so tell me, why is Kaputt better or worse than Let England Shake?

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funny how conversation about the war record got all contentious and concerned with the historical placement/importance of music

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Taco was a pretty chill band:

In honor of the Taco Mayor and this thread generally.

grandavis, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

sorry for ruining yr guys canon thread ;_;

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

canon on, men, canon on

iatee, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

hey lamp is correct in noting the lack of chill vibes of late herein, allow me to return them

omar little, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

thanx omar

yknow something tells me that if we all just knocked off work early picked up a couple of bottles of wine and some fresh fruit and kicked it on the beach together these kinda unchill debates wouldnt happen so much

BJ O (Lamp), Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

gis result for destroyer kaputt

omar little, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

gis result for pj harvey let england shake

omar little, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think deej is right that music canons are becoming decreasingly important, I would say because more and more listeners are intersecting with music in a decentralised manner (even if only casually, sparingly, and with nothing like the intensity of yr average ILM poster).

Compare/contrast with TV which I think is in an era where canon-building is quite important. This reflects a couple of things: the fact people are still mildly surprised that TV can be worthy in a long-term sense and so feel more interested in exploring that concept, but also and more importantly that it's only been in the last decade or so that a lot of people have taken control of their TV consumption in a manner similar to the control they already had over their music consumption; it's inevitable that the first thing a lot of us then will do is look for heirarchies of taste to make this new-found sense of control feel less burdonsome.

Whereas, while the canon still exists for music (and remains stronger than for TV), it has receded from its prior pinnacle of influence to something slightly more... natural?

What inheres in both canonisation and viral connectivity is the fixity of ideas about music, the way in which the sharing of taste-codes doesn't merely share the music itself but an idea of what th emusic means, what it stands for, why it's important.

I'm rarely bothered by a record being more canonical (from the narrowest to the broadest sense: i.e. commercially and/or critically popular) than a similar or related record that I think is superior. What frequently bothers me is how that differential itself implies value judgments and biases (not towards certain pieces of music but to ideas around music) that are all the more pernicious because they're not openly admitted for the most part (and so are difficult to challenge without seeming contrary and defensive).

This isn't solved by getting rid of the canon - if anything that makes the problem harder by doing away with an obvious and easily understood target for deconstruction.

Also, by the by, there's nothing wrong with taste-principles per se, so long as you know what they are and where they fall they short. In this context, a principle is really a codified bias for the most part, and if it's codified it's much easier to put in its place (both internally and when you see it used by other people).

Tim F, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

Compare/contrast with TV which I think is in an era where canon-building is quite important. This reflects a couple of things: the fact people are still mildly surprised that TV can be worthy in a long-term sense and so feel more interested in exploring that concept, but also and more importantly that it's only been in the last decade or so that a lot of people have taken control of their TV consumption in a manner similar to the control they already had over their music consumption; it's inevitable that the first thing a lot of us then will do is look for heirarchies of taste to make this new-found sense of control feel less burdonsome.

well i think its also important to note that there a bunch of sites and magazines and big national newspapers whose critics all share somewhat of a similar aesthetic sensibility that can work to codify the new tv canon whereas music criticism is becoming more fractured and specialized. like most tv critics agree on a set of middlebrow ideas abt 'what good tv is' that resonates with their audience that places the prestige cable dramas and single camera sitcoms in the 'cannon'. like the fact that the critical/institutional consensus is operating w/in a p narrow spectrum of 'tv programming' is part of what makes the cannon exist/seem impt - no one is seriously claiming that sports programming or pbs documentary series or competitive reality shows should be part of the tv canon whereas imo for the better music criticism has had to open itself up to a much wider range of ideas about what 'good music' can be

BJ O (Lamp), Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm rarely bothered by a record being more canonical (from the narrowest to the broadest sense: i.e. commercially and/or critically popular)

i was arguing upthread for the idea that canons aren't intentionally creaated things in themselves, but rather process artifacts. i think that's true on a certain level, and it's becoming more and more true in the present moment, but it overlooks the fact that we inherit the word "canon" from a context (western art and literary history) wherein the act of creating and maintaining an official worthiness roster was done very intentionally and explicitly. the canon of "great books", for instance, or of the great works of western art.

i think this will-to-authority persists to some degree in a still popular and perhaps even dominant view of 20th century popular music. blues artists like son house and robert johnson are more-or-less "officially" canonized, along with their followers and their peers in jazz, ellington and billie holiday, etc. this is followed by bop and the emergence of rock in the 50s, miles davis and chuck berry into john coltrane and elvis. then folk & girl groups and the british invasion, the prog and singer/songwriter stuff that followed, punk and disco into indie and techno and so on. this canon, both the narrative and its star players, presents itself as "officially recognized". its centrality and importance are strongly and constantly defended, both directly (the rock and roll hall of fame) and indirectly (the circulation of memes).

this is what makes "the canon" an actual canon in the art-historical sense and not just a list of stuff some people happen to like and/or consider important. its defenders are not only influential but organized, and they seem to have established a greater claim to collective authority than its detractors - at least in certain important quarters of what we might lazily call "the public mind".

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

lamp OTM about the fairly unitary nature of the narrative, re: "quality television" in comparison to the fragmentation we've seen in music criticism over the last 100 years.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

this is what makes "the canon" an actual canon in the art-historical sense and not just a list of stuff some people happen to like and/or consider important. its defenders are not only influential but organized, and they seem to have established a greater claim to collective authority than its detractors - at least in certain important quarters of what we might lazily call "the public mind".

― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, February 9, 2012 4:39 PM (6 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is completely uninterrogated, its not just being organized, there are power dynamics at work here

the example in the book i linked is that actually robert johnson being 'canon' was a fluke of history -- that when the canon was being created, it was by a bunch of middle class suburban record collectors for whom 'obscurity' had greater value, and it ended up turning the history of the blues upside-down; however popular a blues singer was in 1933, she (and it was usually women, at least in popular blues) would be almost unknown two decades later, while a marginal unknown like Robert Johnson had become "king of the blues"

you say its 'organization' but its not -- there are many dynamics at play

D-40, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think its easy to see how economics and gender and race probably played roles in distorting how we remember history in that way

D-40, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

this is what makes "the canon" an actual canon in the art-historical sense and not just a list of stuff some people happen to like and/or consider important.

perhaps the most important aspect of the canon i just described above, the thing that makes it so intractable, is that it's a coherent and comprehensive narrative. it's not just an individual opinion, like "the beatles were great and important, and if you don't like them then you don't understand music". it's an integrated, collectively told history, drawing its features from every stream of popular music and music criticism. therefore, it's all but impossible to oppose in toto. to do this effectively, one would have to come up with an compelling alternate narrative for every musical movement of the last 100 years. the best the "opponents of the canon" ever manage to do, really, is to clear some space for their stories and heroes within the larger narrative, which easily adapts to such meddling. not enough importance-points allotted to 60s girl groups or chicago/detroit house? okay, fine, we'll clear some room, even build a new wing if you like. meanwhile, the canon marches on.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

you should really read this book, contenderizer

http://www.amazon.com/How-Beatles-Destroyed-Rock-Roll/dp/019975697X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328828397&sr=1-1

D-40, Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

...its not just being organized, there are power dynamics at work here

...you say its 'organization' but its not -- there are many dynamics at play

...i think its easy to see how economics and gender and race probably played roles in distorting how we remember history in that way

― D-40, Thursday, February 9, 2012 2:51 PM (6 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i don't think you're really arguing against me there. i agree with everything you say. i defend the word "organized" because i think the maintenance of the canon is done is a fairly organized fashion. this isn't to deny that there are other dynamics in play, that things like gender and race play a HUGE part.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

http://www.amazon.com/How-Beatles-Destroyed-Rock-Roll/dp/019975697X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328828397&sr=1-1

i probably should, thanks for the tip. but again (and it's hard to say without having read it), but even anti-canonical perspectives help build the canon, right? either by expanding it or by providing it with alternatives to triumph over. at this point, it's been so widened by appeals to inclusion that it's become all but meaningless, a history that includes almost everything. simple efficiency is arguably a bigger motivator for the creation of alternative canons the the failure of the larger of The Canon to adapt.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

god that was fucked. though it's poor form, i'm just gonna try again...

you should really read this book, contenderizer

http://www.amazon.com/How-Beatles-Destroyed-Rock-Roll/dp/019975697X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328828397&sr=1-1

i probably should, thanks for the tip. but again (and it's hard to say without having read it), even anti-canonical perspectives help build the canon, right? either by expanding it or by providing it with alternatives to triumph over. at this point, the "official" canon been so widened by appeals to inclusion that it's become all but meaningless, a history that encompasses all of history. simple efficiency is arguably a bigger motivator for the creation of alternative canons than the failure of Thee Canon to adapt.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

people really do seriously rep for the enduring importance and quality of like shakespeare, joyce and dostoyevsky, though. it's really no different than putting leadbelly and led zep up on a pedestal.

it's quite different actually imo

unlistenable in philly (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah come on...joyce is way better than led zep. ffs.

I'm going to allow this! (LocalGarda), Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

well i think its also important to note that there a bunch of sites and magazines and big national newspapers whose critics all share somewhat of a similar aesthetic sensibility that can work to codify the new tv canon whereas music criticism is becoming more fractured and specialized.

Agree with this 100% but I think this critical consensus in itself is a product of the developments I identified in my preceding post.

Tim F, Thursday, 9 February 2012 23:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

How will format effect today's youth digesting of the canon, whatever the canon includes or excludes? I mean I have a cousin who is getting into music and he's 15. He will probably never buy a cd or a record and thinks I'm very weird for collecting record when I could be like him and just download what I want. I imagine him as an example of the future average music consumer. I always thought of the canon as being a package type deal, format and all. What bearing does the canon have on someone who thinks of music as only disposable singles? I imagine very little. I dunno, this probably has nothing to do with kaputt or LES.

JacobSanders, Friday, 10 February 2012 00:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

well, i think that canon has only ever really mattered to the sort of people who attach a lot of significance to the idea that certain types of music more "important" than others, and/or those who wish to have "good taste". people like that tend to look to voices of authority for guidance, sometimes even aspiring to join the ranks of the tastemaking arbiters.

music fans who aren't concerned with those things will probably have little interest in canonical importance or quality.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 10 February 2012 00:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

i kind of disagree, i think lots of people are or have been concerned with those things! people want to have 'good taste'

D-40, Friday, 10 February 2012 00:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

or see themselves as discerning

D-40, Friday, 10 February 2012 00:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i know. i was breaking it down to canon people vs "don't give a shit about a canon" people. not saying that either group is more numerous, and lots of folks are obviously somewhere in the middle.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 10 February 2012 00:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

probably most people in the middle, tbh

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 10 February 2012 00:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

deej p much 100% otm so far

i listened to the pj harvey album and realised its that thing i always make my housemate turn off in the kitchen when we are cooking. he doesn't really like kaputt either.

judith, Friday, 10 February 2012 02:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

ah c'cmon, he's just swiping at tangents. grumble, kvetch...

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Friday, 10 February 2012 08:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

man i still can't really get down with bejar's vocals, and there are large portions of kaputt that are a yawner for me and that i have problems with,

but that "sounds, smash hits..." couplet is just all-time. doesn't really scan but perfect. how did he do that?

dell (del), Sunday, 12 February 2012 07:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

he read a magizine, iirc

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Sunday, 12 February 2012 07:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Played Kaputt in the car today, every song is a jam.

Tim F, Sunday, 12 February 2012 11:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

this thread inspired me to go back to all of PJ Harvey's albums on Spotify

she fucking owns

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 20:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

great post, mouthy.

⚓ (gr8080), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 20:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Obviously this is a drunken thread so this seems extraneous, but Kaputt is very clearly very American and Let England Shake is very clear very English. I like both, a lot, but I prefer PJ's.

― Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Sunday, February 5, 2012 5:05 AM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

but destroyer isn't american...

this entire episode definitely made the US posters seem more parochial than the UK ones, which i hadn't thought was the case before

― first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Sunday, February 5, 2012 5:38 AM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yes in a lot of ways kaputt feels very... canadian to me. don't ask me to explain how or why though. peace

the jazz zinger (s1ocki), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 21:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Nick that's a wonderful post

Flag post? I hardly knew her! (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 14 February 2012 21:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks dude.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 07:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

Dudes.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 07:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, just read the blog - nice one sicko, enjoyed it

The Invisible Superstars (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 08:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah, same here. loved reading that (though i'm still in camp shake).

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 08:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

what's that a link to

desperado, rough rider (thomp), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

this entire episode definitely made the US posters seem more parochial than the UK ones, which i hadn't thought was the case before

hm.

desperado, rough rider (thomp), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

can i just take a moment to laugh at whoever compared pj harvey to ts eliot

desperado, rough rider (thomp), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

hey they both have initials

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

So does JFK.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 10:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd been wondering why I'd suddenly got lots of people following me on Twitter.

The Invisible Superstars (dog latin), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:01 (2 years ago) Permalink


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