Music Dump - Godspeed, You Hucknall Kesha Kanye Kurt Detectors!
Who's saying what
Party Down: Katy Perry On America's Glorious Past, Ke$ha On Our Apocalyptic Future by Nitsuh Abebe (Vulture): I write these little essays on #1 singles for The Vine (example), and think about chart pop more than I probably should. And reading this piece makes me feel slightly inadequate, because when Abebe does thoughtful analysis of chart pop, he does it so well: here he argues that both the rise of Katy Perry and the rise of Ke$ha say a lot about America at the moment; the present is so unpleasant in the US that pop music is either looking to an apocalyptic future or looking back nostalgically at a better past.
Murder Music by Ilan Greenberg (Guernica): The genre currently dominant on the Jamaican streets is not reggae but its modern descendant dancehall (think Beenie Man or Capleton). And one of the things about dancehall is that it is not a music that is particularly gay-friendly – Capleton, for example, has a lyric which suggests that he sets homosexuals on fire, and that they should be killed. And this music has had an odd, somewhat chilling, effect on Jamaican society; while dancing to dancehall in clubs, Jamaican men seem very effeminate indeed, but outside of the clubs they live in mortal fear of being accused of being a 'battyman', Jamaican Prime Ministers are expected to make statements that there are no homosexuals in their cabinets, and police turn a blind eye to gay abuse.
1994: Kurt Cobain Is Dead, Long Live Soundgarden by Steven Hyden (AV Club): Hyden is writing an excellent, thoughtful history of alternative rock in the 1990s, and he's currently up to 1994. This was the year that Kurt Cobain died, of course, and Hyden deals wisely and sensitively with that (it was also the year that Soundgarden got big, and Hyden argues that Soundgarden would be better-thought-of except that our memory of them has been infected by the memory of Audioslave).
Kanye West: Project Runaway by Noah Callahan-Bever (Complex): This is a detailed look at the making of Kanye's last album, with interviews of various participants and some fascinating factoids: 1) during the making of the album Kanye had several 'commandments' up on the wall of the studio, such as “Just Shut The Fuck Up Sometimes” and “No Tweeting”; 2) Kanye has in-house chefs who make French toast with flambeed bananas for breakfast if you want; 3) When he couldn't go to Minneapolis to meet Bon Iver because it was snowed in, he flew Bon Iver to Hawaii.
I Hucked Them All by Tony Martin (The Scrivener's Fancy): Mick Hucknall of Simply Red has recently apologised to the 1,000 women he slept with in an interview with the Guardian, saying he let down some really good girls with his behaviour. It then came to the Guardian's attention that there needed to be a correction to the article: the number was more like 3,000. You get a creeping suspicion that Hucknall might not be terribly sorry about all this, despite his words. Here the comedian Tony Martin expands upon this little factoid and takes a enjoyable little ramble through his experiences with women throwing themselves at famous people he knew (but not him, apparently).
Why We Sell Third Man Records On Ebay by Ben Swank (The Guardian): Jack White's record label Third Man only puts out limited edition vinyl records, often featuring some big names (Laura Marling, the White Stripes) and they're the kind of thing that people buy and then sell on eBay. So, they figured, why not just auction it ourselves on eBay?
Plan B Magazine Meets Godspeed You Black Emperor! By Efrim Menuck (Drowned For Sound): Godspeed You Black Emperor were always a mysterious band – their music sounded mysterious, they may have had a mysterious first album no-one ever heard, they were mysteriously idealistic, turning down big money from Hollywood, and I don't think I ever saw a clear photo of the members. So – considering their reformation for a tour – it's strange to read Efrim, a band member, writing about the fraught carbon-monoxide-filled circumstances behind the band getting together, and how they only recorded F#A# Infinity because they wanted an excuse to go on tour.
Bullshit Detectors! The Garage Is An Outside Place, And A Place For Outsiders by Iain Ellis (PopMatters): For fans of garage rock, argues Ellis, the more DIY, the more primitive and ugly the music is, the more authentic you can say it is. And this ugly DIY spirit lived in Michigan in the era of the Stooges, lived in the punk era, became a hypey genre in itself (the Hives, the White Stripes) and is still around today (e.g., Best Coast). Mind you, though, most actual garage bands – that is, teens in a garage with guitars and drums – are more likely to cover Metallica than the Stooges.
Join the conversation below