Thursday, 19 April 2007

How To Make It In The Music Business

With the South West Sound music convention returning to Bristol this month, every man and his dealer is going to be in town giving helpful advice to the kids on how to "make it" in the music business.

While the very idea of a music 'industry' gives Blood Red Sounds terrifying visions of a kind of machine-woven prolefeed doled out to undermine the democracy of free expression, clearly some of you would rather be part of the problem than the solution. Well, either that or you're not as paranoid as I am.

Anyway, if you do fancy yourself as a stitch in the boot that's stamping on the face of humanity, here are a few ways your career as a lifestyle accessory might turn out.

Unfortunately, as if to illustrate the protean mass of contraditions that is Chokecentral's existence, I've named each option after a song you probably wouldn't even have heard of without the evil machinations of those dirty little men in suits, thereby seriously undermining my whole point.

The 'Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’
1. Get signed
2. Get dropped
3. Kill yourself
(NB: the second stage isn’t really that important)

The ‘See You On The Way Back Down’ (with apologies to Hacksaw)
1. Get signed
2. Get dropped
3. Hit the ‘revival’ trail. Have all your hopes and dreams crushed by the mocking laughter of the fickle public.
4. Kill yourself

The ‘Crossroads Blues’ (aka Living The Dream)
1. Have the time of your life making ground-breaking, thrilling music
2. Stop taking yourself so bloody seriously. Invent unit shifting pop act with a nod to underground credibility
3. Make $$$hitloads
4. Start your own label to support new talent and ‘give something back’
5. Sell out label to the majors, retire on the proceeds and try to appear nonchalant as they destroy everything you ever worked for when you were still recognisable as a human being
6. Kill yourself. Or get killed. Or possibly kill someone else.

The ‘Wannabe’
1. Form band
2. Create press pack in which the prominently displayed phrase ‘interest from a number of major labels’ actually refers to the number of your CDs that have been binned by record companies. After all, they only gave you their postal addresses to get your dad off the phone.
3. Change the band’s name and look every couple of years in a vain attempt at appearing to be relevant
4. Repeat stage three until you realise that your friends have all deserted you and that even the most imaginative of A&R scum can’t find a use for your worthless life. Even as a drug mule.
5. Attempt to kill yourself but fuck it right up
6. Repeat stage five until you die, penniless and unloved, some decades later. Of natural causes. Unsigned.

‘The Great Escape’
1. Get signed
2. Get dropped
3. Go back to your day job
4. Grow up

Good luck!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

TWOCSINAK – ‘Art’s Equivalent to MFI with his Rolls Royce of Builders’ Skip’ EP (Clean Cut Records, 2005)

This review of Twocsinak's debut EP was originally written for Choke issue 13.5, otherwise known as the issue that we never got round to publishing, sometime in 2005. Incidentally, since this was written Twocsinak has released an equally fine album on Shitmat's Wrongmusic label. I wouldn't hold your breath for a review though.

The lengthy title is just the start. At forty-five minutes long, this is not only one of the longest EPs I have heard, it also possesses the most extensive self-penned sleevenotes you are ever likely to read. And that’s before we even get to the cartoons. Twocsinak is clearly a man with creative diahorrea. Luckily for us, his shit is a taste worth acquiring.

A handsomely arranged buffet of twenty-two sample ‘n’ paste morsels, ‘Art’s Equivalent’ is a bizarre mixture of wide-eyed musical experimentation and pop-cultural collage, bringing to mind a bootleg mix of ‘The Faust Tapes’ and St. Etienne’s ‘Foxbase Alpha’ with added indie-boy shambling. Taking in pretty much every contemporary style of music and a bewildering array of instruments, its unique style is the seemingly inevitable product of a truly scatterbrained imagination.

Poignantly delicate one minute and winningly silly the next, Twocsinak’s debut is a children’s playground of abrupt mood swings. Creepy music boxes segue into euphoric rave stabs. Chirpy human beatbox patterns give way to lo-fi self-examination. A telephone conversation about where to buy Hip Hop records sits close by a hilarious deconstruction of the UK style press. You also get bits of jazz, folk, jungle, some lovely piano melodies and some cracking home-recorded jams with collaborators too numerous to list here.

The last song contains the line: ‘I know it’s indulgent to write songs in first person but it seems I’m the only person I know’. While this may or may not be the case, a couple of listens to ‘Art’s Equivalent to MFI’ and you’ll know Twocsinak like a childhood friend. This is the weirdest, loveliest and most surprising object I’ve picked off the doormat so far this year. It’s also as DIY as hell and chummy as fuck. Rejoice.

Genius Devalued

News just in.

Since Johnny Borrell of Razorlight started using it the word 'genius' has been significantly devalued.

It is now provisionally defined by the OED as 'A talentless, no good shit for brains with the ego of Jeffrey Archer being lapdanced by God Almighty while snorting cocaine off Helen Of Troy's tits backstage at The Delusional Narcissists' Pollwinners Party.'

Cheers Johnny.

David Irving's Revised History Of Pop

Hi, David Irving here.
As a world famous maverick historian, I'd normally be too busy to contribute to this blog. Unfortunately, I am currently stuck in a prison cell in Austria with only a copy of The Residents' 'Third Reich & Roll' for entertainment. A lifelong fan of rock music, I have come to suspect that the received view of its history has been distorted by a liberal bias imposed by the victorious powers of the Second World War. In my forthcoming bestseller, I identify a series of persistent pop myths and do my best to set the record straight. To whet your appetite, here are some examples of the fruits of my tireless academic research.

The Birth Of Rock & Roll.
Open any 'official' history book and you'll be told that rock and roll was invented in the 1950s by black Americans. This is a lie! It was in fact developed by Chinese serfs in the middle ages and exported around the globe by spice merchants. Ironically, America's isolationist foreign policy meant that it was the only country in the world without a proud rock tradition by the late nineteenth century. Rock & Roll finally arrived on American shores when Chuck Berry was deported from Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution.

Dylan Goes Electric.
Boring, grown up music magazines like Mojo, Uncut and Rolling Stone endlessly re-tell the story of Bob Dylan's conversion to the joys of rock but I have it on excellent authority that this never happened! On a recent lecture tour of midwest rifle clubs, I met a cousin of Dylan's who insists his famous relative is still strumming away at coffee houses in Greenwich Village under the name Mossy Datsun. The figure we now know as Dylan is in fact a Gorillaz-style animation invented in 1962 when the CIA thought protest singers were planning to bring down the military-industrial complex by getting their tits out and singing about hammers.

David Bowie: Chameleon of Pop.
Rock superstar Bowie is famous for changing his identity. What is less well known is that his early 'Ziggy Stardust' persona was a highly sophisticated double bluff. Bowie is, in fact, an actual space alien from space. If you want proof, check out the irrefutable documentary evidence I taped off BBC2, in which 'Bowie' is seen arriving on Earth to fetch water for his dying planet.

M-People Win The Mercury Music Prize.
Incredibly, this did actually happen. What is less well known is that their 90's smash 'Search For The Hero' was a work of plagiarism. Originally a poem by Friedrich Holderlein, it was set to music in the mid-thirties by a hack composer from Dusseldorf and soon became a popular singalong on Hitler Youth marches. My source, currently resident in a Brazilian retirement home, assures me that this shocking fact has been hushed up by a Yankee-Zionist music industry determined to undermine the achievements of National Socialism.

'It's Like Punk Never Happened' by David Irving is out in June. Its author is expected to follow some time in 2008.