(Friday 19 August through… Monday 24 October, 2022)
Hi there! Or… hello? I dunno. Whatever! My name is Ringo, and I’m a glutton. I think maybe I’ve always been a glutton, if that’s not going overboard a little. I mean, I don’t know if I was a gluttonous baby, who does? And no, I don’t figure my mum would be a reliable source of insight on that score, too biased.
Being gluttonous isn’t something I hold against myself, at least now I’ve got it mostly under control. Sure, even if it’s something I was born with I could have gotten a handle on it sooner, but I have to cut myself some slack. Look at the context. The small hungers I grew up with, the billboards signposting a route out, the kind of consumption that offers momentary salve even for those not fully signed up to the rituals and faith of consumerism.
But the pressure to consume was and is deeper than that. Cheap fixes are usually obvious, being on guard against them is no hard ask. It’s way more challenging when gluttony positions itself as a long term solution. Aspirational gluttony. Consuming to make yourself a better person, to fit in, to be more attractive in any which way you can think. As a friend, employee, lover, whatever. Always figuring the next piece of cultural capital is the one to bring enlightenment and transcendence to the point we’ve got the game on lock. As if adopting the values of a class will unlock access to their (imagined, alleged) financial resources.
However much I try and dress it all up as civilised the more I dwell on it the harder it is to escape that my aspirations were basically a close cousin to the American dream. Just about plausible enough to offer more hope than the slim pickings of a more realistic outlook, but for most of us mere mediocrities just basic level fantastical bullshit.
But still we consume! Until we’re sleepless and queasy and we can’t take any more. Because once we believed, and now we’re creatures of habit. We may stop every once in a while to try and figure out if there’s any alternatives, but you can only dedicate so much time to pondering the imponderable before going totally batshit. Gluttony offers respite, a shield against madness. Exactly what’s promised, though not quite as expected, a brotherhood of bloated despair.
We make lists. I make lists. I publish lists, sometimes. I consume, on occasion I understand. More often I’m baffled, struggling to get my head round an embarrassingly huge proportion of what I read, watch, hear. Sometimes I figure I need to slow down, other times the fear of missing out has me ravenous. And that’s not necessarily getting better. The older I get, the more I realise how much is out there I’ll never get round to, the fear develops a new intensity. Less shrill, heavier, maybe easier to put in its place because I’m old enough and ugly enough to know what’s going on, but impossible to ignore.
Because to cease to consume is to cease to engage is to cease to have any stake in the world. It’s giving yourself up entirely to nostalgia and charity. There’s part of happy enough with the prospect of sitting here for the rest of my life without hearing a second of sound recorded after today, but I’m too young to retire. It’s not even about earning money from the music industry — I’ve no such illusions on that score — it’s about having the necessary context to exist in twenty-first century England without going totally mental. I’m not rich enough, I don’t have the resources to bunker down. I need hope that the world I’m trying to engage with isn’t totally fucked.
So I listen with my mouth open, digest what I can, try to calm the fuck down and enjoy some of this shit. We’re living in a golden age, for fuck’s sake! So much food for the brain! I need to cut myself some slack!
Anyway. It’s been a couple of months since I updated Erratica with a full account of all the new “content” I’ve been consuming. In that time I’ve listened to at least sixty-two new releases.
For reasons too tedious to share, I don’t keep track of anything I check out via lo-fi Soundcloud or Bandcamp streams. And I don’t bother listing all the back catalogue stuff I’ve been working through, like this week when I haven’t really had the heart for new new things so it’s been new old things from Psalm One and Ice Cube and George Duke and Chick Corea, among others. Looking purely at those sixty-two new albums, my attempt to keep vaguely aware of the zeitgist, that’s about the same amount I was getting through each month when I was feeling a little more energetic earlier this year.
So I’ve slowed down a little. I got paid to review seven of those albums, so I got to the point of having a settled take on them. The other fifty-five I’m mostly intending to get back to as soon as possible. First up, though, I’ve a backlog of twenty or-so promising new releases. And for sure this time out I’m going to take them slow.
Albums, mixtapes, EPs, whatever… Not all new releases! … every fresh(-ish) project I’ve listened through since the last column, whether with deep intent or in the background while I’m trying to get my head round something else.
Aitch: Close To Home (Capitol) [C+] | Amos X Dot.i: Kitchen Sink Realism (Gold On The Mixer) | Amos X EF Knows: Halkias et Mullen (Gold On The Mixer) | Bayonets (Jaroo & Broom Man): Bayonets (Gold On The Mixer) | Buckers The Realist: Some Of The Story So Far (Buckers The Realist) [C+] | Chimpo: Troublesome Bubblers (V Recordings) [C+] | CLBRKS & Vagrant Real Estate: The Iceberg Theory (Vagrant Real Estate/Bandcamp) | D-Block Europe: Lap 5 (D-Block Europe) | DJ Khaled: God Did (Epic/We The Best) | FLO: The Lead (Universal/Island) [B+] | Flohio: Out Of Heart (AlphaTone) | Giveon: Giveon (Epic) [D+] | Isatta Sheriff & Koralle: Eat The Kiwi Skin (Melting Pot Music) [A] | J.I.D: The Forever Story (Interscope/Dreamville) [A] | Jester Jacobs & Jack Danz: Moose Solutions (Revorg) | K-Trap: The Last Whip II (Thousand8) | Kamaiyah: 3 Nights In Seattle (Keep It Lit Records) | Kokoroko: Could We Be More (Brownswood Recordings) | Larry June: Spaceships On The Blade (EMPIRE/The Freeminded Records)|LeeN & Stay Classy: Get LeeN & Stay Classy (Millenium Jazz Music) | Lil Uzi Vert: Red & White (Atlantic/Generation Now) [B] | Lizzo: Special (Atlantic/Nice Life) [D+] | LMD: Flying High (Bang Ya Head) [A] | M.I.A. – MATA (Island) | Maro Music: Rejects (Addicted To Music) | Megan Thee Stallion: Traumazine (300 Entertainment) [B] | Mez: Meztape Vol 1 (Independent) | Money Man: Big Money (EMPIRE/Black Circle) | Mozzy: Survivor’s Guilt (Interscope/CMG/Mozzy Records) [A] | Obijuan & Yungmorpheus: Slang Casino (Bad Taste) | Oneida: Success (Joyful Noise Recordings) [B+] | Ozzy Osbourne: Patient Number 9 (Epic) [C] | Pak-Man: Big Pakachino (Independent) [B] | Pussy Riot: Matriachy Now (Neon Gold Records) [C+] | Quavo & Takeoff: Only Built For Infinity Links (Motown/Quality Control) | Rimzee: Cold Feet (Rimzee) | Roc Marciano & The Alchemist: The Elephant Man’s Bones (EMPIRE/Marci Enterprises/ALC) | Sampa The Great: As Above, So Below (Loma Vista) [B] | Santigold: Spirtuals (Little Jerk Records) | ShrapKnel: Metal Lung (Backwoodz Studioz) | Smellington Piff: Roma Supreme (Real Life Drama Records) [A] | Sonnyjim & Giallo Point: No Vi$ible Means Of Income 2 (We Buy Gold) | Specifik: The Triple3 Effect (2401103 Records DK) | Steg G: Surface Pressure (Powercut Productions) [B+] — …powerful voice, middling performance and production… | Sudan Archives: Natural Brown Prom Queen (Stone’s Throw) | Tesla’s Ghost: Fort Vallance (Bandcamp/Tesla’s Ghost) | The Comet Is Coming – Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse!) | The Game: Drillmatic, Heart Vs Mind (100 Entertainment, Inc) [B] — …yeah, I listened to the whole bloody thing… …and didn’t regret it… | The Isley Brothers: Make Me Say It Again, Girl (RI Top Ten) [C] | The Northaze: Collect All And Save, We’re Leaving Dark Times (The Northaze) | The Streets: Brexit At Tiffany’s (Island/Universal) [B+] | Tink: Pillow Talk (Empire/WD Records/Winter’s Diary) [B+] | Tony Bontana And Mary Sue: Coast To Coast (Everything Is Perfect x Higher Self) [B+] | Westside Gunn: Peace “Fly” God (Griselda) | Wish Master: Prelude To Rapture (Toe Tag Records) | Wish Master & Billy Whizz: Wish & Whizz Ltd (O R Records) | WSTRN: WSTRN Season 3 (EMPIRE/WSTRN) | YG: I Got Issues (Def Jam/YG PS) | Young Nudy: EA Monster (RCA Records/Same Plate/PDE Records) | Youngboy Never Broke Again: The Last Slimeto (Never Broke Again, LLC) | Your Old Droog: Yodney Dangerfield (Nature Sounds/Mongoloid Banks) | Yungmorpheus & Therevada: Up Against The Wall; A Degree Of Lunacy (Bad Taste)
- The ‘House Party’ Reboot Will Actually Be Coming Out in Movie Theaters (Jaelani Turner, OkayPlayer)
- ‘There’s endless choice, but you’re not listening’: fans quitting Spotify to save their love of music, (Liz Pelly, The Guardian) |…not quite my problem but related for sure. I’d be overwhelmed whatever medium was in vogue, I’m driven to gorge on sound. But I’m going to assume Pelly’s interviewees are better at self-control than I am, they’re struck by the same panic but for them quitting Spotify is enough to rewire their habits into a healthier zone… good for them…
- Are drug dealers raising their prices due to inflation? (Simon Doherty, The Face) | …answer: no, says The Face, based on Doherty’s survey of five dealers known to him personally. In my own experience — though I’m not blessed with as many good contacts as Doherty — the price of hash has actually come down this year, as if suddenly there’s a glut after a few years of (relative) scarcity. I fear inflation will really kick in on the run up to Christmas, though…
- I’m a psychologist – and I believe we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health (Sanah Ahsan, The Guardian) | …these days I’m embarrassed to link to The Guardian because they publish so much shit, not least about UK politics. But this is totally on the money, and it felt good to wake up to such common sense. At least until I scrolled up to the UK political news and blind panic set in for the day…
- We stan a dead queen (Byron Crawford, Life In A Shanty Town) | …disrespectful, refreshing, funny, Crawford says of Elizabeth II’s heritage, “Their family tree was like a stump.” Then he rubs it in, “That’s why they all look a little bit slow in the face. Except for Prince Harry, who’s obviously not related.” Ouch…
- Irish government begins paying 2,000 artists a weekly income (Charlotte Kroll, NME) | …a couple of weeks on from applying for my first Irish passport, reading news in this vein helps me believe it wasn’t a total waste of money… this scheme is obviously limited, and it’s only for three years, and it raises all sorts of difficult questions (who decides which artist are worthy of support? What if they get sick and can’t create? whatabout WRITER’S BLOCK!!!???!!!) …but, how beautiful to think for a second that there are countries in the world where such ideas are taken seriously… actual civilisation…