Saturday, 30 January 2010

Shouting spite or spouting shite?

"Lame-arsed, flat productions with all the bollocks of a eunuch..."

I've just written my most negative and scathing review ever (click here to read the full review).

While there have been other occasions in the past when I've been critical I've never been this angry, vitriolic and downright negative. Why? Because most music is average, not genre shatteringly brilliant or so awful you want to pour molten lead into your ears. And as a 'critic' its surely my job to write a fair portrayal of an album, single or gig or whatever it is? If it's average, it's down to me to weigh up the pros and cons and sum them up, in as entertaining and colourful a way as possible of course (bland music should NOT result in bland writing!).

Some reviewers/critics clearly beg to differ though. In a vain (i.e. narcissistic) attempt to add 'edge' or 'personality' to an article, some hacks feel the need to write a black or white review about something which is decidedly grey. The end results vary from scathing acidic streams of swear-word crammed spite or arse-licking sugar coated statements of sickening, undying love.

There's nothing wrong with loving or hating something but if you have to bend the truth to pretend you actually give a toss either way, surely that results in distorted, unfair reviewing?

The worst cases are when a journalist is so desperate for their review to scream 'look at me' that they actually forget to mention what they are reviewing or offer any insight into it, instead opting for shouting and screaming and swearing at the the top of their voices in an attempt to get themselves a job or at least appear they're as spiky and off the scale as their high maintenance haircuts.

For examples of ranting reviews that don't actually review a thing, look no further than The Fly magazine, which seems to specialise in the art.

So I may have written a hugely negative album review but it genuinely was that shit! In my opinion anyway...

Useless music fact #11: Liam Gallagher's solo effort is set for release by July 2010. So Oasis minus the brains equals what exactly? The man who owes Ian Brown and Tim Burgess thousands in image rights payments has never been known for being 'the creative one has he? This is a useless music fact as all signs seem to point to the fact that the music will indeed be useless. Prove us wrong our kid!

Originally posted on on 30 January 2010.

Friday, 8 January 2010

End of year dance/electronic charts for 2009

After yesterday's Top 10 albums of the decade, here are my Top 10 dance/electronic albums and Top 20 dance/electronic tracks of 2009 as compiled for Mixmag and included in their end of year charts:


1. The ProdigyInvaders Must Die [Take Me To The Hospital]
2. Deadmau5 For Lack Of A Better Name [Virgin]
3. Kris MenaceIdiosyncrasies [New State/Compuphonic]
4. Mr OizoLamb’s Anger [Because]
5. King RocChapters [Music Response]
6. Harmonic 313When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence [Warp]
7. Echaskech Shatterproof [Just Music]
8. The QemistsJoin The Q [Ninja Tune]
9. Fever RayFever Ray [Rabid/V2]
10. The OrbBaghdad Batteries [Malicious Damage]


1. The ProdigyWarriors Dance [Take Me To The Hospital]
2. DJ FoodOne Man’s Weird Is Another Man’s World [Ninja Tune]
3. Mr Oizo Positif [Ed Banger]
4. La RouxIn For The Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Mix) [Polydor]
5. Moodymanc Seedz [Tsuba]
6. The GossipLove Long Distance (Fake Blood Remix) [Columbia]
7. Deadmau5 I Remember [Virgin]
8. diskJokke Rosenrod [Moshi Moshi Singles Club]
9. Lindstrøm The Magnificent [Smalltown Supersound]
10. Skream Burning Up [Digital Soundboy Recording]
11. Buraka Som SistemaSound Of Kuduro [Fabric]
12. Röyksopp Happy Up Here [Wall Of Sound]
13. Calvin HarrisReady For The Weekend (High Contrast Mix) [Columbia]
14. Moby Shot In The Back Of The Head [Little Idiot]
15. The ProdigyOmen [Take Me To The Hospital]
16. Sei AChinese Whispers [International Deejay Gigolo]
17. Dizzee RascalBonkers [Dirtee Stank]
18. Smoove & TurrellBeggarman [Jalapeno]
19. Deadmau5 Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff [Virgin]
20. Calvin HarrisI’m Not Alone [Columbia]

Originally posted on on 8 January 2010.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Top 10 albums of the decade

A brief break from the talk of dodgy interviewees for a moment for an 'everyone's doing it and, well, so am I actually' end of decade chart. I came up with this list for a website I write for ( pop pickers) and only The Strokes made it through to the final top 21 (see here for that) so here is my two penneth for the best albums from 2000-2009:


   1. Chemical BrothersWe Are The Night
   2. Klaxons Myths Of The Near Future
   3. Royksopp Melody AM
   4. Justice Cross
   5. Tim Story & Hans Joachim RoedeliusLunz
   6. Saint GermainTourist
   7. Badly Drawn BoyThe Hour Of Bewilderbeast
   8. Black Devil Disco ClubIn Dub
   9. Boards Of CanadaGeogaddi
  10. The StrokesIs This It?

The problem with things like this is you always remember other albums after you've sent the list off. I would add to this, Daedelus' 'Love To Make Music To' which would come in at around number six, meaning The Strokes wouldn't even have made it! It's a funny old game.

Useless music fact #10:
The best selling single of the decade was 'Anything Is Possible'/'Evergreen' by Will Young and the best selling album of the decade was James 'yes my name is cockney rhyming slang' Blunt's 'Back To Bedlam'. Thus proving once again that the record buying public do tend to like a load of old cock.

Originally posted on on 7 January 2010.

Friday, 1 January 2010

You're not worthy!

Firstly, a Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2010 treats you well and your hangovers aren't hanging too heavy on your heads today. As promised, here is the continuation on the topic of difficult interviewees I've encountered along the way...

Another tricky interview was with a certain 'King Of The Breaks' who frankly I'd never heard of before interviewing him. Whether he was just particular or had been bitten one too many times by the media I’m not sure, but he refused to do any phone interviews and any questions had to be run past his manager and vetted.

After some emailing, back and forth and amending of questions, they were then deemed acceptable enough to pass on to the great man himself (whose music had incidentally gone from innovative and original to self indulgent and noodly over the years). Barring one question that wasn’t answered due to its unworthiness, the interview was a success. Job done.

At the time I had a great sense of achievement that I had managed to tread carefully enough to get a decent interview and quotes with someone so difficult/disenchanted with the media and his manager even emailed me to say, “This is the best interview conducted with him." As time has passed though and I’ve spoken to so many amiable, positive, open, helpful and downright friendly artists out there, I’ve gradually come to realise that there is really no need to make communication with another person such a long, protracted struggle. It reeks of self-importance and egotism.

So, yes, it was a challenge, but not one I’d relish again. Anyone out there who wants to be spiky, difficult or ’challenging’ would do well to realise that you are just human beings that happen to make music, however great it may or may not be. You are no greater or less great than the next man or woman, whatever it is you do in life, so get over yourselves!

Useless music fact #9: The Ting Tings were once in a band called Dear Eskiimo. They were influenced by musicals and their output was patchy but enjoyable enough. I interviewed them for a magazine but the article was pulled at the last minute as the editor realised their music wasn't quite up to scratch to feature in the mag or on the cover CD. If you'd care to read the results of the interview however, just have a look here. Incidentally, Ting Ting is a Chinese name that means 'slim and graceful' but is also a slang term for penis!

Originally posted on on 1 January 2010.