Archive for November, 2009


Brassneck – The Wedding Present

Remember i wondered why such a lack of Wedding Present representation? I think that has kind of been corrected now, in the past week or so, reflecting much more accurately the songs i have trapped up here. Be prepared for more yet.

mccabe and mrs miller

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Rockit – Herbie Hancock

Has there been a Grammy performance as revolutionary and as spearheaded since this song at the 1984 awards? Michael Jackson in 1988, maybe, but that explosion was set off in 1983 with Billie Jean at Motown 25; already well established, and one of a lone artist. Rockit, though overdue, was the unfolding of a new kind of music, of a future. An announcement to the world that this music, this dancing, this movement, existed and was the most exciting, innovative, amazing thing going. Coming. A disclosure. The question “How is he doing that?” asked universally by every kid watching upon hearing GrandMixer D.ST scratch. Even though no one rapped, it was a sign hip hop might make it. It was still a long road ahead, though.

esacpe from new york

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Electricity – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

After watching Synth Britannia (You can too!), i’m a total convert. There wasn’t much of me to convert. It was not like this music had to win me over, or situate itself as something legitimate or venerable – I just had not ever heard it. Synth Britannia was just what i needed to open my eyes. I headed to my mother’s house, to her before-me record collection, and requisitioned their self titled album, Organisation, and Architecture & Morality.

I thought i had raided it as much as ever my taste would want to. I was wrong. I am sure i have all i need now. If only she hadn’t sold so much of it, you know, to support us; feed, house, and clothe me as a baby. Parents, am i right?…

My only previous exposure to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark was through the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, with If You Leave, and i’m sure i’m not the only one. It’s a great song, but there was no indication that six or seven years of technological advancement, of affordability, of the acceptancy of synth pop and electronic music, of growth as a band, prior there existed these two guys, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, from the North West of England who were lucky enough to see Kraftwerk and have their lives irrevocably changed. With their tape machine and whatever synthesisers they could afford or build from kits, they wrote and recorded the greatest music i’ve delayed myself in discovering until the past few months. This is my new thing.

pretty in pink

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And the weight of that silence – This Machine Kills

The story of This Machine Kills is now the story of Steve Aoki, his trust fund and his bloghouse DJ career. I don’t know enough about him or his new career to comment on anything, nor can i say how he feels about this time in his life – a seemingly contrary one to the one he is living now. I’m sure he is still a stand up person, just not as square as those of us who stick to hardcore; who extend juvenilia to a shameful, embarrassingly constant life choice. No reproach here. I hope none given anywhere, especially on ground of “turning his back on hardcore”. There are very good reasons for doing that sometimes (cf. Duncan Barlow’s letter of resignation, growing up and out of it, etc.).

So that is This Machine Kills legacy. It is not one of a fantastic, exciting, erudite, expository, inspirational band. It is not one of how much this song fucking rules. The whole album does. It’s funny how irony shifts over time. How now this is the music one should be apologetic, or dismissive, or ashamed of enjoying. Oh well. BREAKING THE SILENCE! When did earnestness and conviction become uncool?

all that heaven allows

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Once More

Once more – The Wedding Present

Once more. This is the Wedding Present i’ve collected from the English point of view and influence. The early stuff, with all its up tempo and frantically strummed guitar, strewn over various single, Peel session and compilation releases. I can’t make my mind up if i like this Wedding Present more or not, but this is certainly my favourite song of theirs i’ve yet posted. It’s all the same, great, wonderful band though, just stretched over a very long time line.


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Dalliance – The Wedding Present

I think i’ve been introduced to, and had esteem and the importance/insignificance of the Wedding Present garnered mainly from an American point of view. The most English of bands. Whether from elders who remember and actually were receptive to their enterprising efforts there and waited up to see their appearance on Conan; from Steve Albini and Steve Fisk being nice enough and fond enough when recording them but concerned of the naivety of the band re: their label and the American music market; or from American music journalists dealing with the band as offsidedly as possible. David Gedge’s Leeds accent became curtailed to just a standard, catchall English accent.

It’s funny. I don’t know how this has shaped my own opinion of the band. Maybe it has kept my eyes and ears open to their middle period rather than focusing exclusively on their early stuff and declaring it their best, as i seem to do a lot. It’s a fantastic middle period. It is a good thing to have this Wedding Present as someone’s definitive, best, nostalgically perfect Wedding Present. America didn’t treat them all that well, but to some they stuck, and stuck well. It’s from those i first found out about the Wedding Present. From those they stuck to me.

grey gardens

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Alright – The La’s

The only other La’s song i know. And one i’ve just learned isn’t really a La’s song at all, rather one divvied up in divorce proceedings and was recorded a Cast song. I don’t know enough about the band to care, but the recording i have here is from Dutch radio and performed by what i guess might have been a La’s barely together, hanging by a thread, trying to keep face in front their loving audience, going to this radio session like to a common friend’s party, trying upon trying not to let the cracks show. Unless they were open about it. Most bands seem to be. Egos, taking prisoners, etc. I guess some parents are that way as well.


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