Wednesday, October 02, 2002

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Life on Mars edition
Modern Painters may like to try their reader's patience from time to time - Tracy Emin springs to mind - but at least their Ian MacMillan isn't fooled by Fischerspooner - "to the gentry with too much time on their hands, Fischerspooner must appear shocking... while to anyone with a half-decent record collection they represent nothing so much as the revival of a three-week period when Sigue Sigue Sputnik were in the charts, on the cover of the nme, and already on the road to nowhere... The bridging refrain in Emerge contains the words 'hypermediocrity' and 'uh-hu, that's right'. The phrase 'own best critic' comes to mind." Macmillan comes not to bury electroclash, but more to try and avert the gaze from the sadness that "its most prominent practitioner is also its weakest."...

For Electroclash with a lopsided grin rather than a furrowed brow, there's Ladytron in Sleaze Nation. However much Fischerspooner think they're playing with people's expectations by wearing wigs, Danny 'Trons claims that his favourite Pop Star is John Lennon is a lot more effective. Fischerspooner seem hell-bent on creating turmoil without purpose, while Ladytron (along with Miss Kittin and Peaches) hold firm to the first rule of pop revolutions - do it for fun...

Talking of revolutions, in Modern Painters, MacMillan posits the theory that the great changes iin music comes every 13 years - Beatles '63, Punk '76, rave '89 - so electroclash is the 2002 turning point. Now, is it just me or has there been a version of this that 'proves' every year since 1980 has been the one which is meant to be the Big Turning Point? I'm sure in 1996, for example, people braced themselves on the belief that the -6 years were significant. Pop doesn't work like that, it's nothing like as predictable...

Which is pretty much what Prospect's conclusion to its 'Gone Pop: Whatever happened to Britrock'? coverline. That they asked the drummer out of Gay Dad to turn in six pages on this question throws doubt on to the ability of their other contributors - is Elena Lappin the terrorism equivalent of getting the bassist from Menswear in? The problem with Nick Crowe is that his perspective isn't anything like unbiased enough to make any sense - he can't accept that what did for Gay Dad wasn't major shifts in the industry forcing the band to go before they were ready, but that they were shite, and the stupid flyposting campaign didn't create a public desperate to buy Gay Dad records, but massive numbers of people who'd decided they were overhyped shite and wouldn't have accepted anything less than at least halfway decent from them. Crowe's journalism is as shaky as his music - EMI, we're told, "missed out on the wave of international mergers that has seen labels like Island, Virgin, MCA, Atlantic and Epic wind up in the pocket of one corporation or other" - um, EMI bought up Virgin, didn't they?; he bases a claim around "with the rise of MTV and the internet", as if these things were contemperaneous - MTV came to Europe in 1987, well over a decade before the internet transformed into a mass medium. In effect, we're left with a couple of tales of having champagne pinched by Jarvis Cocker, and a vague feeling that its all because of that there Interweb. Even while stating that global sales are worth USD33billion, Crowe suggests that "twenty years since its decline began, the age of rock & roll really is dead." Then he suggests that it's only dead in Britain. It's all very confusing...

But not as confusing as Alex James piece in the New Statesman - he's also trying to see the big picture, commenting how Blur arrived in America the day Nevermind was released, and how by the time of Parklife "all the music papers had either Blur's singer or Kurt Cobain on the cover. A month after that, one of them was dead and suddenly there was something fully formed and British that was cool." And, um, this month, Blur are in pieces, Q has got Kurt on the cover, and the world is more excited about a duff old Nirvana rarity than any of the soon-come new Blur stuff. So, your point, Alex? The page ends with some odd wittering about spaceships that may or mayn't make any actual sense. And somehow all this is meant to be weighted somehow to the Labor Party Conference. of course, last week, Mariella Frostrup's diary in the same magazine had reported on spying James wearing a thick coat in the British summer, because he was living in Claridges and they had their own climate. Maybe this is why his political writing is about Mars and Noel Gallagher than things people care about...

It's Bring It On time again, as the NME knocks out its kneehigh listings supplement, choosing Interpol as the must-see new band of the month, and Coldplay as the tour of the month...

The Datsuns are on the front of nme proper - is it just me, or do they look like four people doing Senseless Things on Stars In Their Eyes?

News - New Nirvana album by Christmas; new Yeah Yeah Yeahs single by November - the latter is the more exciting prospect, don't you think?; there's that line-up for the 1Love charity album, which is expecting to raise more than GBP1.25m with its cover versions of number ones; Coldplay's love of the cover version is explored in full (Flying Without Wings? Jesus); that bloke who married Roy and Hayley beat Radiohead in the Halon Menswear Awards 2002 (Mark and Lard injoke, don't ask); Fatboy Slim has invested half a million in Brighton and Hove Albion in order to make sure he can always get a car parking space at Withdean Stadium - jesus christ, man, park at Mill Road and walk like every other fucker, why don't you? Shall we have swan sandwiches for you, too?; Asher D says that going to prison saved him from a coffin, apparently. We knew the So Solids were violent, but...; Australia apparently not that thrilled by the Vines homecoming; a quite nice spread of Courtney, Strokes and Ryan is ruined by some sub-Private Eye cover speech balloons; Thom Yorkes says Radiohead aren't trying to overthink the new album; John Squire appears to commit suicide in his new video - clearly heard the new album on playback, then; Marilyn Manson's paintings - look, they're rubbish. Their only saving grace is they stop him from making music for the two minutes it must take him to knock them off. Let's stop treating it like he's got another string to his bow, shall we? This is akin to Craig Vines sploshing about in his local swimming pool and the nme treating it like he's the new David Wilkie, okay?; The Libertines take the nme through the new album track by track, variously: cock, darkness; heroin; fairytale; singalong; abysmal; frustration; stereophonics; piss; stonerish; vikings and knees-up; Andrew WK (remember him? The Simon Dee of rock?) has made a video with the Jackass team (remember them? Candid Camera only thick?); there's a free cooper temple clause cd you can text away for - how modern...

new found glory do the ten track cd thing - they might be giants is included. "Don't judge them on that Malcolm in the Middle song" says Chad "that's cheesy, quick and easy." Um, but you've chosen Birdhouse In Your Soul...

on bands - the jeevas (didn't we have crispian 'swastikas are great' mills when we torched Kula Shaker?) and Q and Not U (Television Scrabble meets emo)...

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - are they worth the effort it takes to type their bloody name out? Do they have ideas? Did they really get reborn on New Year's Eve 1999? "We don't really care if people don't know what we're talking about" spouts Guy. Lucky, that...

Dave Grohl reckons "The Datsuns are what the world needs" - what, not love, sweet love, Dave? Oh, hang on, you probably wouldn't reckon on that, would you? The Datsuns also turn out to talk a lot of confusion, but it worries them more - "this interview is falling apart. We're arguing about water and cups and bullshits." This could actually be a problem for the then-weekly nme - this new generation don't do anecdotes, don't do philosophy; for a team of writers forced to write short, one-hook pieces, a future where the main topics they're given to write about don't have much to say could prove a challenge...

reviews - lps: jj72 - i to sky ("don't expect glitter storms", 7); various - trash companion 1 ("rather fun", 7); the eighties matchbox b-line disaster - horse of the dog ("potential cult-status lies ahead", 7); royal trux - hand of glory ("a tough listen", 5)...

sotw is the vines - outtathaway ("don't get even, get MAD"); not richard ashcroft - check in the morning ("unbelievably bad"); the coral - dreaming of you ("worthy of our undying love"); cabaret voltaire - nag nag nag ("impressively peverse")...

live - jarvis cocker and friends, south bank royal festival hall ("Cocker'll need to be nimble to avoid being the subject of a psychiatric report"); queens of the stone age ("keep getting stronger") and ... trail of dead ("crowd baying for blood") in new york; sleater-kinney in LA ("un-jaded as ever")...

And, something interesting from Angst (for once) - apparently, when Ms Dynamite won the Mercury, Virgin Radio played the snatch of her accepting the prize with the words "Do you know who this is? If you're a real music fan, then probably not...". Now, there's something the nme should have been running on its news pages instead of pisspoor courtney gags (we'll do those, ta). That would be your stinking attitude. No wonder nobody listens to Virgin anymore.


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