. To draw an Olympics parallel here – for sake of being topical – for a band to get in the NME is like have the qualifying level at the High Jump being half an inch. Yet our fey voiced singer informs us that this song is for a litany of rubbish named bands in his “Searching For The Young Soul Rebel” style talkie bit. Shirley – the perfect name for such a limp vocalist – then follows this up with some ridiculous cod motivational speech about as longs as you keep you mind to something, you can do anything. he obviously did not keep his mind on writing a decent song then.

The rest of the song is that thing that said indie boys like to call perfect pop. Therefore it rips off Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound production and replaces it with a Wall Of Shit. If such records truely were perfect pop (Cud anyone?) then they would be perfectly popular and soaring to the top of the charts. Instead Spearmint sold about twenty copies of the single, and are now probably Sweeping The Nation, then giving the nations toilets a good disinfecting before getting out of their cleaners overalls and going home to play with their guitar and think of another rubbish band that they could be in.

25
Sep 00

IHM LYRIC WATCH SPECIAL : DOUBLE NEGATIVE WATCH

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IHM LYRIC WATCH SPECIAL : DOUBLE NEGATIVE WATCH

A special edition – which of course in music terms means you are getting exactly the same as you would with the regular edition just paying more. Owning said special edition record will mark you out as a laughing stock when you try and flog it at the Record And Tape Exchange for the cash you need since you are unemployed because you won’t cut you lank greasy hair as some kind of anti-fascist statement. Wise up. People are not fascists for wanting you to cut your hair. Instead they care a bit about grooming, presentation and rightly believe that a sloppy appearance belies a sloppy mind. Too full of Spearmint gig dates for you to be able to do the most rudimentary data entry jobs. Look at the one band who advocate the not cutting of hair. Pavement.

Pavement. The band I have tried to write about no less than fifteen times but have never reached the level of vitriol that this half arsed bunch of no mark chancers deserve. In lieu of such an entry let me just say that if Pavement suggested I should do something, not only would I not do it but I would endeavour heartily to try and break the world record in doing the opposite. Which might explain why I was nigh on bald in 1993 and have never lived anything akin to a Range Life.

Sorry. Special edition lyric watch. Special edition regards the title of a seminal rap record. (Of course I am using the word seminal in its proper usage – ie to mean wank). Grandmaster Flash and his Furious Five and their confusing anti-drug message: “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)”. Completely ignoring the fact that it is one of only two records which use the word Do three times in its title, it is quite clear that the Grandmaster is not one of making any sense. He certainly isn’t a Grandmaster of formal logic. Using the rule of reduction – ie two negatives cancelling out – the title is reduced to “White Lines (Do It)”. Running somewhat counter to the stated aims of the song.

Of course anti-drug records are rarely convincing coming from the people who’s collective septum has been ravaged by much of the worlds total supply of sobering up powder. White Lines is often cited as a groundbreaking record as its one of the few old skool rap tunes that has stood the test of time. That said I have always been suspicious of old skool rap. The only other time the phrase old skool, or two spell properly for a change, old school is used is by children aged 13. Context “What was it like in your old school”. By old school they mean their primary school. So therefore White Lines is a Primary Skool rap, and is about as intelligent as that story you wrote about you and your mate when you were seven. You know the one that had the same plot as Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom – just missing the dull woman out and recasting the film with you as Indy and your mate as Short Round. I understand George Lucas is going to sue.

Oh. Before you ask its Do Do Do Dah Dah Dah. I’ve already covered the multiple sins of The Police.

22
Sep 00

MORE TOP OF THE POPS MEMORIES

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MORE TOP OF THE POPS MEMORIES

Since it would appear I am incapable of thinking of more than one subject these days, I must refer to you a conversation I overheard in a pub the other day. A man, let’s call him Gerard, was surrounded by a number of young (18-19) year old girls hanging on his every word. I of course was bitterly hollering about the new Spice Girls single (a more lumpen, leaden sound you’ll not hear outside a place that makes lumpy piping). Nevertheless I overheard this sentence uttered triumphantly by Gerard.

“And then Dexy’s went on, but they had a big picture of Jocky Wilson behind them.”

Gerard rests back, and waits for the surround titters from the laydeez. But it was silent as the applause bits at a Magnetic Fields gig (respectful silence or audience fucked off – you choose).

“Because the song was called Jackie Wilson Says”

Still nothing. And this took me back to the old days when the tale of how the BBC researcher in error put up a picture of reputed darts star Jocky instead of not reputed soul singer Jackie. Ha Ha, what a fool, we would all say – not realising that said researcher really did not care, was on a pitiful salary and working on Top Of The Pops was like having your nails pulled out. In the early eighties, when Dexy’s Midnight Runners were worrying about what Jackie Wilson Said and Searching for the Young Soul Rebel (“I’ve looked everywhere”) nobody knew who Jackie Wilson was. Its only the late eighties when British pop music ground to a total halt that twenty five year old soul – ahem -classics like Reet Petite had a chance at hitting the charts.

I for one enjoyed seeing the corpulant Scottish darter behind Kevin Rowlands genius inflated head (To-ra-ay indeed). It was a welcome distraction to the sound that invented The Levellers. And even if the researcher had got it right, there just would have been a photo of a blacked up version of Morph on show.

But back to Gerard. A man who feels he can impress teenagers with stories of TV blunders about three protagonists the simpering fools have never heard of. Dexy’s Midnight Who? Jocky Who? Jackie Who? I fear Gerard was sleeping alone that night.

19
Sep 00

MR AND MRS – Not Strictly Music

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MR AND MRS – Not Strictly Music

I know, its a gameshow. But I include it here for a simple reason. The gist of the show is that they ask one member of said married couple questions about the other member. And so that party two does not hear said answers they lock them in my idea of heaven. That’s right, they lock them in a soundproof booth.

And then they play music to them.

Ever know what its like to have heaven torn from your grasp? I got married to go on that show, just to try out the booth. And then they pipe the fucking Girl From Ipenema at me.

ALL ABOUT EVE – Martha’s Harbour

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ALL ABOUT EVE – Martha’s Harbour

I have a dark secret, dear reader. You know I say I hate music. Well, I genuinely do. However there has been a time when I actually envied, actually wanted to physically be a genuine bona fide pop star. Well, a second rate sub goth pop star, but in my youth I could not tell the difference. Yes, dear reader, there was a time when I wanted to be Julianne Regan of All About Eve.

I know what you’re thinking. With all the softer goth boys lusting after me I’d never want for foundation or mascara again. To laugh at the thoroughly literal way the softer goth girls took the lyrics of ‘Flowers In Her Hair’ and wore roses in their blacky-purple hair. Ah, as Poison said – every rose has its thorn, just like every Casualty department had fey white faced girls with scalp lacerations whenever the Eve were in town. All these are fine reasons to want to be the silver tongued distant relative of possibly the most mentally retarded President the US have ever had. But I only wanted to be Ms Regan for one moment of glory. For their performance to their lack-of-power ballad Martha’s Harbour on Top Of The Pops.

As any half arsed TV bloopers compilation show will tell you, this moment has gone down in history. The song playing, and the band standing around picking their nose and not doing anything. Maybe flicking. And this is when I would have liked to slip into Regan’s skin. Not because I enjoy humiliation on national television. More for the reason that the band stood like absolute fools because they did not know the song was playing, they did not know their turn on the mime was up. This was due to the fact that they, unlike everyone in the country with a television, could not hear the dirgey water based ballad. Lucky sods. What I would have given to be the only person not to be able to hear the Eve somewhat unusually comparing their relationship between that of an ocean wave and a galley slave – for the mere reason that they rhyme. Ah, the blissful silence of the Top Of The Pops studio.

14
Sep 00

SCOOBY DOOBY DOO

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SCOOBY DOOBY DOO

What do you answer when someone asks you what your favourite Kraftwerk album is, then? If you’re like me you say, “None of them”. If you’re like most people you’d say Computer World (1981) or Trans-Europe Express(1977). But wait! Perhaps you think those answers are the answers a BLEATING HERD OF SHEEP would give. Perhaps you, and you alone, know that the true answer is 1972’s Ralf Und Florian. Mmm, yes.

What’s that, you say? You can only get R&F as a sell-your-kidney expensive vinyl import, illegially copied off the original pressing by a Japanese lunatic? Well, that MAY BE SO, but it’s nothing to do with the quality of this transcendent record. No no no. Or, just perhaps, you horrible indie snob, yes. Really, it’s the Scooby Doo Theory of Music Taste – “My God, it was the LEAST LIKELY PERSON who dressed up as the Mummy!”. You pick the most underrated record you can and you bullishly praise it, you look cool and your questioner looks fool, works every time.

“But I really like that album!” you squeal. That’s OK. I believe you. I applaud your discerning tastes. In fact, let me help you out. Here are some other records you might just ‘enjoy’….

NEIL YOUNG – On The Beach
YOU WILL SAY: “How oh how could Neil never have released this harrowing masterpiece on CD? Especially since it is his greatest work hem hem. Apart of course from the free CD of feedback that came with Weld…”
THE TRUTH: On The Beach exactly like all other NY records, i.e. fogeyish castrato w/acoustic whinges about state of nation, girls. Girls ignore, nation ditto. Free CD of feedback as dreadful as description suggests, also pointless because of…

LOU REED – Metal Machine Music
YOU WILL SAY: “The most influential thing he ever did! Wait – you have the….CD Reissue? HA HA HA HA HA! I pity you missing out on the vinyl original and its sophisticated use of overtones!”
THE TRUTH: MMM a ridiculous chore which has ‘influenced’ only weedy men who wear niffy black T-Shirts and make ‘power electronics’, cf. ‘nihilists’ off of The Big Lebowski. Incidentially a curious coincidence that all these pioneering ‘power electronics’ releases sounded exactly like Commodore 64 computer game tapes, and came out in the mid-80s and were ‘cassette-only’ issues, don’t you think?

PINK FLOYD – Ummagumma
YOU WILL SAY: “This is their finest hour. Well, several hours. The individual suites by each member show off their furnace-like musical imaginations, while the collective live disc is a progressive masterpiece unequalled, except of course by their film soundtrack work….”
THE TRUTH: Quite simply, there is no way a civilised culture can call itself so and sanction the issue of solo works by Nick Mason and Richard Wright. Being bombed back to the caves (where we could have perhaps grooved, Pictlike, with small furry animals) would have been simple cosmic justice.

Can you think of any more, dear readers? Feel free to e-mail me suggestions for a future entry…

HE’S NOT JUST DRAWN BADLY

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HE’S NOT JUST DRAWN BADLY

As loathe as I am to rise to the bait of something as half arsed and uninformed as the Technics Mercury Music Prize (I mean, the prize is named after a company that no longer exists) I cannot let this Badly Drawn Boy nonsense persist. There are two things you need to know about the boy drawn bad.

a) He is the British Beck.
b) He wears a bobble hat.

Let us examine these two stabs at greatness. How much of a compliment is it to be compaired to some Yank with rubbish hair who is quite obviously a loon and only knows one word in the dictionary – which is of course eclectic. In an attempt to be like the hip-hopping, folk rocking, funk maulingly rubbish Beckster – Mr Gough has treated a few knocked out guitar tunes with a flanger. Badly Drawn Boy is also quite badly reading boy and appeard to have mistaken the eclectic for epiletic – which might explain his occasion fits of tunefulness. The rest of his songs sound like The Proclaimers.

But I know I am missing the big picture here. He wears a bobble hat, that most maligned of rock acoutrements. No rock star has ever worn a bobble hat. It is not sexy, it is not clever. The only vaguely famous people to ever wear bobble hats were The Flumps. And here is where the story leads us too. Badly Drawn Boy is merely Grandpa Flump on his Flumpsichord. Well worth an award named after a defunct telecom firm. The Hour Of The Bewilderbeast? Night of the serious muso critic trying to champion a talent so mediorce that even when he rocks out he just sounds like a soft rock version of Chicago? ie Boston.

(Dear reader, I am merely annoyed because my money was on Helicopter Girl. When a poster campaign can win someone an award I will finally be happy and convinced of the death of all music. Music awards should be won on the strength of blitz postering of Camden and a girl sticking her arse in the air.)

KRAFTWERK

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KRAFTWERK

Anyone who cycles is a bastard. You have your pavements, for the use of the foot, and you have your roads, for the use of the car. Neither fish nor fowl, the bicycle exists solely to annoy pedestrians and motorists alike, to let middle-aged men case their flabby arses in lycra and then wave them at you, and to allow people to wear hats even the Pet Shop Boys would shun. I mention this only because an addiction to cycling is the reason most often given for Kraftwerk’s fifteen-year retirement from making music. Makes sense, really. But while not wishing to play dentist to any gift horses, I’d suggest that there might have been other factors involved.

How, after all, would you make a Kraftwerk record? You could follow a simple formula. A hi-tech, but essentially dull, item is chosen. The motorway, for example, or the Tour De France, a race so polite that the riders stop to swap jerseys every few miles. A keyboard is turned on. Now, here’s the cunning bit. As you play a tune on the keyboard – any will do, but make sure you only use one finger – you sing some lyrics about your chosen item. Again, any will do, but make sure they’re very, very simple. For example, if you’re singing about Radioactivity, you might want to sing: “Radioactivity / It’s in the air for you and me”. That’s about the level required. Make sure you sing like a robot – if you put any inflection in your voice at all the spell will be broken and the audience will suddenly realise that you are not in fact a futuristic machine-man harbinger of the new era, but a balding man in an unfortunately tight jumpsuit.

Anyway, say you decided to write a song about your weblog, a hi-tech item indeed but most likely very, very boring. You get your keyboard, pick out some Frere Jacques rip-off with your pinkie, and start singing.
I change my website every day
[doot-doot-doot-de-da-doot-doot]
My weblog is the perfect way
[doot-doot-doot-de-da-doot-doot]
My weblog serves me very well
[doot-doot-doot-de-da-da-doot]
I use Shockwave and XML
[doot-doot-doot-de-da-doot-doot]”

So, demonstrably it’s not the hardest thing in the world to make Kraftwerk records. How come nobody does? (Least of all Kraftwerk themselves). The official history suggests that the band – perfectionists, as the staggering detail of their work so ably indicates – felt unable to compete with the new wave of dance music which built on the foundations they had etc. etc. Rubbish! What actually happened is that, around 1981, people started buying computers, and those computers started making noises themselves, and lo and behold the soundtracks to Chuckie Egg and Frag! sounded exactly like Kraftwerk (except usually funkier). Suddenly the bottom fell out of the cod-futurism market: the future had arrived, and it sounded Krap. Ralf und Florian were reduced to singing horrible songs about phone sex to pay the re-saddling bills, and then just resigned themselves to back-catalogue irrelevance. As for influence, 25 years on and Kraftwerk’s biggest impact has been on a generation of twats programming irritating four-note tunes into their mobile phones. How vacuously modern, how very appropriate.