Wild Mercury Sound

More Smashing Pumpkins rage, plus Robert Forster on Bob Dylan

John Mulvey

A brief dispatch, since I'm fending off hordes of enraged Smashing Pumpkins fans, some of them Argentinian. My crimes are many, but involve bad grammar, liking Zwan and, OK, disrespecting the the untouchable genius of Billy Corgan.

Obviously, I don't want to get in a pissing war about "Zeitgeist", and it seems churlish to mention again here that I actually rather like the record. But I must admit this comment riled me, from Hyperstar: "NME and its by-products always put a guy that hates a band to comment on their album so he/she can rip it to shreds in disregards of us the fans."

Well, Uncut isn't a by-product of NME, it's a magazine that occupies the office next door. Neither magazine wastes much space on slagging off bands, and this blog is specifically about records I like. But Hyperstar is right in one respect: I'm not a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins, but then I like too much music to be that kind of obsessive fan of any one band.

Anyway, here's a report by our corporate chums about the Smashing Pumpkins' live show in Paris last night. Looks like it was very good, and very long.

In more tranquil news, I had a chat to Robert Forster on the phone yesterday, mainly about the forthcoming "Intermission" comp that collects the work he and Grant McLennan did solo when The Go-Betweens went on hiatus in the '90s. Forster told me that he's now working as a journalist in Australia, and so I had a mooch about online and found this interesting piece by him on Bob Dylan's "Modern Times".

This point is especially provocative, I think: "A typical Dylan-produced song, in the studio or on stage, consists of all the musicians starting together, playing together and finishing when Dylan gives them the nod. No one sits out. No one comes in just for a chorus. It’s all pretty flat, and that’s fine when the songs are top-notch and we listen to Bob sing. But as soon as they slip – as they surprisingly do on much of this album – you realise that someone else is needed to push Dylan on his material and the way it might sound."

I don't quite agree - I'd rather Dylan never went near Daniel Lanois again, for a start - but I do know what he means.


Editor's Letter

The 46th (And Last) Playlist Of 2014

Sorry I didn't manage to post a playlist last week; a combination of germs, deadlines and various other professional/seasonal distractions meant that I ran out of time.

Here, though, is our last office list of 2014, with lots of strong new entries. A few highlights...