Friday, October 14, 2005

to hell with poverty '05

hey you 3 people.

so its been a while. i didn't want this blog to be one of those long forgotten projects.

i was in India for August, moved to Cambridge (a bonafide Cantabrigian now) near Central Square. a center of activity.

there've been many pictures taken (link to the right).


I still think its a crime that Gorillaz' "DARE" has not become the instant #1 critical and commercial smash it became in the UK. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong country.


As documented in the recent Across the Narrows fest. In Brooklyn and Staten Island there was a melange of UK bands along with American critical darlings performing for 2 days. When I first heard the lineup, including Belle and Sebastian, Beck, Gang of Four, Pixies, DFA 1979, Oasis, and other crazies. If I was in the UK, I'm sure that I would be travelling in caravan to this show. Here, its just too expensive, too far away. Story of my Boston life. I mean, yes, you can see great bands every week at places like the Middle East and TT's, and catch larger bands in Boston. But the big fest, a love-in that says that all these great not-so-mainstream acts can be appreciated en massive. but no. that only happens in California at the yearly Coachella fest which is ridiculously far from New England. New York is the only close alternative, but as was documented from review of the Across the Narrows fest, not exactly bring huge draws. I know the people who love these bands are here. Who knows.

I'm not advocating huge stadium shows, but sometimes its great to see big shows like Coachella, here or Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds fest in the UK and the multiple fests in Europe. The lineups may contain some pretty mainstream artists, but the acts are just of general high quality.

I don't know what can change this. Lower ticket prices? More effective advertising? But in general, i guess people who actually care are too spread thin. which figures in the musical tastes, political opinions and general awareness in this country. digressing....


I dunno. Its ridiculous to me. Even people who are supposedly in the know about what shapes pop culture and its inane Top 40 in this country are still consuming the same substandard crap. Pop can be lame, but it doesn't need to be boring. "Baby One More Time" may be lame, but its always memorable. When Travis did a cover of this, it showed this pretty well. "Since U Been Gone" is the current winner of this year. The lyrics can make you flinch and turn your stomach, but it still is energetic and anthemic, leading to much unfortunately tuneless but enthusiastic caterwauling among college girls when the chorus comes up on radio, tv, etc. But yah. Those two songs are written by the same Swedish guy.

In the UK, while there is still inane pop in the charts, there is also some actually playful pop. Not to mention actual good bands/artists and good songs. People seem to genuinely care about music. There are problems there as well, such as an atmosphere of giving bands an expiration date that seems about as efficient at eschewing good bands there as to hip-hop and pop acts in this country. When yr done, yr done. But, in the meantime, if you take a look at their charts, there are plenty of great tracks and albums there.

But I guess you have to count your blessings. like Kanye's "Gold Digger". When I was in Chicago right after I got back from India. My cousin showed me the MTV VMA's with Kanye performing. it was the first i'd heard the single. the whole weekend, with an honest expression, he kept looking at me and saying "eighteen years, eighteen years". and i couldnt stop laughing.

Listening to these albums, que bueno!:
Ladytron - The Witching Hour
Broken Social Scene - s/t
Deerhoof - The Runners Four
DangerDoom - s/t
Portishead - s/t
The Kitchen - Foreign Objects


1 comment:

Riamixed said...

Yeah, I'm surprised about "DARE" too. It's a fantastic single.

About the pop part of your post:
I totally hear ya. It's like, "I just want some per-son-ality," y'know? (Oh, and speaking of '80s Madonna and/or Club Tropicana, have you heard her single off the new album? It's delish.)

I gotta say, I do think the US has its share of playful popstars, it's just that... well... I don't think we like our pop that playful as of late. In my opinion, we like pop stars who are relatively serious and we favor artists that sing about issues and the struggle-comma-man, however trite they may be.

Think about who’s who in popular hip-hop. Anyone who has Pop Star status has some serious shit going on in their lives, or at least are pretending to. Of course there are stars in the genre who don't take themselves or their lyrics so seriously (Ludacris comes to mind... "Cause I'm worth a million ga-zillion fa-fillion dollars") but they tend to be overshadowed by runnin' from the law, everyday is a struggle, I'm cheating/being cheated on, my court date is next week-types. It seems that's who we like nowadays and conveniently that type also tends to be devoid of any real personality. Or perhaps, the personality is there, it's just that everyone is channelling the same exact one so no one stands out.

The good news is every now and then someone like Pharrell Williams comes along and negates everything I just said. Somehow he managed to climb to the top and still be a goofball.

Am I makin’ any sense here or do you think I am talking out of my ass?

Glad you're listening to DangerDoom, by the way.