The Greek Alphabet Of Piss-Poor Pop

Nov 03

The Greek Alphabet of Piss-poor Pop: Introduction

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I notice elsewhere, in my absence, some young scamp over on NYLPM has started a concept piece, some say think piece entitled the Alphabet Of Pop. Now no-one knows more than myself the beauty of lists, as my Week Of Wank and Breakfast Of Banality proves. Its cheap easy journalism and also gives one a built in deadline which battles stronger than the average slagging of Pavement with the Bombay Sapphire. So I have decided to counter such nonsense


α is for…Alphaville

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Ah, German Pop. One of those implied oxymorons. And if there were ever a band of oxymorons, it would be Alphaville. Racism is an ugly label, but surely Big In Japan is almost as explicit as Siouxie and The Banshee’s “A race of people short in size” in Hong Kong Garden. Big In Japan further slurs the Japanese nation by suggesting that it is basically just a giant pick up joint for slumming western sexual inadequates who can pick up a geisha for a few Yen. I sure there are musicians who live in Japan right now who would virulently disagree with this viewpoint.

If the Greeks had known their alphabet would have caused this kind of trouble, I daresay they would not have even started. If they had also known that Alphaville had recorded a song called Big Yello Sun (Concrete Soundtraxx For An Imaginary Film) they probably would have given up the ghost on the whole civilization mularkey and as such Europe would be ruled by the older civilizations of Japan and China. And who would be big then?

β is for…The Beta Band

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Beta Band Members One: I’ve written this really morose dull song.
Beta Band Member Two: I know why don’t we make it even worse by playing the worst theme tune to the worst science fiction film ever over it.
Beta Band Member Three: Ace. Ginchy. I’ve got an idea. How about Writing a song about how we all met and made our triumphant first album.
Beta Band Member Four: Super. Let’s do it in five different styles, none of which we are adept at.
Beta Band Member Five: Hey, have you heard this sample Daydream in Blue.
Beta Band Member Six: Yeah, it sounds really good in all the other songs that use it.
Beta Band Member Seven: Why don’t we do a rubbish song with it in then.
Beta Band Member Eight: Ace. How many members of the Beta Band are there?
Beta Band Member Nine: In theory, as long as you have no musical ability at all, you are in. So nearly Four Billion.

γ is for…Gamma-lan

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When mankind first had the perverse urge to create music he invented instruments with whatever came to hand. Hunters of the veldt made drums out of cowhide, the Tolmec’s made simple reed flutes. And the primitive tribe of Java, after a heavy day of work down the glockenspiel mines gathered together a few half hundred copper kettles, a ton or two of bronze bars hit with buffalo horn and a lot of wheels they found lying around to use as gongs. With such a blatant misuse of their natural resources they really should have died out. Instead they have created a Ganemlan orchestra, a fiendishly complicated musical version of Chinese water torture.

In his book ‘Music of Java’ Jaap Kunst says, “Gamelan is comparable to only two things, moonlight and flowing water.” I can only assume he means wet and it keeps you up into the early hours of the morning with its twee tinkles.

δ is for…the delta blues and Delta Goodrem

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Which the good people of the Guardian Music Magazine pointed out is 100 Years Old today. Or yesterday. Or actually, when you look at the editorial piece, it is 100 years since it was discovered. Who was in the priviliged position of discovering was unclear, since the article was written poorly – as any article writing to valourize something that is inherently rubbish would be. (Note to reader, by dislikeing the blues I am not being racist. I just hate the blues. By celebrating 100 years of its “discovery” the Guardian Music Magazine obviously is, especially when it goes on to get two of the blues finest practioners Robert Plant and Jack WHITE to talk about it).


Who is the current champion of the I Hate Music Prize for pretending to play a piano despite some obvious inability to ever press down on the keyboard.

ε is for…The Epsilon

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What do you mean you have never heard of the Epsilon. You’ve not heard of central Pa’s hottest up-and-coming band. Come on they’ve played Fat Daddies Deb Place twice. Why only last month the managed to attract the attention of someone or other at The Rusty Nail in Ardmore. Don’t tell me you took the title to their legendary set opener ‘Ignore Me’ literally.

Lookee here. The Epsilon. The hottest up-and-coming band in central Pa. You heard it here last. Especially if their lyrics are anything to go by. I like alcohol more than the next man, but if the lyrics to either versions Two 40’s are anything to go by, these chaps will be getting a slap round the chops from any young lady they go on a date with. Sunday or no.


I have my own version of said archive which, when you click on a link a siren goes of and it tells you that IT IS ALL SHITE. Whale song and bleeps and mogadonish loops. Ambient means ignore it, there’s no National Library of Wallpaper is there?

ζ is for…Catherine Zeta Jones

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Who was, until a year ago a fine, bona-fide movie actress. until she became the devil. There I was going to the cinema to see a hard hitting period dramam about murder in the Windy City in the 1920’s. What did I get. I got the bob-hairdoed CZJ belting out ‘The Jazz’. Which isn’t even Jazz (which is a small mercy I should suppose). Chicago was a hit, it even won Oscars, which may mean it will never be safe for me to enter a cinema again for fear of some jumped up chorine warbling songs with no merit outside a storyline, getting in the way of the storyline.

And as for the Cell Block Tango: There is a reason they put these women in prison, and it was not murder. It was music.

Nov 03

η is for…MAN-ETA

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Or Man-Eater, 1982 smash hit for Daryll Hall and John Oates, who when they performed together hit upon the clever band moniker of Hall & Oates. Two men who were not so much a band as finalists in the worst haircut in the world competition. Man-eater comes from the cleverly titled H2O album, and is indeed the most watery kind of eighties rock. Woman hating from the start, examining the lyrics of Man-Eater is a tragic explaination as to what happens when two people with really, really bad hair have money. The only women who are after them are actually after their money. And one can only assume from the bitterness displayed in the song, that at least someone got their Oates. Watch out boys, she’ll chew you up. I’ll spit you out though.

θ is for…THE-TAnsads

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Liverpool. Town of cheeky scousers, free with a joke on their lips and a song in their hearts. I hate the place. It churns out bands with almost US Arms Factory regularity. Wigan on the other hand is more of a Saddam Hussein when it comes to weapons of musical destruction. Not a huge stream of bands coming out of there. Which means in theory I should rather like it. Unfortunately there is one Iraqi Supergun on the horizon, a band so awful that the only publicity they ever got was being on the T-Shirt of a minor character in Brookside.

The Tansads. Folk punk, lest we not forget, a genre which never really took off to any great degree. When New Model Army are the pinacle of your style, ther only way is down. luckily the Tansads plummeted this mine with aplomb and regular changes of their singer. Desperation always kicks in when you replace you original singer with a chick, thus changing all the nuances on their so called classic ‘Shandyland’. Frankly calling an album Shandyland is enough to rattle my cage, drinking shandy is like drinking a single gin and tonic in my book. In The Tansads book, “This Is Pop: The Life And Times Of A Failed Rock Star” Tansads bassist Ed Jones bemoans the bands lack of success. To which i reply, you shouldn’t have been so shit then.

ι is for…the amount of talent not possessed by any member of The Rolling Stones

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For those of you without the gift of a classical education, this Greek Letter is an iota. And it is indeed more talent than that possessed by any member of The Rolling Stones. Including Brian Jones, who at least realised this and did the decent thing. Cheers.