New York London Paris Munich

31
Jan 04

I mislaid my copy of Metal Machine Music

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I mislaid my copy of Metal Machine Music a few years ago – possibly I lent it to some so-called “friend” – so I can’t check the sleevenotes to help out (besides I had some weird continental cut-out versions which omitted half of them). What I want to know is, what itunes EQ pre-set should it go on? Metal seems the sensible answer but there isn’t a Metal: Rock? Electronics? Classical??? (MMM “better than Xenakis” – L.Reed) haha Loudness??!!? Maybe I shd take a hint from the famously identical sidelengths, and flatline the knobs.

L’IL FLIP – “Game Over”

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L’IL FLIP – “Game Over”

E. Crunk (Mr. Crunk?) (mr. crunk?) took the words right out of the place I wish my words came from in regards to this track, and also added a fine l’il Flip gif to complete the ensemble; I just thought you folks should know.

Note to Flip & Co. – next time, less Pac-Man, more Contra.

30
Jan 04

Betjeman Beat

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Betjeman Beat: this is a piece I wrote in 2000 and had completely forgotten about until today. Rather neatly, it’s also the first archive piece we’re republishing – look for one old bit of FT each week (and new stuff too, of course).

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE — ‘The New Year’

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You’ll have to forgive me for being in a rigidly literal frame of mind, but when I hear cab dispatcher Ben Gibbard offer this couplet to the kids of America:

‘So this is the new year / And I don’t feel any different’

‘ I want nothing more than to take him out back and plant a few Skecher insignias betwixt his pert little fanny cheeks. (See for yourself.) Yeah, New Year’s Eve can suck, but not because of the lack of life-altering epiphanies available at the bottom of a glass of champail. (Like, duh.) (Really.) Possible solutions:

1) Instead of sitting outside tossing fireworks in your shoddy dress-up duds, start dipping into the hard liquor. FYI – boxes of wine do not count as ‘hard’.
2) Try chatting up some strangers — remember, someone you don’t know is possibly (hopefully) someone that doesn’t know you, either; strike that iron, Sparky!
3) If you are actually with someone, and if that someone’s special, find an empty bedroom or bathroom (preferably one with a lock) (and windows with convenient sightlines) and do what comes naturally.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, go wandering around in the snow shoeless and jacketless, wearing a pair of your dad’s old athletic socks and some pleated pocket-happy Bugle Boy slacks, cursing to yourself in regards to your sorry self and sorry state as midnight rolls around just so you can be some rock-hard tough guy that doesn’t need stupid shit like friends and love and an old fashioned good time. Sitting in the snow in such a state is a bad idea, too. Please also note — having a beer-fueled mope on someone’s fiberglass truck cover is quite gauche. Not that I have any first-hand knowledge about this sort of thing. Cough.

Had I heard ‘The New Year’ around this time of my life (age 19) (he hopes), I imagine the song’s crashing guitars and ebbing drums would be an appropriate soundtrack to such a scene. I might have also empathized with the lyrics, most likely because I was young, stupid, and drunk on Bud Light. Now, some fifty years later, the intellectual rebellion my younger self would have ascribed to this song comes off as mealy-mouthed bombastic posturing. Mr. Gibbard must know his shit if, later on the Transatlanticism disc, he sings about ‘the sound of settling’ — if anything epitomizes the middling half-hearted shrug of that sound, it’s this album’s opening number.

Perhaps I’m guilty of transferencism, channeling my frustration with a certain strand of popular music that involves the guitars and the whinging and the bombast into this innocent bystander. Or maybe it was Death Cab’s manifest destiny to glom onto their hoariest traits, and accentuate them to the point of parody. Or maybe I should stop all this doublethinking and just say what I now realize I should’ve said at the start:

Boo fucking hoo.

29
Jan 04

Pop Life Blog

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Pop Life Blog: lots of very good stuff here! Derek was it you who works at a certain West-Central London second-hand chain and wrote to FT a while ago? If so I am very very sorry for not replying, no excuses, I am just rubbish with email. Anyway readers it is my loss if the content here is anything to go by…

Last night for the first time in my life

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Last night for the first time in my life I had one of those going-out-without-trousers dreams, an absolutely standard part of the dream lexicon but one that had not troubled me. I can only put it down to all the discussion on critical authority that was sloshing around the music blogs this week. Especially as what I was doing without trousers was visit a second-hand record shop that had set itself up in the basement of the Glasshouse Stores. I apologise to all the imaginary patrons of that fine boozer who had to catch an oneiric glimpse of my pallid arse.

Anyway the dream is also pertinent to today’s link – This Is Romo, a shrine to the short-lived 90s ‘romantic modernism’ movement which has become a byword for music press idiocy but with a kindlier eye looks more like ‘wrong place, wrong time’. The best thing about the site though is that you can judge for yourself! A fairly extensive MP3s page points to downloadables of the few Romo singles that actually saw release plus rarities and unreleased tracks.

A couple of the singles are testimony to how elastic the human mind can be when it’s decided it wants to like something. At the time, being broadly ProRomo (anything had to be better than Ocean Colour Scene and Cast!), I managed to convince myself that Plastic Fantastic’s “Fantastique No.5” was just ‘a bit disappointing’. It is not. It is one of the shoddiest, worst put-together, most ramshackle tracks you will ever hear: the absolutely flagrant ripping off of Roxy Music is profoundly embarrassing but also the only entertaining thing about it. It may even not be better than some Cast records.

But some of the tunes stand up well, generally the ones which took their cue from clubby pop rather than past outrages. The excellent Belvedere Kane MP3 isn’t working (you can get it off me on Soulseek if you like, though), but Orlando’s “Just For A Second” is, and sounds as flouncy, brave and out of place as ever. And the site has Hollywood’s “Apocalypse Kiss” – gothy handbag with big production and those flattened Europop vowels I love so much. Massively enjoyable – and free!

“Apocalypse Kiss” was an early production job for Xenomania, who do a lot of the Sugababes and Girls Aloud stuff. You can find Romo links everywhere if you look! They also remind me a bit of Tatu, who of course are entirely Romo, though it would be more accurate to say that Romo was a spirited runt in a litter that also birthed them. Trouserless Romo may have ended up but it turns out not quite as shameful as you may have heard.

Popnose

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Popnose: let’s try that again, shall we… (now with actual new tracks!)

28
Jan 04

Poptimism

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Poptimism: an unexpected ally!! (If it is him – he doesn’t seem terribly optimistic here anyhow)

For my wedding present

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For my wedding present Mike Daddino very very kindly gave me a massive folder of CD-Rs, full of MP3s. Among them were every MP3 he’d managed to track down (as of 2001 or so) from the Appendices of Simon ReynoldsEnergy Flash. I’ve finally got round to listening to some of these discs, and the best way of my doing this is by copying chunks of them to my hard drive. So I’ve just put around 200 early techno, house, hardcore etc. MP3s there – and it so happens this hard drive is also accessible via soulseek. My name on Slsk is mymble2 – if you’re an NYLPM reader drop me a message and I’ll put you on my user list which might reduce queueing a little. There are also around 2000 other tracks on there, including all the No.1’s for Popular, but the Bluffers’ Guide to Dance Music stuff is all in the 80s Dance and 90s Dance folders. (Apologies for the total lack of sorting!). I’m likely to be deleting stuff fairly regularly though as I try and cope with all the rest of the stuff Mike gave me.

Oh, and Popnose should be back up tonight or tomorrow morning, too.

27
Jan 04

Even More Ambushed By Unexpected Emotion #???

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Even More Ambushed By Unexpected Emotion #???: I didn’t listen to the Buffy musical that much since I wrote this, and I was only relistening for actual real work reasons. A lot more of it than I would have predicted snagged at something inside – but the full-on ooh-look-out wet-cheek moment was Tara’s half-smothered single line in the main ensemble number Walk Through the Fire: “Everything is turning out so dark…”