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New to you – Poor Things

483396_633233053357665_838308126_nNostalgia is a bastard. Things were never what they used to be and it’s silly to keep harping back to some imagined era when everything was as you want it. There’s a reason for that and it’s because it only exists in your mind.

But 90s guitar bands were better than today’s that’s just a fact. No, it is. Shush.

Let me explain; it wasn’t that every band was great, or that every modern one is rubbish. Indeed, thanks to the wonders of Spotify you can find some wonderful music you probably wouldn’t have access to. But in the 90s, weird stuff was mainstream. Teenage Fanclub, Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. had hits. Actual, chart hits. They were on Top of the Pops. There was a Top of the Pops. Radio One was actually, genuinely, really good. Sigh….

So things have changed, and Perth 3-piece Poor Things may never get to hang out in the Met Bar, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are really, really good. Charmingly angular pop which will resonate with anyone who has ever drank a pint of cider – with no fucking ice – in a grotty mosh pit wearing a Nirvana t-shirt. They have a new EP out on June 10 called Hurricane Poor ThingsGive it a whirl.

Whippet Out – Pure Reason Revolution, King Tut’s Glasgow

An example to us all, Howlin’ Whippet defies age, logic and climate to go out in search of more rock and roll redemption.

Pure Reason Revolution are one of those odd bands that are somewhat jealously guarded by their fans. It’s almost on a need to know basis, a type of I-could-tell-you-but-I’d-have-to-kill-you situation. This, as you can imagine, is no way to conduct a successful unit-generating rock monster. Having a loyal fanbase is a great thing to have, but when that fanbase never gets any bigger, you ain’t on to a winner.

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Foo Fighters – Curiously Unloved

Howlin’ Whippet looks at Dave Grohl and co and wonders – can anyone ever really escape a shadow THAT big?

I’ve never given much thought to the Foo Fighters, but in one of those odd moments of synchronicity that one gets, I found myself surrounded by the hairy-beardy ones several times in the last week. Odd, as it’s the 20th anniversary of Nevermind this month too. Mysterious ways and all that.

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Hey Uncle Sam! Is grunge coming back?

If you subscribe to the theory that music is cyclical – and that everything gets copied eventually – then the last few years have provided a lot of grist for your theoretical mill. From post-punk to techno to electropop, it seems everything that wasn’t nailed down has been re-constituted and adapted by someone. For a few years everyone sounded like Josef K, then it was wall-to-wall New Order before the template for every pop hit was seemingly ‘Master and Servant’.

Now, there appears signs that it’s time to look out the plaid shirt and the syringes, because grunge may well be the next to be given a new millenium makeover.

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I know a lot about art, I just don’t know what I like – 10 Classic Album covers

The Government estimates we produce over 10 million tones of packaging waste each year. The Daily Mail have declared war on the simple plastic bag, declaring it a hazard up there with nuclear war, Labour and immigrants. Even asking for one in Marks and Spencer is now akin to saying ‘I would like you to show me your most effective cakes for luring children back to my shabby abode for inappropriate fun’. The world hates packaging.

But truly great albums are not complete without a stand-out package. You simply couldn’t imagine, say, Full Moon Fever or Parklife coming in different covers or having a different track order. The sleeve notes, the insert photographs….they all have a part to play. In these days of instant individual download and songs never accruing any physical status, it’s sometimes hard to give albums that almost mythical status that some of these classics achieved.

Here are some of the albums you simply can’t imagine coming in a different cover.

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News Nuggets – Now made from 100% mechanically recovered news

neeeervanaThe end of a decade is a strange, unsettling time. Caught on the cusp of what has been and what is yet to come, we huddle in front of our flatscreens desperately trying to make sense of it all. Are you confused just now? You are not alone. The questions, those unanswerable questions, just seem to mount up….like, what’s with Richard Hammond’s hair in those Morrison’s adverts? Seriously. He looks like someone has cruelly blow-dried a basset hound whilst high on acid.

But we can’t sit here and talk about important issues like that, not when we have this week’s news round-up for you. Continue reading

The Songs That Saved Your Life – The 90s: Loaded

screamadelicaThe decade where things could only get better brought the world cargo pants, Sunny Delight and Chris Evans. Musically, Grunge and Britpop could lay claim to being the defining movements of the era, though that’s to do a disservice to Jive Bunny. ELM suggests it wasn’t a band who could lay claim to the most important track, but rather a remixer…

In the 90s, pop proliferated. Genres split and everybody could listen to anything. Pop bands made the NME; indie bands made Top of the Pops. Dance, both chart-friendly and brain-damaging, was everywhere, and you were as likely to find Oasis t-shirts at Cream as you were to see day-glo. In short, boundaries came down. Continue reading