How NOT to write about music – 122. Hurtling

Here is what you should know about me.

  1. I don’t listen to music these days.
  2. I don’t communicate with people these days, outside of work.
  3. I suffer from depression, loneliness.

I know that on the rare occasions I listen to music (now, for instance) it immediately serves to lift my mood. It affords me a high – artificial, temporary or authentic WHO GIVES A SHIT, what matters is the feeling. You may query why I do not listen to music constantly when I am alone (outside work) to counter the effects of 2) and 3).  That is a reasonable question. The answer lies in the very nature of 2) and 3). Plus, I am still beating myself up 18 months after my divorce. (Do I think I am a bad person? Probably.) There is a circle happening. It is vicious. If I could get 1) happening then 2) might not happen and 3) could be reversed, possibly. But because 3) happens, 2) happens and thus 1) happens because overwhelmingly I have come to realise how much music has served to bring community and friendship into my life. Last night, I did not see Tropical Fuck Storm play live in London. The night before, I did not see Tropical Fuck Storm play live in Brighton. I had plenty of notice for both, and could easily have managed the journey. In all probability, this means less than nothing to you, dear imaginary reader. To me, however… even in the depths of my despair in Brisbane I would have made the show. They’re my fucking favourite Australian rock band for fucking fuck’s sake, brilliant. Inspired. Life-affirming.

See 1), 2) and 3).

You nay have noticed that on this blog I increasingly write about pop music, Top 40 stuff. (My god, how great is that title track from the new Charlie’s Angels movie?) The reason for this is straightforward enough: I no longer immerse myself in music (or I do very rarely, which amounts to the same thing). So I need the quick fix, the easy buzz. Ariana cooing about how she wants a new boyfriend? Blam! Lizzo reliving glory moments of the 70s? Blam. Listening to music on the train does not cut it. Too many distractions, and also the music is there to serve another purpose – to block the outside world, the stifling grey, the braying laughter.

So here is what you should also know about me.

I haven’t completely given up. Not yet. The faint echoes of “I’m Everett True, bitch” come back to haunt me, mockingly. Occasionally, the stars will align, the mood will be right. I will turn on the music. And you know the fuck what? The music so rarely lets me down. This evening, I finally got round to listening to this London band Hurtling. I’ve been meaning to, for a couple of weeks now. Don’t know the first thing about them, but here’s why.

  1. The dude at their record company sent me their CD.
  2. Neil Kulkarni gave them a shout-out on Facebook.

More than enough reason. I’d have taken it off, 10 seconds in, if I hadn’t liked the way it sounded: waver-y and woozy, lots of loud-soft loud-soft dynamics and fuzzed-out distorted guitars and a female vocal that burns and connects to sweetly with my heightened frightened senses that I spend half the time thinking, wow man Madder Rose were such an underrated band of the 90s man, and half the time thinking, god damn god fucking damn Throwing Muses really were the fucking greatest band of the late 80s, 90s , 00s and whatever decade you deign to name and I am such a dotard retard for not ALWAYS acknowledging this, and then another half the time thinking that this music – and fuck the comparisons – is making me feel so high, so alive, so ready to take on anyfuckingthing again and fuck 1), 2) and 3). I have no idea why the dude from their record company did send me the CD but… thanks.

Good job I didn’t read the press release before I wrote any of this, or I wouldn’t have even bothered playing the album. Yes, it does mention Smashing Pumpkins. I did think that occasionally I heard a little Veruca Salt but.. no man no. No fucking way.

The press release also calls it alt. rock but this if this is alt. rock then it is alt. rock from those wonderful five seconds when alt. rock was not a dirty word. In places, this is Bitch Magnet good.

Listen to this one, and hey fuck yeah. I’m still Everett True bitch and I ain’t dead yet.

 

How NOT to write about music – 93. No Sister

no-sister-my-new-career

It bothers me that when I try to capture beauty I usually end up bruising it.

  • Odd. But perhaps not that odd. I was talking about you a few days ago with a couple of friends, I’m guessing you know who.
  • You are one of the people I miss from Brisbane, although I am also guessing you no longer live there.
  • I nearly wrote about your band once before, but didn’t because, I’m guessing you know why.
  • I always thought it is better to try and direct the conversation than reveal, but these days there are no sureties.

It bothers me that so few people are bothered.

  • This music leaves more questions left unsaid then it does provide answers.
  • Shopping malls and aerosols is a great rhyme.
  • This music is more reminiscent of the loneliness of overheated suburban Australian playgrounds and half-empty English hair salons than of the rain-splattered American streets reflecting neon.
  • The greatest moment in this song occurs at around 1.27, if we follow the A Certain Ratio guide, which we shouldn’t.

It bothers me that I have never attained the level in my writing style where I can be direct without being dull.

  • I have no idea what you’re thinking.
  • This is way better than you think it is, however good you think it is.

It bothers me that when I try to capture beauty I usually end up bruising it. This one line from the band themselves: No Sister’s upcoming release is an acknowledgement of an elemental, unavoidable creative facet: influence: is brilliant. Hemmed-in, but with the creative freedom such acknowledgment brings.

Building on the shoulders of giants. This is a billowing, bruised beauty – isolation and solace and the echo of late night footsteps receding. So fine. You don’t have to believe me. Just play the song over and over again, thinking of me playing the song over and over again, grappling to articulate emotions the closer I get to the further they slip away.

If you want more detail, the band put it far better than I can. There again, I have nothing riding on this. This, and Tropical Fuck Storm, are the two bands you should be listening to right now.

‘My New Career’ — a song exploring a simultaneously hyperbolic but very real sense of DIY feminism — abounds in influences. The opening lines “I used to do my hair with rollers, but now I use spray cans and pliers” were borrowed from an artwork by Melbourne artist Ruth O’Leary, with the song’s sentiments further propelled by writers such as Sheila Heti and Anne Boyer. Meanwhile the musical and aesthetic influences range from David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Prince and other 80s fascinations — in their new EP No Sister expand their post-punk sound to include influences from both sides of the Atlantic (and Pacific).

Self-released in Australia by No Sister, Influence was recorded by John Lee and Pat Telfer at Phaedra Studios (Beaches, Love of Diagrams, Small World Experience, Lost Animal, Stonefield), mixed by Mino Peric and mastered by David Walker at Stepford Audio.

How NOT to write about music – 72. Tropical Fuck Storm

Tropical-Fuck-Storm

Whiny, maleficent malcontents. Bruising, beautiful brawlers. Out of tune, out of time, dissonant and a glorious sprawl of ugly loose-ends and shimmering dissonance. Anger, isolation, fuck you attitudinal beauty. Drug-fueled inertia. Disgust and disillusionment given vent in a way no male American rock band has managed in two decades now. Jesus, this is so good. Jesus, this makes me feel so homesick – no not for fucking Brisbane but for my core city of Melbourne with all its rain-washed grimy streets and sun-burnt rock formations in the middle of the fucking beyond. Jesus, this makes me want to tackle that fucking right hand turn single-handed. Jesus, this makes me want to drink and brawl and fuck and fight and argue loudly with whoever the fuck comes into the vicinity, and go twirling round numerous beer-soaked dance-floors and laugh at that fucking excuse of a beard on your face. Jesus, but this is glorious even if the dweebs do round off the song about 10 minutes too early, just as it’s getting going and becoming Coloured Balls epic. Fuck death and depression when there is shit like this still happening, still being created out there in the world.

This is Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin (of the Drones). I don’t want to say this, but what a pair of fucking ledges. What. A. Pair. Of. Fucking. Legends. And yes of course they have released 15-minute battles of wills before now.

At one point, I was even talking about how I was missing gigs in the mainstream press:

Damn it. The Drones’ fourth album – the melancholy, incendiary Havilah – came out a couple of months ago in Australia (it’s out worldwide in January), and the hipsters and the diehards, the drunks and the seafarers have been foaming at the mouth ever since. And rightly so. New single, The Minotaur, contains the insouciant swagger and intricate guitars that have been so sadly lacking of late from Australian rock. Not for singer Gareth Liddiard the self-serving histrionics of a Daniel Johns or the laddish “charms” of a Powderfinger. He sounds possessed, the way all great rock singers sound possessed, as he beats the shit out of a stray vowel. The song is brutal, brilliant. Drums crack like Lewes firework displays, beats stutter to a halt among bruising repetition. You don’t need to understand lyrics to understand emotion.

Interview with Liddiard here.