From a blog and a writer that once fully endorsed Silencer’s Death – Pierce Me and listed Bardo Pond, Thorns and 8 Foot Sativa in his fave bands list, this statement will come as a real surprise: Jake Bugg’s debut album, go buy it. Now. It’s a loving proto-Dylan exploration backlit in grouchy back-porch guitar interludes and youthful gravel-voiced ballads caught in the crossfire between Dylan worship and pop-folk marketing bullshit. It’s far from perfect, it’s definitely frozen in the iTunes headlights and stops short of dredging up Rob Zimmerman’s whisky-soaked carcass to sway gently on stage while we all blow him kisses. At its worst it abandons the guitar whizzkiddery and becomes mournful and self-absorbed, but at its frequent best, it sets the deck aflame with hyperenergetic folk rock wizardry drenched in sweaty infectious organic real thrills a-la Neil Young on a full-on England binge or Cadaverous Condition without the Cookie Monster.
I’m a long admirer of people who can exist in the oxygenless pop universe and still manage full-on freakout workouts because that is a real skill. And about once a year an album turns up, just like Jake Bugg’s latest, that offers hope and respite that pop can be good despite the thousands of hours of retrograde revisionist copypaste non-sequitur bullshit that the charts reliably churn out every week. It’s doubly annoying because it would be really easy to just discount an entire avenue of music to the cultural trash. If I could reliably state that everything on the iTunes front page was hideous tuneless characterless sexless pap shit out by ken-dolls purporting to be young men puppeteered by dark-suited arseholes who wouldn’t put twenty pence in a charity tin without guarantee of return of investment, and the wasteful music they produce is just historical documents appearing from one of two places, either from a dimension where Marty McFly never invented rock and roll and irony doesn’t exist and Rebecca Black was taken seriously, or as historical curios from a dimension where the rock and roll revolution happened a long time ago and people engaged in enlightened debate and the walls that separate us have been glimpsed and demolished by love. Jake Bugg is most certainly from the latter dimension.
You don’t listen to pop music anymore, remember? Okay, maybe you do when nobody is looking, or you have some on your phone ‘because someone sent it to you’, but the stuff you like isn’t really pop. Your argument is pure ‘no true Scotsman’ and Jake Bugg supplies the ammunition for you guys. Despite its front-page iTunes poster-launch uppetyness and pure pop sensibilities, it’s folk, apparently. You’ll be able to exist, integrity intact because it’s not real pop. Well I’m here to tell you that it is. It really really is. It’s light and short and doesn’t reference anything too obscure and it deserves to be loved totally for that. There are so many albums vying for my album of the year. Obviously OM deserve credit for finally, after five records, nailing the beauty, Admiral Sir Cloudesly Shovell, Goat and Homesick Aldo all deserve album o’ the year fo’ sho’ because of their sheer charm and heathen motherfuckery and now I almost want to give Jake Bugg recognition for pop album of the year, for something imbued with all the softer Dylanisms and a righteous young man’s possible generation defining energy and excitement. Go find it. It’s sweet. It's also damn short and there ain't too much more to say 'bout it so I'mma drop in a well-known lil' band's latest activity, as is my wont.
Deap Vally just released their second single, accompanied by a UK-shot vid showing things really ain’t changed since the days of the Riot House (the Continental Hyatt House) and Deap Vally really have got it. End of the World is fulla the ‘zact same Vincent Black Shadow-lite gee-tar and fully sleaze’d-up vox c/o the two righteous lay-deez and, if it’s even possible, more thoroughgoing groove roughhousing and ‘Lectric Eels-esque proto-punk barnstorming. And I gotta tell yooz that all this sneaking has got me hyper-psyched for the Deap Vally debut album, which must be dropping soon. Also keep a full weather eye out for the second Dead Skeletons LP. I’ve got a few more albums I’m totally keen on but y’all know there’s gotta be some secrets… even ‘twixt friends.
Written under duress by Steven.