Archive for December, 2013

Misremembering

December 31, 2013

So in my dull wit I made a joke a few weeks ago on some other social media site(s) about having the misfortune of hearing “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” twice in one year.  It was a fairly innocuous comment, but buried in a sliver of personal truth, because I really, really, really hate that song. Really.

There’s nothing especially egregious about it, I mean it’s not like its horribly constructed or celebrates the glory of pedophilia or urges kids to assault baby seals after illegally parking in handicapped spaces, it’s just that it is/was a piece of mainstream alterna-pop pablum that was my personal whipping boy for everything wrong with middle-class, white bread America.  In my mind, it was for people that watched the sitcom Friends. I hate Friends. Shit, maybe I hate non-italicized friends too. 

Rather than delve into my personal past, which is kind of insignificant and pretty predictable (AKA: I hated everything but Bob Dylan and Lou Reed from the years 1994-1999), I wanted to comment on the fact that people have shyte memories.  Let’s face it, many of us are natural-born complainers, and that includes wailing away on the travesty of radio programming.  It doesn’t matter what’s on, we wish it were something else.  There are some exceptions to this, of course, like people who legitimately like everything they hear, in which case we can also become natural-born murderers, but among my peers I have noticed that many who grew up among the “alternative revolution” have been having a hard time of things lately. They are now surrounded by loads of new EDM, hip-hop, gnu-folk, and countless other bands and genres that have started taking up serious air-time in addition to the typical mainstream pop that has been the traditional nemesis. In essence: they’re feeling very scared and lonely, and SOMEBODY NEEDS TO PAY, DAMMIT!

Of course, in conjunction with being natural-born complainers, we also have amazing gifts for epic nostalgia, with some seriously thick rose-coloured glasses, which results in severe cases of misremembering. When caught in a 45-minute snooze fest of James Blake, Mumford & Sons, obscure blog rock, DJ Unpronounceable, and the latest withering sounds from yet another bedroom producer straight from the Czech underground, it’s easy to say, “This sucks! Back in the 90s….blah blah blah Nirvana blah blah Smashing Pumpkins blah blah Alice In Chains blah blah blah bitch moan curse weep [off]”. And then we sit in silence for the rest of the awkward car ride home.

But here’s the thing: Nirvana wasn’t on the dial 24/7.  As soon as it came out, it was surrounded by a swarm of grunge-lite acts that seemed to get just as much, if not more, air-time as the few heroes & saviors who we remember fondly and without malice.  For every Nirvana, there were 10 Deep Blue Somethings.  Remember American Hi-Fi? No? Good for you, because I hated them from first listen so passionately it has wrapped itself around the double helix of my DNA and will probably haunt me to my grave.

And this says nothing of those many, many bad songs we secretly liked, or the “great” bands we secretly loathed.  Alice In Chains? Yeah, not a fan. Same goes for Soundgarden. Call me crazy, call me any name in the book, I do not care in the least.  We all have our lines, as insane and illogical as they might be. 

So of course last night, as I’m watching the tennis here on the couch here in Australia (shut up, it only happens for 4 weeks of the year), lazily strumming my guitar and jotting a few lines down, I get the following text from one of my students (a lovely young man with heaps of enthusiasm for the instrument)

Image

Of course I had to laugh.  Yes, I will teach him the song, and maybe, just maybe, because we will be listening to it countless times over for 30+ minutes I will learn to hate it a little less.

But it’s not looking likely.

Since I have to suffer, I thought you might as well too.  Below are 4 music videos.  I loathe 2 of them, I adore 1 of them, while the other is a secret like that makes me hate myself for liking it.  I will let you figure out which is which. 

Anyone else notice they all have the same blonde/dishwater pretty boy for a lead singer, cheekbones from here until Siberia?

That’s enough bitching & moaning from me for one day. Have a very happy New Year! Holler back if it’s been a while? I do love hearing from you, wherever you are in the world. More music to come in 2014, but for now, stay safe and hang on to the ones you love.

-M

 

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Bang & Beggar’s Gloves

December 9, 2013

First, a little theme music to keep you company through the course of this short post…

[And now on with the show]

Being in an independent band is rather the worst possible enterprise if one was looking to make money.  Not only is there not much money in music, (nor much music in money, if you think about it), but if you’re doing anything remotely artistic (or making a noble failed attempt), then there is a reasonable chance that the attributes & characteristics of monetary success are the very things repulsive to our sensibilities.  Even if one is a gutter poet reveling in visceral decay of the human soul, there is likely a streak of the romantic that keeps us from being dickhead money-mongers, and thus the problem: how does one survive?  Even further, how does one prosper?  Money itself is one of the many awkward evils that some of us have a hard time reconciling ourselves to, so of course we are often the most hapless & helpless when it comes to making, taking, keeping, and dealing with money.

In a perfect world, we would be so good that we would be free of the need for hawking and handouts, but the world is not perfect, and we are not that good.  With that in mind, James & I finally sucked it up and did the inevitable: we launched a kickstarter campaign.  We have recorded yet another EP, 7 new tracks that will comprise our upcoming Small Town Bruises EP. The problem (because of course there is a problem), is that we can’t afford to actually have them printed up.

We’d prefer not to have to do this at all, but unfortunately when we are playing shows we’re still getting people wanting to buy them from us, which is annoying because I think more than a few independent bands wish the world would make up its mind: ARE YOU GOING TO ACTUALLY GO ALL-DIGITAL OR NOT?!?!? The last thing anyone wants is yet another box of unsold CDs cluttering up our already cluttered flats, but it seems like it’s not time to give up on the physical formats of the world just yet.  We used to have CDs, then we sold them all (or gave them away in various states of drunken magnanimity), and rather than put the money aside like responsible adults we spent it on things like petrol, beer, & matching tuxedo t-shirts.

Small Town Bruises Kickstarter

So there you have it: a garage band with it’s hands out, asking you to have a listen and chip in to help us get our latest project out.  There’s lots of cool rewards, from the small to the mighty, and if you’d like to be the first to get your hands on our latest offering, this is the way to do it.  Of course, we could always be like a metal band or pop group, which has no problem whatsoever in selling themselves.  We actually mean that as a compliment, not necessarily equating selling with “selling out”.  Watch the way their man their merch stands, and the eagerness & enthusiasm with which they talk about their music.  They have just as much pride, conviction, and belief as any football team, and it’s enviable, to say the least.

It’s been a painful exercise, crossing this imaginary fault-line of actively begging for money as opposed to doing it passively like we always do, but not as bad as I would have thought.  It requires one to stand up and acknowledge to the entire world that: yes, this is what I do and I believe in it.  As much as we’d like to pretend our music says that for us, the self-deprecation, whether real or feigned, is just a mask that fools no one but ourselves, if that.

So, for a brief moment, I have stood up and said, loud & proud: I am in Royal Chant and I think we are worth it.

Big hugs & peace xoxo

-M

[lastly, we’ll leave you with the first single of our upcoming Small Town Bruises EP to get you in the mood :)]

New: Guided By Voices-Littlest League Possible

December 6, 2013

Love this blog, love this band, and I love that this blog loves loving this band. It’s Woodstock all over again, but without Wavy Gravy.

Soundly Sounds

For the amount of time this I spend talking about bands that sound like Guided By Voices, I spend relatively little of my time actually talking about the band itself. At first, I had the excuse that they weren’t around anymore, but since re-forming in 2010, that excuse has been voided. And its not like they’re not prolific either, having released four albums in that time, three of them in 2012 alone.

I don’t know why I don’t talk about Robert Pollard’s merry band of slackers more because I do love them, but anyway, they’ve released a new song. It’s nothing especially out of the ballpark, but it reminds everyone why we love Guided By Voices so much. Pollard’s uniquer-than-a-sexy-Bill-Gates-impersonater voice, the constant theme of self-deprecation, and the awesome guitar, it all amounts to a big ol’ hard-on for GBV that never really left in the first place.

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Last gig of 2013

December 6, 2013

It has been a great year.  Not just for our tiny slice in the music, but for the generally warm fuzzy feelings the last 12 months have bestowed upon us.  I don’t care what else has happened, but if you get to meet and open up for Bob Mould: YOU’VE HAD A GREAT YEAR.  Tonight we are playing our last show of 2013 in Sydney, with a free gig at The Lansdowne Hotel.  If you’re reading this there’s probably no way you could possibly get there, so consider this a digital hug and a promise that we will do our best to try and play a show somewhere near you next year.

Royal Chant: last gig of 2013

Royal Chant: last gig of 2013

That’s all from us.  As always, there is more to say, but for now…

peace & love

-M

I have a dream…

December 1, 2013

Setting: the Autumn sun sets at the end of another quiet Sunday afternoon in Anytown, USA.  The smell of a home-cooked meal fills the air of a modest house on an unremarkable street, with the shadows laying long across the yard and the laughter of the neighborhood children fading by the calls of their respective mothers to come in and wash up for dinner.  A young man sweats nervously in his room, filled with a sick mix of relief and fear. He descends the stairs and enters the living room.  His father, drink in hand, is watching a football game of his alma mater while his mother flits back and forth between the kitchen and the TV.  He begins…

SON: Mom? Dad? There’s something I want to tell you.

FATHER: Yes son, what is it?

SON: I’m….I’m…gay.

FATHER: And? Do you mind? You’re kind of blocking the TV.

MOTHER (leaving room to check on dinner): Mmm-hmmn.  That’s nice dear.  Anyone special?

Son (gaining confidence): And….that’s not all.

Father: Can you make this quick?

Son: I’m…a Republican.

Father: OH MY GOD! WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS?!?!?!

Mother (weeping): Is it something we did?

Father: GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!

Finis