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 – 44. The Young Gods

the young gods

I’ve always hated choice.

You follow one pathway, myriad others close down, and not always immediately.

When I arrived at Melody Maker, tail end of 1988, some would argue the paper’s halcyon days had already been and gone. Some would argue that my very arrival at the paper would bring about their imminent demise. The days of Swans, Pixies, The Young Gods and My Bloody Valentine. The arsequake league. The music that through its focus on low-end bass frequencies and malevolent, whispered acid grooves – its magical use of smoke, mirrors, warp sampling and volume – caused the nether regions of the body to wobble uncontrollably. Very male.

There was this, but I am not sure where this fits in with your time scale.

There was this, but surely this came at the tail-end of all the goodness?

By tail-end, all I mean is that somewhere along the line I stopped listening so closely.

I have no idea how different my life would have been if I had followed the paths of those who went (briefly) before me, continued sauntering down the fluid grooves and fertile, fecund sampling of Switzerland’s The Young Gods – maybe I too would have ended up locked, lost within the stifling miasma of NiN (one direction), post-rock nothingness (direction two), U2’s belching guitar drone (direction three) or maybe I would have taken on a happy daze and gone wafting down every last groovy hate fuck dance fest I could delirium dance my way through (four direction). Been a slave to Audioslave or dyed my pubes black.

Maybe I wouldn’t have.

Maybe I would be in precisely the same spot as I find myself in now.

But I do know that I shut down some vibrant enticing illuminating possibilities by refusing to engage directly with my new colleagues’ critical consensus – however magnificently argued, however richly flourished and explained – and by trying to strike out to find my own pathways. Fuckers.

I’ve always hated choice.

This one sounds like Soundgarden, but with a deep vein thrum basis.