Thursday, December 31, 2009

Despite my cynicism here towards the endless reviews of the 'noughties' that have abounded this month, as the decade draws close I've contributed my own nomination in Pennyblackmusic's albums of the decade list by writers (scroll down to see my nomination, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven, album cover above).
That album for me has remained the real soundtrack to a decade undoubtedly defined by 9/11 and everything that followed as a result, far more than the empty posturings of many of the skinny jeans brigade and their fashion spreads. Listening to that incredible album now, nearly ten years after its release, it's as if GB!YE somehow knew in advance just what a turbulent and tense decade the noughties would be, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the anti-capitalist/IMF demonstrations, impending fear of global warming, Al-Qaeda, etc. But with it's dystopian ghostly urban noises and dread-filled samples of preachers/disaffected down-and-outs filling up the spaces inbetween the band at full throttle, what's also interesting is how, in places, the album can even sound like much inspiring electronica, from Burial (something I expanded briefly on in this thread) to Amon Tobin to Fennesz.
Indeed, this is what have always made Godspeed stand out among the likes of Explosions In The Sky and - a horrible label - many other 'post-rock' acts, who started off sounding exciting (listen to EITS' first album) but who, with their latest material, have sounded like they are beginning to regurgitate what is essentially the same predictable dynamics (this doesn't include the likes of Cul de Sac, I might add, who never followed the quiet-LOUD-quiet pattern as many of these bands have). GB!YE - along with other related luminaries of the Montreal post-rock scene such as Set Fire To Flames, Hrsta, Esmerine etc. - have been constantly innovative and unique.

I'll skip books, films, etc. and present just one other nomination - for the category of Musical Villain Of The Decade award...and there can only be one man. And no, it's not Simon Cowell.

Happy NYE, and here's to a new decade.
So sad about Jack Rose, and now Vic Chesnutt and Rowland S.Howard of The Birthday Party too...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In case you're feeling the winter chill combined with the stress of work deadlines a bit too much...I recommend you read the reply comments to this Sarah Palin 'article' on the Copenhagen summit in The Guardian. You will not be dissapointed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Recluse Christmas special

This Saturday, 5th December, from 5pm, £5 entry (that's a lot of fives). At it's usual home of The Flea Pit on Columbia Road in east acts include Hybernation, Plus Plus, Skarabee, Same Actor & Isnaj Dui, Viv, visuals and DJs, and more... I

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I got to meet an ex-member of The Fall recently for the first time, which makes me want to read this book even more than before now (said person - who will remain unnamed - was in the 'halcyon' period of the early 80s line-up). There are apparently a grand total of 43 former members of The Fall (though that figure could now be higher, of course), which means that the band just pips The Brian Jonestown Massacre (40 former members, if my memory serves me). Napalm Death may have come close, but are disqualified anyway by dint of the fact that they now have no members left at all from their original line-up.
Doubtless there are some brilliant stories told in that book about life on the road with Mark E. Smith. My favourite anecdote that I've heard is that when The Fall appeared on Later on Jools Holland, they made Holland sign a contract stipulating that he couldn't play boogie-woogie piano with them (for those reading this from outside the U.K., it's a late-night music programme where the presenter annoyingly feels the need to play keyboards with every band at the start of the programme). Amazingly enough, he complied. Now that is a band with class.