Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dark Times of Plenty.
There's a lot of designer darkness in the air right now. You can hardly even take you earplugs out these days without being assaulted by an onslaught of sub-Sabbath psuedo-teenage psuedo-angst. What is there in the world of music to help us intelligent grown-ups through these dark times? May I humbly suggest the new CDs by Ekkehard Ehlers (A Life Without Fear) and Giuseppe Ielasi (self-titled)? Each of these albums has an aura of darkness while being intelligent and mature (not "old" and "clever") enough to lend said aura some substance.

More on Veronica Mars vs. Capitalism soon!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Let's Give This a Try.
Apparently the following link worked a treat but it's expired now. I will do more in future, I promise.

Here's a link to new connect_icut song.

Try downloading it and let me know how it goes and how you like it.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Oh. My. God.
Veronica Mars is the best thing on TV and here's why...

It's a high-school whodunnit about socio-economic class warfare - what's not to like? Where other shows deal with issues, Veronica Mars exposes the structure that creates social discord and personal dysfunction. In Neptune, CA, the rich get richer and the guilty go free. When justice does happen, it's messy, it's brutal and it breaks your heart.

The only other American show that dares to discuss capitalism on a structural level is
The Sopranos. Being an HBO show, The Sopranos is kinda allowed to do this - because it's High-Quality and Adult Themed. VM, meanwhile, is on the UPN for God's sake - it's pulpy and teenaged. I can't help feeling that this lack of permission is what makes it the more daring and, ultimately, the better show.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Best Band Ever.
K-Punk talks a great deal of truth about The Fall. Interestingly, he discovered the band immediately after they completed what he considers to be a trilogy of their best work (Grotesque, Slates and Hex). I had exactly the same experience but four years later. I consider the three albums (Wonderful and Frightening, This Nation's Saving Grace and Bend Sinister) Smith and co. recorded with John Leckie to be not only the band's best work but the most important series of work in rock history. And I am not even partly joking.

Makes me realise that in 19 years of rabid Fall fandom, I have never written anything substantial about the band. Hopefully I can redress this soon with an extended piece on the Leckie trilogy.

Can't wait to read part two, K-Punk.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Drift
I've been avoiding writing about the new Scott Walker album for quite a while now. It's certainly worth taking one's time over - albums like this don't come along very often – but I've just kept putting it off and putting it off. It's too daunting a task. This is the kind of work that can swallow you whole if you start trying to analyse about it. How to avoid getting sucked into its labyrinthine logic, its unfathomable depths? I haven't been able to find a satisfactory angle to approach this thing from.

It's about to come out now, so - if I'm going to be giving some kind of advanced comment - it's time to get a move on. But I'm at a loss to give you anything but the most prosaic facts and reactions. I apologise for starting with the basics. I apologise for not being able to get much farther than that.

Well - first of all - it's good. Very good. Not as good as Tilt, I think, but certainly (even) more ambitious in its sonic neo-modernism and lyrical narrative scope. Yes, it does indeed sound like a more extreme Tilt - perhaps a "Tilt" where every song is "The Cockfighter" (except for the closer "A Lover Loves" which very closely mirrors Climate of the Hunter’s "Blanket Roll Blues" and Tilt's "Rosary"). If anything The Drift makes one realise how many great songs there were on Tilt. There isn't anything as melodically pleasant as "Farmer in the City" or classically song-y as "Patriot".

Tilt was dark, The Drift is fucking ANTI-MATTER. The lyrics, as well as the sonics, are extremely distressing and the whole thing occasionally slips into (apparently deliberate) self parody. A challenging listen, then - and just when we need it. My only quibble is that Scott seems a little too keen to equate darkness with dept, a mistake that leads him to use phrases like "anthrax jesus" somewhat too often for comfort.

Comfort isn’t a consideration on this journey though, is it?