Simon Says Dance

Every rose has its thorn. And every compilation has its flaw, a song that isn’t as good as the others. The aim is for every song to make you lean forward and exclaim “Yes!” and reach for the volume. The other end of that aim is for nothing to be skippable, for no song to … Continue reading

Tell him it’s the “Forks of Fate”

Rereading Grendel: Devil Tales by Matt Wagner. You can compare comics to most other art forms. They can be movies on paper, they can be visual poetry, they can be fine art or illustration or design, they can be literature. My personal view is that they are, as Will Eisner argued, part of the literary … Continue reading

She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)

In my teenage years the vilified ones, the poster boys for musical evil, were Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Hugely successful as a production team for an army of pop artists, they were Sauron for the generation of indie kids and authenticity addicts that believe everyone’d listen to their chosen miserablists if all that pop stuff … Continue reading


Success can ruin pop music. What about lack of success? When work that’s commercial, that’s intended to reach a large audience, doesn’t get anywhere does that mean it’s failed artistically as well? Does that affect our individual appreciation of it? Over in the rock canon there’s a well-established procedure for music that doesn’t get the … Continue reading


I worry about Haim. Given that I’ve previously confessed worrying about Iggy Azalea, it’s fair to think I expend too much concern on successful pop stars. But with Haim, it’s worry tinged with guilt; they do know what we’re like, don’t they? Somebody has told them? Because they’re an American act who found their first … Continue reading

In Grendel’s name

Rereading Devil’s Whisper by James Robinson and D’Israeli.  There’s a little school of writer-artists on comics, all working in the mainstream in the 1980s, who cheerfully hire out their talents. Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson: all are available as writers, as artists or as both. It comes, my guess, from working in the mainstream … Continue reading

Wildest Moments

The platonic ideal of popular music appreciation, the plateau rockists wrongly believe themselves to have reached, is to listen without prejudice. To discount the band’s clothes, haircuts, attractiveness or lack thereof, to forget what that annoying critic said about them, to ignore the despised hipsters who think it’s cool to like them. To make your … Continue reading

Your Drums, Your Love

(Sung in sweet, dark soul voice) There comes a ti-ime, in every compilation, to take it down, take it deep down… (end of soul voice) to use an easy trick, really, of following a banger with a quiet one. Using that blank three seconds to switch frame, to radically challenge what the ears are expecting, … Continue reading

The target doesn’t actually matter

Rereading Grendel: The Devil Inside by Matt Wagner and Bernie Mireault.  You piece. Verbs for you. A lot of you guys. I am not weak. Leering. How deep does the darkness run? Like a cancer. Where I got this cloth. Theater ghosts. The mask burned. Knock knock. The guy with the eye. Only my love. … Continue reading


What is it called, this new music? The sound that’s taken over, the transatlantic collision between European dance and American hip hop and R&B that’s ruled the radio for the last what, three years at least. The David Guetta sound, the Calvin Harris sound, the Torqux sound. Does it have a name? Or are names … Continue reading