Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Song of the day

"Can't Seem To Make You Mine", by Yo La Tengo. From the "Camp Yo La Tengo" EP. A song in which a little reverb goes a long way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Here is a list of incorrect things

The Fall can make grown men do foolish things. Read this essay at The Quietus and you will see what I mean. Such effort, and in pursuit of what exactly nobody will ever really know. Fall lyrics are beyond normal understanding, but that only deepens the challenge.

As a bonus, it contains the clip of "Wings" I mentioned once before. The clip is brilliant. Smith's nonchalance is brilliant. The song is brilliant. The wallpaper is brilliant. Funny, I had completely written out of my memory of it the presence, at Smith's left hand, of Brix. At the time I hated Brix. I thought she had softened him. I was wrong. Mark E Smith cannot be softened.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Are You Are Missing Winn-ah?

I had occasion recently to listen to what purports to be the imminent new album by The Fall, "Our Future Your Clutter". (Although, as Winnie-the-Pooh once said, You never can tell with Fall albums.)

Scratch a few Fall fans, or at least journalists/bloggers, and you are sure to find somebody who is prepared to fight to the death to defend at least one of the many albums they have released since the Glory Days of Yore. There are few that haven't been championed somewhere as "return to form", or "the best Fall album since [insert pre-'90s album of choice here]". Heck, somebody at The Quietus the other day was boosting up "The Light User Syndrome".

For a long time there were few bigger Fall fanatics than myself. And yet I have struggled to get excited by anything other than the occasional stray album track since "Bend Sinister". And yet there has always just been enough on display to indicate that the pilot light in Mark E Smith's brain has continued to burn. Recently it has seemed to be sparking into actual flame: the Von Sudenfed album; a couple of key tracks on "Fall Heads Roll"; and I ask you, how fucking mighty is "Fifty Year Old Man"? (I plan to make it my anthem in 2014.)

And here comes "Our Future Your Clutter". (That title is probably not a little nod to Nick Cave, but you never know.) Those who threw superlatives at any of the band's last, let's say, fifteen (a wild guess; I lost count years ago) studio albums might be struggling to find the words for this one. This is not a review, just a heads up: the rhythm section hits so hard you will be stunned; the guitars are as good as any Fall guitars ever (whoops, looks like I've succumbed to the hyperbole bug); and at least three of the songs are the kind of adrenaline rushes that will have you flailing your arms as you bounce around the living room. (Kids -- or, more to the point, middle-aged parents -- don't try this at home.)

On the strength of this, it must be about time that Smith once more sacked the band and started from scratch again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Take Care

Oh, by the way, RIP Alex Chilton, described rather well by Aquarium Drunkard as "the indelible link between the world of the Beatles and of R.E.M." The broad range of Chilton's activities is such that almost everybody will have a different story of how they were first exposed to him. For some, it would be the chart success of The Box Tops. For others, it would be, obviously, Big Star, either at the time or, more likely, during their long period of critical reappraisal. For myself, it was at something of a tangent, via his involvement with "Behind The Magnolia Curtain" by southern psychobilly freakos Tav Falco's Panther Burns. (Why does nobody ever mention them these days?) Man, that's a record to melt even the sturdiest of turntables. I once saw them live @ The Old Greek Theatre in Richmond, and they put on a fantastic live show, too (I assume that Chilton was off their boat by then, but my memory isn't so good these days; my hair is greyer, too, and I sometimes forget what the hell it is that I'm supposed to be doing -- that's right, getting ready for work; oops).

This Goes With This

Sometimes the computer knows more than we do. This morning it offered up "Yellow Moon", by the Neville Brothers, a track that I have long been quite fond of (the rest of its parent album I can mostly take or leave), immediately followed by the Prins Thomas remix of "The Long Way Home", by Lindstrøm. At some point I realised that I was humming the former while listening to the latter. They fit together remarkably well. Mash-up artists: don't thank me. Take this suggestion and run with it. It's yours.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The acronym "NSFW" is an Internet shortening of the expression "New South F#%$&# Wales". As in, "If you want to play cricket for Australia you had better move to NSFW". It is frequently used to warn people not to watch certain videos at their place of employment. This is because many of those videos are made in New South F#%$*&% Wales and therefore are likely to corrupt the morals of our youth. (Unlike those good, wholesome, morally rigid Victorian videos.)

Next week: "BFF".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fart joke of the week

Seen on "The Daily Show" one night last week: Joe Biden, at a ceremony in Israel, with flames appearing somewhere behind him, leans forward, at the same time that the flames increase in height. All it took was one well-placed sound effect. You can take in as much clever, intelligent political satire as you like, but really there's no humour like bum humour.

(And it's a surprise and a privilege to have Jon Stewart on our screens less than 24 hours after he airs in America - and with no ads! - on Your ABC. They used to say that the ABC costs us five cents a day. Allowing for inflation that's probably up to twenty or so today, but nevertheless it's money well spent when they give you this level of service.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Song of the day

"Love Cry", by Four Tet. In which Mr Hebden takes a bunch of old records, and by a process of chopping, splicing, looping, flipping, whatevering, manages to create ... a Kruder and Dorfmeister track?

Don't get me wrong; I love me a bit of the old K&D. But in 2010? On the one hand, why would you bother? And yet, on the other, preferred, hand, when the results are this striking, why the hell not?

And be sure to stay for the gorgeous thirty-second coda, where the percussion drops away entirely, leaving just a shimmer of guitar fragments and assorted bleeps.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Song of the day

"Woman Of The Ghetto", by Marlena Shaw. Such power. Such grace. Such the deep, rolling funk groove. When I listen to this song I am conscious of the fact that this is not "my" music (but then The Clash was not "my" music either) and that there are elements of it that I am not equipped to understand. But mostly when I listen to it I know instinctively that I Am Not Worthy.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Song of the day

"The All At Once Club", by Belbury Poly. Imagine if Krafwerk, around the time of "Computer World", recorded a cover of The Beatles' "Get Back", using only the equipment with which they made "Autobahn" some years earlier, and inviting Jean-Jacques Perrey in to help them. Then listen to this song.