Tag Archives: music

Humdrumification

In 1971, windswept crooner Don MacLean penned a little-known ditty (presumably inspired by the Weitz brothers film of the same) in which he warbled about “the day the music died”. Though MacLean was actually referring to the tragic 1959 plane crash which claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson, the true fate that has befallen music has proven to be far longer, more drawn-out and exponentially more painful.

Not that careering Earthwards in a ball of flame would be a fun way to go, but at least it would be over in a matter of minutes and carries with it a certain poetic panache. Come to think of it, there are few deaths that are more protracted and boring than the one in the throes of which the music industry currently finds itself – death by streaming.

Continue reading Humdrumification

The Grange Hill sausage

The band are on fire.

Not in a Bataclan sense, but they’re tearing through their set like a chainsaw through trifle. The crowd are going batshit and no-one will leave without tinnitus. And you’re in the middle of it all, mainlining life.

From nowhere, a boot is thrust into your eyeline like the Grange Hill sausage. It thrashes about and whips at your eyebrow, ayabastard. By rights you should be furious; there’s no reason for a boot to be up there by your head, nor the ankle poking out of it. You grab it, pull it and drag it over yourself. Sweet Jesus there’s a whole body coming with it, a fat fuck of a man punching the air. He’s shovelled forwards, crushing the pink mohican of the lunatic in front.

It’s brilliant and you’re having the time of your life. But enjoy it while it lasts, because they’re coming for it.

Continue reading The Grange Hill sausage

Imploring clocks

A few weeks ago I was asked if I knew of a decent podcast app my friend could pipe idiots talking bollocks about nothing into her ears through. Pausing for a couple of deep breaths, I turned to the computer and pressed roughly 19 buttons to establish that the best such app out there was something called Pocket Casts. Tens of thousands of users, rave reviews, and not a bug in sight.

She thanked me for my skill at using the internet, all too rare in these days of increasing dependency on the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But there was a problem.

“It’s £1.49! Fuck that!”

Continue reading Imploring clocks

Folktronica shoegaze

I had the pleasure of going to see Caribou recently. The man and his supporting band were perfect. Heavy bass, high vocals and sharp beats; I expected nothing less.

But the crowd was beyond sub-par. Before they even came on the stage, there was a fellow almost blackout drunk behind me and as the show went on I noticed all around how sloppy people were. I was stuck in the middle of a giant vortex of debauchery. During “Sun”, in-between being elbowed multiple times in the head and having a whole pint spilled on my feet, the thought occurred to me: “Why would you pay a lot of money for an experience you’re not even going to remember?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for drinking and having fun, but if you paid for a ticket to the show, then I think it’s OK to assume that you are a fan of Caribou and if you’re a fan, wouldn’t you want to at least enjoy the music? These guys came all the way from Canada to put on this show. No matter how big they are, or how much they’re getting paid, you should fucking respect that.

This is not the first time I’ve dealt with this either. I was fourth row at an Interpol show, and there was a man in front of me blitzed out of his mind blabbering on about some battle gear startup he had invested in. He got so out of hand that security was called to remove him. Mind you, these were not the cheapest of seats.

There’s a time and place for everything. Clubs exist for a reason; pubs exist for a reason. Don’t show up to a folktronica shoegaze concert and drunkenly try to start a mosh pit. Apparently I was one of the squarest people there for sipping on two whole pints throughout the night and dancing without causing bodily harm to others and myself. Afterwards on the way to the cloakroom, I saw a girl fall into the wall multiple times trying to wait in line. I’m pretty certain she wasn’t even sure where she was, let alone which city. I cannot exaggerate enough that at least 70% of the crowd was wasted. I’ve seen more sober people leave The Nest at 3am.

I hate being a judgmental person, so if paying copious amounts of money for an experience you could have replicated for significantly less at some spot in Shoreditch is your thing, than be my guest, but don’t include me in your downward spiral. That’s where I cross the line.The best part of the drunk guy behind me (we’ll call him Man-bun for the purposes of this story because of his stupid hairdo) was that his friends were trying to calm him down – not only was Man-bun ruining my night, but his mates’ as well.

After his 5th or 6th drink, he started calling all of the women around him “cunts”, fell down, and leaned on strangers for support. I wish Man-bun’s story could have ended there, but I had the pleasure of witnessing him vomit outside all of the beer he had managed to ingest and not spill on me. You’re a real champ, Man-bun. I hope you drop £83 on the Field Day weekend tickets and don’t remember a single thing.

Music for airports

The most ambient album in the world, I reckon, has got to be Ambient 1 (Music For Airports) By Brian Eno, and here’s my reasoning.

Firstly, here’s Brian himself, from the album sleeve:

“Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience…I have begun using the term ‘ambient music’. An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. Ambient music is intended to induce calm and a space to think. Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular, it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”

So there you have it, argument number one – if it was Mr Eno himself that invented, and labeled, the term Ambient Music, then it stands to reason that it would most probably be him himself who’d produce the most ambient album in the world…ever, innit?

Yes, it does.

My other, much more convincing argument for this particular album, the first in the genre remember, to be dubbed The Most Ambient Album In The World, is based on the following true story.

A while back I was tuned into that Pandora website, wherein it generated customised music playlists based on my preferences for different bands and music. I was playing my Orb playlist; a nice mix of ambient-type stuff that I’ve found makes a good, unobtrusive background, useful when reading, or writing or just wanting to subtly drown out the noise of shrieking from next door’s TV.

On this occasion a song had been delicately playing away for about 10 minutes, chilling me out nicely, so I looked up to note what this particular interesting/ignorable track was, and saw that it was from Ambient 1 (Music For Airports) by Brian Eno – available, a helpful ad informed me, to buy now from Amazon.

Aye, sounds good that, I thought, I wonder how much Amazon is selling it for? The minimum amount of clicks later and my basket was once again empty, Ambient 1 (Music For Airports) by Brian Eno was collecting air miles, and a hefty carbon footprint in the process, as it winged its way across the sea from the States.

I was looking forward to its arrival until a couple of days later when, searching my CD collection for something suitably ignorable/interesting to play, I noticed that there, already in my fucken collection, was Ambient fucken 1 (Music For Fucken Airports) by Brian Fucken Eno!

I mean, how much more fucken ambient an album can you get? An album I’d listened to on a good few occasions already, and I end up buying it again cos I didn’t even recognize it when I heard it!

“Intended to induce calm” is it Brian? Not that night it didn’t; I was fucken livid. Seven fucken quid that cost me, for a fucken doubler.

Bastard.

Peelism

‘Music Nazi’, that’s what they call me. I question their terminology but not the sentiment behind it.

I’m not a forthright man, unless I’m drunk. If I’m drunk I’ll be as forth and right as you like based on how many drinks I’m bought, dancing like the chimp I am to the foaming tankard waved to and fro.

I’ll change my mind about anything if you give me a convincing enough argument. Some of the best conversations I’ve had in my life involve me being wrong, because if you can’t admit you’re wrong how can you learn? I consider what I say before I say it, and I only say what I mean and believe. Taciturn I call it. Miserable cunt they call it.

But they’re wrong, and especially when they’re talking about music. And when I say they, I mean you.

Some of the music you love is fine. That vintage Motown you love, that’s great. Some bands that still get in the charts are good, like Elbow and Linkin Park. I appreciate Springsteen without owning any of his music. If you tell me the best singer ever is Michael Jackson or Elvis, I’ll disagree, but understand.

If you tell me to listen to the new Rhianna, or 5 Seconds of Summer, or Bruno Mars, I will tell you in no uncertain terms to fuck off away and out of it.

I know what I’m talking about, you see. I spent many years in a village so far from civilisation we had to share a tape player between 60 people and most of the time it played The Wurzels. I came to cherish real music and what it can do, which is mostly prevent me going on a rampage that would make Dunblane look like the forthcoming reboot of the Telebubbies with a little added vim.

Nobody who meets me for the first time could ever tell, but music matters to me comfortably more than anything else on Earth. Friends, family and the last landlord who used the words ‘on the house’ to me – I’d mourn them all, but if music was somehow ended I’d kill everything like one of those hidden bombs left by aliens millennia ago that will one day send the planet whirling out of its orbit like a toddler who shouldn’t have let go of the merry-go-round.

I don’t like things because they’re cool or unknown. I like the Delta blues because the first time I heard Charley Patton the world seemed to make a little more sense. Hearing the riff from Ziggy Stardust for the first time, in a history lesson with the earphone going up my sleeve so I didn’t have to listen to Mrs Turner banging on about the fucking Industrial Revolution, changed me forever. When I heard Johnny Rotten snarling through God Save The Queen I wanted to both kiss and headbutt whoever was nearest, though unfortunately that was also Mrs Turner and that day didn’t end well for anyone.

When I was 17 I heard Caught By The Fuzz and that song alone made the whole late summer worthwhile. The Kinks should all be knighted, if you’re of a mind to give a shit about the Queen and her sword. And the best album I’ve ever heard is by the Boo Radleys and if you think that’s somehow related to a diabolical song about waking up on a beautiful morning you’re either a lunatic or a cunt.

I spend half my life hunting for new music rather than listening to the same old bollocks like everyone else seems to. I haven’t heard the first Stone Roses LP in years because the next time I do I want it to be a happy surprise rather than the second time that week. In the last few days I’ve listened to albums by Samoans, SPC ECO, Real Friends, Colt 45 and Late Bloomer, and a pat on the back to anyone who has heard of any of them. Whether or not they’re any good isn’t the point – they might be, that’s the point. I live by Peelism, even if it killed my god.

You’re entitled to your opinion but I’m entitled to tell you to stop saying it out loud when it plainly makes you look as sane as Harold Camping. When you start banging on about the fucking Beatles, just understand that while they were fine, in their time, there was better music before and there has been better music since. When you decide it’s time someone showed me that I’m wrong about Queen, that they’re actually seriously impressive musicians and not just a prototype of the fucking Darkness, please understand that I will shout over you until you stop, much like Freddie Mercury would have had he not done the decent thing and shut the fuck up permanently.

When you claim I’m closed-minded because I won’t countenance some heinous jazz record, find a subject you actually know something about and leave me to explain to the world why jazz must be stopped. Take your AC/DC, your REM, your Red Hot fucking Chili Peppers, and leave quickly before I start chipping bits off CDs to slice you up.

And before you trot out the predictable ‘Nazi’ line, please understand that I’m the least prejudiced man alive and I want Mumford and Sons just as dead as Beyoncé. I am right, your music taste is incorrect if incompatible with mine, and if you can’t see what’s wrong with Rod Stewart you’re fucking way beyond redemption and edging towards dementia.