Monday, September 22, 2008

Think I'm Hearing the Alb of the Year

I don't have time for alb reviews au present, but I need to share somebody else's.

I'm only four tracks deep, but if nothing else, Prisonshake's Dirty Moons is the best-sounding, big, fat, analog, goopy mother-effer I've heard since Shellac's Excellent Italian Greyhound - and the thing is, i'm listening to the cds that came tucked in with the big, goopy 180-gram 2xlps... god knows what the vinyl experience'll be like. (btw, the music is not shellac-ish in the least, tho maybe it shares a similar wanton "pigfuck" sensibility.)

But the alb is so exciting - un-self-conscious rock music from people long past the absurd notion of playing rock music for a living, well-packaged, well-played and well-recorded because why not? - that it reminds me how contrived, rote, bland and by-the-numbers today's indie rock industry is. Anywho, I decide to google the alb, and lo and behold I run into this well-written review that begins with a lament on how contrived, rote, bland and by-the-numbers today's indie rock industry is. Moments later I discover it's written by WFMU's Mike wonder. He probably saw Prisonshake at Maxwell's on the Scat Insects of Rock Tour in 1994, too. Regardless, going by the continuing "holy shit! you remember that, too?" reaction his essential podcast evokes in me, I guess we're fellow travellers. But he's the articulate one, see?
Prisonshake harkens back to the days before the musical underground had been given the Rand-Mcnally road atlas treatment. Phenomena like Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could be Your Life may have established the idea of an underground rock ‘canon’, but the smaller bands who played the same field throughout the ’80s have aged with a more intriguing sense of style. One of the many charms of left-of-center music is that it’s a large and diverse enough universe for one to leap into along with a few close buddies, and all emerge on the other side with completely different stories and experiences. Nowadays, with many young kids sweating heavily over the reunions of criterion bands whose members are three times their senior, and those same kids shelling out untold thousands in festival dollars to see performances of ‘signature’ albums in their entirety, a lot of the visceral joy associated with loving something just because it’s cool and different has been lost. With the approval index at such all-consuming peaks and venture capitalists masking as tastemakers, it’s no wonder I’ve started listening to my Springsteen records again..

(You should read the whole damn thing over at Dusted for some context.)


gabbagabbahey said...

those reviews are very well-written, great site. the tune streaming (another plus) was pretty good, too. pretty 'goopy'

however I think I maybe should take issue with that argument, as I'm kinda one of those young kids (perhaps a little too old, I don't listen to many bands whose members are 63 years old) but there's still plenty of room to find older music as 'cool and different' rather as part of a centrall decided canon. Hoover would be an obvious example in my case, but likewise when my friend and I (and his older brother and his friend, plus a couple of the artier types in our year at school...) all independently turned up to see Slint play their 'signature' album, it wasn't that easy to find someone else to have a knowledgeable (or even cognisant)conversation about the group afterwards. Point is Slint, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth etc. are all still to varying degrees cool and different today (especially when you're still in your teens, remember), and it's still easy to mix that visceral joy with more recent discoveries and bands without the depth of canonical/critical support.

and I still listen to Springsteen albums - I just don't bother with going along to his massive gigs with a sizeable proportion of the over-35 population.

wobblie said...

GGH - I know your over-35 cut-off was completely arbitrary, comes with any number of caveats (my favorite of which would be "over-35 is a state of mind!"), and offered in a gently mocking sort of way.

But I'm going to take it seriously for one moment to say, "I'M STILL COOL, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!"