Monday, August 24, 2009

the pastels & tenniscoats

At last, I am back with a functioning computer and a night at home. Oh for small joys! And what better way to spend a chilly and wet Monday evening than listening to a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain's 'About You', as covered by The Pastels and Tenniscoats! What a combination. You can take a listen for yourself right here.

Tenniscoats have been to Australia on a couple of occasions, and I've unfortunately missed out on seeing them each time - on their last tour in February this year, I happened to organise a little club night for myself on the same night they played in town. Such poor timing! I hope the next time they play, they can bring along some fine Scots and play songs off their bound-to-be-fine collaboration record, Two Sunsets. You and I will be able to garner ourselves copies from Domino and Geographic from September 22.

Meanwhile, speaking of Stephen Pastel (surely still one of the dreamiest men in every pop girl's lust list), here's some words of wisdom taken from a Pitchfork interview*:

I like a lot of the music coming out of America recently, like Ducktails, Real Estate, and Crystal Stilts. I heard about Real Estate because we've got a record shop in Glasgow and one of the people who works there told us about them. They reminded me of Orange Juice and Pavement, but they really have their own identity, too.

I think there's a real coherent thread from Swell Maps and Television Personalities through to things like Blank Dogs, caUSE co-MOTION!, Vivian Girls, and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Listening to new bands, I get a sense of déjà vu-- and not always in a good way. But if the Pastels were still trying to play the kind of music we played in 1985 or 1986, I would probably feel more territorial-- but then I'd only have myself to blame.

I found this quite an interesting comment, given I've had a few conversations recently about originality vs derivation in a lot of current bands. My take? I love the sound, so I don't mind if a band wants to blatantly rip off the past, but I can understand why certain bands are disliked for being a direct replica. But I tend to think I always prefer going back to the original bands to hear what it was like the first time around...

* Urgh, two Pitchfork links in a single entry? Sorry. Not intentional.


Alistair Fitchett said...

"I tend to think I always prefer going back to the original bands to hear what it was like the first time around..." This is a really interesting comment / thought, isnt it? Because where do you draw the line of 'original'? At what point do you stop going back, joining the dots of connection through history? Where do you define the 'source' as being?

And ultimately, does it really matter? Or is it just an interesting diversion for those of us who find those kinds of things to be mildly diverting?!

Sorry, no answers, just questions...

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how new bands like vivian girls, the pains of being pure at heart, and such are reaching a fairly wide audience and are more popular than the bands that influenced them were in their day.
I think there's nothing wrong with good music, and everything is influenced by something along the lines of what Alistair said. I'm happy if bands are able to be successful - I'm sure these newer bands love the bands like the Pastels, Black Tambourine and the like, so I'm sure they're not formulaicly trying to rip them off. Your influences can't help but seep in sometimes!

great blog btw! :-)


alex said...

I don't think there is an answer to any of this, but it sure raises some interesting points of discussion! Not having been there at the time, I can't comment on how what I may class as "the original bands" were perceived - were they considered rip-off merchants or mere copycats of the past, or were they even regarded at all?

I know some people are disappointed that some of the new bands are receiving recognition and being lauded for making music that their 80s forebears failed to receive at all, but I guess that's how these things play out.

At the end of it, I'll still be excited by a band that sounds like, say, The Pastels as I will be by listening to 'Sittin' Pretty'. I love that people are making music that sounds like bands I love, and a wider audience has become aware of all these amazing bands.