Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Euro 09

Knowing that Euros Childs exists, is always a constant pick me up for me. Look at him! Look at that cheery face! If I'm ever feeling slightly down I just think to myself that somewhere out there, Euros Childs is smiling away, probably plonking away on a synthesiser and generally making the sun shine.

I'm rather late to the joy of Euros Childs, discovering him as I did through his friendliness with Das Wanderlust. But now I've got my brain in gear and have bought myself "Barafundle" (the amazing album by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Euros' old band) which is probably the high point of Childs' career. Though that's not to say Childs' post-Gorky's output is merely fumbled attempts at recapturing the glory days of his old outfit. If anything, Childs has blazed a path of his own now he's on his own having released five albums in the last five years.

The last of those was last year's Son of Euro Child and what inspired me to do this post of Childs worship was that- after intending to get the album for some months- I learnt that THE ALBUM IS FREE FROM HIS WEBSITE!

I've only given it a short listening, but it is a pleasant lo-fi take on the usual Euros Childs formula of really great pop songs. Might as well download it, it's free, like. Also, this was admittedly an excuse to post the album's amazing coverQuality!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sound of 2010 as decided by?

So they've announced the annual shrugfest that is the BBC's Sound of 2010, and the top tip for this year is Ellie Goulding, who we are told is folktronica- oh! How very 2006. Here is her photgenic face.
I've just realised how derogatory that sounds. In actual fact, she's released one single to date, called Under the Sheets and I really loved it- though it was very Lykke Li.

What I object to, is the fact that her position as top tip is decided by "industry people". Which translates to music show/radio producers and promotion people. This basically means it is made by people who have a very large say in what music is played on mainstream outlets.

So surely this defeats the object of predicting who will be big, when they can decide what becomes big, through radio play and tv coverage. Especially as Sound of 2010 doesn't predict that they'll be successful, just that they'll be well known. Essentially, Ellie Goulding could be topping the charts in a few months and the listmakers can say "See! We were right!"
Then again, if she's just scraping in the top 30, the listmakers can still claim they were correct as long as Goulding is still getting plenty of radioplay and tv coverage, which they can supply.

It just seems like a pointless exercise. It wouldn't be bad if the tone of the list was "Here are some bands that we think will make good music" as opposed to "These bands will be popular, you'll love them when you catch up with us".

Then again, since you're asking, I think Errors, Indelicates and Chris T-T are going to unleash blinding albums this year. Also looking forward to some more releases from Freezing Fog, Borland and Anna Madeleine.

Monday, January 4, 2010

McLusky Do Dallas? Reuben Do It Better

Though it’s unlikely that more than a dozen people have ever laid eyes on this blog, I have a feeling this could well be a contentious point. Basically I’m arguing that the very good band, Reuben deserve more widespread attention, and also that they would have more attention if it weren’t for the other good band, McLusky.

A brief wikipedia-style rundown of the two bands, McLusky are a hard rock three piece with funny, self referential lyrics often about music and being in a band (“Collagen Rock”, “To Hell With Good Intentions”). Reuben are a hard rock three piece with funny, self-referential lyrics often about music and being in a band (“Freddy Kreuger”, “Return of the Jedi”).

McLusky put out three albums in the noughties and then split up- after which a Rarities collection was released. Reuben put out three albums in the noughties and then split up- after which a Rarities collection was released.
So yes, they’re similar. And I should add that, as in the paragraphs above, McLusky came first. But- and here’s the contentious point- there is a major gap between awareness of McLusky and awareness of Reuben that is not supported by there being a major gap in the two band’s quality.

McLusky’s predominance is seen everywhere, Pitchfork have reviews of all McLusky releases during the site’s existence. Whereas Pitchfork doesn’t seem to believe Reuben exist.

Allmusic.com rate all of McLusky’s albums (favourably too) but seemingly they don’t feature ALL music as again, Reuben do not feature.

So what have McLusky got that Reuben haven’t? Well they do have fast, buzzing guitar lines, fuzzy bigmuff-ed bass and pounding drums. No wait, Reuben have them too, and Reuben’s basslines are better, guitars are more complez and the drumming is astonishing. Therefore I am putting it forward that the one thing McLusky had behind them that Reuben never had is Steve Albini, and the inevitable “cool” that he provides.

Steve Albini is a record producer and recording engineer, but if you didn’t know that I doubt you’d be reading a music blog. He also happens to have more indie cred than most anyone in the world having worked with Nirvana, Pixies, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Jarvis Cocker and many other bands that could get you laid at an indie hipster club.

Now I’m not doubting that the man’s amazing- as I would donate organs to see at least two of the above bands live- but I am disappointed that his influence has blinded people to other bands in McLusky’s style. Similarities between McLusky and Reuben does not mean that they cannot be kept in the same CD collection. However I feel that without Albini’s seal of approval, Reuben are dismissed as a “Kerrang kind of band” (which is exactly what McLusky would’ve been if they’d not had the Albini touch) who rip off Steve Albini’s chosen ones.

I’m not doing McLusky down at all- hell, if you hear “Friends Stoning Friends” in a club, let me know as I will race you to the dancefloor- but it concerns me that people dismiss another band of similar ilk based on something as trivial as the connotations of who produces their albums.


You already know about the rage against the machine business, yes? Some “rock” types have decided they don’t like the X Factor, but rather than accepting that a lot of people do and therefore it makes sense that it should get to number one, they’ve decided that they should start a facebook campaign to get “Killing in the Name” to number one.
Now, I’m not going to do a lengthy blog going over what I think of the campaign. Though I will say that I think a song released 12 years ago that is taken from an album that has sold 3 million copies is hardly championing underground music. It’s still platinum selling major label music. Just platinum selling major label music with guitars. I enjoy the music more, but there’s no ethical distinction like this Facebook campaign is trying to make out.
What I’m going to get at today is Rage Against the Machine’s appearance on Radio 5 Live. They were discussing the campaign- obviously- and then they played Killing in the Name.
Turns out they were asked not to say the “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” part. But, naturally, Zack De La Rocha did not do what they told him.
I saw the youtube video of their appearance, and read some of the comments. One of which said “I salute this band, we need more bands like this”.
Well, I’m sorry that this is coming from a rather biased stand point- what with wanting to go into radio broadcasting and all- but this isn’t something worth saluting. This wasn’t them making a stand and putting up with the consequences because they won’t compromise their artistic output. There will be no consequences for the band.
When there’s swearing on air, the person who does the swearing isn’t the one who gets punished, it’s the broadcaster (like on Alan Partridge). So basically this is how it works. Rage Against The Machine are a popular band with very loyal fans, who are wanting them to be at the top of the charts. This means they want popular exposure for a band they love. Fair enough.
Rage Against the Machine get NO media attention normally. So 5 Live were brave enough to give these fans what they want. A LIVE PERFORMANCE of what is apparently THEIR FAVOURITE SONG! If Flaming Lips (my favourite band) were on the radio playing one of their songs I’d be kissing the radio and thanking the Lord for 5 Live. But how do 5 Live get repaid? They now have to pay a fine. And the RATM fans are cheering this.

5 Live do not represent the “machine”. They are a station that went out on a limb to give a VERY COOL thing to music fans, and in response they now get punished. This is not something to be happy about.


Yeah, I’m doing a blog. It’s mostly going to be about music, unless of course blogworthy things happen outside of that field. Which they could.
The basic things you need to know, in that they’re the things that’ll be informing the blog:

-I’m from Manchester, at university in Preston, so I’m mainly going to mention gigs and bands from the Northwest.

-I present a show on Chorley FM. Yes “that” Chorley FM that plays new local bands.

-I like lots of different types of music, so I’ll probably mention a fair variety of stuff.