July 24, 2005

don't send me no letters, sis

Let me be (among) the first to say it: that new Big Star record that's coming out at the end of August, "In Space," is awful. Awful. Apparently the conditions of recording it was that they had to find a label that would let them write the whole thing in the studio, and... well, I like spontaneous/"process" records just fine, but that's not what Big Star is good at. (Let's not even get into the "is this really Big Star with just Chilton and Stephens" thing; this interview with Andy Hummel suggests that he'd have been into playing with them if they'd been "willing to work real hard at home.") In fact, I suspect that when bands that have previously written songs, practiced them, maybe played them live, etc., start trying to write in the studio, that almost always becomes a shark to jump. The only counterexample I can think of offhand is the Ex's Instant, which doesn't quite count.

Otherwise: this is not a new trend, but this weekend I was going through a stack from the slush pile, & more struck than usual by the number of talked-about new bands who are almost entirely recycling things from 20 or 25 or 35 years ago. What's weird is that it's always the same movements & styles & specific bands (Gang of 4/Can/Tyrannosaurus Rex [MISTER DEVENDRA BANHART I AM LOOKING AT YOU]/The Beatles/Duran Duran/The Sonics/The Sonics/The Sonics...) that are getting recycled, especially by rock bands--nobody's looking sideways or diagonally. Would it kill someone to steal a little inspiration from Willie Mitchell instead? Ruth Brown? Cerrone, anyone? Slapp Happy?

Nob Dylan and his Nobsoletes' Positively 12 Stiff Dylans! is pretty much like what you'd guess from the premise: Rev. Norb from Boris the Sprinkler doing a bunch of Dylan covers, almost all from 1965, in a sort of punked-up semi-generic Lookout! style (actually it's on Alternative Tentacles, but you see what I mean), for no particular reason. But, you say, that's not really what you'd call a significant reinterpretation! Well, yeah. But if "Desolation Twist" were a single, I'd be leaping around about it anyway. (Rev. Norb, bless him, changes every verse's penultimate line to rhyme with "twist.")

How did it take me this long to go to the Laurelhurst Theater? I must go there more.

Posted by Douglas at July 24, 2005 11:50 AM | TrackBack

i've gotten to the point where i just shut down when i hear anything in that g4/xtc/orange juice nexus (maximo park, et all) - some of it is nice and all, but with so much new music coming out, and limited time, it's not worth the possibility of missing out on something genuinely new.

and what's with this clap your hands say yeah band's singer directly ripping off david byrne's vocal style? how can someone do this, not be called out on it, AND sell a billion albums on insound? let's push things forward people!

Posted by: Matt Wright on July 25, 2005 10:18 AM
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