When you’re blessed with writing about music for a living there are moments when the expansive sense of elation and incredulity over what you actually do becomes veined with a calcified cynicism. The best music writers are fans, but it’s really easy to become disenchanted with music when you’re checking Google Reader before your first cup of coffee and yeah, you’re struggling to get it up about Ratking’s position in the buzz cycle or the drip-drip feed of release date/tracklist/artwork/ for the new Hurts record. Still, when I find my fandom is drying up or running on muscle memory I return to one artist: Momus. My choice for Kaufen then is this 12-inch from 1989 and was Creation Records head Alan McGee‘s bid to inject the Nick Currie’s louche persona and boisterous intellectualism into pop’s main artery.
However, despite being a fine specimen of literate, late Eighties synth pop which also gained traction in the independent charts, the bid ultimately failed. Currie, like most voyeurs, was perfectly content as outsider and would go on to make increasingly inaccessible and wilfully strange meta-pop, leaving the percolating synths and arch lyrics to the far less sexualized Pet Shop Boys. Speaking of which, “Hairstyle of the Devil” does sounds quite a lot like “It’s a Sin”, except for one thing: it’s better. You can pick the vinyl up on eBay every now and again, or head over to Discogs where you can grab it for a couple of euros.
How are you? Good? We hope so; we’re feeling pretty good ourselves. Today is the 100th day since Electronicbeats.net was given a visual overhaul. The thought behind the redesign: the classic feel of newsprint, presented in a browsable day-to-day format with all the archivable ease of digital. Since August 8th we’ve been playing around with new ideas and columns, and the feedback has been quite encouraging. For over a decade now Electronic Beats has presented what what we consider some of the best in international electronic music. At EB.net we’re aggregating the voices of Squarepusher, James Blake, Bryan Ferry, Hot Chip, Pet Shop Boys, Hercules & Love Affair, Grimes, New Order, and all the other artists who have become a part of the EB family, as well as the voices of world-wide writers, bloggers and artists—effectively creating a unique news hub.
Not only that, we’re still bringing you a selection of diverse and ever-expanding columns, interviews, radio mixes, exclusive premieres and more. The intellectual tastiness of Fast Food, Max Dax’s ongoing dialogue on restauranteering with Thomas Schoenberger, continues to be a pleasure for fans of good eating and good reading; meanwhile we’ll keep bringing you our essential purchases with Kaufen. Audioccult, our ongoing look at everything dark, magickal and/or amazing, grows weirder every week, and Eastern Haze is an essential guide for anyone looking to discover more underground forms of music from Eastern EU. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in our content-sea, but if you’re curious about what we’ve been up to in the last hundred days then we suggest browsing through the links below. There you’ll find our personal favorite selection of events, sounds and experiences we’ve brought you on EB.net. And this is only the beginning…
Anyone who knows me will also know that I can be fiercely protective over the art of music journalism—if something as ridiculously preening, unstable and populated by parasitical twats can be called an “art”. As such there’s always a part of me that crumples and dies when I see print journalism forced into an undignified game of catch-up against the internet. However, for people who are unable to let go there’s still at least one reason to be cheerful: The Stool Pigeon. It’s a newspaper, as opposed to a magazine, and has a reputation for its obstinate refusal to capitulate to hiveminds, buzz cycles or PRs. Its design is incredible—if willfully hard to read, sometimes—and it contains some of the best writing about music you can ever hope to read, produced largely by moonlighting writers from more established magazines eager to frolick in the freedom a fiercely independent magazine can bestow. It’s hard to choose highlights—the Tyler interview? This cover? The Achingly Beautiful column? I didn’t feel that I’d made it until I’d got my first Stool Pigeon byline—I can still remember the editor’s strict instruction upon being told I was doing the interview with quite a big techno producer: “The album is bad. Call him up on it.”
What’s more, The Stool Pigeon is bucking the downturn in print magazines, shifting more issues in the UK than Kerrang and NME. It wields power unheard of for other free, independent music magazines. However, that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s still put together by a small team in Stoke Newington who are doing it, truly, for the love. Therefore, if you actually care about shit like music and writing (and you obviously do because you’re here) subscribe. A yearly subscription is £15.00 and they send all over the world. Need more persuasion? Check out their comics section.
Once a week I go through Matthew Robertson’s book Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album to find a record released by Factory Records that I don’t own yet. I usually set myself a limit on what to spend, say no more than 10, 20 or 50 Euros, and then go straight to Discogs which is my favorite platform to buy old music from these days. My recommendation to you is to head to Discogs, type in “The Durutti Column” and then look for their album The Return of the Durutti Column which was released in late 1979. The first edition was housed in a sleeve made of sandpaper and initial copies included a flexi disc. Click on “Buy vinyl”, use your PayPal account and wait for the record to arrive within approximately ten days. It’s that easy! Oh, try and ignore the fact that the only copy for sale from a private seller costs an astounding 306.79 Euros—and it doesn’t even include the flexi!