Thursday, February 17, 2005

I'm Back And I'm Better Than Ever!

Or maybe not. Who can say for sure. I've been busy absorbing and living and trying to figure out what my place in the scheme of things is. It isn't always easy, as I'm sure you are aware. I've been obsessively listening to mucho amounts of old and new music for weeks now and I'm not exactly sure why. Or to what end. When I say "obsessively", I mean that I've been digging deep into the stuff I am hearing. I feel like I'm searching for something. A clue? Inspiration? Probably inspiration. Right now I'm listening to For Fox Sake Vol.1 by The Fox on Crewe Records. (Bob Crewe's brother ran the general store across the street from my house growing up. I was always a little scared of him for some reason. He used to have a promotional Bob Crewe mobile hanging in the store for whatever 70's-era Bob Crewe album was out at that time. Probably that wacky disco-opera he did. (Street Talk? I have it here somewhere) I used to hang out with his sullen son who was around my age. Both Bob Crewe's brother and Bob Crewe's brother's son looked a bit like Bob Crewe.) The Fox are a long-forgotten 60's psych/pop/rock band heavy on the hammond organ. It's a nice little record. "Butterfly" is a great acoustic guitar/heavily-echoed vocals flower-power weeper. "Madame Magical" is their nine-minute jaunt to the heart of the sun. I don't think they ever put out a Vol.2 . Lots of 1 strike and yer out stories in the 60's. Lots of "We don't really know what this shit is, so let's throw EVERYTHING against the wall and see if it sticks". Which is kinda cool in retrospect. Lotsa cool stuff got on record. For posterity. And freaks like me. Before The Fox I was listening to Songs Of The Auvergne, a two-album set that Vanguard put out in 1972. French folk songs arranged for orchestra and heavenly soprano. Said soprano provided by Netania Davrath. Translated lyrics to "Lou Boussu" aka "The Hunchback": Jeanneton was resting under a shady apple tree. A hunchback came by. He looked her over and said, "Ah! Jeanneton dear, will you be mine?" "Why should I be yours? Get rid of the hump on your back." "Ah, the devil with it! I will keep the hump on my back." Yeah, really. Fuck you, Jeanneton. Anyway, pretty stuff. Got a record in the mail on Level Plane records that I really dig. *Transistor Transistor - Erase All Name And Likeness* Apparently, if you are genius enough to combine punky punk with hardcore punk and screaming and a general dull roar/feedback/squall and metallic overcoat I will love your album no matter who you are. See, I am easy to please! It's why I loved that Das Oath album on Dim Mak so much last year. It's why I dig Converge. And on a sludgier level, Eyehategod. Actually, this isn't true. Not too many bands can approach the levels of insanity that Eyehategod have. And I don't like most of the bands who try and sound like Converge. And there are a lot of them. Most of them just combine the screaming with a diluted brand of metalcore that is boring with a capital B. And if they combine that with the emocore meodic shit that is so very rarely memorable or worth humming, I'm the one who runs screaming. No, I have to hear a glimmer of unhingedness that belongs to the band playing. No second-hand delirium for me. I mean, screaming IS a vocal "style", and not all screams are created equal. I can tell when yer faking it.
Now I'm listening to Care by Shriekback. Not an album I play very often. I do like that old Shriekback stuff though. Yesterday I played Mesh & Lace by Modern English. I'm a sucker for that stuff. Nostalgia and all that. But it's good music too. The Modern English album is a Joy Division revival from 1981! I also listened to Twitch by Ministry yesterday. So, anyway, the 80's revivalism has been going on in music for, what, 10 years now? I can't even remember. I actually think the form of 80's-retro peaked with Blur's girls who like boys who like girls who are boys single. I really do. They got it just right. Great catchy song. Better than "House Of Jealous Lovers" and almost any other latter-day example I can think of. And that right there is my problem with all the recent (last 3 or 4 years or so) stuff that I've heard that apes the soundz of da 80's: My bar is set too high! Cuz unlike most people who grew up in the 80's and who went on to live normal, productive lives and who probably forgot all about the stuff they listened to when they were younger, I never stopped listening to that stuff. I never forgot about any of it, cuz it has been a part of my life since the 80's. So, my memory of the music has stayed current. Does that make any sense? There are too many times when I hear something that just mimics the sounds and rarely builds on them. When I saw the Faint 3 or 4 years ago it was cool to hear all those technopop sounds in their songs and they really did do a good job of creating the vibe and the aura, but none of their songs were in any way memorable. The only song they played that was memorable was a cover of "Enola Gay". So, it might just be a fashion thing. Maybe these folks thought it would be easy to make a Gary Numan record. It isn't! Some of the guitar-based groups have come close in a time-warp way. Interpol, The Killers, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But I don't think any of them have hit it out of the park. If you have great songs, I don't really care who you are ripping off. And if your sounds are cool enough, I can overlook the lack of hooks. Maybe I haven't heard the really cool 80's-derived stuff. I liked that Lansing-Dreiden album a lot cuz I felt like they did have songs that were stong enough to withstand their pillaging of even greater songs and bands. It's a tough trick to pull off. Just ask the Bloodhound Gang! (No, really, ask them. I think they may have done it better than the majority of hipster doofuses out there.)
Okay, last but not least (for now): The only thing creepier than the YingYangTwinz song "Wait(The Whisper Song)"? The acafuckingpella version of "Wait(The Whisper Song) that comes with the single. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Robert Ashley would be proud. And 1000 avant/creepout/soundscape bores WISH!


Blogger Maria D. said...

3500 words! I'm printing it and will read it at my leisure on the couch.

11:58 AM  

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