Posts from 7th May 2000

May 00


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Sabattleco: music blogs? They’re old hat, man. Sabattleco (can’t figure out the title, no matter) is a music journal and it’s great.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: the very excellent, very indie western homes takes on Sergeant Pepper and OK Computer on the same day! Waaah! The struggle to say something new about Pepper’s is an unwinnable one, though wh’s position is pretty similar to mine, minus the metamusical gripery.

And if any of the readers who actually know me can lend me a copy of OK Computer for review in next month’s issue, I’d be very grateful.

Songwriting of Merritt–and Distinction:

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Songwriting of Merritt–and Distinction: a Washington Post feature on Stephin Merritt, and as good an opportunity as any to mention that 69 Love Songs, one of the grandest records ever made, is finally getting a UK release on indie label Circus. If you haven’t heard it, you must.

Rock ‘n’ Rape

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Rock ‘n’ Rape: an Utne Reader writer with a quick overview of rock’s ‘new misogyny’, post-Woodstock ’99. Courtney Love has probably the most interesting things to say. Does liking Eminem and not liking Sarah MacLachlan make me a misogynist? Well, no, or at least I don’t think so, and if it does then so be it. But on the other hand the general trend of popcrits (me included) to just shrug off the not-even-all-that-underlying messages of this stuff is a bit…well, easy.

Dancing About Architecture

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Dancing About Architecture focusses on Lester Bangs, who was a famous rock critic, who is dead, who has had a biography written about him. Cue much flouncing and muttering about the parlous state of the rockcrit art (not from DAA, to their credit, though I’m not too sure Bangs would have liked Liz Phair). Bangs’ writing style is generally imitated now, his fiery and contradictory tastes sadly less so. (He’s written up as a kind of punk Godfather, but he spotted that Kraftwerk were important ten years before anyone else did, for just one example.)

DAA also review the new Lou Reed album, with much approving comment about how Lou is ‘raging against the dying of the light’, surely the #1 overused metaphor about ageing artists (sorry DAA!). I’m all for artists growing old disgracefully, but Dylan Thomas didn’t even get old, and all this raging stuff just smacks of youngsters projecting onto oldsters – where are the rock stars who can write about age with the bitter, curmudgeonly grace of, say, Larkin?

The Problem With Music

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The Problem With Music: Josh sent me (why me specifically, apart from that I’m a major label pimp and all?) to this Steve Albini rant, which appeared in slightly different form in an APA I’m in, several years ago. Indeed, lots of the APA actually believed Steve had joined. It’s worth reading – anything Albini writes is worth reading, his reviews/reminiscences of the various bands he’s worked with being particularly hilarious.

Actually I was thinking of this very article even before Josh and Doug reminded me of it, because of the Wolfie review Josh blogged, which left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand I sympathised with the Pitchfork guy’s frustrations at bandmembers’ sending him inane criticisms of his original criticism. But on the other hand I found his ‘constructive’ commentary at the end of the review prescriptive and unhelpful (and it was the “warm” bits that put me in mind of Albini’s rantings). I think a critic’s job is not to be constructive, at least not like this. I’m not entirely sure what a critic’s job is sometimes, mind you…which I think is one of the reason’s I’ve never tried to get paid for doing it.