How NOT to write about music – 145. 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 – 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.