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Delirious With Weird

Monday, April 26, 2004  
Buying Records In Public
This Is Why I Use The Internet All The Time
Of course back in 1997 people were convinced they’d never heard anything quite like The Beta Band, and in some ways they hadn’t (acoustic guitars and beats? how innovative! dub? how innovative! krautrock? how innovative!), which is why so many people (Nick fucking Hornby?!) flipped their fucking lids like Pavlov’s dog at a bell ringers convention. Scattershot and seemingly stoned (they weren’t – as Steve Mason said, you can’t make music like this by accident, you condescending nobheads [the role of drugs in most popular alternative music is very much overstated, I feel]), they strummed and hummed and sang and harmonised and banged gongs (or just big cymbals, I could never tell – “Push It Out”) and weirded out until they were deep in our hearts. So deep that they became dodgy posterboys for hipper-than-though left-field nodding sad sacks (Nick fucking Hornby?!). Or at least those early EPs did. Sod this R&B flavoured stuff they tried to do afterwards. (Fools! and now everyone loves The Neptunes do you even realise?) Then they made a dodgy proper record, denounced it themselves, went garage (for one b-side), made a great but understated comeback album, and now this (Heroes To Zeroes) and it’s seven (7; count ‘em, SEVEN) years since Champion Versions and people know what The Beta Band sound like now so they’re not the band that no one has ever heard anything like before. Possibly because they were so (critically and creatively) successful that every other fucker decided to try and sound like them in the interim. And so you get the nobhead in The Daily Express (Marcus Dunk) proclaiming something like “from anyone else this would be a great album” but because it’s the Betas it’s not good enough to get any more than 3 stars. Likewise whoever reviewed it in The Guardian. 3 stars. “Yeah, it would’ve been great seven years ago, but now we’ve got Keane! Yippee!!”

So I just bought my real copy, and as I was queuing two conspicuously ‘4 real’ punk/goth/alternative/grebo/whatever kids (so ‘4 real’ that one of them, due to the unseasonably hot weather [it’s not warm anymore in Devon, it’s HOT], was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt which exposed his oft-lacerated left forearm, permanently ridged from razor blade strokes, like a ploughed field only made of human flesh from which nothing will ever grow [I winced, probably noticeably – what’s so bad so young that you need to do that to yourself? I can’t ever hope or wish to understand]) felt the need to comment upon seeing what I had in my hand that “[they] fucking hate The Beta Band” (maybe if you didn’t “fucking hate” things so much you wouldn’t cut the fuck out of- no, I wont go there). Yeah, cheers for that. Maybe I fucking hate you too. Saying you don’t like a favourite record of a friend or colleague or associate is not a reflection of what you think about them; saying it out loud about someone in a record shop who you don’t know from Adam, and so that they can hear you (because you want them to), IS a reflection of what you think of them. “I fucking hate The Beta Band; I fucking hate you; I don’t know you (I don’t know The Beta Band) but I fucking hate you.” Those that fuck nuns will later join the church; those that claim everyone hates them will hate on everyone.

The guy behind the counter was impressed though;
“I played this already this morning, it’s really good!”
“Yeah, I’ve had it downloaded for weeks, I really like it.”
“Oh right, well done for buying it as well.”
“Gotta buy the good ones so they can keep making them.”


4/26/2004 02:38:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005