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Showing posts from April, 2012

Wu-Tang Clan: Martial Law (Melody Maker, 1997)

"THE NEXT Wu-Tang Clan album will be in the year 2000, and we'll follow it up with a comet. A comet. Then an earthquake. Then Pestilence. We're gonna set off the New World", The RZA, 1997 

Public Enemy's fall from grace left hip hop without a heroic focus. Enter WU-TANG CLAN, a crew from Staten Island whose ever-changing line-up has produced more solo albums than you can poke a stick at and rewritten rap's rule book

STRETCH LIMO. Ice white. In the front, a chauffeur – looking pissed off, chewing a toothpick for courage, dreaming of Sinatra. In the back, looking backwards, an MTV anchor woman – clutching a mic for grim life, dreaming of easier jobs, scanning with increasing anxiety the unknown New York streets the limo is now winding its way through. Facing her, a rap star – white suit, gold jewellery, the works. Cooing babe on each arm, kids playing at his feet, a bottle of Moet perpetually jammed in his slurring mouth, talking drunken nonsense, he leans forwa…

"You'll never be this uncool again."

Back in FKN AGES AGO the greatest editor IPC were too damn stupid to hire, Everett True, told me he was starting a new music magazine called Careless Talk Costs Lives and that he wanted me to write a column about Metal. In a similar state of dazed penury I agreed and they became increasingly unrelated to metal and a bit whiney. Still, people seemed to dig 'em so I'll be putting them up here now and then, in order. This is the first one, from issue 11 (CTCL counted down from ish 12 to ish 1).

"This is why I now have automatic limbs"

So I got in the Darpacoptor and hummed up to his eyeline. Eye as big as Enceladus. Step down, gingerly traverse his metal sockets hopping mile-high rivets in my jet boots , always the immortal strength of mortal weakness singing through the retinal lakes I swim through, flaws so deep in the iridium irises they shoot back supersized light beams concave. This is hard: when you interview a real superhero, for that is what Kashmere is, you’re aware of something buzzing under the words, some elemental filament of resistance you can’t get to,  glowing like kryptonite inside, the secret identity he can’t reveal. That planet-wide steel-trap swings open and an abyssal rumble issues forth: “I’m in my own world. I have unique views and approaches to making music and its hard to find common ground with people. Even though hip-hop is my heart,  I still don’t feel like I'm 'part' of it. I see myself as an observer. And that’s real.”

OK, to even be privy to this transmission you…

The Neil Kulkarni guide to being a record-reviewer

(15:35 July 13th, 2009, Drowned In Sound as commissioned by Everett True, lashed down in a moody morning)

Ten bits of advice from someone without a clue – the Neil Kulkarni guide to being a record-reviewer...

Words: Neil Kulkarni

1. Love language. To the point where you wonder where it stops and you begin.

2. Realise where you stand. Not in relation to the record but in relation to the record business. You’re something less than the shit crapped out by the maggot that feasts on the shit crapped out by the rabid dog that is the music biz – if at any point you start thinking that what you are doing ‘matters’ in a bizness sense you’re fucked, if at any point you reckon you’re anything more than a piddling-peon in place to rubber-stamp or reject product, then think again. The biz will use you if you say what they want, if you don’t they won’t – be mentally clear about your own utter irrelevance before you even start or be ready for a steady diet of disappointment your whole working life. M…

Don't Know Why I Can't Play: Mixnotes 4


1. FLEETWOOD MAC - Save Me A Place 
I'm a Mcvei skipper. Straight to Stevie & Lindsay's songs. Of which this is one of his best.
2. PAVEMENT - Zurich Is Stained
Only go back to the first 3 Pavement albums ever. You think it's easy but you're wrong. I am not one half of the problem. 
3. SUPER FURRY ANIMALS - Citizens Band 
Normally hate hidden tracks cos they're nearly always poop and I dislike the smugness of their hidden nature. Was a genuine delight though to accidentally wind back BEFORE the beginning of 'Guerilla' to hear this. A band that can tuck a song this good away somewhere where most people won't find it is a band with an almost frightening confidence. Up there with 'Sex War & Robots' as one of SFA's sweetest serenades.

4. BREEDERS - Doe 
"Pod" is the one. What a drum sound. It still breaks my heart that Kim Deal never fell in love with me when I was 15.  But I guess staying in my r…

“Hello? Could you call back in ten minutes please? I just need to get my shit together”

Chapter & Verse 1. In the beginning there was Asbestosdeath. Power-trio from San JoseCalifornia, couple of singles coughed out before splitting. The rhythm section, Al Cisneros & Chris Haikus, went on to form Sleep with likemind Matt Pike. Stoner overlords, creator of the mighty 'Vol 1' & 'HolyMountain' albums in the early 90s, Sleep are a legend in sludge, perhaps the ultimate distillation of the stoner spirit. Broken by label idiocy, Pike formed High On Fire, Haikus & Cisneros became Om. 05's 'Variations' and 06's 'Conference Of The Birds' suggested that the duo had finally found the real freedom Sleep couldn't satisfy, the music some mindmelting invocation of forces Tibetan, medieval, metal and monstrous. Yesterday, some clown gave me Cisneros' landline. Today, I lift up the speaking device, punch a long list of sacred numbers into it and hold my breath, trembling with anticipation as I wait for the voice of God, …



GENUINELY gonna keep this quick, and brief. Before Spring happens just need to wrap up the last two months. Hip-hop, perhaps more than any other genre of music, reflects the seasons in a direct and clear way.  Roundabout now, you’ll start finding rap tracks beginning to feel sunlit again, emerge from the darkness and cold of the last few months and start drowsily hinting at summer, the freshly hibernated wide-eyedness of what you’ll hear giving way to a sun struck delirium come June. Before that starts happening let’s grab these last few moments of ice and dread 2012 will give us. As usual, this list is entirely unfashionable and for the first time in my life I’m gonna use age as an excuse. I’m an old man and it shows in the simplicity of my needs. All I care about is bass, something fat and rubbery and warm to snuggle up to.  Which I’ve mainly been getting from the USA in 2012.
Firstly though, one last thing …