Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It wasn't until I discovered allmusic and starting looking up my favorite bands that I learned that lots of my favorite music is considered part of the same genre and that it has a name: post-punk. I just thought of it as music I like.

I recently came upon an 80s post-punk archetype: Josef K. The first time I heard the band on the radio, I was confused. They sounded familiar without sounding familiar, in that I knew I'd never actually heard them before although their sound resembled lots that I'd heard before. There were glints of the angularity of the Fall, Gang of Four and early Echo & the Bunnymen, the jangly pop of the Woodentops and the revved-up jangly pop of early Wedding Present. That they had previously escaped my attention, apart from recognizing their name from the 1991 edition of the Trouser Press record guide, is not surprising considering that they only issued one proper album, The Only Fun in Town, before breaking up, and that album never had a U.S. release. Their new compilation, Entomology, rounds up 22 album tracks and singles for a worthy introduction to American ears.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I had merely planned to review Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out when much bigger news about the band broke: Holy crap! They're getting back together. The band announced that they will play at the Grammy Awards on February 11, and a full tour is rumored.

Now back to that movie review. Drummer Stewart Copeland bought a Super 8 movie camera early in his career with the band and managed to document them in their time together, from their early struggles to massive fame. Through wise editing of the 50 or so hours of footage on the road, in the studio, on the stage and pressed up against the fans, he gives a clear view of what it was like living through it all. His narration is insightful, making their eventual break-up a natural conclusion without placing blame. That said, Sting sometimes comes across as an obnoxious alpha male even when they're getting along just fine, and the film reaffirmed my belief that Copeland is not only one of the best drummers of all time, he's also one of the coolest.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

One of the most annoying current cliches in journalism is making reference to AARP to say that someone is old. For once, talking about aging and making reference to AARP isn't a cliche. In today's Chicago Tribune, Barbara Brotman catches up with former Buzzcocks bass player Steve Garvey to discuss the cultural meaning of the band's "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" being used in AARP ad campaign. The interview also goes beyond the usual "where are they now" piece since they delve into what aging has been like for Garvey, now a carpenter with a kid in college.