Friday, December 03, 2004

Magazine junkie

In my bid to make this blog halfway interesting, I thought I’d introduce regular overviews of the music press, gigs, TV etc. So here’s my roundup of the latest pop mags.
For a similar exercise, albeit with some priceless quotes from the latest issue of Terrorizer, pop over to Stereosanctity for our buddy Ben’s comments.

Bloody hell, Dylan’s on the cover of Uncut again. Alan Jones really needs to get some fresh ideas. You can choose from two CDs, one of songs from artists inspired by Dylan, and one, rather cumbersomely billed as Dylan songs, covered by artists inspired by Dylan. Well, duh. Scanning the tracklisting I’ll admit there are undoubtedly some gems there, but they did this whole thing two years ago.
It’s a shame Uncut is playing things so safe, cos they certainly have a pool of great writers, including old Melody Maker favourites like Chris Roberts. The Pixies interview in last month’s issue was great, but they should have put them on the front cover. I’m sure it would have attracted far more readers than yet another Neil Young cover.
The current issue does, however, contain one small moment of subversive genius: Bob Stanley awarding the new Girls Aloud album four stars (and quite right too). To paraphrase the Girls, what will the dadrockers say? Next month’s letters page should be a hoot.

The latest Mojo has been out for a couple of week’s, but it’s another cracker, streets ahead of Uncut. The mag has gone quite a long way in dispelling its fuddy duddy image, thanks, in no small part, to them allowing Stevie Chick room to punt new bands. Hell, they even had Lloyd Bradley writing about grime a few issues back, putting it into the context of hip-hop and reggae culture to help readers understand where this strange music comes from.
The interview with Mike Love is a real scoop. Given the opportunity to dispel the commonly held notion that he’s the biggest asshole in pop history, Love puts across his side of the story well enough, but neither the writer or reader is entirely convinced.
Much of Mojo is devoted to a Peel tribute. There’s a lovely interview by Max Decharme, where Peel tells a hilarious anecdote featuring The Bay City Rollers, Tony Blackburn, scores of teenage girls, frogmen and a racing track. He then rounds it off with a withering one liner. It’s classic Peel and another sad reminder of what we’ve lost.

The most luscious of all pop mags, Loose Lips Sinks Ships returns for its fourth issue. The fold out covers feature typically stunning Steve Gullick photographs of Todd, The Hunches, and Har Mar Superstar, the latter draped with fairy lights and, er, preserving his (im)modesty by tucking away his tadger in a Silence Of The Lambs stylee. Zoinks!
Reading Sophie Headwood’s Har Mar interview, I’ve gotta say I really warm to the little fella (if not his little fella). My initial kneejerk reaction to Har Mar was that he was a fashionista in joke, but here, he comes across as an intelligent, sincere artist, disillusioned with the rock ‘n roll lifestyle. The sort of interview that’s all too rare in these PR controlled times. Bravo.
Stevie Chick is on terrific form in his Hunches and Todd features. There’s a lovely line about the “lunatics-are-driving-golf-buggies-all-over-the-asylum mania” of the Roobarb and Custard theme. Apparently Todd’s Sedan sounds like a metal version of that. Well, I’m sold.

Sister publication Plan B is also out, and a lovely thing it is too. Beard’s own Mark Connolly supplies a way cool double exposed Park Attack pic, among other things, while Andrew Clare’s illustration of a ninja slicing some poor chap in half manages to be both wonderfully cute and poignant at the same time. As always, some of the writing strains too hard in a sixth form creative writing manner, but it’s cancelled out by the brilliance of a Neil Kulkarni rant on pop versus rock. He avoids taking a reductive rockist or popist stance, instead aiming his ire at the mediocrities who make music that has none of the joy of pop, or transcendent head-fuckery of metal, punk and the avant-garde. In the process, he uses the adjective “cunting” twice in the space of a paragraph, which can only be applauded, particularly when he’s referring to Robbie Williams and U2. Sorry, Robbie Cunting Williams and cunting U2. Go on, let it all out, you know it feels good.

I intend to update this post with an appraisal of the latest Wire. The latest Wiretapper CD should be worth a listen, while their cover feature on The Riff oughta be good for a laugh. Being Wire, I doubt they’ll be extolling the virtues of Smoke On The Water or Whole Lotta Rosie. In fact, I hear they’ve got an article slagging off metal and punk! Pah! Those gits are welcome to their ridiculous Current 93 records. Let’s rock!

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