Preoccupations: ‘Disarray’

On 27 May 2009 I watched a Calgary band called Women (actually four young guys) wipe the floor with an Atlanta band called Deerhunter (same) at Paradiso in Amsterdam. At the time, I was particularly struck by the energy with which Women’s drummer, Mike Wallace, attacked his task, and the band were clearly having a good night.

Women broke up in October 2010, reportedly after an onstage fight between brothers Matt (vocals, bass) and Patrick (vocals, guitar) Flegel. On 21 February 2012, Women’s guitarist, Chris Riemer, passed away in his sleep. Matt Flegel and Mike Wallace then formed the nucleus of a new band, the perhaps unfortunately named Viet Cong (also guys, none of them Vietnamese), who sounded pretty similar to Women, although with maybe a little extra edge.

Then Viet Cong rebranded themselves as Preoccupations and began pursuing a musical trajectory that I was looking forward to appreciating when, as if to prove to myself that I too still had that indie ‘edge’, I booked a ticket to see the band play live at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto in April 2018.

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I remember Australian music in the 1980s

Do you remember Australian music in the 1980s? Is your worldview permanently coloured by the music videos from that profoundly day-glo era?

How, then, to sum up that era in just seven songs? Well, listen and learn fashionistas.

The 7-day 1980s Music Challenge began, for me, as it always does: with a sultry smash hit from my final year of school, 1989.

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Netflix series request: ‘You’re Killing Me’

In 1989 a Stockton, CA, band known as Pavement self-releases its first E.P., the angular Slay Tracks: 1933-1969. Opening cut ‘You’re Killing Me’ sets the tone for the band’s entire recorded output. Lead singer Stephen Malkmus (played here by Kyle MachLachlan of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet fame) cheerfully screams lyrics about killing, murder, mayhem and death.

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Eurovision 2015

One of the strange but perhaps obvious beauties of the new social media confabulation is that platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be used by people across different timezones and locations in order to get together and share their thoughts on a particular issue. Like Eurovision.

In my case, I’ve occasionally dabbled in the weird world of the Facebook comment party, in which friends comment on a particular status update in order to produce a kind of rolling-thunder live-comment stream on a specific event.

One of my personal highlights was a live comment party I hosted during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, which received an astonishing 880 comments over the sheer agony of its two- (or was it four-) hour length.

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Some Chris de Burgh housekeeping

Inevitably, choosing a new WordPress theme (in my case, the wonderful Lovecraft theme by Anders Norén) involves going through old posts and cleaning up dead code and formatting. Given that there are over 1200 posts on this site, it’s quite a job.

But, I’ve been working away in the background and have now re-jigged the first four of my reviews of Chris de Burgh’s lyrical output in the 1970s: Far Beyond These Castle Walls . . . (1974), Spanish Train and Other Stories (1975), At the End of a Perfect Day (1977) and Crusader (1979).

Specifically, I’ve added record covers, quotes and links to the lyrics, in order to make the reviews (even) easier to digest.

Right now I’m also working on a review of de Burgh’s first 1980s collection, Eastern Wind.

More on that shortly!