Week Thirty Four: Sunday In The Park With George

My first thought was: ‘Oh no, not a musical. I hate musicals.’ But my inner devil’s advocate, never particularly slow off the mark, was soon popping up to make the counter-argument:

“But you used to love Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds when you were younger…”

“No. no. That’s not a musical. That’s a rock opera…”

“And the difference between a rock opera and a musical is…”

“Ummm….”

“Never mind. But what about the Little Shop of Horrors?”

“That was just because I was bored on a Sunday afternoon. It was raining. I was thirteen. And I really liked Day of the Triffids.”

“But it was a musical. You enjoyed it.”

“I suppose so…”

“And wasn’t Once More With Feeling one of your favourite episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”

“Ah, but that’s different. People weren’t bursting into song for the sake of it. There was actually a reason for it…”

“So your problem with musicals is that people are singing for no good reason?”

“Well, people don’t do they?”

“They do in musicals”

“That’s not the point. It’s just a rubbish form of story-telling”

“So you’re saying you would have liked Sweeney Todd more if it hadn’t been for the singing?”

“Now you mention it…”

“Don’t be stupid. They’re singing because they’re in a musical. Same as if they were making a pop record. Now get on with this week’s album.”

“Ok, ok, I’m on it…”

So I’ve got this difficult relationship with musicals. Although listening to Sunday In The Park With George, I wondered if some of my dislike is specifically of musical films and theatres, that when the singing is not interrupting a spoken-word film or play, my hackles are not raised in the same way.

Instead, listening to this, I wonder if my real barrier to appreciating it is that I struggle to make out exactly what the characters are actually saying. I’ve listened to it three or four times, but if you asked me what it was about, I’d struggle to say beyond “Well, there’s this painter called George. And there’s his life model, can’t remember her name. And he’s a bit obsessed with his work. And I don’t think he payus her much attention. And that’s about it.” Because my hearing, or specifically my ability to discern individual words, isn’t great. The problem is not with the work itself, but with the limited mental and aural capacities of this listener…
So what follows are a series of dotted observations (think of it as a bad pointillist painting that doesn’t form any kind of meaningful image):

Firstly, is this typical of Steven Sondheim’s work? I’m not really familiar with it, what with my musicalphobia, but it does seem a peculiar blend of quite populist, crowd pleasing music and an almost wilfully obscure (at least to this Philistine) subject matter. I don’t think I’d ever heard of Georges Seurat before, far less anything about the story of his life. It seems a strange choice

And another thing. Jenna Russell, who plays Dot (I looked it up on wikipedia) has great range as a singer. She can sound like she’s bashing out a showtune on the opening Sunday in the Park with George but rein it in and sound quite subtle on songs like Color and Light.

Secondly, that track, Color and Light sounds to me like it has elements of what classical music in the 20th century could have sounded like if it hadn’t vanished up a dead end marked ‘experimentation’. But somehow there is simply no way that a big choral song like It’s Hot Up Here can help but remind me of the hell of school choirs, and I just don’t think I will ever be able to learn to stop worrying and love really big showtunes.

On the other hand, I could have really done with more of whoever is singing on Children and Art. She puts me more than a little in mind of Joanna Newsom. And now I think about it, songs like Monkey and Bear are not a million miles away from this kind of musical story-telling tradition.

It is becoming a bit of a recurring theme in this project that I remark at the end that I can appreciate on a technical level what the artist(s) are doing, but it’s not for me. That when the three or four listens are done, I don’t think it is a record I’m likely to revisit. But I’m afraid that’s pretty much where I’ve got to with my introduction to the work of Steven Sondheim.

Highlights: Color and Light, Children and Art, Putting it Together

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Week Thirty Three – “The Best”

My younger self would probably have written a short review, dismissing this as music for people whose ears have fallen off.   Possibly without going to the trouble of actually listening to it first, and maybe adding a tasteless remark about the up-side of a war on the Korean peninsula. These days, I’m prepared to concede that the real problem is that I am simply not the target audience. That this music was not made for the enjoyment of British men on their 40th trip around the sun and I can hardly complain if I don’t get it. And the threat of war on the Korean peninsula just feels a bit too real to make jokes about…

That article would probably have begun with my asking whether K-Pop was a musical genre or a new breakfast cereal, but if I’m honest, I’m not actually entirely unfamiliar with it. My last three flatmates have all been keen players of a game called ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ which involves moving one’s hands and feet according to instructions that flash up on a screen to a soundtrack that, if the game’s designers weren’t asleep on the job, should result in the player dancing to  a rhythm more or less approximate that of the song. And given where this game took off, a lot of that music was Japanese and Korean pop. I’ve had a go at it myself. I’d like to claim it was the music that was putting me off, but truth be told I’m hopeless at anything requiring control of one’s limbs. And the music? Well, I doubt I would have much cared for it even it weren’t associated in my mind with losing at games…

So, trying to put all that to one side, what of Girls’ Generation? “The Best” is a compilation, and I assume, a representative sample of what they do. From the front cover of the album, it would appear that there are nine of them, but listening to the it, I’d be hard pressed to tell. Are there really nine vocalists in this group? I can make out at most maybe three distinct voices. There’s clearly a lot of auto-tune in play here, and I’m not sure it’s being used so much to compensate for the singers’ limitations, as to impose a kind of sonic uniformity on them. Am I reading too much into the fact that, to judge by the album covers that appear on Spotify, they all dress identically. Is this emblematic of some cultural difference between the Anglophone world and South Korea? A different attitude towards conformity and individuality? After all, rewinding 20 years or so, the Spice Girls all dressed differently – the marketing people behind them had created a distinct ‘persona’ for each of them. Maybe that’s present in Girls’ Generation too, but if it is, it’s subtle enough that it passes me by.

I was having a conversation not so long ago about whether Japan and Korea might be the two countries in the world which are truly first world democracies without being in any sense western. Places that are entirely modern and quiet alien. Yet listening to this record I’m struck by how familiar it sounds. It’s not even as different from Western pop music as the stuff that I heard blaring out of speakers in Istanbul. The opening track, in particular, GENIE, sounds much like a lot of Anglophone chart pop music (except the lyrics, or the parts that are sung in English, make even less sense. What on earth does “I’m genie for you boy” mean? Does not parse… It might have a lot to do with the fact that many of the song-writers are actually from Scandinavia or the US. Perhaps this is a kind of gateway drug…

It’s lower energy than I’d expected. There’s not quite so much of the frenetic ‘singing over a sped up 1980s arcade game soundtrack’ as I remember from Dance Dance Revolution. Or maybe it just feels slower because I’m not trying to place my feet on the right part of the dance mat at the right time. Time Machine is a ballad, half in English and half in Korean that sounds like a less irritating Celine Dion, which is um, damning with the faintest of praise. PAPARAZZI reminds me a little of 80s Madonna and finds the sweet-spot between the mawkishness of their slower songs and the headache inducing tendencies of their more EDM moments. Oh! is actually kind of fun. It might help that it’s mostly in Korean and so I can’t make out a word of what they are saying. Beep Beep is every bit as irritating as the song’s title hints that it might be. And by then, it’s mostly over. There’s too much of it, an hour of Hi-NRG songs that all sound very similar, and I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the ninth circle of hell that I’d been fearing.

So it’s not as awful as I thought it might be. It’s really just a chart pop record sung partly in Korean. Having stuck to the RAMalbumclub rule of listening to it all the way through three times, though not Alex Massie’s variant of listening sober, drunk and hung over (I think ‘drunk’ would probably be best, while ‘hung over’ would be a downright painful experience) , I can’t see any reason it ever need trouble my ears again. But they haven’t actually fallen off in protest…

Highlights: I’m struggling a bit here. Um, Oh!, perhaps. And maybe Mr.Mr… But you may as well ask me about my favourite ballets or uses for broccoli. I’m off to listen to the new War on Drugs tracks on Spotify. I’m predictable, aren’t I…

Week 32: Home Thoughts From Abroad

If I rule out Alvin Lucier on the grounds that I am Sitting in a Room is not really music, then Clifford T Ward is, I think the first artist that has come up during this project whom I have not heard of at all. Yes, I wasn’t quite sure if Childish Gambino was a cartoon character and had confused Frank Ocean with Frank Turner, but I have to admit to feeling slightly discombobulated to find a 1970s singer-songwriter whose name means nothing at all to me.

A quick look on Wikipedia tells me that he had one hit of sorts in 1973 with Gaye, and then seems to have had a low-key but lengthy career, releasing his last record in the mid-1990s before dying in 2001 – so he is not someone who missed out on greater renown because he died young.

So was he unfairly forgotten?  If you’re a subscriber to Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, is there a universe not far from here where Ward is talked of alongside Nick Drake, or, failing that, at least maybe Cat Stevens or Donovan? (tangent time:there is a musical connection here, Hugh Everett’s son, Mark Everett is the man behind Eels and wrote a really rather good book about his mentally absent father and his mentally ill sister, called Things the Grandchildren Should Know) Or was pop culture’s collective memory right to discard him? Was he just not that good?

First things first: Did this sound as terminally uncool in 1973 as it does, at least to my ears, now? There is something painfully earnest, and desperately provincial about it. Wikipedia informs me that, before his musical career, he worked for a while as an English teacher. Which goes to show that the past is a foreign country. It’s hard to imagine someone succeeding in the music business in their late 20s having first spent several years in teaching now (though maybe I’m wrong: Maybe Taylor Swift used to be a PE teacher and Stormzy taught maths.) But back in the 70s, Sting and Mark Knopfler both did it. As it happens, Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, was among Clifford Ward’s pupils.

There are a number of things that place this record in a particular place in time. The mid 1970s was probably about the last point in time when there were significant numbers of young women called Gaye to write songs about.  As 1973 really wasn’t so long after 1967, it’s hard to hear The Dubious Circus Company as anything other than a rather pale echo of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – although it deserves bonus points for the elephant noises. And somehow I can’t imagine anyone penning a line quite so mawkish as ‘Our love is just another broken down motor car. I need your help to get it back on the road. ‘ now.

Despite, or perhaps because, of his past as an English teacher He’s not much of a lyric writer – and nowhere is this more evidence than on Home Thoughts From Abroad. In name-checking Robert Browning and William Wordsworth (I’m more of a Robert Frost man myself) I can’t help but think he is drawing attention to his own shortcomings. Another of his pupils was Karl Hyde, whose Born Slippy is a great example of show don’t tell, an abstract stream of consciousness paean to a big night out on the town, that his teacher might have done well to learn from.

But the song-writing is, where the lyrics aren’t getting in the way, really rather good in places. Wherewithal is a real earworm, and its easy to imagine it on an early Belle and Sebastian album, save for the fact that Ward was actually a much better singer. Time, the Magician is a catchy pop song. It is when he attempts social commentary and humour, as on Crisis that things go  adrift (although I could have lived without his efforts to find works to rhyme with Gaye, too) Oh and godding. It might just be my personal prejudices, but religiosity in popular song rarely works well (see also my review of Coat of Many Colours) and The Traveller is a toe-curling excuse to hit the skip button.
Actually, as well as the Belle and Sebastian connection (I wonder whether Stuart Murdoch listened to Clifford Ward or whether they both just emerged, at different points, from the same tradition of British musical whimsy – I was going to say English whimsy and cite See Emily Play but I suspect Murdoch would object) it occurs to me that there’s a line that can be drawn between this album and the rather baroque, orchestral pop of Sufjan Stevens -a rare exception to my dislike for godding in popular song.

So, my conclusion: If this was the best he managed, then I’m not entirely surprised that he was forgotten. It’s not that, to pick a couple of 70s singer-songwriters I am aware of, that Donovan or Melanie were really any better, but more than while Home Thoughts… has a certain, limited charm, it doesn’t really stand out as being any better than a lot of other very similar music from the last forty or so years.

Highlights: Time, the Magician; Wherewithal

Week Thirty One: Ágætis byrjun

So what do I know about Sigur Rós? Icelandic.  Largely instrumental.  That they are very much the band of choice, or at least one of the bands of choice, for the people who decide on the accompanying music for documentaries on BBC4. I’ve listened to a couple of their other albums before, but Ágætis byrjun was entirely new to me.

After a very short introduction, called, appropriately enough, Intro, the first ‘proper’ song, Svefn-g-englar is  definitely familiar, to the point where I wondered if, despite thinking Ágætis byrjun was not one of the Sigur Rós records I’d heard, maybe it was lurking somewhere in my pile of CDs. More likely it was used as the soundtrack to something I can’t quite remember seeing on television. Listening to the rather otherworldly vocals, I found myself questioning my long-held assumption that the band’s singer was female, or perhaps that there were two different vocalists, one male and one female. But a quick look at Wikipedia confirmed that the band’s only singer is male and “known for his falsetto”. It is a mistake I’ve made in the other direction, being very surprised to discover that Wussy’s singer is a woman.

It’s followed by Staralfur. Here, the extensive use of piano and strings serve as a reminder that while the lazy comparison would be with post-rock bands like Mogwai or Explosions In The Sky, they are, to make use of a lazy metaphor I rather hate, a more organic sounding band (my grandfather, an industrial chemist by trade, was apparently very dismissive of the use of the term to describe food, pointing out that with the exception of table salt, all food is organic.) There’s still plenty use of distortion pedals and synthesizers, but there’s also quite extensive use of acoustic instruments that Mogwai would never contemplate.

Flugufrelsarinn is perhaps the closest the band come to sounding like a conventional widescreen indie rock band who just happen to sing in Icelandic, while Hjartao Hamast, once the early waves of feedback have passed, settles down into what might be intimate confessional lyrics but, as I haven’t the faintest idea what he’s singing, could equally easily be a man reading out a shopping list. Viðrar vel til loftárása (the title, apparently, translates as ‘Good weather for an airstrike) goes in the opposite direct, beginning as a slightly melancholy piano piece with a dollop of what sounds like pedal-steel, as if the song is a refugee from distant country-and-western wars and hasn’t been able to fully assimilate into its new surroundings, but over the course of its 10 minute running time, it goes all ‘epic movie soundtrack’ and ends with a slightly discordant string section.

Over at Mookbarks, Fiona was speculating that this might have sounded much more genuinely different back when it was released in 1999. Speaking as someone old enough to remember, I can only say ‘not if you spent your teenage years listening to the Cocteau Twins, it didn’t.’ Because more than Mogwai, more than Explosions in the Sky or Tortoise or Slint or any of that post-rock brigade, it’s the Cocteau Twins that Sigur Rós really remind me of. Where the post-rock crowd ditched vocals altogether, both the Cocteaus and Sigur Ros retain them, but use them principally as a textural instrument (although in Sigur Rós’ case, that is probably just a reflection of my complete ignorance of Icelandic). Cocteaus singer Liz Fraser is from up the road in Grangemouth, but from her vocals she really sounded like she could have been from anywhere. Both bands dabbled with glossolalia – though I have to admit that in Sigur Ros’ case, I would struggle to tell the songs in Icelandic apart from those sung in a made up language. Both appear to be aiming for a cinematic sound. If to my ears, the Cocteaus just sound better, I’d concede that there’s every possibility that this is simply because I heard that at a formative age, and not as incidental music to a nature documentary on BBC4.

Highlights: Svefn-g-englar, Olsen Olsen

 

Week Thirty: The Planets

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever really quite understood classical music. I’m part of that small minority who only listen to Radio 3 for the spoken word output (in particular, the fantastic Night Waves). It’s not like death metal or happy hardcore music, not something that makes me race for the off switch to get rid of this awful noise. Rather, for the most part, it ends up sounding to me like background music, I don’t really connect with it.

So this week has been a bit of a chance to test out whether that is because me and classical music are just like ships that pass in the night, or whether the problem is instead that I’ve just never given any particular piece of classical music the time it needs to grow on me. To be honest, while I did go through a phase of putting on Mozart’s string pieces as background when I was working, there are probably very few classical works I’ve listened to all the way through more than a couple of times.

It begins with the threatening, and indeed appropriately martial sounding Mars: the Bringer of War. Listening to this piece, I’m struck both by the thought that, given the time it was composed, it surely must be a reflection of the horrors of the First World War and by the possibly rather musically illiterate thought that this must have been at least an indirect influence on the heavy metal music that would follow half a century later. Because, for all that, if I were at a pub quiz and had to answer the question “in what century did Gustav Holtz compose the planets?” I’m not at all sure that I wouldn’t be a couple of hundred years out, this is, in the grand sweep of the history of classical music, actually quite recent. By the time it was first performed in November 1920, three of my grandparents had been born, and, let’s say, the release of the Beatles’ first LP was closer in time to the time this was composed than to the present day. I don’t doubt that someone who knows a great deal more about classical music than I do would be able to tell that there was no way that this had been composed in 1816, but I wouldn’t know.

The mood changes quite abruptly with Venus: the Bringer of Peace. For all that I prefer my classical music low key – with more strings and piano and less bombastic use of brass instruments, this piece just doesn’t really stick in my mind. Mercury: the Winger Messenger works better for me, though I’m afraid this is one of those not infrequent moments when I find myself struggling to find a way of using language to explain why. Jupiter: the Bringer of Jollity definitely sound familiar to me – I’m fairly sure that the piece, or at least the part that begins at around 3m 30s in, has been used on more than one occasion to soundtrack the annual Edinburgh Festival Fireworks Concert. Certainly it sounds like the kind of music that could form the backdrop to lots of pretty explosions in the sky.

Listening to this, I found myself wondering what followed it – where its influence can be heard in today’s music. Was it a dead end? Certainly it’s not easy to hear its influence in the classical music of the second half of the 21st century – the minimalism of Steve Reich or Philip Glass. On the other hand, perhaps its legacy is really to be heard in the scores written for big blockbuster films: if Holst had lived fifty years later, perhaps he’d have written the theme music for Star Wars or Jaws. Or perhaps not. Another tenuous connection I’m hearing is between this themed classical music and the orchestrally tinged story-telling of Godspeed You Black Emperor! – although F#A# seemed more interested in soundtracking an imaginary apocalypse than the ‘astrological’ characters of the planets. But maybe these are just the half-formed ideas of someone with little or no idea what he is talking about.

Highlights: Mars, the Bringer of War, Mercury, the Messenger

Week Twenty Nine: Laundry Service

I’m not quite sure when it was that I last listened to a straight-up pop album in its entirety. Actually, that’s not true, my new flatmate is blasting Taylor Swift’s 1989 through the hi-fi system as I write this, and I’ve got used to hearing Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran coming from the kitchen for much the same reason. But I’ve never entirely shaken off the prejudices I grew up with. Pop bands are not album bands. Chart pop music isn’t really for anyone over the age of 12. Most of it’s just machine-tooled rubbish. Et cetera, et cetera.

I think the last pop album I deliberately listened to all the way through might have been A-Ha’s 1986 sophomore effort, Scoundrel Days – and when I went back and revisited it, I couldn’t help thinking that even it doesn’t quite qualify: that it sounds like the work of an obscure electro-synth goth band who more or less accidentally fell into stardom by virtue of one single and a singer who appealed to teenage girls.

And the sum-total of my knowledge of Shakira?: Approximate contemporary of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears; An elderly Gabriel Garcia Marquez had a thing for her and wrote a long piece in the Guardian about her (I wondered if this was a product of my imagination, but the internet more or less confirms my memory); Huge hit with Hips Don’t Lie (clavicles, on the other hand are sneaky, underhand buggers and not to be trusted.) And that’s about it, so this is a bit of a dive into unfamiliar territory, a record that, but for this project, I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to give the time of day.

The opening track, Objection (Tango) reminds me a little of The Gotan Project, a Brazilian electronica influenced dance group I got into for a while, and in itself makes a pretty good case for more South American dance music in contemporary pop. As someone who was born with two left feet, the chances of my actually dancing the tango are pretty close to zero, but this song sort of makes the idea appealing.

It’s followed by Underneath Your Clothes which brings back memories of 80s girl-group the Bangles’ Eternal Flame. And if I’m prepared to overlook the cringeworthy lyrics – “Underneath your clothes, there’s an endless story” Which is either a bad metaphor or a worse tattoo – and the awkward fact that the best parts appear to have been pinched from another song, it’s really rather good in an 80s power ballad sort of a way – and right at the end, there’s just a hint of Tori Amos in her vocals.  Which wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

By the time I get to the third track, her breakthrough hit, Wherever, Whenever, I’m starting to think that I’ve mentally miscategorised Shakira. I’d had her filed alongside graduates of the Mickey Mouse Club, the Britneys and Katy Perries of this world, when actually she fits more neatly into the tradition of 80s adult-oriented rock. Pat Benatar without quite the vocal range, and a more ‘world music’ influenced sound. There are bits of this record that remind me more than a little of later-period U2. So perhaps this isn’t the first pure pop record I’ve sat down to listen to in thirty years for the simple reason that this isn’t quite what it is.

I wasn’t entirely surprised to discover that Glen Ballard (Alanis Morrisette’s songwriting partner) is amongst those with a writing credit on this record. And I was struck by the mischievous thought that Jagged Little Pill would have been a much less irritating record if it had been sung entirely in Spanish (although, in truth, give me Shakira’s generic power balladeer’s vocals over Alanis’s grating voice, too) All the same, I was much more taken with the Spanish versions of the album’s two biggest hits that are thrown in to round off the album, Suerte (Whenever, Wherever) and Te Aviso, Te Anuncio than with their English-language counterparts. Maybe it’s just because it helps persuade me that I’m not just listening to Roxette with a splash of Latin-American rhythm thrown in.  Que Me Quedes Tu is a really rather pretty ballad, and quite probably all the better for the fact I’ve no idea what she’s saying.  Whereas Fool ends up being a bit of an irritant precisely because I can make out the lyrics.

I expect it’s probably not a record I’m ever going to actively seek out again (though who knows, if on a whim I felt the urge to go back to Scoundrel Days, maybe when I’m in the old people’s home I’ll find myself suddenly wanting to hear Laundry Service) but on the other hand, I wouldn’t object if it came on in the background in the launderette, or wherever, whenever.

Highlights: Que Me Quedes Tu, Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango), Underneath Your Clothes

Week Twenty Eight: St Jude

I think I might have seen the Courteeners live, about seven years ago at a festival, and the fact that I can’t say for sure says a lot about my relationship with this record.

I think it might just be an age thing. If I’d been 15, rather than 30, when this record had been released, I might have loved it. It does sound quite a lot like the Britpop records that I played to death in the mid 1990s, and haven’t really listened to since. As it is, this record, and indeed the live show at T in the Park in 2010, if I actually saw it, and am not confusing them with various other second-string acts I saw early in the afternoon, just didn’t really make any impact on me.

I’m not sure that it’s objectively any worse a record than I Should Coco by Supergrass, which I loved when it came out. No actually, I’m going to stick to my guns and insist that I Should Coco was a much better record. Scratch that: It’s probably better than Dodgy’s Homegrown though, which I enjoyed well enough back in the day. It’s just that twenty-plus years on, I’m not hearing anything that makes it stand out. And I’ve no idea how it won the Guardian’s inaugural debut album award in 2008. Surely there were better first albums that year? (There were: As far as I’m concerned, if you think this is better than For Emma, Forever Ago then your ears have fallen off.)

Despite the cover art and the band name that suggest otherwise, itis very much pitched at the more laddish end of indie rock – think somewhere between Oasis and Kasabian – and it does seem to check pretty much every cliché of that genre. Nonsense lyrics? There’s a line in “No You Didn’t, No You Don’t” which I heard as“We were in the garage doing cheese.” When I looked up the actual lyrics and found it was not cheese but keys, I can’t help thinking that what I heard was better. Is ‘doing keys’ some yoof argot of which I’m unaware? Or is he just saying whatever comes into his head. Big choruses with lots of wooahs and woahhs in them that you can imagine encouraging fist-pumping on football terraces? More than you can shake a stick at. A couple of slow ballads with a bit of finger-picked electric guitar? Check.

It’s ok, but for me at least, it’s nothing more than that. Only Aftershow and You’re Not Nineteen Forever really stood out from the generic indie mulch and stayed with me. His voice is less irritating than, say Liam Gallagher’s (actually, Liam Fray sounds a bit like my brother, which is perhaps no surprise as it turns out he’s from about six or seven stops along the same branch line to Manchester that I grew up living next to). But there’s really nothing here to distinguish them from hundreds of other very similar indie bands that get afternoon slots at festivals. A sort of Shed Seven de no jours.

My problem is that, having got into the whole indie guitar rock thing a quarter of a century ago, there’s not much now that sounds really different to me. That really makes me pay attention. Or as Spitting Image put it over twenty years ago

“Haven’t You Heard This Song Before?
Jesus, it’s hard to be original
with only 12 notes in all the world.”

Highlights: Aftershow, You’re Not Nineteen Forever