Saturday, March 31, 2018

Midnight Oil 1984

Last year, Midnight Oil came back to life as a band and toured the world. They showed everyone what music with a conscience sounded like (hey, wasn't there a band called U2 once that tried to do the same thing?). I am waiting for the live album that will eventually be released that will properly document the shows they put on for fans everywhere. I don't know if it's the end of the band or if they will wait five years and put out new music and go back out there.

I do know one thing. We need Midnight Oil now more than ever. I hope they have it in them to document the atrocities of the Trump era.

There is a new documentary out about their impact on the music world called Midnight Oil 1984. What a year for them--they recorded and released the amazing Red Sails in the Sunset and went on another barn burning tour of the world.

Red Sails is one of the most amazing albums ever. Recorded with cutting edge (at the time, of course) digital technology, you can really hear the experimentation and the defiance of the band. When asked to go and produce radio-friendly singles, they told their record company to go pound sand.

Somewhere in the period between Red Sails and Diesel & Dust, they went back out onto the road and documented their attempt to reinvent themselves as a band. 

I have a copy of Black Fella, White Fella in storage and it is a tremendous document of their ability as a live band. Instead of arenas and festivals, they packed themselves in trucks and played for people in the outback, preferring the backslapping of the indigenous people of Australia to the fawning bellows of an inebriated crowd in a massive field.

The trailer for Midnight Oil 1984 looks amazing. Someone should have just merged the two projects together and given BF, WF a proper re-release. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sir Paul Speaks


Paul McCartney threw his weight behind calls for gun control at the March for Our Lives in New York on Saturday, saying the issue has struck a chord with him because fellow Beatle John Lennon was killed by a gun. Speaking to CNN, McCartney conceded he wasn’t sure calls for change could end gun violence altogether, but “this is what we can do, so I'm here to do it.” “One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me,” he said. Lennon was famously shot and killed outside his Manhattan apartment building in 1980.

This is what the beginning of a movement looks like.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


There is nothing wrong with a little highbrow discussion of XTC:

XTC is pop that is somehow beyond the limits of pop. There is pop and art, and there is rock and art, and yet the terms Pop art or art-rock don’t quite fit. In the seventies, bands such as Yes; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Genesis; Jethro Tull; and so on were known—with their long solos, long tracks, and grandiose concepts—as art-rock. Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper preceded them, and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool followed. In the middle was punk, which ripped apart the pretensions of the art-rockers and put Andy Partridge in an awkward position. He couldn’t show his soft side, and he couldn’t do anything that stretched the attention span. But from his earliest records, what was unmistakable was chromatic harmony, a concept that sprang from nineteenth-century Germany, starting with Wagner’s Tristan chord. To put it less technically, Partridge’s chords are often weird—stacked, suspended, and eerily cast—and they sound like no one else’s.

Here's one way to get to the Tristan chord:

And there you have it. I realize there are other variations, but this one sounded pretty good to me.

The idea that XTC is high brow entertainment is a bit of an inside joke. It's accessible pop music! It's difficult, complicated prog rock! It's dance music for white people! It's pastoral punk! It's everything you can imagine and more. Oh, and the songs are wonderful.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Julian Casablancas is a Useful Idiot

Nobody has to listen to what Julian Casablancas has to say about anything ever again:

Julian Casablancas has argued how the “whole mainstream resistance” to Donald Trump “completely misses the point” because the President is “just like a symbolic facade, puppet of the real problems”.

The Strokes frontman recently spoke to Rolling Stone, admitting that he is somewhat a fan of Russia Today because the controversial TV network gives airtime to American dissidence, despite “obviously” also being pro-Putin propaganda.

“The dissident voices like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, you used to see them a little bit in the mainstream,” Casablancas said. “And now it’s so repressed that people have to go to like, RT, to speak their opinion, and now they’re trying to shut RT down.”

“It’s almost like the new Star Wars where there’s like 10 people left on a ship and that’s, like, the Resistance. That’s all that’s left.”

Well, that guy turned out to be a fucking idiot. First, it's as if he has no idea America elected Barack Obama, and I would be shocked if this guy has ever voted anywhere, ever. Second, RT is Russian state propaganda, designed to influence other countries to split up, fall apart, and go to war with themselves. Third, if you're savvy enough to note that RT is obviously pro-Putin, then how is it you haven't figured out that it serves as a means to hiding what Putin is really doing to Russia and to Western democracy?


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The End of the Print Edition of the NME

Very sad:

The NME is to cease publication in print after 66 years, the weekly music title joining a growing list of once mighty magazine brands that now only exist online.

The website will continue, replacing the print edition’s cover star interview with a new weekly digital franchise, the Big Read.

The NME will continue to keep a sporadic presence in print with special issues such as its paid-for series NME Gold, to cater for music stars’ appetite for appearing in a printed product.

The people who grew up with it are losing something valuable. The NME was something one held in their hands. To me, it's always been a website. Let's hope they can keep that going.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Waking Up In Another Town

It's an avalanche of cool music:

Ride release 'Waking Up In Another Town: Weather Diaries Remixed' through Wichita Recordings. Available 21st April in all great record shops, this limited edition (3000 copies worldwide) double LP is a collection of remixes of 'Weather Diaries' tracks

This looks like amazing stuff. So, we've had a new Ride album, a world tour, a new EP, and now a double album remix? Incredible.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wide Awake in America

I have very little interest in post-Achtung Baby U2, but this is a great idea:

U2 have announced the vinyl reissue of three of their classic releases, including their 2000 album ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’.

The three records in question – 1985’s ‘Wide Awake In America’ EP, 1997’s ‘Pop’, and ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ – will be all be remastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl for the reissue, with each record set to be packaged in a sleeve which faithfully reproduces the original release’s artwork.

Both ‘Pop’ and ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ will come with a lyric booklet, while all three reissues will include a special download card.

All three reissues are due on April 13, and pre-order is available now through U2’s official store.

They won't do this, of course, but they really should expand the number of tracks and make Wide Awake in America a proper album. Leave the first side the way it is, and add between five and seven live "bonus" tracks from that era. The tour that U2 undertook to promote The Unforgettable Fire produced a slew of live performances that, when you hear them as bootlegs, are really just astounding. Every U2 show from that era was an event, and it's a shame they are not releasing those recordings in their proper format.