Wild Mercury Sound

Raccoo-oo-oon, The Go! Team and more chinstroking about Justice, Dubstep etc

John Mulvey

A nice post from Tunetribe about yesterday's blog on Justice. Not least because he/she seems to have picked some sense out of my gibberish.

"Odd that dance music is so prone to excessive analysis though," they write. "Isn't all that discursive net babble about Dubstep a little wearing? At least this sort of stuff [Justice], achingly hip as it may currently be, is meant to be fun." It's an interesting point. My suspicion is that dance music lends itself to theorising for two reasons: one,the artists often lack the sort of backstory or self-aggrandising profile that gives journalists something to write about other than the music - or, at best, that places the music in a marketable context.

My second hunch is that dance music, thanks to its notional futurism and its frequent lack of subtext, often attracts writers who are interested in constructing a progressive agenda which can accommodate a bunch of records they like at the time. This seems particularly true of dubstep, which is something I've never quite developed a taste for, in spite of many friends proselytising about stuff like the Burial album. It strikes me that this is music which is gagging to be theorised about: lots of urban dystopia, grimy Ballardian futurism, a potentially intriguing mixture of dancefloor codes and morbid alienation etc. But to be honest, it all seems a bit corny and obvious to me, reminiscent of those studiously bleak "Isolationist" comps from the early '90s, when someone (Kevin Martin from Techno Animal, if memory serves) worked out that the paranoia-inducing aspects of dopesmoking could be aligned to dub. Anyway, this is Burial's Myspace, so have a listen and let me know what you think.

Onto today's favourite tunes. I'm just into the third play of the day of the new album by Raccoo-oo-oon, which is a thoroughly bracing 40 minutes of Iowa City noiseniks enacting some kind of prankish tribal rituals. "Behold Secret Kingdom" is a wayward and splattery racket that infrequently resembles "Funhouse" Stooges (a saxophone is involved) running naked through some woods and hitting each other with sticks. It has tunes of a sort, though, and is a lot more accessible than other noise-based stuff from the New Weird America psych scene (like the Magik Markers, I guess) because, as my colleague John Robinson, put it, "They're Raccoo-oo-oon, and they're rocky." In other words, they're not just avant-garde cacophony jockeys, they're exhilarating punks, too.

Finally, a quick mention for the impressively jolly new Go! Team single, "Grip Like A Vice", which proves me wrong when I thought their '80s rap/riot grrl/garage rock/big beat hybrid would only work for a single album. Great version of Sonic Youth's "Bull In The Heather", too.


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