Alternative music reviews

June 25, 2006

You’re So 70s, You’re So 80’s

Filed under: ramblings — @ 11:12 pm Comments (2)

looking cool back in the 80's
Sometimes I’m a little slow. Sometimes exceptionally so. No more slow than in my realisation that my whole approach to music has been mistaken. I have always searched out the new. Always looking for something totally original without precedent. How often have I actually found that complete originality? It’s been rare – The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, The Fall, Cabaret Voltaire, Teenage Jesus, Swans come to mind. But even these bands, when I check out their antecedents, I realise that they are really often just a very unusual mix of influences with a new twist added.

One of the biggest problems I had with the whole 1976 Punk explosion was that I considered I had heard the music before. Having spent a lonely musical adolescence with my Stooges and New York Doll’s albums, I already knew that any more than three chords was showing off. My time came later when bands were formed around the concept that you could just pick up an instrument, learn to play, and release your own record (but you could almost guarantee there was at least one card-carrying Muso amongst them).

But if I was young now, I would have the chance to look at 40 years of Rock and Pop music. I could take Lou Reed’s story telling lyrics, some My Bloody Valentine guitar glissando and mix it up. But I probably wouldn’t have much choice about revealing my essential music history and it’s roots in the 70s and 80s. There are only 12 notes in music (not quite true but I won’t go into John Fahey or Ligeti and beyond) so there are not really any new combinations left.

In truth, if I point out the 60’s/70’s/80’s influences of a band then what I mean is that they have a sense of history and musicianship. I remember John Peel talking about having a curry with the White Stripes before they recorded a session. He mentioned his love of Son House (a bluesman). Jack White then recorded a cover of a Son House song for the session. Now, that is knowledge. It tells me that the White Stripes are worth listening to (ok, I knew that from hearing the first single). Their music is not an accident, even if I choose not to get excited by the most recent recordings.

So, Apollo 13, Mars Bonfire, Phideaux, Breakup Breakdown – if I mention comparisons to earlier music, then I am saying that you know what you are doing and you are producing a deeper, more varied musical experience than any other band that just fits into a current genre.

Breakup Breakdown

Filed under: ramblings — @ 9:42 pm Comments (0)

Breakup Breakdown
Let’s cross country to New York. Breakup Breakdown are a band taking inspiration from the garage. The track She Went Black IS Rob Tyner on vocals. I mean this is not someone sounding like the late MC5’s vocalist – it is his spirit come back to earth. Ok, the political lyrics have gone but every inflection, every imperfection in the voice is as good. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. The combination of genuine Rhythm & Blues and Goth and just great energetic music is electric. If Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had heard this then they would have formed Led Zeppelin as a tribute band.

Breakup Breakdown