Spinning bird kick!
I want to talk for a moment about Hadouken! Admittedly, I know very little about this hot new band, but I feel like I know enough about them to detest them with every ounce of my being. Isn’t that the first blogging commandment anyway? Thou shalt feel no qualms about writing large, misinformed tracts on the latest new thing, even if what thee knows about said band could be written on a postage stamp? I’m merely exercising my rights as a Web 2.0 arsewipe.
Every time I turn over to MTV2 at the moment, the new Hadouken! Single, ‘That Boy That Girl’ is obnoxiously squawking away like a needlessly lurid cheese-induced nightmare, all day-glo and in danger of bringing on seizures. In fact, as I type, I’ve just turned over and, guess what, it’s on! The fuckawful video wouldn’t gall me as much if it were actually a good song. But it’s not. It’s terrible.
I hear a lot of bad music in my role as a blogger, but this is, quite possibly, one of the worst things I’ve heard in a decade. At least the worst thing I’ve heard since Fergie’s ‘London Bridge’ anyway. A triumph (if that word can be applied here) of style over content, ‘That Boy That Girl’ is supposed to be a reaction against bland, laddy Britrock like Kasabian or The Kooks, but in actuality, it has less to say for itself than anything by The View. As an opening gambit by a new band, it’s certainly a statement, but what it says about Hadouken! is "We’ve got absolutely nothing to contribute to the musical landscape but we’re going to do it in the most insufferably garish way we can".
Like I said at the start, I know next-to-nothing about Hadouken! but everything I do know from their unspeakably hip, zeitgeist-shagging name (complete with unnecessary exclamation mark that serves to make every sentence you write with their name at the end read like you’re shouting it) to their Carri Mundane sponsored threads makes me want to punch each one of them repeatedly in the stomach for a whole day. I don’t care that my knuckles will be red raw and bleeding, it’ll be worth it.
They’re today’s (Saturday 24th) single of the week in the Guardian Guide (Why Guardian Guide?! Why?!)and there’s a press shot of the band accompanying the fawning review. In the press shot, one of their number is wearing a Big Black t-shirt. Just by looking at him, however, I can tell that should he ever actually hear Songs About Fucking he would be cowering in the corner, crying and covering his ears by the midway point of ‘The Power Of Independent Trucking’. It’s this kind of hollow proclamation that makes me wonder whether this isn’t some sort of industry joke. Especially when a band like The Whip, who do the dance/rock cross-pollination thing approximately a million times better than Hadouken! ever will, can’t seem to catch a break.
If we believe the hyperbole that Hadouken! are the future of music then, frankly, we’re all fucking doomed. If they are successful and we get the mandatory wave of imitators then us music hacks will be stuck for anything meaningful to say about them. Of course, music isn’t anywhere near as linear or clear-cut as that and there’s always going to be people making great music, irregardless of what’s fashionable or in and that’s why I love it so much. It’s equally edifying to have something to hate and that’s why, perversely, I’m glad that Hadouken! exist. I’m just hoping that they don’t stick around for too long.
In the meantime, download the new single by The Whip, available for a limited time only, then go out and buy the fucking thing. Also, you could do a lot worse than watch the video here. I was there, you know…
The Whip - Muzzle No. 1 (mp3)
One man who has never had any interest in the vagaries of fashion in music is Nick Cave. Admirably old-fashioned and more concerned with making music that is timeless, he’s done it again with his new band project, Grinderman. Alongside Bad Seeds cohorts Martyn Casey, Jim Sclavunos and Warren Ellis, Cave has rolled back the years and recorded his most unforgiving, shit-kicking album since Junkyard.
A primal, stripped-down treat of an album, Grinderman is full of ballsy, manic garage rockers, with the odd pace-dropping moment thrown in for added light and shade. ‘Get It On’, the album’s opener, is a ferocious, wild-eyed statement of intent, a kind of theme tune that sees Cave telling of a man who "drank panther piss and fucked the girls you’re probably married to". Coming from a man once spotted on the tube, writing lyrics with blood from a syringe, it could be taken that the protagonist is actually Cave’s junked-up former self. Given that this is arguably his angriest, most nerve-jangling album in around two decades, that is most probably true.
While Grinderman is not his best work and doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of The Boatman’s Call, Tender Prey or 2004’s Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus, it’s still a work of brilliance from one of music’s most consistently rewarding artists. Not to say that this is purely a Nick Cave album of course, as the other members play an equally important part as their ringleader, most notably Warren Ellis who doesn’t pick up a violin once, choosing to get busy with tons of percussion, giving the album a snake-hipped rhythmic drive that comes to the fore on the early-VU-like voodoo blues of ‘Electric Alice’ and the aforementioned ‘Get It On’.
This is yet another fantastic addition to the Cave canon, displaying his adroitness with his craft in the way he moves effortlessly from the louche, loungey ‘Go Tell The Women’ to the Cramps-esque, jet-powered thrash of ‘Honey Bee (Let’s Fly To Mars)’. It’s also absolutely hilarious, showing Cave to be the dry wit that we all knew he was anyway. On ‘Love Bomb’, he namechecks The Women’s Hour and Gardener’s Question Time, while on the absurdly funny ‘No Pussy Blues’, Cave documents his lack of skills with the fairer sex as a forty-odd year-old man in side-splitting manner.
At a time when Cave would be forgiven for mellowing out a little, he has chosen instead to grow old disgracefully. Long may he continue to do so if he keeps coming up with records as vital and raw as Grinderman.