Sunday, April 21, 2013

There's been some interesting to-ing and fro-ing in the internet sandpit this past week, w/ various types throwing shit around like monkeys in a cage. The one I speak of is linked here, or at least the follow-up riposte, that is. Penned by Gerard Cosloy (you probably know who he is), it's his response to a blog post on Kitty Vincent's Your Music Is Awful (yeah, I didn't know it existed, either) which went "viral" earlier in the week - that means some friends of mine posted it on Facebook - and I must say, his response is a hoot and a holler. Whilst Vincent's bagging of beard-rock dullards such as the Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons may be a worthy if perhaps trite and well-worn pursuit, in the context of the point attempting to be made, it was also hollow and, uh, pointless. As Cosloy made clear, in a manner of words: looking back to the '90s as some sort of high point in the history of rock & roll, when the music mattered, man, and "had balls", ignores all the terrible music at the time which hogged the spotlight (and I will say this from first-hand experience: for me that era was all about Cul de Sac, Grifters, Unrest, Dawson, et al, and whilst they mighta received some critical kudos, it was Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Candlebox who were selling records in the zillions), heaps praise upon the dunderhead-rock of L7 as some sort of template of righteousness (they weren't; they sucked) and then proceeds to completely ignore any contemporary rock music which might actually happen to be worth an earful (and there is a whole load of it out there - I just don't tend to cover it in this blog... but I don't claim it doesn't exist). Anyway, it was just a blog entry and Kitty won't be the first or last to say something which, in hindsight, was kinda silly regarding the state of modern music and the alleged halcyon days of yore: it's just that this one got some attention. Years ago this debate would've been ably handled in the letters section of Flipside magazine. Now you have the interwebz to air your grievances.

Speaking of grievances, let me say a word or two about "International Record Store Day", which came and went just yesterday. I think it's a great thing. Anything which brings the hoi polloi, the great masses, into the independent music stores of the globe like it mattered once again, can not possibly be a bad thing. Not that the masses ever cared about independent music stores before everything started going completely tits up half a decade ago, but it appears to have reached critical mass in the year 2013. For one, I am thankful because it helps keeps me in a job and puts money in the tills of many friends of mine. However, there is one caveat: it seems to have been slightly hijacked by the forces of stupidity. Firstly, there's the umpteen pointless "exclusive" RSD day releases brought out annually by all and sundry, both large and small. There are items of worth - the reissue of Half Japanese's epochal 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts set is a good day indeed, no matter what day of the year it may be - but it's also cluttered w/ otherwise unsellable offal from some of the indies (who shall remain nameless), w/ some of the majors chiming in with such essentials as, uh, a picture-sleeve edition of the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant" 7". Whoopee-doo, indeed. If you really feel compelled to buy such an item (a fine song, of course, but it is included on the album, too, ya know), then pat yourself on the back for purchasing a "collectors' item" which will never be worth anything above and beyond what you paid for it in the first instance. And if such a thing is bought on a whim, then again, thanks for supporting the indie music retailers of the world and I hope you enjoy the tunes. I could think of other records you should be spending your money on, but of course I would say such a thing. The analogy I use for RSD is that it has now turned into the Melbourne Cup Day for record stores (MCD is a once-a-year horse race here which, for reasons not understood by me, remains a big deal): it's the annual opportunity for thousands of clueless dilletantes to pretend they care about something they actually couldn't give a shit about the other 364 days of the year. Cynical? I've been too close to the action for many years to be any other way, and I wish RSD all the success in the future. The fact remains this: I had a great time.


Pig State Recon said...

The vinyl collecting interests of UK youngsters are not only puzzling to me, but they flummox seasoned record shop owners as well. The trad collector logic you/I grew up with doesn't always apply; who's to say it isn't redundant Pistols 45s that will sell? It must be maddening to try and cater to.

Cousin Creep said...

Dave you are right about the RSD Releases being 'Unsellable Fodder'.

Each restore I find here (USA) has a section for unsold "Record Store Day" and as you would expect is filled of the past 3 years crud. Pitchfork darlings, those Warners Bros. cover split 7", or a billon frigging Shins singles that are not 'New Slang'.