Monday, November 12, 2007

Sanneh To Britney Spears: Drop Dead

Extremely irksome New York Times pop music writer Kelefa Sanneh has a new band crush.

From his review of their most recent show in the Times today:

“This next song is about the people who want to control our bodies,” said the singer known as Pink Eyes, adding, “This next song is about the police.”

Pause. No music.

“And it would start, if we were a professional band.”

Pink Eyes is the lead roarer in a ferocious band from Toronto. What band? Well, the name won’t be printed in these pages, not unless an American president, or someone similar, says it by mistake. Suffice it to say that this is an unruly hardcore punk band with a name to match.

Amazing how Sanneh can make a profane, over the top, politically angry band with a shirtless, morbidly obese lead singer sound every bit as cutesy as a manufactured pop idol who grew up on the mean streets of the Mickey Mouse Club. In some perverse way, I guess it's a gift.

In any case, I await Fucked Up's cover version of "Oops, I Did It Again" with breathless anticipation.


TMink said...



I say tomahto in this case.


peter spencer said...

Here's a conversational thread guaranteed to annoy people at parties. The punk thing came along as a self-proclaimed antidote to the Cult Of Genius that '70s rock had bloated into. No more archival knowledge! No more authenticity! No more hierarchy of chops! Just inspired incompetents sharing the intensity of youth with other intense youth! Intensely! And, as Jelly Roll Morton would say, so forth and so on.

Weren't the punks really just turning their backs on the black roots of rock and roll? Is there a little bit of racism here?

Just asking.

steve simels said...

Pete --

There was definitely an element of that, particularly in NYC -- read Lester Bangs' piece on the CBGBs scene "The White Noise Supremacists" and some of the original punk theoreticians -- John Holmstrom and Legs McNeill and a few others -- were stupidly racist suburban idiots in a "Why can't we be proud of being white?" kind of way. But the NY punk scene was no more racist at heart than any other area of American society.

England was differnt -- they had the whole Rock Versus Racism thing early on, and English punk was mixed race fairly quickly. Plus there was the whole Brit punk/Rasta and reggae connection...

steve simels said...

Pete --

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that Danny Fields, who signed the Stooges to Elektra, and who later managed the Ramones, famously said that he loved both those bands because there wasn't a trace of the blues in them.

What a creep...

Fields, by the way, is a gay jew.

agitpropre said...

Hey, that's a coincidence! I was the bass player in Gay Jew. 'Til we broke up over artistic differences...
We Torontonians are always on the bleeding edge.

return of the plumber said...

Steve, you have a hell of a mad on for Sannah at the Times. Is he really an asshole or is it that he has way to much visabillity writing for the Times? Or both and many more reasons.

Haven't most pop music writers for the Times sucked through the years? I always thought so. They have a hard time sniffing out a decent rock act on their own.

By the way this Canadian Punk band seem like a bunch of clowns. Hope I never have to see them perform.

steves said...

"Haven't most pop music writers for the Times sucked through the years? I always thought so. They have a hard time sniffing out a decent rock act on their own."

The Times music criticism has been straight downhill since Robert Palmer.

That said, I think this guy presents too wide a target. He's about as subtle as jackhammer on butter. I'm willing to permt Steve his guilty pleasures, however.

steves said...

P.S. I wrote that before I watched the clip. I may be just another geezer, but man, do they suck!

TMink said...

For me, powerpop in general contains only minor additions from the blues. Now I love the blues, and it rules to drive to, but some times I like a little less blues in my music.

It never crossed my mind that this moment by moment preference comes from racism.


TMink said...

WOW, that band is really bad.

Here is something to clear the air. Elvis Costello from his original SNL appearance.

Anonymous said...

"Here is something to clear the air. Elvis Costello from his original SNL appearance."

That's much better.

Is it true that Lorne Michaels was standing off stage giving him the finger as he played that? Elvis does seem to keep his eyes fixed on a particular spot while singing.

Kid Charlemagne said...

I have never heard that quote about the Stooges. I remember reading an Iggy interview where he said that he made the Stooges listen to Coltrane non-stop and the result was the "Fun House" LP.

I will always thank the Clash for turning me on to reggae and ska. It does pain me however to see their music being used to sell SUVs.

steve simels said...

kid c:

That only goes to show that Fields is ignorant as well as stupid. Of course the Stooges had blues and r&b influences. Before he formed the Stooges, Iggy was the drummer in (an apparently good) purist Chicago blues band fer crissakes...

And here's the playlist for the Stooges jukebox CD Iggy put together this year for Mojo Magazine, when they asked for something reflecting the band's roots and influences...

Trashmen, The Surfin' Bird (2:19)
2 Little Richard Tutti Frutti (2:20)
3 Jerry Lee Lewis Breathless (2:41)
4 Eddie Cochran Cotton Picker (2:10)
5 Fabulous Wailers, The* Tall Cool One (2:27)
6 Dennis Coffey Scorpio (4:07)
7 Link Wray Rumble (2:23)
8 Howlin' Wolf Moanin' At Midnight (2:53)
9 Junior Kimbrough & The Soul Blues Boys Crawling King Snake (4:46)
10 John Lee Hooker Drug Store Woman (2:44)
11 Bo Diddley Say Man (3:08)
12 Mothers Of Invention, The Help, I'm A Rock (4:43)
13 Last Poets, The Run Nigger (1:09)
14 Cannibal & The Headhunters Land Of 1000 Dances (2:32)
15 MC5 Looking At You (2:40)

Kid Charlemagne said...


Burn me a copy of that! ;>

peter spencer said...

That's what I always liked about the Detroit bands, especially MC5. They got the connection between rock and black music, but in a new and more interesting way than, say, most of the San Fransisco scene.

I remember rewarding a quote from Matthew Katz, who managed Moby Grape, about the groups he heard when he first got to SF: "They were breaking the first commandment. They were playing Elmore James badly."

You're right, Steve, about the RAR groups. I guess I was thinking about the newer hardcore bads that my kids raved about. When they took me to shows I'd wonder why I wasn't responding and then realize..."It doesn't swing!"

There's a happy ending, though. Caleb discovered my Robert Johnson album a few years ago and I'll never see that record again.

And yes, Robert Palmer was the last really great pop-music critic the Times ever had. I remember his visceration of a Billy Joel concert once. BJ was on the cover of Rolling Stone two weeks later bitching about the review. That's what made me want to be a music writer. That and hanging with Steve, of course.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Well, you know how I've felt about Sannah since he made his idiotic remark that Jagger's arm movements are perhaps a "visual pun" to indicate that he knows he's no longer a "spring chicken".

That prompted a snotty email to the Times from me ...

And, as we've said before, their sending a film critic to interview Springsteen speaks volumes.

peter spencer said...

That's "E-visceration." Sorry.

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