Monday, 29 June 2009

Loops issue 1 (Faber/Domino 2009)

The independent spirit still thrives in the overwrought music and literature industries, both struggling to cope with pay-fatigue and other distractions away from their products, bigger and flasher with more flash images and snazzy coding. Oh, the independent spirit, it ebbs and flows that a DIY middle finger that deviates between sticking it up in rebellion and exploring the cavities of one’s nose with an awkwardness resigned to irrelevance. Oh, the independent spirit, a matador of such pride and ferocity and spirit, occasionally flagging up such works of wonder as issue 1 of Loops magazine. A co-project between Faber and Domino (recording home to Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Lightspeed Champion), this is a threefold attempt at bringing forth the danger: 1) it’s a quarterly magazine of highbrow essays and short stories, something in short supply in the advent of the blog ‘review’ offered as a free pdf download guaranteed for eyesore 2) it’s a return to the type of music criticism that made Plan B (recently sadly defunct) so vital, that made Lester Bangs so vital, that made music blogs so vital 3) it’s an opportunity to sell some products that, quite frankly, need your cash because yes, Lily Gaga may have farted out another album and Martina Cole may have vomited out another thriller, but they don’t need your cash. Independents with the independent spirit like Faber and Domino do, natch.

Loops features some quality articles written by some interesting writers, some musicians, all from varied spectrums of the music listening platform, from blogger to musician to journalist to critic to fan. Nick Cave’s insane new book ‘The Death of Bunny Munro’ is included as an extracted from early on in its demonic road trip to the soul of tragic father figures. Chris Killen, another Canongate author, presents a bizarre dream sequence involving a narcissistic and sad Paul Simon fighting with Chevy Chase. Richard Millward, author of ‘Ten Storey Love Song’ a book drenched in musical psychedelic and Madchester verve, provides a retrospective on Spaceman 3, your favourite fuzz drone space rock band’s favourite band. Mystery music blogger Maggoty Lamb provides a scathing and insightful review of the last year in music journalism, destroying all sacred cows, dissecting the death of music journalism and its conquering by blogs and websites and people actually writing about bands they like rather than bands they think you’ll like with the biggest ad budget. James Yorkston describes a recent tour with humour, self-deprecation and humility, nailing the touring musician’s spirit with eloquence and heart. Susan Sontag has the best piece, a hilarious deconstruction of hip hop and its inherent campness, using its feelings of bravado and machismo to implicate rappers in the biggest homo-erotic undertones since... well... errr... the last one. Loops, at times, feels a bit too cleverly put together, like there was a list of ubercool cult authors and musicians... right, now, who can we get? But this is a small quibble in a publication well edited and commissioned and put together like a biannual labour of love. Music journalism, music criticism, just writing about love music, seems relevant again.

No comments: