Spiel: In it’s early(ish) days Pitchfork gave some 0.0 reviews out. Speaking about them P4k founder, Ryan Schreiber, commented that he found these records to be “devoid of worth” to him personally and stood by the rating.
Pitchfork now brands itself as “The Most Trusted Voice in Music” so WE MUST ACCEPT THEIR JUDGEMENT.
My Previous: I finally gave Liz Phair a proper listen this year and fell in love with the lofi honesty of “Exile in Guyville”. Spotify randomly played me a song from this album (HWC, which I loved and automatically made this album not a zero) so I was curious to hear more.
Pitchfork Says: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/6255-liz-phair/
Matt Le May, who wrote a boring book on Elliott Smith, actually makes a variety of fair points about Liz Phair. He mainly seems personally affronted that Liz Phair could become bland, become crude without being clever and, oh god, become a sell out.
However, Pitchy’s review of Liz’s next album states clearly: “0.0 was wasted on that album, because it’s much better than Somebody’s Miracle”. But, but, but Pitchy, you’re the most trusted voice in music, can I trust this 0.0 or not?
OK, in general this is pretty crappy early 00s radio fodder. You can definitely hear production team The Matrix’s influence throughout even if they did only work on 4 songs – musically most of this sounds like it could be sung by Avril Lavigne and there’s definitely a cynicism in the boring production and arrangement.
But honestly, would Avril Lavigne have sung “we haven’t fucked yet” in her biggest hit (As Phair does here on “Why Can’t I”)? Sk8r Boi might have been more interesting if she had. Honestly, it’s tempting to try and recast this album as an interesting subversion of early 00’s AOR pop but… nope, musically there’s not enough going on for that, it’s Liz Phair wanting a payday and that’s fine.
You could be forgiven, if half listening, of thinking it’s all just bland vaguely risque stuff, until you realise it’s not subtle. There’s a song explicitly about fucking a younger guy. There’s a song about a son imagining in great detail his mum fucking a man who’s not his dad (“Your thinking little thoughts about her taking every inch of him in”). Then there’s HWC…
Hot White Cum sort of encapsulates this album – it’s kind of awesome, it’s filthy, it’s hilarious and catchy but… there’s a terrible harmonica solo and there’s some unbelievably lazy lyrics, the first verse even has “nananana” as a line.
In the end, it’s nice to imagine a world where I could turn on Radio 2 and hear incredibly filthy lyrics hiding behind bland production. Or to imagine when every alt artist embraced their mainstream equivalent – Radio 1 playing Neutral Milk Hotel sounding like Mumford and Sons but slipping in the occasional line about malformed children in semen, perhaps?
Will I Be Listening To It Again: Oh God, no. Except for Hot White Cum which I will listen to all the time.
Wooooooo – The Wednesday Club’s 7th (?) album has arrived. Released on 14th October to minimal fanfare, the unfortunately titled “Dry Humps” was recorded mostly at same time as “Passing Strange” and is almost, almost, as good as it.
It can be downloaded for whatever price you choose over at our Cath’n’Dad Records and all proceeds (every penny) are going to Mencap.
It comes with it’s own newspaper – The also unfortunately titled, Dry Humps.
“All in all, it’s listenable” says http://www.withguitars.com/wednesday-club-dry-humps/
Imagine you are a spy. A sexy spy if you want. You can be a sexy spy.
You’ve just double-crossed someone, lets call them, let’s just call them… Joey Jo Jo Shabadoo Jr. All is well and good.
But this is the spy game, where knowledge is power, and today we’re going to find out how many levels of knowing are useful before it all falls to bits.
At the moment we are at Level 1 of knowing in the game of knowing ping pong. You know you’ve crossed them but they don’t. This is useful knowledge to you. You can use it to be smug.
Now imagine that they find out you’ve wronged them. This is useful knowledge to them as they can now plan revenge.
Now imagine that through some channel, a third party maybe, you find out that they know you betrayed them. This is useful knowledge to you as you can prepare yourself for reprisals and take action.
Now imagine that they find out that you-know-they-know that you betrayed them. This new information is still useful to them as they are now aware that you are expecting reprisals from them and so won’t come in pretending friendship and then attack.
Now imagine that you discover that they-know-you-know-they-know that you betrayed them. Is this useful knowledge? Yes, because you know that whilst they will be seeking revenge it won’t be hidden under an easy guise of friendship as this would be pointless as you are prepared for it. So you know that they know they can’t pull the old hug-n-stab and have to do something more openly hostile.
Now imagine that they ascertain that you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know you betrayed them. Is this useful knowledge to them? Yes, because they know you are prepared for them to be openly hostile and can adapt their plans accordingly.
Now imagine that you glean that they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know you betrayed them. Is this knowledge useful to you? Yes, just about, you now know you are in full on conflict.
Now imagine that they figure out you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know you betrayed them. This is just about useful information to them as conflict is now open they can expect attacks as well as to be the attacker.
Now imagine you know they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know you betrayed them. This is kind of useful because you know they expect to be attacked and change your attacks accordingly.
Now imagine they intuit you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know you betrayed them. This is uhhh of some use because they know you can’t sneak attack them so prepare in different ways.
Now imagine you get that they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know-you-know-they-know you betrayed them This isn’t useful knowledge.
By my count that makes 10 levels of knowing worth knowing. The more you know.
Sun Kil Moon have a new album out! The indie-rock world shakes it’s head in collective bafflement.
In 2012, before it all went wrong and I still had all my hair, I wrote about Among The Leaves and noted that Mark Kozelek had started to write about his life as actually lived as opposed to a romanticised version. I think (hope?) this tendency of his has reached it’s apex/nadir here on Common As Light And Love Are The Red Valleys Of Blood, a 129 minute double album.
In 2014, Kozelek told Pitchfork “I suppose I’ve run out of metaphors“ and he has recorded several albums to varying degrees of acclaim (Benji being particularly beloved by fans) since his writing has stopped being figurative and started being more and more literal.
This new album ̶a̶l̶m̶o̶s̶t̶ feels exactly like an unedited diary sung/spoken over music. (I will briefly say that we must always always always separate the Artist and the Art and maybe Kozelek isn’t obsessed with death and getting fat and celebrities and blah blah blah). Whereas in the past it felt like he would take a moment, crystallise it and place it in the best metaphoric language he could, now we’re getting the lot, warts and all. Which is long and messy and very repetitious. and strangely compelling.
It brought to my mind Borges’s story, “Funes the Memorious” , which is the tale of a man who remembers everything in complete detail, no longer being able to abstract or make sense of the world around him as he is too busy recalling things precisely. Now obviously Kozelek can abstract and still has opinions but the (seeming) lack of filter leads to some repetitious and mundane work…
However, can you think of anyone else doing this or who’s done this? Can you imagine if Dylan, when he ran out of the old way of writing songs, had sung in minute detail over a synth bass and drums writing about the time he accidentally went to some guy called Dave’s house instead of Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics and how he’s getting old and his voice is crackly and maybe he should go to the gym and what’s going on with kids these days and….
A final thought: my friend has suggested Kozelek is becoming an outsider artist*. This makes sense – he’s doing things oddly, in a way others would avoid. He’s sing talking over drums and synth… he’s the indierock Wesley Willis!
Anyway, in the spirit of the album here is my track by track unedited take on each song. You may note it took me 4 days to listen to all of this.
*obviously he can’t be a true outsider as he has some self awareness and a career and all that.
Author’s Note: The provenance of the phrase history is written by the victorious is disputed. But what can attribution achieve in this instance? The sentence (or sentiment) must surely have been uttered or thought by many prior to the origin we seek, and also ex post facto by many unaware of their plagiarism. The point remains that the marginalised have, historically, been denied a voice. When you are dead or imprisoned, uneducated or denied access, putting forward your version of events becomes problematic. Once something has been destroyed, only those left standing can rebuild, and do so with the only tools available to them: theirvision.
It could be said that, to some extent, in the real-time networked world we have awoken in this side of the millennium, more people than ever have the ability to make themselves heard. But what do we find now that the curtain has…
View original post 9,371 more words
So I thought I’d choose 5 songs I listened to on repeat at various points in 2016. They aren’t new songs because that would involve listening to new music and the type of cool I am involves being so cool that I don’t need to be current; in fact, I can be several years behind the times.
And when I say on repeat I generally mean for 2 hours in a row. Man, OCD is useful for some stuff.
Grimes- Kill Vs Maim
Grimes had passed me by (see above) until I put myself through the Sisyphean task of listening to Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of 2015. This song is incredible. In every way.
The video, however, makes me think that Grimes might have the worst taste in everything (clothes, fashion, ideas for videos) but it really helps that she’s a bonafide genius.
She breaks down the song on Song Exploder and the ideas behind the song are as batshit crazy as you’d wish.
Jim Sullivan – Johnny
I’m a sucker for a good story. Obscure singer songwriter Jim Sullivan recorded this album with a bunch of session musicians and then disappeared into the desert with his guitar never to be seen again leaving a wife and child in his wake. The song is also pretty much just three chords and three different keys. mmmmm.
His voice is amazing, the production is kind of Lee Hazelwood meets Wichita Lineman and it’s about someone called Johnny flying away for ever. Of course, I love it.
Haim – If I could Change Your Mind
When I was first played this I thought “rubbish Madonna rip off” with icy/glossy production. Then… I dunno. It’s still very Madonna influenced but it’s pretty much pop perfection. Also the album’s (almost) all killer no filler. Thanks Amyas!
I can only apologise to Adam and Max who had to hear this song every 20 minutes as we recorded our soon to be ̶i̶n̶c̶r̶e̶d̶i̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶h̶i̶t̶ exist album.
Also, I’ve just realised it shares a title with a Sugar song and Sugar are awesome.
Sufjan Stevens – The Only Thing
It’s Sufjan, it’s pretty. It’s about the paper thin thing stopping him killing himself… dunno that kind of resonates with me for some reason. It reminds me of when I lived in Brighton and I asked the guy who used to give me a lift to work to drive his car off the pier every morning. He never did.
Belle And Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby
I didn’t want to put this on the list, I really didn’t but it would be dishonest for me not to. You see, I listened to it 20 times in a row over the past few days in my car. Is it Belle and Sebastian’s best song? Not even close…but I like the arrangement a lot I suppose? Glitter band drums and the keyboard/trumpet is awesome. Plus it also demonstrates my theory that middle 8s exist solely for you to enjoy the rest of the song more when it comes back in.