You’re a Fucking Fish (opinion piece)

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Sorry to break it to you, kiddo; but you’re a fucking fish. Well, not exactly – but you are either a shark or an aquatic mammal for the sake of this following analogy. Warm up those flippers, you lovely little fishies; it’s time to get wet!

Dolphins

Ahhh, the dolphins! The beautiful and majestic creatures of the sea… In spite of the numerous cases of murder and rape accounted to the bottle-nosed bastards, we all love them, don’t we? (I’m not shitting you with that last line, dolphins are fucking evil in real life).

Who are the dolphins, you might ask? Well the artists, of course! Maybe the PR agents as well, come to think if it…

That’s right – we watch and celebrate as they exuberantly splash through their every day, singing beautiful cackles and notes to each other and actively supporting each other in their day-to-day lives. You see, a dolphin knows that it’s within his best interest to ingratiate itself with others and, though there are often cases of rivalry and unrest amongst their communities, they usually respect this mutual understanding and strive to work together against the larger threats of the ocean.

The dolphin itself, though a strong and capable creature, does have his admirers and predators. Usually the well-being of the dolphin lies within his strength, resolve and cunning. He knows the seals generally aren’t a threat and, in some cases, they even grow to respect and value the species as more than simple cohabiters of the sea! As we all imagine, the largest adversary the dolphin might face in the sea is a shark of a similar size to him; with exception of the orca, but we’ll get to that later.

These sharks sound like wankers! Who are they?

In this analogy, I consider the sharks to represent the many threats to the stability and longevity of the band. Whether it be an exploitative record executive or harsh critic, a shark ensures her livelihood from the efforts and life blood of a band or artist.

It sounds pretty fucking harsh, but that’s just the way the world works! I could elaborate on the importance of this cycle, highlighting the all to familiar “natural selection” argument, but I’ve covered similar thoughts in earlier pieces and am more than likely to mention it again in the future. In the meantime, consider that the shark has the same right to exist in this world as the dolphin does, abiding by a strict position in the natural food chain and achieving her living as she must.

In providing such adversity, the shark keeps the dolphin on edge and further necessitates the need for communication amongst the other wildlife of the sea. Some sharks are bigger than others, some are more aggressive and brutal than others and some are actuallytotally harmless – but the one consistency is with their contribution to the natural cycle of their environment.

Fucking seals, man.

Perhaps the more troublesome to envision in this analogy, but the seals would represent the more outspoken audience and the shameless flatterers who, despite their appreciation of the dolphin, actually contribute very little to the wellbeing of the creature.

With no reason to engage in hostility with the seal, the dolphin flows through with grace, totally accommodating the presence of the creature and they exist together in a fairly consistent harmony within their shared space.

Though the seal may hold admiration for the dolphin, it doesn’t actually provide the dolphin anything required for the growth and development. It instead exists to serve itself and show no more than minor support on the rare occasion it’s made to do so. The dolphin feeds off small fish and sustains himself in a moderately self-sustaining environment. When a shark enters the equation, the dolphin usually has the sense to evade the attack completely and might even consider holding his own in a fight if it has sufficient support from his pack; of course, the seal isn’t actually part of this pack and offers no significant contribution.

Don’t let that point swim past you; “the dolphin has his own pack and does NOT rely on the seal”. 

Though the seal certainly deserves his place in the world, a prolonged involvement in such varying societies is often counter-intuitive to his own survival and just muddies the water when he makes attempts to ingratiate himself amongst the surrounding communities.

What does the dolphin want? 

The dolphin wants what the dolphin actually needs. It needs food, air and general sustenance. He needs room for development and growth in a plentiful environment where everything around him supports his longevity and success. Were a dolphin to naturally evolve in any other way, he might be just as willing to devour his fellow dolphin – he would almost certainly devour the seal too! You see, at the end of the day, the dolphin forages for his own survival; not for you. 

You can slap your flippers together until you they’re black and blue, but the best way to help a dolphin is to provide him with mackerel and food deposits. Shameless adoration doesn’t help the dolphin, and if you encourage a self-congratulatory clapping within the behaviour of the dolphin he might easily fall prey to a shark under the distraction of such pointless flipper-tomfoolery.

The shark may lash out at the dolphin, but the dolphin will almost always escape with total grace and evasiveness – this constant testing proving invaluable when faced with an even bigger shark or a killer whale.

Oh yes – there’s more! 

As the saying goes, there are plenty more fish in the sea; and more than a few aquatic mammals!

Did you know that an orca, or killer whale, is actually a dolphin? Oh yes, they sure are – and they’re often worse than the sharks themselves! Considered an “apex predator”, there is almost nothing to compete with her might, size, cunning and ferocity. She is free to feed from sharks, dolphins, seals and even whales and might often suffer no consequences from such a brazen attack.

Remember that for the purposes of this analogy, that artists are dolphins – and that any artist has the potential to be as destructive, reckless and careless than even the worst sharks? Don’t believe me? Take a look at the arrogant and dramatic natures of some of the more vulgar and problematic artists such as Axl Rose, Anthony Kiedis and Jay Kay in the classic 2002 clip where he meets the full resistance of the mighty forehead one absolute fucking shark of a photographer.

Let’s get deep, guys…

The world isn’t as black and white as the sea is blue and there’s a spectrum and a natural order to everything. Sometimes the shark looks like the nastiest fucking fish in the sea, but it’s just within her nature to serve the role she does. Does she deserved to be reviled? Sometimes she does but, to reference the mighty Pink Floyd; she’s just another brick in the wall.

Same goes for the dolphins, you fishy fuckers! Sometimes they can be a beautiful marvel of nature, but even the smaller ones are sometimes capable of acts of cruelty and abuse. The level of destruction isn’t limited to any species, to any particular person or any profession and all contributions, positive or negative, serve a necessary place in the musical world.

I’d recommend that all of you slap-happy seals out there ingest these following words. Broaden your scope of vision and impartially accommodate the areas of the musical world you would usually dismiss and disregard. Try to approach the industry with the intent of learning and progressing your knowledge. Take the good and the bad and learn to truly appreciate the beautiful variety of artistic ability there actually exists and the way we all form one greater musical ecosystem.

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Chad VanGaalen is Pretty Fucking Fantastic (fangasm)

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(You’re in for a world of weird, folks!)

With recent mainstream releases at an all-time terrible, I turn my gaze to a dear old love of mine; Chad VanGaalen – A largely unsung artist with all the heart and creativity I expect from a professional musician, and then some! It can never be a white British or American artist which impresses me, can it? Chad VanGaalen himself hails from the universally beloved Canada, making his musical debut in 2001 with various independent releases and going on to release his first label-supported album in 2004 with the charming and beautifully creative, Infiniheart. Yet, despite his consistently high-quality work and notable measure of success in Canada, his work seems largely neglected in the US and UK markets.

I find it a little surprising that VanGaalen doesn’t gain more recognition from fans of the Psychedelic movement, given that some of his work almost seems somewhat reminiscent of other like-minded bands. Through a quick squint, one might notice similarities to albums such as the incredible Innerspeaker by Tame Impala; another album I feel is unjustly dismissed in light of their most recent album. Much like Innerspeaker, the album pays large homage to the Shoegaze movement and other more psychedelic styles which depend largely around soundscaping. Like many others within this style, VanGaalen respects this influence in a sheer abundance of unique charisma and personality.

I often complain that a lot of music seems to lack a particular point of interest, but I feel like I may have been totally spoiled by VanGaalen in this respect. His music feels consistently fascinating to me and unfailingly wins my adoration with every listen. Every track simply radiates creativity both in the music and in the lyrics, often addressing topics with a somewhat bizarre perspective, using strange lyrics to conjure up truly unique imagery. In spite of this bizarre lyrical theme, however, the work retains a constant state of accessibility and emotional investment, with the very sounds and various dynamic builds capturing the true essence of loss and hardship and tempering such challenging feelings with a general feeling of wonderment, beauty and even cathartic joy.

Another interesting point to note is VanGaalen’s ability as an animator. His colourful and abstract nature is perfectly displayed throughout his music videos; most prominently in the videos to Peace On The Rise and Monster. His ingenuity and imagination is absolutely masterful and more admirable than the majority of bands I have since heard and seen, with the closest competition to such inventiveness being the animations in the comedy cult-classic; The Mighty Boosh. Anybody with the slightest familiarity with the creative minds of Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding will know that such a comparison is a true compliment to the creativity of VanGaalen.

Without a slightest interest in any recent musical releases, I wanted to take the time to introduce this absolute marvel of a man to those unaware of his music. There’s a great deal of wonderment to Chad VanGaalen and I feel he deserves more recognition than he currently receives. In the process of researching his work and background I found that he has released an album this year which I currently have a keen interest in listening to and reviewing, but without any knowledge of its quality, I’ll leave a recommendation to listen to either the Shrink Dust or Soft Airplane albums for a great introduction to his character and music. He’s a beautifully clever man and I couldn’t begin to truly explain the love I hold for his music. Listen to it, but be prepared for something deeply weird and absolutely mind-shatteringly abstract.

Dog in the Sand by Frank Black & The Catholics

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(Sorry Frank, it just ain’t my thing)

Reeling from the aftermath of my first Christmas alone with nought but gratuitous quantities of Carling, my debauchery-inciting personality and a shameless commitment to my current FIFA campaign, I return with yet another review requested by one of my more active readers! After struggling through the cataclysmic entanglements of my unmade bed and the bewildering minefield of empty cans beside my glorious speakers, I fought my way to my MacBook to bring you my review of Dog in the Sand by Frank Black & The Catholics.

Curiosities arose from the very beginning when the very introduction had me confused as to whether I was enjoying the music or not. It feels more than easy to compare the track to some of Lou Reed’s worst music, but there seems to be some bizarre charm to the track. This is before the song alters tone in what I consider to be a highly jarring movement which leaves me to question the very tone of the music. Forgive me if this thought is mistaken, but I generally enjoy when the first track doesn’t leave me confused about the style and character of the fucking album. 

Blast Off stands a pure example of grossly ill-considered tones and poor production, delivering such in what feels like an absolutely fucking disgusting and vulgar display of poor sound design. Whether it be the intent of the artists or not, the track sounds like a complete and total fucking mess. Though the following track sets a better example with a darkly sleek and arousing introductory section, the song seems to continue the theme of total disorder and highlights an apparent lack of a specific vision regarding the tone of the album. 

The album stands out to me as a highly intriguing product for its curious recklessness in tying together what could otherwise be considered fantastic music, were it structured in a more cohesive manner. Any album which has me screaming “Why the fuck did you do that, you fucking morons?” on numerous occasions at my monitor strikes me as a poorly constructed piece of work, and this thought only feels more validated as the album progresses with almost no sign of maturing into something more tonally cohesive. 

The album is absolutely packed with interesting and well-considered music, but it feels so poorly delivered that I can’t possibly disavow my position on the numerous flaws. The structural composition throughout serves as a masterclass in how not to write songs, with every example of style and ability suffering at the hands of the out-of-place transitions and nonsensical instrumental sections which possess so little impact they actively undermine their respective songs. 

Were I to praise a specific song from the album it would be Bullet for its pure style, character and, above all else; its consistency! Though there are various changes throughout, they seem much better considered than the rest of the tracks and everything seems to make a lot more sense. I genuinely did enjoy this track and would gladly recommend it to those with a penchant for upbeat and generally cool sounding music. The song itself feels faintly reminiscent of Bad Things by Jace Everett and captures the essence of the genre well with a sly grace and appropriate level of sleaze. 

As the album progresses further you begin to develop a leniency towards the product, eventually coming to appreciate the subtleties not as evident in the opening tracks, such as the tones and sounds of the lead guitar, though later tracks attempt to disguise this genuinely charming addition with a crass and muddy sounding rhythm guitar. Inconsistency and lack of clear direction remain as much an issue towards the end of the album as they are during the opening tracks and the album this contributes to a lack of resolve or maturity to the product as a whole. 

Put simply, the album just never learns a lesson throughout. It has a great potential but delivers it so poorly that the album as a whole feels grossly amateur and the total lack of ability to engage the listener its lack of flow makes for a dreadfully dull listen. As I stated above, I would recommend the track Bullet, but the album as a whole just lacks a character you can really access or invest in. Like many others, I don’t hate this album; I’m merely disappointed by it. There’s a lot to like but the overall display is just awful and it contains all the flow of AIDS-ridden ejaculate. 

A Response to Fan Mail

From high above in my privileged ivory tower I did spy, like an owl to a shrew, the childish thrashing of one of my more discontented of readers. I would not normally consider any form of response, being that the ego of such an insignificant creature means absolutely nothing to me. However, when I contemplate the time and energy one spends reading my posts, I consider it an obligation to return notice to even the lowliest of contributors. To avoid any possibility of libel or accusations of personal attack, I shall avoid referencing the contributor by their given name and will intend refer to them as “Mr. Poo-Poo Pants”.

It is with this respect and the grace and charm you have come to expect that I shall acknowledge and address any major concerns projected in a public review on my page by Mr. Pants, and will attempt to offer context to the initial cause to the vocalisation of his issues.

Mr. Poo-Poo Pants’ post is as follows;

“The authors eagerness to inform the reader that he is, in fact, a writer, shines through the majority of the reviews obscuring any points he is trying to make about the music.

Plus, Cornetto ran a series of so-called “Raunchy reviews”, wherein the author uses exclusively sexual language for metaphors and similes to review the albums. Sure, I appreciate the idea of themed reviews but this particular series is often juvenile, self-indulgent and excruciatingly cringe-worthy. Nothing can be learned from the reviews due to the fact the writer is too busy (metaphorically) wanking himself off (geddit? I can do bad sex puns too).

The one thing Cornetto can be commended on is his output, which is consistent and borderline prolific but unfortunately, the writer seems to like the sound of his own voice more than he does talking about music.

Tolerable at best, egotistical and extremely pompous more often. Look elsewhere for music reviews.”

I consider the best place to start would be a brief analysis of the text and perhaps an explanation to the concerns Mr. Pants actually raises, and I have decided to address the concerns in order of mention.

Section 1

The introductory paragraph seems basic enough; it addresses mentions of my profession as a writer and a music critic throughout my work. Though poorly written and presented, the paragraph raises a significant point, to those without a basic education in the writing and structuring of an article. Though I expect one to posses a basic understanding of blog when reading my work, I understand that many simply lack such advanced cognitive ability and so I shall elaborate to the purpose of this.

When beginning an article it is mandatory to begin with what is referred to by writers as an introduction  this usually being where I make remarks to my profession. Perhaps a familiar concept to many, the very purpose of an introduction can be lost amongst some when presented with too many fancy words. An introduction primarily serves to welcome a new reader to the context, purpose and character of the piece, as well as providing background information which may benefit the previously mentioned points and establish the author’s credibility and disposition. An attribute to consider is that any post I make can be a new guest’s welcome to my page, and as such I have to write in a manner which accommodates those unfamiliar with my character and style.

Apply this information to my previous articles and I believe Mr. Pants may take to a better understanding of my work and structuring. If this is an insufficient explanation, however, I would be more than happy to recommend him to a more advanced and expansive institutional facility where he might better learn to embrace such knowledge.

Section 2

The following paragraph addresses a slightly more understandable concern. This concern regards a lack of appreciation for a particular writing style or theme. Though he understands there is a theme in use, he refuses to judge it by its own merit, instead relating it to his own preference for writing and work so far detached from the portrayed style it is completely irrelevant. Complaints of its “juvenile” and “self-indulging” nature fall completely flat when one considers that this is the entire point and selling point of my own blog. It’s juvenile and self-indulging by design and a lack of appreciation highlights that Poo-Poo simply isn’t the target demographic for my writing.

Another point to consider on this matter is that this is largely written from the perspective of a persona. With a total lack of understanding of structuring and personal style there is more than a passing chance of Mr. Pants not understanding this premise, so I shall elaborate clearly. A persona relates to a character or personality one might use for entertainment, personal isolation from a person or product or just because they feel more confident as that character. Though I would never compare my work to the sheer godliness of David Bowie, he stands to be a remarkable example of somebody using an alias, alter ego or persona to better market and deliver his work.

I approach writing from a deliberately obnoxious and egotistical persona as a result of what I consider to be great humour. I find incredible comedic joy in the “desperate, sex-crazed loser” character portrayed best by the late Rik Mayall in the classic British sitcom; Bottom and I feel his influence fairly evident in my writing, though obviously not to the same hilarious effect. I believe this insight should help provide a better grasp of the previous point and offer understanding to my particular writing style, but the more I read Poo-Poo’s post, the longer I start to question his competency as a functioning human being.

Regarding the point that “no information can be gained”, I would like to refer Mr. Pants to a word he breezed over in his poorly constructed statement’ the word being Metaphor”. I fear that, in spite of his understanding of the concept, his inability to apply such metaphors to his imagination is likely the larger contributing factor to his lack of informational intake. A writer uses metaphors and similes to invoke a state of personal relation to the point and, when the metaphor is applied to your imagination, it allows you a clearer understand of the feeling the writer is attempting to convey. After all, does feeling not inspire interest and and curiosity better than factual information?

I consider my approach to contain a fair dose of both factual information and subjective feeling, but I feel it worth stating to those without an understanding of journalism that we are usually encouraged to describe how something makes us feel and to approach a matter from a largely subjective perspective. Couple my interest in sexual humour with an encouraged subjective approach and I’m sure my vulgar comedic metaphors make a lot more sense.

Sections 3+4

I have decided to couple these two sections into one because there simply isn’t enough substance or length behind these sentences. Clearly, Mr. Pants is grasping at straws and is desperately hoping to elongate a particular point in a pseudo-intellectual manner, this lack of true intelligence evident in the fact he took time to research my work and review it in the first place, but I digress…

He makes effort to acknowledge my output, which I personally appreciate; but he fails to display any knowledge in why I actually write! At risk of shattering illusions, I write a piece every day because I want to refine my own writing ability and I enjoy talking about music. Should a critic enjoy having a voice? Of course they should – it’s their fucking job! A self-indulgent nature is prevalent in the majority of professional writers, and to dismiss this as a negative is to show a total lack of understanding towards journalism and writing in general.

If you’ll enable me a moment of humanity, dear readers; I do all of this for me. I hope I bring enjoyment to others with what I do and I have a genuine interest in the musical interests of other people, but I write because I love writing and I want to get better at it. I also love music, believe it or not! I listen to an average of three to five new albums every day and I usually write about at least one and I do this because it’s what want to do. Do I like the sound of my own voice? You bet your fucking ass I do, and if I didn’t appreciate my voice I wouldn’t be in pursuit of a profession so fundamentally hinged on it.

The Plot Thickens…

I’d like to take some time to briefly detail how Mr. Pants came to be such an outspoken voice on my work to better fill you in on why he saw fit to try to besmirch my page.

Following what I considered to be a pathetic and pointless attempt to project his ego, I saw fit to respond in a private conversation with him over Facebook to better encourage a productive response from Mr. Pants. With total impartiality, I shall repeat the transcript in text format so as not to infringe on Pants’ right to confidentiality. The conversation went as follows;


Mr. Pants: “Hey. Some hopefully constructive advice: I don’t think you should write about hiphop mate”

Mr. Cornetto: “Constructive advice would include reasons why I shouldn’t write about it and aspects I failed to acknowledge which are necessary to an accurate assessment and discussion of the genre. But I’m all ears!”

Mr. Pants: “Okay. It’s pretty patronising to detail me the ins and outs of what constructive advice is pal. I was opening a dialogue haha, tone that confession down”

Mr. Pants: “Condescension even ha 🙄”

Mr. Cornetto: “Respectfully, I felt it necessary to detail these points to better attempt to gauge a practical and constructive point from you. Understand that I desire only to communicate with a cohesive purpose, and not to accommodate the ego of another.

Were I to be patronising, which is certainly not the case, I would refer you to my previous article regarding “Handling Criticism”. Of course, some sections will require minor re-wording, but I am more than confident in your ability to do so.

Thank you for your time!”

Mr. Pants: “Sorry, the ego of another?”

Mr. Cornetto: “If you can’t understand the point I made then you surely won’t understand my explanation.

Please don’t make me explain the indications of the end of a conversation.”


 

With no alterations, this is how the conversation transpired. There were more messages to follow, but I simply sent his messages to the spam folder and ignored them. The entire topic was driven by what I consider to be a childish and self-appeasing mentality; one person appeasing his ego through a pathetic attempt to patronise and undermine me. Though somewhat condescending in response, I requested productive input and further stated that, as the conversation was, he was simply wasting my time.

Perhaps the conversation could have stayed at that, but in sending his messages to a spam folder I had denied his attempts at validating his comments, in turn causing him to take what action he could take against me, namely rating my page at a one-star rating and attempting to attack me with a poorly constructed and ill-considered comment on my page. Were I to abide my usual rules regarding responding to half-assed criticism, I would ignore the man, but I felt so flattered at the time Mr. Pants committed to my page and at his seemingly desperate attempts to communicate with me that I felt it a near obligation to return time to him.

It may surprise people to hear, but a poorly-constructed review on my page and an exaggerated low rating doesn’t really bother me all that much; especially when I know the cause is rooted in a damaged ego. I really don’t care if one gets “butt-hurt” over my attitude to them, and no other critic worth their weight will either. Saying that, people who show a measure of intelligent thought and reward my time with constructive and purposeful conversation will find themselves welcomed by a deep respect, whether they oppose or agree with my own character or work. Simply put; I won’t waste my time and thought on somebody who isn’t worth my time, and I would honestly expect the same of any of you.

I’ll conclude with a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Poo-Poo Pants for his time and efforts and will leave with just a few summarising tips for him, from the mouth of somebody clearly more learned and experienced with basic communication:

  • Only write to somebody when you have something you want to say.
  • Approach others with respect and only offer criticism if it’s productive.
  • Don’t underestimate the extent another might go to in order to show you for the fucking idiot you are, especially when all they do is drink and write on a blog.
  • Stop appeasing your ego. Nobody cares about you anywhere near as much as you do.
  • Remember that you have nothing to prove to me or anybody else. Live life for you, not for some desperate form of validation from people who don’t even know you.

 

With that I shall leave you all to enjoy your Christmas Eve! Eat plentifully, spread the love of Yule and stay classy, you beautiful cunts!

Peace.

.

A Fever Dream by Everything Everything (album review)

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(My entire process regarding artwork is to just find something pretty)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you to a new feature! One starring my beautifully sculpted man-fingers and highly-arousing mind reviewing and criticising the music you love! More so than usual, that is. By request, I have taken time to review A Fever Dream by contemporary Indie/Synth darlings, Everything Everything! 

Straight off the bat I feel it only fair to disclaim that I thought this album was pretty decent. With perhaps no eloquent way to say this, the very introduction fucked me softly with familiar Stranger Things vibes – which I count as a particularly high praise when I consider my appreciation for the show, and the music in particular. Being somewhat of a fan of 80’s New Wave music, this album holds much appeal to my nostalgia-ridden mind, but I will instead begin with a courageous dive into my many criticisms of the album!

One of my largest criticisms is that the album often falls into the trap of throwing too much at you. With such busy drumming and many competing overlaying layers, it can often feel difficult to find a particular aspect to focus on. Though effort has clearly been made to incorporate a tight groove, the lack of space often makes for a somewhat difficult listening experience. 

When isolated, all of the instrumental layers feel wonderfully mixed and performed, but, as as I mentioned above, they often clash in the full mix. A solid example of this would be in Desire, where the inclusion of space feels very well handled, but the track instantly falls apart with the addition of the more lead-focussed layers. 

I stand somewhere between appreciation and dismay when regarding the vocals. An unprofessional term I might use would be “Thom Yorke Falsetto Syndrome” when pushed to describe certain areas of the vocal contribution throughout the album and I don’t consider this a particular benefit to the album. Whilst understanding and appreciating the emotional depth behind his vocal tone, his lack of style fails to impress. 

Perhaps this previous point need not be attributed to his vocals alone, all things considered! Be it my hungover state or personal taste, I found there were many occassions where I lost interest in the album. The largest contributing factor towards this disinterest stems from what I consider to a fairly poorly considered flow. The album itself feels like a compilation of various sections without consideration for any dynamic build. What little inherent flow is further disrupted by what often feels like intrusive and misplaced intensity in the drums.

Perhaps the most redeeming element of the music lies in the creativity on display. Digital instrumentation and contributions give an air of personality to the songs and the overall album as a whole. Though lukewarm on Higgs’ voice, I find it highly effective in completing a rather expansive soundscape when coupled with the backing instrumentation. Put Me Together portrays this point better than most in the album and is easily the track I derived the most entertainment and enjoyment from, largely due to the incredible atmosphere established within the music and their faultless execution of this.

To summarise my thoughts; I like the album but it feels plastered in minor faults. Whilst I won’t accuse the album of lacking a strong personality, I feel the album is somewhat lost in its identity and often feels confused and disoriented in its delivery. I really appreciate the work devoted to the synthesisers, I like the tone of the drums and I think the atmosphere behind a great many of the tracks is very well constructed and delivered but there are a great many structural pitfalls throughout. 

When push comes to shove, I would recommend this album. I think it has its heart in the right place and it displays a very impressive measure of creativity that seems lacking in today’s contemporary music scene. The album packs variety and feeling and always offers something to get excited about, though it often does this at the expense of flow and accessible groove. Much like a foxy art student in a dingy bar; a quick fuck is totally justifiable, but you should get out of there before she opens her mouth and bombards you with incomprehensible and self-contradictory noise. 

Hustlin’ (Rudy Van Gelder Edition) by Stanley Turrentine (fellatio review)

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(Old but gold. Fucking perfect album)

There’s something in the air, my pretties! Something scary… Something strange! Something spooky and something gritty… Do I possess emotional range? Has the Christmas season sank into my heart? Infesting the purity of my hatred with a cinnamon-scented air of joy and positivity? We can only hope not, but this positivity has plagued my writing as of late and my pained heart desires nothing more than to talk about something I do genuinely enjoy! Though not a recent album, I would like to take time to discuss what I consider to be one of my personal favourite albums of all time; the Rudy Van Gelder edition of Hustlin’ by Stanley Turrentine. 

From the very introduction of the album your heart fills with glee with an introduction drowned in smooth Jazz percussion, cathartic organ and a deep and bouncing walking bass line. When sax enters the arrangement it merely completes the piece with a simply jovial energy. Totally lacking in any form of intrusion, the album sits perfectly in any environment, often adding an air of pizzazz and style to your otherwise mediocre day. 

Unlike so much music in circulation today, there’s something fundamentally enjoyable about this album. Many a time have I faced a dull day and turned to Turrentine for alleviation from my varying states of depression and unhappiness and I struggle to envision anybody who refuses the fundamentally joyous call of this absolute gem. It succeeds where many else fail in its delivery of undeniable positivity without demanding anything from the listener. 

Where Gregory Porter addressed themes of loss and love in such a beautiful and described way in his homage to the late Nat King Cole, the instrumental nature of this album incites such feelings without so much as a slight directprovocation or cue. Love Letters sings to a bittersweet nostalgia, altering tone to encompass acceptance and levity as the song progresses. It harks to a feeling of young love and presents its case with such a faultless and understanding delivery. Accidentals are used through an absolutely gorgeous organ solo to accent the nervous nature of love itself and this feeling is mirrored in the following guitar solo in a masterful exhibition of true grace. Every instrument shines as a flawless manifestation of emotion and feeling and captures the essence of humanity in the most beautifully conceivable way.

Lovers of style need look no further than the unimaginably cool The Hustler. Sleek walking bass sees to a constant air of pure style with an underlying support from some of the sexiest drumming I have ever heard. Unusual placements of organ accents grant a feeling of excitement throughout and the masterful placement of the overlaying saxophone and guitar contribute to the completion of a piece utterly oozing with charisma. 

Following The Huster stands the most flawlessly executed exhibition of call and response you could ever hope to hear. Ladyfingers almost feels like a time capsule of the essence of 1940’s New Orleans and works well to retain the consistent character of the album. Percussion remains at an incredible standard throughout with a total feeling of consistency and creativity behind the placement of accents and this serves to the betterment of what is already a totally faultless piece.

It’s too easy to ramble on about why the album is so incredible and how all of the individual tracks are so ridden with style and grace, but I truly feel it needs to be listened to for any chance of truly understanding the incredible level of craftsmanship exhibited in this phenomenal album. My bitter and resentful mind draws a total blank with criticism and I might go as far as to say this album sets serves as a benchmark for total perfection within this style. It addresses varying emotions and portrays them so well it defies belief! 

This album transcends my usual approach to recommending albums. Regardless of your background in music, I think this album is just too warm and welcoming to be denied by anybody. Stick it in whilst you’re doing dishes or writing something and it will serve a stalwart companion to brighten and uplift your day. There’s a purity and sincerity to this album which defies conventional boundaries and makes for something so instinctively pleasurable. Listen to it, love it and share it with everybody around you! This is the kind of music which truly deserves to be appreciated and respected. 

Don’t Be a Pussy! – An Asshole’s Guide to Professionalism (when approaching journalists)

 

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Devoted lovers and fans of my eloquent and enlightening blog page will note a familiar ringing of bells in their stunningly sexy and arousing minds at the sight of this article. “Mister Cornetto, did you not enlighten the dumb masses in regards to the benefits of music criticism before?”

I sure did, my lovelies! But it seems I neglected particular points with my previous posts! You see, I addressed the issue of taking criticism, but I didn’t raise the issue of rejecting such a beautifully productive asset! You see, I was faced with a situation of somebody who, for privacy reasons, I shall only refer to as “the biggest pussy on Facebook”, or “pussy” for short, declaring more than a reluctance at facing a review on my gloriously fair page! With reasons insinuating what the aforementioned “pussy” could only attribute to being “a potentially destructive review” I was shit out of work! Or was I? As I will later address, a true journalist can write about anything. 

In a style reminiscent of my previous “advice” post, I shall lay out a bulletpointed list to explain why rejecting music criticism is destructive to your ambitions as as professional musician and some general advice to those seeking the work of a journalist or critic!

The Coveted List…

  1. It’s detrimental to YOU! 

An obvious point, you might think – but one hugely dismissed by Pussy, and many similarly-minded bands! As my previous article highlights, we serve no agenda and we work to the betterment of you and music as a whole! Beautiful, right? Not when we’re neglected by the people we work with; namely, the musicians and artists! As I previously highlighted, we serve a practical benefit to you in that we accent areas for development and improvement. We want you to succeed, and how can that happen when you fail to accept areas for improvement? The more critical we are, the more you will learn. This is why you should hire us, why you should respect our field of experience and why you should always hire the biggest cunt you can find!

2. Know what you’re looking for!

A common misconception of musicians is that they need a journalist or a critic for a piece that reflects the achievements of their band. This is fundamentally wrong! A journalist or critic owes absolutely no loyalty or obligation to you. We will sing your praises if you deserve to be praised. Simply put; if you’re shit then any critic with a modicum of self-respect will let you know. With no intended disrespect to promoters, they are the ones to approach if you desire a shameless cock-sucking. See, it’s their job to benefit you. It is NOT the job of a critic to perform such a role! Any failure to understand this is reflected on the recruiter, and not a single other professional. To summarise; if you want promotion, hire a promoter or a PR agent. 

3. Be confident in your music! 

Regardless of our role or disposition to you or the genre you represent, we will only reflect your work positively if it’s actually good. If your work is of a poor standard then we’ll say just that, if we have any balls, that is! Regardless of the quality of your music, you should only approach a critic if you’re completely sure of your ability or potential as a band. If you’re completely sure of your beneficial contribution to your local music scene then approach a critic! If your opinion is misplaced we will let you know, and in acknowledging this criticism you will develop further and improve to an incredible degree! If you’re right then you’re in for the mother of all validations!

4. To publicly deny criticism is to admit incompetency 

The fastest way to lessen your credibility as a professional is to reject constructive criticism. If you can’t accept such feedback you imply nothing less than a total lack of confidence and respect in your own work. Such an opinion isn’t limited to critics; it’s clear to everybody who witnesses your refusal of such an essential asset. You owe it to yourself to throw your ship to the rocks. Take a second to humour this metaphor; “To face the destruction of a storm proves the strengths and weaknesses of your ship”. The point being that you cannot understand your appeal and weak points without the professional validation and understanding of an actual critic.

5. Make sure you can handle criticism

Perhaps the most obvious point in this list is; don’t recruit a critic if you can’t take criticism. The above point highlights the pathetic nature of one who actively rejects the benefits of critical feedback, but a larger flaw in many bands is the total inability to accept and learn from musical criticism. If you can’t learn then you will always fail – this is a fact. Deny it to your heart’s content, but it’s the truest thing in the path of personal and professional development that you can only learn by failures. We are the third person and we switch you on to these failures, but to reject us to to remain completely unaware of your every pitfall.

 

My bulging, throbbing conclusion…

I shan’t repeat any above points, with the exception of this; anybody with a slight training in journalism can, and will, make a post or a story out of anything. In a complete act of professionalism I have highlighted the self-destruction of a nature so heavily opposed to accepting criticism and I hope it serves a benefit to the many professionals who may be otherwise apprehensive to our craft.

Seriously? Fucking hire us. If we write something horrible then learn from it! If we love your work? Well then, you’re on the right track! But how will you learn when you have such a backwards and pathetic approach to self-betterment?

I dearly hope that Pussy and other like-minded professionals learn from this and accept such a difficult and complicated premise. We work together in a sea of competition against overwhelming odds and it is the bare minimum of us all to work together and produce as best we can. Remember musicians; we want to help you, but you have to accept us! We all love music, and it is only with total unity we can truly achieve our maximum potential.

Peace.