Speakers Push Air

October 26, 2012, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Bands, Videos | Tags: , ,

October 25, 2012, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


The Booker Winner of Our Hearts
October 17, 2012, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Art, Reading | Tags: , ,

Kardashian Bieber Levenson Space Jump Paedo Corrie John Terry Immigration Scandal

October Singles Column

(Narc Magazine let me do the singles reviews again. Oops)

“Lots of local bands”, they said. “Try and be positive”, they said. “Some of these bands know where you live”, they said. This reviewing lark is fraught with danger, as Lee Fisher found out.

St James

I assume that St James Infirmary are one of this month’s local bands, although there are so many bands with the same name I can’t be sure. Eight For A Fiver is a decent enough Oi-style terrace stompalong, although the vocals need beefing up to sound proper hooly. At least they’re not indie by numbers. Also avoiding the indie slush pile are Rossi Noise, who on Knivesseem to be aiming for a tricky blend of beats and rock dynamics. I’m not sure it entirely works but they’re trying and they’re worth keeping an eye on.

Allo Darlin’

An indie-schmindie case in point are Sonner – I played We Go Forth Tonight about five times and it just didn’t register, I’m sorry. At least that means it probably wasn’t awful. I’ve been to a Street Party In Soho and it sounded nothing like Take Your Time, which isn’t a bad thing – there’s a nice bit of highlife guitar and it all stops short of stadium bombast on the chorus, which is a relief. Also touting a highlife-tinged guitar sound are Little Comets, who have already had some success, although A Little Opus leaves me struggling to see why. I was really getting into Resolver by Clockwork Radio  – nicely jerky, cool harmonies – and then they went and ruined it with a phenomenally ugly guitar solo. Thankfully, Collectors Club are all the way down in Middlesbrough, which means I can probably get away with saying that despite being very polished and produced, there’s nothing else going on. Allo Darlin‘s new single Northern Lights is actually pretty lovely, if you still feel the need to listen to late 80s indie-pop. But why would you?

Conversely, I wish The Spills and The Runaround Kids lived nearer, I’d buy them all a drink. Both the tracks on their Bitching Cassettes split single are fucking ace by dint of them sounding like a brilliantly noisy blend of Pavement and Archers Of Loaf, and because they have some actual ENERGY, dammit. And finally we have Women In Revolt. If you only have room for one song about vaginoplasty by a polysexual glamrock artpunk trash outfit, it ought to be Oestrogynal Itch, all caveman stomp and Valerie Solanas menace.

Women In Revolt

The Low Drone Of The Treadmill Is The Sound Of My Hopes Being Shattered
October 16, 2012, 5:45 am
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Reading | Tags: , ,


“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Anti-Social Media
October 15, 2012, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Narc, Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(OR: my first Narc opinion piece)

“What I don’t like is a pop star doing a diary thing for their fans on the internet. The worst one for me – I cut it out of this magazine, it was amazing – was a tweet by Lily Allen, and it said: “Just had a lovely iced bun and a cup of tea”. That sums it all up for me. Who gives a fuck> Why would you put that on a thing? Who cares? There’s so many things going on about that one line, to me, it’s like everything that’s wrong”. – Lawrence, Go Kart Mozart

You can’t throw a stick without hitting an article about the effevt of the internet on our music consumption: it’s too instant, albums are over, singles are dead, ringtones are the future, kids today don’t know they’re born, yadda yadda yadda.

So this isn’t one of those. This, instead, is about the increasing transparency of the process, the daily Twitter-led insights into where that music actually comes from.

When I was young and Phil Lynott and Freddie Mercury ruled my world (I know, I know… ), albums just… appeared. One day they weren’t there, the next they were and it was such a heady rush coming across them. As I got older, and started to encounter the music press and John Peel and all that other stuff, I might have got an inkling something was up a couple of months ahead – hints in an interview, the announcement of a new tour (which in those days always seemed to accompany a new release) – and your excitement levels would amplify as the details got more definite and the release date hove into view. I think things started going wrong when the lead times on singles got out of hand. They’d be all over the radio months before you could buy them, and you’d be sick of them before they hit the racks.

But now? Sheesh. These days it’s all photos from the recording studio, pre-release previews of album tracks (in exchange for your email address, obviously), online beef with your collaborators (okay, so that’s mostly Wayne Coyne), Kickstarter projects, photos of someone’s wife’s breasts (okay, so that’s ONLY Wayne Coyne), invites for suggestions for album titles, lyrics, money. (and remember, if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product). By the time a new album comes out I already know everything about it – fuck, I might even be sick of it. I guess this is exacerbated by my quasi-music hack status, as I get stuff early and get press releases even earlier.

I can see the good side of all this transparency – the lowering of the barrier between the artist and their audience, a little glimpse behind the curtain. But perhaps that comes at the cost of… well, excitement, dammit. There’s less and less magic left, less mystery and enigma. The apotheosis of all this is Amanda (Fucking) Palmer, who has moved from someone with a notable twitter following to an artist who raised a million dollars to fund her new album through Kickstarter, using all sorts of bonuses, teases, photos of her naked with the amount raised written on her body, all that jazz. And for an artist like her, someone who is all about ‘we are the media’ and art happenings and late night online concerts for her insomniac fans, it’s all good. It works and it fits. But while her tweets might be inspirational, inspiring or liberating, what about that landfill indie band telling us how excited they are about their new single, or the aforementioned Lily Allen tweet that upset Lawrence so much.

I’m not sure there’s much that can be done about this – the studio cat is out of the bag and we’re doomed to years of Instagram shots of Olly Murs dicking around on the studio piano. Our musicians are now expected to be ‘on’ 24/7, for good or ill. But it makes me uncomfortable. Hold tight for the next Kurt Cobain, tweeting his suicide note. Or the next Mama Cass adding a picture of her delicious sandwich to her tumblr feed (okay, I know that’s an urban myth but you get my drft). And remember, for every Amanda Palmer helping you be a part of the never ending art project that is her life, there’s a dozen Lily Allens with a dozen fucking iced buns.

thanks as ever to Narc for permission to reprint this, which I’ve revised very slightly to make more sense