Thursday, May 31, 2007
This looks like something that could have been bestowed on the world by Beezlebub himself. If you'll pardon the expression, John Lennon must be turning in his grave. The endless obsession with all thing 60's - along with the those dreadful 'Top 500 Albums Ever', as with this one - reaches its nadir with Oasis, Stereophonics, and the creative zenith that is Razorlight redoing the whole of Sgt Pepper, along with (yawn) Kaiser Chiefs, James Morrison...still awake?
Look, I'm sure they do love the album, and so did my granny, but that doesn't mean that I want to hear Kelly Jones warbling away at the title track. This is the kind of thing that punk was supposed to destroy. But then, I suppose it's part of the whole nostalgia trip bestowed on the 60's as the shining epochal decade where the young rocked out and saved the world...er, except maybe they didn't, which is why this book, of which the image above is taken from, is such a great read - the author is old enough to have actually been there and pours scorn on the 'baby boomer' generation and it's bogus hippy credentials. Remember, these people are now running the world. Or at least they're running the big multinationals, something that's reflected in this article. Of course, you could Blair to that list, but that would be getting personal.
Admittedly, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't appreciate 60's guitar music - from the Stones and Floyd to the more wigged-out likes of Silver Apples, United States of America, Stooges (a mainly 70's band but they started in the 60's), the 13th Floor Elevators, etc. Moreover, a lot of the music I like owes it's debt to the 60's, not to mention the iconography of films like 2001 and stylish thrillers like Blow-Up, etc. So why do I hate smug 60's obsessives and their endless whistful obsession with that decade? Perhaps because the 60's has become an industry, and with it the consensus that we'll never see anything as good as it again - even though Simon Reynolds in the book Rip It Up and Start Again posits that the years 1978-84 were actually just as exciting and creative for music as anything in the 60's. Maybe it's just the way that the sixties have become like a sacred cow that you can't critize, and with it the inference that all subsequent generations are apathetic and apolitical (despite something like a million people - including me - going on that march in central London against the war in Iraq).
Anyway, Revolver was always a better album than Sgt Pepper. I mean, how can you top "Tomorrow Never Knows"??
Thursday, May 17, 2007
After the Spitz, another worthwhile cause to sign (though closed by the look of it). Bit harsh, maybe, but I have to say that what annoys me most about the sycophantic fawning over him is the way that he's compared to Baudelaire and Byron, or some other historical poet, as if writing some average indie tunes and being on drugs a lot instantly makes you the genius poet of our generation. Not that I've read Baudelaire or Byron, I might add. Then there's those cynical 'guerrilla gigs' in pubs, which has a strange parallel with Alex Higgins hustling in pool bars for £10 a go. Anyway, they're on Last FM too...speaking of which here's my own page, which is (ahem) rather still-in-progress...
Well, All Tomorrow's Parties was fun once again, and had the added bonus of sunshine rather than a torrential downpour soundtracking Hair Police or 16 Bitch Pile-Up or Ashtray Navigation's (as per the one last December). This time it was The Dirty 3 curating - such a great idea, to have a band curate a festival and choose all the bands. What makes ATP great above the music too is the attention to detail - the ATP TV/whoever's curating TV channel, compiling all their favourite films and general weird music videos. Again I missed the other delights on offer (crazy golf, go- karting, the all-night cinema, the swimming-pool, the rodeo nonsense, etc.) Once again ATP chose to put on a ridiculously OTT film on Sunday night on the TV after the bands, when you're generally in a less than coherent state; the December fest had an excruciating, explicit Catherine Brelliat film (her of Romance and A Ma Seur) documenting a confused French teenager; this time, it was an equally grim film (the title escapes me) about the Nazi's invading Belarus in WWII, with images of concentration camp victims, general death and destruction, and a young Belorussian boy venting his anger and so on. It's fair to say that laughs were thin on the ground. In fact, it made any of Ingmar Bergman's miesterworks come across like a rom-com in comparison. Perhaps they'll show The Passion of the Christ at the one this weekend, which will doubtless get the party in the Crazy Horse stage going.
A Silver Mount Zion's stunning set on Sunday was the highlight of the festival, a magnificent evocation of exactly how 'post-rock' - whatever that means these days - should be done, with it's seamless mix of violin drones, chamber rock and pummeling all-out attack, Efrim Munuck's strangled sigh trying to make sense of a post-9/11 world, framed against the unforgettable outline of birds flying over the tent. ASMZ's deeply profound and moving set, with it's subtle, mournful lyrics and incendiary, climatic music, was the perfect antidote to blandness and corporatization (ironic, given that they were surrounded by Pizza Hut and Burger King, though that's no bad reflection on ATP); shame that they were followed by the dull boogie-woogie of Cat Power.
Other highlights: the hosts The Dirty 3, Grinderman, Low, Spiritualized, Einsturzende Neubauten (on at 1:30 in the morning!), Felix Lajko, Smog, Joanna Newsom, Papa M. Sadly I missed Suicide's Alan Vega but apparently he was a treat - your crazy grandad running around the stage shouting insults at the audience to a half-genius/half-rubbish techno soundtrack.
First Smallfish Records nearby on Old Street, then Hammersmith Palais (no jokes about School Disco, please), now this...perhaps Ballymore Properties have decided that people making interesting, challenging music is just too daring and dangerous a concept - all this new-fangled arty-farty stuff. I mean, Vibacathedral Orchestra onstage doing a 20-minute drone or whatever is obviously seriously dangerous and must be curtailed for the good of society and all that is proper in society. So, come September, the best venue in London (fact!) will be no more, and instead we will have...a bistroteque. Because there's obviously not enough of those around, is there? After all, why not stop there and turn the whole of east London into one big fucking chain of Starbucks? Still, there's always Islington Academy...which reminds me of a certain post on this blog, ahem...