A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Amazon sales

These were the best-selling 33 1/3 series books on Amazon.com last week.

The Stones book, almost two years old now, is showing Keefesque stamina at the moment - I think due to the release of Robert Greenfield's book about the same album.

1. Guided By Voices
2. Neutral Milk Hotel
3. Rolling Stones
4. Beastie Boys
5. Pixies
6. Bob Dylan
7. Led Zeppelin
8. David Bowie
9. The Who
10. Nirvana
11. Sly and the Family Stone
12. The Replacements

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Angela Desveaux

I'm really enjoying Wandering Eyes, the debut album by Angela Desveaux. It's a pretty straightforward - but beautifully done - country/pop record, mixing uptempo songs with yearning ballads. The whole thing has more than enough hooks and odd little touches to make it memorable. (Emma says it sounds like the Dixie Chicks. I've never heard the Chicks. She may well be right.)

You can download the album's opening song, "Heartbeat", on Angela's website. It's by no means the best song on the record, but it'll give you a good idea of the sound. The title track is perfect, and sounds so instantly familiar that you'll swear it's been around since the mid-70s. My favourite song at the moment, though, is the slow, throbbing "Make Up Your Mind", which would fit perfectly on Julee Cruise's staggering Floating into the Night album.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Coe on Canterbury

There was a good piece in the Guardian last week about the Canterbury Scene, by Jonathan Coe. Click here for the whole article, or make do with this paragraph:

***

Definitions can be tricky. Perhaps, once the neuropsychologists have had their say, we should then invite the musicologists along to decide what the "Canterbury scene" really is. Roughly speaking, it refers to a loose network of musicians that evolved out of a band called the Wilde Flowers, active in Canterbury in the mid-1960s. Direct offshoots of that outfit included Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, the Whole World, Gong and Caravan; but gradually other musicians from other parts of the country became involved, from bands such as Egg, Delivery and Henry Cow. Among the many qualities that defined this (largely instrumental) music were compositional brilliance combined with self-deprecating irony, lyricism, an absurd sense of humour and left-leaning politics. Few of the players involved, I can't help noticing, have gone on to become millionaires.

***

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Who: Sell Out

It's a happy accident that our 33 1/3 books about The Who and Guided by Voices have published pretty much simultaneously.

Today it's the turn of John Dougan's book about The Who Sell Out. If you're in Nashville, you might want to get to Grimey's on Halloween, starting at 6pm, where John will be signing copies of the book, and there'll be a performance by the Turncoats.

Anyway, here's a good extract from John's book: hope you enjoy it.

***

A joyous snapshot of a rapidly morphing zeitgeist, Sell Out unrepentantly embraces the contradictions inherent when artistic aspirations collide headlong with market forces. Perhaps it was meant as a warning, an aide memoire that the collusion of music and advertising would have disastrous consequences, altering context, meaning, and memory. But as I write these words the commercial licensing of the Who’s back catalog is available, so it seems, to anyone willing to write a check. A glance reveals "Bargain," "Baba O’Riley," and "Won’t Get Fooled Again" featured in Nissan ads, General Motors using "Happy Jack" to promote their eco-hostile line of Hummer SUVs and, given this book’s subject, the final indignity, Sylvannia’s use of "I Can See For Miles" to sell the company’s line of Silverstar automobile headlights. Money earned through the exploitation of publishing is one of the few durable goods artists can count on as they face the combined realities of age, fading popularity, negligible record sales, and touring to smaller crowds – hardly any of which applies to the Who, even in their present iteration. Perhaps this current commercial manifestation is the logical extension of the precedent set by Sell Out. But removed from a pop art context and stripped of irony, the ubiquity of Who songs in advertising while economically sound, is aesthetically troubling.

Pop art was supposed to be transient and expendable and in that sense Sell Out fails by retaining its dynamism after nearly 40 years – we should be ever grateful for such "failures." That it still languishes below the horizon of recognition (even among Who fans) is puzzling but, sadly, not surprising given our general insouciance when it comes to learning from (and about) pop music history. Every now and again Sell Out emerges from the shadows: glam-obsessed cyberpunk yobs Sigue Sigue Sputnik used it as a template for their 1986 debut Flaunt It; more recently Petra Haden (daughter of jazz bassist Charlie Haden) paid tribute by recording the entire album acapella (an idea suggested by friend and former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt), recreating the cover right down to sitting in a tub of baked beans; and singer/songwriter Rachel Fuller recorded a new version of "Sunrise" with her boyfriend, some bloke named Pete Townshend. The reunited Pixies unapologetically nicked the title (The Pixies Sell Out) for their reunion tour DVD, and the Pretenders referenced the album, albeit more obliquely, when they titled their career retrospective box set, Pirate Radio.

Perhaps this is mere coincidence, lipstick traces, circumstantial evidence that would wither under intense scrutiny. I don’t believe that for a second. No album so crucial and meaningful could be that easily discarded, could it? Not from a band that, brimming with the temerity and bravado of youth, talked the talk and walked the walk, and while doing so, produced a daring and provocative piece of pop art. For Sell Out to remain mostly forgotten, relegated to the margins of pop music history, is not the Who’s fault – it’s ours.

***

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Guided by Voices - Bee Thousand

Marc Woodworth's excellent book about Bee Thousand is now in stores - or at least it should be, within the next couple of days. It's definitely in stock at Amazon, despite their lack of a cover image.

Word is that Mr. Pollard loves the book - and stay tuned for news of a possible book event in New York, in early December.

Meanwhile, here's the book's table of contents, courtesy of the Library of Congress website, which should give you an idea of how much stuff is jammed into these pages:

Persons of the Play 3
A Man Discovers His Coat Has A Pocket 4
Listener Responses #1-3 6
Love & Purity 7
Listener Response #4 9
Fiction, Man, & Hardcore Facts Part One 10
4-Track Tape 15
Robert Pollard 16
Listener Response #5 33
Bee Thousand Word Clusters 34
A Correspondence with Lewis Khlar 35
Fiction, Man, & Hardcore Facts Part Two 41
Listener Response #6 49
Don Thrasher 50
Fiction, Man, & Hardcore Facts Part Three 57
Desire & Its Limits 62
Kevin Fennell 64
Listener Responses #7 & 8 71
Mitch Mitchell 74
Spatial Representation #9 of Bee Thousand Action Motives 75
The Diamonds of Being in the Dirt of the Pigpen: On Robert Pollard's Lyrics
Foreword by Bart O. Roper, LLD 76
Excerpts from an Unfinished Dissertation by Nolen Twinn-Johnson 77
Listener Responses #9-11 94
A Sonnet-Made from Bee Thousand Fragments (Themselves Often Fragments) 95
Robert Griffin 96
Listener Response #12 100
Fiction, Man, & Hardcore Facts Part Four 101
Dan Toohey 110
Listener Response #13 113
Dayton Ode 115
Listener Response #14 117
Kicks 118
Greg Demos 121
Tobin Sprout's Tascam Portastudio 1 4-Track & Electro-Harmonix Memory Man 123
Tobin Sprout 124
Listener Responses #15-17 130
Fiction, Man, & Hardcore Facts Part Five 131
Acknowledgments 135

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jess Walter: The Zero

No reason why you should be, but if you're looking for a novel to read, I can recommend The Zero by Jess Walter.

From what I can tell, the book isn't selling too well, despite the publishers' 100,000 copy print run. The problem is not that The Zero is a bad novel (I enjoyed it tremendously), but it's completely uncategorisable. It's funny, but it's not a comedy. It's very well written, but it's not a "literary" novel. It's full of cops and mysteries, but it's not a thriller. It's full of glaringly obvious narrative tricks and devices, but it's not as pretentious as that sounds. In fact, it seems to have a charming sense of its own silliness, and I spent much of the novel marveling at how the author prevents the book - time and time again - from collapsing into a mess. I guess ultimately The Zero is a very dark 9/11 satire - but it has too much heart to be genuinely satirical.

Here's a very short extract. Markham and Remy are cops/agents, staking out a restaurant, looking for a terror suspect. Remy, as for most of the novel, has little idea where he is, or what he's doing there. (His mind is full of...gaps...)

***

Markham turned the page of his magazine. "Hey, Brian, do you know how much time deer spend with their mates?"
"No."
"Try to guess."
"I don't know."
"I know you don't know. That's why I want you to guess. If you knew, you wouldn't be guessing, you'd be telling me, and what would be the point of that?"
"Uh...their whole lives?"
"Nope. One day. You believe it? One day. An entire species of animal capable of nothing but one-night-stands. Isn't that perfect? I mean, if you're a deer?"
Remy let the binoculars fall to his lap. "I don't know."
"Don't you think deer are kind of sexy? For an animal?"
"I...I couldn't say," Remy said.
"I do. Not...you know, for me, specifically. I'm not saying I'd necessarily want to have sex with a deer. But just the way they're put together, big asses and long legs, they're kind of like people. And those cute little faces. Shoot, I'd do a deer. I mean, if I was a deer. You know? I can't say that about every animal. If I was a hippo? Nope. Or a racoon or something? I'd just be celibate. Or a cat? No way. You'd think we'd be more attracted to gorillas or other primates, but other than those little spider monkeys, I just don't see it. But deer...I don't know, I find it kind of evocative, the idea of all these bucks nailing those leggy does once a year and then just running off into the woods."
Remy put the binoculars to his eyes again. A man was moving down the alley away from the back door, his back to Remy, carrying a plastic grocery bag, walking toward a car parked in the alley. "Are we looking for someone?"

***

Friday, October 13, 2006

Musical update

1. OK, so progress with the Mountain Goats is being made. I've only listened so far to All Hail West Texas, and I like several of those songs - but I am absolutely blown away by "The Mess Inside".

2. Universal is releasing The Complete John Peel Sessions by the House of Love shortly - next week or the week after. It's a two-disc set, but the track listing of the first disc is good enough for me:

1. Destroy The Heart
2. Nothing To Me
3. Plastic
4. Blind
5. Hedonist
6. Don't Turn Blue
7. Safe
8. Love In A Car
9. In A Room
10. Beatles And Stones
11. Christine
12. Loneliness Is A Gun

I *think* I saw the House of Love play at the Creation Records "Doing it for the Kids" show at the Town and Country Club in London, summer of '88. Unfortunately, it was the same day that my friend Dave and I discovered the joys of Special Brew, so I don't remember much about who played. Biff Bang Pow, Momus and Felt, I think - Jasmine Minks? MBV?

3. My favourite record label at the moment might be Bella Union, out of Scotland. The End of History by Fionn Regan, for example, is an incredible album. If you go here, you can listen to "Black Water Child" and watch the video for "Put a Penny in the Slot". Both are beautiful, beautiful songs.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Daydream Nation

I'm having fun working my way through Matthew Stearns' (rather late!) book about Sonic Youth, for the series. Something of a monster record to write about, but he has a lot of fun with it. I hope you'll have fun with the book, when it's out early next year.

This is the closing section of Chapter 1.

***

Following is a not unlikely detailing of the circumstances under which first exposure to Sonic Youth typically happens: You’re up late on a summer night with some criminally dangerous older cousin (the cigarettes-weed-booze cousin); all parents, bloated with cocktails, have gone to bed. They’ve put you up in your cousin’s dank bedroom above the garage. Things have been pleasantly squalid so far; your cousin smokes menthols, while the two of you listen to album after album in an agreeable series of familiar titles. Then your cousin asks if you’ve ever heard _____________ by _____________. You sheepishly admit that you haven’t, and your cousin stares at you with sinister, mischievous eyes (they’re red and yellow, mustard on fire, the eyes of someone destined to spend time lurking around casinos and rehabs). Your cousin nods silently, reaches deep into the album stacks, pulls out a copy of some suspicious-looking record with a cover that makes you think of all the deflating disappointments, impossible longings, and bittersweet regrets you have yet to suffer in your life, and slides it onto the player...What comes out of the speakers is so foreign to your sensibilities that your mind, out of its depth of comprehension, lurches, jolts, and, finally, seizes. De-realization and vertigo set in as your music vocabulary struggles in vain to accommodate what your helpless ears fail to understand. A frightening havoc is wreaked on all of your aesthetic presumptions and tastes. Your poor little ears are traumatized. You question who you are and what you know. Your cousin is the devil and his music is devil music. Whatever record that was; it just blew your tiny mind. Things will never be the same again…

After a period of recovery, adventurous listeners (or those with an attachment to music so imperative and consuming they have little choice in the matter) will come to embrace these disorienting experiences, relishing the riotous upheaval and welcoming the expansion of their sense for what’s possible in music. You’ll do research on the scary record, assuaging your fear while broadening your interest with background and criticism culled from magazines and books. You’ll call your cousin: “Hey, dangerous cousin! What else can you tell me about that scary band? Will you make me a devil mix?” Soon, you’ll muster the courage to buy your own copy of the felonious album. Gradually, after repeated listens, it becomes a permanent part of your personal music archives and you’ll announce resolutely that you’re into a new band. Entire sections of your record collection will suddenly sound obsolete as a result of all this. You’ll hang new posters and subscribe to new magazines — past editions of which you’ll bring to your cousin, with a carton of Newports, at the youth detention center.

Like any aesthetic experience worth pursuing to its conclusion, listening to Daydream Nation is a perilous, soul-blowout-type affair. For a record with a cover image so stark and serene, Daydream Nation features inordinately bracing turbulences, ghastly imagery, and hair-raising momentum. It challenges, overwhelms, and exhausts. Of course, let’s not forget (why, whhhh-fucking-yyyyyyy, is this point so under-served in discussions of the band’s merits and achievements?) Sonic Youth is capable of reaching places of stunning, drop-your-pants beauty and rapturous grace with their music. Daydream Nation is rich with first-order examples of this kind of material. Aside from the transcendent aural respite provided during these, what we’ll call the shimmering, passages, Sonic Youth, in what turns out to be reliably humane fashion, helps the listener along by taking pains to structure the album as four maneuverable, self-contained (but interrelated) sides. For all of my blustering on about Daydream Nation’s daunt, this actually was an aspect of the record not lost on Sonic Youth. At once acknowledging the potential challenges posed by the album’s scope and evidencing the band’s basic decency, Lee Ranaldo explains that the track layout of Daydream Nation was conscientiously designed to afford our ears certain stretching-out periods: “We really shaped those sides very carefully; a single side of a vinyl record is the perfect experience in terms of time—about 20 or 25 minutes—the perfect amount of time to sit and listen to something without too much taxation.”

If, in your listening, you proceed through the record according to the itinerary Sonic Youth has provided, take breaks when they tell you to, and keep this book close at hand — everything will be fine. I promise.

Perhaps someone will be crowned the King of Carrot Cake...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Live a Little


The new Pernice Brothers album is out, if you didn't know. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A minus, I give it a straight A. Oh, who to believe??

Too many great songs to mention - but "Automaton" in particular would slot perfectly on to Odessey and Oracle, "PCH One" is like "Piazza, New York Catcher" but a hundred times lovelier, and "B. S. Johnson" is magical.

Long-time (if not rabidly insane) readers of this blog will recall that we published Jonathan Coe's jaw-droppingly good biography of B. S. Johnson a while ago. Almost nobody in the US bought it (in stark contrast to the book's publication in the UK, where it won prizes and sold by the thousand), but at least now it's inspired this song. If you've neither read the book nor heard the song, and you have around $20 to spare, do this: buy the book, read it (preferably two or three times), then listen to Joe's song about Johnson. It'll make you cry.

Competition Results

OK, we just had our fifth correct entry, so the competition is over. The correct answer was Pedagogy of the Oppressed - a book that we first published, in its English translation, in 1970. The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia was just behind, in second place.

Congratulations to:

Mike Radz
Andrew Lee
Josh Wilson
Dan Crossen
Chad Nevett

You should get your copies of Greatest Hits Volume 1 next week.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Competition Time!

Up for grabs are 5 copies of 33 1/3 Greatest Hits, Vol 1 - our brand new compendium of extracts from the first 20 books in the series.

To win a copy, you need to be one of the first five people to email me (david at continuum-books.com) with the answer to the following question. Which of these Continuum books has sold the most copies worldwide so far in 2006?

(a) When The War Came Home: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind
(b) The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia
(c) 33 1/3 The Pixies' Doolittle
(d) Pedagogy of the Oppressed
(e) How To Teach With a Hangover
(f) The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

Only one entry allowed per person. Unless you're cunning enough to fool me with an email disguise - in which case, fair enough.

I'll put another post up here when we have our 5 winners. Could be later today, could be some time next year - who knows?

Shawn Taylor

Shawn Taylor, the author of our forthcoming 33 1/3 book on A Tribe Called Quest's album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, has just won the 2006 DIY Book of the Year Award, for his book Big Black Penis: Misadventures in Race and Masculinity.

Here's part of the press release about the award:

SHAWN TAYLOR'S AUDACIOUS "BIG BLACK PENIS" WINS GRAND PRIZE

LOS ANGELES (October 10, 2006) _ Shawn Taylor’s “Big Black Penis: Misadventures in Race and Masculinity” was named DIY Book of the Year, and Annick Press of Canada was DIY Publisher of the Year for the 2006 DIY Book Festival, whose results were announced today.

Both author and publisher will be honored along with other winners in a ceremony to be held in Los Angeles on Sat. Oct. 21 to cap the fifth annual DIY Book Festival, which honors independent and self-published book on the cutting-edge of literature.

Taylor’s “Big Black Penis” is an audacious and unapologetic account of his life, philosophies and interpretations of the world at large. Its strong and vibrant voice won over the DIY judges, who awarded him the festival’s $1500 first prize.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Loveless, ad infinitum

I spoke too soon.

This book is at the printers, but we've had to stop it, once again.

We just heard today that there are still some more changes to come, via Mr. Shields.

I feel bad for Mike, the author, and for anyone out there who's been waiting for this book for the last three years...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Use Your Illusions

Somewhere around January, we'll be publishing Eric Weisbard's GNR book in the series. This is how it starts:

***

Welcome to the season of the blockbuster. On August 12, 1991, Metallica released Metallica, their Bob Rock produced sell-in, with "Enter Sandman" detonating the MTV Video Music Awards. On November 26, Michael Jackson bought number one for Dangerous with the soon circumcized final section of the "Black or White" video. In-between, a scad of once and future giants of pop music released albums in time for Christmas. Pearl Jam’s Ten (August 27) and Nirvana’s Nevermind (September 24) portended grunge. Garth Brooks’s Ropin’ the Wind (September 10) proved, thanks to the newly installed SoundScan, which measured actual sales rather than the rock-weighted guesses of store clerks, that country music was its own behemoth. MC Hammer’s pop-rap Too Legit to Quit (October 21), successor to the ten million selling Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, sold a quick three million and then not a copy more after people actually heard it. Mariah Carey’s Emotions (September 17) was indifferent for her (three million at first, five in all), huge for anyone else. And U2 cemented their status as the most enduringly beloved band of rock’s second generation with an album whose title seemed like a media stunt: Achtung Baby.

But the weirdest blockbuster of them all that fall was Guns N’ Roses’s Use Your Illusion I and II, released on September 17, a pair of 75 minute CDs with virtually the same cover sold separately in an act of almost colossal arrogance. GN’R had a right, though. Their first album, 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, had been certified 8x platinum in 1991, on its way to an eventual 15. Rock was still the biggest musical genre, hard rock was still the biggest kind of rock, and GN’R were the biggest hard rock band of their day. The first single from Use, "You Could Be Mine," appeared first on the Terminator 2 soundtrack, and the video featured the movie’s unstoppable machine men. Consumers were supposed to be equally unable to avoid Use Your Illusion, which like all post-Thriller blockbusters of that time was planned to play out over several years, relived in multiple single releases and videos, tours, spinoff products, and press provocations. And on one level, it worked: the albums instantly claimed the top two chart positions, ultimately sold seven million copies apiece in the U.S. alone, and spawned videos as leviathan as "November Rain."

Still, Use Your Illusion was also a disaster, the epitome of the rock bloat that alternative was about to come and try to slay, the album that fifteen years later Axl Rose is still struggling to follow up, the end of Guns N’ Roses, heavy metal on the Sunset Strip, and the entire 1980s model of blockbuster pop/rock promotion. Look back on the artists of that holiday season now: Kurt Cobain killed himself; Michael Jackson was shamed out of the spotlight; Garth Brooks retired from releasing new albums; Metallica went into therapy; Pearl Jam recast themselves as a jam band; Hammer is a semi-recurrent VH1 episode; Mariah Carey’s ambitions gave her a nervous breakdown on Total Request Live. Only U2 have kept the missionary rock dream alive, first by seeming to scorn it (and embrace anti-rock sounds and stances) with Achtung, then self-consciously reclaiming it with All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Bono’s global campaign to end third world debt. The luck of the Irish!

For a time, gigantic albums still materialized as accidental novelties: the Titanic and Bodyguard soundtracks, Hootie, Alanis. Country music, conservative by nature, held on longest: Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks. Hip-hop lived large, but rappers couldn’t hit the same numbers: that genre never became the overwhelmingly dominant force in the industry that rock had been. Celine Dion gets her own book in this series, so let’s leave consideration of her rare ability to interpose a global pop model on the domestic American market to Carl Wilson. The general rule still holds. An era had passed. The idolatry required to sustain albums on a 1970s or 1980s scale could no longer be met by a popular culture whose niche markets were collectively far more valuable than its consensus heroes. Television has "American Idol", neatly detaching the mass audience from the album making process altogether. It isn’t clear how much longer CDs will be sold in stores.

Use Your Illusion, then, arguably marked the end of rock in the weird shape it had taken when the sixties ended: mass culture masquerading as oppositional culture, with the bully’s swagger to prove it. All these years later, Axl Rose is still caught in artistic limbo. Yes, he has been grappling with a specific album, Chinese Democracy, but it goes beyond that. He doesn’t have a format anymore. He has become rock’s Norma Desmond, the silent film star trapped on Sunset Boulevard in Billy Wilder’s 1951 Hollywood apotheosis. "I am big," you can imagine him saying. "It’s the music that got small."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Loveless, finally

I'm almost loathe to mention this book, its gestation has been so fraught with difficulties. But it is, now, at the printers in Canada. And it comes complete with this charming little disclaimer:

Although the members of My Bloody Valentine submitted to interviews for this book, and all the quotes from those interviews contained herein are reasonably correct, this is in no way an official My Bloody Valentine book, and the views expressed (except in direct quotes) belong to the author, and not the band.

PS - please don't believe the pub date, or the availability, or the two reviews of the book on Amazon. It will be published in early November.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Neutral Milk Hotel in London?

I love authors who are so awesomely cool that they'll happily offer to do readings from their book while on honeymoon. Kim Cooper is one such author. Kim has already set up a reading for herself in Paris, with the equally cool Miles Marshall Lewis. And now we're looking to set up a reading for Kim in London, on the evening of Tuesday November 7th.

So, if anyone is reading this who knows of a smallish, NMH-friendly bookstore, record store, or other venue in London, that might be willing to host an evening of Kim reading from her book, taking questions, and playing a couple of NMH rarities, please do get in touch with me - either through the comments section here or through david at continuum-books.com. Thanks!

Mountain Goats

My good friend Geoff Klock dragged me to the Bowery Ballroom last night, to see a show by the Mountain Goats.

Before last night, I'd never heard a single song of theirs. It was an odd show, for a number of reasons. For one, the crowd was astonishingly reverential - by which I mean there was utter, terrifying silence for the quieter songs, and a mass, gleeful singalong for the rowdier ones. Geoff had informed me that Mr. Darnielle has some problems with his voice, so I'd been expecting some relatively hushed vocals. But we actually couldn't hear the words in six or seven songs, and we were standing in a prime spot, right behind the sound desk. Still, nobody seemed to mind. The show perked up for me when Franklin Bruno came on to play (splendid) keyboards on the last half-dozen or so songs. But overall it was hard to tell, from this one show (which Geoff assured me was atypical), why people might fall in love with this band.

Anyway, I came away with a couple of CDs to listen to (All Hail West Texas and Tallahassee): perhaps those will enlighten me!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Music: blue swerver

A song title like "Zinedine Zidane" instinctively makes me think of an upbeat janglepop thrash. Which the man himself - a wild guess - wouldn't enjoy in the slightest. But go here and listen to "Zinedine Zidane", one of four tracks streaming by the London-based, jazz-tinged, mellowtronic combo, blue swerver. "Untempo" is also wonderful. In fact, all four of these tracks are great - smoky, noirish, and done with a very light touch.