Wendy’s in-depth study of the British independent music scene explores how the behavior of fans, artists, and music industry professionals produce a community with an aesthetic based on moral values. She had incredible access to that entire community, and has created a book full of remarkable truths. It has the effect of the best pop song – once you’ve read Fonarow on this, you think "Of course," and you can not imagine how you might have understood this in any other way. Even musicians who have lived the life she investigates are floored by her findings, which explore gigs as expressing the contemporary attitudes towards youth, the strategy behind guest pass placement, musicians as tricksters, guitar playing as symbolic sexual union and – everyone’s favorite -- "groupies" as sin eaters.Woah, watch the ego, there, Wendy. Revolutionary! I've never heard ANY of those ideas expressed before -- especially not in one of me and Pinkie's long-winded discussions of ... yeah. Those exact same subjects. Anyway, my point here, though -- and I promise, I have one -- is that Bowers' succinct critique made me feel all, like, intolerably trivial, but you know, in a good way. Heaven forbid that we can't make fun of ourselves
Anyway, enough pseud blather from me, maybe I should post some songs or something.
Here's something slightly embarassing: YES, I HEARD ABOUT THIS BAND FROM A PRESS RELEASE. There, that at least makes me feel a little better. I won't be writing about Richard Buckner (who, btw, has the distinct honor of being the only artist whose show I was enjoying, but walked out of because it was uh, too loud and smoky -- and if you know me, you know that means it was ULTRA smoky and UNBEARABLY loud, but I digress), even though there was a spate of interest concurrent when we bloggers got the promo in the mail, I have yet to listen to it. I also won't be writing about Bel Autumn, because you know, I have ears and taste, please! They're currently in the running for least deserving buzz band (you know, now that I apparently like Sam Champion...), and based on the fall-off of the manufactured hype, I'm glad to see my gut reaction was right on. Remember, tastemakers, you can't make people like anything. And well, Bel Auburn, you're getting to witness this in action!
However, there's this Fields band. The press release tumbled in from somewhere -- seriously TRGAW is on the verge of needing an intern to keep up with email. I can hardly handle the comments as it is, much less sending nice emails to publicists saying, "This is utter shit!" or "This is great, thanks, but I won't write about it!" But yeah, Fields. They make me think of Stars, but are perhaps even more lovely and completely inoffensive, which, I promise you is not an insult. They're clearly better than Viva Voce, who sound, as my dear friend J. Frank Parnell noted, not unlike a defanged, declawed, deloused Quasi. And yet I liked Viva Voce back when they were first a buzz band three years ago...what happened? I think they did a Mates of State, clearly -- watered themselves down to the point of utter inoffensiveness (and yes, that's inoffensiveness in a bad way this time) -- so much so they got signed to Barsuk, even! But, hey, I was talking about Fields here. Fields are, to me, more in line with the current prog-psych revival, which is a category I only use to file away pure practisioners of this art -- Psychic Ills, Brightblack Morning Light, Dungen, Blood on the Walls etc. (Just don't confuse them with the Fields who really were a psych band...) But they also have flashes of the kind of shoegazer tendencies that belies a love of Big Star and the Stone Roses. Am I making sense here? Am I totally bonkers? Wait, don't answer that. What this boils down to is that I feel like I'm listening to the Fairport Convention, or It's a Beautiful Day, or something. Except now, through the My Bloody Valentine filter. And that's grand. Really.
Fields -- Song For The Fields
Fields -- Heretic
Fields -- Brittle Sticks
Pinkie reminded me of something the other day -- how is Youth Group's cover of "Forever Young" sticking with kids who have no context for the line: "are you gonna drop The Bomb or not...?" (Or is it "are you gonna drop The Bomb on us?" -- opinions vary.) Anyway, it's an interesting thought.
Youth Group -- Forever Young (live acoustic)
Alphaville -- Forever Young (extended version)
And if you've read this far, make sure to keep scrolling and read the previous entry, if you haven't already...