Beat Happening – Crashing Through

(Box Set K Records KLP115)

I got this on Friday and although it’s expensive (£50! ) you do get 7 cds and a thick booklet, so it works out at about seven quid per CD. It was lovely to hear BH shiny and new again as my vinyl is now very scratched and crackly.

There’s a whole CD of rare and unreleased stuff including their Screaming Trees 12" and the live in London stuff they did with the Vaselines.

There’s also some vids on there that I haven’t got round to watching yet. For anyone who doesn’t know anything about BH, you can find out by clicking here: Beat Happening

I’ve always loved BH’s pop simplicity and punk attitude. There’s not much of that attitude around nowadays. :- ( The booklet is a detailed history of how they formed and how K Records was born. You’ve got to admire a band that decides to go and play in Japan before they’ve even released a record or played many times.

There’s some good anecdotes about them from people like Stephen Pastel, Guy Picciotto and Ian Mackaye. Sadly, there’s nothing about the legendary gig they did with Black Flag where Rollins heckled them and duly got the wrath of Calvin BH. But there is a cool story about when they played with Fugazi and how they defended their camp lo-fi pop against a hostile hardcore crowd. Brilliant!

And the music? Well, if you like simple twangy guitar pop then BH will make you smile and laugh and sing. I love pop so I love 90% of the stuff on these albums and the other 10% is at least interesting, unlike contemporary schmindie. And Calvin’s voice remains one of my favourite guttural drawls. What a singer!

Buy this record if you like Nirvana, three-chord pop songs and maracas.

Don’t buy it if you’re looking for shimmering sonic cathedrals of sound or prog-rock virtuoso playing,
love and kisses,
Jyoti

The Bigger Lovers – How I Learned To Stop Worrying

(Munich MRCD220)Newsgroups: uk.music.alternative
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 11:44:36 +0100

I’ve had this album now for about three months and as much as I loved its powerpop hooks on first listening, it’s only improved with exposure. You can find info about the band here:

The Bigger Lovers

The first track, ‘Catch & Release’, is a storming, riff-driven opener. It sounds, as does much of this album, like a lost track off TFC’s ‘Bandwagonesque’ but more…um..American.

‘I’m Here’ is simply *lovely*. It’s an acoustic guitar chug, with a bobbling happy bassline, huge handclaps and stacked harmonies. It’s got a lolloping, summery groove to it and a hugely infectious melody. This is one I’ve found myself singing walking round town. Honestly, if you’ve *ever* loved any guitar pop, you’ll love this.

And that holds true for this album as a whole. Yes, elements of it could be accused of being retro but the songs here rise above that. They’re concise and precise, there’s no self-indulgent jazz odysseys here, just distilled pop.

‘Forever Is Not So Long’ is a two minute fucking gem of a song. From the opening guitar riff, I was hooked. My head started nodding and I wanted to know the words to sing along. This is the kind of pure pop that many C86 bands tried to attain but failed miserably at. Not that The Bigger Lovers are C86, they’re more Todd Rundgren than The Pooh Sticks… and damn proud of it. This song will be one of my future favourites and is definitely gonna appear in many comps I do for mates. Hell, if you don’t like this song, you probably don’t like pop music.

‘Threadbare’ is another stormer… and I’m checking the album and it’s only number 7! The songs are so strong on this that I’m continually thinking ‘ah, this must be a strong one they’ve saved for the end.’ But no, they’re all little poppy wonders. Again, if pop’s your taste, that’s good but if you’re a Wire reader you’ll probably find this dreadfully un-trendy and not ‘challenging’ enough, whatever the fuck that means.

I’m guessing that The Bigger Lovers are Monkees fans cos ‘America Undercover’ is like the great-grandson of ‘DW Washburn’ but with references to ‘come-stained dresses’ which they probably couldn’t have gotten away with in the sixties.

‘Summer (Of Our First Hello)’ is another tune made for pretty girls in convertibles. It’s piano-led this time, with a dreamy whispering verse vocal that resolves into a leaping chorus, complete with backing ‘ba-ba-baas.’ Good.

If anyone remembers Red Kross, The Bigger Lovers have a similar poppyness but they’re far more consistent and less metal. They’ve got the same roots of bubblegum pop and Byrdsy harmonies. The closer, ‘Out Of Sight’ goes further into country-folkdom than the rest of the album and does it beautifully. Shimmering slide geetar dovetails with a wobbling organ and yearning vocals.

One thing I’ve missed talking about so far is the lyrics. This is cos I’m still thrown by the music but that’s not to say that the lyrics are bad – there’s some lovely imagery on here, of summertime and wasted youth and ‘precious oils from New Zealand.’ I’m just still at the singing along stage rather than the making sense bit 🙂

Buy this album if you’ve ever loved The Monkees, Todd Rundgren, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub or being alive and feeling the sun on your face. Don’t buy it if you’re looking for cutting-edge sound design to impress your mates with,

love and kisses,

Jyoti

Which Side Are You On?

(This is a reply I did to a post on an online webforum that was arguing that white people are responsible for most of the evil in the world)

Quote (Mandy060 @ April 30 2002,23:37)
how can u find micael moore rascist. he tells the one thing we don’t want to hear but we all know is true: white ppl are responsible for most of the world problems. nuclaer bombs, ww2, the gun….. i could go on all day

Naaaaah – it was Chinese people who invented gunpowder. And a little Jewish guy made the first formal suggestion to the US government about using nuclear weapons against the Japanese. It’s not a question of black or white, male or female, gay or straight or whatever else capitalism uses to divide us. It’s a question of class. And in the Marxist sense there are only two: do you have to sell your labour to survive or do you live off the labour of others? Even though I’ve got a (dwindling) stack of money now, that’s from selling what I do (music) and my only future income is from the same source. To say that white people (which is a dubious scientific category for a start) are responsible for all the evil in the world is as ridiculous as saying men are responsible for all evil. And it plays into the hands of sectarianism, niche politics. Why fight organised capital, who always stand shoulder to shoulder with their police forces and armies, when we can fight each other? It’s not even what class you’re born into. Just think how many deluded working-class Tories there are. Or, conversely, posh people with brains like Tony Benn. White-shmite… it’s all a question of good vs. evil. The people who say this PC crap about white people being evil are just woolly-jumpered fucking liberals. Tell them to talk to me and I’ll give them a brown-power Marxist slap round their petit-bourgeois heads There’s only one race! love and kisses, Jyoti