New York London Paris Munich

Apr 04

The Wilkinsons

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The Wilkinsons-LA

Its about a girl whose boy has gone to Los Angeles,
with Prada stores and electric cars, and about the
worries that correspond to that move–namely “I don’t want to
lose you to LA.

But the thing is is not really about LA. Its about
not wanting to lost country values–of love, fiedilty,
patrotism,and vehicles that run on gasoline. She does not
want to lose the All American foot ball hero to a sissified
eunuch who cares more about hair products then anything else.

Maybe its something else to, maybe its something more meta. Think
of it as losing country music to LA, from the roughhewn Nashville
to the slick and over produced sheen of studio productions.

There has been a move of these songs about Nashville selling out, and they have
moved from the outside in. It started with the outlaw alt insurgents, Robbie Fulks
singing Fuck This Town, Hank III singing Dick in Dixie and Cunt in Country,
then slowly inward, the worn out George Strait remaking his career with Murder on
Music Row, and then in Canada at least Chris Cummings They’re Making Singers
out of Cowboy Hats—Fulks and Hank had banjos, mandolins, it was honly tonk
at its most pure, George Strait still had steel guitars. Chris Cummings
dropped most of the musical signifers, but wasn’t nearly as plastic
as Shania Twains Def Lepperd Light.

What’s interesting is this song is the most pop, the most jangly, the least country
musically i have heard. Its a family band, and that doesn’t really happen
anywhere else anymore and it cares about the issues of persevation, so
the code is country and the theme is country…which means the desire to return to
a non fallen state has become so ubqituoius that the words don’t need to
be said.

Apr 04

Help Me Out!

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If anyone (ideally anyone who I see fairly regularly) has a copy of George Melly’s Revolt Into Style I could borrow, I would be very grateful. I would take very good care of it! It seems to be out of print at the moment and the asking price on Amazon is a horrid £25! Leads on cheaper copies also appreciated. Thanks!

(UPDATE: Thanks to an extremely generous reader this is on its way to being sorted out! I wuv the Interweb.)

Viktor Lazlo — ‘Breathless’ (aka PopNose 12)

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Having moved to Belgium to study and model, the French femme fatale Sonia Dronier was discovered by Francis Depryck, the producer who had made Plastic Bertrand. She re-invented herself as Viktor Lazlo stepping out of Casablanca. In many ways she resembles Sade: not only does she have the same non-threatening sexuality, she makes lounge/jazzy music seem a good thing. I remember seeing her present the Eurovision Song contest — courtesy of Sandra Kim winning the year before – and I was just enthralled. The 80s hit ‘Breathless’ – a brilliant song that should not only be remixed by Wiley (see comments) but begs for a horrendous muzak version – was written by Sonia Dronier and Philippe Allaert, who went on to form Vaya con Dios. The last thing that was heard of Viktor Lazlo on full CD format is the Sly & Robbie produced Verso, if you find it send me a copy! :-)

Dirrrty Pop

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Dirrrty Pop: Another pop blog, if you like “Talent In A Previous Life” or “Enthusiastic But Mediocre” you should look this one up too. I really should give my links sidebar a good kicking, I should also categorise them a bit more perhaps since there are several different ‘blogospheres’ colliding and a bit of guidance would be no bad thing.

Oh, speaking of the sidebar, a little way down it you can now find a box marked “Recently On Freaky Trigger” which is a chronological update of everything new on any of the FT blogs, including the ones you probably don’t read. This useful thinglet comes c/o Alan and his RSS magic and will soon appear on all the blogs, except Popular.

Apr 04

Thank Me For The Music

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Thank Me For The Music: new MP3 blog! Very pop! Lead track currently is the stupendous “Never Felt As Good” by Belvedere Kane. If everyone goes there and hears it maybe I can play it at the next FT night and people will know what it is and actually dance – go on, make an old man’s dream come true…

Eamon’s on the radio!

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Eamon’s on the radio! Good old Eamon with his novelty swearing. Of course it’s the ‘radio edit’, which reduces Eamon’s foul mouth to an impotent stutter – but it does make me think of how the technology of swear-removal has had to change (and fast!) over recent years as the amount of bad language has spiralled upwards. There seem to be four main ways for getting round the problem:

1/ Bleeping – almost never used any more, I think it would have a kind of retro charm to it now to be honest. Its heir is the dead-air solution: just remove the word from the vocal track. This never sounds good, it totally disrupts the rhythm of the song and in some cases you can’t even tell there’s meant to be a word there. Eminem radio edits are often rotten for this reason.

2/ Putting in different words – effective if a bit lame (key text here: There Is No Swearing In “I Swear” By All-4-One). The problem is you need to get the act in to re-record – OR DO YOU? Case in point, Pink’s classically rubbish radio edit of “Get The Party Started”, which replaces the word “ass” with a shitly-spliced “Benz” from two lines back in the song to baffling effect.

3/ Putting in funny noises – as used on “Work It” by Missy; in fact I think only Missy does it. This is GREAT – only problem is it’s a lot of work. The elephant noise on “Work It” is so much better and funnier than a word would be (actually IS there even a ‘dirty’ edit of this song? My point stands though – USE NOISES!)

4/ Almost swearing – Eamon’s tune may look like it’s using dead-air but this isn’t the case – what he’s actually doing is saying “f’ck” and “shh’t”, in a sort of PRML SCRM style but very quietly. This kind of radio edit is pretty contemptuous of the whole notion of radio edits and is becoming more common. The next step is surely just whispering the swears and then the barbarians really will be at the gates.

Better Late Than Never

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Better Late Than Never: Stereophonics ex-drummer says they were “a little bland”. Very perceptive of him.

Apr 04

Why Doesn’t Sean Paul Release More Singles?

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Why Doesn’t Sean Paul Release More Singles?

One of the many scenarios thrown out by MP3 optimists (within and without the record companies) is a future in which artists drip-feed their work to the public, putting new tracks up for sale and download pretty much as they’re completed. Something like this already happens in dancehall, of course.* Despite being a massive international artist, Sean Paul keeps doing new tracks over recent riddims. Even someone as dilettante-ish as me when it comes to Jamaican stuff has heard at least two non-album pearls by him (“Head Fi Toe” and “Bounce It Right There”) and I’m sure there are a few more floating around. It’s good for listeners and good for Sean P too – keeps him up to date. Could it be good for the record companies as well?

Dancehall artists surely provide excellent test cases for the drip-feed model. It’s how they’re used to working; they’re recording the tracks anyway; why not use them to move away from total reliance on the album format and start trying to shift new tracks quickly? Of course the unit profit is much higher on an album than on a single but it’s not as if these tracks are likely to end up on the next Sean Paul album anyway. For artists with shorter commercial lifespans (most pop acts, for instance), track-at-a-time release schedules make even more sense. Currently a pop group has three albums at most in them before the furore dies down – a three year window of opportunity for their record company. Why not make the most of those three years by planning thirty-six smaller sales points not three larger ones?

I’m not saying this because I want the record labels to make lots of money: I’m saying it because I think it would be good for pop. I think we’ve reached a stage where pop-cultural info transmits so fast, and where the desire for novelty is so great, and the micro-evolutions in sounds and styles so rapid, that the album format is actually holding creativity back.

*Hip-hop too via mixtapes, but that’s a slightly different set-up.


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PopNose12 (1.5M) Today’s PopNose is unique in that I’ve not actually even heard it! It was picked by Nathalie and then prepared by me. The one slight drawback is that if I’ve got a shonky file I won’t know about it. Meanwhile, SHOWER IT WITH COMMENTS! (Now revealed – scroll up for details!)

Meanwhile here is the reveal for PopNose10.

(Oh, also, HELLO FLUXBLOG READERS (again!). If you’re coming here because of that tempting asterisk next to NYLPM on the sidebar and want MP3s – here they are. We put up 3 or 4 a week, zipped and anonymised under the name ‘PopNose’. We then reveal them after a few days and take the file down. If you know what the track is, please don’t reveal it early in the comments box!)

An interview with me

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An interview with me about blogging. It’s a bit dry and grumpy because I did it in a rush at the end of work. There are interviews with other people too, all of whom write in Swedish: BIG UP THE SWEDISH BLOGOSPHERE! And of course the week after I say pffft, blogs aren’t much good for lengthy analysis Mark S posts his great Treasure Island stuff on this very site (the Brown Wedge if you haven’t read it yet). Shows how much I know.

On a vaguely related topic, a qn for regular readers – would you prefer it if FT was available in a more integrated format, i.e. if all the various blogs were ‘bundled together’ so to speak?