Saturday, October 27, 2018

Deja entendu

Nostalgia is the topic for Episode 34 of Sounding Bored, which finds my fellow founding panellist Niall in conversation with regular host Rob in Liverpool.

On the agenda are the politics and economics of retromania (to use Simon Reynolds' term) - from rose-tinted perspectives on the past, musical or otherwise, to the cost of buying vinyl and attending festivals like Rewind and Cool Britannia. Such festivals wouldn't exist if there weren't people clamouring to attend them (victims of their own brain chemistry) - or organisers who sense nostalgia is a cash cow that can be milked dry.

Britpop escapes without censure, though it was of course a criminally backward-looking scene even in the mid 90s. For the sake of balance, however, I should acknowledge that ATP weekenders also avoid mention, despite the fact that they were the catalyst for countless bands to reform for the benefit of those who loved them the first time around rather than with much hope of winning new fans.

Rob and Niall agree that in some ways it's increasingly difficult for artists to be innovative, with originality more likely to arise out of approaching established genres and styles from different cultural, political or personal perspectives, and also venture that the relative decline of Liverpool and Manchester as musical powerhouses might be explained by their tendency to dwell on former glories rather than to celebrate the present and look forward to the future.

The episode begins with a conversation about the new Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and Rob's report on last weekend's Ritual Union festival in Oxford, at which Nadine Shah and Gnod were the highlights. Album of the month is Fucked Up's Dose Your Dreams, on which the ambitious Torontonian punks push themselves in numerous new directions. Baggy, though?! I refuse to believe it.

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