The Rich Girls Are Weeping

15 August 2006

Having admiration for Pitchfork columnists, whilst having a general antipathy for the review section of the publication, is a bit like saying that you like the personal finance and small business columns and feature writing in the Wall Street Journal, but really can't stand their editorial board. Which, ok, um, I say all the time -- so maybe that's not the best comparison. Like saying you like Maureen Dowd but find the stringers in the Times' newsroom the most loathsome creatures on the planet? Something like that. Anyway. I have a point. And that's that over at Pitchfork's Interrobang!?, Dr. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd presents a brief discussion of the new Xtina Aguilera. You know, the same as the old Xtina Aguilera? So, there goes my chance to write an essay on the same topic -- go read hers instead. And yeah, yeah. I'm totally sold on the Cult of William Bowers now too, especially as he so tastefully eviscerated Wendy Fonarow's new book, Empire of Dirt: The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music in his latest Puritan Blister column. Now, I haven't read Fornorow's book yet, but doesn't this blurb from her site tell you all you need to know?
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 every now and then constantly.

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...


Blogger Pinkie von Bloom said...

fonorow's book sounds as ambitious and utterly ridiculous as rachel feldman's manic pop thrill that came outlike ten years ago. andrea and i have always referred to it as "manic poop thrill." it's some of the worst music journalism i've ever seen in my entire life. i keep it around as a reminder of the fact that i can write, and i quite enjoy that F for feldman comes after E for eshun, considering that more brilliant than the sun is some of the densest (and most beautiful) prose i've ever read.

i don't know why but the high handed ambition is suddenly prompting a silent rendition of python's oliver cromwell song. ...lord protectorate and something something. oh hell. clearly insane, just like i said. i'll also have you know that the security word verification on this post is painfully close to "battleaxe." i'm disappointed it didn't deliver, since i quite like typing that word.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:41:00 PM  
Blogger Serenaded Hourly said...

Holy craps. You're talking about my friend and former Portland homegrill, the ineffable js, in this entry! Shocks!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I'd really wish you'd flip through my book before you decide it is a piece of crap. That line about not looking at it the same way actually came from the reviewer Barry Shank and it was someone other than myself who decided to include it. I'm happy that unlike so many in the US scene you have a sense of humor and want to find the same sense of playfulness and seriousness that characterizes the best of the indie scene. So if you happen to pass by a store that has the book, please look at the footnotes. I think I take the piss out of myself probably more than anyone. Ta....WLF

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Candy Hotpants calling somebody out for having an ego...?

That's rich.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear God that Bel Auburn promo machine.

Do some bloggers post everythingthat turns up in their inbox?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Geez, you could at least get my name right if you're gonna insult me! Some people, really! Thank goodness you're not facing the challenge of dealing with getting my "real" name right.

And thank you, I happen to enjoy thinking highly of myself, and I don't think it's undeserved.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Pinkie von Bloom said...

Ms. Fonarow,

We'd be happy to take a look at your book. Could you please furnish us with contacts for your UK and US publicists and/or presses so that we could secure a reader or review copy? You may email them to us at elegantfaker at gmail dot com. Please also feel free to have your publicist contact us directly.

Thank you for your feedback.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Dearest Serenaded Hourly, it's true, YOU KNOW EVERYONE!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:43:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Josh: I'm beginning to think that some do -- and frankly, I'm shocked. Are people really that gullible and naive?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:45:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

You know, the more I think about it, I'm thinking that maybe I need to change my name to Candy Hotpants. It has a nice ring to it, actually!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 3:14:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I think Cindy Hotpoint/Candy Hotpants could be a good pair of names for night/day. You know, "Cindy at work, but Candy at play!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 9:45:00 PM  
Blogger Andy Fenwick said...

Ms Fonarow is googling herself! Self googling author! Caught red fingered! Thanks for the entertainment, author person.

And hey - we could all be diggin' the Fields, and I don't mean that agriculturally.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Cindy! We agree! That's great. I knew it was bound to hapen sooner or later. There is a remix of Song for the Feild up at my site.

Friday, August 18, 2006 5:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weclome to the cult of Will Bowers! I lvoe his writing, too!

Saturday, August 19, 2006 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Short Stories said...

I shall say that weeping may not be that bad..

Friday, September 29, 2006 8:54:00 PM  
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