After no sleep for five days, I gorged on sleepytime, sleepynights until I became comatose. I had a dream that I was a music reviewer for a prominent magazine and I had thick rimmed glasses and I drank complicated coffees and had a bike and rode the bike and gave out to traffic and stopped occasionally to appreciate the design, the DESIGN and went to a place and ate really small food and then came back to the office and put my satchel down and stared at the pool table and decided NO and went to the fridge, got an ironic beer and put my B&O headphones on and really liked this new album but couldn’t give it a decent rating, because ratings were just stupid things that Kerrang or the like did and I was cool, look at the step in my hair, I didn’t even like fixies, I preferred retarded huge steel frame bikes from the fucking 1920s, and when my review didn’t even get published, I was like whatevs, because I’m just too fucking lazy to say Whatever. I woke up and decided someone’s gonna die tonight.
Anyway, most classic bands and classic albums originally received lukewarm reviews. If you go back and check out the NME or Melody Maker or Hot Press (Not Sounds, Sounds was great) from the late 80s you’ll be surprised by the now classic albums that were deemed just alright. I will never sleep until they all are mashed.
So, here’s more music thingys that tickled my pits last year (again, for whose benefit?).
See, apart from their pervy president, their inner city disenfranchisement, the rise of the far right in the hearts of the electorate, the national embarrassment of their part in the second world war, their reliance on poor Daniel Auteuil to play a part in every single french movie in existence, their shocking behaviour at the 2010 World Cup, their part in the formation of laissez-faire economics, their waiters, their Gerard Depardieu pissing, their unbelievable inability to finish the job in Irlanda against the British in 1798 and their Johnny Halliday and their fucking bourgeoise, the French are pretty cool.
A perfect example of this is the cool boys of Versailles band Phoenix. Stretch first encountered this lot on the Lost in Translation soundtrack and I thought…ehh, yeah, not bad. The monstrous Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix delivered such classics as “Lisztomania” and “1901.” They’re not the kind of band that I like, but the overwhelming optimistic feeling in their music coupled with excellent musicianship and an ability to drift into cool electronica when they feel cool enough makes them really fucking annoying but likeable as well. Also, their fucking skinny jeans, slouchy but probably expensive silk shirts, their short leather jackets, their singers whiny voice… aw fuck I really probably hate the fuckers. But it kinda drags you in. Bastards.
For Bankrupt, they seemed to have dropped some Hong Kong Fooey acid. The manic “Entertainment” is a frustratingly enjoyable but annoying song and the album just flows from there. It’s a music that throws a myriad of colours out. As their two videos to date show, they are the kind of band who like things to feel like a perfume ad. Maybe it’s a Parisienne thing, I dunno, but Jesus, models, motorbikes, Japanese people: It all feels like a travelogue for the street on which they live, rehearse and lounge. M83’s “Midnight City,” is the type of song that makes advertising people leave damp patches in their sleek grey suits, and I think that “Entertainment” also might be soon used to sell German cars, expensive after shave and even fucking Tetra Delta.
Still, a very nice album. Although I do feel that if I watched them at a festival, I might grit my teeth as really happy fans with day-glo faces and no sense of self-loathing would screech out of tune to the choruses of their songs with fat Waterford accents. Jay-sus.
Boards of Canada:Tomorrow’s Harvest
I wrote a piece about this album a while ago which more or less summed up how I felt about it. Click on “Screeching for the dead” which is really fucking long. Here’s a shortened version.
Not as good as Music has the right to Children, better than The Campfire Headphase, sort of the same as Geogaddi, not as good as Twoism. Better than a lot out there.
Actually the above article doesn’t give any of these opinions. The best thing to say about Boards of Canada is that they manage to remain aloof and relevant. No PR, rare public appearances, no ego, yet a loyal and pretty obsessive fan base, bordering on the weird. The music is cult-like and there are grounds that the boys could easily ask their fans to kill themselves and some WOULD die. Justin Bieber could do the same thing, but proportionally, BOC would win out. Although Burial is now running a close second for this ideology. So in terms of potential suicides on per capita basis, I reckon Boards of Canada first, closely followed by Burial and Bieber and then Lady Gaga a distant fourth. However, listening to Robin Thicke might distort this league table and it’s possible said suicides would be changed to actual murder once the charge sheet comes in. What a bastard!
My Bloody Valentine: MBV
In terms of time, My Bloody Valentine were on par with the changing of popes for releasing music. Dr Funkenstein, Pope Franco has messed with this by becoming a pope who likes Gays and doesn’t like the Popemobile. Stretch wonders what Franco thought as a boy watching JP2 hairing around in that converted ice cream truck all cool like. A young Franco might have though it pretty lame and decided that it would be far cooler to wander around in a cheap piece of shit car, with no bullet-proof glass. He got rid of all the gold and appears to treat the Vatican like his personal squat. Fervent religious believers might actually think he is the devil incarnate, which may be true, as the time of the hipster Pope is upon us. What was that phrase?
“The biggest trick the devil ever played was to convince the world he didn’t exist… and to increase the popularity of 1984 Renault 4 hatchbacks.” I think that was the quote.
Anyways, when known agoraphobic Kevin Shields left the studio after the final mix of MBV, everybody got real excited. They released the album themselves one Saturday night via the Interweb box and expectant fans lost their shit and journalists immediately tried to figure out where in their top fives of the year it would go.
The problem they all had been that the phrase du jour “companion piece to Loveless” stopped this from being whispered as a truly classic album. Which it’s not. Since Loveless, so many artists have ripped off the My Bloody Valentine sound and have made fairly successful careers themselves (M83, Smashing Pumpkins, even U2’s Achtung Baby). So, that sound is not as new as it was back then.
It’s a great album though. I listened to it a few times when it came out. Then left it a few months and went back. It became more relevant then. A true slice of indie that has been missing for years. Less beardy than its contemporaries and with a bat shit nuts leader that only rivals the Pixies for odd frontmen.
Their mind-pitch bending music may not suit a pregnant woman in the heights of morning sickness, but the psychedelic sludge that starts off MBV brings you right back to the early nineties. The tremelo arm is used more here than 1980s metal lead guitarists would and creates a warm sound. Even though “She found now” can’t compare to “Only Shallow” as an opener, it acts as a re-introduction to the band. Or, the “what the fuck did you expect?” song. From then the driving guitars kick in and Shields and Butcher’s inaudible lyrics layer over you and the mind bending begins and you get stuck in it. A beautiful album with unexpectedly cool guitar parts and a haunting feel that makes you forget that half these peops come from Irlanda. When you see posters in Irlanda of Delorentos, Kodaline and the utter dumbfuck that is Bressie, you can’t help feel Irlanda music has gone in the wrong direction these past years. The only solace is that Shields is holding the beacon for something different and special.
The standout track for me is “In another way” a joyous track with a beat laden guitar sound and tribal drums that brings memories of “Soon.” For this song alone, the album is a little bit of a classic. Just a little.
Mudhoney: Vanishing Point
Again and again AND again… They’re back, Mudhoney with Mark Arm, a manic leader who looks like the result if you put Tom Petty in a washing machine and left him on for a long spin.
When the whole grrrrunge thing started, it was easy to get carried away with it. I was about 15 and that truly is the time to get carried away with things. With a face with poppable pustules and an insatiable interest in music, cigarettes, soapbar, christmas lights, and growing my hair even greasier, the grunge thing was the next logical step.
BUT, it didn’t actually feel like a movement, because a lot of the bands supposedly involved didn’t actually sound similar. Recently, Mark Arm had a crack at bands who copied the sound at the time, and insists that Grunge was just the sound they called the sounds coming from their guitars. Grunge killed grunge, not that Cobain man. All those bands got signed, they came, they went, but Mudhoney remained and just got on with it.
And they’re still here. There is something very comforting about growing old with a band, whose idea of changing up is adding an odd horn here and there. So, Vanishing Point came out, an extremely tight album with Mudhoney at their mostest. Arm throws every possible shape you can think of, from the blistering “Chardonnay,” reminiscent of their early work, to channeling Iggy in “What to do with the Neutral” and the brilliant “The Final Course.”
Sometimes it’s good that things don’t change much. I still remember in my teens driving home with Ol Papa Stretch and Ol Mama Stretch after collecting my Auntie, a follower of Jesus, in Nun’s clothing. I forced them all to listen to Every Good Boy deserves Fudge. They all hated it so much that the car crashed into an embankment, and we were left all dazed and the stereo couldn’t be turned off or down. A GOP (Irish policia) leaned in the window and demanded to know if any of us had been smoking the aul cannabis. We all shrugged, due to concussion as Mark Arm was screaming “HEY, HEY, HEY, HEY, HEY, HEY…..Whoooo you drivin now?” The Gop became very angry and melted into some sort of liquid metal right in front of us and took the visage of the follower of Jesus in Nun’s clothing that was my Aunt. He screamed like the Nazgul and took off through Crumblin on a stolen motorbike after a young boy and a gay weightlifter. Shit, maybe that was a movie. Ha, I was bleedin baked beans! Wha? (Sorry)
The singer from this band is an asshole. Okay, let me explain. He knows he’s an asshole. A funky asshole. Danny Glover knows what I’m mean, right Danny?
“Oh yeah baby.”
Anyways, Nic Offer is the guy and at a gig, due to his short shorts, you are never more that about five to ten feet away from his penis. And the way the man dances, the penis might reach you first. He looks like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show if his make-up was stolen and he was forced on to the bread line.
At Electric Picnic (not THE PICNIC) a few years back, they completely owned the place and Offer was an obnoxious asshole, in fact he was a genius at being an asshole. I suppose to describe !!!, you could describe them as a post-punk, dancey, funky acid band (with a fucking asshole for a singer). To me they are the antidote to the criminally overrated LCD Soundsystem. On a festival poster, they’ll always be down the list somewhere but are unmissable. A friend who doesn’t dance found himself dancing to these guys.
So THR!!!ER came out last year and served up a cocktail of damn cool funky shots into your eyeballs. The great guitar breaks in “Except Death,” the fantastic closer “Station (Meet me at the)” and the pisstake “Californiyeah,”complaining about a place where the bars close before two. Not much music makes me want to dance these days, but privately in my small bathroom I sometimes throw shapes listening to !!! and freak out because they make you freak out. It’s probably their most coherent (from beginning to end) album and definitely was one of the highlights of that year that this is all about.
Oddly, their albums always get lukewarm reviews by reviewers like the one I dreamt about many words ago at the beginning of this mess. I don’t get it, they are brilliant musicians who know how to make a party sound and use a Crybaby like it was intended. Music reviewers should fuck off, including me. Fuck Off!!
If you missed the part one and are already bored with this one, then go to that one by clicking here: