The new rules of growing old gracefully

Nick Cave 2009 New York City David Shankbone

I was reminded an old post I made here, back when I could write. It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to do it, or magically been zapped by some wicked witch, but I’ve just run out of time and enthusiasm. I wonder if that’s what happens to everyone in the end. When was the last good Metallica album you heard? Isn’t the best recent Ministry album a pale copy of Psalm 69? I might hope for a good new NIN album, but we’ll likely get a dull slab of corporate dad-rock with some tinkly bits.

What happened to us all?

We got old. Rock ‘n’ roll comes with a deadline, and when you reach it, time to die or move on. You’re not supposed to still be there at 50.  Continue reading

Last Impressions: Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts

You might recall that a few weeks ago, I reviewed Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts with a view to revisiting it a month later to see if I still had the same opinion. I’m deliberately not looking back to my previous post so as not to “contaminate” this one with my first impressions. I have, of course, listened to the album a number of times since then, and mostly I’ve come to the conclusion that Demolished Thoughts is basically nine versions of Disarm by the Smashing Pumpkins. Well, it’s not that repetitive, but you get the idea.
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First impressions: Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts

So, Ben Pratt thinks that a reviewer should spend a month listening to an album before forming any sort of opinion on it. Back when I used to write for magazines, I would rarely have more than a week to listen to an album, and because I was sent several at a time and writing for multiple publications at once, it meant that albums rarely got more than two plays before review. You learn fast to think on your feet, make snap judgements and trust your instincts. I’ve very, very rarely changed my mind about a record after hearing it multiple times, and certainly never gone from hated to loved. Some records, sure, take a while to sink in, and you know I did that recently with Manorexia, but if you’d have asked me what I’d thought of it on the very first play (when it felt like being punched in the face), I’d have known that the album was just too much to take in and told you to come back later. Yes, I change my mind on individual tracks on albums, and sometimes upgrade an album from “OK” to “good” or “good” to “great”. Yes, there’s the bias of comparison: an OK album played after a terrible one sounds a lot better than it should. Even so, I should be able to hear a record and know right away whether it’s good or bad and expect to hold the same view after a month.

So I’m going to put it to the test. I’ll review an album tonight, cold-and-blind if you will, writing down my thoughts as they happen on first listen – just like those live-to-air blog pieces that were fashionable a while back. Then I’ll come back to it a month later and review it again without reading what I wrote the last time and see if I’ve changed my mind. Since it’s been on my wishlist for a while, I’ll purchase a shiny copy of Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts and communicate my first impressions … right about now. Continue reading

No Nirvana – A Late Show special

Sonic Youth

Since it seems to be Grunge Week on the internet – 20 years since Nevermind came out – with articles in the Guardian and Collapse Board, there seems to have been some controversy as to which bands should be mentioned and which were not part of it at all.

I was reminded of a great episode of The Late Show – a culture programme on BBC2 – called No Nirvana – which simply featured live-in-the-studio performances from alternative rock bands such as Jane’s Addiction, Dinosaur Jr, Sugar, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. I thought Rage Against The Machine’s inclusion was a bit odd (if welcome), and REM downright out of place, but you can’t really argue with Sonic Youth’s amazing performance of Drunken Butterfly.

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Japan – how and why the music world is helping

While the terrifying events in Japan are still ongoing, everyone from Lady Gaga to Linkin Park, Mike Patton to Mountain Goats, has wasted no time in coming together to raise funds for those affected.

But is it a good idea to be giving money away like this? Continue reading

Collapse Board

Having read a bit more of Collapse Board, I’m re-editing this article to wibble more about the blog, which is really bloody good.

Everett True and Lydia Lunch have a lot in common: I love the idea of them a lot more than I like most of anything they do.

Once in a blue moon, though, they come up with something that reminds me why they were so bloody essential in the first place. Today, it was catching up on a few of True’s posts on new blog Collapse Board, and his link to this Sonic Youth ft Lydia Lunch track in a review of new band 8 Eye Spy. Somehow the blend of Sonic’s droning, pummelling noise with Lydia’s yowling actually works, creating a life-affirming racket that’s quite catchy in its own noisy way.


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