Another week, another episode of Hugs and Kisses, a weekly column from Mr. Everett True, “roving ambassador” of Plan B Magazine, a title dedicated to writing about music (and media) with barely a nod towards demographics. As we’ve told you before, True is famous/infamous for all sorts of stuff, but we can encapsulate it in one word: grunge. — The SOC concierge
THIS WEEK: Designing buildings about sofas
I’m a big fan of drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs.
He figured long back that the whole of film criticism can be reduced to a simple body count: how many gratuitous tit shots, how many dead bodies, dismemberments, car crashes, near fatalities, space aliens, etc. It surprises me that someone—Simon Reynolds, say; or one of those fancy nobs who like to lecture over at Seattle’s EMP once a year—hasn’t done the same for music criticism. Gratuitous Sonic Youth cover: tick. Drum machine lifted from late Seventies French avant punk band Metal Hurlant: tick. Incomprehensible vocals, made even more indecipherable from close proximity to distortion pedal: tick. Hastily photocopied artwork featuring crude collages of bombs and cities: tick. Sarcastic songtitles that revel in their cleverness while spouting truisms: tick. And so on.
The fact that the above describes an LP sampler from The Niallist (And Out Of Nowhere…) is kind of beside the point. I’m trying to set some parameters here. Future generations of rock critics will bow before this obvious wisdom. (I sometimes feel that the biggest crime I did my chosen field was to prove that anyone could do it: opening the gates to thousands upon thousands of spawning, fawning wannabe rock writers.) I would give you more information about The Niallist, but I’m trying to avoid researching online. The Internet gave us Pitchfork. The only clues I can pass along are that: 1) the Sonic Youth cover is “Youth Against Fascism”; 2) the sarcastic songtitle is “The New Wave Of The Same Old”; 3) the CD comes with a covering letter stating that I may well one of the few people to appreciate it, as the composer is one of the few people to like my writing, and; 4) there’s a remarkably faithful (ie: lackadaisical) cover of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” thrown in at the end, which is even more irritating than watching the seminal NY duo perform live. And that’s a recommendation, cos irritation is vital.
Let’s stick with Mr Briggs—the format is limitless.
Gratuitous Hole steals: tick. Fearsome female screaming mixed with grungy guitars: tic…oh wait, see above. Loud/slow passages written by over-reaching musicians clearly once in love with the dynamics, if not the workings of, Nirvana: tic…wait, see above.
Nah, forget it. This device is crap. I’m starting to feel like I’m working for Rolling Stone or one of those other magazines that think all music should be a competition (or a school assignment) and appropriately graded. Ticks and crosses hardly come close to communicating the feral beauty of female two-piece Jolly Goods and their excellent Her.Barium exorcism (which, realistically, is where the early Hole comparisons begin and end: most two-pieces are still stuck wanting to be Lightning Bolt or The White Stripes, nice to see a pair branching out a little). Once again, I refuse to do the obvious and hit MySpace—and hence have to guess that songs like “Too Dumb To Love”, “Fuck” and (personal favourite) “Surplus People” in no way originate from American musicians, they’re way too psychotic and smart for 2008.
I’d guess German, at a pinch.
Hugs And Kisses Top 5
Five CDs that ET was sent today—and likes!
1. Marble Valley, Wild Yams (Sea Records).
Smart, sardonic, psychedelic (you see what I did there?) set of songs from former Silver Jews/ Pavement drummer Bob West and friends. Crap name, though.
2. Esiotrot, Seven Apples (CD-r).
If I hadn’t played with this charming, folksy, brass-textured Brighton combo in a local church a few years back, I’d be calling their charming, folksy, brass-textured album “post-Wave Pictures.” But I know better.
3. Stanley Brinks, Dank U (Ciao Ketchup)
Churning calypso arrangements? Tick. Cunning brass segues? Tick. Honesty, simplicity, Swedish subtitles? Tick. Journalist lifting direct from press release? Oh yes. It’s my main man formerly of Herman Düne, and you just know I’m gonna have this on heavy repeat for months to come but right now I have a column to file, so we’ll just have to trust to the gentle words of those lovable press agents.
4. Amebix, No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings (Alternative Tentacles).
I’m a big fan of yr anarcho-punk. As is Sepultura, Neurosis…Alternative Tentacles. This album kicks yr ass in so many different ways, it’s a fucking good job it’s so…wait a minute. Which decade am I writing in here?
5. Jennifer Gentle, “Evanescent Land” EP (Heron)
The amount of shit I get for hating The Cardiacs from Plan B forum users, I can’t believe. They were shit. This, on the other hand, is equally as unhinged, psychedelic, wonky and fast…but good. If you can ignore the Rocky Horror inclinations.