2002 - Preview
2001 was a truly memorable year in many ways. We nearly had WW3, The Twin Towers fell down, Israel wants to fuck Palestine & India is contemplating winning a limited nuclear encounter with Pakistan (number of overs to be confirmed). All in all it was one hell of a year - the kind of year that takes yr. mind off the relevancy of music.
Thankfully music had something to say about that. Just when the thought of mutually assured destruction felt as if it had taken up permenant residency in the mindset, we get The Strokes, Moldy Peaches, Jeff Lewis & Antifolk. Ably supported & abetted by more seasoned campaigners; The White Stripes, l/a/l & Ed Hamell - the soundtrak to our lives hasn't had such solid gtr guilding since - ooooooooooooh????????????? (Punk) Rock finally re-emerged from behind the shadows of dance culture to re-establish itself as an exciting & relevant artform, once again. The circle, far from being unbroken, is now complete & full again.
It is traditional that the emergence of quality like The Strokes inevitably leads to a shitstorm of lesser copycat bandwagon jumpers eager for a slice of the pie. Hello 2002. The bandwagon is already rolling with intent, IPC staff are loading it with the flotsam & jetsum from the A&R Dept floor @ mysterious major rekkid label plc HQ. For every Strokes there will 42 Black Rebel Motor Cycle Chains bleeting on about being forsaken by Jesus (& a decent rekkid company - & Jim Read), for every Moldy Peaches there are 57 One Hundred Reasons trying their damndest to grow a convincing goatie, for every Hamell On Trial there are 36 Havens trying to reacreate the halcyon days of Thousand Yard Stare.
Obviously, good new music will be created in 2002 but it is pointless, tedious, presumptious &, above all, insulting to pretend to know which lp's these will be before they are even rekorded. Style gurus are for rolling stones with no direction home & predictions are for Mystic Meg & Sun readers.
Expect more of the weird & the wonderful from the underbelly of NYC, as the antifolk scene goes considerably more mainstream-ish than yow. Two compilations should be with us by Spring & debut lp's by many of the genres best loved playas will appear like daisies round a headstone as & when.
Australia's Vines will be one act to keep a very close eye on. With a debut lp already under their belts (recorded in the USA) & some financial clout, these boys will be everywhere in 2002. Equal parts Jnr Cobain & Garage Beatles - The Vines are gonna grow on you (ouch - Appaling Puns Editor).
Of the fringe bands in the background of 2001 considerably more likely to break in to TOTP dressing room in 2002, The Hives have to be one of the best bets. Swedish garage punks akimbo: black suits, black ties, white shirts. Although currently associated with Mr Magoo @ Poptones, you really shouldn't hold that against them. Mythically assembeled by Malcy-esque mystery man, Mr Fitzsimmons, to "take on" the world of crap pop bands & replace them with something more substantial, The Hives have a hell of a lot of talent. The fact that Magoo saw them as a credibility booster to bolster his fast fading cred is an indication of their strength of character. The fact that "Hate To Say I Told You So" has to be number 1 for months will see airplay turn to gold rekkids. The fact that we bought all their Burning Heart releases to avoid having to purchase a Poptones release says it all - you don't have to give any money to that talentless, idea leaching, coke snorting, Blair kissing, balding Skottish twat after all. Yes they may slip close to parody, yes they have their roots in 60's garage iconography but that hasn't hurt Jack White, The Von Bondies or Sympathy & neither should it detract from the power of The Hives. With the possible exception of "Find Another Girl" there isn't a duff track on either "Barely Legal" (BHR068) or "Veni Vidi Vicious" (BHR107) & a new lp is due in 2002. Rockin Pelle Almqvist & the boys have come a long way since 1996's "Oh.Lord.When?How?" - if you don't know them by now........
Skandinavia looks likely to provide much angst ridden aktion in 2002. Division Of Laura Lee, International Noise Conspiracy (ex-Refused, who's "Shape Of Punk To Come" lp was the blueprint ripped by Casey Chaos for Amen) & Sahara Hotnights being just 3 who may well thrill us with their snowbound take on punk past & present.
The UK can look to The Parkinsons, Mclusky, British Sea Power, The Toes, The Buff Medways and Easyworld for inspiration & quality. Being in a band in the UK in 2002 is going to be the place to be. Kicking down doors & kicking over statues is going to be the passtime of the enlightened. Sucking corporate cock @ IPC will be the folly of the self mythologised paint by numbers career-hack (The Strokes don't sound like VU, The WStripes don't sound like John Spencer & BRMC sound nothing like JAMC - either learn yr. history or get off the pot).
Finally, let's hope that the current crop of teenpunk lite bands from the USA begins to dry up in 2002. The kids need introducing to the harsher strains of Dillinger Four, The Distillers, The Icarus Line & other troopers of solid faith instead of skate fixated mummy's boys like Sum 182 OPM & their ilk. Green Day have a fuck of a lot to answer for. Take that "catchy" chourus & file it up yr. retentive arse, motherfuckers. Kick out the jams in 2002.
Nick Kuntz - Jan 2002