[Originally published 1992 |
Updated here 1999.06.20
At the end of the year, all I feel like doing is spreading wicked innuendo and making all sorts of rank value judgements. In other words, I want to write a gossip column. So here goes... Leave it to Miss Bob Mould, late of Hüsker Dü and his own "solo project," to mutter about our own thpecial kind of love through clenched teeth. As the usually long-winded Barry Walters of the Advocate trenchantly pointed out, Mould's song "Slim" (on Copper Blue, the début of his new band Sugar) is about getting it up the arse without a condom and the angst that causes. It's all highly allegorical, of course, but we invented allegory, honeychild, so let's stop playing games. And when will Miss Mould stop refusing to answer questions about her alternative sexuality? Girl, we want you in our family once and for all. Fabulous graphic design on the CD, though – someone finally cares enough to dazzle us with plastic, polycarbonate and paper as well as tunes... Sure to cause hissing arguments and angrily-hurled blue pencils among underemployed copy-editors everywhere is the hard-to-parse combination of the name of UK dance outfit the Twenty Fifth of May and the title of its first album, Lenin & McCarthy. Yet more confusing is the trio's motivation for writing "Why?" – a backbeat overlaid with a chain of newscast samples about the 1990 disaster at a soccer field in England, where 95 people were crushed to death. Ick. I can usually handle "issue" music, but this song struck me as serving to further upset members of the proverbial general public who probably were upset enough in the first place. The band should maybe send a few copies to the police and emergency services whom the song rakes over the coals... Speaking of issues, Consolidated's new album Play More Music proves once and for all that the glory days of the enjoyable and often danceable The Myth of Rock (1988) are gone forever. Their hearts are in the right place, but these guys can no longer make a fun song to save their lives (or the lives of animals or queers, whom they strongly defend)... Soothing yet emotionally ambiguous, however, is the voice of Sheila Chandra, the Indo-British chanteuse who has all but single-handedly lifted the drone from the realm of honeybees to the purview of fine music. She's hit the world-beat big time, if there be such a thing, with her new record Weaving My Ancestors' Voices, but fans should dig up her two earlier albums. I sure the heck will... Normally a curmudgeon, particularly around this "festive" season, I will admit to being charmed, even touched by the group Live (graduates of the Twenty Fifth of May School of Band Nomenclature?), whose Mental Jewelry album brims with heartfelt railing against war. Lest that sound precious, understand that these fellers are something like 20 years old and play with a sincerity and commitment and elemental skill that gives me faith in the youth o' today... Way more tuneful that the Tragically Hip's borefest of a new album is the début (yes, another one) by Winnipeg's the Watchmen, with (surprise!) another weird title – McLarenFurnaceRoom. Troubling, though, is the sexy/frightening tough-guy lingo ("I hate to smash your pretty face against the fuckin' wall") used in "Run & Hide," a denunciation of violence against women. The words say one thing (and I take them at face value), but the vocal delivery is weirdly passionate and exciting. This approach may ultimately work better than appealing to would-be girlbashers' atrophied sense of fair play, since preaching to them, Consolidated-style, that it's wrong to hit people won't do a damn bit of good. Better to knock them off emotional balance... And I have just one question for Little K, Little D, Little L-A-N-G: Now that you're out of the closet, when will you start doing more for us vegetarians?