Sunday, June 17, 2012

simon reynolds, retromania and the atemporality of contemporary 'pop'

At the end of last year I wrote a long-form review of Simon Reynolds' latest book Retromania. As well as observations on the book itself, the essay includes a consideration of how it fits relative to Reynolds' previous work as well as a bunch of his more recent writings on the web, in the pages of The Wire and elsewhere. 

The piece was published in hard copy a couple of months ago in the new and thoroughly excellent Melbourne-based arts journal Discipline. But it's just been released in soft-form too along with a bunch of other great essays from Issue 2. You can download it here.

If you're really keen, I'll be talking about the essay and other related topics with PC of mnml ssgs on Saturday June 30th at the TCB gallery in the city as part of Discipline and Other Sermons, a month of lectures and other Discipline related conversations. Things will apparently be kicking off around 3-ish. Live music to follow. Looking forward to it. Promises to be a fun time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

metric: synthetica (mom and pop/MMI)

I feel like I need to justify even listening to this record, let alone spending enough time with it to venture a review. That’s interesting I think. It says something about me at the very least, but also, I suspect, about this website and the kind of listener it aspires to, their (your!) politics and prejudices.

My sense is that things would be different if Synthetica were a ‘purer’ kind of pop. Rowan Savage’s recent review of Saint Etienne’s latest record is a good example. Here is an album that is all about the deep pleasures of a certain kind of popular jouissance, whereby it’s precisely the sharing of the musical experience that matters most. Words and Music finds Saint Etienne both reflecting on and luxuriating in the power of pop. And we’re cool with that.

Metric? Less so. Because Metric — their sound, their look, their product endorsements — seem to embody so perfectly the twisted double-logic of the New Indie Rock: the adoption of an outsider’s perspective from safely within the inside; rebellion as the necessary gesture of a certain kind of totally sanitized rock conservatism. You know what I mean. It looks, sounds, and blogs a lot like Urban Outfitters… with over 400 retail locations worldwide and counting. Not only do Metric embody this logic, Synthetica is actually about it...