Archive for the ‘Rob Young’ Category

Stewart Lee’s new book How I Escaped My Certain Fate has just come out to rave reviews. But where can you find Stewart writing about the Fall?

Over the years, the group has mixed rockabilly rhythms, pounding riffs, experimental collages, misappropriated electronica, a subversive pop sensibility, and a dark and often deceptive sense of the absurd. Frontman Mark E Smith’s immediately recognisable antivocals, stream of consciousness lyrics and left-field literary references create a body of work unequalled in scope and sheer size by any other rock outfit. Smith, The Fall’s single longterm constant, is publicly disdainful of the cult of short-term nostalgia. Fall sets rarely include any songs older than the last couple of albums, unless they are seasoned covers of 1960s garage punk classics and old rockabilly riffs ripe for reinterpretation. Smith refuses to become a keeper of sacred relics, the living interpreter of his own back catalogue. The very notion of a Primer on The Fall would no doubt irritate Smith a little, as if someone were preparing his obituary, and the nature of the group’s output and the passion of its followers makes it impossible to agree on generally accepted highlights. The most recent Fall record is always the most important one.

Stewart Lee’s primer on the Fall can be found in The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music, edited by Rob Young of the Wire Magazine and author of Electric Eden.


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Congratulations to Rob Young, whose latest book, Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music, has been getting excellent reviews of late (see here, here and here).

Fans of Young’s work, as well as of The Wire magazine more generally, will be interested in The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music, which surveys the musical universe of several artists, groups and genres by way of contextualizing introductions and thumbnail guides to the most essential recordings.

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In the first issue of Loops, Faber’s new music magazine, Simon Reynolds, the renowned blogger and author of Energy Flash, Rip it Up and Start Again, Bring the Noise and Totally Wired, looks at the attempts to imagine the music of the future in science fiction films, and finds they often can’t escape the past:

As theorised in his masterwork Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late CapitalismVerso 978 Postmodernism, Jameson’s ‘nostalgia mode’ is not to be confused with either the nostalgia felt by an individual for his own past or veneration and longing inspired by a remote-in-time antiquity that seems superior to the present. Rather it’s a symptom of artistic and cultural malaise, an inability to innovate forms of narrative and modes of expression capable of representing the present let alone projecting the future.

Talking of nostalgia, remember when the broadsheets reviewed serious cultural theory? See Simon Reynolds’ review of Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism from the Observer in 1991.

Simon Reynolds is contributing an article on Grime to the forthcoming The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music.Wire Primers

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