Archive for August, 2016
I love Black Flag. I love Henry Rollins’ writing and spoken word shows. This is more of a lecture to university students than it is a spoken word show. Maybe there’s nothing in here that breaks new ground, but I think its well worth a listen if you want to hear a great speaker talk about travel and making the world a better place over an hour and a half. My hero.
I love pop music. If I were in charge it would be illegal to record or perform music unless it was as dirty as this little pop song.
The Pet Shop Boys were my first musical love, and I still love them. Then it was the Stranglers and I got into their punk and more experimental post-punk sounds. Then “Find Out Why” by Inspiral Carpets on the Chart Show took me down the indie route. All sorts – Mega City Four, Senseless Things and Snuff; Spacemen 3, The Telescopes and My Bloody Valentine. The Jesus Lizard and Sonic Youth and Mudhoney. Stone Roses, Suede. Sarah / cutie twee shit. All sorts.
I will get to the point by the way.
Indie back in the late ’80s / early ’90s readily lead me to the 1960’s and Beatles, Stones, psychedelia, Stooges, Velvets. The lead to the New York CBGBs thing, meanwhile back in the present day trance and techno lead to Detoit and minimal techno, tech-house and electro and even a bit of drum and bass. Then I lost interest in dance music and returned to my indie roots, and that ended up leading me to many of the great punk / hardcore / alt-rock bands that came out of America in the 1980s, who I might have got into back in the day if I’d been born 5 or 10 years earlier (Black Flag, Minutemen, Husker Du, Replacements, Butthole Surfers etc).
Obviously there are some massive gaps in my knowledge in relation to the sorts of music above. But more than that there are genre-gaps – whole swathes of music that I know next to nothing about.
“Why does it matter?” I hear you ask. I’ll tell you. I love going a seeing heavy live music… but I’m not a big lover of metal, and so much of what else is out there I just don’t get.
Don’t ask me why, but I like to understand where a band is coming from and what they are trying to do. Actually do ask me. I am shit at learning parrot fashion, I need to understand to learn and remember. Likewise how can I just listen to a new band and appreciate them? Well I can to an extent, but I find it helps to understand. Are they really as good as they sound to my ears, or are they merely a poor facsimile of a much better band that I don’t know but they have ripped off 100%?
It seems to me that much of what is heavy is some sort of metal sub-genre that has developed out of the mass of metal sub-genres that have evolved over the last 30-odd years.
But more than that we have all these bands that fall somewhere within what is now called the punk / DIY / hardcore community, and many of them come from a math-y, emo-y, post-hardcore-y place that I just don’t fully understand. And more even than that we have the fact that there are so many ’80s american alt-rock / noise bands that I really should explore more. Touch and Go, SST – have I even scratched the surface?
I suppose the starting point is British post-punk, but that’s perhaps another story, one for me to go back to. Along with New Wave and No Wave.
[Writing like this inevitably leads one to simplify things, when in reality these genres are all a bit blurred].
But really it is about Hardcore Punk, Noise Rock and Noise Pop, and the numerous genres and sub-genres they spawned and continue to spawn.
Emo, black/death/speed/thrash/nu metal, metalcore, melodic hardcore, thrashcore, powerviolence, industrial, math rock, post-hardcore.
Screamo, emoviolence, mathcore, grindcore, melodic metalcore, blackgaze, post-rock.
So the point… my plan is to document my conscious attempt to trace and explore the history and key bands in a wide variety of genres and sub-genres from the early/mid-1980s to today. The point is two-fold. I want to discover bands I’ve not listened to before who are heavy and brilliant. But more than that I want to better be able to listen to some of the kinds of bands I end up hearing at local gigs and feel that I understand their influences and motivations a lot better than I do now. This applies in a big way to bands like Princess and Space Church, but much more so to the likes of Employed to Serve or Yearbook, younger bands who (naturally) have less similar formative experiences than me.
This series of posts is going to take me 6 or 12 months at bare minimum, and probably much much longer… I’m going to try to be fairly chronological and logical, but that won’t always be possible. Let me know what genres and especially bands that I should be exploring. Gimme some feedback, man!
We’re 8 days from the first Leafy Incline Promotions event. Leafy Incline is Slug13’s promotion’s arm, and they’re looking to do something a bit heavier than some of the promoters in Guildford whilst not being a metal night. “An Evening of Guitar Based Noise” is how they put it. Sounds good to me.
Slug13, Trevor’s Head, King Ghidora and Nanking is the line-up.
Some influences – Mudhoney, DRI, Prong, Swervedriver, Dinosaur Jr, Loop, God Machine, Husker Du.
A couple of recent Kamikaze Girls interviews for your delectation… damn fine band…
First on comes Pete (from Grits)… now I like Grits, but this wasn’t some Grits solo show, or even someone showing another side to their music. It was an artist showing random pages from his musical note-book. As a grungey, dirty blues guy… he’s damn good. As [a more soulful?] Squarepusher… less so. Interesting, definitely talent in a number of directions, but its the dirty blues (and [hard/post/noise-]rock in his main band) that he really nails.
Next on… Camcorder. What did the flyer say? “Sort of like Weezer and AC-DC had a kid… oh Christ.” Yeah, that was it. I kinda buy that. In theory they could be damn good, and there was a lot to like… but they sound like a band who need great pop songs to really hit home, and writing great pop songs ain’t easy. Maybe the songs are better than I’m giving them credit for and they were lost in the noise that they were intentionally creating.
Princess – Best set of the night… subject to the caveat that Space Church’s might have been had it been the first time I’d seen them, and Pete’s might have been if he’d done grungey dirty blues all night. Their cover of “the Model” is / was awesome. Always good to see a Big Black cover. Semi-joke. Maybe it was just the suit that did it, but I got the feeling that it was something in the songs too… Princess dig Nick Cave I reckon… just checked and their Bandcamp page says the same thing… or did I read that before I saw them and my brain is taking the memory not the musical clues. Fuck knows. Noisy, edgy, scratchy, feedbacky, 80s-influenced, noise-rock / alt-noise of the sort that the Buffalo Club specialise in. Yes. (Not the prog band, the three letter word of affirmation.) I should really have said that in CAPS. With font: IMPACT for impact. Natch.
Space Church – I’m not going to review the show. Partly time, this review should have been done over a week ago after all. Partly because I’m gonna get on the album soon. I enjoyed the set, but I didn’t get that initial, overwhelming, “what the fucking fuck?” feeling that I got the first time I saw them. I think the volume in the venue was down a bit which took away some of the power.
Oh yeah, and Princess didn’t have their usual drummer so they deserve extra points.
More mainstream country from the good ol’… Jeffrey Steele – Somethin’ in the Water…
What I really meant to say was, Cyndi Thomson fucking rocks, in a pretty mainstream, ballady, ‘I rock like Songs of fucking Praise rocks’ kinda way. Breaks my heart though…
Alexander’s more soulful daughter…