Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Don't Like The Dead Weather So Why Don't You Do Something About It, Chump? (or: More Confessions of an Internet Troll)

It was another morning of eggshells and coffee grinds and another day of files and faxes and it was a day headed for conclusion with a rant, somewhere probably using the sub-ethanet, about bricks through politicians' windows and powders in envelopes and about guys with Parkinson's being assaulted by chicken-shit dirtbags. But alas, that had to be put aside. For an old nemesis, who of course used to be an old friendly face (as is often the case with a nemesis), reared his head. Not because he has a live record and documentary out that will be sure to tickle my nostalgia after I get over the excessive eagerness over new Hold Steady and National records. Not because someone recently portrayed him as being the normal one in that documentary about him, Edge, and Jimmy Page. Not even because his third and most current band put out a new song/video. Though it's related to that one.

Here is how it happened: I was reading the Pitchfork internet magazine when I came across the album details for that third project's new album. And buried at the end of the article was this: "[Nemesis] also took to the [current band]'s blog yesterday to post what seems to be a collection of other peoples' negative reactions to "Die By the Drop". Wow."

So - in the parlance of our times - I clicked the link.

They weren't just "other people". The contents of this blog posting from a notoriously selectively public figure were direct copied-and-pasted posts from the Internet message board of his first band. It appears some of those first band's fans don't like the direction he's gone in. It also appears he doesn't like that they don't like it, and he wants them to know it.

But as you can see if you click that link now, you need to be a subscribed member to read it (Update: you need to PAY if you want to read it, now - and it appears he's rewritten it, whatever it is now). That wasn't the case this afternoon when Pitchfork published it. So maybe he doesn't want everyone to know that he knows it.

It would be enough of a stink for a big time rock star to reveal to the world that he cares deeply about what fans of one thing that he does/did think of what he's doing now. It's more of a stink in this case. And I know. Because I was once one of those posters.

It's no secret to those who know me. I was, for four years, an avid, active, excessive poster on that message board. One of the all time kings of it. And a troll to boot. 10,000-plus posts. A fair deal of it, instigation. A fair deal of the instigation aimed at some of the decisions made by You-Know-Who. There was the idea, the possibility, that the Old Man himself read the board. And then the idea came that he posted - in secret identities - retorts and responses. Some fell into the camp that he was too big a rock star to care. Others - including myself - thought he was right in the muck, unable to shake that strangely intimate Internet-era relationship a musician can have with their fans.

Time passed, I moved on (or was driven out depending on how you think about it). But here today was proof in the pudding. He's not hiding anymore (well he's hiding again now but it's too late for backsies). He wasn't passed the information along by a sycophantic and sympathetic close tie to the board. He just upped and put it out there. And he did it in exactly the way I would have expected: a simple copy-and-paste. A "Look World! Look at how the people who have worshiped me have now forsaken me. Look at these traitors." Sick fuck. Remember what Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park? "Boy, I hate being right all the time." Well what with the man making his wife distinctly dolled-up to look like someone he once had a go-round with and now making old time fans of his feel like they can't write or express themselves without their one time idol breathing fire at them (and I know some of these people, this must be freaking them out), it appears no one is safe from the reach of a mad man. And sadly, as in all cults, the flock take it on the chin in order to keep believing.

And who would have thunk any of this way back when a few lost souls popped on a couple of records that sounded like they were made straight out of Clarksdale 1932 by way of London '73.

As I light the match over the gasoline I just poured on the bridge, it is incumbent on me to say the following: I like some of the Dead Weather but as a project, they stink. That b-side of the Gary Numan song was fine. And the riffs on a lot of that first record are OK. But I saw and heard this new one. I remember most of that first record. The deliberate cool of it criss-crossed with the pandering to suburban yokels who can't get out of Puddle-of-Mudd or whatever the hell is like that these days. The hair and mustaches have to go too. How is it that after a project that involved a fake biography, a color scheme, and rules and regulations, this straight by-the-numbers metal act seems more fake that anything he's done previously? The question answers itself.

So I don't like it. And I just voiced myself about it. What are you gonna do about it?


Monday, March 01, 2010

The Sonic Parthenon Playlist: Early 2010

Acrylics - "All of the Fire"

Right as 2009 wound down, the last new jingle I heard that I responded to was this local act that I thought was a pure Deli Magazine discovery but turned out was a Stereogum-prepped hit-to-be (ain't that a modern music phrasing). Reminds me of Fleetwood Mac but likable. There's also this band out there from Los Angeles called Music Go Music who sound like Abba. What is going on?

The Bravery - "Slow Poison"

Big cheese mainstream modern a good way. I would never sell this to your grandkids as gold but it sure beats the heck out of whatever else is really popular these days. Who is that anyway? What's her name? The blond girl with the grammys that Kanye hated on? Whoseits...

Basia Bulat - Heart of My Own

The LP is not dead! Basia Bulat has constructed another, maybe even stronger, full length album of songs for a winter's night. Particularly listen to "The Shore". Good lord.

Dawes - "When My Time Comes"

The full album listening is hours away but it can no longer wait. The word must be spread - with harmonies as pristine as some thing in nature to fulfill this analogy, and with more than a friendly helping of inspiration from the likes of The Band, here are Dawes and one of those laid back but effervescently powerful numbers. You'd so expect them to be another beard-and-plaid band but they ain't. How about that?

Editors - "Papillon"

Everyone I hear or read in regards to the new Editors record say they sound very different. I don't hear the difference. In fact I continue to hear the band that does Interpol better than Interpol. They put out something good each time, and they do it again with, at the very least, this Factory Records tribute which should not be confused with the Airborne Toxic Event song of the same name.

Hot Chip - One Life Stand

See? Again. Rumors of the album's demise were exaggerated - though not greatly and admittedly eventually will be true...maybe. The resilient boys in the Hot Chip will not give up on the ol' complete documentation of efforts and why should they? Clubbing, by all accounts, would be a dead art form if not for these Brits. The title track alone is enough to merit the love.

The Low Anthem - "Charlie Darwin"

It took a better part of a year to finally give a solid listen to just this one song after hearing show after show via the interweb of this very stark, crisp band. By the end of the year I'll have the whole record down (it took 8 months to finally listen to the entire Fanfarlo record and that turned out delayed gangbusters). As deeply intellectual and heartfelt without pretension as it can get.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Higher Than the Stars"

Not quite ready for another album, the Pains couldn't let this one wait or slip by. A good old fashioned single! It still remains to be seen if this band is a continuous sound or a more varied enterprise but this indicates some consistency and that's very fine for them.

Patrick Thomas - Build Me A City

After catching this chap at Rockwood, I was mightily impressed. The record is fine, especially something called "Spring Street Baby" which is like Randy Newman down in the Big Easy on a Saturday Night.

Willowz - "Destruction"

I've seen Willowz twice. I saw the goods but I was underwhelmed. Something wasn't gelling. Lo and behold, some years on, they are still going. And not only are they going, they have ARRIVED. "Destruction" is a no-fooling-around rock song, just a few minutes in the mess o' glory. Good work kids. You won me.

Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp"

Didn't loathe that first Yeasayer album but I wasn't exactly all over it like the vast majority of the Indie rock world. They were the thinking man's answer to Vampire Weekend (bill buddies once upon a time FYI) but that didn't necessarily mean they were better. Well hold the phone Charlie. Check this out. While large chunks of the accompanying album leave much to be desired, take this song, wrap it up, and send it to everyone you know because already I can't see a better song coming out this year. This is something else. What a wallop. It sounds like the best of their Brooklyn cohorts in MGMT, with whiffs of the Flaming Lips and the previous album's sound to boot. Just a perfect song. Stick up for yourself, son!

Honorable Mentions:

ALO - "Man of the World"
Cute Lepers - "Smart Accessories"
Lightspeed Champion - "Marlene"
Two Door Cinema Club - "Eat That Up, It's Good for You"

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