american poetry club: do you believe in your heart?!

“Yea we get sad, yeah we get lonely, yeah get scared it might go slowly, but you can always call me”

First of all:

LET ME JUST DO A BIT OF CAPITALISATION SCUMMING TO COMPENSATE FOR THAT BLOG ENTRY TITLE.

Phew, I feel better now…

New York’s american poetry club, whom you you might have notice me mention a few times, have always seemed both weirdly out of step with wider emotional leanings yet still offering completely timely sentiments. Sometimes the addition of the word ‘American’ in their name leads you to look for commentary on the wider state of their country, even if the lack of capitalisation seems to gently grasp you upper arm and say “Listen, mate, don’t break you back, yeah? It’s a lower case ‘A’, you can’t add too much weight to it. You fucking prick”. Yeah, the implied voice of american poetry club can get pretty aggressive if it wants.

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“I’ve Been Calling it ‘Depressive Suicidal Pop Music'”; Don’t Do It Neil Wanna Know What Dragon Tastes Like

You should all absolutely already know this by now, but Philadelphia’s Don’t do it, Neil was already a bit fucking special. Mabel Harper has long managed to combine a Weeknd-esque ability to document the seediness and pain behind revelry and intimacy with an exquisite understanding of how right these wrongs sometimes feel that can sometimes rival Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s grasp of sheer pop bliss. Her songs often sound like the building pleasure leading towards an orgasm while having sex with someone you really shouldn’t, but always with the underlying anxiety of the size of the mess you’ll have to clean up after your messy climax. This has been quite the opening paragraph, hasn’t it?

Worryingly, there were moments in the last couple of years involving suicidal thoughts and hospitalisations that might have led to the brilliant B/X album being her final record. However, Mabel managed to survive and process the experience, and today sees the release of her new album ‘I WANNA SEE WHAT DEATH IS LIKE‘, adding new perspectives on death, grief and mortality to an artist whose personal circumstances already made her one of the rarest perspectives in pop music. As soon as I heard of its release, I had to request an interview. Which meant only one thing.

The carrier pigeon

Yeah, I know, the handwriting’s terrible, but in my defence I asked my personal carrier pigeon (Twattori) to write it himself, so my hands are clean on this one. Unfortunately, Twattori did not survive the journey and so was unable to reach Philadelphia to deliver the message. He didn’t even survive long enough to leave the UK. In fact, he didn’t make it 50 metres from my window. Because I shot him. Seriously, did you see that handwriting? Mabel would never talk to me if she saw that. Christ, Twattori was such a prick wasn’t he?

So I just hit her up on Twitter. I was going to blow her mind with questions she’d never been asked before.

Firstly, and I’m sorry for being the 65’703rd person to ask you this question, but why ‘Don’t do it, Neil’?

In the movie Dead Poets Society, there was a kid named Neil who seemed pretty gay to me. Just a really sweet boy who discovered his love of acting only to have his passion ripped away from him by his father. Long story short, Neil kills himself during the climax of the movie, and it was really, really devastating to me. So “Don’t do it, Neil” means, “Don’t do it, Neil, don’t kill yourself.”

Continue reading ““I’ve Been Calling it ‘Depressive Suicidal Pop Music’”; Don’t Do It Neil Wanna Know What Dragon Tastes Like”

Cheap Tarnished Glitter: Manic Street Preachers’ Gold Against the Soul 27th Anniversary (??) Deluxe Reissue, Inspection and Reevaluation

“I like bands with a lot of fuck-ups, who flirt with disaster, it just shows that they’re fallible. All humans are fallible, after all. And we’re just a reflection Of that.”

Nicky Wire, The List, 1993

Firstly, let’s just fuck the room’s elephant in the ass and admit that there is really no deep logical point in this reissue. ‘Gold Against the Soul’ may have been released on June 21st, but that release came in 1993, and I don’t think there is a wider habit among the music industry for rereleasing albums on their 27th anniversary. This is a legitimate and gorgeously packaged celebration, yes, but the intentions of its release are simply financial- the band knows that they still have a pathetic, rabid and obsessive fanbase, who will jump at the chance to buy a lavishly packaged and expanded edition of one of the band’s less well regarded albums. Yes, including me. But let’s just stop and look at the optics here- here are the most viewed pages on the Necessary Evil blog this year:

(*fuck, I am so old. Like, properly, well-adjusted and responsible adults were born after this album was released. Your boss at work was born after ‘Gold Against the Soul’ was released! Your weird uncle Freddy’s girlfriend was born after this album was released, and she’s the oldest girlfriend he’s has since his 1998 divorce!)

This can mean only one thing: time to pander to all those pathetic Manics fans again!

Continue reading “Cheap Tarnished Glitter: Manic Street Preachers’ Gold Against the Soul 27th Anniversary (??) Deluxe Reissue, Inspection and Reevaluation”

“Gender is Garbage”- Aqua Girl Gets Woods

Listen, I’ve tried to explain to you gormless mouth breathers before that Aqua Girl is pretty freaking special. Her 2018 debut was one of the best albums of the year, a knock out introduction to a talent able to write songs that candidly narrated a perhaps under represented  perspective of the transgender and nonbinary experience.
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But- and I’ve long been concerned that maybe my review of her debut didn’t properly credit this- she’s not ‘just’ a singing trans woman, her gender identity doesn’t define her- she’s special because she frequently writes fucking bangers! As Elora Driver, she’s already released Sunburn, one of the best songs of 2020 so far, and she’s smart enough to realise that, logically, perfect pop songs rarely need to last longer than two minutes.
When she announced in March that her second album proper was on its way in April, I was, obviously, so excited that I wet myself for three minutes straight. Like, I just drained myself of moisture, you really should have been there.  It was clear that I needed to mark this momentous occasion with a blog post, but did this mean a freaking album review?? I hate ‘reviewing albums’! I sit down and have time to listen to the album a dozen times on repeat, then I’m supposed to dribble out 2’500 words on how it made me feel?? I don’t know how it makes me feel! I haven’t lived with it for any decent time, it hasn’t soundtracked any glories or any tragedies in my life yet, I don’t know which track I jump to if I need to be taken up or taken down, I couldn’t yet tell you which track gave me a tiny bit of an erection while I was on the bus last Wednesday morning. If I reviewed it after merely hours after first being introduced to it, I would rate it as ‘pretty good’, as that’s almost all you can say about a piece of art that early on.
So I thought… what if I interview her…? Let her explain her positions in her own words rather than me making widely inaccurate and borderline offensive statements based on me force feeding the work for a handful of listens. I put the idea to her on Twitter and she was kind enough to agree. The following interview took the form of an email exchange over the course of a couple of weeks, but if you’d prefer, picture us both in the bar at Ritz-Carlton, me furiously scribbling Elora’s words of wisdom with a stubby pencil that I store in my cap, while she sprawls back on a chaise lounge with a smirk on her mouth and one eyebrow archly raised as she charmingly answers questions between sips of cognac. All while we keep four feet apart, of course. To be honest, I thought the interview would be more of a frivolous and lighthearted series pf responses to dumb questions, but Aqua Girl actually managed to pull it into engaging and almost profound places through sheer force of charisma, until the interview ends up almost interesting. That might be Aqua Girl’s greatest achievement to date

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From ‘From Her to Eternity’ to…?Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ Albums Officially Ranked

OK, first off we all have to admit how ridiculous it is to rank The Bad Seeds’ albums, chiefly because of the fact that the form demands that certain albums need to be ranked toward the bottom of the list and be therefore deemed the band’s ‘worst’ albums or in some way ‘substandard’. Albums you or other weirdos like you might deem their favourites may well prop up the list and you may receive a jolting shock to your cultural sacks that you likely won’t recover from. The reason this list is likely to offend more than similar ones is because over the course of their nearly 30 years career The Bad Seeds have never released a bad album. I’d argue that they’ve never released even a subpar one. No, that one you’re thinking of? Get over yourself, that has brilliant moments and is number thirteen. The worst/least brilliant albums by The Bad Seeds would still be career highlights of lesser contemporaries like Pearl Jam or The Cure or The Beastie Boys. Just see this as 16 Bad Seeds albums ranked in order of their amazingness. If number 16 is your personal favourite, then your personal favourite is still an amazing album. Just be aware that ‘your personal favourite’ is subjective, while this list is official and objective. So it’s the 16th best. As long as you’re cool with that.

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Perhaps my own personal perspective has to come into this. I first encountered Wavey Cavey and his Stinky Eggs as a precocious and hormonally operated  thirteen year old with 1997’s The Boatman’s Call. This has probably meant that my entire idea of Nicholas and his Naughty Nuts has been through the frame of an achingly beautiful smack addict singing delicate odes to PJ Harvey (and probably, let’s face it, smack). If you’re disgustingly old enough to first come across The Bad Seeds when they first set sail in the 1980s- or even through Cave’s previous band The Birthday Party– then…

Well, then first of all you really are too old and decrepit to possess any worthwhile opinions. Your should be ashamed of your advancing years and retreat into functional alcoholism. I’m not explicitly saying that you should kill yourself, I’m just making sure that you’re aware that your death will have no real impact on the wider world and on a functional level you may as well kill yourself. OK? Good. Glad that we all understand.

Also, approaching  The Bad Seeds from an ‘OG’ perspective may lead you to rate his earlier none more goth albums- the ones that are occasionally punctuated with distorted screams of “THE ORGAN GRINDER’S MONKEY FUCK’S THE VIRGIN MARY BLOODY CUNT WITH A RUSTY CRUCIFIX!”, and the like- a lot higher than I have. That’s cool. We’re all friends. But, scientifically, I’m correct and you’re wrong. And horrendously old. Seriously, what’s that smell? Oh. It’s you. That’s just what old people smell like. Ew.

Before we start, a few rules:

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Frankie valet Force a Little Exception of Their Own

“Everyone is speechless from afar”

Frankie valet, Nakid 2020

“By removing art from capitalism while allowing capitalism to thrive elsewhere unfettered we are in danger of removing any benefit of speaking in the first place so the artists may as well remain speechless. From afar, I guess. Yeah, that works”

This Blog, This Post, just now

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(it was suggested that these pieces should link to the album at the start rather than the end. So here it is, now please stop sending me those abusive text messages)

I’m old enough (late, late, late late* twenties) to remember a career in arts being at least a quasi viable life choice. Nobody would kid themselves that they would make it to be ‘Goo Goo Dolls Big’, where you would earn enough money to finance a daily trip to Mars to wave stacks of Molybdenums in the seediest strip clubs of Tharsis’s Northern Edge and get yourself some of that sweet, sweet Martian poontang (John Rzeznik really lived the dream in that sense), but you’d be able to comfortably exist composing your Romo paeans to Garry Flitcroft without too many people getting on your case. You’d likely do a handful of Peel Sessions before you even released that song about his fringe. I mean, sure, people would still get on your back about getting a ‘real job’, but that’s just because back then a ‘real job’ meant a job that you absolutely hated and that made you seriously consider taking a sledgehammer to your knees each morning just as an excuse not to subject yourself to one more day to the joyless and soul destroying churn of capitalism. Y’know, the same as today. You created something, there were more options for getting people to experience that thing you created, and if people liked that thing enough they would pay you a bit of money to experience it whenever they want. Maybe they’d never been able to hear it, but it had received such good reviews from the reams of art review magazines (that they’d already paid £2 for) that people decide you’re worth the risk and buy your Flitcroft Fantasies CD single backed with a Groove Armada remix and acoustic cover of Lisa Loeb. Hopefully they’d buy the next thing you created as well, maybe the next thing after that. Maybe not the next thing after that, because let’s face it that was absolute pants, but the next thing after that would be hailed as a return to form so they’d jump back on board.

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Govier Forces a Little Exception of His Own

Yeah, that title was a pun when I reviewed the american poetry club album. Makes less logical sense now, admittedly, but I like it. Hey! Two album reviews this year! Getting into some real Lestor Bangs territory now! This blog is fucking legit, yeah?

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We* far too readily accept that whatever we do is simply good enough. We** accept what we are able to do at a scandalously young age. At the very latest when we’re about 18 or 19 and first enter university believing we’re already the finished article and want to spend the next few years convincing other people how fucking amazing we are, usually under the assumption that it’ll lead to increased opportunities to rub our genitalia against somebody else. Often though, it happens much, much younger. Many of the people you pass on the street, many of your closest friends and family, many of the people weird and/or dumb enough to read this very blog, basically decided at about 13 years old that you know all the things you can and can’t do, your likes and dislikes.  You*** decided at that age that you shouldn’t really waste time overloading your dumb brain with any new talents or inspirations, so decided to spend the rest of your life getting angry and other people for not accepting you for who you are (and have been for decades).

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“Right, fuck it, I’m done. I’m never going to better this”
Continue reading “Govier Forces a Little Exception of His Own”