Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Over the past half-century, pop hits have become longer, slower and sadder,  and they increasingly convey 'mixed emotional cues,' according to a study just published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts" [via "Pop Music Getting Sadder and Sadder" in Pacific Standard]


"Strikingly, they found 'the proportion of minor key songs doubled over five decades....  a general reduction in unambiguously happy-sounding recordings as well as an increase in recordings with ambiguous emotional states.'.... While conceding that pop fans may not be consciously aware of a preference for more complex music, the researchers speculate that 'musically untrained listeners may recognize quickly and explicitly that a contemporary fast-tempo, major mode song (such as Aqua’s Barbie Girl) has something amiss about it besides the lyrics.'....  This study suggests mass-appeal music is, on the whole, getting more nuanced and sophisticated."


Not the impression I'm getting from listening to Top 40 stations here, that's for sure.
mcs rodeo-riding beats. parts 1 & 2

(supposedly this has something to do with donk and "Scouse House", so sez FACT   - sounds not dunderheaded-enough, closer to i dunno Raffertie or something like that)

(i'd completely forgotten about Kano...  at first i was, like "Kano?  name sounds familiar....")

and then this, featuring Lady Leshurr... 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

electric lechery  - a list of favorite UKG / 2step bootlegs and remixes of US R&B I pulled together for Lisa Blanning at Red Bull Music Academy

"I was afraid, coming back to the album and listening to it in full and in sequence that it would sound tinnily dated and disappointing in 2012, superseded by the sheer volume, capacity and weight of 21st century recordings – that it would seem significant only as a pivotal, if improperly acknowledged moment in the dialectical process. But no – crank it up and immediately I experienced again the rush of blood I felt as a young writer, having just interviewed the band in Zurich, heading to a cafe in the city that had been a Dadaist hangout back in 1916 in naïve search of psychogeographic inspiration, blackening a notebook with screeds of adjectival frenzy as the album raged on my headphones. It retains both its molten power and own, grandiose sense of purpose – the fire that came along to torch an entire era of white-socked hipsters, crewcut mumbling indie dullards, smirking ironists, lumpen, Luddite grebos and post-Live Aid white soul hegemonists and Bono's stupid big white hat."

-- David Stubbs, on the Young Gods's debut album, 25 years on

"This year, somebody wrote of the Young Gods that 'occasionally they veer a little close to pomp rock'. Christ almighty, whoever that somebody was should have all his toes wrenched out and be made to eat them one by one. Obsessively afraid of hippiedom, of turning into Rick Wakeman, we giggle and scrabble on in our obsolete punkish ways, fiddling while Zurich burns." 

-- David Stubbs, on Melody Maker's Album of the Year, 1987

Friday, May 18, 2012

the fourth and final instalment of my Greil Marcus interview is up at Los Angeles Review of Books and takes in the Death of Rock, Bill Clinton, Invisible Republic, 9/11, Van and Jim Morrison, and more...

accuse me of excessive loyalty to my old collegial cohort, but i gotta say that the ex-Melody Maker writers have been ON FIRE the last couple of weeks...

you've probably seen this sulphuric diatribe by Neil Kulkarni on music writing today

but check out also this slightly older piece of similar theme and tone

then there was David Stubbs with the most entertaining piece I've read in many a month...  taking on  the Herculean, or to be more precise, Augean, task of  reviewing for The Quietus the "A" shelf of John Peel's record collection (as now conserved for the ages in online virtual form, and howzabout that for archive-fever/retromania?). Or as Stubbs puts it,  "venturing into the giant, holy sphincter of retention that is the Peel archive". The results made me nostalgic for the weekly music paper institution of the Single's Page: invariably a grim all-night ordeal for the writer, but a wholly necessary procedure of cultural hygiene, a ritual cull that converted the lead of redundant musical production (born of misguided ambition, or the after-dregs of a DIY ethos long past its salience point) into the gold of reader-amusement.

a tough act to follow, Stubbs, but Everett True has a good stab with the letter C. (But what happened to B, eh?)

also at Quietus, there's Taylor Parkes interviewing Kevin Shields. And there's that man Neil K again, with the preface to the second series of A New Nineties, looking at the US underground rock that paralleled the UK p*** r*** he wrote about last time. Looking forward to this series unfolding even though hardly of any of these bands (Bitch Magnet? C'mon, be serious now Neil!) meant shit to me.

(Kulkarni's other Quietus multi-part epic "Eastern Spring" is set to become a Zer0 book I see) 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

RIP Donna Summer

take me down to paradies-stadt

 ... from the blurb for a production of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny aka Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny by Kurt  Weill and Bertolt Brecht:

"Three fugitive criminals found the city of Mahagonny in the desert, which is really a snare and money pit. Goal: make as much money as possible off other people and gather a fortune without working. Mahagonny wants to be "paradise city", a place of unbridled enjoyment, a symbolic caricature of absolute freedom..."
Could Guns N' Roses have possibly got that phrase from Brecht/Weill?!?

If so, the missing link, or even the conduit, might just conceivably be

As described above, Mahagonny sounds rather like Los Angeles (or Las Vegas)

And "caricature of absolute freedom" sounds a lot like Sunset Strip metal in the 1980s...

"For if we don't find
The next whiskey bar
I tell you we must die..."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hallo, Hallo... what's all this then?

Woebot's got a new record out.

And it's a bit of a surprising move.

Guitars, drums... the basic tried-and-true rock instrumental line-up.

No more samples, unless he's sampling his own hand-played playing (I can't tell how exactly Hallo's put together, and was too taken aback to get into dissection mode).

But that's not all.

He's also...

Actually, I don't want to spoil the surprise, so why don't you just head over to the Woebot site where you can preview some of the tracks on Hallo and purchase the album.

It's a bold, unexpected move and he's pulled it off marvellously.

Closing the previous chapter, there's also The Riddle, a compilation of "the best of the last four years of Woebot tunes" available as a free download at Soundcloud


in other Matthew Ingram news: he also has the cover story on R. Stevie Moore in the new issue of The Wire

my favourite track on Ku Klux Glam

tribal revival

[via the Impostume, whose drawing out of their unwritten manifesto you should read]

the missing link between Bow Wow Wow and funky house

(with a bit of Virgin Prunes and Prince Rama chucked in)

coming soon from Jonny Mugwump's Exotic Pylon Records

apparently Maria & the Mirrors really are fans of Bow Wow Wow

"Mirror, mirror/On the wall/Tell me, who's the fairest of them all?"

"A girl who sings in a faraway place called England"

In 1981 they were my favorite group

Monday, May 14, 2012

RIP Nitro Deluxe

aka Manny Scretching  (aka Young Manny Scretching Jr)

who I learned only recently used to play in Sun Ra Arkestra before he hooked up with Cutting Records

presumably why he's called KING of the 'NUBIAN' BEAT! on the front of this 12 inch

I've written about the tripped-out vocal science on the "Closet Mission" and "Say Your Love" mixes of "On A Mission" in Energy Flash and elsewhere

it was this track, though, in its various incarnations, that had the IMMENSE impact in 1987-8 

particularly impactful in the UK.... where it made the charts, twice, reaching #47 as "This Brutal House" in February '87, and then #24 almost exactly a year later as "Let's Get Brutal".

Scretching, in tandem with Cutting producer-honcho Aldo Marin, forged a denuded lunar dance sound somewhere between electro and acid house, and paved the way for Forgemasters, Sweet Exorcist, Unique 3, LFO, and the rest of the Northern bleep mafia

cold and hard and cavernous... but also goofy... jaunty and haunting at the same time e.g. the mad vocal-sample as trumpet solo bit that comes in about 5.30 (those "On A Mission" mixes are that to the power of ten: pure phoneme-foam-phantasmogoria)

on this Dub Mix of "Let's Get Brutal"  the vocal wikki-wikki-delia gets wilder still

i think the first version up there is my favorite, but they are all ace

there were  other productions, nothing quite in the same league

and the aforementioned "On A Mission".... YouTube doesn't seem to have the tripped out versions, just the overly spartan main mix

what a week, first Adam Yauch (RIP) and now this...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

at  Los Angeles Review of Books, here's installment #3 of my interview with Greil Marcus -- this one is about punk, Lipstick Traces and In the Fascist Bathroom

Friday, May 04, 2012

at  Los Angeles Review of Books, here's installment #2  of the transcript of my interview with Greil Marcus--this one covers Mystery Train and Stranded