Category Archives: Statement(s) of Intent

Statement of Intent Mk. 4

STATEMENT OF INTENT.

There aren’t many other bands with the confidence to drop off a statement of intent with the casual deftness (and soulless ease)  of a seasoned terrorist, leaving a bundle of words and threatening tones ticking away in your mind until the inevitable happens. Of course, not many bands were as fortunate as Suede, blessed with an impossibly beautiful lead singer (Brett Anderson) and an impossibly young (all of 19 when he joined the group) and impossibly talented guitarist (Bernard Butler).

This is the first track off their second album (and first album presenting them as the “London Suede” here in the US, lest any of us stateside Suedeheads become confused as to whether we were listening to the British glamrock we loved or the other Suede, that we had never listened to ever) Dog Man Star, which is one of their more consistent outings, but nothing else on it reaches the menacing peaks this one does.

Throbbing dangerously with barely restrained energy, the enveloping hum of bass sounding like a transformer substation on the verge of exploding, the track seethes and vibrates. The lyrics themselves are a work of enthralling, horrific art as well. Anderson has the protagonist (and album title) lead off by “sucking on a pill” before painting a picture of despair and violence using seemingly unrelated words:

Chic thug stuttered through a stereo dream
A fifty-knuckle shuffle heavy metal machine
Tears of suburbia drowned the land
Introducing the band

If the thought of this creature roaming the lands isn’t enough to terrorize those who it’s intended to terrorize, the next stanza brings home the horror show, turning the violence inward:

Steal me a savage, subservient son
Get him shacked up, bloodied up and sucking on a gun

At which point, Suede plays with rough trade in heavy traffic, conflating Anderson’s cheerless androgyny with the used-up human being appearing just before the focus shift:

I want the smile of a woman, the kiss of a man
Introducing the band

If Suede wanted to be the new Smiths, it could have taken the title with those two lines. They already had the gender havoc, personified by Anderson’s looks, tastes and lyrics. They also had the requisite impossibly talented/young guitarist in Butler, who could do everything Johnny Marr could do, including jump ship.

Finally, the inverted violence explodes outward:

And as the sci-fi lullaby starts to build
See them whipping all the women, cracked governments killed
Oh let the century die to violent hands
Introducing the band

Sure, the Manic Street Preachers had made it redundant to be tie glam rock to revolutionary rhetoric, but as the bassline here approaches critical mass, sounding like the Four Horseman of Apocalypse arriving by train, and Butler, relegated to the background for most of the track, leads into the final refrain by unleashing white hot arcs of trebly distortion all over the humming propulsion, you swiftly realize that Suede, at their best, could do more damage in 3 minutes then the Manics could ever hope to conjure over an entire career of overly-wordy track titles.

/s/CLT

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Statement of Intent v.3

Celebrate the common man.

/s/CLT

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The Decline of the Album – Part I: “Other Bands”.

I made a huge mistake yesterday: I visited a band message board I had previously fallen out of love with.  Not the band — who shall remain nameless — the board.  “The B. Board”.  I got my money’s worth out of the relationship: I have Chicago and Detroit and Texas and Ohio friends now, who I’ll see at certain shows and they’re very nice people.  Most of them fell out of love like I did, for several reasons (not a single one interesting enough to mention here).

Like most artist-based message boards, The B. Board features a section titled “Other Bands” for discussing and sharing music other than the hosting artist.  And, like most artist-based message boards, no good comes of this.  I wish I was exaggerating, maybe I am a bit; but I cannot remember being told of one single other band that I both hadn’t already heard of, and enjoyed so much they’ve become a band I listen to (This could be the nature of the B. Board fan however, not a representation of all “Other Bands” sections; if there is an “Other Bands” section out there that is open-minded and tasteful, I apologize.).

Yesterday I was browsing the main page for updates on an album and swung by “Other Bands”.  It baffled me to read this statement:

“… among the best songs they’ve ever done. It’s rare for me to find a record where I don’t skip at least one track.

Context here is important.  This guy was arguing how said album (the thread topic) is the best this particular band has ever made based solely on the argument that he can listen to it straight through without skipping songs.  HULKCONFUSED…

My response seemed, not only predictable, but plain to see (this is verbatim):

“Also, if it’s rare for you to find an album you can listen to straight through you’re either not finding the right music (maybe expand your horizons a little?), or you just don’t like music very much.”

He didn’t think so.  He thought, “How dare someone even think I don’t like music as much as I do!  I’m posting on [The B. Board] aren’t I?!!?”  I wasn’t trying to be hyperbolic, or a dick.  I was being serious.  If it is honestly difficult, a challenge, to find an album you can throw in and listen to in its entirety, what other options are there?  Especially, like in this case, if this applies even to one of purportedly “favorite” bands of yours??

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this.  I compared the notion to other forms of media: “If I said I find it difficult to sit through an entire movie without skipping parts would I be considered a person who enjoys movies?”, I thought to myself.  Especially if that was my “favorite” director??  Well… no.  Maybe I should try some documentaries or some silents or some Kung-Fu?  Surely, if I like movies the way I think I do, I could find something worth my two hours.  Without skipping scenes, or fast forwarding at all.  Then it hit me.  This entire thing wasn’t about whether or not the guy actually enjoys music, it’s about the ALBUM.  The movie is the album.

It’s isn’t because he’s not finding the right music, or he doesn’t like music at all… this relates more closely to what has happened to the notion of album.  Can I blame him?  What has happened to the album, anyways?

/s/Sonny

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Sonny Wilkins is a dead jazz musician.  Sonny Wilkins is a guy named Dan.  He posts regularly at THE SONNY WILKINS CHRONICLE.

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Statement of Intent v.2

Creating great entertainment does not always require money. Or talent. Or synchronization.

(via the always fine Bomarr Blog)

/s/CLT

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Statement of Intent v.1

The best version isn’t always the original version.

[Alternately: YOUR MUSIC HAS BEEN BROKEN. YOU CAN HAVE IT BACK NOW.]

/s/CLT

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Introducing the Brand

Welcome to Minor Scratches, a music blog.

Now that the understatement is out of the way, let’s get down to the business of why we’re here.

The Why: a mutual love of music that has given the many authors of this blog the urge to try to communicate How Something Sounds and Why You Should Give It A Listen using the most unwieldy tool of all: the written language.

Not that this in itself is a unique idea. WordPress is always happy to point out that it hosts effteen million blogs and hey, here’s another one. At this point in the history of the ‘net, a music blog is about as unique as a snowflake in a blizzard. Sure, if you get close enough, you can spot the differences, but the overall picture is a fuckload of nondescript whiteness.

There are those that might look at the signal-to-noise rather and wonder, why bother? Then there are people like us, who look at an over-saturated market and say why the fuck not.

So, what can you, the end user, reasonably expect from this music blog? Who knows? Music is the only certainty. Album reviews, recommended tunes, occasional essays, occasional lists, bursts of news, link dumps, stretched metaphors, caustic rounds with various music-related punching bags. Sometimes you’ll get 500 words. Other times, you’ll get a sentence and an embedded video.

Here’s what you won’t get. Elitism. Elitism trying to pass itself off as humility. Faux humility trying to pass itself off as real humility. Probably not much humility at all, come to think of it.

You won’t get told how to buy music. and what records you should cram into your head before you die/retire to a desert island. We won’t chase down new genres or practice any sort of NME-esque next big thinging. We won’t lure you in with SEO headlines or turn the blog into nothing more than an mp3 dump truck for the purposes of gaming Hype Machine eyeballs.

We will never consider ourselves a “filter,” but rather a “conduit.” We’re not “tastemakers.” We’re “fans.”

Finally, we will never set ourselves up for failure by rattling off a sundry list of high-minded aspirations and proclamations. Therefore, we reserve the right to break each and every rule, guideline or boundary we have set for ourselves as situations warrant.

Because, underneath it all, we’re just a bunch of fucking music bloggers.

/s/Minor Scratches

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Introduction

Cap is going to publish a statement of intent in the next few days to officially kick off Minor Scratches. Until then, consider what follows the equivalent of a restaurant’s soft opening. This blog will focus on music, as broad a focus as that is, and is written by a few acquaintances.

/s/Mohammed Chang

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