Sunday, February 26, 2006

Monkeys, Bromheads, Stoney

Stoney

Pretty much the worst way to prove you're indifferent to something is to keep talking about it. So yeah, a self-defeating little follow-up to
Jon's post of Friday.

Perhaps part of my problem with the Arctic Monkeys phenomenon (if you want to call it that--I also believe this is a smaller story than the mainstream and alternative media would have you believe) is that my interest in post-punk has reached critical mass. Now you can define that any way you want,
but when most people toss 'post-punk" around, they mean guitar bands playing loud, fast, short songs influenced by late-70s, early-80s bands from Britain like The Buzzcocks, Wire and Gang of Four. I love The Buzzcocks and Wire--Pink Flag is easily one of my favorite albums--and I like Gang of Four just fine. But most of the retreads don't interest me at all. Oh, perhaps I just hear too much new music on a daily basis to be impressed. But I also think it's the same story over and over. Around this time last year, the usual suspects were huffing and puffing over Bloc Party, a year before that, Franz Ferdinand, bands that, like Arctic Monkeys, acquit themselves respectably within the limits of a genre, but groundbreaking? Engineers of a new rock movement? Um, not to these ears...

But since I'm all about the positive (ha), I at least want to point out that in my travels I occasionally come across musicians doing the post-punk thing in a highly entertaining way. As I mentioned
in December, I'm really impressed by another Sheffield band, the snotty, sarcastic and above all, unpretentious, Bromheads Jacket. I recommend you head over to their Web site for several brilliant downloads. Their singles appear to be sold out, but Bromheads are currently touring Europe and will appear at South By Southwest in March. So check local dates, show up and buy a t-shirt or something.

Sharing the Sheffield scene with Bromheads is Stoney, the project of multi-instrumentalist Mark Stoney (who adds a few band members for live performances). Live performances that have included supporting the Arctic Monkeys (aha!), the Futureheads, Athlete and the Magic Numbers. I've read comparisons to David Bowie, solo Paul McCartney and Beck--all of which make as much sense as anything. Because Stoney is primarily a good songwriter, with strong melodic instincts and a tendency to spike his tunes with electronic riffs and the occasional sound effect (see "Jailbird").

Until You Leave - Stoney

Jailbird - Stoney

Best Laid Plans - Stoney

Be sure to visit
Stoney's Web site for an additional download and live date information.

7 Comments:

Blogger Lizzy said...

Great call on the Stoney tracks! Bromhead's Jacket too actually, I almost saw them when I was in London last summer. Would have been a blast!

12:19 PM  
Blogger RC said...

Hey...haven't heard much of the Arctic Monkeys...your the 1st guy i've seen who's said there just a small story...

if nothing else, way to bring balance...

enjoy SXSW.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

1:16 PM  
Blogger merz said...

thanks for the tip on a new one and nice-love the sound. I was also impressed lately with Decoration...
http://www.decorationmusic.co.uk/

don't know if you checked them out yet....

5:07 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Amy:

I'd be really happy to be wrong about this, but I wonder whether the reason post-punk v2 seems more like a style that a movement because of a lack of interest in politics, be they personal or political. I can't say that I've done extensive research (hence a comment rather than a post), but I don't hear anything like "Let the products sell themselves/Fuck advertising/Psychological methods of self should be destroyed!" or "I'm too tired when I get home/To fight all the things I have been shown." I don't hear songs considering other art, be it painting or music or books. And the strange thing is, with all sorts of disappointment on across the entire political spectrum, I don't hear a riff on the national anthem (see Naked Raygun's "Home of the Brave"... and the Raygun weren't even that political!).

I'm not saying that all music needs political content (believe it or not, Am, I nodded my head when you said "Fuck Art! Let's Dance!") but certainly a marker of what made the Minutemen, the Effigies and Mission of Burma great was some level of consciousness outside the roil of their own chords and hormones. Certainly the whole era had style to spare, but, in borrowing from it, you'd absorb some of the content as well.

Or am I totally mis-hearing the music here?

7:32 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

J,
You're right, it's a style. This will sound flippant, but of course. Not to get all postmodern on you, but style can be a form of resistance, maybe the only one these days. This isn't new, style was a weapon in 1979 too.

This is one of my quirks, but I don't need or particularly want overt political content in my music. I internalized the Marxist position long ago. Everything, as far as I'm concerned, participates in the narrative, authorial intent be damned. Even the kids (ok, the smart kids) are too intelligent for that.

So let these Bromheads boys namecheck consumer goods. Read it (or not) as a critique of capitalism. That's what I mean by fuck art, let's dance.

(And if the forgoing makes absolutely no sense, please disregard and chalk it up to me drinking too much wine at dinner.)

8:13 PM  
Blogger c said...

perfectly stated indifference.
thanks for the stoneys links.
peace

10:42 AM  
Blogger Spook's Space said...

Unusual to come across a reference to Stoney - caught my eye so I felt the need to comment.
Did you know that he has recently released an album "The Scene & The Unseen". An absolute gem.

Can be heard/bought thru his website: http://www.stoney.mu
His myspace: http://www.myspace.com/stoneystuff
or downloaded from http://www.itunes.com

He also just headlined the TopMan stage (Unsigned artists) at the Leeds Festival in UK 25 August 2006. He is amazingly brilliant live.

Go check him out.

7:42 AM  

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