Saturday, January 12, 2008


Okay, so finally surfacing from beneath a dense crust of deadlines like a Russian mini-sub gulping air after trying to claim Polar mineral-rights by planting tiny Russian Fed. flags on the sea-bed in little plastic capsules...symbolic, innit.

Big up Nina and Abby! from NY-based band Rings, a group that I've warmed to immensely while putting together a recent piece. Any band who's a MurdochSpace friend of Buffle is a friend of mine! Loving the circular/cyclic vibe the girls have got going on here..."Is he Handsome": well, I'm thinking of NY Minimalism, and eighties European Systems Music like Wim Mertins/Soft Verdict or Lost Jockey/Andrew Poppy, tho that's not even vaguely their primary influence...there's all sorts of Pop, Folk and post-punk ethno-influences at play here wrapped up in a sweetly propulsive, looping/loping chocolate-wrapper: I love music that repeats, yet also constantly changes in tiny increments, but this is breathy and open-source, the Art of Noise jamming after the Fairlight has packed up, but Rings aren't scared to strap on guitars and hit a raw, fuzzed-out basement-rock groove..."Mom Dance" is lovely too, with faint traces of Afro-nicity in its gtr-lines.

Their album "Black Habit" is due to drop any day now on Animal Collective's Paw Track imprint and is def. worth taking some time out to check. I think they're due to tour the UK in the Spring, so keep an eye out.

I didn't realise Abby had also designed the cover of FACT: 21, the Aug/Sept ish...I reallllly like her artwork and I think you will too, so she kindly created a quick Blogspot dump for some of her work. Love the skeleton motif she's got going on there. It's mainly Animal Collective-related stuff at the moment, but I hope she'll put up some other bits and pieces real soon. It's groovesome stuff.


Finding all the recent bluster and blather about EMI highly amusing, following their take-over by private-equity pricks Terra Firma: artists quitting or going on 'strike' or the total silence from the Kylie camp in the face of a 1000+ job-losses (the poor, troubled pop-poppet millionairess recovering from a bout of the best-health-care-that-money-can-buy and all she wants to do is relaunch her career...)

The idea of Robbie Williams going on strike is pretty hilarious, tho...on strike from what? I'm tempted to ask. Last I looked, he didn't even have a career. Presumably, he's going to picket his own LA mansion to stop himself lolloping around w/ a bunch of ex-pat hanger-ons and putting on weight. He'll prob. be there chanting socialist slogans and lobbing bricks at himself every time he wanders to the fridge in his dressing-gown and slippers. ("Oh, I know, I'll grow a beard to hide my double-chin." Actually, did anyone see that recent photo of a fat-looking Noel Gallagher? It's usually Liam who sings with his chin up to hide the lack of a jaw-line.)

"Last I looked, he didn't even have a career." Actually, that's not fair - I confess I'm kinda tantalised by the idea of "Rudebox" had the Pet Shop Boys on it, and I really liked the idea of an album that had tracks called "The Eighties," "The Nineties" and "She's Madonna." I keep meaning to check it out, but it hasn't dropped below four quid in Woolworths yet.

The real issue here (and William's spokesman kinda inadvertantly let the cat out the bag in his choice of words - no sympathy for the mass job-cuts, y'understand) is that beneath the talk of wrangles over Rob's back-catalogue there was a palpable, unspoken fear that his management have just forked out a fortune to get Guy Chambers and Mark (bleeeurgh) Ronson back in writing songs again in an attempt to summon-up a career-saving comeback album, but there won't be enough staff at EMI left to promote it properly.

Poor old Robbie, poor old Kylie.

As much as I hate asset-stripping, bean-counting City-knobs like Terra Firma (they offered me £2mil for the blog provided I stopped swearing, quit drinking gin and started appealing to a mainstream Country demographic, but I said Nah), they do have a few naively valid points about the way that the music biz has operated over the last few years - the excessive 'entertainment' bills, the back-handers and the hand-jobs that oil the wheels of the pop world (£20,000 for candles - what's that all about!?). While it's not as overtly corrupt as, say, the UK arms industry, who seem willing to fork out millions to Saudi princes, it's certainly up there w/ the shenanigans of the 'agents' who infest Premier League football or the naff ostentatiousness of Elton (it's his money and his right to spend it how he wants; and it's my right to criticise him for it).

'Course, I'm being deliberately naive here about the financial fire-power and PR greasing it takes to build a hit album/artist, but I don't actually give a shit. The majors spent money on promotion like it was going out of fashion, just so they could make us buy sub-standard shite: now they're broke and whining, and we've ended up with Kate Nash and Joss Stone and an 'indie' scene that's flogging Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong as an alternative. An alternative to what: suicide? Fuck off, the lot of you. Get out of my house.

For as long as I can remember, those stickers saying "Home-taping is Killing Music" used to annoy me; I always thought they should say: "Record Company Excess is killing Music." Now the culprits are downloads and piracy - the consumer becomes a convenient scapegoat for management failure. If only other business-models could work that way: green-grocers blaming their lack of customers on the fact that "the little fuckers are growing their own now."

Still, the best quote came from Lily Allen, who said: "Radiohead are devaluing music." LOL.

Sorry, but I laughed so much I had to change my pants.


Leading on from comments-box chat below, a circuit-bent Crybaby courtesy of Space-Cat Audio Technologies:

Space-Cat sez: "The "Original" Crybaby Wah Wah has been given the S-CAT treatment. With a new control parameter (the dial on the side) you can hear the change in the sweep of the wah. This audio test uses a synth for the test tone." Looks like he was selling modified Crybabies on eBay last year.

(I feel an odd sense of pride at just how much of an anorak I am for posting that. Still, have always loved the idea of people home-modifying kit, creating their own gear, twisting what they've been given into new shapes...)