How NOT to write about music – 147. Vira Talisa Dharmawan

Vira Talisa Dharmawan

Well. I have had cause to comment on my delight on the way YouTube algorithms can work in my favour, but man. This is a delight. Laid back Indonesian pop with a slight jazz inflection that goes for a walk on the beach and turns its shoulder just when you think you might say hello and some gorgeous restrained harmonies that make you want to simply slip the whole thing on again and wallow in subdued sunken delight. It ain’t nothin’ but an easy listen’ jag to be fair – cocktail lounge dimmed lights party music, the sort of which was briefly in flavour 25 years or so ago – but done with such a charm and easy grace, I would be a fool to deny its pull and I ain’t nothin’ but a fool for yr singing babe, nothin’ but a fool.

Breezy retro pop, Vice calls it – or, as they say on YouTube, “Parah kalian yg kesini gara2 fur :v wkwkwk” and I can only triple that.

Reminds me of that review we ran on Collapse Board seven years ago that attracted so much hatred and derision.

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The comment, not the music.

How NOT to write about music – 146. Green Day

Green Day

I note with interest the new billboard advertising campaign for the forthcoming Green Day album. Here are five alternative listings if their record company should choose to do a follow-up…

ONE

  • No features
  • No Swedish songwriters
  • No trap beats
  • 100% pure recycled riffs

Green Day
Father of all…
OUT NOW!

TWO

  • No features
  • No Swedish songwriters
  • No non-Caucasian listeners
  • 100% pure recycled riffs

Green Day
Father of all…
OUT NOW!

THREE

  • No features
  • No influences from after 1993
  • No non-Caucasian listeners
  • 100% pure recycled riffs

Green Day
Father of all…
OUT NOW!

FOUR

  • No new ideas
  • No influences from after 1993
  • No non-Caucasian listeners
  • 100% pure recycled riffs

Green Day
Father of all…
OUT NOW!

FIVE

  • No new ideas
  • No influences from after 1993
  • No non-Caucasian listeners
  • 100% pure recycled riffs

Green Day
Father of all bullshit
OUT NOW!

How NOT to write about music – 145. Jolly Goods

JOLLY-GOODS

Sometimes, the direct approach works.

Hi Everett, how are you? We were in contact two times in the past 12 years (wow) and you wrote some good stuff about our music (see messages above). My band Jolly Goods just released a new album and I thought you might be interested. Here is a link to our new music videos: I hope you like it! Greetings from Berlin, Tanno Pippi

Sometimes, I appreciate the human contact – any sort of contact – and all due respect to my colleagues still bravely trying to eke out a living and some degree of interest by writing press releases from what often is damn ok music, but if someone is going to link me to some music they believe in then I would much prefer they do it direct and not via a mailout because hell I sure as shit do not get paid for this and it wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t either so come on let’s buck this trend of no human contact and no emotional pull or sway and pretend we all still care and support each other even if sometimes we patently don’t

Sometimes, the direct approach – see, for example, Onomatopoeia Records

Now, here’s the deal. Last time I wrote about Berlin’s Jolly Goods I picked up on some sort of Amanda Palmer connection and a Little Annie vibe – I have been mildly obsessed with both musicians in my time as a critic, hence the comparison points. Also, some Riot Grrrl perhaps and some “feral beauty” (whatever the fuck that meant). That was some years ago, as already indicated, and I sure as shooting a straight stick at a barrel full of giant oranges must have had some reason for doing so… but now? Well, bands move on and my hands move on and I cannot hear any of that stuff in here now, except for the feral, wastrel beauty of course and a slow-burning sexual menace that perhaps mirrors Palmer in execution if not intention, and a whirligig delightful obscure fairground-esque feeling (this music deserves to be played two in the morning, every morning for a week).

I mean, you would delight and break out in blotches of colour if this music sidled up to you in a club and offered to buy you a drink. We can all dream and ascribe human attributes to non-human forms can’t we? I mean, clearly you would be having a good time if this music had sidled up to you in a club and determined that you were its play-partner for the night (or week) and that yes, you both would be having a good time.

Last time round, I mentioned curmudgeons but why the hell would I do that this time round? Oops. Makes me want to move to Berlin and become a groupie all over again.

The end.

My favourite song remains the one I have not yet heard.

How NOT to write about music – 144. White Shoes & The Couples Company

White Shoes and the Couples Company

Don’t discount all YouTube algorithms – sometimes, they work.

Just because I love you, some cracking bossa nova from Indonesia.

Just wonderful.

WHITE SHOES & THE COUPLES COMPANY IS A SMALL BAND THAT INFLUENCED BY INDONESIAN MOVIES SOUNDTRACK FROM THE 70’S AND INSPIRED BY ACOUSTIC SPIRIT OF 1930’S CLASSIC JAZZ MUSICIANS. UPDATED WITH CLASSIC STRINGS ARRANGEMENTS, RETRO DISCO BEAT, EASY LISTENING ACOUSTIC BALLADS, AND SOME TUNES FROM VINTAGE KEYBOARD TOYS THAT MADE IN 1970’S.

 

How NOT to write about music – 143. Kurt Cobain

16

Here is the original transcript.

Seattle, 1994

I’m walking through an airport, a bag of vinyl records under my arm.

I’m watching the lights sparkle and twinkle over the city of Seattle – my favourite sight in the world – as tears crease down my face, and I’m wishing I was anywhere but.

I’m in a hotel room, incoherent rage coursing through me and just as rapidly dying away again. I make a great show of pouring the remains of my whiskey bottle down the sink but it’s meaningless. “Have you heard the news,” cipher after cipher asks me on the phone. “Have you heard the news?” Oh, is the news important then, all of a sudden?

I’m dully asking the check-in desk whether they have any cheaper flight tickets because I have to get some place and I have to get there now. They find me cheaper flight tickets, half price death special.

I’m talking to my friend Eric on the telephone. He’s in LA and I’m in Ohio, and he’s telling me that he and his party want to meet me at the residence. Need to meet me at the residence. I want to know what to do and he’s telling me that I should go there. Now. I want to know what to do, and in the background behind his airport pay phone I can hear a babble of voices, many raised. He says he’ll send a limousine for me. He says that’s what will happen. I want to know what will happen. He says he’ll send a car for me. He’s in LA and I’m in Cincinnati. We don’t talk about it.

I’m walking through the airport to the departure lounge and Steve’s taken my records from me and I have nothing with me, no hand baggage, just a passport and an old pair of jeans.

I’m in Mark’s apartment and I’m looking at my jeans and saying something about how maybe neither of us care – and he certainly wouldn’t have given a damn – but it feels disrespectful. It’s not raining outside. It’s fucking beautiful and Mark says something about that, about how weather changes moods. I cut my toenail badly, clipping it with an unfamiliar tool. The TV is on momentarily. Loads of sheep baaing in the field. We switch it off.

I’m on the plane and Seattle is twinkling and I want to stay circling the city forever. I think of all the people who’ve met me in Arrivals over the years. No friends are meeting me today, just a chauffeur who refrains from talking. The first time I landed in SeaTac it was snowing so thickly we couldn’t see the ground until the wheels hit the tarmac and even then we couldn’t see the ground. The tears spiral around my face, dried on there by the years. I’m on an airplane going nowhere. I have nothing to listen to.

I’m in a limousine and there seems to be some kind of roadblock up ahead, a scrimmage of reporters and police officers. We’ll never get through that. We’ll have to go round, won’t we? The driver turns round and looks at me, almost for the first time. “That’s our destination, buddy.”

I’m up in a bedroom and people are crying.

I’m standing by a winding staircase, and people are crying and shouting.

I’m hugging myself. I’m talking on the telephone to my mother, wondering how she’s managed to track me down to a telephone booth in an American airport. I’m missing my lost friends, badly.

I’m in a corner, and the opposing factions try and talk to me. I have nothing to say, no bag of records to show everyone to enthuse them with, to make them laugh or something. I have no stories or funny vomiting acts. Mark comes over, and says nothing.

I’m in a hotel bathroom, watching the remains of the bottle disappear down the sink.

I’m standing outside a fast food joint, looking at the sun.

I’m wondering if anyone’s ever going to want to listen to stories again.

Illustration: Vincent Vanoli

You can still buy the book. Send £13 via PayPal to ramonesfan79@yahoo.co.uk

 

How NOT to write about music – 142. Grrrl Gang

Grrrl Gang - Pop Princess sleeve

I am enthused. Let me correct that. I am super-fucking-enthused. A three-piece from Indonesia who cite “the Glasgow/Bellshill scene including Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines, The Pastels & BMX Bandits and […] Talulah Gosh and Heavenly”? Already, I’m sold. I mean fuck supporting copyists and all that shit: we are talking about a band that draws inspiration from something that was happening 30-35 years ago from an entirely alien culture to their own. More importantly: a band who – like my very own French darlings The Wendy Darlings – totally get what made all those bands so wonderful the first time round. Always gotta love shit like that. Even when the guy sings, I still feel shivers forming on top of my shivers forming on top of my goosebumps forming on top of my delirium tremors.

C86 was never actually this great. Rather, it was – but only in limited bursts. So here is another brief burst of star power, 35 years later.

The only downside of this college indie pop/rock band from Yogyakarta is that – despite the fact they are called Grrrl Gang – there is one female, two males. Whatever. This next song is possibly the most wonderful of the whole wonderful bunch, recalling as it does the twin nirvana peaks of The Pastels circa Truckload Of Trouble and sweethearts Tracyanne & Danny.

Or maybe this is even finer:

Plus: A band that write a song called ‘Guys Don’t Read Sylvia Plath’, a song that “takes a jab at the expectation for women to stay at home and take care of the kids that is still persistent in Indonesia”? Damn straight, Damnably.

Perhaps you are not enthused by this at all, though. Perhaps you would rather – like 64m other people – watch Shakira and J.Lo’s halftime show from the recent Superbowl. Whatever. Your loss… although that is for you to decide, not me.

Me. I’m going to stay home and dream…

Please say you’ll play a show with me when you make it across to the UK!