Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

It's Been A Little While...

I really should write more I know. Here I start. I reqally need to do an MP3 blog or something but I don't own the webspace...Anyway, This past weekend was the WFMU Record Fair. I wish this thing happened every weekend but I guess that just cannot be...anyway, I bought some stuff and have listened to some of it. I can't believe I'd never heard The Instant Automatons before but...I hadn't! I bought the new compilation on the fabulous Hyped To Death/Messthetics label and I must say I was quite impressed. I'm not generally as interested in lyrics as a good tune (though bad lyrics can sure ruin a song!); however, these guys have some excellent lines! I shouldn't be surprised that Mark was really interested in poetry first and just found a band to be a good vehicle for his words (though these are songs with hooks) but he really has something to say. He says it with a sense of humor too but not without an earnestness that I generally kind of require to really enjoy music. I don't really want to quote his lyrics because I feel that it's best to listen to songs and hear words in context before examining texts in prints. Otherwise music can seem secondary or an afterthought.
That would be a shame in this case as these guys really made a clear effort to marry the words to just the right music. They were part of a tape-trading scene that believed in giving music out for just the cost of a blank tape. I have to commend this concept as it sure went against the grain for the time but would allow the artists involved to have total control over their music. I was too young to know about this scene in the 1979-1983 era but luckily some of it is being reissued now. So what did they sound like? The vocals are a bit like John Cooper Clarke with their proud British accent (not trying to Americanize themselves to make it "over the pond"!) and often poetry-like delivery. Nice primitive drum machines and homemade synths mix with quite competent guitar work and each song has just the right mood for the words. They succeed on every level. THIS is why my head is musically stuck in the early 80's!
There's such a feeling of discovery and of the need to make music. Fame and fortune were utterly irrelevant here. This is what it seems too many 80's revivalists are missing now. They're quite interested in being cool and stylish but kind of miss the sense of wonder and adventure of bands like the Instant Automatons. Please keep sending new music my way by all means, I'd like to hear some great new bands!...I'll just be pleasantly surprised if they delight as much as the Instant Automatons.

Comments:
i wish i could have gone to that record fair...
 
hey I'm just wondering if you've heard of a Canadian band called Mobile. They're an up and coming band that isn't receiving much attention right now, especially in the states.

Do you know them?
 
I was in high school from 79-83 and totally agree with your point that the much of the wonder and adventure of the post-punk era is missing from the revivalist bands. They have the sound and the look but something's definitely missing. I've also noticed that even when bands seem to get the sound and write good songs that the mix / mastering is so loud its just no fun to listen to (e.g., Domino State). That said, still finding cool stuff out there, enjoying your music blog -- thanks.
 
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