morning afternoon means another episode of Hugs and Kisses, a weekly column from UK-based music writer Mr. Everett True, publisher of Plan B Magazine, a title dedicated to writing about music (and media) with barely a nod towards demographics. Last week, the Converse-footed crit Mr. True told you about a concert in Brighton, UK. This week, he informs you that he knows what Deborah Harry looks like. — The SOC help desk
^^ DCW = David Cronenberg’s Wife
THIS WEEK: Movin’ singles
New music. How can it relate to my current predicament? We’re making a major move shortly: and for the past few months, I’ve been stuck in sorting hell, increasingly manic, increasingly sleepless. Melodies and memories flit past as I transfer one more song to iTunes in preparation for the journey: boogie and funk and Seventies disco splendour (Sunday), former Pere Ubu singer David Thomas’ febrile, surf-flecked, pre-apocalyptic imagination (Saturday), the wistful, intricately intimate, guitar laments of Dirty Three’s Mick Turner (Friday). . . and so on.
In this weird twilight world where every song comes loaded with meaning and memory and, more often that not, regret (that we can’t experience every moment at once), what place do fresher, unclaimed sounds have in my day-to-day existence spent shuttling between the attic and lounge with one more empty box, one more cascade of cruelly corroded and cast-aside comics? I really don’t know.
David Cronenberg’s Wife, “My Best Friend’s Going Out With A Girl I Like” (forthcoming Blang single).
I’ve seen the main dude in this sardonic, dark Eighties-style independent band perform solo at antifolk (UK) nights a few times, and I’ve got to say I prefer his style shorn of friends and a drum kit. After all, what is antifolk if not the music of the bereft? He has a nervousness, an edge that is difficult to recapture in the solidarity and sterility of a studio: stuttering his way through pleasingly uncomfortable songs written from the paedophile’s viewpoint, head turned down and wishing he was a star, wishing he was anywhere but here today. This is fine: precisely the sort of vinyl music that I’m currently torn between keeping or flogging (if only anyone was interested—Noseflutes, I’m looking at you!) but I’ve got to say. Space is tight. Space is real tight. The song’s lyrical content can be extrapolated from the song’s title. Not always a good idea.
The School, “All I Wanna Do” (Elefant seven-inch).
On pink vinyl, and who hasn’t wanted to be in The Ronettes once in their lifetime? And who hasn’t wanted to be Tracey Ullman wanting to be in The Ronettes at least once in their bedroom (‘They Don’t Know’, to be precise)? (This is not a slag: I am keeping my Ullman vinyl—keeping it, I tell you!) It doesn’t hurt that main Schoolgirl is Liz, formerly of Yeah Yeah Yeahs-championed Welsh Sixties-heads The Loves, and that Liz is the sort of girl that everyone locally (and further a-field) has a crush on. Actually, the entire band is crush-worthy (in a bearded Swedish indie-kid way). . . you can totally understand why twee label par excellence Elefant are releasing this. Perhaps I’m only revealing my own roots in C86 when I talk about how much I adore this, but it’s on pink vinyl! Pink vinyl, I tell you!
The Pack A.D., Tintype (forthcoming Mint album).
Hey. You know the other week when I said I never read press releases? Guess what? I lied. I’m a fucking music critic, of course I read press releases. Rip ‘em off, bastardise them, twist their words, don’t bother even looking on-line to double-check their ridiculous stories: yep. I know my own trade, thanks. And respect to Hermana PR for coming up with a one-sheet (for this admittedly kick-ass female duo from British Columbia) that doesn’t mention The White Stripes once. Not once. Leadbelly, yes. Janis Joplin, present and correct. The Sonics, The MC5, Jonathan Richman (eh?). . . all accounted for. The White Stripes. . . not even the faintest sniff. Ah, come down off it! Who the hell d’ya think yr fooling?
Magic Wands, “Black Magic” (forthcoming Ark seven-inch/digital download).
. . . on the other hand, press releases can protest too much. No matter how much this girl-boy duo—recently caught playing at ‘industry hotspot’ (yawn) SxSW—may like Blondie, Blondie they sure ain’t. What they are is a watered-down Dandy Warhols, which bearing in mind Dandy Warhols were a watered-down whatever damn band came before them, is pretty damn aqueous. Oh, and Dexy does not look like a ‘young Debbie Harry.’ I know. I’ve met Debbie Harry.
Subtle, “Exiting Arm” (forthcoming Lex album).
Everything of a certain rhythmic bent that comes from America nowadays sounds like Modest Mouse circa 1998 (the last time I listened to them) or perhaps Animal Collective to me: with different textures and voices and instruments of course, but all variations on a theme. I’d kinda got it into my head that Subtle practised articulate Bay Area hip-hop—woozy, self-immolating indie-boy hip-hop, but hip-hop nonetheless—so this comes as something of a surprise. Maybe I have, what, sound deafness? But—to briefly return to the moving motif—this most certainly ain’t even going to be a contender for a keeper. It’s way too much of a downer.
Navvy, 4 Songs EP (forthcoming Angular seven-inch)
The Long Blondes love Navvy. I love The Long Blondes (especially their new Giorgio Moroder direction). This spunky indie-pop makes my head hurt: not necessarily a bad thing, but it is when I’m surviving on an average of four hours of sleep a night. Can we leave it at that?
The Octopus Project, “Wet Gold” (forthcoming Too Pure seven-inch/digital download).
Tons of bands get compared to Stereolab. Have you noticed? I have a theory about this—it’s because Stereolab were good. The Octopus Project are the sort of band male critics at Pitchfork like. Can we leave it at that?
Hugs And Kisses Top 5
Five songs that are totally great for moving stuff around to. Um. If your name is Everett True.
1) Dr Feelgood, “I’m A Man” (from the 1975 live album Going Back Home). Actually, all of this hoary, bluesy pub rock album is surprisingly great background music: probably cos it’s so mindless (let’s be nice, call it instinctual).
2) Curtis Mayfield, “Pusherman” (from the compilation album Blaxploitation Vol 1). Funk, full stop, is great for zoning out.
3) Sister Sledge, “Lost In Music” (from the compilation album Blame It On The Boogie). My entire next series of Village Voice columns are going to be revisionist tomes, claiming I hated post-punk all along.
4) The Wipers, “Is This Real?” (from the three-CD set Over The Edge). . . . um, except for anything from Portland, of course. . .
5) The A-Lines, “Can’t Explain” (CD-R). Angst, London 2004 girl group style.