If you’re after positivity, you’ve come to the wrong place…
When it comes to music, January is like turning up at a Led Zep reunion gig only to be told they’ve cancelled – but don’t worry Foreigner and Paulo Nutini are still playing.
It’s that much of a letdown.
Indeed, the first month of the year is much like the introductory track on many hip hop long-players; an unnecessary, pre-requisite skit preceding the pleasures yet to come.
January is the industry’s 31-day hangover as it prepares itself for another 11-month bender – a month so devoid of interest, that if you could play God, you’d flick ‘skip’ on your virtual mp3 player and jump head-long into February.
One cursory glance through this month’s music press pretty much says it all – each and every one is wafer thin – more leaflet than magazine.
Ailing NME (which, incidentally, was robbed from my desk before I’d even read it) had more in common with that translucent toilet paper dished out in schools in the ’80s that acted more as a slicing weapon than a bodily cleaning agent.
Taking a quick look inside the various print publications and we’re treated to the usual, predictable fodder – who’s going to big in the next 12 months (Foals, Adele and Duffy are the obvious standouts, unanimously bagging the headlines, and judging by their already circulating sounds, pretty much justifiable certs for success).
More depressing is the usual ‘catching up in the studio’ sections where we’re informed two of the most dreary super(market)groups Britain has ever excreted are due for a return: Keane, and the ever-increasingly woeful Chris Martin Band.
It has taken me almost three years to banish the latter’s nightmarish, skull-crushingly bland set at the monsoon-like Glastonbury Festival in 2005 – a set which appeared biblical in proportion, but instead of rape, murder and divinity all we got was 37 songs about algebra.
What made it all the more punishing was my mudcaked feet were cut to ribbons – owing to a lack of wellington boots – and thus rendering me unable to move from within a stones throw from my tent…
Anyway, fingers crossed The CMB and Keane ditch the piano warbling and move in a vaguely interesting direction for, let’s face it, even if they take a dump on their ivory keys the noise it emits will choke the airwaves come what may.
An addition to the January Blues list arrived by way of a brief trip into Liverpool where upon attempting to part with some cash and vouchers, I quickly realised that record sales simply don’t exist anymore. Well, not proper sales.
What with the record shop huffing and puffing its way towards extinction I found that bar the usual, year-round has-beens (Air‘s Moon Safari, The Eagles‘ Hotel California and almost the entire Oasis back catalogue being notable permanent sale items) there’s little worth bothering with.
Worse still is the choice – what with Bold Street’s HMV the size of a wheelie bin and MusicZone extinct you’re left with Zavvi (aka: Virgin) as the only other high street retailer. Sure, the perma-great indies Hairy’s and Probe are always worth a trip but they don’t, and can’t, afford to bother with sale items.
I went to Liverpool in search of Can, Cluster, an early Porno For Pyros, New Pornographers and even Kate Nash but alas returned empty-handed…
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
There are however, a few January gems to be unearthed and for these we should pay particular attention to:.
Magnetic Fields: Distortion (January 14)
Black Mountain: In The Future (January 21)
Cat Power: Jukebox (January 28)
The Mars Volta: The Bedlam In Goliath (January 28)
Sons & Daughters: The Gift (January 28).
Happy New Year.