Sixty for 60: 5. Alpha Maid

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my Facebook friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am now 33 years older than Kurt Cobain when he died. Enough folk came forward for this to make a decent blog series (assuming that my writing is still up to the task).

Today, it is the turn of Dylan Nyoukis to make a recommendation – ‘SUM1’ by Alpha Maid. As The Wire magazine says about the video in its typically deadpan manner: Taken from Alpha Maid’s forthcoming five track EP Chuckle, available via CANVAS from 19 March. The video was directed and edited with friend and collaborator Adrian Aldihni in Sydenham Woods, London, December 2020. OK then. Introductions over.

Maybe you should just listen to the music and cut through all this bullshit.

NOTE TO ANY PASSING STUDENTS: You can derive more information and context from the above paragraph then it may seem at first sight. First up, what is The Wire magazine? What connotations do you derive from its name, what associations can you make? Is ‘SUM1’ by Alpha Maid (for example) likely to be bro country rock, landfill indie or music in the style of Lewis “the new boring” Capaldi? If not, then what? Will is be throbbing and pulsating with sexual desire and WAP pussy innuendo, will it help to orientate or disorientate the listener or do neither? Will the video be filmed within some woods (see above) – and if so, what does this signify? In shot? Blurred? What then? These questions are not designed for you to second guess what other people think. The choices and interpretations you make are for you alone. (Unless you choose not to let them be.) WHAT DOES the fact the video was filmed in woods SIGNIFY??? ANY thing? Anything. The choice of band (artist?) name – what does this denotate? Is there anything to be read into the music’s release formats, the title of these release formats, choice of label, choice of video director/editor? And so forth. Do some research. How about the Facebook friend who recommended me this music – is it worth tracing back through their name and see what they’ve been up to? DO some FUCKING RESEARCH.

Five tracks. Why five?

It reminds me a little of that arsequake stuff Reynolds and Stubbs were so hot on, tail-end of the 1980s. A.R. Kane, Bark Psychosis. Lush. (No, not the fucking band. A descriptor.) You don’t know what the fuck I am talking about, and furthermore would prefer it if your posterior was doing everything but wobbling with pure physical delight? More fool you. LOOK IT UP. Or don’t. Whatever. I’ve had it with you lazy Joes for today.

Listen to the music.

How NOT to write about music – 137. My Bus

My Bus - Our Life In The Desert

Don’t talk about the process.

Don’t talk about the detritus.

Don’t make references to the past.

Don’t make references to what might never happen.

Don’t get personal.

Don’t repeat yourself.

Don’t linger.

Don’t attempt to describe the music.

Don’t attempt to engage with the music.

Don’t give up.

Do reinforce key words. My Bus. Our Life In The Desert. My Bus. Our Life In The Desert album review. Onomatopoeia Records. My Bus – Our Life In The Desert, a new album out now on Onomatopoeia Records and available via Rough Trade Records, among other places.

Do not lie.

Do not repeat. Do not do what I am about to do:

My Bus are Joe Cassidy and Gary McKendry. As Butterfly Child and Papa Sprain respectively they were restless parallel adventurers in the early days of UK dream-pop. They released EPs for AR Kane’s label H.ark! and then for Rough Trade. They blazed radical trails for music, burned bright and then faded away. Now they have combined to form My Bus. Our Life In The Desert is one of the richest and most emotional dream-pop entities of any era. They combine Gary’s love of dissonance and Joe’s love of melody/composition. It is a deeply nostalgic record born out of love and a friendship across decades.

Do not be ambivalent in your praise.

Do not leave your readers in doubt as to your opinion.

Do not attempt to match the metre of the music in the metre of your prose.

Do not leave spaces for others to fill in.

Do not leave these spaces.

Do not leave those spaces.

Do not give up.