Morrissey Autobiography

download

A thought bubble appeared in the hours after finishing the Morrissey autobiography.  ‘Is Morrissey the world’s best salesman?’

It’s not an obvious reaction to the book, nor have many other people come to anything close to this conclusion about Morrissey, and yet I still have that feeling as if I have been hoodwinked.

Morrissey’s autobiography is like Morrissey himself -in no way typical, I felt cautious while reading it, in that being a fan that I was being lured into forgetting that he is a superstar, forgetting that the book is now a Penguin classic.

I have always seen myself as a Morrissey, Smiths fan, his music has been a huge part of my life. I never have gotten sick of his music, it never becomes dated and has an uncanny property to transpire trends, he is a musician and a writer on the level of intellectual that many other popular artists never even come close to.

There are certain things that as a fan I just take for granted (and love) about Morrissey, and I found those things in his Autobiography, his narrative setting starting in Manchester was so masterfully written that I had to put the book down for a week or so, it had that sort of hard emotional impact. It was so intense that I had to go back reassess Morrissey and his music, I felt for years that much of his lyrics were him being…well lyrical. But it turns out in a song like ‘The Headmaster Ritual” it seems to actually worse than the song permits.

There is something powerful underpinning this Autobiography that kept my mind ticking over while reading this, here is someone who everyone thought would fail, who record companies failed to sign up, who’s personality did not play into the business model of the recording industry, who’s talent was underestimated by the press, who’s demeanour did not fit comfortably to what people class as a successful artist, yet he was a success…he overcame all odds.

download (1)

His years with the Smiths which recordings people still listen to every single day, he admits where short, and I was surprised how little detail we have about Marr or his friendship with him. In many ways Morrissey is a closed book, forever an enigma, always a labyrinth to navigate, this struck me as being odd as we are invited to learn everything in his autobiography.Many things where missing from his his narrative, like how his family reacted to him becoming a superstar for example, or about  his battles with depression which we know with all respect that he has had, or how success had changed him from that innocent Manchester kid who showed up backstage at Roxy music concerts,  to multi mega-star whisked away to the sounds of adoring fans.

In his modest way he seems to be amused by his success befuddled, surprised by it.

Morrissey, spends a huge amount of time clearing the decks and attempting to set the record straight, he takes myriad swipes at people never forgetting anything, it is one of his many indulgences that as fans we forgive him for. Yet in this format it does become very tiresome, especially when we encounter his trial with Mike Joyce that goes into the intimate legal details for many pages.

Morrissey has a terrific turn of phrase, some of his passages are pure poetry, yet it is fragmented, a hotch potch recalling of his career, he lingers far from things we want access to, the last quarter of the book reads more like his touring diary with notes rather than a sophisticated wrap up of his whole working career.

The autobiography was intoxicating at times yet I was left with my face pressed against the glass window watching him walk by from afar.

 

Pye Corner Audio:Black Mill Tapes

Some electronica is literally like a drug, you take one or two doses of it and get such a high off that one track you sort of overdose on it. I was like that especially with this one Pye Corner Audio track: Electronic Rhythm Number One, there was just something about the track that made me have it as my only song on repeat for weeks.

In a way when you spend lots of time with music it becomes embedded in your experience, in your life. when music can do this it becomes more than just a throw away track, very few artists are able to achieve this.

Pye Corner Audio, seems to be what I would adventurously call ‘Electronics roots’ I hear something in their sound that reminds me of the music right back at the beginning of electronic music, something pure, experimental, haunting, inspiring. Back then artists like Kraftwerk,Vangelis and Brian Eno were just learning to use all the new technology experimenting learning.

It must of been incredibly difficult to turn the clock back to this time, collecting vintage hardware learning how to do it all over again in today’s world where easily crafted electronic sounds have become prolific. You can tell that Pye Corner Audio have explored and discovered this hardware  again with amazing results, they have given us tracks that are like the lost albums of Brian Eno.

The music gives me shivers sometimes, some tracks are so uplifting: Electronica Rhyhm Number One, Electronic Rhythm Number Five and Into The Wave are three very strong tracks, other tracks are slow experimental and a little off-beat but grow on your over time like Theme Number Eight, has a very Vangelis feel to it.

PCA-590

I can’t just walk away from Pye Corner Audio, I keep coming back for more and if you want to touch base with the soul of electronic music Pye Corner Audio is a good start.

 

 

 

 

The Twerps – The Twerps

a2749546645_2

I was staring up into the sky watching the clouds slowly pass by in the supermarket car park, I felt like a teenager waiting for my mum.

People meandered around with shopping trolleys ‘Dreamin’ was playing and I drifted off completely to another place, I was doing precisely what the song wanted me to.

The Twerps have a powerful mix of sounds, the guitar reminds me of Joy division it’s heavy and laconic the twanging feels loose and easy. Like with Joy division the guitar seems just out of tune, giving a sound that is intentionally askew but also intently original.

Some lyrics and style remind me of Joe Strummer and Bob Dylan, while others have a Kim Gordon, Courtney Love feel. There is a strong Go-betweens influence here, it gives it that  familiar sound that is fills the emotional landscape of your mind.

The album cover is interesting it seems to be urban and cold, they purposely look unsure, unprepared or like they just got out of bed. It’s seems like a pretty nice house in the background, it also has a very structured ‘this is a band photo and I am in a band’ however it is at the same time totally unpretentious.

While listening to this I just excepted that the band was from America, the sound reminded me of an indie band. I think it was the track “this guy”, it made me think of Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth.  I was pretty surprised when I found out they where from Melbourne, it just didn’t seem like a Melbourne ‘sound’ to me.

It feels like the Twerps are just starting out, this album came out in 2011 it’s not new. But this group feels like they are still establishing their sound.

So much music these days gets caught in a certain sound or style and it’s nice to hear this kind of experimentation.

The Twerps are worth your time and they have a permanent place on my playlist.

http://twerps.bandcamp.com/

Hungry Kids of Hungary -Your a Shadow

640x640-c

I have heard these guys on triple J for a while, but I didn’t take much notice. I only really sat up and took notice when they did a live performance on Rockwiz, (SBS) They did the headline ‘When yesterdays gone’.

I just had one of those moments and fell in love with Hungry Kids of Hungary.

There was something about the lucidity of the song, the lightness of it. The vocals on Rockwiz where pretty admirable, the performance was clear and so polished.

A close friend cynically told me they where part of the ‘pointy shoe brigade’ whatever that means.

There is a real Aussie University band feel, they made me feel like I did when I used to get into Custard or the Fauves. There are just little itty tiny bits of influences here that are so hard to sift out. I could just fathom Supertramp, Supergrass, and Custard.  This feels like indie 20 years on but without the blood sweat and morphine, it’s hipster Indie pop.

It is strong on melody, the songs are catchy and there has been plenty of time thinking about the lyrics. Some of the songs on the album are a little slow, but they have a dreamy quality that keeps you listening.

This is a nice hotel and I am comfortable. It is decorated in a modern tasteful fashion there’s some marks on the floor I feel profoundly depressed but it’s o.k because the mini-bar is well stocked.

A killer third album might make me stay longer, something which every single track drives home their place in Australian music.

Steve Roach, Dirk Serries Low Volume Music 2012

a1272436929_2

 

Sometimes ambient music can be a little like having a morphine addiction, you get so drenched in the sounds you can hardly fathom any other kind of music.

You become a ‘user’ of ambient

You literally need an adrenalin shot to wake you out of your trance like state.

It’s also funny how different people approach Ambient ‘New Age’ (as it is sometimes called) like Steve Roach or Brian Eno.

Many see it as music you put on while getting a massage or taking a bath or thinking about dolphins or touching some crystals or whatever.

On this album I can see something momentous has happened in Steve’s music landscape. The album covers no longer looks like some alien plant covered in vomit or a mushroom with stars behind it.

But it is cool grey and calm, the typeface sits well spaced and minimal- it is well designed.

The songs too are well designed and meditative in a different way than previously.  They have lost the bubbling and gurgling of his earlier work.

This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea not everyone can take up an addiction like this.

But I totally recommend Steve Roach to anyone wanting to ‘really’ chill out.

http://projektrecords.bandcamp.com/track/haze

Django Django self titled album 2012

Django+Django+PNG

This is one of those rare times when I was around to hear this band first being played on triple J and witness people first starting to get into them. When this happens you have a special feeling like you have personally adopted the band and have are in it with them for the long run. The first song I heard of Djangos Djangos is Default, which was flogged at first a little by Triple J probably for good reason because it’s a very catchy but albeit poppy tune. Once you jig and wade your way past Default, the Django django music-scape descends – dreamy beautiful foot tapping melodies, soundtracks to life kind of thing.

Django django are from Scotland but have a Beach boys melody, Beck’s funky dirty country grunge feel, the Dandy Warhol’s zest and a slight touch of Radiohead for good luck.

There is something very 60’s about Django django but in a very approachable way for someone like myself who cannot bring themselves to actually listen to a real beach boy album in fear of having to admit I like the same music as my dad.  I have had a good year to marinate in the experience of Django django and I feel comfortable under the sails of the beautiful melodies that emanate in the general direction of Django Django.