Epilogue: JG Thirlwell’s inspiration

JG Thirlwell by Scott Irvine 2006

Since my first post was about how JG Thirlwell inspired me, it seemed only fitting to let the Foetus man have the last word. 

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I’m sorry to see Princess Stomper’s entertaining blog disappear and hope she continues her observations elsewhere. In light of the “inspired” theme of her blog, I was asked to comment on what inspires lately. You can get an idea of this by looking at my Tumblr blog, where I make entries about cultural events that I’ve experienced and other stuff.

But I’d like to comment on the fertile community of artists in NYC that work outside of the gallery system, and create unselfishly for the love of it, and in doing so have created their own cosmos. Continue reading

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Top 100 singles of all time: from Bjork to the Beach Boys

367px-Björk_Rock_en_Seine_2007_by Bertrand

It’s an almost sad feeling as I wrap up this list – bundling in the top 40 in one final swoop – before tomorrow’s grand finale. I don’t even know what was going through my mind as I wrote the original list, beyond how far I agreed (or disagreed) with the traditional entries on such charts. Perhaps what surprised me was how orthodox my tastes are – perhaps simply because those songs are undeniably good – though I hope my more detailed individual postings have entertained, imparted a bit of trivia on your favourite songs, and maybe introduced you to something you hadn’t heard before.

With that in mind, I’m going to skip over the ones you already know well – Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir (which always sounds oddly weedy compared to the bowel-shreddingly heavy version in my head); River Deep, Mountain High; House of the Rising Sun, etc. (my top 40 is dominated by songs from the 60s). I’ll pause to mention Higher Than The Sun, because however many accolades have been awarded to Screamadelica, it still does not have the recognition such an otherworldly, transcendental song deserves.  Continue reading

Interview: Necessary

Tony Wilson by Steffen Oftedal

This was how I discovered Necessary, via an interview at The Quietus: Necessary had given away their second album, Galgeberg/Gimle, for free, which was fortuitous for my ears, if not for their wallets. It was one of the best pieces of music I heard that year.

I’m not sure which words persuaded me to click on the link: “heavy breaks, turntablism, bass music, hauntological synth work, drum and bass, hip hop, chopped and screwed rap, industrial, choral and funk” … “combined in surprising, provocative and unsettling ways.” Maybe it was the occult chanting, the Persian singer, the Ligeti reference, grime, hip-hop, black metal and doom. Perhaps it was the Spanish civil war samples, the Chilean rapping, dub, goth, world music, or the “Post-Dictatorial Troll-Hop”.

I think it’s necessary for you just to hear it.

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Beyond 2012: Five things to look forward to when that Mayan calendar flips again

Startrekintodarknessposter

Star Trek Into Darkness

Let’s not beat around the bush here: the last Star Trek was f***ing magic, and this returns with the same director and perfect cast. Here’s hoping for the same mixture of exhilarating action, spot-on humour and warm, fuzzy feelings we got from the last one.  Continue reading

How to interview

Written for Collapse Board

I start to wonder if he’ll ever answer.
“Rome,” he says.
Good, good. That’s a start. OK, get him to elaborate.
“What did you like about it?”
“It was nice,” he says.
Did he really just say that? I wait for him to continue.
He doesn’t.
Well, that’s it. I mean, I’m out of questions. Panic.

A Clam, says ex-Kerrang! man Jason Arnopp in his book How to Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne and Everyone Else, is “the interviewee who opens his mouth to say some words, then shuts it again after saying the minimum required of him“. A 16 year-old fanzine hack, I was faced with a bored, tired Richard Ashcroft who gave only one-word answers to this rookie unprofessional.

“Zere is no reality!”
We both look towards the door. A middle-aged, portly, dark-haired woman has burst into the hotel lounge and made such a declaration, and stands impatiently, waiting for a response. I think she’s Dutch or something. European. Strong accent.
“Pardon?” says Ashcroft.
“Zere is no reality!” she repeats.
Oh, good grief. I’ll just stay quiet and let the obviously more professional one of us explain to her that we’re in the middle of an interview and ask her politely to leave us alone.
I glance over to Ashcroft.
He gets up and walks over to her … and then begins to argue with her that there is a reality and she is obviously quite wrong.
“MY CAR!” she squeaks, pointing at the window. Seconds later, she waddles out at top speed to chase the tow truck down the road.

I suppose you could make it up, but why would you? I somehow convinced Ashcroft to pose for photos in the Mad Hatter’s Teacup Ride down by the seafront – wonderful snaps long since lost – and Nick McCabe gave me a signed 10″ of ‘Gravity Grave’. A great anecdote, fine photos and a great single – but the interview, let’s face it, sucked.  Continue reading

Today is the first of September!

Yeah, yeah, people have been quoting this all day – just as they have every year since I’ll Meet You In Poland came out in 1984. The version I’m going to play is from MALE!, circa 1992. You could argue (and many have) that the original take, from the album HOLE, is superior – since it is basically a capella with Thirlwell’s voice looped and chopped into dozens of layered samples to provide the “music”. His voice there sounds harsher, slightly deranged, whereas the MALE! version is simply beautiful. The first time I heard the latter was the first time I realised I was in love with Thirlwell’s voice – one of the very few acts where I’ve been sold on a band purely from the music without knowing anything else about them.  Continue reading

5 fundamentally flawed albums you need to own

Girl Talk by Gwazda Paris 2007 via Wikipedia

Written for Collapse Board

You may have noticed that we don’t give marks out of 10 here, partly because it renders reviews pointless (you just read the number, not the words) and partly because it’s not fair on the recording itself.  The issue is one and the same: without the context of pointing out exactly what makes it a “good” or “bad” album, you’re doing a disservice to the band, to the listener and to the reviewer. I know why I like something, but if I don’t tell you why I like it, you’re not going to know if you’ll like it too. I could give a metal album 10/10 but if you just plain hate heavy metal, you’re not going to get past the first five minutes. Sure, you save two or three minutes reading the review if you can just get a score, but you waste – what? – an hour? A whole hour of your time struggling through something you were never going to enjoy in the first place because I gave it 10/10 and that means that obviously it must be perfect. I don’t want to waste your time or your money: I’d rather just give a few details about the listening experience and let you make up your own mind.

More problematic still is the 7/10 album. Why is an album less than 10? Because it’s mediocre? Well, that’s unforgiveable, isn’t it? Given the choice between a record that’s been branded “10/10″ and one that has not, you’re not going to bother with the latter, are you? Life’s too short – might as well reserve it for the best. But what about the ones that fail to be “the best” – not because they are boring, but because there’s one big problem marring an otherwise awe-inspiring album? Such as:  Continue reading

What is Grimes doing? Plus 6 more what-the-f*** videos

Grimes Genesis video still

Grimes has a new video out. It made me think of some other bafflingly weird music videos.

Grimes – Genesis

Is this supposed to be some sort of Mad Max thing? Why is there a cybergimp (Brooke Candy) prancing about looking high? You’re not going all goth on us, now, are you, Claire?

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