October 14, 2002

Hey Spinner!

Three out of four bars agree: The Modern Lovers are always in style.

At least that was my finding over the course of the past few nights, at bars and rock clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan that had, on the whole, pretty excellent DJs (and one jukebox) spinning the tunes. It is funny, though, to see the punk and new wave classics get codified into just a new version of the album rock radio format. Why is it always "Ever Fallen In Love?" and not "Harmony In My Head"? Or "Love Will Tear Us Apart" instead of "Disorder"? Or, to use my opener as another example, "Roadrunner" instead of "Modern World"? (Okay, only two of the three played "Roadrunner" -- one played "She Cracked.")

But my ears really perked up when I heard the new-ish singles by LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture being played at one place, mixed in seamlessly with the old. And Interpol is definitely the new spin of choice (at least here in New York), as I heard something from their album three different times. I'm sure there was even more new music being played, but at a certain point I realized how fucking annoying it was for me to stop talking to point at the speakers and say something like, "Ooh -- I've been playing this record nonstop! It's on this Brooklyn label called DFA..." (Somebody please shoot me.)

So where did I enjoy these Gold Soundz? Motor City, Southpaw, The Knitting Factory and Siberia. Extra special mention to Siberia's jukebox for the ability to give instant musical gratification, though when others are putting on top-quality tunes like "That's When I Reach For My Revolver," who needs quarters anyway?

Speaking of Burma... review forthcoming of the Consonant/Shellac show last night once the music has settled in a bit more. I even stayed for all of Shellac. This from someone who doesn't own a single Big Black record.

Posted by nstop at October 14, 2002 11:52 PM


I'm pretty psyched shellac is actually coming to nashville as part of this tour. not sure if I'll get to see them though. this from someone who owns every big black record.

also, some folks are actually -attracted- to the woman who starts talking record labels just because the dj appears to have a clue. after all, what the hell else is there to do in most clubs at new york?

Posted by: martin on October 15, 2002 02:11 AM

what the hell else is there to do in most clubs at new york?

Um, drink?

Actually, I'll 'fess up -- the folks I was hanging out with were all music geeks themselves. The kind of guys where the other conversational topics included: "can Generation X really be considered 'punk rock'?", all the good bands we saw-but-didn't-appreciate-at-the-time in NY rock clubs circa '91, and record shops in Glasgow.

And about your observation... yeah, so I've been told. I still talk too much, though!

Posted by: nstop on October 15, 2002 02:26 PM

I was always a much bigger fan of drinking in new york at friends' houses before the show. partly because drinks are so expensive just about everywhere and partly because I seem to enjoy shows more if the buzz is on it's way out rather than the other way around... but then I don't drink nearly as much as I used to. and actually I don't go to shows nearly as much as I used to either.

the only club in new york that ever let me take my thermos of coffee into the show knowingly was the mercury lounge. and it really was full of coffee. just coffee.

oh, and I'm really not tooting any of my own horns when I say that I think it's more punk rock to go to a show and then -not- drink. not that I think any of us gen x'ers can really be punk rock...

Posted by: martin on October 16, 2002 02:42 AM

hey... I finally figured out today what seems so familiar about that interpol record to me. (I'm sure I haven't listened to it as much as you, but I've had it for a while now.)

go listen to -strange times- by the chameleons (or the chameleons UK or whatever they're supposed to be called). then listen to the interpol record and tell me you don't see the resemblance also. heheheh. interpol definitely has a lower-fi production ethic, but the similarities are more than just thorough use of delay on the guitars.

Posted by: martin on October 21, 2002 08:24 PM

While not as popular as the Joy Division reference, The Chameleons have also popped up in a few different Interpol reviews I've read. I don't own Strange Times, but I put on Script of the Bridge just now and... yeah, I can hear it.

Funny, but one of my old band's songs once got compared to The Chameleons (not any of the stuff you've heard, incidentally) -- and the last thing we sounded like was Interpol!

And I just now realized that I should have clarified my "Generation X" comment above, cuz we were talking about the band, not the demographic segment.

Posted by: nstop on October 21, 2002 11:22 PM

I've heard all the joy division comparisons, and the other one I heard in some is early u2. but the thing is, early u2 has a lot in common with the chameleons.

while I'm not a fan of bono at all really, I like the edge a lot... if nothing else, he's one of the few guitarists I can think of in recent history who has a recognizable signature sound (which is basically a twangy or semihollow through lot of stereo delay through a vox, but hey eddie's was a bridge humbucker strat through a hot marshall, so...)

the closest thing to what became the edge's sound is most definitely reg from the chameleons. I think if they'd have stuck around longer, we might be comparing the edge to reg instead of the other way around.

strange times is the one though... much more than script... or does anything...

particularly "time," the verse melody of which bizarrely can almost be sung over one of the interpol songs without sounding wrong even though the chords are different.

I knew you were talking about the band generation x, by the way... I'm just not as funny as I think I am.

Posted by: martin on October 22, 2002 12:55 AM

I was never a big fan of early U2 *or* the Chameleons, so once again, while one part of my ears get the comparisons, it's not something that I'd immediately zoom in on.

What you describe with "Time" is also relevant for the Smiths song "This Charming Man" -- sing over the verses to "Say Hello to the Angels." Same beat. But yet different. The songs and the execution are just excellent, and damn, I people can shout "Derivative!" ten times over but something about the Interpol album just works for me on a level that manages to avoid tripping my usual "sounds-like" rock crit instincts.

About Gen X... aw, I'm sure you're plenty funny in person. It's just this interweb thing, y'know. makes you sound unfunny and me like a pedantic curmudgeon. Oh wait -- I *am* a pedantic curmudgeon....

Posted by: nstop on October 22, 2002 01:39 AM

derivative doesn't bother me, even when it is readily deserved, which I don't think is the case with interpol anyway.

cause derivative is often somebody else's word for re-inventive, and the thing is interpol is derivative of so many different things... if they're intentionally derivative of 10 bands at once, that's pretty genius, and if they're not doing it intentionally then they have a talent for picking parts out of their influences and using them for something new. either way...

Posted by: martin on October 22, 2002 02:17 AM

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