Blog on the Tracks
This week the inmates are running the asylum. You'll remember that I asked people to Right This Blog! It's Wednesday, or hump-day as many say. And today's guest post comes from Dave (not Doug). So we won't hear from Doug then. But we will hear from Dave (not Doug)...
Guest Blog: It sounded like a good, easy topic when I suggested it, but after the last three days of research, the vastness of the material became apparent - it seems that every man and his hip-hop dawg has said something about music or a musician, and every musician imaginable has said something about love, life, fame and taking drugs.
So here is what I found: the quotes that appeal to me. They can't be called the Greatest Musical Quotes of the last 75 years, even in my own opinion, as I now know it would take six months of research to settle on that list. They are just the ones that I found funny, witty, wise, scathing, poignant, illuminating, or just plain true, in the three days since Tuesday. I have added a comment or two of my own in brackets, which probably hasn't improved things, but hey, whose (guest) blog is it anyway?
First up, two from Billie Holiday:
"Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen and I was three."
This week the inmates are running the asylum. You'll remember that I asked people to Right This Blog! It's Tuesday, time to hear from Melon. Take it away, Melon...
Guest Blog: Have you watched Sound City? If you haven't, it's a documentary about a poorly run music studio in California that petered out and shut down. Dave Grohl bought their prestigious analogue sound desk for approximately a squillion dollars and now uses it in his band's personal studio because he's rich and he can afford it.
If you've seen Sound City, did you notice the point where it turned into a clichéd and tiresome whine about how "digital" has compromised the sound of modern music? Did you agree with its subtext about how great analogue is by comparison?
It's bollocks. Digital has changed the music industry, but it hasn't given us objectively better or worse records. What it has given us is everything analogue ever could, with more flexibility and at a better price. Anyone who tells you otherwise is quite possibly a disgruntled snob.
Just for reference, digital audio exists as zeros and ones (e.g. a binary-coded WAV audio file) and analogue is an actual physical representation of a sound, like the tape inside a cassette that unwinds all the time and your older sister has to wind it up for you and does it wrong and you eventually decide you don't like Mariah Carey, anyway. For this piece, I'll stick to the music production side of things for the sake of brevity.
This week the inmates are running the asylum. You'll remember that I asked people to Right This Blog! Welcome to the working week, first up is Robert Harrison. Take it away Robert...
Guest Blog: First off, you'd think a blogger would need to know a lot about a band he's about to drag through the coals. I don't. I hate the J & M Chain so much I have had no inclination whatsoever to get involved in their history. I only know there are two brothers and one of them is called Jim, that they're Scottish, that Bobby Gillespie (who I hate with near equal passion) was once a member of the band, and that their debut album was Psychocandy, the only J & M Chain album I've had the misfortune to have owned.
Here's what else I know. The Melody Maker was once fond of drawing an ancestral lineage from The Velvet Underground through to Ride that went straight through the Jesus & Mary Chain via My Bloody Valentine. I know the names of one or two other albums - Darklands, Honey's Dead, something about a Munki (?) and a B-side collection called Barbed Wire Kisses. If you're a fan and you can see I've made a mistake here, bail me out all you want, I don't care. I'm not even gonna give them the time of my day to do any research. I've done all the research anyone needs to write a blog-post like this and it's called Psychocandy. Why's it called that? I don't know. They probably thought it sounded cool and that was good enough for them.
Okay, so am I gonna pull out my copy of Psychocandy to play now, in order to write this hate piece? No, I'm not. I'm going to write it from memory. I couldn't stand to play it again. Here's everything I remember: white fuzz that occasionally splinters into feedback that brings pain to your ears. This effing album actually brought me physical pain and that's a good part of why I hate it so much. Now, plenty of people love this music - I understand that, but they're masochists obviously. And everybody has a little bit of masochism in them. I understand that too. When life's too easy or too boring, torture yourself. Why not? But what I hate about the J & M Chain is that they're not aware they're torturing you. They think they're making music. Their enervation and ennui is a tired old cliché.
The J & M Chain remind me of that Kafka story called A Little Woman. The narrator of that story knows that he exists only to torture a certain woman with the fact of his being. He can't do anything about it. Well, I'm the little woman, and the J & M Chain is the narrator of that story. My hatred of the band has moved far beyond anything rational. Apart from the physical pain and the clichéd boring fact of their pretentiousness, I can no longer remember what it is I hate about them, only that I can barely go on living in this world as long as those albums exist.
The best thing I read on the internet this week was this. A worthwhile piece - have a go on it. It sums up what so many writers feel, I'm sure; certainly in this internet-age of annoying comments that show a person taking offence with someone expressing their own opinion - the comment-maker never bothering to actually offer anything even vaguely approaching their own personal opinion, instead deciding to merely be outraged - until of course the next wee thing to be outraged about comes along. They arrive pretty swiftly these days of course. Thanks again, internet.
A nadir - of sorts - arrived yesterday for me. I wrote about awful band names and someone, upset with me pointing out that the band-name Biffy Clyro was awful, decided that I had neglected to offer any meaningful criticism of the music. Not really, that piece wasn't a review of the album - it was a post from a blog that is about music; a range of topics offered up daily for five-and-a-half years now. This one was about band-names, more so than it was about the music the bands with really dumb names offer up.
The comment ends by telling me there are "commonly worse names out there [than Biffy Clyro] like Simon, for example". Oooh - did ya feel the burn! So though this person cannot name their child Lucifer I expect that soon there'll be more than one Biffy Clyro on the planet. A strange thought, perhaps. Well, it's better than naming a child Simon, after all...(is now a good time to mention that a guy called Simon Neil is the lead singer of this Biffy Clyro outfit?)
A short post today, because I used up what would have been Friday's topic yesterday. So today I've got nothing - nothing but a wee advert and a wee reminder. And we'll make a topic out of it somehow; you can add some comments below if you like. Remember, it's opt-in. You can bring something to this internet-constructed hypothetical table if you like. You can also sit out if you like.
So, the reminder first: Right This Blog! kicks off next week. The winners were announced and so far only half of the six named have been in touch. Could be a short week off, it seems. So if you missed being chosen, check that post again and drop me a line. You have the weekend, after all. I'm calling you out for making a suggestion and then not fronting up (at this stage): Tim Machine, Melon and Robert Harrison.
This week I discovered Opposites - an album in a pile of CDs sent to me for potential review. Good lord it's awful. Really, really bad. The worst thing about it? The clue that it probably wasn't going to work out okay between me and them? The band's name. This group is called Biffy Clyro. Okay, they're Scottish - but that's not exactly an excuse here.
Apparently the band has tried to run a small handful of apocryphal stories past the press - including one where a band member was said to own a Cliff Richard pen, aka a "Cliffy Biro" and one drunken spoonerism later you have Biffy Clyro.
I'll say again, good lord. The story behind the horrific name is nearly as bad as the band's music.
I've been thinking a bit about really bad band names this week - because of this album. And also the new one from !!! I quite like some of the music this band makes, including new album Thr!!!er, but what a terrible name. It's designed to make you hate them. It's not clever. And I liked them a whole lot less when they started telling people the three exclamation marks stood for chk-chk-chk "or any repetitive sound". Ridiculous.
But !!! is at least making decent music. I've not seen them live but by all accounts they're a great live band - and I like a few of their records. The new one is definitely worth a listen.
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