The Lamb Lies Down On Talbot Street

photo(18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was watching Australian neo psychedelic prog rockers Tame Impala last night at Rock City and several thoughts were running through my head. First one woz: this band are great, I love ’em.

Anyway, I was thinking about the 60’s and the 70’s which led me on to thinking about the eightees and the ninetees. This band sort of makes you do that. We compartmentalize time, fashion and music into 10 year slices, and it works, the 70’s conjures up images of flares and the 80’s reminds me of big hair and padded shoulders and yuppies and Dire Straits.

It’s not true though is it?

My Mum and her mates wore funny sixties glasses, pencil skirts and had their hair up 60’s style well into the early seventies. It’s easy to talk about the roaring twenties and the crazy sixties and the yuppie 80’s because it rolls off the tongue nicely. We don’t call that period of 1900-1910 ‘the tens’ though do we, it’s referred to as Edwardian, and the period before that is Victorian, and before that it’s Georgian or Regency and then it gets broader; periods are medieval, dark and neolithic. That’s how we will end up folks!

If you look at the charts in 1977 you might be surprised to hear music that is punk, disco, Rene and Renato, Bowie’s German period, Tamla Motown and Leif Garrett. It’s not black and white. The 70’s weren’t really the seventies; the world is moving all the time for it to be just that simple.

What is interesting about music at the moment is how it is all so fragmented and compartmentalized into genres and sub genres because it’s almost the only way it can go to be different. Before Georgio Moroder, was there such a thing as Disco? It’s beginnings were in soul music and R&B and then it got mixed up with sixties psychedelia and modern production techniques. The O’Jays were high jacked by The Bee Gees and in turn abused by an Italian German night clubber. It’s no different now, new music only ever comes about by retreading the past. The Beatles were the masters of that and they are widely regarded as the most influential and original pop group there ever was and ever will be.

So where is the Disco and the Punk and the New Romantic sound movement now? Before Joy Division, was there anything that sounded like Joy Division? Was there a Kraftwerk before Kraftwerk? Is it now just Kraftwerky Alternative Rock? I’m not complaining by the way.

Andy McCluskey of OMD said that the synth-pop of 1977-83 was “the last great populist movement of modernism”. What he means is after synth-pop, (with some exeptions like Jungle) all major movements in music would become ‘sounds-like’ music.

So 2000 onwards was the ‘noughties’ for a while but it didn’t really work did it? The nineties were more naughty than the noughties. Is this decade just too new to be celebrated yet? We can talk about the 2020’s as the ‘twenties’ when we get into the 2030’s and feel safe in the knowledge that we are now in the new emerging ‘thirtees’.

Is music right now simply just an extension or a revival of what has gone before? When was the last time you heard something and said: “I’ve never heard anything like that before!” Is it even possible? I like to think it is.

Music has always been informed by what has happened before, but right now there is so much music that it’s all either, a bit synthy, a bit motowny, a bit Beatlesey or a bit post-punk or psychedelic or folky. Go and read a music magazine in WH Smiths today and after the review it will probably say; ‘if you like this, try this!’ Music has become so referrential that journalists just cut straight to the heart of it by putting this label at the end of their reviews and it used to drive me mad when I used to read reviews about my own band. After every six by seven review it always recommended listening to similar acts The Jesus and Mary Chain and always always My Bloody Valentine. Our drummer became so convinced by this trend in Journalism that he broke away to form a band that tried desperatly to sound exactly like My Bloody Valentine, believing this would bring him success.

Crap. I couldn’t hear The Jesus And Mary Chain in our music at all?  I like the Mary Chain but to me thay always sounded like Phil Spector with timid vocals and screeching guitar feedback all the way through it. We didn’t sound like that did we? We never tried to sound like that! Or Radiohead? To my ears we didn’t sound like My Bloody Valentine either and I never owned a My Bloody Valentine record in my life because I saw them live once in the early ninetees and I just didn’t get it to be honest.

With the new six by seven album I’ve tried to make something that will end these comparisons and force journalists to recognize that nothing about this record is black and white (except the album artwork). Incidently, I can tell you now that the album is a double album and it is called ‘KlubMix33’ how confusing is that? I don’t know if I’ve managed to create a new form of music, of course not, but I may have created something that you can’t quite put your finger on and it possibly so different  from what has gone before that it will cause a bit of thought and confusion. I hope so.

The main thing is that the music is good; which it is! If anything it was mean’t to sound like a Blitz Club playlist, which in itself would have been a massive variety of sound.

What is interesting about Tame Impala is that they take this referencing of music and stealing from the past to such an extreme that they are creating something unique and if you are young enough not to know what they are stealing from, it will sound brand new! So back in the 70’s the Sex Pistols sat next to Marvin Gaye and Neu! and Tame Impala are not afraid to give you all three bands in one song. I believe their music is firmly entrenched in prog though, specifically the post Peter Gabriel Genesis of Trick Of The tail, Wind and Wuthering and to a certain extent Duke and Abacab. I used to listen to those albums and last night reminded me of them so much it was almost, well, great!

IF YOU LIKE TAME IMPALA, YOU MIGHT LIKE TO NOT GO AND LISTEN TO THAT ERA OF GENESIS.

Watching Tame Impala reminded me of seeing the Happy Mondays in 1990 supporting James. It sounded like music I had heard before but it did make me think: “I’ve not heard anything like this before”.

So there you go, Tame Impala sound like a neo-proggy-Genesis-glam-Sabbath-Norman Greenbaum-Hawkwindy-Monkees-Floydy-Barratt-Binson Echo-esque type of Mott The Hoople band and therefore they sound like the future and they don’t sound like anything that has gone before. It’s all so confusing, just pass me the Amil Nitrate and a spliff and let me dance.

That’s it, apart from to say, cool, we got a drum solo last night too, which made my heart soar with delight! Sadly no guitar solo though. The only thing I didn’t like was that they played midi keyboards that triggered hammond, string machine and mellotron sounds from samples. I wonder what it would have sounded like if they had done it the Portishead way and used the real thing. Monster!

IS THERE ANYONE READING THIS WHO DISAGREES AND, OTHER THAN ELBOW, HAS HEARD MUSIC RECENTLY THAT SOUNDS LIKE NOTHING EVER BEFORE? I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW, PLEASE COMMENT.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

15 comments

  1. Bizarre Chris, cos recently I was thinking of what would make my all time top 10 albums. I have started playing Lou Reed’s Berlin again, and love it, though perceived wisdom is it’s crap. My favourite Morrisey Album is Southpaw Grammar, which critics wrote off. This made me think of albums that were so different, they caused a religious state of fervour in me. Two that spring to mind was the first Streets album, and Enigma by Aeon Zen. Rather than use influences, these guys just went with what they liked. Must be a great leap of faith as an artist – how do you know anyone else in the world apart from yourself and your nan will get into it too?
    Sycophancy aside, I experienced that at my first 6×7 gig too. I didn’t know what drone rock was, just knew that the wall of sound was awesome, and the passion/anger/belief was unlike any other band I’d seen. I agree that genres are too restrictive and arbitrary. If it feels good and moves you, it’s good music.
    Love and peace
    Stu x

  2. There arent many people pushing the biscuit. Only really Brian Eno and Autechre that i know of. Its nice to sometimes listen to a bit of retro prog once in a while. Ive always said Trick of the tail is the best Genesis album.

  3. I have to agree Chris, sometimes you just can not put your finger on it but the goose bumps on the arms and back of the neck tell you whatever it is you are listening to is good. Like everything else though we strive then to compartmentalize things by force of habit. Oh you say to your mates you will like this it sounds like blah blah yadder yadder rather than say just listen to it because it great music and will melt the speakers! I have just been listening to Ghost Outfit, Cardinal and the Dead Kennedys (strange mix I hear you cry). Do they sound like someone else…probably, do I care…..no…..did I enjoy them yes. Hey everyone’s happy then.

    That aside can not and I mean literally can not wait for the new 6×7 LP too

    Cheers Chris

    Terry

    1. yes, soz and ta for that..wiki says this:

      Renée and Renato was a female/male vocal duo, who had a UK Number one hit in December 1982 with “Save Your Love”. The follow-up single “Just One More Kiss” peaked at #48. Their third single, “Jesus Loves Us All”, failed to reach the UK Singles Chart.

  4. Chris, I think all music references something at this point. I often use “sounds like” comparisons in reviews for the benefit of the reader. It doesn’t mean one band sounds exactly like the other one, just that it has some similar elements. It can give the review reader a point of reference that’s less obtuse than pure description. Is there any completely new sound happening? Probably not. One previous commenter mentioned Eno & Autechre as pioneering artists. I certainly wouldn’t disagree (particularly where Eno is concerned–although his last couple of releases haven’t done much for me). It seems like a lot of new music is concentrating on the electronic element, which makes sense, as it’s the newest addition to the spectrum of sound reproduction. Mostly, however, I prefer a more organic feel when I listen to music. My three favorite albums of 2013 (besides SIX BY SEVEN, which was #1 you might remember) were by BARE MUTANTS, BEACHES & SAVAGES. None of these had a sound that I had not heard before, but all of them were powerful & refreshing and added new twists and/or a new energy to their influences. They certainly lacked nothing in comparison to their predecessors. TAME IMPALA, who I like a lot, take a lot of 60s psychedelic influences and weave them into a more modern sound, besides recalling bands such as FLAMING LIPS & MERCURY REV. This year’s release by TEMPLES reminds me a lot of TAME IMPALA. And that’s okay with me. I’m looking for power, anything that moves me. I don’t care how it’s accomplished; I just want to be blown away. Every time that happens it reaffirms why music matters, why life matters. Thanks for the stimulating thoughts, looking forward to the new album.

  5. Chris
    Don’t forget Renee & Renato’s failed fourth single, a covers EP – “Smack my Bitch Up” c/w “If you don’t wanna fuck me baby (then fuck off)”
    Stu

  6. There are 2 kinds of ‘new’ music, for me. There’s the stuff that came out[as in’ released’] today,now,this minute. Brand new in a literal sense.Then there’s stuff that strikes the listener as new as in”Ive never ,ever heard anything like this before’. That stuff could be from any period of time and in any genre.I’m talking about music that sounds fresh and new,odd and exciting all at once. Maybe even a bit confusing or bewildering. That’s what music that sounds new can do.
    For me,as I get older,both categories don’t occur together very often.Most-but not all- newly made and released music simply sounds a bit derivative or too smart and smug for its own good. Bits of the past thrown up in the air and joined together in not-especially-interesting or stimulating ways is how I’d describe a lot[but not all!!!] of what I hear.from the first category.
    The second category contains the stuff I find as I explore the music I could have been listening to when I was 15,16,17 etc.These are Musical Paths Not Taken,if you will. Examples include Can,Neu!Tangerine Dream,Harmonia,John Coltrane and the wonders of Miles Davis 1965ish to about 1975.Those are just a few recent examples.

    The Impala[as all the hipsters aren’t calling them] are interesting for me, mainly because they sound as if they’ve actually heard recordings made in the last two decades or so and are aware of the changes in music over that time. I don’t get a stubborn and reactionary ‘the past was better,it must be photocopied endlessly’ feeling from them. I find that reverence for any partially-understood and idealised chunk of ‘rock/soul etc history a bit odd,to say the least.There!

    Summary-originality is ultimately subjective.

  7. The only way to to get truly surprised by original new music is to have a limited frame of reference or massive long term memory deficit. Most of the new things that I hear and that register are interesting because their references are minor but their intent and the application of intent are played with commitment, but these are scarce. Only very very occasionally do I hear something popular/cult/well reviewed that i don’t find ‘meh’. I kind of liked Tame Impala but not quite enough to go see them. And a I never understood Arctic Monkeys (has no one ever listened to Half Man, Half Biscuit?) let alone Elbow. Fond of this at the moment as it has Floyd/Crimson sprayed on it but really well executed http://geometricpatterns.bandcamp.com/track/smoke-and-mirrors

    Leedian are also interesting by being completely anti music.

  8. Have you heard The Amazing Snakeheads’ album – it’s very different, very interesting & well worth a listen?

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  9. As a Jesus & the Mary Chain & My Bloody Valentine fan, you definitely didn’t sound like either.

    I think maybe Samaris sound “new” to me. At least I can’t think of any band to compare them to which should be a good sign.

  10. I wonder if the idea of ‘something new’ in the sense that it’s ‘never been done before by anyone’ is a red herring.. the structure of genre and sub genre and reference to other bands is only relevant if you already understand the language and references and subscribe to the importance of the passage of a fixed timeline and sequence of releases.

    I’m still finding things (sound-wise) I’ve never heard before in my Dad’s vinyl collection, and my great-grandparents box of shellac 78’s – I didn’t know this music existed so relative to me it didn’t

    Possibly the only thing I enjoy in music as much as hearing a genuinely new band for the first time is finding an old one I’ve never heard before and tearing backwards through their discography, and then the discography of their favourite musicians and so-on.

    The most recent music I heard that I though I’d never heard before was Phantogram and Polica at the Thekla in Bristol who blew me off the boat, but I imagine someone could point me in the direction of something that sounded like that 10 years ago and so on. Before that it was Joanna Newsom and before her Mew and Interpol.

    When I was first introduced to Six By Seven I was actually taken not by how ‘new’ it was but by the fact it sounded like it had always been there waiting to arrive, or for me to catch up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s