Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beat It, I Wanna Hang Out With The Psycho Mafia

It's never good when you're having a foul day by 8:30 AM. Too many people around me spitting negative vibes has cast its long shadow over me - I'm only human - and now I'm seething, gnashing, lashing out. I'm feeling pissy and just want to be left alone. Anymore, when I'm in this mood, I don't tend to want to thrash about or pound pound pound my head to clanging electro-industrial beats like I did in my youth. Anymore, it's something low and rumbling like Tricky, or something fully crotchety like The Fall.

I never used to like the Fall all that much. I filed them in with early Gang Of Four as "post punk that everyone seems to love, but is a little too dissonant and dry and amelodic for my taste". I was, of course, gravely mistaken. I knew, however, that I just hadn't heard the "right" entry point, out of their 2,487 albums and EPs. I think the first one I had was a cassette of The Infotainment Scan in middle school. Eh. Not the best point to start at on either count. I heard that they started kinda Northern UK Punk-y, so I picked up Live At The Witch Trials and Early Years and liked 'em, but as a punk fan, they struck me as a case of a non-punk band doing the punk thing, and doing it quite well, but it felt like by enjoying them, I was shortchanging a band that, apparently, was quite a bit more than that. Sort of like really digging on Joy Division's recordings as Warsaw, or the first couple of Police singles - they're all good work by bands that went on to do more interesting things in related fields. But to define those bands by that work would be rather limiting and shortsighted. I was lost as to where to go next, so I tried a few, some were good, some weren't. I guess I was just lost in the wilderness for a while, largely put off by the prickly Mark E. Smith.

The older I get, the more I like Mark E. Smith, in that he might be a complete prick, but he makes no bones about it. He doesn't hide it, and you just know that that's what you're getting.

"Fuck off."

Today, it's been This Nation's Saving Grace. For a while, this "mid-period" for the band seemed a little overproduced, a little les "raw" than the early stuff that I guess I liked, but right now, I want to hear one noisy riff, repeated over and over with frustrated, grey, clanging vigor. I want to hear it decay and start up again, like some sort of broken machine, repeating it's head-nodding, rhythmic fervor over and over and over. The Fall, as music, is equivalent to watching a band like Pere Ubu from outside the room, only to have the door slammed in your face for peeking in. They don't give a rat's ass about you. Or anyone. Not only is it surprising that they release this music to the public at all, but that they release it in HUGE volumes. But even still, they don't care if you buy it, really. Which I guess is what made the music so impenetrable for me for so long. It's completely uncompromising in a way that so much avant music wasn't. Where Beefheart and the Residents created a new language for you to listen to, The Fall just play droning vulgarities in a language you already know, only they're not talking to you. They don't go out of their way to be weird or difficult, they just are.

So bug off, everyone. Leave me alone. Leave me with my Fall LPs.

No comments:

Post a Comment