every piece of music since 1836 has been a revival of Faraday's cage
― Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Wednesday, 26 October 2011 08:33 (1 year ago) Permalink
Finished this last week.
The problem with the closing argument is that Reynolds begins to start seeing retro and derivativeness in almost everything. It's almost as though he wants a clear bolt-from-the-blue paradigm change in pop music, when that's clearly not how it works. He even points out that movements as ostensibly revolutionary as punk rock were actually routed in fifties and sixties revivalism.
He points to post-punk and rave as future-facing movements, but even these had foundations and influences from long before.
The only way a brand new music can ever exist is through a new interface; like how the advent of synthesisers helped to create electronic dance music. But it's also dangerous to romanticise the notion that one minute we were all sitting around listening to the Smiths, then someone invented the TB303 while pilling his face off and changed everything. Rave music wasn't a bolt from the blue - it was a culmination of events dating from as far back as the birth of rock music. Similarly, the post-punkers were largely art-school kids re-appropriating funk and disco licks several years after the fact.
The look, the attitude, the delivery had changed, but isn't this a bit similar to all the revivalism of the last decade that gets knocked in this book?
― Mum-Ra Gaddafi the Ever-Living (dog latin), Tuesday, 1 November 2011 11:51 (1 year ago) Permalink
This is why think a lot of this is about Britishness or british attitudes more than any particular changes in music. The British music experience traditionally filtered through not only a more centralized media in general but a more prominent music press..heightening perception of difference over continuity, rollover of new genres and micogenres..exaggerating notions of progress (whatever that is)
Decline the role of music press and the engine behind this becomes reduced
― post, Tuesday, 1 November 2011 12:09 (1 year ago) Permalink
dog latin otm
― sisilafami, Tuesday, 1 November 2011 12:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
I can't say I didn't enjoy the ride though - it's rare I read a non-fiction book cover-to-cover, and this one I did. As mentioned upthread, it's the little insights, anecdotes and the actual philosophical journey, rather than the polemic that makes this book worthwhile.
― Mum-Ra Gaddafi the Ever-Living (dog latin), Tuesday, 1 November 2011 12:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
Started reading this last week. Enjoyable, but a bit 'bloggy' so far.
― Darren Huckerby (Dwight Yorke), Tuesday, 1 November 2011 15:15 (1 year ago) Permalink
In part since it addresses and responds (positively!) to the book, Mark Richardson's latest Resonant Frequency:
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 18 November 2011 20:28 (1 year ago) Permalink
relevant to our interests http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jan/07/the-artist-retrovision-grindhouse
― piscesx, Saturday, 7 January 2012 10:09 (1 year ago) Permalink
more relevant: http://www.bookforum.com/index.php?pn=pubdates&id=8826
― all i see is angels in my eyes (lex pretend), Saturday, 7 January 2012 10:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
like the roundtable thing. thanks. smarties being smart.
― scott seward, Saturday, 7 January 2012 13:40 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm about 100 pages into this so far and it strikes me as an incredibly cranky book. It's almost as if every last change to occur in the past 10 years just sucks from Reynold's point of view. It's weird because I typically think of him as a fairly cheerful writer, but here he just sees negativity in everything.
I also think the whole argument suffers from the idea that things are a particular way now and we are just stuck there with no end in sight. This is odd since all the changes he catalogs came about only very recently and surely will change just as quickly.
Should I expect more of the same for the next 300 pages?
― Moodles, Wednesday, 11 April 2012 20:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
I just finished reading it a couple days ago and am still processing it. He gets less prickly as you get into it as the book becomes more of a warning rather than a straight-up rant.
It was interesting reading it while the new season of Mad Men was starting up. Reynolds pegs 1965 as the year the nostalgia virus breaks out and it's right around the time where the SCDP crew seems like it's losing touch of pop culture.
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, 13 April 2012 08:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
Popular wisdom has modern cultural nostalgia as starting w american graffiti in 71...what are his reasons for 65?
dunno if there's anything about anomie of new suburbia tied in here tho that might be a touch earlier tho
― coal, Friday, 13 April 2012 08:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
Reynolds is a writer to fit facts to his theories tho, not partic trustworthy as a writer unfortunately
― coal, Friday, 13 April 2012 08:36 (1 year ago) Permalink
popular wisdom needs to be told that american graffiti didn't come out until 1973, well after the first 'rock'n'roll' revival (eg sha na na at woodstock)
― Ward Fowler, Friday, 13 April 2012 08:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
Fair enough! I knew the film didn't come out till early 70s but haven't actually seen it
― coal, Friday, 13 April 2012 08:43 (1 year ago) Permalink
Hate the phrase 'popular wisdom' but wasn't quite sure what else to put
― coal, Friday, 13 April 2012 08:45 (1 year ago) Permalink
Sterling Cooper Draper Price - the ad agency in Mad Men.
Popular wisdom has modern cultural nostalgia as starting w american graffiti in 71...what are his reasons for 65?
It's when the demand for "newness" in British style culture outstretched the supply - the only way you could produce more culture was to start looking backwards. By early 1966, the Granny Takes A Trip shop opened up on London and became huge selling 19th century ephemera to rock stars.
The American timeline is different though, you already had Zappa's doo-wop album and Sha Na Na (Reynolds talks about them a bit, but their story seems wacky enough to merit their own book), but yah - 1973 and American Graffiti.
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, 13 April 2012 08:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yea ok I guess that Victorian schtick was kind of a thing in haight-ashbury also?
― coal, Friday, 13 April 2012 09:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
By setting their film O Brother, Where Art Thou before the era of the American folk revival (late 40s - late 70s), the Cohen Bros point out that the perceived "old timeyness" of music has been a selling point for a lot longer than we often remember. A lot of the country, folk and blues music that to us now seems simply "of its time" was actually nostalgic or revivalist when it was first recorded. It's hard to identify a single point at which popular culture began looking backwards in a sense that it never had before, but if there is such a point, it's certainly decades before 1965 or 1973.
― BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Friday, 13 April 2012 14:40 (1 year ago) Permalink
This should be at the top of the first post on all Reynolds threads forever really.
― Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Friday, 13 April 2012 14:59 (1 year ago) Permalink
I also just finally read it myself -- was my reading on the way back from EMP! -- and I had my own problems with it, namely that it was (yeah, granted by default) white Anglo-American in focus. BARELY any discussion of if/how similar impulses play out among black artists or culture here or anywhere else, beyond a couple of quick interview bits and an quoted assertion about how there's no hip hop equivalent to classic rock radio. I count Simon as a friendly acquaintance (and he and his wife throw great parties) but I came away going "Uh?" at that.
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 13 April 2012 15:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
If you think of time in hour slots then at 4pm 10am is going to sound retro
If you think of time in day slots then you're going to see the similarities between 10am and 4pm not the differences
― coal, Friday, 13 April 2012 15:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
I sometimes wonder what people listening in 200-300 years or so will make of late 20th century music. Like, will they be able to tell what came first, Hendrix or drum and bass, or will they listen and not really hear differences, think it was all happening at the same time?
― Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Friday, 13 April 2012 16:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
Did you mention this before? To me, as only a passing fan of classical music, I haven't really developed an ear for the various developments through the ages - it's all "classical" essentially until we get to stuff like Gorecki.
― Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Friday, 13 April 2012 16:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
Very true, but it seemed like a local phenomenon though... Almost as if the old SF Victorian architecture made everyone want to dress up like the gold miners and cowboys who were there a hundred years earlier.
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, 13 April 2012 20:13 (1 year ago) Permalink
and I had my own problems with it, namely that it was (yeah, granted by default) white Anglo-American in focus. BARELY any discussion of if/how similar impulses play out among black artists or culture here or anywhere else, beyond a couple of quick interview bits and an quoted assertion about how there's no hip hop equivalent to classic rock radio
I thought the chapter on Japan was pretty incisive (but to be fair, it was how Japan assimiliates white American culture )
I need to post the audio of the talk Reynolds did with Bruce Sterling a couple months ago...
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, 13 April 2012 20:19 (1 year ago) Permalink
But again, there'd been an olde-timey folk revival going on in NYC at least since the late 40s. Pete Seeger's Weavers had a massive hit with their version of Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene" in 1950. The Kingston Trio were an even bigger smash towards the end of the 50s and into the early 60s with similar material. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan came up in the early 60s, both originally performing mostly traditional songs. This wasn't simply the continuation of an ongoing "living" tradition, but was instead a secondhand recreation of the vanished past. The musicians and fans of this revival were reaching back into popular culture's history for "better" and "more authentic" ideas and expressions than those they found in the culture of their moment. Dylan on why his interests shifted from rock to folk (courtesy of wikipedia):
"The thing about rock'n'roll is that for me anyway it wasn't enough ... There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms ... but the songs weren't serious or didn't reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings."
― BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Friday, 13 April 2012 20:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
There were still enough traditionalists around to get might pissed off when Dylan went electric though
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:06 (1 year ago) Permalink
And don't forget that the old west and cowboys were hugely popular in the 1950s. Certainly since the advent of TV, and probably radio, the people running the stations have had their childhoods (or their parents childhoods) reflected in the mediums.
― Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'd hazard a guess that astronaut/sci-fi themed culture was equal in proportion to the westerns. Also, you could interpret the 1950s-western as merely American hegemony taking a post-war victory lap or alternatively as comfort food for a spooked American hegemony in the throes of uncertainty.
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 14 April 2012 00:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
all of this shit is just making me think even more that there is no such thing as retromania its all just made up and depends where you stand on the hillside as to how far away things appear to be
― coal, Saturday, 14 April 2012 01:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
^ think this is p otm, though it probably comes & goes in waves, like most things
― BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Saturday, 14 April 2012 07:01 (1 year ago) Permalink
Agreed. In the LA Review of Books podcast interview Reynolds talks a bit about moving to Los Angeles and finding Hollywood filled with fake nostalgia and I wondered a bit about how much of his crankiness is fueled by his move.
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 14 April 2012 07:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
eh it's not just nostalgia and revivalism he's talking about, which yeah happens in every era, but a lack of innovation and originality compared to previous decades - which I think he has a point on (well ...actually i'm seeing some mutation in certain undergrounds but not in the mainstream, which at best is 'now' at times but not exactly new)
― Chris S, Saturday, 14 April 2012 08:48 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm not critiquing the idea that this is particularly retro-besotted era (those come and go), just Reynolds' location of 1965 as musical pop retro's ground zero.
On that note, from the liner notes to Nashville - The Early String Bands Vol. 2 (Country Records, 1976):
Radio came to Nashville in fall of 1925. It didn't take Nashville radio stations long to find out that old-time music had considerable audience appeal. Two years before, Atlanta had begun broadcasting artists like Fiddlin' John Carson, Clayton McMichen and Riley Puckett, and 1924 saw the establishment of the National Barn Dance on Chicago radio. Recordings by fiddlers and old-time singers, which major companies had started making in 1923, were selling handsomely in the South. Henry Ford was sponsoring old-time fiddle contests at every Ford dealership in the South and Mid-West, and arguing in his magazine that America's morals could be revitalized by reviving the old tunes and the old dances to replace "jazz songs".- Charles Wolfe, Dec. 1975
- Charles Wolfe, Dec. 1975
― BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Saturday, 14 April 2012 18:22 (1 year ago) Permalink
Matt DC are you saying nevermind had no cultural impact in the UK or the US? cuz if you mean the UK i guess i'll have to believe you if you say so
but if you're saying the US, you are straight up crazy.
― amada thuggindiss (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:27 PM (8 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Weird comment either side of the Atlantic I think. Thought Nevermind pretty instantly became the lp that everybody was playing. That was right in the middle of my band following hitching era. Used to be that if somebody put you up on tour you'd often discover records that you hadn't heard before being played to you then suddenly seemingly everybody was playing that.& from the proliferation of Nirvana tshirts that were around for the next couple of years it did seem very widespread. Seemed to be a band whose tshirt that was on a lot of 17 year olds from that point on
― Stevolende, Sunday, 15 April 2012 15:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
Yea ok I guess that Victorian schtick was kind of a thing in haight-ashbury also?Very true, but it seemed like a local phenomenon though... Almost as if the old SF Victorian architecture made everyone want to dress up like the gold miners and cowboys who were there a hundred years earlier.
― Reality Check Cashing Services (Elvis Telecom), Friday, April 13, 2012 9:13 PM (2 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Possibly more directly a fashion begun by the members of the Charlatans?The band that started the local rock scene and also had members who owned antique outlets. From what I've seen of the styles of the time Victoriana was just one of several, Cowboys, Indians, Valentino-esque arabs and various other film stereotypes being among the more dressy-uppy. I think more prevalent was a style they referred to as 'mod' which was a warped take on Carnaby street and tends to be what you see bands like Jefferson Airplane & the Grateful Dead wearing. doesn't seem to come directly from actual mod but took its name from there.
& thinking of mod it has always struck me as deeply strange that a style (or set of them) that was constantly changing and trying to keep itself as cutting edge as possible should become something stereotypically retro
― Stevolende, Sunday, 15 April 2012 19:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
strange that a style (or set of them) that was constantly changing and trying to keep itself as cutting edge as possible should become something stereotypically retro
yeah, but the most self-consciously "up to date" things always date the fastest and usually become what we remember as retro
― BEMORE SUPER FABBY (contenderizer), Sunday, 15 April 2012 19:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
this book is dumb imo
― attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:18 (4 months ago) Permalink
"I posed the question on I Love Music, the hyper-intelligent discussion board"
hey how about instead you eat my ass you clueless cum bubble
― simon trife (simon_tr), Thursday, September 26, 2002 12:31 AM (10 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
― finally rich, fun-packed, fulfilling (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:23 (4 months ago) Permalink
The library has this book, but I've never gotten around to reading it.
― this will surprise many (Nicole), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:29 (4 months ago) Permalink
feeling nostalgic for the time when i read this book.
― tylerw, Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:31 (4 months ago) Permalink
yeah, this book is really dumb. As usual he is good at writing condensed histories of bands, scenes or whatever but his theorizing wavers between being utter bullshit or else so totally OTM that it amounts to stating the bleeding obvious.
― everything, Wednesday, 2 January 2013 21:38 (4 months ago) Permalink
well tbf after twenty pages i decided to sleep instead but
i. the preface's eliza-carthy-vs-joanna-newsom opposition is problematic -- claiming that carthy feels free to make the kind of record she does because she relates to folk as a living tradition whilst 'freak folk' only works on the basis of record collecting is ... problematic? i mean, yes, i like newsom and don't care for carthy but i don't think reynolds genuinely gives a shit about either, and if he did he'd have realised this makes a bad example.
'it's in her blood' is an icky argument for carthy -- like, any agency she might possess is just thrown out already. meanwhile to claim that yr average freak folk band consists of listening to records from the 70s and tries to Do That is ... silly, i know devendra banhart sings like a young marc bolan but the musical DNA of the thing as the whole is far more to do with the living tradition of jam bands obv --
but then this is also to ignore the fact that 70s folk is itself already in a deeply complicated relationship with the past, is basically forced to invent its own past as it modernises
but then you don't even need to go there, just ... does simon reynolds go to a sunburned hand of the man gig or listen to 'have one on me' and think "yes nothing original is taking place here" because at this point i just totally cease to trust his ears
ii. and then having failed to define his case he sets out to investigate it by narrating in the first person some recent experiences of his own in museums and suchlike -- i know the anecdotal recourse to stuff that's already been on the blog or in the paper is nice for composing a book but i think recalling one's own recent experiences is a bad motor for a book proposing to investigate the notion that recall of one's own &/or the culture's recent experiences has become a (cough cough) cultural dominant
iii. there's, like, two index references to jameson, try harder
― attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Wednesday, 2 January 2013 22:20 (4 months ago) Permalink
I thought it was entertaining. Was like reading a 500 page-long old Momus blog post or something (if you're into that kinda thing).
― mr.raffles, Thursday, 3 January 2013 03:08 (4 months ago) Permalink
I'm a hundred pages into it. The beginning is kinda rough, as most of his points are pretty obvious, especially if you've read his blogs or interviews. I'm hoping it will get better and more about specifik artists.
― Frederik B, Thursday, 3 January 2013 11:33 (4 months ago) Permalink
I think general consensus is it's a good read so long as you take the initial premise with a pinch of salt. Luckily most of this is in the beginning and final chapters, so it's easy to do.
― besides Sunny Real Estate (dog latin), Thursday, 3 January 2013 12:32 (4 months ago) Permalink
p. 26-31: reynolds points out that the 'i love the __s' documentaries are banal, with wholly cosmetic reference to derrida
― attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:08 (4 months ago) Permalink
p32-3: barry hogan cited as an authority on the economics of rock music
― attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 20 January 2013 02:10 (4 months ago) Permalink