One of our old columns...

Okay, Okay, Bert, I'll Clean It Up So Clean You Wouldn't Recognize It

Ah. There you are. Here lies the first installment of an occasional series no one likes to call, Hey This Stuff Ain't Bad When You Really Think About It And If You Disagree With Me I'll Pants You (H.T.S.A.B.W.Y.R.T.A.I.A.I.Y.D.W.M.I.P.Y.). Rejoice. Or at least name your first child after me.

Regardless, the first subject to be victim to this new exercise should be clear by the column title. I'm talking about Schubert Dip. Yes, the EMF album. Yes, the rock/dance/indie/TAKE THAT hybrid. Yes, the CD that will cause eyes to roll when you yank it out to stop your friend from playing his RADIOHEAD singles. Yes, the one with "Sesame Street" samples. Yes, the album that will. not. get. you. laid.


Georgia Asphalt

So I was driving around the other day, checking out the latest FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE effort, minding my own business. Then two things suddenly hit me: 1.) the rather hot sun baking one side of my poor face, and 2.) an old idea. Which is, stupidly simply, that sometimes it gets really hot. And sometimes music sounds different when it gets this way. Yep. Stop looking at me like that.


Getting Nu-Psyched About It: The Ultimate C-110 for the New Cause

Well, they've done it. And it certainly didn't take long.

The British weeklies have created a new genre. Britpop has officially breathed its last, Shed Seven are putting out greatest hits albums, you knew it was time for a change. The hype-hungry media couldn't wait to put a new scene together the old-fashioned way: make one up.


Give Me Head

Oh boy. You know what I really can't stand? What really gets on my nerves? What makes me want to tear out my larynx with a tongue depressor and jump into an ocean of sore throat lozenges and come up with really bad analogies? When a couple of albums come out that are so excellent, so refreshing, so emblematic of what can be good, gorgeous and -- dammit -- right in this world of music, that it makes virtually anything else out there (anything) seem like a punctured elephant testicle on a stick. It sorta blows. Until you look into it. So this world is full of disappointment? Fear? Outright evil? So everything can be a total fucking misery? So what. ULTRASOUND and SUEDE both just put out an album.


Radio, What's New? Someone Still Loves You

"Radio, for everybody,
Give em what they want,
Remember where you heard it first,
The sound that's heaven sent.
Hey radio,
Been so long since I loved you,
Hey radio,
No one else knows what to do."

- The Boo Radleys

Alright, so it first must be known that you need to click on Dean Carlson's column for April ("K-RAP") and then come back here. My apologies off the bat to my colleague Mr. Carlson, for anyone who's been a member of the Excellent UK Indie Mailing List will know that Dean vs. Shane can make for a pretty good debate. Our back-and-forth banter has oftentimes usurped the entire list consciousness, making many of our members bury their heads in the sand and wait for the storm to pass. So, when Dean became an EO columnist last month, I made an internal vow to never make one of MY columns to be a response to one of HIS, lest we start all sorts of higgledy-piggeldy. And, wouldn't you know, here I go (sigh.) BUT. the reason I write this response column is because Dean touched on a pretty active nerve with me. RADIO. It's my passion, it's my hobby. hell, I'll admit it, it was my major, and it's paid my bills (admittedly, only the SMALL bills.) Anyone who knows me knows that I can wax poetic about the current state of radio for eons. Here, I'll keep it to a few paragraphs.




"Where I'm from, the birds sing a pretty song. And there is always music in the air."

-- The Little Man From Another Place,

Ummm, yes. Fine. But was our favourite little man talking about Heaven or hell.

I remember a few years ago, SUEDE's Brett Anderson quickly remarked how sometimes he would stop, in awe, that there was actually a medium out there like radio. That it is undeniably amazing that one could simply click a little knob inside a car or push a button on some box in your home and...golly, music would come out. You had the power, you had the control, and it was all well and wondrous. Which might be stretching it. But come on. Really. Don't you think radio is indeed a piece of magic that makes even die-hard technophobes feel just a little bit better? I mean, music exists out there even if one chooses not to listen to it and this is actually (when you stop to think about it) a comforting fact. After all, sounds are constantly being bounced around and transmitted up and down the world and you can only hear it if you -- yes -- turn them on. Music, literally, is floating in the air.


Better Living Through Columnstry

Columns are shit. Egotistical, self-important, dull-as-dirt shit. If reviews of music are a rather sly pseudo-objective plea of, "Look at me!" columns are a clumsy, ham-fisted plea of, "Look at me look at me!" Pathetic. Just pathetic.
As if there aren't enough columns in the world anyway. The sheer glut of people spouting off utter inane nonsense has reached new limits in this day and age of maddening, insecure babble and "How do I spell 'potato'?" cro-magnon illiteracy. The level of written noise has reached new decibels. Everybody from Larry King to Meg Matthews...for the benefit of the clean ears of every man, woman, and child, please, please -- just please -- shut the hell up.


The Ides Have It

Ah, the Ides of March. What the hell IS an ide, anyways? I need to become a more literary person. (sigh... teach ME to listen to Ride all day when I damn well SHOULD have my nose in a book... ah well.)

Anyway, it's March. Which means... finally... that we're going to see some decent releases pop up ('allo Blur, 'allo Olivia Tremor Control, 'allo Underworld.) These past two months have, as per usual, been all but unbearable in terms of new music. I understand the fact that after the Christmas season, there's bound to be a bit of a lull in terms of new releases -- if you've got an album in the can, then by all means you should try to release it at the holidays, not directly afterwards. But should this lull last two full months? This gets ridiculous.
But enough of me whining -- my friends have already heard it, and I'm not up for recycling it to you once again. What I've got on the agenda this month is a bit of a different matter. I'm about to try and sort out some GOOD that may come out of this recent lull.


1998: The Recap

Yay for end-o'-the-year lists. 1998's been a wonky year. Britpop dies and the UK music world spins all topsy-turvy. The 1997 triumphs of "serious" bands (see Radiohead, Verve, Spiritualized, etc.) sent shockwaves through the ranks of the music elite, and saw everybody from Pulp to Shed Seven to Blur guitar players trying to show off their "deeper" side. Sometimes worked, sometimes not. And in such a "serious" year of music as 1998, happier stuff like Fatboy Slim and Catatonia come across as a breath of fresh air. So it comes out like this, as 1998 being an obvious transitional year. A transition into what, I havnt the slightest idea. But knowing the UK music press as we most certainly do, I'm sure they'll create it before we know what's hit us. Let's look at the way it all ended up


The Death of Music?

Ah, yes, a new column for a brand new, spiffed-up site. Hopefully you like the look of Excellent Online V 2.0. We couldn't be happier with the response and support that you all have given us over the past year - makes me all warm-n-fuzzy-like. Seriously, though, we're receiving HUNDREDS, almost thousands, of hits daily, and all it does it make us even MORE determined to become your #1 source for UK music-related activities. But the question one must ask oneself this season: Are there any activities WORTH writing about right now?