Archive for November, 2011


I Set My Face To The Hillside

You should really listen to the entire album. Tortoise’s TNT (1998) is chock full of post-rock goodness, and is most definitely worthy of your attention, whatever your tastes may be – you can’t listen to it and not feel an odd combination of relaxation and stimulation, and if you can, then you’re clearly an inhuman cosmobot from beyond the moon. I’ll be honest with you; Tortoise is not one of my favourite bands, and nor is TNT one of my favourite albums. But it is a damn good one, and one possessed of a distinctive brand of easygoing intellectualism that never fails to reinvigorate. ‘I Set My Face To The Hillside’ is a standout on this record, one that arguably embodies what makes TNT superior, in my mind, to the sometimes-more-lauded Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996). Just take a listen to that introduction, with its crowd noise and the simple melody of a scratchy acoustic guitar. It’s just so human, and it is this that sets the whole album apart. TNT is experimental, electronic and intellectual, to varying degrees, but it is also relentlessly welcoming, and that is a very difficult balance to achieve.

The Real Thing

I’m surprised I ever forgot about this song. To be fair, when I was young I never really realised how psychedelic it was; it was just being played on the radio because it was featured in The Dish.

No real spiel, it’s just an excellent, dare I say, catchy, song. Listen.

Why Pink Floyd

With the new re-releases of Pink Floyd, and the sudden explosion of bootlegs onto Youtube, I thought that perhaps a piece about the band itself was warranted. And what a band.

The most extraordinary fact about Pink Floyd was how little the band itself mattered. For undoubtedly one of the most important and successful bands in popular music, it is astonishing how little name recognition there is for any of Pink Floyd’s members compared to the well-known relationships and antics of comparable performers of the day. Ironically, the only member with significant name recognition is the fire that burnt twice as bright, Syd Barrett, who left the group within a year of their debut and soon became a recluse. Doubtless Syd’s insanity helped to fuel talk about the Floyd, and later greatly influenced their writing of Wish You Were Here and a few of the Dark Side tracks. Continue reading

Snob Rage – Why So Serious?

Pity the music snob. No really, it’s a hard life. No one lets us pick the radio station, our music collection grows exponentially as our taste grows steadily more selective, and every conversation with a ‘normie’ quickly bombs once we dare reveal our affection for semi-obscure alt rock bands from the mid eighties, or even say the name ‘Captain Beefheart’. Oh sure, there are upsides. While everybody else has to make do with being pretty certain that they’ve got good taste, we know it. We’ve got the proof right there; just look at our iTunes library, or even – and you’ll pardon me if I get a little excited here – our record collection. So while your average schlub, unwilling to cultivate a more exclusive music taste, has to make do with whatever music the Top 40 or the club will provide, we will always have our finally tuned, impeccably tasteful and emotionally satisfying collection that makes up the soundtrack of our lives. But we’ve got a little problem. Every now and then our careful ecosystem gets disturbed and we are, through circumstances beyond our control, brought face to face with that thing we’ve devoted every waking hour to avoiding – Modern Popular Music. That’s when even the strongest of my tasteful brethren can fall victim to Snob Rage.

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