Friday, February 03, 2006

Screech Screech

I've been suffering from a mild revulsion against music critics for most of the week now.

This started when I was zooming through the final chapters of Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, or "Dude, you left out [x favourite band], you bastard", as we call it round Gringcorp Mansions. Azerrad's book charts the rise of American indie rock, at one band per chapter, thus providing rock nerds with pet bands a very simple target.

I'd often thought that one day I'd rob a bank and settle down to write the definitive history of the 80s alternative rock movement. And then an actual indie rock star mentioned that it had already been written. I'm not that bitter, in the first place because the book is really very good, and secondly because it still leaves room for an account of the rise of college rock.

You can go to the above amazon link and read some of the reviewers missing the point. What Azerrad wanted to do was explain how Nirvana, and yes CreedNickelbackStoneTemplePilots, happened. A faithful account of hardcore, or fanzines, wasn't really the point. Although I'd posit that he was occasionally unduly dismissive of some of the records that indie rock bands made on major labels.

The college rock book will be awesome, though, simply because of the sheer number of pretentious windbags it is likely to encompass. The idea of some of these people trying to get bookings is highly humourous. I'd also like to work out who is responsible for Spin, CMJ and particularly Ultragrrrl.

Probably the most amusement was to be had later on in Azerrad's book, when he began to note the interest that the UK music magazine's had in US bands. While they managed to avoid being convoluted, patronising, grade-mongering fools like Christgau, they could be capable of some sublime idiocy. Everett True in particular, is mocked heartily for his credulous reception of Sub Pop's hype.

I was reminded of this while perusing the online section of the Wall Street Journal, where a little article on Cookie Monster Death Metal could be find. It contains one of the only references that Napalm Death is likely to get from the capitalist pigs' house organ.

Which brought me back to another UK music writer, Stephen Wells, who was known to pimp grindcore bands in a rather breathless style, by which I mean he used capital letters rather a lot. He was also a noted, and at the time rather lonely, fan of Japanese garage noiseniks Guitar Wolf.

Turns out he wasn't alone.

Hellsquad - Kawasaki ZII750 Rock N Roll
You May Purchase "I Love Guitar Wolf...Very Much: A Tribute To Guitar Wolf" here. It will pay for new bass lessons


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