J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Friday, November 16, 2007

Notes From Underground - #24
Lightning Round

I'm a bit ill-focused this week and as a result my ideas for this column were scattered and multi-faceted. So, let's take advantage of the fact that I'm my own editor and let it all play out. Quick thoughts and notes - comment freely about whichever you want:

1. Is hip-hop due for its equivalent of rock's punk revolution in the 70s? Looking at the current state of commercial hip-hop, it's bloated, absurd, vapid - everything mainstream rock had become by the late-60s/early 70s. Or did we already see it? Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back was on a Spin magazine list of the 50 best punk albums of all time, after all. But hip-hop is a younger style of music, and it is nearly as broad as rock and roll. Music, like all art, moves in cycles of action and reaction - but it's often impossible to spot the paradigm shifts from within. Not to mention that Public Enemy, while definitely opening new boundaries for the art form, wasn't part of a larger movement that really changed the rules of the game. If anything they were almost more equivalent to the Beatles - a band so revolutionary in itself, the rest of the world is still catching up.

2. I discussed in an earlier article how in rock, unlike in art and literature, we have been more hesitant to really, truly question the canon. Have any major rock acts gone from being highly revered to being thrown out? Has enough time passed? Certainly, there are dozens and dozens of artists who have had major commercial success in their time, only to be shunned by the Gods of Critical Longevity. The opposite is true as well - bands that labored with little to no commercial (or even critical) reward at the time of their art, are later revered. It happened to Herman Melville and the Velvet Underground, after all.

But when do we start questioning the established acts? And I don't ask this because I truly believe that the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Who, etc. are truly worth throwing out - quite the contrary. Questioning, revisiting, and reflecting on their work will either just affirm current beliefs while strengthening them with new perspectives, or it will throw the bums out. Are there any acts that you think really deserve a second going-through - someone who is already sanctified? I'll throw out that I've always found the Doors' place in the musical pantheon a bit perplexing.

3. I should mention that copyright laws, in terms of accessing art in order to sample/re-use/incorporate for unique and separate works of art, are completely bogus. Art is strangled by this mis-guided attempt to create property out of something as completely in the public domain as popular/commercial art. Royalties for cover versions and licensed usage of original creations aside, copyright is a sham and art is poorer because of it.

4. Would anyone among readers be interested in a holiday season mix-tape/CD trade? I would have to very, heartily tip my hat to The Skyway for my inspiration (Hey, Matt!), as they do this every holiday season. But basically, if you were interested, you email me your name and mailing address, I match you up with another person randomly, you then send eachother great mix-tapes/CDs of artists you might not have heard. It's a thought I had and would be fun. If you're reading this blog, you share a certain musical sensibility with all of us, so why not take some of those horded gems of your collection and send them out for someone to enjoy? Leave a comment if you're interested and keep an eye here for details if I go through with it.

5. I've always wanted to know more about and better understand jazz. I have a handful of jazz albums by some of the bigger names (Davis, Mingus, Monk, Brubeck), but don't know anyone who's very well versed in the genre. Can anyone recommend either some blogs, or some albums, or anything? I'd appreciate it.

End transmission.



  • At 11:34 PM, November 16, 2007, Blogger Michael said…

    Hey butt-face. I'm game.

  • At 8:29 PM, November 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Learn your jazz daddy-o. Suggest Ornette Coleman's "the Shape of Jazz to Come", John Coltrane's "Love Supreme", T-Monk's "Monk's Dream", Herbie Hancock's "Headhunter" and anything by Miles Davis especially "Sketches of Spain", "IN a Silent Way", "Bitches Brew".

  • At 8:49 AM, November 18, 2007, Blogger J. Neas said…

    Appreciate the recommendations. I don't have any of that, save Davis' Sketches of Spain and Bitches Brew, so I'll add it all to my list. I've heard a lot about Coleman especially.

    I know it's a bit clich├ęd, but it's big for a reason: I love Kind of Blue.


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