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Give me music and give me noise....

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The new new wave: vegan cakes and lapel badges

Martha cutting a rug in Queer Street in Birmingham last night.

I'll give the cakes on the door two out of five (slightly stodgy I thought), the free lapel badges one out of five (for - probable - intentional beyond-retro irony value) and the band ... well, check 'em out for yourself. Actually, indie kids like these are always pretty welcome in my house and sometimes - as I think this gig of theirs proved - indie-rock can be almost low-key, played at a moderate sound level and ... still work. Or something like that.

Meanwhile, one floor below, the bewigged super-queens of B/Ham's gay zone were just warming up. But that's another story ....

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Pussy Riot unplugged. And jailed ...

And in another place ... I return to my favourite group of jailed Russian agit-prop punk pranksters who dress in brightly-coloured clothes and balaclavas while sporting unlplugged guitars ...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Songs of praise

And straight in at number eight, it's Beck, with his stunning new version of the David Bowie classic, Sound And Vision.

Yes, it's Beck. Beck! The wonderful Beck. Are you excited yet?

God almighty. The present level of hero-worshipping in music is beyond belief. Twitter resounds with it. The radio is awash with it. And trite newspaper articles regularly assume we're all on the same page with their daily worship of the favoured few.

Anyway, with no further ado, I give you, ladies and gentlemen, my Top Ten Musical Artists Who It Is Currently Obligatory To Praise Irrespective Of The Quality Of Their Output:

1: Kraftwerk
 2: My Bloody Valentine
 3: Tracey Thorn
 4: The Beatles
 5: Nick Cave
 6: David Bowie
 7: Prince
 8: Beck
 9: The Rolling Stones
 10: Morrissey

It's a fluctuating list, though of course The Beatles have been regulars in the top ten for much of the past 40 years, with the message about their "unparallelled influence" being relentlessly dinned into us. (Din, din, din).

I suppose it's a comfort to some people to know that a "favourite" artist of theirs is being thus canonised, hoisted onto a marble plinth through the collective efforts of the praiseful. So, if as a 24-year-old you got into (say) The Stone Roses after seeing them on the TV in 1989, going on to buy their (ludicrously over-praised) debut album, and then going to a few of their big-venue gigs, you might very well feel bouyed up at the steady praise they've received in the past two decades. "Yes! They ARE one of the coolest bands of all time", you say to yourself, self-satisfaction (just about) beating back a lurking sense that it's all a bit of a fraud.

You get the same with Johnny Cash, with Nirvana, and with a few dozen other "chosen" ones. It's nauseating and mind-numbing, an endless drumbeat of praise that drowns out all dissenting views.

Actually, if you think you've heard me complaining along these lines before, you'd be right. Hating the overrating is a minor obsession of mine. If in the future you continue to read my peevish little blog you'll probably encounter the same complaint time and time again. It might even get somewhat repetitive, bordering on the tedious. Even so, it will still just be a single grain of grit in an entire Sahara desert of hype and unctuous praise.

So, please open your hymn books and turn to number eight on this week's list. It's Beck, a truly marvellous artist...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

From local abattoirs, Podcast #90 (Jan 2013)

Meat is murder the magus of Moss Side once said, and who am I to argue? Except, when something comes from local abattoirs one can only imagine it will be especially tasty. 

1: The Lost Riots, Our generation
2: THKAD, O utro
3: Chandeliers, Age sex location
4: Strength on the ground
5: Stinky Treats, Yoko Ono
6:  Andre Uhl, Leviathan
7: Dr K Gyasi & Noble Kings, Kroko heniko
8: Lieutenant Martin
9: Gas Up Yr Hearse, I’m wide awake! I’m mourning
10: Big Dread, Fire
11: Orchestra Sinfolario e dalla Corale Ambrosiana, ? (La Boheme) (Teatro San Babila, Milan 4/1/13)
12: Square People, Niche dreams
13: From local abbatoirs
14: Pissed Jeans, Bathroom laughter
15: Filthy La Bottom, W-filthy
16: The Stranglers, Threatened
17: Marcel Pequel, February
18: Ty Segall & White Fence, The black glove/rag
19: Bleak House, Antiseptic
20: Voodoo Binmen, How to be a man (Catch, London 25/1/13)
21: Franco Et L’O.K. Jazz, Cuando paradi
22: NONEWYORK & Specters, My baby
23: Chad Crouch, Gymnopedie 3
24: The Yawns, Jean Thumb (Old Blue Last, 21/1/13)
25: M-PeX & Makrox, Mira Kaeli
26: Face unemployment or retrain
27: Shade Circle, Last drop
28: Desmond Riley, Skinhead a message to you
29: Lucas Gonze, Frog in the well
30: Pigshackle, ? (Windmill, 17/1/13)
31: Misay Day, Imaginary blues
32: Feedback, Murdering bastard
33: Allo Darlin’, You shook me all night long

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The U.K. Subs miss out on a desert island trip

Some advice. If you like music it's probably best not to listen to Desert Island Discs. The tunes, even when they're half-decent (not often), are given such a cursory airing - faded out early and tersely back-mentioned as the show quickly returns to its main focus (cloying chat) - that it's positively indecent. There's virtually zero discussion of what's being played, never mind that this is a programme ostensibly about people's favourite music and why they like it.

Anyway, you probably knew all that. And despite this I still listen to the programme (I'm a masochist like that). I think there must be some mysterious attraction to wondering what songs people will choose, even when from their first selections it should be patently obvious that they're not going to go for anything even remotely good.

Except ... what's this! The ex-Tesco bloke Terry Leahy meandering his way through The Beatles, The Fureys and Simon & Garfunkel when ... all of a sudden he says: "It was 1980 and I was in London living in a flat above where this punk rock band called The U.K. Subs used to practise and play at all hours ...".

Blimey. What a turn-up. After all that I-came-from-a-modest-background-but-I-always-had-strong-opinions-I-worked-hard-at-my-A-levels-then-went-to-Tesco-where-we-serve-our-customers-no-one-is-forced-to-shop-in-supermarkets-the-rest-is-history nonsense, here we were going to get a little blast of the Subs' rough-and-ready punkoid stuff. Great! Glad I'd stuck with it.

So what does the bloody Checkout Charlie say next? "Don't worry Kirsty, I'm not going to make you play The U.K. Subs, but instead Depeche Mode, I Just Can't Get Enough". Aggghhh. Amazing! No explanation, just a swerve that was almost perfect in its unintended comedy. Leahy's defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory was a moment of bathetic brilliance and deserves preserving for posterity.

In fact I'd like to request that self-same piece of audio as one of my record choices if ever I get to go on Desert Island Discs to talk about my own illustrious career. "And Niluccio, you're allowed to take one luxury item with you, what would you take?" "Well Kirsty, I'd like a big box of Tesco cucumbers. They're selling cucumbers for 90 pence each at Tesco at the moment, so I think a large box of those would be a luxury indeed." "Niluccio they're yours, and thank you for sharing your desert island discs with us this morning ....".