Archive for the 'music journalists are people too' Category

Modern Rock Criticism Explained

By Gerard on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Perhaps you’re not aware, but long before I rose to the ranks of Matablog editor / label co-owner, I dabbled a bit in the wild world of music press. Back in the go-go 1980′s, I wrote for publications including (but not limited to) High Wire, The Wayland Town Crier, and of course, Smegma Journal. During that period, I had the good fortune of covering such emerging, pioneering acts as the Little River Band, Nantucket and The Sickness.

So it’s with that body of work (probably part of an Experience Music Project exhibit, if not an entirely new wing someday) in mind, that I’d like to help you, the mystified, befuddled rock fans of today, make some sense of what modern music journalists are banging on about. For instance, when Uncut’s Louis Pattison writes of Kurt Vile’s ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’, “the real heart of this record seems to lie in the moments of stillness and rest, where strung-out slackerdom attains an almost sacred quality”, what the layperson might not understand is that Mr. Pattison is really trying to say,“THIS IS THE GREATEST RECORD OF 2011 SO FAR AND IF YOU DISAGREE, I’M GOING TO HIT YOU WITH A SHOVEL”.

Likewise, when Mojo’s Stevie Chick might cause some casual readers to scratch their heads with his thoughts regarding ‘Smoke Ring’ (“while the melodies and vibe seem to be channeling lost AM radio transmissions from the ’70′s, Vile’s no relic-treasuring throwback, finding a unique, laconic voice of his own amongst the tangle”), the Rock-Criticism-To-English-Translator ™ generates the following ; “it is a work of total genius, to only purchase one copy would be a crime against art, beauty and the human spirit.”

Of course, our good friends from the British monthlies aren’t the only ones prone to bouts of understatement, and that’s why you’re so very lucky I’m here to make sense of yet another Kurt Vile rave, this one coming from Pitchfork’s Jayson Greene, who argues ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo”‘s “Ghost Town”, “churns along in a similar weightless middle space as Wilco’s ‘I Am Trying To Break Your Heart’ but instead of Jeff Tweedy’s earnest napkin poetry Vile gives us muttered, inscrutable darts, a series of private jokes for an audience of one.” What Mr. Greene wanted to testify was actually, “Kurt Vile’s prose has molested my mind. And I was asking for it.”

It’s been my pleasure to walk you through the intellectual mine field that passes for record reviews, and who knows? The next time one of these analysts is beating around the bush, I’ll not hesitate to assist, particularly if it can put the work of Kurt Vile in a deserved, wider context.

Jon Spencer speaks

By Gabe on Thursday, November 19th, 2009

File this under “totally fascinating blasts from the past”. Gerard is that a category?

Jon Spencer talks to Ian Svenonius (I figured they’d be nemeses for the similar territory they mined during my youth) on VBS. Seriously interesting stuff:

TNV – M o v e t o C a l i f o r n i a

By Patrick on Friday, August 21st, 2009


Catalog number OLE-896 is Times New Viking MOVE TO CALIFORNIA 7″, slated to come out on September 8. The four song 7″ contains two tracks from the upcoming BORN AGAIN REVISITED LP, those being “Move To California” and “City On Drugs,” plus two songs from the coveted STAY AWAKE REVISITED cassette, namely “Pentagram” and “Teen Spirit In Hell.”

Preorder the new album, in stores September 22, and get this 7″, plus a copy of last year’s STAY AWAKE 7″, and a free poster, all for only $13 – while supplies last.

Download the MP3 of “Move To California” here, and enjoy your weekend:

Move To California (192k mp3)

Oh, and fuck your blog.

HuffPo : Equally Useful For Plugging TV Projex, Defending The Sucky

By Gerard on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Someone should contact Rolling Stone’s David Wild ASAP ; it seems the Onion’s Jackie Harvey (above) has penned a rather pointless tribute to nature kid Billy Corgan for the Huffington Post and attached Wild’s photo and byline to the article.

Now truth be told, I was not the biggest Pumpkinshead during their initial run — I was more of an aging Nirvana-man, frankly. But over the past decade, I’ve come to really admire Corgan for his talent and his strong commitment to following his own muse rather than simply taking the standard issue rocky path of least resistance. Like Pete Townshend before him, Corgan seems like a man who takes the responsibility of being a rock star profoundly and even painfully seriously, grappling intellectually with the gig rather than just cashing in at every turn. As a result, Corgan may not always make things easy on his fans — or on himself — but he’s always interesting. In an age of premature nostalgia, Corgan clearly wants his music to matter in the present tense. Not that he’s a complete purist, as demonstrated by the recent use of the Pumpkins’ classic “Today” on a Visa commercial.

But I choose to embrace Corgan in all his contradictions. And despite his apparent problems working and playing well with others in a band context, I have to report that I have found him to be incredibly bright, witty and honest on a personal level. To see some of the qualities on display, tune in April 2nd when Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin make what now looks like it will be their last shared TV appearance with the current Pumpkins lineup on the Chris Isaak Hour, a new show on the Bio Channel that I really love even if I am a producer on it.

Wear the Good-Cause Hat: Anna Ives vs. Cancer

By Andrew Earles on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Anna Ives is the very young, very adorable daughter of Zac and Amy Ives. Zac is co-owner of Goner Records, the singer for Final Solutions, and a flat-out great guy. The Goner Records BBS is currently holding an auction while Zac, Amy, and Anna are in Boston, where the latter is receiving specialized radiation treatment. The auction is to help offset the Ives’ mounting hospital bills. I’m here to encourage Matablog readers to either bid on some of the great finds that have made it to the block, and to offer their own donated items for auction. All of the needed information, including Anna’s story, can be found HERE.

The auction can be found HERE.

Read the Memphis Commercial Appeal story about Anna…

Additional questions not answered by those links can be directed to Eric Friedl:


For Those About To Diss Bon Scott, We Condemn You

By Gerard on Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

‘Back In Black’ aside, AC/DC’s batting average during the tenure of vocalist Brian Johnson is substantially lower than that of countless Fall lineups during the same period. That said, the band’s recordings with Johnson’s predecessor, original howler Bon Scott (above), have more than stood the test of time, with patrons as diverse as Chris Lombardi and Mark Kozelek (ok, perhaps that’s not the widest cross-section) singing their praises. However, with the news South Scotland MSP Christine Graham wants to officially recognize the band (in light of Scott hailing from the town of Kirriemuir, Angus), The Times’ Joan McAlpine protests, “honour the achievements of our sons and daughters by all means…but only when they have done something worth celebrating. Sonic assault by wild men in mullets just doesn’t count.”

Robert Burns has already been castigated as a poor role model for young Scots on account of his sexual promiscuity and love of a dram. He also left us poetry of incredible lyrical power, whether he was philosophising on the lot of the common man, satirising authority or expressing tenderness towards his many lovers.

Beside Bon Scott, Burns could occupy the editor’s chair at the Feminist Review. The closest AC/DC get to tenderness is Whole Lotta Rosie, in praise of the carnal expertise of a 19 stone woman known to the singer. If that’s too sentimental for your taste, what about Night Prowler, on which Scott plays the role of a sexual predator, taunting a woman lying alone in her bed, scared to turn the light off because of the noise outside her window. In the title song of the 1976 album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, the singer offers to use neckties, TNT or concrete to dispense with the annoying people in your life — like school teachers and unfaithful partners.

It kind of makes you look again at the middle-aged, middle-class white men who regard this music as the ultimate in authenticity. Perhaps they love it because unlike them, the band never grew up.

I’m not sure if “authenticity” registers particularly high on the list of most AC/DC fans’ fave attributes, but presumably Ms. McApline knows an awful lot about why someone else’s tastes differ from hers. She’s perfectly entitled to take dead, defenseless Bon Scott to task for sexism, but even crude characters have stories worth hearing. I’m not sure what having a mullet has to do with whether or not Scott & colleagues are genuine artists, but such superficial hangups reveal a little bit about the author’s credibility.

Portland, Lock Up Your Daughters

By Gabe on Monday, December 1st, 2008

In what likely constitutes the sexiest meeting of the minds in recent memory, Portland’s Baghdad Theater will host Stephen Malkmus and Ian Svenonius for a taping of Soft Focus on December 4th.

Soft Focus, for those of you stuck in 1991, is a long-form interview program hosted by Svenonius and featuring interviews with some of the elite minds in independent culture.

If you’d like to attend the taping, please RSVP here. Svenonius will also pick the brain damage of PDX rock legends Pierced Arrows.

Fucked Up’s Damian wears clothes in FRONT magazine

By Annette on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Click above and find out exactly why Damian has the best tits to ever go in a magazine. It had me convinced anyway.

Want to dress like your favourite Canadian FRONTman? Follow this link here for cool threads, the likes of which will undoubtedly lead to you hanging out with Charlotte from The Subways in a field in Berkshire, a lifetime ambition I’ve yet to fulfill until now.

Fucking Up The NME – The Making Of…

By Judge on Friday, September 26th, 2008

So it’s on the shelves this week, Fucked Up finally get their cover time. Blood (real), nakedness, Manginas, dark secrets and an insight into life with Fucked Up.

You can check out a short clip of Danny North doing the cover shot in a north of England Halal supermarket on his Flickr HERE.

On stands today

By Patrick on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008