When do we take them out and shoot them?

Wait a minute. When I was a younger-young person, I jeered at old timers who, cool enough to recognize, say, The Who, for what they were in their heyday, would still drool over embarrassing garbage like”Eminence Front” like it was “The Who Sells Out” reborn.

So is this me with the three new Sonic Youth tracks I’ve heard?
Because this is good:
Sonic Youth — Incinerate

No. And for two reasons. One: The aforementioned fans are the type of fat and bearded assholes who love everything by their fave music bands, the guys who buy bottled Geddy Lee farts or a t-shirt worn by Jeff Magnum’s bank teller. I hate Sonic Youth 1994-now. I almost tracked them down to try and challenge them to a knife and chain fight just because of Experimental Jet Set and Complete Horseshit.

And two, I might still hate the rest of the new album.

So let’s apply logc, shall we? The highly opinionated kind, where no prisoners are taken? I’m going to narrow down artists’ contributions to the world, in an effort to eliminate all the slop that the highly successful get away with. And maybe to pinpoint the moment at which certian people needed to be taken out and disposed of like a broken legged mare.

For example, some very easy ones would be:

Led Zeppelin can be dismissed in their entirety save for the live rendition of “Whole Lotta Love” from the movie The Song Remains the Same, specifically the 30 seconds of soloing by Jimmy Page, wherein Page uses a Theremin (no shit) while Bonham and Jones enjoy an unexpurgated soul groove they probably enjoyed playing more than the usual Page/Plant D&D -influenced bullshit.

Dave Matthews has no purpose as an organism other than two minutes of the movie Because of Winn-Dixie, about 75 minutes in, where he plays a pretty little acoustic ditty that wouldn’t make fans of Iron & Wine blink an eye if you slipped it in between songs from Our Endless Numbered Days. Possibly because that’s Iron & Wine’s weakest album, but hey, it’s the best DM will ever do.

The Zutons … nah. There’s nothing.

See? Easy. Now I dare me:

Iron and Wine:
Don’t act surprised. I’m trying to inspire argument. Aside from one track on
The Creek Drank the Cradle, and then the entire, monumental and delicious Woman King EP, there’s nothing else worth listening to by Sam Beam. At least in comparison. And no, I’m not forgetting anything.

The only decent thing about Death Cab for Cutie is the Postal Service. Ain’t that some shit? (with the exception, possibly, of “The Sound of Settling” and “Crooked Fingers”).

Wilco
The first album. And some of A Ghost is Born. The rest of it reeks of WKCR ‘semi-popular’ music (and I’m a Unc Tupelo fan, but there is no such thing as Sun Volt). And sometimes they’re as pretentious as PM Dawn.

Son Volt
Nothing. Forget I even listed them.

The Rolling Stones
To quote Keith Richards, who said the following when asked what words he would use to describe their success: “Two words: Charlie Watts.” Which means: “Miss You,” “Heartbreaker,” “Emotional Rescue,” and “Waiting on a Friend.” Everything else is oldies radio, 80s schmaltz, or cultural carpetbagging (this means you, Exile).

Ryan Adams
Everything. Maybe not the song ‘nuclear.’ But probably.

Galaxie 500
“Blue Thunder” is nice. For the rest of it, I guess you had to be there.

REM
Chronic Town, much of Murmur, and Fables. Maybe a few singles, but nothing after “The One I Love” should ever be played to anyone, not even to teenagers deprived of pop music under some brutal dictatorship, not even in an elevator.

Sugarcubes/Bjork
With possibly the exception of the neurasthenic Vespertine, because it helped bore my child to sleep, you only really need Lifes Too Good.

Radiohead
After Ok Computer, you really have no idea how you were suckered, every time, into buying another album in the hopes that they’d match it.

Tom Waits
Ok, ok, another easy one. All you need is the Holy Trinity: Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, and Franks Wild Years.

Bring it on.

12 thoughts on “When do we take them out and shoot them?

  1. Well,Let’s start with where you get it right. Wilco, yeah, that first album was great and the rest is a lot, lot less great. Tom Waits, dead on. Sonic Youth stopped releasing good records exactly half way through Goo, and to be very honest. Daydream Nation is one of the most overrated albums I own. Sister was the last and probably best Sonic Youth record. Son Volt, yeah, yuck.Ok, here is where you get it wrong, in my humble opinion. The Rolling Stones, all of the studio albums through Brian Jones and Mick Taylor were are worth owning. REM – Reckoning is way up there on the REM good album list. Radiohead – have just always been boring. Whether they are trying to play stadium rock or art rock, they play dolphin music for people.Galaxie 500 – well, it is just all good. When they released their first album, Today, Thurston Moore claimed it was the best guitar record of the year, and this was when Sonic Youth ruled the earth like dinosaurs. And, for what it is worth, Sterling Morrison, Lou Reed, and Tom Verlaine thought Luna was the bomb. Ryan Adams – Whisketown released several beautiful records, including Stranger’s Paradise. Sure it sounds a bit like Tom Petty, but Tom Petty never sounded so good. A band to add:Mercury Rev – that first album is just classic, and the Car Wash Hair single, wonderful, and then it all just sucked.

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  2. Okay:Zep: “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?” is a great song, perfect for driving with the windows down at insane speed through the middle of the Jersey night.Dave Matthews: Should be shot someplace on his body where he will bleed out, slowly, and left to rot.Iron and Wine: I quite like the EP with Calexico.Wilco: Disagree. A lot. Much of the first record, love it as I do, is paint-by-numbers classic rock. And I think Yankee Hotel is better than Ghost.Son Volt: Some of the first record, “Last Minute Shakedown,” especially, worth having. The newest one ain’t bad either.The Stones: Feh. Except for “Sweet Virginia.” I love that tune.Ryan Adams: Agree to disagree. Like Bright Eyes, he doesn’t self-censor, but there’s probably two great albums out there if you combine all the releases. And half of <>Heartbreaker<> is one of them. And I still like the first two Whiskeytown records.Galaxie 500: “Tugboat” is all right too.REM: Life’s Rich Pageant. Radiohead: Agreed. Boy-o, do I think they suck.Waits: I adore <>Closing Time<>

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  3. Also, point to bring up. Putting Galaxie 500 on the same list as REM, Waits, Stones, Wilco, etc. immediately puts them in the same playing field as the best. No one ever compares Galaxie 500 to B minus level bands like Superchunk, Oneida, the 3Ds, My Dad is Dead, etc. Galaxie 500 usually gets compared to the Beatles, Stones, Modern Lovers, Joy Division. So my point is, perhaps a band that appears on most A lists is an A-level band. Galaxie 500, they never released anything bad, anything not worth owning. Did you have to be there? Naw, you just have to keep listening.

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  4. and for what it is worth, your Sonic Youth comments are spot on. Are they back from the dead? Probably not, but that sure is a nice track you posted.

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  5. someone can like Galaxie 500, even love them — but to say they’re in the same league as the Beatles or Joy Division? Crack smoking. I loooove Teenage Fanclub. But you know what? They’re not as good as the Beatles. I love The Replacements. They’re not as good as Joy Division. Then again,. it’s easy to not release anything bad when you use the same three chords in a new order each time for all of your work, like Galaxie 500. Oh, and Luna just bites the biggie. Cut-out bin kings.

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  6. Why thanks for the Sonic confirmation. There’s another track floating in the ether, called ‘Reena,’ that seems to be Kim singing about her kid – and it isn’t schmaltzy at all. I know her oldest has another name, but maybe it’s a nickname …PS – refresh your page and download the new post’s track, as well as the prev day’s track by Aloha …

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  7. Sonic Youth reminds me a bit of REM in the sense that they hit a point in their career where the spark was just gone. REM and Green was the end of an Era. Sonic Youth and the album after Goo was the end of their goodness. As far as the Replacements being as good or less good than Joy Division, the bottom line is that I have listened to the Replacements a hell of a lot more than Joy Division. I count Galaxie 500 among the best rock bands of all time because I have enjoyed their music more often then other bands. We could kick back and talk all day about who is original and who breaks new ground, but do you eat food to push the limits or do you eat food to nurish yourself and feel good? Do you listen to music to be cutting edge or because you enjoy it?As far as Galaxie 500 and three chords go, that is what they did and they did it well.

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  8. I eat food to nourish myself, but only good food, food I like, the best food. If you ate only the food that nourishes you, you’d be eating spinach and downing vitmain shakes. Which reminds me of listening to YankeeHotelFoxtrot. It sounded so … healthy. I like cutting edge stuff, I guess. Lamb sausage dipped in vindaloo with a side of bindhi and a glass of grapefruit juice over ice, then some chipolte chocolate from Ecuador for dessert. Like the Boredoms.

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  9. Lifes Rich Paegent! Oh I err so deeply by including that rekkid in the shitbin. Maybe because it’s so good I forgot REM did it. That’s my favorite. I might be able to toss all their others for that one.To mention Ryan Adams in the same context as Tom Petty – that really does put him in his ‘maybe worth a 10 song greatest comp’ place, no? Freeeeeeeeeeefallllllllin.

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  10. But the Boredoms are fun for about two minutes, and then it hits youk it is just a bunch of Japenese huys yelling. And rumor has it they Swedish guys who are Japanese posers. I hate posers.

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