Sunday, April 06, 2008


How fucking great is/are White Williams, eh?

FACT: 24

The latest ish of FACT’s been on the streets for a while, but I thought I oughta mention that it contains some bits n pieces by yrs truly. There’s a 7” mix cum redux of my first on-line column, as well as a piece on the wonderful Holy Mountain label, home to Wooden Shjips, Six Organs of Admittance, OM and Lesbians. Many thanks to HM’s John W, who’s both a gentleman and a dude. There’s also a piece by moi featuring some of the bands involved in the on-going transmigration of artists from Baltimore to Brooklyn and the increasing African/4th World influence on NY Post-Punk (possibly partially fuelled by the recent re-release of “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”…?), so that things are now uncannily mirroring the tail-end of the original Post-Punk era – so how long ‘til the 'experimentalism' implodes into something more conservative, then the whole cycle of recommodifying ’79-’84 starts up all over again?

Thanks to Yeasayer, Celebration and Rings for their time. As I mentioned before I do particularly dig Rings’ music…

My original shortish intro to the piece got bumped due to lack of space, so might as well run it here:

American alt.rock’s eagerness to adopt the jerky, post-punk mannerisms of early Talking Heads, GO4, etc always seemed like a symptom of some underlying cultural anxiety. When young musicians migrated en masse to Brooklyn and swelled the ranks of an already-vibrant art-colony, it felt as if the country had finally found a voice to articulate the post-9/11 neuroses that haunted its heartlands.

In 2008, the Fifth Borough will almost certainly continue to renovate the US Post-Indie landscape, but lately it feels like the angular, early-eighties art-rock stylings are starting to soften as new influences are absorbed from Africa, avant-Folk and even old school Pop. Politics and feminism are back in fashion and musicians are unselfconsciously using words like ‘community’ and ‘communion.’ A period of reconciliation and healing has begun.

In particular, the neo-tribalist Pop favoured by Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance has opened up a new cultural space ready to be colonised by yet another wave of artistic immigrants, many of them from Baltimore. Bands like Rings, Celebration and Yeasayer might have soaked up Afrocentric influences, but they all have their own individual tics and traits, so it’s unhelpful to straightjacket them as being part of any rigid movement. Labels like Voodoo-EROS and artists such as Le Loup, Dragons of Zynth, Quinn Walker, Chairlift and MGMT have also been similarly infected by some weird Pop-tainted virus that leaves its victims vulnerable to a variety of unlikely influences.


Last night’s bi-annual inter-blog cross-over between Kid Shirt and Dom Zero of Octopus 99 infamy descended (as usual) into pyromania and a drunken 5am sing-along to B.A. Robertson’s “Bang Bang.” Or, at least that’s how it might have appeared to a casual bystander. It might have seemed as if we were just freaking out and playing air-guitar along to Mick Ronson records, but we were actually fighting for our lives on the psychic plane. While you folks were all tucked up warm and cosy in yr suburban semis – we were doing what we do best: namely, making the universe a safer and more democratic place for sentient species of all shapes and hues. While our methods may seem a little odd to the uninitiated, you can be sure that we have your back, humes. Because of us you can spend today playing with yr kids or hanging out with friends rather than being flesh puppets in the thrall of a marauding race of ectoplasmic brain-men. Some of you may have woken up and noticed that it had snowed during the night…well, all I can say is: that wasn’t snow.

No need to thank us, ma’am. Just doin’ our jobs.