Posts Tagged ‘pavement’

The last ten cds I bought

April 2, 2009

In reverse order:

NB – these are not ‘reviews’

BBC Radiophonic Workshop – BBC Radiophonic Music
Awesome little compilation of early stuff from Delia Derbyshire, John Baker and David Cain. Back when it was actually possible to create new sounds rather than just reference something else.

Dan Deacon – Bromst
Ridiculously euphoric music explosion. I’ll be spending a lot of time with this record I can tell.

Royksopp – Junior
Slightly disappointing overall but enough standouts in the first half to justify buying it. Track 3 has the single best sawtooth synth sound I’ve ever heard. I want to make it into a cake and bury my face in it.

Fever Ray – Fever Ray

I’m not sure about this. The first few songs are very promising. Especially ‘If I had a heart’ (the Fuck Buttons remix is also ace). But the rest of it just seems a bit tasteful. Kind of overly theatrical world music does dark feel to it. I may revise my opinion in time. I’ve only had it a week. (I don’t download things like you naughty fuckers)

Pavement – Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition
One of my favourite albums ever. Bonus tracks are 20% awesome previously released stuff and the rest fairly ignorable unreleased wibbles. Not to be sniffed at though.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant
I really like this album. It’s just really moving. His voice is beautiful. It’s not very clever but I don’t argue with my own ears. Didn’t have the cd yet so I bought this for the extra disc which I have then failed to listen to. (I paid for the download you naughty fucks)

Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
I like this for the same reasons I like the Fleet Foxes one. It just bypasses notions of whether it should be good and goes straight for the heartstrings. It sounds a bit like the TV on the Radio guy going acoustic, which can only be good.

Beirut – March of the Zapotec
Not mad on this. Another failed attempt to get excited about Beirut. Prefer A Hawk and A Hacksaw any day. He has his moments but on the whole it just doesn’t do it for me.

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Part of my attempt to find some hip hop I like. I enjoy the beats and the grooves but I just can’t get past rapping. I think I will forever find that records are ruined for me by non-melodic vocalisations. I can appreciate the lyrics and the flow but ulitmately it leaves me cold. It just sounds uniformly aggressive or bored. What am I doing wrong?

Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Another example of me having my finger firmly on the pulse of what’s cool in 2008. I enjoy this record. I’m absolutely astounded that it sold more than 100 copies. What do the masses see in it? This is just like a collection of neat 8-bit referencing grooves with occasional pointless shouting & chipnoise workouts. I like it but I don’t get why so many others do. Maybe that gum I like is going to come back in style?

A word that rhymes with Pavement

March 8, 2009

When I started this blog I did a little spam around about it (as is my wont) and promised that there would be free mp3s. Then I promptly discovered the server I’d been hosting stuff on was now just a bunch of dead links. So it goes.

I’ve now got a new hosting thing so here is the first of what will hopefully be a regular run of songs old and new which I decide to whimsically post on an irregular basis to reward people who bother to read this.

blhoeimg

Partly inspired by yesterday’s purchase of the deluxe edition of Brighten The Corners I present a song from the days when I tried to rip off Pavement quite a lot:

Show Me Yr Knuckles

This is from my album ‘Build Library Here (or else!)’ which is the only pre-Brainlove cd I’m currently selling in the web shop.

Enjoy!

Numerology and Pop Records

February 14, 2009

I have this pet theory about the number of albums a band should release. I’m strangely attached to it and would like to share it with you.

I myself have released three albums ‘Restless Revolution Day By Day’ in 2004, ‘Build Library Here (or else!)’ in 2005 and ‘Fight My Battles For Me’ this year. Here they are:

numerology-albums2

This is satisfactory. If I never do another album then, numerologically, I’ll be happy. Here’s my theory:

The first album should be filled with mistakes which become endearing when seen retrospectively. These very mistakes should be what leads hardcore fans to proclaim it your best. To claim that your subsequent albums, whilst more proficient, lack soul. An example would be ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ by Pavement.

Your second album should refine the tricks of your first, whilst containing better songs. It should represent you honing your craft. Those who get into you when you release your third album should retrospectively view it as a transitional work between the two. Even though this is stupid as all artists (except me) always view their latest work as the definitive and few would actively release something they considered a transition from one thing to another. For writers the transition has already occurred, all there is is now.

The third album, then, should be the perfect one. Whatever the loyalties of hardcore fans it should be the one where whatever made you stand out on your first one is refined and those mistakes, blatant borrows from your influences, and youthful misfires are reigned in and you nail it. You release a pop record which is unique that only you could have made.

What happens next is the real point. The fourth album. Fourth albums have no defined qualities. Maybe you continue to improve? Maybe you go shit? Maybe your band disintegrates? Or maybe you get overexcited by the attention your successful meshing of your quirks and pop instincts has brought you and mistakenly attritbute it to the increase in pop ratio. So you go all out trying to make a straight pop record. Shed all the quirks and edges that made it special and assume that, because of your inherent talent a straight pop record from you will be good because of your magic touch.

This is a kind of ‘homeopathic’ approach to songwriting. You dilute the active ingredient to the point where there isn’t any left but assume some sort of magical ‘memory’ in the end product will mean it still works.

this image proves absolutely nothing

Anyway the content of the fourth album is irrelevant. The point I feel stongly about – for no rational reason – is that bands should never ever stop after four albums. It leaves things hanging. A book with no final chapter. I’d rather a band I liked released a piece of shit fifth album than only did four. At least that would be a fitting testament to human fallibility.

Four feels unfinished. Phantom limb. It’s wrong.

Two albums is not quite as bad. But still wrong. Two albums suggests it wasn’t your fault. Most bands will only manage one. I doubt many set out to do that. Most will imagine a long career filled with stylistic twists and turns and constant artistic reinvention. Two albums suggests there was probably a boring reason to stop – the label dropped you, you split up, someone died.

So doing one album is fine. Doing three albums is perfect. Doing five should be the aim. Doing four is right out. Never ever do four albums. Two albums can be forgiven. Anything more than five is A-okay.

Case studies:

Neutral Milk Hotel – did one lo-fi album then one utterly perfect second album. Split due to songwriter having a breakdown. This affront to numerology is mitigated by all the self-released tapes they did. 7/10

My Bloody Valentine – Sort of did three albums if you count ‘Ecstacy and Wine’. Follow the proposed trajectory perfectly. Third album was the best, then they split. So far 10/10. However rumours of a planned fourth album are worrying – it will definitely be awful. This should not happen. Hear me Kevin Shields!

Pavement – Five albums and split. Top marks. Didn’t quite follow the trajectory. First two albums fit the template but third album was a misstep in that it was a revert to weirdness and is probably their worst one. ‘Brighten the Corners’ should’ve been the third one. Then that’d be fine. 8/10

The Knife – Three albums then hiatus. Third album a major move into the leftfield do doesn’t quite follow the rules but still definitely the best one. If they never come back then that’ll be fine. 9/10

Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Four albums! Aargh! No I don’t count a cassette limited to 33 copies. That’s silly that. First album, beautiful awkward mess. Hardcore fans (me) consider it the best. Second album refines ideas. Third realises those and brings them their widest audience. Textbook. HOWEVER then they release ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’ their fourth and likely final album. And not only do they stop there it’s also rubbish. Not quite homeopathy but certainly a tired retread of past glories. 4/10

Echo & the Bunnymen – Five albums in their original lineup. Not counting the late 90s stuff which was of varying quality but was essentially an extension of Ian McCulloch’s solo career. Fifth album basically shit but at least they released one. Peaked on the fourth though the third was pretty fine so a slight misstep there. Otherwise fairly respectable 8/10.

And so on… As I said this opinion is based on absolutely nothing but is still ineffably true. So there. What have learned? Everything and nothing. Amen.