A lot has been said about Macca leaving EMI and signing with Hear Music, an imprint of Starbucks. But really it should only be about the music and seeing that I have never ever bought a solo McCartney album, I didn’t intend to purchase Memory Almost Full but when it appeared unexpectantly on emusic… it was too good to pass… … and I like it. Macca sounds in good form, his vocals I mean and whilst there is nothing remotely ground-breaking (c’mon, the man is 64!) even the cynics will agree that tracks like “Ever Present Past,” “See Your Sunshine” and “Only Mama Knows” are highly pleasing. Like most solo Macca, the middle of the album sags badly; I personally found the 5-song suite terribly boring. The closing “Nod Your Head” is a surprisingly discordant number, although slightly reminiscent of Helter Skelter, with sarcastically disdainful lyrics and maybe an attempt by Macca to show that he can buzzsaw with the best of them. Give credit where it’s due, if any of the hitmakers of 2007 are still able to hold the media’s attention at any age past 50, then perhaps they would deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Sir Paul McCartney…
There are two facts that you will have to agree with regarding this album. One, the title is rather dodgy, (okay it’s atrocious!) and two, it is probably the best album you will have the opportunity to hear in 1998. Why so, you may well ask? But before we embark on a philosophical discourse, let’s have some background. It never hurts. Myracle Brah is essentially Andy Bopp. Bopp is virtually the sole author of this work with the exception of the drums and other odds and ends. Bopp is actually the guitarist-songwriter of powerpop band Love Nut, who have thus far two proper releases under their belt viz. The Bastards of Melody (Interscope) and Baltimucho (Big Deal). As far as Bopp is concerned, Myracle Brah is his side-project and he views Life on Planet Eartsnop as a minor distraction to his main calling as Love Nut mainman. Do not be so easily fooled! If there is anything that, the nineties have taught us it is that form will always triumph (commercially) over substance. It is virtually impossible for today’s artists to be accepted for their work alone without the trappings of image, artifice and hype. Turn on your television and you will be bombarded with glamourous visions of contrived and pre-fabricated ‘pop stars’ manufactured to meet a target audience. It never matters what the song is, it is the singer (or his/her face/body) that counts. After a while, all these boy and girl bands begin to blur into one generic shiny set of blinders – where the widest path of least resistance has been mapped out. In such circumstances, it is so much easier to go with the flow and much tougher to “rock the boat”! I am totally convinced that pop music as an artform began and ended stylistically in the Sixties. Artists like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend & Brian Wilson saw beyond the limitations of the three-minute pop song to create aural artefacts that have stood the test of time thirty years from their conception. In their wake, other like-minded musicians (e.g. David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, and Neil Young) approached their craft with verve, style, humour and a healthy disrespect for convention and carried this tradition in the early years of the seventies. This close to the year 2000, the so-called modern rock scene is a sham – it is about ugliness, dishonesty and indignity. Grunge, ska-punk and Marilyn Manson are merely the symptoms of the disease. Enough is enough! That is why Life on Planet Eartsnop is so important. It is only about one thing – good music! That’s basically it – no bullshit, no T&A and no angst. The 20 tracks on this album are without reservation the finest collection of pop songs I have had the pleasure to listen to this year. You will identify references to the great pop music of the past – The Beatles, The Byrds, Big Star, The Who, The Beach Boys etc but what Bopp has achieved is a unique voice even amongst these formidable influences. And the secret of his success is simplicity itself. There are no fancy arrangements, no groundbreaking production techniques involved, only good old-fashioned classic pop artistry. Witness the melodic grace of Whisper Softly, the breezy splendour of I’m In Love, the vibrant tone of She’s So Young, the dynamic punch of Loli La Letta, the jaunty pomp of Medicine Man, the rolling thunder of Talk To Me… The list goes on and on and there’s not a duff track amongst them. Such is the depth of Bopp’s achievement. Perhaps it is in the spontaneity, the sheer naivety of the album that is its ultimate winning quality. How can something so low profile, low key and lo-fi be so resonant and strong as a musical statement? I believe it is purely because Myracle Brah has managed with this fine album to tap into the power of pop and has affirmed for all of us who believe, that far from being “dated”, “anachronistic”, “retrograde” or “unsuitable for a modern audience”, this brand of pop music will still be relevant and pertinent well into the next century. For this reason alone, Life on Planet Eartsnop is the Album of the Year. Nuff Said!
The neo-folk movement charges forward relentlessly with this new effort from Andrew Bird. Along with Sufjan Stevens & Joanna Newsom, Bird has elevated folk music from an old school ghetto into the relevant cutting-edge arena of indie rock. Together with Stevens and Newsom, Bird is a new generation singer-songwriter utilizing orchestral conceits and emo punk dynamics to produce an enthralling hybrid that is at once lush and visceral. The sense of old world colliding with the new millennium is highly evident and is what impresses most about this fascinating album. Recommended. Key tracks – Fiery Crash, Plasticities, Darkmatter, Simple X
ROAD TRIP @ CLICKNETWORK.TV As promised.... The first video follows Wendy and Ros on a road trip to Malaysia. Wait... let me back up for the unintiated. Wendy Cheng and Rosalyn Lee are Singaporean celebrities. Wendy is better known perhaps as Xiaxue, a blogging phenomenom with more than 20,000 hits a day! Don't ask for a link because you won't have difficulty finding it. *Ahem* What makes Wendy/Xiaxue so popular? Well... she has interesting opinions which are funny and unique and honest but also controversial and you know what they say about controversy? Ros is a DJ with Power98 and she has her own distinctive unforgettable personality. Rub them together and you get a blazing inferno... heh! Which was the premise behind Girls Out Loud, a reality show on Mediacorp (google it!) which lasted only one season due to Mediacorp's (alleged) discomfort with the subject matter... And so... Road Trip is sort off season 2 of GOL... got that? Good! .... and so, Wendy (with boyfriend Mike in tow) and Ros visit Malaysia and the 1st 5 min episode involves sex talk, dubious food and getting scammed by retailers. And oh yeah, I forgot, we follow Wendy into the ladies toilet. Art for art's sake! The second video is a music clip of Ros and Wendy miming to Tokyo Drift - didn't do anything for me. Sorry, girls! What you see is what you get... you either love or loathe them but you cannot ignore Wendy and Ros. See what I mean... click....
Besides (alleged) copyright infringement, YouTube has ushered in an age of (cheap and accessible) internet TV programming. Which is precisely the premise behind CLICKNETWORK.TV brought to you by the zany folks from Munkysuperstar. But instead of amateur videos of wannabe bedroom epics, CLICKNETWORK.TV brings you quality TV programming for the price of a um click... The pick of the videos currently available is the return of Ros & Wendy (the Girls Out Loud erm girls) with two episodes of the new Road Trip, each running for about 5 minutes. Well, Mediacorp's loss is our gain. Reviews to follow... in meantime click...
Come on down to The Substation and rock out at Rock The Sub, featuring bands and Indie Disco such as Plain Sunset, Analog Girl, West Grand Bloulevard, Super Illegals, My Writes, The Love Experiment, BEAT!, sweetmusic.fm, Twee Like Me and so on. There will also be a Gibson testing booth and lucky draw. Prizes include an Epiphone Guitar from Gibson. For more info, do visit www.substation.org.
Event: Rock The Sub Venue: The Substation Date: 9th June 2007 Time: 2pm - 3am Admission : $15 with one drink* What: Bands, Indie Disco, Gibson Testing Booth*, Lucky Draw
*terms and conditions apply
Bands playing: The Substation Theatre: Gibson Stage 2pm - 12am (Bands) 1. My Writes 2. Etc 3. Super Illegals 4. The Fire Fight 5. Caracal 6. Analog Girl 7. Astreal 8. The Pinholes 9. B-Quartet 10. West Grand Boulevard 11. Plain Sunset
The Substation Theatre: Gibson Stage 12am - 3am (Indie Disco) 1. BEAT! By Home Club 2. Twee Like Me by Fruit Records 3. sweetmusic.fm vs unpopular radio
Timbre Stage 7pm - 12am (Bands) 1. The Love Experiment 2. Heritage 3. Swalya Evol 4. Ugly In The Morning 5. Moods
The legendary Lou Reed is touring Europe in June performing his classic 1973 'Berlin' album with a 30-piece ensemble including a string section, horn section, a children's choir and his core rock band.
To coincide with this ultra rare tour, SonyBMG will release a limited edition digitally remastered tour edition of ‘Berlin’ in special digipack packaging. The "Berlin Tour Edition" will include original artwork and liner notes, and will be a one-off manufacturing run only.
Reed will be performing three 'Berlin' concerts in the UK - Manchester International Festival on Friday 29th June, London Hammersmith Apollo on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July. For further details about the UK and European tour dates, please click here.