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THE F.U.N.K 2014 END OF YEAR LIST - MY YEAR IN MUSIC

Couldn't believe most of the end of year lists I've seen. Not just cos I've never heard or listened to any of the artists who have featured, I've come to expect that in recent years not just cos of general decrepitude but also as my estrangement from the industry accelerates through  a mutual forgetting, as the footfall of jiffybags through my door dries beyond a trickle to outright silence and emptiness. An exile that suits us both, it's just that now I can't waste anyone's time talking about all that white music I don't really understand anymore because I never get sent it and have so little time to seek it out. Thought it might happen eventually, I'm a lazy lazy man and they're getting younger and younger.

   Anyhoo, no, it wasn't the content(ment) of the lists that threw me,  I just couldn't believe the TIMING of the lists. In much the same way that shops start hawking Xmas shit as soon as the Halloween tat is taken down so I couldn…

THE T.REX TRILOGY IS COMPLETE

IAN CRAUSE - THE SONG OF PHAETHON

IAN CRAUSE  THE SONG OF PHAETHON (Bandcamp)
   I worry about my friend Ian. Going through some tough times. Aren’t we all? Yeah, but not all of us have created one of the albums of the year and seen their work utterly unheralded. I thought that ‘The Vertical Axis’, Crause’s masterpiece from late 2013 was something it would take a while  for the ex D.I frontman to move on from, so stunning an inversion of all musical rules and habits was it, so total was its blazing of a trail, scorching the earth behind it, making forward motion the only option. He’s found a way though. By pushing ‘Songs Of Phaethon’ back out there, three songs from his recent past, a call, a zenith and a fall. Three songs that utterly reconfigure your expectations of what listening to music can be.  It’s music that, as you listen, scares you because it’s rubbing so much music out, erasing so much of the timewasting retrograde cowardice of contemporary pop, not ‘introducing’ you to a new kind of music but plunging you i…

Band Aid 30: Love Can Kill You

Hey, they're not making it easy for me to get behind this. I think part of the problem with Band Aid, both in its original 1984 incarnation and its new re-tooled 2014 version, is the utter fucking horribleness of everyone involved. If we're being forensic then we could blame Michael Buerk for starters. Michael Buerk's currently making 150 grand for appearing on a I'm A Celebrity, and could last week be heard on the open turd-strewn sewer that is The Moral Mazedefaming a victim of rape. It was Michael Buerk who helped break the Ethiopia Famine story in 1984 and at that time, he had a choice as a journalist, to represent the famine and suffering as an act of nature or an act of politics. Fatally, as he continues to do, Buerk chose to treat us like idiots, giving out a totally simplistic and false portrayal of the situation that inevitably led to simplistic solutions, a headlock of simplicity that's endured ever since in most reactions to 'third world crises'.…

The Same Grim Boat: some more thoughts about my 'proper' job

THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. FOR FEAR HAS ME LYING AS WELL

 An emotionally perceptive student said to me late this week. 'You hate us, don't you?' I was flustered. Nailed me. I need a weekend to recharge, prepare. Teaching, to a large extent is about confidence and preparation creates confidence. Preparation impossible with teachers workloads at the moment. Gone from a time when you'd look forward to the holidays to looking forward to the weekend to looking forward to the end of the goddamned day. I'm worried that my frustration with the job is filtering through to students. Who deserve that ire the least. Thinking, with the morning sickness, the pit of fear the stomach hasn't experienced since games/P.E days at school, why I'm still doing this. A feeling amped up massively when I get home (tearing off the lanyard that annoints me with dread every time I put it on) and read the latest comments from our education secretary.

Here's what Nicky Morgan said, as…

SPAIN, THE GARAGE, LONDON, 1995, LIVE REVIEW, MELODY MAKER

MANIC STREET PREACHERS, ASTORIA, LONDON, 1994, LIVE REVIEW, MELODY MAKER

(photo by Pat Pope, full text)  MANIC STREET PREACHERS  ASTORIA, LONDON  SORRY, lifelong fan, but I’m a new convert. I got into them a week ago and here I am. (They start with “Faster and, after the dub and horrorcore they’ve played, it jarrs and fits perfectly.) OK, see it ain’t attitude cos anyone can do that, just cock a snook and suck your cheeks. It ain’t glamour. Glamour is boring. Glamour is loud pretty people who hug, hug, hug, giggling at your geek self all night. And it ain’t rock’n’roll; it was your rock’n’roll that made a nigger-hater the King, your teddy boys who Paki-bashed for Mosley, Notting Hill 1958, your rock’#n’roll build on SAMBO DON’T SELL. I ain’t interested and the Manics are way beyond that. (“Yes” is Stjepan Mestrovic’s “Balkanisation Of The West” turned punk anthem, as if it could be any more punk. No higher compliment exists.)    The four founding points of Manics songs – one: modern life is untenable. Two: no one ever gets used to loneliness. Three: if tr…

GREEN DAY - INSOMNIAC REVIEW, MELODY MAKER 25/10/95

New Nineties US Edition - LABRADFORD: 20 Unanswered Questions

****UPDATE: http://www.brainwashed.com/common/htdocs/discog/krank185.html****

In writing, chasing the people I wanted to talk to in A New Nineties, some of them never got back to me. Rodan. And Labradford. Sent these questions to the three of them on the 5th March 2013. Never got an answer. I know why, I think. The questions are appalling. But they sum up what I think about their still-amazing music. If any of Labradford see this, I'd still like to know your answers. Here's the original E-mail.
"OK guys, yes these are rambling, vague and somewhat unfocussed but I am rambling, vague and somewhat unfocussed so all apologies. To be fair, I start all over the place then get more specific -  answer anything you deem fit. Thanking you again in advance and all apologies if any of these questions bug the hell out of you. Waited 20 odd years to interview Labradford so any answers you can give are massively appreciated. As ever, thanks so so so much for the amazing music you …

STRANGE U: EP#2040

STRANGE U
EP #2040
(Bandcamp)
The official word, again, is that hip-hop's played out. Lost its musical power and innovation, dumbed down into a rotation of monomania, misogyny, violence. The official word is as dumb and lazy as everand as ever, is not listening.

(Real fucking lazy. I mean, even accepting your US-centric myopia,  a few weeks from Ferguson and THIS sounds sharper than ever and don't you dare tell me that ANY OTHER TYPE OF POP on the planet is saying anything even close to it).

   But why are you holding your pisscup out to the States for anyway? Why do you care about 'realness' anyhoo? When the only 'realness' that's gonna help right now is a commitment to transforming what's real in determinedly lurid cartoon ambition, a focus on fantasy that can unpick those damaging fantasies that chain us to cliche and stereotype and liberate those fantasies that might unchain us, that might make us not just too big for our boots but make our boots MASS…