Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
Barbed Wire Kisses
“Do you remember the JAMC?”
If not, then Rhino’s series of The Jesus & Mary Chain DualDisc reissues, released last month, should help your recall – unless you’re really young in which case never mind. Prefix, Pitchfork, Paste and PopMatters have all taken the opportunity to revisit the Reid Brothers’ oeuvre (or most of it since the reissues don’t include swan song Munki) and since I’ve never been one for independent thinking, I’ve chosen to do the same. And yes, this post is brought to you by the letter “P”.
First off, a couple declarations of heresy: first, I don’t really like the Jesus & Mary Chain all that much and second, Psychocandy is my least favourite of ther five albums relevant to this discussion (and no, Munki wouldn’t have been it even if it qualified). While I appreciate the ultra-crap production is sort of the point with the early records, that doesn’t make them any less grating to listen to. And no, I don’t think that the remasters would help because even if I don’t like history it doesn’t mean that I support revisionism. It’s really only Psychocandy that hurts my ears – I remember the first time I heard it. I was in a friend’s car and we put it on the CD player – and the sound from the speakers was almost indistinguishable from the noise of the engine.
No, I have to say my favourite JAMC album is Honey’s Dead, which incidentally is the one which consistently gets the lower reviews of the reissued works. Can’t really say why, maybe it’s just the brashness and attitude of it or the fact that it’s the first of their albums I got that I could actually hear the vocals. Objectively, then obviously Darklands and Automatic are better, but sentiment is a funny thing. The acoustic-y Stoned And Dethroned has some glorious moments but is far too long to be for the ages.
But these are all relative statements – as I said in the beginning, I rarely listen to my JAMC stuff. Their shadow might loom large over the last 20 years of British music (they were undeniably the proto-shoegaze band and the Reids could teach the Gallaghers a thing about brothers not getting along) but overall, I found them too rough around the edges and one-dimensional to really engage. But I am curious to those who’ve heard the reissues – how do the remasters sound? Did they mess with the sound? Or is the sound still a mess?
The reissues have stimulated a little blog activity as well – RBally posted a live JAMC set circa 1987 a few weeks ago and The Sound Of Indie dug up a video of an interview they did with The New Music waaaaay back in 1985. There’s also some videos YouTube-d in the PopMatters link above. Jim Reid continues to make music in Freeheat. What I’ve heard isn’t especially inspiring. Here’s a Psychocandy track and a Psychocandy cover by The Shins (whose new album has been pushed back to next year).
Rhino also pays tribute to the late Arthur Lee. If you’re not familiar with Love, then take advantage of this sad event to learn a bit about Lee and his music – The AV Club has a lovely requiem and Chart has 12 reasons why Lee was cool. USA Today and The Los Angeles Times also have rememberences. If anyone asked me whether I was a Sgt Pepper’s or Pet Sounds guy, I’d probably say (or wish I said), Forever Changes. Lee and the reincarnated Love were supposed to come to Toronto way back in 2002, but had to cancel on account of border difficulties – namely Lee’s criminal record for firearms possession. I had always hoped that that would get sorted out somehow and I’d get the chance to see him play. Alas. Anyways, in tribute, here are some past Love covers that I’ve posted. If you’ve never heard them then do yourself a favour and find a copy of Forever Changes. I’m serious.
A fair number of concert announcements rolled out while I was away – let’s get caught up. The Strokes have been added to day two of the Virgin Festival – that’s September 10 – and Emily Haines will perform selections from her new solo album Knives Don’t Have Your Back at The Gladstone Hotel on September 12. The album is out September 26, full dates at Filter. Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear will be promoting their new album Yellow House, out September 5, with a show at the El Mocambo on September 23 (Full dates here).
Looking to October, Jenny Lewis will return with more Rabbit Fur Coat for a show at Trinity-St Paul’s on October 7 (full dates at Pitchfork) and Juana Molina, who played there in June, returns with Adem on October 12 to play the slightly less formal Supermarket. Mojave 3’s October 16 show will be at the Mod Club, not Lee’s as I originally speculated, Billboard previews Frank Black’s Fall tour which brings him to the Opera House on October 26 and The Hold Steady, who were just here last week (and about which they’ve blogged), have added a Toronto date to their Fall tour in support of Boys And Girls In America (out October 3) – they’ll be at the much cozier Horseshoe on October 28. Man, if they thought their Lee’s Palace show was the hottest one yet, wait’ll they see the ‘Shoe.
Newsarama is serializing Bendis and Oeming’s Powers, one of the best comic books on the market today. They’re posting one page a day from the first story, Who Killed Retro Girl? so if you need even more pop culture to distract you from important things, there you go.
np – The Hold Steady / Separation Sunday