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

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Footnote above is a footnote to the "dance music does this better" claim.

Tim F, Monday, 6 February 2012 09:18 (six years ago) Permalink

Equal parts sense and guff in this thread.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 February 2012 10:21 (six years ago) Permalink

i dont really think of kaputt as "making fun of the 80s." its def more an ariel pink move. its not about irony. thats not to say the sonic signifiers are not there as signifiers. its dense and woozy with this feeling of time layered up and piled up on itself. it feels more like those records than they themselves do. this strange mix of machine exactness and thick, smoky density. it feels alien and strange, a kind of uncanny approximation. and yeah i do think its a sort of retro futurism but not in the "this is what the future looked like in the past" way, but this is how the future might put the past back together. its like reading a google translation, what is foregrounded is how everything is just slightly off, every angle too crooked, every surface overly buffed. its a difficult record to explain because maybe you pick up on this or you dont. but its a subtle album or an album that is about its subtleties.

judith, Monday, 6 February 2012 11:07 (six years ago) Permalink

^^^ good post.

I have been thinking for a while that judith is an a+ poster and this seems like a good moment to pause, take stock, and acknowledge that.

Tim F, Monday, 6 February 2012 11:11 (six years ago) Permalink

Kaputt is to the eighties what Disney's Tomorrowland is to the future.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 February 2012 12:54 (six years ago) Permalink

So I've been trying to listen to Kaputt and so far I'm coming up with nothing. I get how people like this luxurious, oddly sedate sound, but to me it's way too one-note in mood for me not to get absolutely racked off after any more than three songs.

Nostalgia in itself isn't a bad thing if used effectively. But good grief, isn't the eighties retro thing just a LITTLE BIT played out now? I think I still have a little time left for the ongoing excavation and development of my childhood decade - it's a rich seam of inspiration so why not keep tapping it? But Kaputt feels like it's trying to explain the punchline way after the joke has run its course: We get it. Wet drums, synths, yachts, saxophones - WE GET IT! FFS we got it in 2001, we get it now, but instead of subtly recalling some faded impression of the past you're just piling on the Enola Gay and Digging Your Scene vamps. Buying one of those cut-price 'Electric Eighties' compilations from the rack in the Shell garage is more likely to have an effect on me than this.

I feel that this kind of thing has been executed a lot better by others. That Gayngs album from 2010 wasn't perfect, but at least it wasn't actively annoying. Kaputt makes no bones of smacking you round the head with its touchstones. The telltale sign is on the title track: "Sounds, Smash Hits, Melody Maker, NME, all sound like a dream to me". This is NOT charming - it's sycophantic romance lisped in this over-affected Anglo-side accent. He's going for Neil Tennant, ends up sounding like a fruity pantomime dame. The more I think about it, the more his voice grates on me.

And yeah, if this hadn't beaten out PJ in the poll, I'd be pretty indifferent - a bland bland album by some indie guy who's decided to go "all eighties" - that's harmless enough, I can ignore it. But put it next to Let England Shake and what do you have? It just seems so effete - so asinine by comparison on pretty much every level: inspirationally, musically, lyrically, conceptually. You can't compare them because Kaputt is virtually invisible next to LES's towering heights.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 13:02 (six years ago) Permalink

I liked LES, but this thread makes me want to never listen to it again.

pandemic, Monday, 6 February 2012 13:07 (six years ago) Permalink

Now more guff in the thread.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 February 2012 13:14 (six years ago) Permalink

i do not get the impression that a lot of destroyer fans in this thread have heard the PJH album though

I have heard it. I like it. It's her best solo record since Stories from the City, I think. But I like the Destroyer record way more.

jaymc, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:06 (six years ago) Permalink

Wet drums, synths, yachts, saxophones - WE GET IT!

I feel like you guys are overthinking this. For me, there isn't anything to "get" about Kaputt. That instrumental palette isn't an academic joke so much as a recipe of sounds/textures that sound pleasing to my ears.

jaymc, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:15 (six years ago) Permalink

xpost I think the main thing for me is how anyone can get truly excited by a record that sounds like Kaputt - discounting the vocals it's pleasant in its own way I guess. But is this really the album of 2012? I still don't think I've read a reasonable explanation as to why, and I am genuinely interested in finding out.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Wet drums, synths, yachts, saxophones - WE GET IT!

I feel like you guys are overthinking this. For me, there isn't anything to "get" about Kaputt. That instrumental palette isn't an academic joke so much as a recipe of sounds/textures that sound pleasing to my ears.

― jaymc, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:15 (4 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I'm not saying that Bejar is literally making a joke of the eighties, rather his reference points feel a bit bludgeoning and explicit in 2012. Cramming in these very obvious shoutouts to the Blow Monkeys, New Order, PSB, Lloyd Cole and OMD - he might as well get a Flock Of Seagulls haircut and body-pop around the students union wearing a shellsuit and rapping The Message. His approach makes Fischerspooner look like arbiters of subtlety, and yet it's all wrapped up in this smoothed-out long-haul impression of Now! Vol.7.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:31 (six years ago) Permalink

Maybe this is a US-centric POV, but I don't think Blow Monkeys, Lloyd Cole, and OMD are "obvious" reference points.

jaymc, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:38 (six years ago) Permalink

I find it hard to read this:

"Wasting your days,
Chasing some girls all right,
Chasing cocaine to the back rooms of the world all night"

as not ironic on some level?

iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:41 (six years ago) Permalink

xpost You could be right. Over the last decade in the UK there's been an influx of comps available from pretty much any supermarket in the country that would contain these acts.

So is this it? Is it a matter of Kaputt sounding quaint and exotic to US ears, while to UK ears it sounds a much more like a pastiche?

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:45 (six years ago) Permalink

I find it hard to read this:

"Wasting your days,
Chasing some girls all right,
Chasing cocaine to the back rooms of the world all night"

as not ironic on some level?

― iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:41 (4 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Buckets of it, certainly.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:46 (six years ago) Permalink

but I think it's quaint and exotic and pastiche

iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:47 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm now trying to imagine what reaction Let England Shake would have received (particularly from the US) had Polly Jean been listening to tons of Boston and Styx and instead of Summertime Blues, she'd appropriated lines from 'Don't Stop Believin''.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:49 (six years ago) Permalink

that genuinely sounds like a more interesting album?

iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:49 (six years ago) Permalink

I should clarify, I'm not arguing that Bejar ~isn't~ employing irony or making statements about a previous era, but that's really not the main thing I get out of it.

jaymc, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:50 (six years ago) Permalink

There's a sadness and a nostalgia here that DL's missing. It's hard to explain; Bejar is both ironic and knowing and ABSOLUTELY SINCERE at the same time. He's not using these sounds as 'signifiers' half as much as some people are suggesting; he's using them because he loves them.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:55 (six years ago) Permalink

well I don't think you can avoid the signifiers

iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:58 (six years ago) Permalink

but I agree w/ your first two sentences

iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 14:58 (six years ago) Permalink

lol so listening to Kaputt for the first time, it's very hard to give this a fair shake because all I keep thinking is "the Pet Shop Boys put out almost this exact same album ten years ago"

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Monday, 6 February 2012 14:59 (six years ago) Permalink

An honest answer is that I like the songs on destroyer but I wouldn't have given myself permission to accept *that sound* if not for its meat&potatoes indie rock provenance. I feel quite ashamed of this, but it is true.

thomasintrouble, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:09 (six years ago) Permalink

It's fair to say there's more to Kaputt than mere Anglo-Eighties fetishism, but it's a huge stumbling block towards my appreciation of it because not only have we seen this before, but we've seen people reviving it before. So is this a continuation of the last decade's eighties revival or is it part of some hideous third wave of eighties revivalism, and if so when will the madness stop?

Trying to appreciate this on levels other than pastiche/retro, I'm still struggling. I don't find the songwriting particularly engaging. The Blow Monkeys weren't exactly a fashionable band, but Digging Your Scene succeeds in that it has a soaring ecstatic chorus breaking through the shimmer. 'Being Boring' ('Kaputt', the song's closest reference point) was wry, witty, bittersweet and somehow evoked nostalgia without pandering to the past. Compare the Pet Shop Boys' lyrics to Bejar's empty signifiers of cocaine backrooms - one is slick, literate pop; the other, well...

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/32867/
http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858855779/

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:09 (six years ago) Permalink

pastiche and retro are not the same thing

iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:11 (six years ago) Permalink

Bejar's not a pop songwriter, either.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:11 (six years ago) Permalink

xxxp

double irony thomas is that i dig the brief bits of it i've heard but won't listen to it cos of its meat&potatoes indie rock provenance :D

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:13 (six years ago) Permalink

pastiche and retro are not the same thing

― iatee, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:11 (36 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

They both apply here. I've no doubt that Bejar has nothing but love for this sound, but his mimicking of it is pure pastiche.

Sounds Of The Baskervilles (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:13 (six years ago) Permalink

DL, you have to take (the song) Kaputt in the context of the other songs on the album; he makes explicit reference to other songs in the lyrics. The whole thing paints a picture. Bejar writes (and this sounds amazingly wanky, and is, but is also kind of compelling and intriguing) about musicians and music and music journalists (I know PSBs did this too on occasion; I've just never been that taken with them), and the whole album together paints a picture.

I'm not sure I see Bejar's past as meat&potatoes indie rock. Listened to Rubies this morning; the guitar is Ronson, not Pavement (obviously).

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:15 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, this "meat&potatoesindierock" shit is meaningless...

Laughing Gravy (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:17 (six years ago) Permalink

it's kind of hair-splitty tbh Sick, what constitutes tru indie now. i think the general point i'm making is that i'm suspicious in some way or uninterested in what the dude's doing even tho i'd probably go to bat for a lot of stuff in the sonic tradition of Kaputt

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Bejar's not a pop songwriter, either.

This is my problem with Kaputt - I like the sonics, I'm not really bothered about whether it's pastiche or not (I think I just assumed genre-hopping was part of his whole deal, not being familiar with much of his other work) but it's kind of weak in terms of hooks and/or melody. His vocals are too one-note here ("fiercely casual" is about right) and it grates more than it might do with a different musical backdrop. He's written some incredibly poppy (and great) stuff with the New Pornographers though.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:20 (six years ago) Permalink

xps ha oh shit I've started another bloody discussion on what is or isn't indie.

thomasintrouble, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:20 (six years ago) Permalink

i was gonna try not to indulge. i think it's at best disingenuous to say there's no such thing as "meat & potatoes indie", the rest of the argument is just filing

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:21 (six years ago) Permalink

cos i think what you're saying - and it seems totally reasonable to me - is that Bejam's indie credentials gave you a way into the album, and i'm saying that the same thing sort of locks me out of it

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:23 (six years ago) Permalink

wish I had time to read and respond... two of my fave albums of last year

I GUESS THAT CINNABON GETTIN EATEN (Edward III), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:23 (six years ago) Permalink

i like M83! forgot about them/him. that album made the ilx poll right? and that stuff sounds fresh to me. if i were a teen now i would love it. i mean i don't own any of the albums but i dig the vibe. only watched on youtube. it feels like cool/hip teen music. and making the old new again. come to think of it, the french are good at the 80's. they are a very 80's people.

scott seward, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:26 (six years ago) Permalink

so far Kaputt has come across like a less engaging version of Double

"Suicide Demo For Kara Walker" is the first song that I've actively noticed while playing the album

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:27 (six years ago) Permalink

xposts SM: re: Bejar's lyrics: That is kindof interesting, although I'm not sure how I feel about this kind of thing in 2012. It feels a bit like rather than doing away with post-modernism (something we saw a lot of in the 2000s), this is now turning into a kind of meta-music, where the song is a comment in and about itself. Not sure where Destroyer fits into this picture, but I can see a parallel with the work of people like Daniel Lopatin.

Laughing Gravy (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:29 (six years ago) Permalink

Don't know Lopatin but, afaikt, bejar's been doing this meta-thing for his whole career.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:32 (six years ago) Permalink

"Compare the Pet Shop Boys' lyrics to Bejar's empty signifiers of cocaine backrooms - one is slick, literate pop; the other, well..."

see this is also my problem. people get the sounds right and pat themselves on the back, but they don't have the songs. i went and saw the faint years and years ago during the 2nd or 5th or 8th 80's revival and their sounds were right on but the only great song they played all night was "enola gay"! it was the only memorable song they played. "house of jealous lovers" is one of the only really great 80's-inspired songs i can think of. (other than the songs i love by my fave retro acts dmx krew and lansing-dreiden but hardly anyone here has heard them so i won't bother mentioning them)

great rock or indie rock 80's-inspired songs i should say. again, not dance tracks. there are loads of those. oh and interpol had a couple of good ones early on.

scott seward, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:34 (six years ago) Permalink

And the best song on the Gayngs album by far is their version of "Cry".

Laughing Gravy (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:38 (six years ago) Permalink

Thing is, you could argue that there's no way to create an eighties-inspired song without distancing oneself with a certain level of irony, whereas the OG eighties synth bands probably weren't thinking "oh yes, let's use that gated drum sound, it's totally kitsch". Or maybe they were? I dunno... Either way, they were writing pop singles whereas Kaputt is an alternative album and doesn't have that impetus to reel you in within 3 minutes.

Laughing Gravy (dog latin), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:42 (six years ago) Permalink

i just got the feeling when i heard some of the electroclash stuff in the past or whatever that people thought it was easy to mimic the sounds and lol 80's vibe but then didn't follow through with actual quality material. so maybe that makes me sore. so many 3rd and 4th tier synth bands from the 80's that hardly anyone remembers sound really accomplished to me! they did a really good job and often on the cheap too. and, yeah, a lot of indie people just don't get it. as opposed to pop people. i do think the destroyer guy is talented though. you can hear it in the music.

scott seward, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:53 (six years ago) Permalink

oh but this sucks though:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR85bAxCX6M&feature=player_embedded#!

scott seward, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:57 (six years ago) Permalink

i went and saw the faint years and years ago during the 2nd or 5th or 8th 80's revival and their sounds were right on but the only great song they played all night was "enola gay"!

Ha, this reminds me of being at a friends' house when they were watching some snowboarding dvd with people like The Faint on the soundtrack - one song came up at the end and I thought "Oh this is loads better than their other stuff", watching the credits it turned out to be some early Depeche Mode album track.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 6 February 2012 15:57 (six years ago) Permalink

wow "Bay of Pigs (Detail)" is super annoying

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Monday, 6 February 2012 15:59 (six years ago) Permalink

lol Spotify is now playing "No Fools Allowed by DestroyER at me

http://open.spotify.com/track/259gdZPmfMClYUGs7JKo50

this is much more my bag than Kaputt

I spend a lot of time thinking about apricots (DJP), Monday, 6 February 2012 16:06 (six years ago) Permalink


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