Saturday, June 21, 2014

Talent vs. Genius, Round One, or, Just Dandy

As adventurous as I’d like to pretend to be about music, whenever I do dip my toes into a genre experiment I can usually be counted upon to come running back to that old reliable - rock n’ roll. And it doesn’t hurt a bit if it’s tuneful and bright rather than harsh and bitter. I can supply that on my own.

Dancy Warhols.jpg

And boy is this tuneful and bright!  

The Dandy Warhols first came to my attention on the radio, where they could be counted upon to do something that was catchy but that still had some ooomf to it.

So, I decided to see the movie “DIG!”, which pits the Dandys against the Brian Jonestown Massacre. They start out as pals - if anything with the Dandys being in awe of the BJM - but it eventually turns into rivalry and mutual hatred. 

The Dandys were the savvy ambitious band, while BJM was the brilliant but self destructive (getting into fights on stage, etc.) ones. By the end of the movie the Dandys have moved on to fame and fortune (relatively speaking) while the BJM can never quite stop shooting themselves in the foot (or the arm, as it were).

This excellent movie whetted my appetite, so I decided to investigate and eventually choose sides. I’m the type who's more likely to root for the self-destructive genius against the ambitiously talented.

But I have to admit that this is as good a commercial rock record as I can imagine. Oh, and believe me, I can imagine because I’ve heard some pretty horrific ones. (They’re the ones that sell so many copies.)  

And as is usually the case when I hear a record as listenable as this one, I wonder why it didn’t sell a million, too. Any of this would have sounded great on the radio.

Okay, it may be a bit superficial, and there are some parts I could swear I’ve heard before on Beatles and Stones records. And at the end of it, you’re reminded of what Steve Martin said to his wife-with-a-shady-past after sex in “The Man with Two Brains”: “Thanks, that was so…professional!”

But if you don't like it, you're displaying either obstinacy, or maybe integrity, depending upon whether you've seen “DIG! or not. An early contender for album of the year.

Okay Brian Jonestown Massacre, let's see what you got! A-

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