Kieron Gillen's workblog




And there goes another day, sacrificed on the altar of pop, my life blood streaming down the rivulets into the mouth of that every-hungry God. Sure, I went looking for the knife, but wasn't expecting it to hammer home so hard.

Was planning to investigate the Dresden Dolls since I noticed their record company was sweet enough to pay for an Advert for them in the new issue of Plan B (Available nationwide now, including a fairly hefty piece by yours truly on Le Tigre. Try Borders). When I noted that Ade Brown has started a thread discussing them over at the V, I decided it was another case of the great God unlikely coincidence pointing me in the direction to go.

So I go and... Pop rush. Song's got me bad. Mind taken over by a sequence of magic notes, and I'm a preening, indestructible thing which makes even the simple act of opening my curtains into a dramatic act.

Song in question is Girl Anachronism. Stream available from here. Other options also seen here. When you've listened to it, and wish to take this thing further, the video's available here.

So - it's been going around my head all day, and I've been trying to provoke someone else to join me on this song-freebase, failing drastically. Takes until late afternoon till I manage to connect with the ever-insightful Dan Emerson to bounce some thoughts off.

Reference points: A twenty-first century, part-transgendered Sparks (i.e. Impassioned vocal-quirk-a-thon girl pianist/deadpan ron-meyer naziod drummer) pumped full of Weimar Grandeur - except it's clearly the ruins of the republic, with smoke rising above a shell of a piano, all curling wire and torture implements. Ade Brown takes puns to breaking point with "Sbjorks - It's Oh So Big Enough for the Both of Us", and he's not far off. Stuart Campbell takes the Germanic reference, noting that "It's like if Atari Teenage Riot grew up in the Berlin 1930s cabaret scene". And there's that run-away energy mixed with a sense that it's floating just at the stage of drunkeness where things are turning bad and every sound is awkward and nasty, and you know - just KNOW - that someone, somewhere is going to be going home hurt tonight. Or in terms of Piano artists, here's another way: A Tori Amos I didn't wish dead.

Also, hysteria, in both common definitions of the word: The musical equivalent of screaming on your livejournal, knowing exactly who's reading. Making a big show of itself in public, turning the Bell Jar into a crystaline victorian ball gown.

There's a sense to it as someone pulling all these poses, fully aware of how ridiculous the poses are, and just asking... And? Yes, angst is dumb and cliched... And? It's a big so what. A foot-stomping tantrum of a song which mocks its foot stomping tantrumness through its context which... well, regular blog readers will remember me making the connection between Amy Studt's "Misfit" - of deangstifying angst, and reclaiming teenage alienation as as much fun as growing breasts, as in using it as rocket fuel rather than self-immolation.... except that's not quite right here. There's fuel a plenty, but it's being a funnelled into a *flamethrower*. The timbre mostly doesn't seem to imply that it's her that's actually fucked up here - she sounds like a very deliberate, focused rage. Maybe not even a flamethrower then... a blow-torch. A blowtorch being used in a Miike Takeshi film, admitedly, but a blowtorch nevertheless. Applied to others as much as itself.

Like God self-mutilating.

Another good thing: too many words, which much like too *few* words always adds intensity to a song (Cross ref: Faster vs Pretty Like Drugs). So much to say, and only a three minute pop song to contain it...

I do worry that it'll be like early Garbage, which I loved for its sly sarcasm ("Only Happy When It Rains" as Mary Chain Piss take, or so I thought) until I realised that Shirley Manson actually thought her doggrel was actually insightful. But only a little - the rest of their material isn't really much like Girl Anachronism, the vocal's performance would raise up even sub-mediocre thoughts and it's a far better class of angst lyrics anyway... and the sly wit carries across into the music anyway.

(I haven't talked about "Coin Operated Boy", which you should use in a compare and contrast style)

One frustration: they played their own English gig last night. If it was tonight, the way I'm feeling, I'd be on the London train instead of typing were it otherwise.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.