How NOT to write about music – 150. Hayley Williams

hayley-williams-makeup

Apropos of nothing, I came across this great review of an old Paramore single by Neil Kulkarni:

Ugh, yak, do you know what’s fucking up rock music in a big big way at the moment? Drummers. Terrible drummers. Drummers that can do impressive, can do the macho thing, can LOOK like they’re rocking out, let their hair fly, throw their arms into all the right ‘classic rock’ shapes, but have not an ounce of feel or humanity to anything they do. It’s not even about replicating machines being the problem, it’s that drummers seem to exist in a bubble, happy with the patina of ‘rock’ they visibly and audibly throw out around themselves and their kit, seemingly unaware or uncaring about whether they’re in any way helping out the band they’re in or the song they’re singing. ‘Daydreaming’ is not a terrible song (think Eve’s Plum b-side) but you can almost picture the cock behind the kit being so proud of his tumbles and rolls it damn near makes you sick, and derails any sense of flow or groove the song could’ve had. As bold and powerful and freespirited and rocking as a Primark AC/DC t-shirt. I totally blame Dave Grohl for this bullshit.

Well, she’s shed the drummer…

I first heard this last week on the home of all great new music, the Radio One Breakfast Show with Greg James, and absolutely hated it. Heard it a few times. Softened through partial osmosis. Unexposed to the challenge of challenging new music, stung into appreciation by its points of difference with Calvin Harris (say) and Lewis ‘grey’ Capaldi, secretly enjoying its grace and persistence. Over-performed, but that’s what she does, isn’t it? Heard it again. Thrilled by casual recognition and the long spaces between the silences. Cheered by the way that each time you think it might have ended.

It

hasn’t.

Simmering satisfyingly like a good brew of generic Sainsbury’s tea matched to a £3 box of Maltesers. Obvious but in a non-obvious way. Playful and a little dark.

Yesterday while I was listening to a guest lecturer talk about Gorillaz’s third album, and IammiwhoamI, I discovered this:

Last week, Twitter exploded with screenshots comparing Williams’ videos with those of Jonna Lee. People began to accuse Williams and her team of blatant plagiarism and artistic theft. The visuals are very similar, from the cocoon theme to the white morph suits. Many believe that Lee was subtweeting Williams and calling attention to the issue in the tweet below.

Capture

Seems somewhat tenuous. Not least because it seems to be Williams’ change of pace seems to be partly inspired by the continued rise of Billie Eilish. (“Give in” = “duh”. Loud/soft, up close breathing. No shouts. No calls. Easy slippage through beats and percussion, slight raise of tempo, slight release – dark, foreshadowed.)

Google asks, “Does Billie Eilish like Nirvana?”

As someone else argued:

Capture1

Love all this though. Saves me from having to describe the music.

It

hasn’t.

How NOT to write about music – 149. Otoboke Beaver

Otoboke Beaver

Absolute genius. First band to feature on this blog three times.

In their own words:
“This song is about unrelenting person. Such a person that insist to talk to you many times in spite of saying NO. It is not about specific person, but various experiences I think many people has had, especially on the internet. The internet has been good to Otoboke Beaver, but it can be a strange and cruel place. It’s ok if you don’t like our music. But when we get comments about things with no relation to our music, we wonder… do you really have so much free time like this?? 

This is also inspiration for our music video, directed by ONIONSKIN, who previously also directed our video for Don’t light My Fire.

Cover artwork was created by Otoboke Beaver and photographer Jumpei Yamada.
The body paint was drawn by Yoshie and  inspired by traditional Japanese (irezumi) tattoo. 
This dragon on Acco’s back expresses our anger with old fart.”

Related posts:

Overwhelming consensus demands that I feature this extreme noise terror from Japan. I do not have the slightest problem with that, indeed can only stand a few feet back from the action in a respectful daze and applaud with all my might.
How NOT to write about music – 73. Otoboke Beaver

And:

“How can they sing so fast, dad?”
“Oh, this one. [Sigh of recognition.] This is way too fast. [Exclaims happily.] I don’t know how they do the music that fast. [Laughs quietly.] How do they do the music so fast, dad?”
The return of Everett True | 165. Otoboke Beaver

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.