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Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Awesome cover page of Libération today
A projection.

Most American Bands
Excerpt from a discussion on I Love Music from today, September, 11th, 2002:

The most Un-American band would probably be The Dead Kennedys, I guess. They used to be 15 years ago at least. (alex in mainhattan)
How so? They sang almost exclusively about America, and their sound is based firmly on Garage Rock and Rockabilly, American music. Jello even made a C&W record.
What you're thinking of is "anti American", which the DK's weren't, either (unless you think disapproving of Reaganomics is anti American, in which case Springsteen is anti-American, too.)
-- Daniel_Rf (daniel@cul...), September 11th, 2002

All right then Daniel, but you must admit that they are not a band you would associate with American patriotism, American consumer society and American roots music. They stood apart. I always heard their music more as punk than as c&w.
-- alex in mainhattan (alex63@big...), September 11th, 2002

"Patrotism" has become a really idiotic word after 9/11- it's now synonymous with "following your government blindly and beating everyone up who disagrees". The cynic in me would now say that this is, indeed, very American, but America also has a great history of protests and interest in social change. The DK's sang about what they thought was wrong with their country and tried to do their bit to change it. I think that's very patrotic indeed.
As for the roots music, you're right that the Dead Kennedys stuff isn't C&W (I was talking about a Biafra solo album where he went Country), but:
1- Punk's roots lie in American roots music (Sex Pistols -> The Stooges -> ? & The Mysterions -> "I'm A Man" by The Yardbirds -> "I'm A Man" by Bo Diddley -> "Mannish Boy" by Muddy Waters)
2- The DK's brand of Punk was a lot more brutal and less melodic than the classic UK Punk bands.
The fact that the other members of the band have now sued Jello because he didn't want "Holidays In Cambodia" used in a Levi's ad also places them smack dab in American consumer society, but really, does one have to be a symbol for that to be "Most American"? I think you're selling your country short.
-- Daniel_Rf (daniel@cul...), September 11th, 2002
All right then Daniel, but you must admit that they are not a band you would associate with American patriotism, American consumer society and American roots music. They stood apart.
Bush's (and Reagan's) versions of American patriotism & consumer society -which I think are the versions that you're saying the Dead Kennedys are in opposition to- are not the only versions. Daniel's point is excellent about reading what "patriotism" means today.
-- lyra (lyra63@spe...), September 11th, 2002

I think you're selling your country short.
I am German, so this doesn't really apply.
I am using the word American in a very lazy way. It is more the image America gives to the outside world I was thinking of.
But I 100% agree, Daniel, that this is only a part of America and that there is a tradition of protest, free speech and social movement. Unfortunately it doesn't show too much nowadays. Especially for the Europeans. Maybe we are a little blind on one eye concerning America.
-- alex in mainhattan (alex63@big...), September 11th, 2002
I am German, so this doesn't really apply.
You are?? So am I (albeit living in Portugal)! Sorry, I misread your user name for "Alex in Manhattan". Mea culpa.
I insisted on this point because 20th/21st century popular music has always represented to me everything that's good and righteous about America, and I think that it's tragic how Americans are led to believe that being proud of their country must always go hand-in-hand with a jinogiostic, right-wing nut attitude.
-- Daniel_Rf (daniel@cul...), September 11th, 2002

2 germans (one in portugal) good-naturedly arguing over who the most american band is! the ILM global village rulez!
-- Fritz Wollner

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Dandy Warhols
I have always liked this eclectic band from Portland. Though the singer is supposed to be an arrogant asshole on stage and their drug consumption shows in their psychedelic music. They do lots of drones, they have a certain relaxedness and coolness around them I adore. I am listening to five mp3s which were available on their site recently:
- Hells Bells: great AC/DC cover on sleeping pills, in the melodic Dandy version which uses a nice horn section this song reminds me a lot of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven.
- Ohio: one of Neil Young's most popular and best songs, in a synthesizer-heavy version, with the usual detached mumbled vocals. Rather spooky.
- Bohemian Like You: grooving instrumental, weakest of the 5 tracks.
- Dub Song is a chaotic hypnotic dance track reminiscent of The Happy Mondays in their heyday. Primal Scream's Screamadelica comes to mind as well.
- Retarded: nice powerpop tune, sparkling and light, Beach Boys meet Velvet Underground.

Unfortunately only Retarded and Dub Song are still in the mp3 section of the Dandy Warhols homepage but there are eight other songs which I didn't listen to yet:
Head, One, CCR, White Gold, The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot), Free For All (Ted Nugent), Kinky and Phone Call.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

A music quiz game I just came up with
Squeeze your nostrils with the fingers and try to hum the melody of a song through your nose. A little bit like Bob Dylan does. The people you are playing with have to guess the song. Then it is their turn. You get points if people recognise the song you have performed and also when you find out which tunes other people have interpreted (you need more than two people for this game, otherwise it is always a draw). It really is fun. Especially when done as a drinking game. I would suggest you have to drink for each point you win.

I ask myself more and more which is more rewarding: to listen more closely to old classic songs of which I know that they are important and meaningful for me or to check out what is going on now, to listen to the latest trends.
And the answer becomes more and more evident to me. A lot of the old songs I know and like I don't REALLY know. I have never understood the lyrics (in most cases I just didn't try), I have never tried to dig deeper. They appealed to me on a superficial level but not more (because of my laziness). Concerning new music: though I am a sucker (a terrible but succinct American word) for new sounds I feel I either have reached a saturation point or there is simply nothing exciting happening in music today anymore. The only genre of popular music where there seems to be a little something going on is electronic music. But that doesn't (and never did) bear a lot of interest to me. Purely electronic music for me is in the last consequence robot music, music which could be made by machines, non-human music. And my love for music refers to the human imprint on music. A certain intelligence and emotion which I hardly find anymore today.
But there are exceptions and I would like to write about them here. A song like Time (The Revelator), the opening track of Gilian Welch's last album with the same name. Gilian Welch's music has been described as bluegrass, a modern songwriter-oriented version of it which is nevertheless rooted a lot in the past. In this song like on most of the album there is only Welch's voice (which I like a lot) and two acoustic guitars. I won't write anything more on this tonight as words fail me for the moment. But this song (from last year) is my favourite song I have discovered this year.

I would really love someone to prove me wrong on my conclusion. Please tell me how great new music is and why!


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