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Give me music and give me noise....

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I didn't used to be punk rock ... but I am now

I know it's only a joke but the "I used to be punk rock" meme is the final straw ....

Been there, bought the book

That's it! These knowing, tired-of-punk remarks - or too tired for punk remarks - remind me of the way that the former "gunslingers" of punk journalism went on to dismiss punk ("vile white-thrash cacophony" and the like).

Over the years it's been a mini-trend in its own right. And it seems to have fed into a tendency within contemporary music journalism: yeah, punk was basically awful. Sometimes it's punk's former luminaries disparaging the scene that helped make them famous. Sometimes it's modern commentators acting as if it's now virtually a given that punk amounted to no more than a dozen or so decent records, a mouthy TV confrontation and a teen craze for drainpipe trousers and putting food dye in your hair. A kind of Kenny Everett Sid Snot reduction....

I'm not trying to pretend that punk was all great. There's plenty of second-rate stuff: a lot of The Clash, The U.K. Subs, Generation X, 999, The Ruts, The Jam, you name it ... (though, with The U.K. Subs, for example, I still like Warhead and Stranglehold (among others): even the "lesser bands" often produced one or two goodies).

And I'm also not, I don't think, a punk fundamentalist (ie I don't decry post-punk music as "lightweight", I don't hate dance music and I don't refuse to listen to modern stuff. Au contraire, my sceptical frères ...).

I'm simply making a very modest appeal for an end to the renunciation, the downgrading and the general condescension toward punk.

And we could start by ditching the "I used to be punk rock" thing. Yes, it's an insider-y joke: it's only because I am fairly hip - for my age - that I can make this joke; and anyway, at least I saw the Ramones. But, to use a nice punk Americanism, it still sucks. Or, as Samuel Johnson nearly said, those who are tired of punk, are ... well, just very tired.

Speaking for myself, I didn't used to be punk rock. But I am now ...

Friday, 19 October 2012

A bath of red and blue

Though big stageshows totally repel me - for my money in any given situation the number of stage lights will generally stand in inverse relation to the quality coming from that overlit stage - a bit of lighting is er, a good idea.

Rebecca Mayes: Pop In, Paris 18/10/12

A splash of, oh I dunno, red and blue - can be kinda nice. With the Rebecca Mayes/David Beauchamp gig pic here, the lighting was low-key (more than the photo suggests). But it was enough. Add in a bit of (literal) glitter on Mayes' cheeks (this revival of glam-rock styling always works quite well I reckon) and Beauchamp wearing a groovy red and black hat-tie combo - and bob's yer uncle! 

I could probably bang on about how costumes on stage - animal face masks, military uniforms, slogans written on clothes, etc - are generally A Good Thing, but ... another time. For now, I'm just going to sink into a relaxing bath of red and blue....

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Anarchistwood's arrest warrant

Holding up posters that say "ICC Arrest Warrant" alongside pictures of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is not typical rock band behaviour. Then again, Anarchistwood are not your typical rock band.

Stop clowning around! Watch Anarchistwood, listen to Corelli ...

Anarchistwood: Taylor Johns, Coventry 13/10/12

Release Theee Bat

Cheapo iPhone videos can never capture the intensity of any decent live musical experience - and this is no exception - but it's nevertheless fun trying. Theee Bat at the Windmill in Brixton last week, complete with upside-down filming technique ....

Friday, 12 October 2012

The power of persuasion, Podcast #86 (Sept 2012)

When we get to Alex, I'm going to skip the glass of lager and listen to this refreshing new podcast instead ...

1: Beacon, Girl in a coma
2: Jealousy Mountain Duo, Leaf kickers
3: Millionaires, And the rains came
4: C-Doc, Livin’ the Amerikan dream
5: Fat History Month, Nudity
6: Oldest ally in the Middle East
7: Rail Band, Moko jolo
8: Ergo Phizmiz, Dear Mr Cameron, dear Mrs Clegg
9: Black Everest, ? (Hafermarkt, Flensburg 22/9/12)
10: Fat Larry’s Band, Here comes the sun
11: Hello Skinny, Black space
12: The Agrarians, The free times blues equation
13: The rights of churches
14: Errol ‘Flabba’ Holt, Super special dub
15: Every Hidden Color, I (excerpt)
16: The power of persuasion
17: Hammer Of The Working Class, Live to die
18: Pete Seeger & Oscar Brand, Hieland laddie
19: Everlone, Landlock
20: Death Grips, Get got
21: Freschard, S.Brinks & W.Pictures, ? (Windmill, 14/9/12)
22: Duassemicolcheiasinvertidas, 33 anos
23: Monty Reynolds, My dog can’t bark
24: Tronslard & Pantrel, Snieznydzien5
25: UB40, Dream a lie
26: Morsa, 80.657417-102.624289
27: Jack Ruby, Hit and run
28: Vesme Dreamchatcher Kiong, Birds

Friday, 5 October 2012

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Noise hits back!

There I was, complaining (sort of) about the lack of diversity in the hardcore/noise scene - too white, too male, too ... tattoo-ed - and blow me down if the very next band I see isn't We Came Out Like Tigers. 

No tattoos (that I could see), a black bassist, and (another bugbear dealt with) the lead singer-screamer playing that not exactly heavy metal instrument, a violin. Damn! All my petty preconceptions confounded ... (There's a not-bad The Quietus review of the band from 2010 here BTW, but, as John Peel might have said, that's not how you spell principles).

We Came Out Like Tigers at The Old Blue Last, London 2/10/12

Anyway, lest I be thought anti-tattoo and, god forbid, anti-noise in general, let me just say that I don't dislike tattoos and all the rest of it, just that it can get a bit predictable. But WCOLT are, no doubt, representative of plenty of other noise-y bands happy to try something slightly different. 

Noise v Niluccio - and noise hits back! I'm not complaining.