Thursday, October 9, 2008

Whatever happened to Love Hammer?

I'm stumbled across some stuff I wrote at the beginning of 2006. I used to be quite a funny guy - not sure what happened...

16th February 2006... Hard-Fi, The Jam, The Cure, The Specials and The Clash

Hard-Fi could do for Staines what The Jam did for Woking and The Cure did for Crawley - absolutely nothing! But it goes to show that even the most horrible towns south of Watford can actually produce some good music. As the larger towns clean up their inner cities, the once prestigious suburbs and commuter towns take on the urban alienation once reserved only for the big city estates!

Anyway, back to Hard-Fi - my advice would be forget about sounding like The Clash and The Specials (leave the melodica at home when you're recording the next album) - you could be the best thing out of Staines since Ali G. Aiii!

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15th February 2006... Moby, Eminem, Dido, The Beatles and Marilyn Manson

I read that Moby said Eminem has "blood on his hands" after a fan killed his girlfriend after listening to Shady's song "Stan." Even though it was probably the dreadful Dido that drove the fan to this heinous act, Moby has committed far worse atrocities - everything he has released since "Play!"

Fact is, music has long been associated with murder, from Charles Manson's adoption of The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" through to the Columbine killers liking for Marilyn Manson as a warm up tune... I don't for one moment hold any of the artists above responsible for murder, except Moby, who has killed his own career stone dead!

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29th January 2006... Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines and Hear'say...

I'm sick of hearing about bands writing their "difficult second album"... Mostly, this is an excuse for laziness, lack of imagination or inability to write something that isn't simply rehashing the first album. The bands declare "it took my whole life to write the first album" but this is rarely true: most bands that get signed, do so within the first year or two of forming the group (presumably with a new set of songs) and those that don't, write some new songs to improve the opportunity of getting signed.

The real reason for a second album being difficult is that the music press don't care any more - they're too busy hyping the next 'big' thing. Take Arctic Monkeys (please take them...) who are nothing more than a slightly more polished northern version of The Libertines (without heroin and supermodels - so far) but the music press love them. The frenzy has even spilled over to the tabloids, with The Sun proclaiming their debut album may be the fastest seller of all time. Wow, that's amazing; until you realize the previous fastest seller was Hear'say's Popstars. Well, the press can continue to go ape but whilst I eagerly await their difficult second album, Arctic Monkeys leave me decidedly cold...

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28th January 2006 - INXS and Love Hammer

I have a small confession to make. Well, quite a serious one actually – I went to see INXS last night! Yes, that’s right, the INXS that found their new singer, JD Fortune, on a reality TV show. For those that missed it, Rock Star: INXS was a reality show (a kind of rock version of American Idol) where the guys in the band chose a new singer out of 15 hopeful rockers. It was actually a good TV show and as Laura was into INXS back in the day, we decided to get tickets for the gig, which we enjoyed. I had forgotten how many hits INXS had over the years and new singer JD, although he’s no Michael Hutchence, is a good performer and singer and the old songs sounded very good. The new songs, however, sounded a little overwritten and you can always tell something bad is going to happen when a video screen comes down and some footage starts playing to take your mind off how bad the song is… Oops, up it goes again and straight into “What you need”. The one song from the new album that did go down well was JD’s “Pretty Vegas” (a song he wrote and performed as part of the Rock Star: INXS competition) although it remains to be seen whether INXS let him write anything else for the band...

Opening up (and somewhat less enjoyable) was runner up in the Rock Star: INXS competition, Marty Casey and his new band Love Hammer (you know I’ll get to the name in a minute...) Stuck between traditional rock and new rock, with not enough of either to please fans of either genre - they certainly didn’t appeal to a crowd made up of aging INXS fans, a lot of whom brought along their kids who liked the TV series. The highlight of Love Hammer (ok, ok, I’ll get to it soon…) was Marty’s song “Trees” (also written for the competition) and although it’s a good tune, the lyrics sound unsophisticated is this less poppy environment:

It'll be you and me up in the trees
and the forest will give us the answers.
It'll be you and I up in the sky
It's a combination for disaster.

You said it Marty, which leads me nicely onto the name of the band: Love Hammer. First, their LH logo looks like a couple of worms that got washed out of the hills by the rain and then run over by a car. Second, if you’re going to name a band after your penis, a little subtlety can go a long way…

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16th January 2006... Bloc Party and J-Lo

I don't dislike Bloc Party, far from it! Well, perhaps not that far but anyway, the name just bugs me... It sounds like Blue Peter had a viewers competition to come up with an appropriate name for an indie band. In case you hadn't examined the nuances of the name, I will explain... Bloc Party sounds like block party - a large informal public celebration in which many members of a single neighborhood congregate to
observe a positive event of usually local importance. Well, obviously every indie kid loves a block party but this name isn't exactly hip (Jenny from the block anyone?) so let's change the first word to Bloc! Genius! This is really cool cos Bloc makes you think of eastern bloc countries: a little dangerous, a little
political and a little edgy. (They're obviously too young to know about red wedge!)

I know this is all a little complicated so here is a mathematical recap:

block party + (eastern) bloc = bloc party

Got it? OK, I'm off to listen to some J-Lo...

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15th January 2006... The Editors, The Sound, Interpol, Joy Division, The Cure, Wire and Mike Flowers Pops

I was checking out The Editors as they are coming to town and they sound ok. The music reminded me of The Sound in their heyday, which is a good thing but the singer sounded like the guy from Interpol, which is a very bad thing. Anyway, it got me thinking about this whole post-punk sound-alike contest that's been doing on for a few years now. Interpol imitating Joy Division, Bloc Party imitating The Cure, the
world and his wife imitating Wire. Well it has to stop! Like Rockefeller getting a stock tip from the shoeshine boy, the market is ripe for a fall. When bands start sounding like bands who got their sound from another band, things ain't gonna last... Personally, I'm waiting for the next easy listening revival! Mike Flowers anyone?...

4 comments:

Tania said...

Actually its Lovehammers and it wasn't a new band. Its a well established band in the Chicago area. The songs are honest and unpretentious and I really like their blend of old school rock and modern sensibilities. I watched Rockstar:INXS and discovered Lovehammers because I was fascinated by the charismatic intensity and presence of Marty Casey. I was delighted to find that they were something very different from the pap we are served up on commercial radio, hip hop divas and angsty boy bands.

They are energetic, strong, passionate and damn hot! They are a Man Band. I live in New Zealand and INXS is a huge part of the soundtrack of my life but for me LOVEHAMMERS are more interesting and relevant than anything INXS has done since Michael Hutchence...left the band.

Ian D.Matthews said...

Being more interesting and relevant than a post-Michael Hutchence INXS is hardly anything to write home about but thanks for your passionate and articulate comment.

Babe said...

Just out of curiosity, is the name of this blog, "everybody stalking" or "everybody's talking" - just wondering...

Ian D.Matthews said...

It's intentionally ambiguous...