Saturday, 19 February 2011

Alkaline Trio- Good Mourning

I don't rate Alkaline Trio as high as I should. They're not as cool as Blink-182 (I know Tom DeLonge is probably one of the least coolest people in music, but when I was 12 he was THE MAN) and they don't have the variety in voice that The Lawrence Arms have. On the positive side, for a Pop Punk band, they are a lot more experimental than their contemporaries. I can remember reading an interview with a member of The Lawrenc Arms where he dismissed fan favourite album 'Apathy And Exhaustion' for going through the motions. With Alkaline Trio you do not feel that. When you feel a song is about to take off, like Blink-182 and Lawrence Arms songs would, Alkaline Trio pull back from it. Like good sex it stops you from blowing your load too early, so when it eventually does take off it is even more ejaculatoraly than it should be. On that lovely, beautiful, romantic note I shall leave it. Don't have nightmares.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Why Be Something You're Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979-85

It's a good question. Why be something that you're not?

Detroit has a long glorious history of pop music. The home of Motown, the birth of Proto Punk with the Stooges and the MC5. In the present day they have Eminem representing in the world of Hip Hop. However when the early days of Hardcore Punk is looked at Detroit does not get a look in. Everyone is interested in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston and even New York who for the most part were years behind the rest of the country or doing their own thing with No Wave that the scene did not get going to the latter part of the 80s.

This aim of this book, I presume, was to alter that view somewhat. Detroit had a lively Hardcore scene. Its easy to forget, what with the blowing up of the alternative scene in the late 80s that Touch & Go originated in Detroit and only moved to Chicago later on. The scene was very much alive in Detroit. While initially taking its cue from the burgeoning L.A. scene, midwestern Hardcore Punk soon developed their own personality, which Rettman argues soon switched this around and the L.A. bands started to copy bands like the Fix and Necros. Refreshingly as well, the main Detroit bands had no problem having fun, getting drunk etc. This made them occasionally butt heads with the D.C. bands and sometimes led them to being beaten up. Similar to stories in other areas of the US the decline came when the scene started to grow and younger kids came through, who followed holier than thou ideals and all dressed the same. A music genre that came from not wanting to be the same as every one else, soon descended into a scene where everyone looked the same and those who did not were often met with violence.

Why Be Something You're Not is written by Tony Rettman in a style reminiscent of the Touch & Go 'zine. It is also padded out with verbal histories with all the major players of the scene (Tesco Vee, Dave Stimson, Corey Rusk, the guys from Negative Approach) and also equally impressive scores of flyers, photos and articles written in various fanzines and newspapers. This book really does give an impressive overview of the Detroit scene and I doubt that I will dismiss it as easily as I did when I look back at the great Hardcore scenes of the early 80s again.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Cauldron- Burning Fortune

NWOTHM (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal) is probably the dumbest name for a genre in quite some time. I blame Metal journalists for wanting to hark back to NWOBHM, but I don't understand why there always needs to be a 'New Wave' of anything. New Wave happened in the early 80s and featured people choosing to wear a shirt and tie, so was horrible. If this album was released 5 years ago it would merely be called Heavy Metal.

Coming out on Valentine's Day is this album by Canadian band Cauldron. Cauldron are a band that liked music between '82 and '86. Just giving this album a quick spin this is more than obvious and it is glorious because of it. Riffs, clean sung vocals this could have been released anytime in that period. Luckily for Cauldron it was released in 2011 when they could be the best band doing things like that, rather than competing with Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. I partly bought this album for my girlfriend on the back of the song 'All Or Nothing'. We both love that song. She hasn't listened to the album yet, but I promise she will love it too. Go buy this album so it does better than Radiohead's new one.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Brit Awards

It's the Brit Awards on Tuesday, apparently, and to celebrate that fact I will be going through each nomination and chosing my own winner for each award that will not match the actual winner. So up first is:

British Male Solo Artist
Hmmm... A few interesting choice. I presume Paul Weller is there, purely to make up the numbers. My choice would be Plan B, mainly because I like his first album.

British Female Solo Artist
I though Rumer was Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughter, but I guess she isn't. This is a really weak category. I don't really know. I suppose Paloma Faith is the most interesting.

British Breakthrough Act
Bruce Willis' kid, the woman who does the M&S advert and a bunch of others. Tinie Tempah is the one on the list that actually properly penetrated my awareness this last year.

British Group
Gorillaz are probably one of the best British groups that we have seen in a long time. Probably since The Verve and Oasis' heyday. So they should easily walk this.

British Single
Out of all the nominations I can only remember the Biffy Clyro cover and Florence & The Machine- You've Got The Love without looking them up. The X-Factor cover is a neutered version of a neutered song by a neutered band, so Florence wins.

Mastercard British Album Of The Year
Does this go to the act that had the most album purchases made with a credit card? I have to admit, not listened to any of these so I'll have to give it to Plan B- The Defamation Of Strickland Banks and pretend its exactly the same as his first album.

International Male Solo Artist
This is more like it. Several strong nominees here. Kanye West probably had the best album of these guys released in the last year, so he gets the nod. Plus he'll give the best acceptance speech of the night.

International Female Solo Artist
Ooooh my... Has Kylie Minogue even released anything this last year? Her name is probably to etched into this category to rub it out. I don't care. As she's playing Bestival I'll go with Robyn.

International Breakthrough Act
I want to see the entire Glee Cast up on stage. Every single one of them. Including the extras. And the autotune machine.

International Group
Another poor selection here. Arcade Fire is the only one I would go watch, so they win.

International Album
Another list of albums I haven't listened to. It's between Eminem and Arcade Fire for their previous albums. I have heard that Arcade Fire- The Suburbs is better than Eminem's album so they win another award. Yay!

Critic's Choice
This has already been decided. But looking at the nominees, I agree with Mr. Brit. Jessie J should win.

British Producer
Well, this seems like an exercise in back slapping if there ever was one. I have heard of John Leckie. He apparently produced The Coral's last album. But that hasn't received a Brit nomination. This seems totally bizarre.

So there we have it. My version of the Brits. Looking at this my version of BBC Breakfast will be claiming Arcade Fire and Plan B cleaned up with two awards each. Now when are the Grammys?