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Friday, August 30, 2002
 
I had no idea Iowa was so rockin. Sorry you don't get to see ISIS.

My upcoming show docket looks something like this:

Sept 12: Kepler
Oct 28: Do Make Say Think and Fly Pan Am

That's it. That's the state of live music in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I wouldn't even go to the Kepler show if my band wasn't opening.

I will no longer refer to my province as the Iowa of Canada.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
 
My upcoming show docket:

August 30: The Microphones / Grinnell, IA
September 8: The French Kicks, Ten Grand, GVSB / Iowa City (if i truly feel like it)
September 10: Q And Not U / Iowa City
September 13: Spoon, John Vanderslice / Iowa City
September 30: Oxxes, Isis, Dalek / Ames
October 9: Sleater-Kinney / Grinnell

i'm pumped.

oh, did i mention, i can't go to ONE OF THE GREATEST BILLS IN THE RECENT HISTORY OF INDIE ROCK? (denoted in bold)....fuck Iowa State University and their exclusionary tactics.

 
For those of you who object, here is the longer review.

*

A Rush Of Blood To The Head
Coldplay
Parlophone


Chris Martin freely admits that it is depressing knowing that there is someone out there doing what he tries to do better than he can do it himself. That person is Thom Yorke. Given Chris’ recent efforts at pop star humanitarianism and conscience pricking, he could just of easily have been talking about Bono.
This album is the sound of naked earnest stadium rock ambition and buying it makes you not only weak and undiscerning but part of the whole evil scheme of repressive state interpolation and ideological destruction of the human will and identity.
Soon this album will reside on the coffee tables of everyone everywhere, from Blackburn to Baghdad. It will sit next to The Joshua Tree and OK Computer and (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory. It is dull, uninspired, insipid and incredibly ambitious in a very brutal and precise way designed to make it appeal to the maximum possible demographic.
Burn in hell.

1.0

 
Yeah, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to side with Clay here. I don't think there's anything wrong with the occasional "gag" review, but when one is run, I don't think it should make any specific mentions about the quality of the music or the band at hand (Pitchfork perfected this with their aborted "Shit Sandwich" Andrew WK review). No matter how you feel about an album or band, statements like that just plain need to be backed up. And it's not like we're reviewing Nickelback here. I'm sure you have your reasons, but I don't think a (formerly, at least) "indie-friendly" mainstream-ish band like that can get a rating like that and go by without even the slightest pretense of explanation. Maybe I'm not doing such a good job of explaining how I feel about this whole thing, but whatever, I think it was just poorly handled.
 
QOTSA

".... and it woulda been a TEN, if not for this bloody bonus DVD."

;)
 
Songs For The Deaf
QOTSA

9.999999999999999999999999999999

This rocks harder than a caveman's house and I love it.
 
Well...

The review was conceived at about 1am while bored and slightly drunk and thoroughly fed-up of being subjected to Coldplay everytime I go in a shop or turn ont he radio or open a newspaper / magazine, and it was designed to be a cursory, derisory statement not only of how bad the record is but of how much time it warrants. Plus it's meant to be funny and irreverant and fly-in-the-face of what Stylus stands for and what reviews are about. Oh, and entertaining and a talking-point too. If you want a fuller review of the Coldplay record from me, just read the Haven one again and change the names.

And I don't hate Coldplay, and I don't think the record merits only 1.0 either, if I was being really detailed and pedantic about it and following the 'rules' to the T then I guess I'd have to give it between 3 and 7 because I find it boring but the rest of the world doesn't, and it probably does represent a big achievement for the band, etcetera, etcetera, but really WHO ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT THAT?

I don't always want lengthy, thoughtful, analytical music journalism with objective ratings and "if you like that kind of thing it's right up your street" sentiment because I find it terribly boring and almost impossible to read because my brane switches off. Me and Todd discussed using the Coldplay review at length, I sent him two, the other one being 160-odd words long but not as shocking / funny / ridiculous or whatever. So we went for the one that was 15-words.

I don't always toe the line and I don't always take myself seriously and I don't always hold consistent views, but I do try and be at least interesting or provocative or amusing as much as possible because it makes for a more entertaining and conversation-provoking read.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
 
I don't want to make too big a deal out of this, and I don't mean any offense to Nick or Todd, but that Coldplay review has no place on a site that wishes to be taken seriously. I don't have a problem with harsh reviews, but where's the justification?

I hate Coldplay too, but that review should have been lengthened, passed on or Blogged.
 
Coldplay.

I am so proud of that review it hurts.
 
More QOTSA / Interscope...

It's nothign to do with value for money in terms of volume of songs / material / etcetera, Clay, nothing at all. It's about the corruption and alteration of someone's piece of artwork. Were I in a band who had recorded an album that we were proud of and wanted released in a certain form, I'd be angry as fuck if the record company then went sticking extraneous bollocks on it that altered the emotional / aesthetic / artistic / spiritual content / affect of said record by altering it's impact.

Take 'The Inalienable Dreamless' for example. You love it to bits, right? And it's 28-minutes long or so, right? I'd wager that it would dramatically alter your enjoyment of that record if the record company decided to pad out the album with inferior-sound-quality live versions of old songs and unnecessary cover-versions at the end, meaning that you can't just listen to the album as the band wanted it to be heard and then bask in it's greatness for a few seconds after the last track stops and the CD counter spins back to Track 1 00:00 because you've gotta be on your fucking toes enough to jump up and stop the fucking CD playing before the fucking irritating extra tracks that aren't part of the fucking album come on and piss you off mightily thus completely ruining the mood the album would have otherwise put you in, aye? My gripe is about record companies fucking with people's artistic visions for the sake of commerce. If they wanna get people to buy more copies of albums rather then downloading them, then give us vouchers with CD purchases for money off live albums or albums by other bands on the label's roster, or whatever. Or just have faith that enough people actually want to listen to CDs and own packaging and stuff that they'll buy them rather tha having to put up with inferior-sounding MP3s and the like. And don't anyone try and tell em that you can't tell the difference between CD and MP3, because I've got a kick-ass £1,500 hi-fi that sounds like God blowing kisses in my ears, and I fucking can.

And on the subject of End Of Year Lists, two points.
1; It's not the end of the year. It's August. Worry about it in October.
2; Simple solution - have one list compiled from everyone's faves averaged out like most places, and also have one list of five or maybe even ten records for each writer, thus giving room for each writer's idiosyncracies and personal tastes to be expressed away from the one-minded homogonisation of the site's list as a whole.

That is all.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
 
And one final note...

I need to give some credit to Relapse Records' Cephalic Carnage for touring cross-Canada and annihilating every city willing to book them. They played here on Friday and were easily one of the best live bands I have ever seen. Insane, Mr. Bungle-influenced grind played by some of the coolest people you will ever meet. If you see one grind band, let it be Cephalic Carnage. You will be amazed.
 
Albums of the Year.

Something's been bothering me lately. Year's almost over and people are probably already cobbling together best of lists. I think that in order for Stylus to put together a comprehensive list that takes every writer's opinion into account, we should all have listened to the albums we'll be hooray-ing for at the end of the year. My suggestion is that we all suggest two or three albums -- albums we're going bananas over that no one else seems to be talking about -- that in the next few months we all make a point of listening to. I'm getting nervous about Mastodon being overlooked in favor of Interpol (derivative) or Wilco (dull) simply because no one's bothered to listen to their album.

So I'm suggesting Mastodon's Remission and Sage Francis' Personal Journals only because everyone's heard Hot Snakes and I'm sure most people will probably check out Black Heart Procession, Bellini or Isis.
 
Qotsa cont.

I don't know what the big piss-fest is all about. The copies we're stocking have the album and a DVD and are still only selling for $21. As a record store employee, it settles my stomach to see a label cut their prices and give fans something worthwhile.
 
qotsa

are they even pressing "normal" copies? I guess I'll see at the show. If they do have them, I could pick one up and send it your way.
 
Evan...

Well, if they're selling 'proper' CD copies at the show, without bonus DVDs and extra tracks and not-hidden hidden tracks and stuff, could you possibly find it in your heart to pick me one up? And I shall return the favour likewise with a UK release of something or else remunerate you fully...

Cheers.
 
QOTSA

nick, at least you're not stuck with a shitty US vinyl version of Revolver (which I, foolishly, am, missing roughly one-fifth of the album proper). While on one hand I agree - an album should be a piece of art, to stand alone - I can also see where Interscope is coming from, and how they're trying new strategies to keep people from simply downloading albums (like I have, for instance, with SFTD).

This leads me to wonder... what version will they be selling when i see 'em on sunday?

 
Queens Of The Stone Age

On the plus side, Songs For The Deaf is easily the greatest album ever recorded by anyone ever anywhere.

I want Josh Homme's babies.
Monday, August 26, 2002
 
Q: Is Cex the best entertainer in music today?

[downloads 4/02 Edinburgh, Scotland show from http://www.rjyan.com]

A: Good god, yes.

The tunes come few and far between in this 54 minute set, but christ, it's the funniest thing I've ever heard come off of a music stage. And when he does rap, the energy is always there, even if the tunes sometimes aren't quite. F'in dazzling.


and Nick......woah there buddy.
 
Fuck Interscope records and fuck Queens Of The Stone Age.

Why?

Because NOONE IN THE WORLD is going to get to hear the new QOTSA album as it ought to be heard.

Why?

Because Interscope, in their infinite fucking wisdom, have tacked on 'bonus tracks' for each different territory in which the record is being released. Over here in the UK we get ...Keeping A Secret live and a cover of Everybody's Gonna Be Happy, fine tracks in their own right but NOT PART OF THE FUCKING ALBUM THAT QOTSA ACTUALLY WROTE AND RECORDED. Plus Interscope have labelled Mosquito Song on the album sleeve as a 'Hidden Track' thus NEGATING IT'S HIDDEN-NESS, the moronic sub-human wankers. AND they've stuck on some fucking hotch-potch bonus DVD too. What the fuck is that about? If I want a fucking dodgy QOTSA DVD I'll fucking BUY ONE.

Why fuck QOTSA then, one of my favourite bands?

Because they didn't fucking stop interscape from being cocks and insist on releasing the album in its proper form. Look, Josh, Nick, Dave, guys, you're getting fantastic press and you're amazing, you don't need fucking shit gimmicks to sell your record. And so what if people buy the album on import from other territories? Get your label to release it at the same time everywhere! It's not as if Interscope are a tiny label who can't afford a worldwide release.

I DO NOT AND NEVER HAVE WANTED BONUS TRACKS, EXTRA 'LIVE' OR 'MIX' CDS, LABELLED 'HIDDEN' TRACKS, FREE GIFTS, LIMITED PACKAGING, COMPLIMENTARY BLOWJOBS OR ANYOTHERDAMNMOTHERFUCKINGGIMMICKSHIT, OK?

All I want, and this isn't much to ask, surely, is the album that whatever band it is in question have written, recorded, and deemed an 'album'. It's a piece of fucking art! For the love of God! Noone ever said to Picasso "you could really do with bundling the sketches and rough drawings of Guernica in with the painting itself dude" because that would be disrespectful and fucking stupid. Noone ever said to Shakespeare "tell you what, Will, stick some sonnets on at the end of Hamlet to give the audience more value for money" because it corrupts the piece of art that is being presented! Hamlet ends with them all dying and not someone reading some poetry out afterwards to kill the mood and impact just like Songs For The Deaf ends with A Song For The Deaf and not fucking some dodgy cover version and The Stone Roses' debut LP ends with I Am The Resurrection and not Fools Gold which, while it's an astonishing piece of music IS NOT PART OF THE ALBUM AND KILLS THE MOOD YOU RECORD COMPANY SCUMMERS.

I now don't want to listen to SFTD because the package that Interscope have forced me to buy instead of the album itself has incensed me to such a fucking degree.

All record company people must DIE.
 
Little Johnny From the Hospital

Heads up, Company Flow fans... Rawkus seems to have reissued this instrumental LP very recently (which I find pretty strange -- way to piss off El-P, guys. No clue as to whether Funcrusher has seen rerelease as well), and I was pleased to get my grimy claws on a copy, which I'd been wanting to hear for quite some time. Expect a forthcoming review.


 
the merzbox article

todd, i'd post here with my thoughts on the article, but since I always read the first and last paragraphs before diving into the filling, I didn't feel obligated to read the whole thing ;).

(but, from what I recall of the old ohj version, it was quality.)
Friday, August 23, 2002
 
Comments

The comments have been taken away because they were slowing the site down. We'll try to find an acceptable solution in the near future. Also, the message board will be back...eventually. More news later on this, when I can give a definite date.

In addition, I've updated the links section. Take a look and let me know about dead links/egregious errors/omissions/etc.
 
Picks-

Aesop Rock, Blackalicious, Doves, El-P, Guided by Voices, Radar Brothers, Sonic Youth, Super Furry Animals, The Faint, Wilco

 
Um, perhaps now you see why I write classic reviews...

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead Source Tags & Codes
DJ Shadow Private Press
El-P Fantastic Damage
Erase Errata Other Animals
The Faint Danse Macabre
N.E.R.D In Search Of ...

I only own four of these albums, though, and I think two or three are actually kind of mediocre. So someone else can have my other four slots, is what I'm saying.

I want to listen to the Universal Order of Armageddon record I bought today, but no turntable here. Dang.

 
I'll post my picks in a bit (though rest assured they aren't exactly anything startling), once I recover from the shellshock incurred by the fact that the man responsible for Moulin Rouge and "(Don't Forget to Wear) Sunscreen" is into Def Jux nowadays.
 
Well, I'm in no mood to say who I think will make it, but I'm sure Beth Orton, Bjork, DJ Shadow, Doves, Ryan Adams (who should have won last year for Heartbreaker), Hives, Waits, and Wilco have very good chances. As for my personal 10 from what's listed:

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Super Furry Animals - Rings Around The World
Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow
Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes (just barely...I've cooled on this album soooo much since Feb/March)
Erase Errata - Other Animals
Sonic Youth - Murray Street
Ugly Cassanova - Sharpen Your Teeth (by and large the biggest grower of the year. I first barely considered it a 5.0 album, but would now hover around the 8's)
RJD2 - Dead Ringer
Clinic - Walking With Thee
Anti-Pop Consortium - Arrythmia

All in all, not bad when you think about it in terms of what it is: mostly upper-notch, public radio indie fans choosing what they like. I wouldn't ever expect to see "The Glow, Pt. 2" or "Endless Summer" on here, so I'm not upset about their exclusion, or that of any records of similar stature either.

I think Beck made the best (albeit rather predictable) picks, Kim Gordon the balliest, and The Strokes the worst.



 
Shortlist Nominees

The link

On September 16th a committe will narrow these choices down to 10...who do you think it will be? Who do you want it to be?
Monday, August 19, 2002
 
I'm wondering what kind of backlash Matthew Weiner's Jim O'Rourke article is going to bring....

re: publicity
we've know been linked to www.noizyland.com - which is one of the biggest New Zealand music websites for some of the reviews i've done over the past few months, should be some pretty good advertising..
Friday, August 16, 2002
 
re: publicity

that nutter DJ Martian has linked to us many times, we should at the least put him our links. He works so hard! (Seriously, Todd, we should link Matos' page, too.)
 
re: publicity

about a month ago, I got a nice email from Eric of Tiara regarding my review of their new album. It's good to see Stylus gaining some popularity, or at least visibility. Anyone interested in a flyer-campaign?
Thursday, August 15, 2002
 
Regarding a few points made by Nick's Primal Scream Review:

1. Flaming Lips and Primal Scream are the only two-decade rock bands that still innovate? What about the Melvins? What about Sonic Youth? Two bands who have released more good music than either the Lips or P.S. and whose most recent work is still pretty good.

2. When did rock stars ever mean anything to anyone old enough to know better?

Nice review, though. The over-the-top hyperbole was very artist-appropriate.
 
Chris Smith's review of Palace of Swords Reversed got a mention on the Fall's official site, in the news section. They called it thoughtful, too.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
 
Stylus Magazine makes its first entry into recognition by the outside world (as far as I know). Well, Metacritic used the Coral review, so hopefully they'll start using some of the others. Good way to get more people visiting....
 
Linkage

Ten exercises for music writers from the always entertaining and insightful Josh Blog.
Monday, August 12, 2002
 
pop playground.

I dig the new column, even if it reads a bit like a hollywood gossip column. As far as weezer goes, I think scott was spot-on about their "indieness," but I still think it's a shame that Rivers et al would rather sell records than emote honestly.

also, I just got back (last night) from NYC and Sonic Youth, expect a write-up of some sort in the future....
 
=w=eezer

Pinkerton was THE indie rock album. It established what would become the ultimate indie attitude. We have Rivers (seemingly ridiculously) hating on the mainstream in 'Tired of Sex', crying into his pillow after a painful diary entry in 'Across the Sea', and you can practically smell the thrift store on him as he squeaks through the sappy-in-a-cool-way 'El Scorcho'. Not only did the album define 'emo', but it defined attitude for a generation of hipsters.
The Green Album was a shock for indie. One minute Weezer is nothing but a fond memory, a nostalgic drunken singalong coming home from a party, and then bum bum dun dunn bum bum dun dunn, they come back. 'Hash Pipe' had to be a joke. Where were the brilliant harmonies? Where were those cute little guitar solos? We went from the Blue Album, which introduced us to four honest teenagers 'hey, let's pretend we're rock stars' to four businessmen, 'hey, let's pretend we became rock stars, that we didn't release a commercial 'failure', that we've just been hiding for a couple years'. Entire indie rock world at this point - 'GASP!'
A year or so later, Maladroit is a step in a more promising direction, it rocks like older Weezer, while retaining the disposable simplicity that the Green Album gave us. There's not a whole lot of brilliant there, but that's okay, Weezer already had their masterpiece. I mean, maybe it's us. Maybe Rivers is right, we should ditch Pinkerton's indie attitude, what has it gotten us? A closet full of once-worn sweaters, a stack of Superchunk CDs, a dozen bad haircuts. Sure we're 'keeping it real', but 'keeping it real' from what? By holding on to Pinkerton's iconoclastic idiosyncrasies, we're just preventing ourselves from making any progress. Think about it, where could Rivers have gone from there? Could he have gotten more emo? Is there a gaudy enough sweater for that?
 
Pop Playground

I disagree with you on Weezer, Scott. It seems like it's the fans that have the problem and not the band, which you pick up on well. But, that being said, the group hasn't lost focus, really. I think it's sharpened its focus upon the commercial failure of Pinkerton. Instead of becoming even more cheekily quirky and indie approved, the group found the way to pop stardom was to simply write good simple pop songs. The new Muppet song is one of their best in recent memory, besides "Hash Pipe" (which was quite possibly the rock single of 2001!). It's a bit odd and unfair to say that they've fallen off when they are actually enjoying some of the most continued stretches of success of their career.

*ducks*
Friday, August 09, 2002
 
Boyz II Men

I hope they played "Mowtown Philly"; that song owns.

New Jack Swing was a dead end micro-genre, but it had its moments.
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
 
Hip-Hop on a Summer's Day

With the end to a 95+ degree heatwave suddenly arriving today, and my first day off at work in a good while, it's been an ideal morning and afternoon to listen to hip-hop (my all-too-seldom-heard reggae, too, will get its airing later today). Thus far, I have to give Gangstarr's "The Militia" props for the most hilarious yet jawdroppingly intense posse cut in recent memory (though how it merits this without M.O.P. putting in an appearance is anyone's guess), particularly Freddie Foxx's verse (trivia: he was the original choice for "Eric B. is President"), rife as it is with lines like "I'm the illest nigga doin' this, dead or alive / Gloria Gaynor, all you motherfuckers, I will survive!"

Midnight Marauders, however, sounds absolutely nowhere near as good as it did to me back in late 1997, when it, a lot of Meat Beat Manifesto, and Portishead's 2 LPs were in rotation nearly every evening. This depressed me, so I turned on 98.9 to get the "Old School Lunch Hour" -- hearing "Rebel Without a Pause" was a definite plus, but I was baffled (well, not really) by the sudden cuts to Boyz II Men, et al. in between Brand Nubian and Gangstarr. Then there was the unidentifiable early-80s electro/R&B, which was not anywhere near as good as it may sound.

 
pure evil or just asinine? (the EW letter)



check out the clearchannel exec's infuriatingly misinformed (yet ultimately entertaining) invective against satellite radio. setting aside the viability of the points he raises, it's tough to tell exactly what his argument is. at first it seems like he's trying to dis XM et al. by comparing them to satellite TV, but then he completely kills his credibility by dismissing all of college radio as "pure hell." Further complicating matters is the fact that satellite radio is nothing like its scattershot collegiate counterpart--the whole point is to target the niche audiences that clearchannel ignores. but okay, let's throw all that out the window. according to johnny clearchannel, satradio sucks because it only gives you "more channels of crap." beautiful. for all those in doubt, this is proof positive that the execs at the top of the music biz measure the value of their "products" solely in terms of the units they move. reason #873 that i'll never stop hating the game.


also, anyone out there subscribe to/interested at all in satradio?

deen @ 2:56 PM

Monday, August 05, 2002
 
To be honest, I'd much rather watch a well-scripted television show than any of the "reality" shows, which substitute exploitation and titillation for any real thought. The problem is that developing a well-written, well-acted show is expensive, so you see the split between "high" and "low" entertainment becoming still more extreme. For every "West Wing" or "24", a network will happily make a shitload of low-cost, cookie cutter programs to fill the rest of the schedule.

On sitcoms, I believe that one of the problems is the "team of writers" production system, where every joke is designed to appeal to the greatest number of people. You don't get the individual quirks that make a particular show appealing, as everything is polished to perfection.
 
MTV: Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game

Should it come as any surprise that a television network places profit above "artistic integrity"? It's like whining about the latest Austin Powers sequel lacking originality. I know it confuses indie kids when they see some young, greasy-haired rockers on MTV instead of immaculately primped sorority whiners, but profit is and always has been the bottom line. If Evan can remove those out-dated modernist glasses and put on something a little more po-mo, he might just enjoy himself. Popular hip hop is thriving right now (Murder Inc fixation aside), and MTV has picked up on this, albeit from picking up BET's table scraps. If your cable provider has BET, I recommend checking out any number of excellent video shows, especially Rap City (from 4-6 EST) and 106 & Park (starting after Rap City). I also catch TRL when I can: I like knowing what's going on in pop music, and if you lighten up a little, many of the current singles are tons of fun (although I find this new "authentic girl" / "shemo" movement is pretty anemic).

As far as the move away from videos, Kurt nailed this one pretty well. I'd also like to point out that TV producers have stumbled on to something big: viewers would rather watch themselves than artificially constructed stories with actors. I know I'd rather see what "real" people do in strange situations than watch another cookie-cutter sitcom script performed by a bunch of snarky attractive simps. We like watching other people. We're social animals, and we're curious about what other people do. Do you think reality TV would be around if it didn't sell? TV hasn't invaded our homes as much as we've invited it in, and it shouldn't be so surprising. Evan, you can complain about the "common consumer" all you want, but that's why we have TV in the first place.
 
trail of dead / mtv / vh1

First of all, thank god for bands like Trail Of Dead... if only more major label acts would speak up about issues they care about... Regarding MTV/VH1....

1) Music. Someone said earlier (I forget who said it) that MTV was originally "ambient TV" which I thought was an excellent description. Like radio, you could leave it on as background, paying attention when something caught your ear/eye, but on a whole it was very different from more television, which required (requires) near-complete attention. I think the reason MTV (and VH1, who [as I'm sure you'll agree] just follows MTV's lead) sucks from an artistic perspective is simple due to the money/advertisers. If you watch MTV, you'll still hear "good music" in the background of their shows, a clear indication that someone there still "knows what's up."

2) Reality Shows. That said, I enjoy what MTV has become. To a certain extent. The Osbournes, in particular, is the perfect summation of the past, say, ten years or TV, marrying the star-worship of the pre-80s with the regurgitated "reality" of the past decade. Maybe shows like this (and the Anna Nicole show, which is equally hillarious) will spark some serious thought about this medium that's invaded our homes, maybe these refections of the common consumer's faults will cause some real contemplation on the matter. Or maybe not, and people will continue to cackle at Ozzy's hillarious antics, like cleaning up dog shit.

3) In Other News... there's a window washer hanging outside my window. Interesting....
 
That being said, I thought Keely's rant\piece was fairly good. I actually liked it better than I did the one from Travis, which seemed a bit self-focused (why does some rich record exec have the nerve to ask us to send a free record), while this one came more from anger at the suggested exploitation of the "groupies" (and the band in the show, of course).
Sunday, August 04, 2002
 
I agree that MTV et al have changed in format over the years, though I wouldn't blame the change on the "lowest common denominator".

MTV only focused on videos during its early years, when cable was hardly in the dominant position it holds today. It was a novelty, and could trade on its novelty status to get financing and advertisers.

Move forward a few years - MTV is now a well established network, and needs to bring in money from advertisers in order to survive. It is, quite simply, impossible for them to attract advertisers in any meaningful number, for one reason: they can't guarantee a target audience for any particular time period if they are playing videos 24-7. Why should an advertiser pay good money for a specific timeslot, when a viewer can turn on the TV at any time and see a video?

So, MTV made the sound business decision to develop actual programming, starting with the genre shows, and moving into more traditional "TV shows". We can sit here and self-righteously complain that MTV doesn't play music anymore, but they made a perfectly legitimate decision that was completely in their self-interest.
 
Anti-Corporate Website Rant Part II: Conrad Keely of ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

http://www.trailofdead.com/news.asp

I liked the debate that Travis "D-Plan" Morrison's rant got going on here a while back, so here is another thought-provoking (and, I feel, quite well written) piece. Although it takes a bit of a left turn in the middle and basically states what all of us already know, it is nonetheless a good read, and opens up the topic 'What the hell is MTV/VH1's deal anyways?'

My view is that they're really backpeddling with their initial mission of reveling in the greatness of music. Whereas the early days would find videos played night and day, in what I think was, in its core (that is, aside from the obvious presentation of the music video art form,) a celebration of music. Now, it's not so simple. The music isn't allowed to stand on its own. Instead, it's just the backdrop for normal television programming. Now, I'm not saying that MTV was necessarily a formerly credulous enterprise, but it sure as hell didn't negate music to the farther reaches of the viewers' conciousness.

In the end, I think this all comes down to the steadfastly unfolding "lowest common denominator" mindset of the music business. And MTV is following suit as more of a lackey for the bigwigs than ever.

(On a similar note, you could replace every MTV in the above post with Rolling Stone and have my view on that whole subject as well.)
Friday, August 02, 2002
 
It's been a couple of months now since I got hold of an advance copy, I even went to see them live (and it was the best gig I've ever been to), but Yoshimi is just not doing it for me, I'm afraid.

Uncut magazine in the UK claimed it was the best album released in the 5 years since the magazine began, awarding it 5 and 1/2 out of five. My best mate loves it to bits. But I can't get it. At all. A couple of the tunes are quite good, but... It's too clean, to organised, too thought-out. Lyrically Coyne seems to be retreading areas he went over more effectively on The Soft Bulletin, recovering those same childlike emotional platitudes that were so meaningful and shockingly effecting on TSB, but no the sound is so clean and concise that it doesn't surprise and overwhelme.

TSB took a long time to get for me, but since then I've bought all the Flips stuff from the last ten years and I absolutely love most of it, but Yoshimi leaves me cold, boring, awaiting hooks and excitement and unexpected beauty, and all I get is some electro fx and some very clean, overdubbed bass which doesn't do it.

I must say I'm gutted. Why is everyone praising this record so highly? Are all journalists contractually obliged to fellate the Flips at every opportunity? After TSB could anyone really stand up and say "Emperor's New Cothes" at their new record and be taken seriously? Cos that's what I'm doing.
 
I've got a proper job!

As of September the 2nd I shall be Exeter University's new Assistant Audio Visual Librarian, working in a department full of records, CDs, videos and slides. The money's not great, but it's what I want to do and I get loads of paid holiday. It's taken me a year to find a job after uni, I very nearly got sucked into a shitty sales job, but at last I've found what I hope will be my niche.

Fantastic.
 
Tyler - you totally forgot about Roots Manuva - its a great record!

Personally i'd like to see Roots win, but i think The Streets winning is pretty much a given this year... although now that i think about it more, Bev Knight has been making some big ripples in Britain this year..
Thursday, August 01, 2002
 
Mercury Prize -

My award goes to the Streets. Runner-up The Coral. They'll either give it to Doves (the closest thing we have to a Radiohead record this year) or Bowie, though Heathen is but the third best album on the list.

Interpol -

I absolutely LOVE 'untitled' and 'nyc'. Most of the other songs don't do it for me.
 
interpol

i just ::ahem:: aquired a copy of the upcoming interpol album, and man is it awesome. they take everything thats good about the NYC post-punk revival, throw in some genuine pop hooks and superb playing. after just one listen, i think i can say this definately may make my year-end top 5.

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