Call me Russ L

This is just blah

Posted in Blogstuff, Music by Russ L on 19 May, 2007

I promised Meatloaf by this point but have failed. Sorry. Please note that my waffling about that particular gig isn’t likely to be anything any greater than usual; it’s just that, y’know, it’ll be about Meatloaf. That’s surely enough.

Me saying “my waffling about that particular gig” rather than “my review of that particular gig” is important. I do not consider anything I write on this ‘ere blog to be a review (and if I ever do, it will be under a very specific rubric announcing as such). I’m not quite pedantic enough (I’m very pedantic, but not quite this pedantic) to correct everyone who uses the word ‘review’ in a comment or whatever-have-you, as has happened many times, but it’s certainly not how I view anything written here. The trouble with announcing this is that I don’t have any sort of specific criteria of what I consider reviews to be, but whatever they are this blog definitely hasn’t involved any so far. It’s a series of “What I did on my holidays” style ramblings (although ironically enough I didn’t write a fat lot about what I did on my holidays).

The thing that has brought this to mind was a message I received recently from Dave of the new Robot Professor outfit, who are putting on some gigs at the skate park in Moseley. I was asked if I wanted to review the first one. I demurred, and pointed out a couple of other people who might be interested. This brings us on to the second stage of this little ramble – I’ve written about music on request before (when I was involved with The Communion) and have had very mixed feelings about it. There are good things – you get loads of free stuff and get your witty, witty oh-so witty quips read by far more people than would do so on something like a personal blog – but there are plenty of bad things too. The immediate problem lies in having to think of something to write about yet another entirely mediocre rock band (those are the hard ones. Of any given ten CDs you receive, one will be good, one will be bad, and the other eight will be nondescript beyond belief. It may sound silly, but the bad ones are better – at least you can think of something to say. I recall when I was at school a kid told me he thought music was bad if he listened to it and thought it was average. At the time, I thought and told him that was stupid – if you listen to it and find it average, then surely it’s just average? – but I now know exactly what he means. This has been a long bracket. Thank you for sticking with me), and the longer-term problem arises out of this.

I used to think I liked a lot more music than I disliked, and I suppose that in so far as my experiences went (and what other evidence could we use for this?) I actually did. In retrospect, of course, I can see that was only because I had my own filter. I’ve never bought an album ‘at random’ – it has always been because I’ve read something about the band or heard something by them that has led me to think that I would like it. This doesn’t provide a 100% strike rate, obviously, but there is at least some sort of filtering process going on. When one starts getting sent an entirely random selection of gubbins (weeeelllll… a selection of gubbins determined by the cumulative effect of several other filters that may as well be random, if we’re going for precision), one begins to realise that most of the music in the world is simply not of interest. It is very hard to refrain from becoming hugely cynical.

Erm… It does say in the title that this is mostly blah, and I’m not sure where I’m going with it all. I suppose the upshot of all this is for me to point out that I’m not about to go and write about anyone’s gig on request. If I go, I’ll write something, although it may consist purely of a list of the shiny objects I was distracted by over the course of the evening.

Having said that, if someone has a general topic they’d be interested to see me write about then please feel free to stick it in the comments. I suffer from an appalling lack of imagination and find it very difficult to think of that sort of thing myself. I know no-one wakes up wondering what Russ L’s thoughts are about any given topic, but if anyone does want to throw me a bone then feel free.

These Robot Professor sorts, anyway. They’re putting on some gigs at The Epic Skate Park in Moseley (my map), and for some reason beyond me I do feel slightly bad about having to have said no to their request, so here’s a plug. I’m not as keen on them not putting the last band on till quarter to eleven and by the looks of the bands being booked I assume that the term ‘post-rock’ can be used to describe ‘any band at all, whatsoever’ these days, but there’s potential for great fun here. Of the bands they’ve got booked over the next few months I would especially recommend Mothertrucker, Mills & Boon and The Arm, and there are lots of bands new-to-me to discover too. I won’t be at the first one ‘cos I’m going to see Travis at The Academy this Friday (yeah, bite me), but I definitely hope to make it to a few of them after that.


4 Responses

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  1. throughsilver said, on 20 May, 2007 at 11:16 am

    I like this post. Typo check on ‘wandering’, by the way. I laughed slightly (though not at the typo – I’m not that bad), and that’s never a bad thing. I was going to mention an idea here, but I fear its genesis is derived from a current obssession of mine: the late nineties. Don’t fall into my nostalgia trap!

    I just can’t stop listening to the Wildhearts. Oh, that reminds me. I have decided on themed months (or so). We had Kerbdog in April, Wildies now… I’m thinking about going on a geographical/musical tour of these isles in terms of under-rated/over-looked bands. So I was thinking Therapy? for Northern Ireland. Maybe Manic Street Preachers for Wales, but they are now more over-rated and under-looked (if the latter is actually a thing) than anything else. Still, they rocked in the early nineties, which is criterion enough for me.

    So: Any ideas on southern England? Scotland? I hope I can do this without having to resort to Gun Month or something. Surely there’s someone more fitting than the Almighty. No?

  2. Russ L said, on 20 May, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    If I concentrate really hard I can dimly, distantly remember a time when I could actually spell.

    You seem to have a bit of a Britrock theme there, and thus Skunk Anansie leap to mind as the obvious suggestion for The Southlands. Scotland is a touch more difficult. Garbage, perhaps?

    I’ve been meaning to write a post entitled something along the lines of “You Know Who Were A Band That I Think Should Be More Widely Remembered? Bullyrag, They Were A Band That I Think Should Be More Widely Remembered” for a while now, but haven’t got around to it yet.

  3. throughsilver said, on 20 May, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Yeah, I could do Skunk Anansie actually. I went through a phase a few months back of playing their singles a lot. Them and Garbage would be quite journey-of-discovery actually, as I don’t think I have ever heard an album by either band. Maybe Pitchshifter or something: Notting-HAM is south to me.

    And yup, I remember Bullyrag, if they were the band that did ‘Frantic!’ and that other song that was on Superrock back in the day. Bands like that are part of the reason I am so fixated on the late nineties right now. Remember Lodestar? Liberty 37? I have decided that, when my Paypal can handle such things as two quid transactions (and when Ebay will actually log me in for once), I am finally going to get hold of that Send No Flowers album.

    I should really find out what Dan Silver is doing nowadays, as he was all about these bands.

    P.S. Next Sunday can’t happen soon enough. I need some MMA on my telly.

  4. Russ L said, on 20 May, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    As an addendum to the main post, I just came across this.

    In terms of fightings, I watched the Hawaii K-1 today. Make sure you see Mighty Mo vs Aleks Pitchkounov if you haven’t so far. It’s great.


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