Posts from 22nd May 2000

22
May 00

Napster Bombs

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Napster Bombs: that said, who needs lots of links when you have one as good as this! Hilarious. Thanks to Chris.

Minimal updates of NYLPM today because all my energies have been spent on the Bad-Karma-fest that is

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Minimal updates of NYLPM today because all my energies have been spent on the Bad-Karma-fest that is I Hate Music. Not that I write any of it, you understand, but editing Tanya’s ravings for libellous material is a time-consuming process. Anyway, there’s something new on the main site, too, the seventh instalment of Fred Solinger’s Soul Decade.

SPACEMEN, SPIRITUALIZED, SPECTRUM

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SPACEMEN, SPIRITUALIZED, SPECTRUM

Let me start off by saying that Spacemen 3 made some good music: whether elemental, fuzzed-up and wasted, or minimal, pretty and wasted, their drugnoise tended towards the definitely cool. Except then they had to sing stuff over it.

If there was ever proof that chemicals kill braincells, Spacemen 3’s lyrics are it. They’re not even laughable, they’re just an endless tedious grind of rockmyth nonsense. Stuck in expensive Rugby houses with little to do but play records and take drugs, they wrote songs about playing records and taking drugs. Spacemen 3 were entertaining, but meant fuck all, a stubborner Mary Chain without the pop sense. Their own songs were dreary pharmacopias, their cover songs rambling dope epics: never has the adage “Take, don’t talk” been more apt.

To give them credit, after a record or two of this stuff both the main Spacemen felt the need to move on. Sonic Boom chose politics, creating “Revolution”, surely one of the most excruciating indie records ever: atop savage noise his puny voice called the kids to rise up, trying to sound enraged but mostly just sounding piqued, as if his pocket money had been taken away or he’d been stopped from swearing in the queue for school lunch. Jason Spaceman got religion, meanwhile, or at least some vague spirituality he’d picked up from a couple of old gospel records, leading to an endless series of songs which made very explicit the connection between “Lord” and “bored”.

But at least you had the music: once Spacemen 3 split, it became a bit harder to make that claim. Jason’s Spiritualized outfit made slow, repetitive Radox music which hit formula status a minute into every song (sometimes you got a ‘loud bit’ too), then ended up writing vast windy songs called things like “Medication” and “Broken Heart”. which Jason would spend his infrequent interviews claiming were not about drugs or breaking up. Sonic Boom, meanwhile, formed Spectrum and put out a few echoey cover-versions. He soon settled down to a career of making imaginary tribute records to his favourite electronic pioneers, which proved exactly as pointless as me writing this piece on Univac would be. On the mercifully few occasions he does write lyrics, they tend to be about how alienated from society he is. Plus ca fuckin’ change

Everything But The Girl – Revival

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“And I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain”.

As if anything could be more irrelevant than a gruesome two-some of love-birds from the University of Hull troubling us with their weedy acoustic sweet-nothings, surely the re-invented EBTG, with souped-up Ibiza synths/stringz ‘n’ drumz, is it.

Severe knuckle-wraps for the members of Massive Attack who instigated this resurrection and those who found it in anyway appropriate or acceptable. They looked back at the twee boater-toting duo in their matching stripy T-shirts, and in some stoned haze saw gold among the detritus of the album Idlewild. Don’t get me started. The music then, but even more, their mid-90s offerings are irredeemably poor, period. “Stepped off the train’blom.. blomm'”. Stop, my ears are bleeding.

But there’s another little problem with EBTG, isn’t there? Tragic Tracey Thorne and Ben Watt were hit by the ugly-stick at an early age. Ben a disconcerting hybrid of Culture Club’s Jon Moss + Matt Bianco’s hat-wearing blokey + Eastenders ‘naughty’ Nick Cotton. While Tracey, where else can I start but a cruel experiment in animal husbandry? Someone put a stop to those farmyard DNA labs, it’s not kind.

The follow-up to the stupendously bland “Missing” was called “Walking Wounded”, which could have been rather prophetic, had they continued their aural assault on me. They have since made themselves scarce, beyond Ben (t)Watt’s eminently avoidable Dee-Jaying slots. Good riddance.

BOB DYLAN – ALL OF IT!

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Bob Dylan sucks. Period. Anything else I write after this would be superfluous, but such is my hatred for him that I’ll continue.

Bob Dylan is a monstrous man. He has a face that gives nightmares to small children. That he continues to live is a source of constant distress to me. The fact that I am forced to trudge the same earth as him makes me contemplate suicide on more than a daily basis. You’d think all of this was just personal, but it doesn’t end there. Bob Dylan is a “musician,” too. And he’s awful.

He wouldn’t know a melody if one bit him in the ass, waited for him to turn around, and announced, “Hi, I’m a melody!” His tunes are consistently dull and plodding.

And that voice! Christ! Someone put it out of its misery! If I was walking on the street, and I heard someone singing that sounded like Bob Dylan, I’d punch him in the face. He singlehandedly made it safe for any Joe Blow with an acoustic guitar and a reedy voice to, not only get a record contract, but to sell millions of records! Even with all of this progeny, there’s no one that even remotely sounds as bad as him. He makes Leonard Cohen sound like Sinatra; Lou Reed like Bing Crosby!

Supposedly, he’s a “poet.” This may very well be true, but you know what? Longfellow was a poet, but we haven’t been subjected to his Greatest Hits, now have we? Does Dylan honestly think his “poetry” is that much better than Longfellow’s that he needs to set it to musical accompaniment? Apparently, yes, the arrogant fuck. As the old argument goes, if I want poetry, I’ll go read some sonnets.

Lastly, let’s not forget that Dylan bred, and he had a son named Jakob. Jakob fronts a band called the Wallflowers. You know how, earlier, I said no one sounded as bad as Dylan? Well, someone does…and it’s his very own SON! GOD! I hate Dylan! Look at all he’s wrought! And for what? “Like A Rolling Goddamn Stone”? Fuck that!

Bob Dylan is another one of the reasons why I hate music.

Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica: Pitchfork Review

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Modest Mouse: The Moon & Antarctica: Pitchfork Review: two things come out of this review. 1) Pitchfork will lay down for any album with “thick” production values. 2) Brent DiCrescenzo is a much worse writer dealing with a record that he loves than he is dealing with one he hates or is indifferent to. That’s not a bad thing – I think that’s true of any music writer. It is, basically, damn hard to write a rave review: I’m sitting right now trying to think of words for the UK release of 69 Love Songs and I’m junking and redrafting stuff all the time.

Why’s it more difficult? Because when you write a rave you are laying yourself and your tastes on the line so much, for one thing, but also because a rave review is written with the express aim of actually getting your readers out to buy the record. I ought to finish reading the 9.8 Pitchfork review with a burning desire to hear The Moon And Antarctica. I don’t have any such desire – for that reason alone, it’s a bad review.

(All of this has no bearing on MM, who I’ve heard one track by, which I didn’t dislike (though it left me pretty cold). The contant references to OK Computer in the review make me uncomfortable, though, and I had my fingers and wallet burned by the execrable Grandaddy album recently, which left me deeply suspicious of Important Indie Rock.)

LAURIE ANDERSON –

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LAURIE ANDERSON – “O Superman”

Certain cricket commentators will have you believe that bowling is all about line and length. They would be wrong of course, these particular gentlemen being of a brusque and Yorkshire bent, apparently keen on self promotion and wife beating. Whilst they may be wrong about the art of bowling, if they changed their tack to the humble pop single they would have a better point. Y’see the best singles will have some fantastic lines and will not be too long. Which brings us nicely to Laurie Anderson and her art-pop classic O Superman.

It is eight minutes five seconds long. The jukebox nary ten yards away from my office is currently playing slow, and their freshly minted copy of this dissection of the late seventies dislocation of the American family rocks in at well over ten minutes. Of course I use the phrase “rocks in” advisedly. Whilst songs need not rock to be any good, there is the nagging suspicion that using a loop of the human voice as your main percussive instrument really takes us out of the area marked pop, and in to the zone labelled arse. Or “ah – ah -ah -ah – arse”.

All that said, there is this asymptotic curve of line and length. The longer a single, the better its lyrics must be to redeem it. It O Superman had been one minute long its lyrics would not redeem it. Of course Ms Anderson would say that the track was never meant as a single in the first place – much like Werner Von Braun did not mean his intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry destructive payloads. You dealt it Laurie, we smelt it. So what if it was meant to be a piece of performance art? You did not give the royalties back when Mike Read decided to turn it into the “haunting original” single I know and hate.

How Laurie and Lou Reed laugh now about their respective forays into the world of pop. How Lou sits there giggling away at the BBC’s misappropriation of Perfect Day. How Laurie smirks when she thinks of all the deluded punters turning up to her re-invention of Moby Dick using a clapped out old Fairlight and her making raspberry noises down a length of cardboard tubing. Do you think they ever sit there in their New York loft, eating their Ricotta on Rye sarnies and get the urge to put on O Superman? Nope, they probably put on Magic And Loss instead. Which as a quality indicator goes, will show you that O Superman is just not cricket.

THE STARLAND VOCAL BAND –

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THE STARLAND VOCAL BAND – “Afternoon Delight”

When I was a kid, I didn’t need to be told that “Hotel California” was about something epically dreadful, even if I thought it the hotel was supposed to be haunted by actual Universal Classic-style monsters. By contrast, the Starland Vocal Band’s country-lite vision of sex was so antiseptic that for the longest time, I thought “Afternoon Delight” referred to nothing more naughty than a dessert made with Jell-O and Cool Whip whipped topping. If you need to hate them even more, remember that David Letterman got his start on nationwide TV thanks to their short-lived series.