Mixpost 5 – Nostalgia, Flipdog style

When I was doing my degree in psychology, one of the ‘facts’ I was spoon-fed was that the music taste that someone has when they’re twenty defines their taste in music going forward, like that moment is frozen in time and and people don’t deviate from it because. The same bloke who ‘taught’ me that went on to say that he was certain that there would be a scientific explanation of creativity, a statement of faith if ever I heard one. I’m still waiting, Dr North…

Of course, that’s bollocks, like an awfully high percentage of stuff that gets giddily reported from the social sciences. I can think of at least two different interpretations of those observations although they tangle up in the following sentences to seem like one, but there are probably many more.  Twenty is the time of many people’s ‘golden age’ before they get trapped into the drudgery of working for a living day in and day out, possibly with extra domestic responsibilities too, and unless music is some kind of huge passion, they’ll just stick to what they know. Those of us who are consumed by music don’t ever stop listening to the new stuff, but it actually takes an effort because if you stick to the mainstream gatekeepers of taste then you will come to the conclusion very quickly that you’ve checked out all the possibilities, so shallow is the pool from which they select; a pool that is only getting shallower in these times of fear and insecurity where people want comfort blankets in every aspect of their lives.

But anyway, here’s a selection of tunes that I liked when I was around that age. My taste has proper moved on now – if you’d have told me then that an older version of me would like some jazz, for example, that version of me would have told you to fack right off – but I still love these. Very little commentary is necessary, except to say there is no order to this list.

Can you believe someone wrote a pop song in the 80s that only had 1 chord? Maybe my love of minimalism and repetition stems from this:

and finally…

The Wharves

Dear The Wharves,

I’m really, really struggling to write this post. Maybe I should just suffice it to say that I really, really like the ‘At Bay’ album. It reminds me in ways of the awesome Sleater-Kinney, maybe a bit less mono-riffic but a bit more catchy. Apparently your earlier stuff is heavier? Me go check out. Update: not noticeably heavier, but I still like it.

Gringo Records‘ description is frankly different to what I’d put. Also I have seen the words ‘psych-pop’ and ‘folk-rock’ used. I don’t like those as descriptors, either. Others have mentioned The Breeders – on that, I cannot comment, because I only ever heard that Cannonball song. Dancing about architecture, indeed. I mean, how would you describe yourselves? Ah yes, ‘alternative mid-fi.’ You know, I think I like that the best. It could work as a whole genre description – functionally meaningless and yet, when you hear the music, you can’t say it’s wrong.

However, I am flat out jealous of ‘Faultline’ which is one of the dirtiest riffs I’ve heard in a long time, and has resided in my head all week. And I am also chock full of admiration for the vocal approach you take. The harmonies are very often outrageous, but in no way unnatural. And I don’t normally like songs that interrupt a perfectly good groove in order to chuck in a new chord or two. Your songs do that, and I still like them. You clearly have something going on.

I’m off to find some architecture to dance to.

Yours  etc,


p.s. I don’t normally write letters to people I’ve never met before, particularly not in the digital public. This goes to show how desperate my lack of imagination was in writing this post! But the fact is, I had to do it anyway. So I did it.