Six-pack: September’s best albums

October 5, 2008

Simply what it says, with added IMHO…

Mogwai, The Hawk is Howling (pictured)
(Wall of Sound – read a review at DiS)

TV On The Radio, Dear Science
(4AD – read a review at DiS)

volcano!, Paperwork
(Leaf – read a review at DiS)

Rolo Tomassi, Hysterics
(Hassle – read a review at Thrash Hits)

Lovvers, THINK
(Wichita – read a review at The Quietus)

David Holmes, The Holy Pictures
(Mercury – read a review at DiS)

October’s already ace, BTW: get Vivian Girls, Jay Reatard, This Town Needs Guns and Eugene McGuinness into your ears.

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British Sea Power at the BT Digital Music Awards

October 5, 2008

I went to the DMAs on Wednesday. Was okay – didn’t win owt (both DiS and Clash were nominated for awards) but the pie was edible and the few bottles of free red wine quaffable. Can’t say fairer than that. I’d feel different, obviously, if I’d personally paid for the ticket.

Met up with British Sea Power there, and spoke to Yan ahead of the band’s appearance at the awards (they were up, rather optimistically, for Band of the Year or some similarly titled award), for ClashMusic.com. Read the full piece HERE, and an extract below…

Tell me about this Cornish fort you recorded ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ in…
The fort was owned by the military, and they started doing exercises halfway through the recording. So you’d get a Chinook helicopter flying over, and dropping off a cannon. They’re impressive machines. I’m not into warfare, but the machinery and sounds involved are fucking amazing.

Not that you’d want it in your back garden, mind…
In this fort, you’d look out the window while doing a vocal, and you’d see these teenagers, new recruits, in full camouflage, with guns, sneaking around. They looked really innocent. The captain there heard me doing a vocal, for ‘Atom’, and he said it sounded worse than someone being tortured. And I got the impression that this was a person who’d actually heard someone being tortured for real…


Doll domination? Children, cover your ears

October 5, 2008

(Previously published HERE)

I don’t care for your counter argument: pop is educational. It has to be, based on personal precedents set. And because ‘Sesame Street’ uses songs. A great many things in this world would not be obvious to me without pop music. For example, without Ash’s ‘Burn Out’ I might have never properly twigged that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Okay, I would’ve… but every time I think about it I wouldn’t hear Tim Wheeler.

Pop is also aspirational: it bleeds into our dreams, moulding our hopes and doing away with out fears. It’s the great optimist: anything is possible if you believe. Which is why The Pussycat Dolls’ latest abomination of a single should be removed from playlists immediately.

A dance ensemble turned schlock-pop five-piece (very successfully), the California girls’ ‘When I Grow Up’ precedes the release of their second album, the questionably titled ‘Doll Domination’. The work of three writers with past credits including Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Sean Kingston, it’s predictably addictive, getting stuck in the brain like the nastiest tumour. And it’s equally bad for you.

Well, I say ‘you’; who I mean is the nine-year-old girls – their lives barely mapped, every possible career opportunity yet to be explored, all the potential in the world within them – who’ll hear it on the radio, previously impressed by first-LP ditties such as ‘Don’t cha’ and ‘Buttons’ – both raunchy numbers, but (comparatively) innocent enough of content. Do I wish my girlfriend was as hot as you? Sure. But do I want a nine-year-old girl hearing this track. Aw hell no.

The video is bad enough – nubile bodies flexing atop shiny cars, essentially a backwards knuckle-dragger’s fantasy scenario – but the lyrics… Really, no child should be subjected to these:

“When I grow up
I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star
I wanna be in movies

“When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have Groupies

“When I grow up
Be on TV
People know me
Be on magazines

“When I grow up
Fresh and clean
Number one chick when I step out on the scene”

So, when you grow up (but you are, Nicole – Wikipedia reckons you’re 30; and don’t give me that “read all the lyrics” shit – this is the HOOK) you want to be, in the following order: used and abused by money-makers out to exploit your debatable talents, you want to then use loads of other people’s money to do a load of things and never pay them back, you want to be in everyone’s face 24/7 ‘til you’re as ubiquitous on the goggle-box as fucking Kerry ‘Ooops all my money’s gone’ Katona and music telly parasite Lauren Laverne, and you want to bump and grind your way to the top ‘til your bits are withered and your face sags.

Or something like that. Basically: these things, goals, DREAMS are not the sorts of things children should be looking forward to. And onwards it rolls:

“I see them staring at me
Oh I’m a trendsetter
Yes this is true ’cause what I do, no one can do it better
You can talk about me
‘Cause I’m a hot topic
I see you watching me, watching me, and I know you want it”

I don’t want kids to be thinking of ‘it’! They should be thinking about… oh, I don’t know, killing more people on Grand Theft Auto, or stopping up late to watch freeview porn, or reading up on Rose West and adopting her as some sort of idol… anything but getting sucked into a fake reality concocted by idiotic songwriters for blank-faced mannequins, where morons rule the media and consumers are stripped of choice, reduced to absorbing such banality AND LIKING IT.

Oh.

The bitterly unsavoury nature of ‘When I Grow Up’ has ‘Dirrty’ sounding (and looking) like the theme tune to some CBeebies puppet show. Does Redman do theme tunes? He should… I’d much rather grow into a past-it rapper than a gristle-crotched Pussycat Doll’s idea of what is and isn’t successful.

Kids: never let a dancer tell you how to live your life. Just ask Michael Flatley’s ex.

(FYI: recent slowdown here is down to me now editing ClashMusic.com. Do check it out, yeah?)