How NOT to write about music – 2. Mango


I have never hidden the fact I do not bother to listen to music that hasn’t been personally recommended to me. (No unsolicited demos.) In my time I have been a high visibility music critic, with any number of friends and contacts and enemies familiar with the sort of music I like and the sort of music I might like. Simultaneous with this, I have at regular intervals received over 100 new albums and tracks and singles a day.

I can not afford to waste time on shit that hasn’t been filtered already.

Afford is not the right word. It is too time-consuming to do otherwise.

If I ever do find myself listening to not-recommended music I am able to tell within the opening 10 seconds whether I will like the song or not. Nothing to do with packaging. Three seconds, not 10.

I have a kick-ass reputation for championing new music precisely because I behave this way.

If Gerard Cosloy (Matador) reckons I might want to interview Pavement before I’ve even heard Pavement, if Gold Mountain Management’s John Silva knows that I dislike Pearl Jam before I’ve even reported back to anyone about Pearl Jam, if Mac from Superchunk talks me into buying 75 US independent singles from one San Francisco record store in one go then… well, fuck. I am going to take notice of them. This does not mean they dictated my taste or my taste is anything other than my own. Just that I pay attention to the emphasis.

Also, it is never one individual recommending me music, but an accumulation of voices.

It works both ways. The number of bands who got A&R interest, who signed record deals, who entered bidding wars because Everett True and a handful of other individuals reckoned there must be something to them… well, it has to number in the single digits, at least. I suspect this was happening even when I was living in Brisbane in the mid 10s, writing for Collapse Board and latterly The Guardian. Not sure it still happens, though. Music criticism needs a certain amount of consistency and frequency to gain traction.

So. 2018. I find myself at a slight impasses. You cannot fake enthusiasm. Neither it is a good idea to…. Wait.

Yes, of course you can fake enthusiasm. I prefer not to, however.

By any interpretation you choose to take, Mango rock. It ain’t the kind of rock I sometimes throw your way, no denying – no heavy kick-ass metallic chundering guitars or chundering kick-ass heavy drums or that shit: but the words are enunciated and stretched out at volume with a velocity and fierceness that offsets the jazz-tinged funk with a pleasing counter. (See the way there I smartly separated the two genres?) I don’t really understand the quiet bits but I never really understand the quiet bits, although I do like the way they sound tentative, nervous, concerned they may be out of order. It’s very muso and trained but fuck it. It’s taken me over 40 years to admit this ain’t necessarily a bad thing.

The voice is The Voice and that is enough

So, wait. You may be wondering what the connection is. Straightforward enough. I mentioned on Facebook the other week that shortly I was to start a new job at BIMM London and – bam! Someone recommends Mango from BIMM London.

That’s it. Recommend away.


3 thoughts on “How NOT to write about music – 2. Mango

  1. Pingback: 10 Least Read Entries on How NOT To Write About Music | How NOT to write about music

  2. Thought one: That’s a really great song.
    Thought two: I’d really like to hear more.
    Thought three: could they not have tested the water for ten fucking seconds before settling on a name?
    Thought four: there are almost more bands named mango than there are actual fruits called mango.

  3. Pingback: 10 Least Read Entries on How NOT To Write About Music (April 2019) | How NOT to write about music

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