Paul Fuzz Presents: Flew In From Miami Beach BOAC
Sunday, October 22, 2006
  'Good Vibrations' Was The Shocking Super Creative Sound Of The New At One Time Too: Notes On York's Club Grammar and the New Wave Indie Scene

So yeah, my girlfriend Rebecca is the cellist in exceptionally cool Leeds based post- Arcade Fire contemporary indie rock band Grammatics and the whole thing has stepped up a gear now alt. rock Phil Spectoresque guitarist/singer/songwriter Owen R has decided that the band have sufficiently mastered the infinite complexeties of HIS ART enough for them to GIG and generally, y'know, Be A Proper Band. What this basically translates as is: a whole buncha hassle for me. Just when I figure I'm ideally positioned to make the welcome transition from Melody Maker reading, Strokes worshipping, Ramones badge pinned to a suit jacket indie kid into Mojo reading, David Axelrod worshipping, Stax badge pinned to a fringed Buffalo Springfield jacket music snob crank...I suddenly find myself required by events beyond my control to seriously engage with a Contemporary Indie Rock Music Scene that has hitherto intruded on time I have specifically set aside for listening to Black Sabbath records only via reports I occasionally read and shake my head at disapprovingly in the New Musical Express. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

CLUB GRAMMAR: Paul Fuzz's Indie Heart Of Darkness

These kids represent The New Eclecticism: theirs is "a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paridigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories," they exist outside and beyond history, the true New Wave Of New Wave, their fashion a wild pop culture smash and grab of conflicting styles, girls dressed not like Debbie Harry doing punk trash 50's Hollywood Babylon but instaed like an army of Electrified Karen O's doing Debbie Harry doing punk trash 50's Hollywood Babylon, all polka dots and cheap plastic stage jewellery, infact all is cheap and plastic, they are the glorious Heat Magazine What's Hot & What's Not Generation realisation of Warhol's pop art Factory famefor15minutes dream, all is disposable, and oh, the poor girl need never worry again what she shall wear for all tomorrow's parties now that glamour is something you buy for £20 in H&M on a Saturday afternoon, all is pose and surface, junkie thin boys with thatkidfromBloc Party fringes, one dandy kid with a bright turquoise feather hanging from an ear stud like Adam Ant, ties and trousers thin like Joy Division but dancing to day glo acid house, they are a context-free explosion of quotations, a patchwork of half-remembered style mag references, they are Cold War post-punk revisited, the rehabilitation of the Never-Cool into the cool enough for now while I'm hopped up on cigarettes, shots-that-glo-in-the-dark and cheap amphetamines...the DJ is decked out in a lab coat, very Buggles, very New Wave Takes GCSE Chemistry, and they've even got a globe sat on the stage 'cos the whole thing's so CLEVER, like: If You Don't Know The Capital Of Every Eastern Bloc Country You're Too Dumb To Party Here, Dumb Ass, and the set list is pure democracy in action, a levelled playing field of pop which refuses to recognise genre or accepted rock n roll standards, it is an explosively irreverent smorgasboard of New Rave, Hip Hip, 80s wedding favourites, 'Good' Pop and Now! That's What I Call Indie Disco, from The Smiths to The Gossip to NWA, the canon has been toppeled and everything is up for grabs; it is the End Of History and all you can do is dance...Grammar represents the willfull, systematic destruction of Mojo Magazine orthadoxy, a Stalinist re-writing of history, may the records now state that The Year Zero of Rock Music was not 1956 0r 1966 but was infact the year of our Lydon 1976, No ElvisBeatlesRollingStones, infact nothing recorded pre-The Punk Revolution, thinkin' back 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' mighta slipped through the net as a sole acknowledgement of The -URGH- "Sixties" TM, but The Stooges don't really count as rock and roll Hall Of Famers on account of 'em bein' considered part of the alternative Velvets-punk-glam-sleaze-art school rather than the Serious White Macho Sexist Blues Musician School so Iggy get's spared while Jim Morrison & Led Zep are shoved up against a wall and machine gunned by The Slits, and I'm imagining this Cock Rock Massacre as I find myself a dark corner in the club in which to hole up for the next two hours for an evening of muttering darkly to myself and sneering at hipsters, and I begin to wonder about the extent to which irony plays a part in this whole scene; is this the democracy it appears to be? Do these cats really have no pop heiracrchy? Do they REALLY think the Top Gun Theme is 'AS GOOD' as I Wanna Be Your Dog, y'know, IN IT'S OWN WAY? Personally I don't buy it. I don't think these cats buy it either. A levelled playing field of pop might be an attractive concept, but it just ain't practical. The Grammar ideal is that of Anything Goes Anti-Snobbery, it is a space where Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani are played as a deliberate FUCK YOU to Rock Snob Mojo Magazine Orthodoxy, and the assembled fashonistas will merrily get on down safe in the knowledge that The New Pop Rulebook states that Justin & Gwen are GOOD POP and therefore OK TO LIKE, the sorta POP music you're supposed to quote when some old hippy gets all up in your face rantin' about how the Grateful Dead's Live In Europe '72 Triple Vinyl LP is the zenith of what can be achieved within the pop/rock milieu and how pop music just ain't what it used to be and you can be all like "Shut the hell up, Grandad! Put these fresh-ass sounds in your hash pipe smoke and smoke 'em! Pharell Williams is the new Phil Spector! Jay Z is the Hip Hop Sinatra! Girls Aloud are the ASBO Shangri Las! Just 'cos something was recorded 40 years ago doesn't make it better than something recorded last week! You wanna talk to me about Pet Sounds, old man? Dig this: Good Vibrations was the Shocking Super Creative Sound Of The New at one time too and a kick-ass POP RECORD to boot, y'know, just like the best Neptunes productions or Arctic Monkeys records are today, and presumably if you were around in 1966 you woulda been the sorta retrograde shlub bitchin' 'bout how Good Vibrations was too polished and overproduced and what's that wierd electronic "weee-eeee-eeee-oooo" sound and how it isn't as good as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band or Howlin' Wolf yadda yadda yadda and WE'D NEVER HAVE ANY EXCITING NEW MUSIC AT ALL IF IT WAS UP TO HIPPY MUSIC FACISTS LIKE YOU" and that's neat an' all except it reveals the dark dirty little secret of the Post-Everything Set - namely that they haven't done away with the canon, or indeed the very idea of "The Canon", at all, they've just come up with a new one; fer sure there is a wider acceptance here of supposed outre pop 'guilty pleasures' like Hollar Back Girl, and sure this music is sometimes chosen deliberately because it isn't dull bozo macho rock stuff, but it would be wrong to suggest that all pop music has been given the Grammar nod; Justin and Gwen make it past the velvet rope but if the DJ's dropped Matt Willis from Busted's new joint they'd be stomped to death beneath a hundred blood stained pairs of Converse, and rightly so. I want these cats to be snobs, and for them to be honest about it, not snobs like "We don't believe in canons" but snobs like "You're canon sucks. Here's our new canon. It's better." And I want their new canon to in turns violently enrage and confuse me and MAYBE, JUST MAYBE introduce me me to something I hadn't heard before and really dig (see: The Gossip's new single). I like sneering and growling at hipsters. I like slumping myself in the corner of sexy/clever indie discos and cursing under my breath the trendy music. Infact, sometimes I'm more in the mood to to sneer and growl and curse than I am to listen to music I like. I listen to music I like all day. My Booker T & The MGs records ain't going anywhere. I wanna feel affronted, my sense jarred and my sensibilities offended. Two worlds colliding. Cultures clashing. That's where the real interest lies. I want to feel out of place and dissorientated. I want these cats to shove their ungodly music in my face with avengance, and I want them to mean it. That's all I ask. "Get the hell out of our club, you bum! What, you think just 'cos nobody here has heard Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band's all time classic 1970 funk rock monster 'Hair and Thangs' you're BETTER than them? You think any of these cats would WANT to hear it? Or CARE that they've NOT heard it? You're delusional! You're an anachronism! Look at the incredible fun these kids are having! Are you gonna be having fun in your living room later tonight playing your Vertigo Records Box Set and mumbling 'bout how these kids would realise how lame their music is if only they could hear and compare it to the progressive groove rock majesty of Aphrodite's Child's 'Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse? You woulda hated that tune yourself 10 years ago! And you woulda been right! You've lost it! You're over, dude! You're washed up! Come on in, David Crosby, your time is up!"


Thursday, October 19, 2006
  It's Indie Rock And Roll For Me.....
So I've downed a couple of what I believe the cool kids refer to as 'Buds' and I'm blaring out Miles Davis' 'Bitches Brew' at a reasonable volume (can one blare 'reasonably'?) and I figure it's time to Lay Some Blog On Y'All. What I wanna talk about is Contemporary Indie Rock Music. I mean: Indie, right? Who doesn't love indie? I sure as hell do! Oh boy. Indie, Indie, Indie. Oh yeah. I dig that whole, y'know, thing. People playing instuments, wearing clothes...uh...having hair...y'know: Indie! The Kaiser Monkeys! Panic! There's an Arcade Fire! Woo! I just can't get enough of that guitar orientated rock music released on an independant record label stuff!

The reason I'm hittin' y'all with some indie shizzle is that my girlfriend's band, the very excellent Grammatics, have just begun PLAYING GIGS after a year of rehearsing three nights a week in a cold ass basement in Leeds. The main Grammatics cat, Owen, is some sorta crazed post-emo Phil Spector perfectionist and wanted everything to be JUST RIGHT before they got on stage and performed His Art to anybody, and now everything is JUST RIGHT and His Art is ready to be unleashed on the Indie Masses for their consumption, enjoyment, etc. Now I don't know much about post-Arcade Fire, Echo & The Bunnymen referencing orchestral punk funk Neu-wavery but I know what I like, and fortunately for all concerned I knows I likes Grammatics very much thankyou kindly, and it sure is a stone groove to watch Rebecca (for it is she) producing My Bloody Valentine styled sheets of noise from her cello, while a gaggle of black clad skinny white boys get all early New Order around her and generally come on with a whole buncha heavy crunching grooves that are bound to get the skinny jeans and baseball sneakers set myspacing their asses off in approval. The York Music Scene as we've experienced it is pretty much 'roots' orientated; infact hop on a train sometime and visit our lovely city whydoncha, 'cos if you dig The Blues, The Country or The Rock and Roll, you'll fair flip your wig at the quality and sheer number of bands churnin' this sorta thing out on a nightly basis; Boss Caine, The Ventilators and Hijack Oscar are but three of the (very best) RnB/RnR bands currently making the scene, and of our friends the 'indiest' until recently have been Cardboard Radio, who on record do an excellent line in post-Libertines, Kinksy RnB/punk knock-aboutness, and live can spend 20 minutes or more ravaging Baby, Please Don't Go or a Led Zep tune of their choosing. But Grammatics are a whole other bag: Pure Mainline Hook It Straight To My Veins INDIE. Cool, hip, zeitgeisty, NOW, POP! The music ain't simple, infact it's almost willfully complex (I've heard a few cats mumbling about it being 'too much information'), but it's savvy as hell, totally on the money, everything the Modern Indie Kid could possibly want & reasonably expect out of a band, largely 'cos the main aforementioned perfectionist cat, Owen, knows What The Hell He's Doing. You might call this calculated, maybe even manipulative. I call it being a smart muvva fugger. Ain't no point playin' this game if you ain't gonna make a few bucks in the process, right? No crime in being clued in. So now I have a girlfriend in a Contemporary Indie Rock Band and I'm thinking about Indie and what Indie means and if I should get a hipper barnet and lose about 10 inches off the bottom of my jeans and drop a t-shirt size or two. I'm still an indie kid, in a broad sense...but when you read in the NME a description of Richard Ashcroft and his army jacket/flares/feather cut outfit as being the living definition of cool "10 years ago" and you peer from under your feather cut at your flares and army jacket and realise you ain't so 'with it' no more you gotta figure that maybe your collection of Stax records LPs ain't gonna cut it with The New Breed and now you're dating the cellist in a hip indie band you might wanna dumb up your style somewhat. Ain't gonna look too good turnin' up in my 'L' brown Flying Burritos t-shirt & a fringed Neil Young jacket now I'm hanging with the Beautiful Junkie Thin People, right? I'm a groupie now, right? I'm dating the cellist in Grammatics now! I gotta look the part! Get with the program! Can't swan about in back stage bars ripping off free Stella lookin' like asome shmuck off the street! I gotta get with it! I'm off to buy the new Klaxons 45! Do they call 'em 45s anymore?

Anyhoo, I guess I don't really have much of a point, but I figure you're used to that by now. I'll leave you with a few Things I've Been Enjoying This Week.

Things I've Been Enjoying This Week

The Empire Strikes Back / Return Of The Jedi (on video)
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (on vinyl)
Old copies of Mojo (on paper)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (on More4)
The Big Playback (awesome 80's block party hip-hop compilation. On CD)

And this wisdom from Friends:
Joey is attempting to open a locked cupboard door with a bobby pin. After a beat:
"By the way, I have no idea what I'm doing here. For all I know I could just be locking it more."
I think we all have times when for all we know we could just be locking it more


Sunday, October 08, 2006
  Intellectualising Personal Taste
So I'm walking through some department store in Nottingham at the weekend and a display of chocolate advent calenders catches my eye. Amongst the various brands exploiting Jesus is Little Britain, the inevitable "I Want That One" calender.

Paul's internal monologue: "Little Britain, ferrchrissakes! Have you guys not made enough money yet? What the hell's wrong with you? Seriously! Is there no piece of merchandise you wouldn't agree to having your name plastered across? Don't you think the market is saturated enough with your tacky exploitative sell out crap? Don't you think the cool/honourable/smart thing to do would have been to leave us wanting more, to back away from this sort of insane dollar grabbing capitalist frenzy and disapeer for a year or so? Don't you think you're ripping off your fans? Don't you think you've compromised your artistic integrity and prostituted your talent for a deal with the devil? WHAT PRICE YOUR SOULS, LUCAS & WALLIAMS??!!! WHAT PRICE YOUR SOULS??!!!...........Oh, cool! A Homer Simpson calender! I'm gonna get that!"

Y'see? I could talk to you for hours (ask my girlfriend) about why/how Little Britain is a terrible capitalist evil, but as the above anecdote reveals, the reality of it is simply that: I Don't Really Think Little Britain Is Very Funny, It Isn't My Cup Of Tea And I Can't Understand Why It Is So Monsterously Successful. Everything that enrages me about Little Britain vis a vis merchandising etc is even more true for The Simpsons, but: I Really Like The Simpsons Alot And They Can Do What The Hell They Like As Far As I'm Concerned, Heck, They've Earnt It. Ergo, if I found Little Britain funny, I wouldn't have a problem with the merchandising etc. I guess this is pretty much a dictionary definition of hypocracy, on the other hand I think it's pretty much unavoidable and I don't think there's any shame in it; you are naturally more inclined to forgive the faults of someone you otherwise like than the faults of someone you don't like. I was talking last Christmas with an indie/alternative orientated friend about Girls Aloud, a group who I consider to have produced half a dozen genuinely excellent pop songs and, until they lost all the weight, were a pretty attractive bunch to boot. Joe Indie: "Girls Aloud? Are you kidding? Chav culture blah blah blah...production line pop blah blah blah...shameless sexploitation blah blah blah blah...X Factor Heat Magazine celeb culture blah blah blah." The truth of the matter was simply that he doesn't like commercially minded pop music and Girls Aloud aren't his cup of tea, but - and it's easily done - he unconciously felt the need to wrap this preference up in some sort of cultural critique. As the conversation went on it really started to bug me. The point isn't that sexploitation/celeb culture etc aren't serious, fundamental Girls Aloud issues, they most certainly are, and without question they should form part of any discussion about Girls Aloud you choose to have...BUT: I'm not sure if they are valid answers to the question "Why don't you like Biology by Girls Aloud," any more so than my Little Britain issues are valid answers to "Why don't you like Little Britain?"

Hmm. I don't know. What do you think? Are these valid answers to those questions? If not, what ARE the valid answers? Do we have a vocabulary for talking about 'taste'? Perhaps the reasons Joe Indie gave for not liking Girls Aloud are the type of things which make up one's 'taste.' I've begin to think & rethink this too much now. I really just wanted to tell you the funny advent calender story.
IN GLORIOUS 3D FUZZ-O-VISION! A journey through the psychedelic world of cult movies, obsessive record collecting and pop-culture ephemera of all kinds. The Fuzziness is baked right in.

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Location: York, United Kingdom

To infinity, and beyond.

February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / January 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / May 2008 /

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