Tag Archives: Music

Posh Folks

I could and maybe will write an entire VOLUME about money and music. It’ll go right back to when I was in a band and folks with money were clearly losing an awful lot of it, just to be releasing band x or band y who they genuinely loved. I remember thinking back then that it was actually down to the philanthropy of some folks, that much of the indie (ie not really making money) music got to be heard.

You could argue that it’s a mirror of labels and promoters and festivals: the bigger acts pay for the smaller ones in many ways. (fuck knows there’s a lot of value put on playing a festival that acts will do anything to get their name on the poster).

Independently wealthy people have been involved making music and in the industry since it began, and that’s not a beef of mine* as I’m sure a lot of my favourite stuff is posh/rich and I daresay some of the folks I work with are too.

What does get on my nerves is that a posh SOUND seems to have developed. It’s all over the place. It’s jaunty, like a Jack Wills advert, and it sings like a pixie. It thinks all it needs to do is sing a bit weird by squashing its tongue to the top of its mouth and pronounce words a bit wrong, and hey presto, a career.

And there are some people buying it, mores the pity.

* even if it is *really* tough right now for anyone without some kind of support to do anything in music – but that’s another discussion

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Things I am embarrassed about – Number one in a series

“If we’re real music fans, we might even displace a prototype in favor of another based on knowledge that we gain. Take, for example, the song “Twist and Shout.” You might have heard it countless times by live bands in various bars and Holiday Inns, and you might also have heard the recordings by the Beatles and the Mamas and the Papas. One of these latter two versions may even be your prototype for the song. But if I tell you that the Isley Brothers had a hit with the song two years before the Beatles recorded it, you might reorganise your category to accommodate this new information.
Daniel Levitin – This Is Your Brain On Music
Atlantic Books 2008 p159

Having gone on a bit in response to THIS, listing a load of stuff I was not embarrassed about not liking in fact (so fuck you). Like Nirvana (at first), Labradford (who I love), 2001 A Space Odyssey (still yawning)… but those are surely just DEAD OBVIOUS. Sure, there’s a lot of peer pressure when folks who become uber influential mention they’re huge fans of the Houghton Weavers, then everyone’s all over them. So you’ll have these obscure bands being lauded, and mortals like us trying to figure out just what it was that XXXX found in their music.

What’s REALLY embarrassing, for me, given the above paragraph from This is Your Brain on Music, is my knowledge of some of the finest songs, in fact one of my favourites ever, comes from some, well, questionable sources.

I’ll just come out and say it ok. I’ll give you three.

I first heard Motley Crue’s version of Helter Skelter

I first heard Suede’s version of Shipbuilding

And I think it was the GnR version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door that I heard before Old Bob. Ouch.

I actually think I have been more prepared to be uncool in my list. I mean at least Erika was on about some real cool stuff.
I could go on about more embarrassments. Like some baaaad gigs.

But as a friend of mine who shall remain nameless said to me just yesterday: The First Rule of Goth Club – you do not talk about Goth Club.

For the record I still think two of those versions above are alright.

Coming soon… Things I get annoyed about (issue one featuring posh west London bands, and girls (and now BOYS) doing that annoying pixie singing)


Sticking it out

Sam Amidon Liz Green George ThomasLook at this poster here from 2008. Lots of acts, venues, promoters have fallen by the wayside since then.

We did a few shows back in the day at Whitechapel when there was a good dude there working on a decent music programme for Fridays.

We did Agoskodo Teliverek and they were amazing. We did The Twilight Sad and they were amazing too. It got quite loud sometimes and the staff were moody, and it never really sounded good because of a glass wall, despite having superstar soundman Phil Jones (albeit in his infancy) at the desk. And it never made any significant money cos it was too small. We had Oh Ruin play there too and a man too excited shouting during the set.

But I love this poster here, done in the old style by Luke Insect. He did some excellent posters for us. Some of them visible on the Local’s Facebook Page. This show was brought to us by trailblazing groundbreaker Duncan James “Dunc le chunk” Sime, of Red Deer in Manchester. Another piece of excellence.

Great design of course, but awesome that it features two excellent artists that are both enjoying the beginnings of great success the world over. I am proud that my company The Local continues to make our contribution to that success. George Thomas who is excellent too, hasn’t really made much of a sound for a while.

Both Sam and Liz are really special too. In some similar and other not similar ways. Both can reduce a room to silence, hilarity, tears.

My favourite quote from that night, from Liz. As David Thomas Broughton had shown up at soundcheck to say hello/grab a bite with Sam, I was looking for Sam. I said to her have you seen him? Her reply was she saw him going off with DTB for “some kind of musical genius meeting or something”.

See their webs for info on their current activities. Catch them soon.

Sam is HERE ———- Liz is HERE.

Tickets for Liz in London 3 April

Tickets for Sam in London 13 April


I’m a cyclist, a driver and a pedestrian

When I experience, hear about, or witness irresponsible behaviour in a professional context it reminds me of the debates between road users who annoy the hell out of each other all the time.

You get folks saying they’re better drivers ‘cos they’re cyclists and so on.

I hear “all agents are c*@!s”, or “all promoters are slippery”.

I also hear that that which you dislike in others is what you recongnise/dislike in yourself.


Collapse

Collapse Board is a great place to lose two hours

I could call it Collapsing. It’s when I have an extended session having clicked an Everett True tweet and been on a readathon. The latest started with his response to an article by Andrew Dubber: Music Journalism is the New Boring. Itself an excellent piece. I then found myself lost in the Collapse response to this N+1 article about Pitchfork.

All raise interesting questions and are proof that there is excellent music journalism if you’re ready or prepared or bothered to find it, like music itself. I’ve not spent enough time reading about music but then it can get pretty fucking boring, reading about something that someone likes – which (liking everything)  is largely what this article is accusing Pitchfork of these days. So too, the Dubber article.

There’s often too much of the writer in there however, and that can be grating. And I know I know that this is probably me, not the writer, with the problem… but still…

I find Dubber sometimes has the tone of an irritated knowitall wanting to prove he’s the one with the answer to everything. He’s angry! The thing is: he’s most often bang-on about the things that are getting on his nerves, and they should be getting on all our nerves too.

The N+1 article is a great read, as is the publication, I discover. (All due to my reading of THIS on Collapse) However writer Richard Beck still manages at the end to do what he criticises most Pitchfork writers of doing, albeit in perhaps a more subtle (or tongue in cheek) way. He wants us all to know that he gets it, but that at the same time, he wants us to know that he gets a whole lot more besides. Just like the Pitchfork writers, he’s showing off a bit:

But the story of The Beatles doesn’t begin with John, Paul, George, and Ringo deplaning at JFK. It begins with Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony, which began to theorize the tonal system that still furnishes the building blocks for almost all pop music.”

I found the above to be a little lofty and I found myself wanting to dumb-down, and defend some shitty pop journalism.Which again says more about me than ought to be necessary in something like this.

In the last few months I’ve been looking at the Collapse Board more and more often, and enjoying it very much. It has been a pleasure to connect with. Check it out for yourselves.
I’ll be looking up Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony.

 


If you got ears… you gotta listen

This from here: http://www.londonears.com/Blog/2012/january.html

Shutting the fuck up at shows is a subject close to my heart. I put together and run the now annual Shhh event in London, so you’d expect that perhaps, but I’m not some kind of perfect self important gig-goer, respectfully silent in reverence at the efforts of the artist before me. I’ve been told to shut up plenty of times. Not quite as much as I have been the one doing the telling, but still. It happens to all of us I would like to think, although I’m sure there are loads of folks who have NEVER been told to STFU…

The thing is, the shows where I HAVE shut the eff up, have been those ones from which I have returned home complete, with that wanting-to-discuss-it-till-the-cows-come-home feeling of really having seen something important. I mean, how can you tell if you really liked it, if you didn’t really listen?
It doesn’t have to be a quiet show either. I definitely told a couple to have their conversation elsewhere at Glastonbury one time (and got a ripple of applause) and that was during The Arcade Fire. The couple in question were pretty loud and high and unaware of anyone else and hey I was nice about it ok? Another time, and this being an amazing example, was at an ATP, for THE MELVINS. Hardly a band tinkering about in some hushed plink plonk experimentalism. They ROCK. And it was amazing to stand in awe at what I could see and hear. (OK, so I was unable to speak as I was really high, having been FORCED to get into that state by a now unnameable record company big wig, and their unnameable record company big wig friend.)
In any case, whatever the state you’re in while watching a band it’s usually better if you listen. If they suck, then there will be a place you can go to calm down (or the opposite?!) and have a chat with your pals… There certainly is at the Shhh event on Sat 4 Feb at The Gallery Café in Bethnal Green. There are more than 3 performance spaces, including a Cinema and a little gallery of artworks inspired by the idea of shutting the fuck up… and there’s an outside space too.

– Howard Monk