Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Moby 18, Destroy All Monsters

First posted on October 23, 2007

I am listening to Moby’s 18. I know he has been big, but what’s with this guy? Yes, he writes lots of tunes, some good (“We Are All Made of Stars”) but then his productions are practically all keyboards and he only sings a few of the songs himself. And the drum sound is just awful! There aren’t many guitars and when there are they don’t add much. And the way he samples a singer just sounds less than good. When guys like Eno sampled international ethnic type voices, the music was totally transformed. Sometimes it seems like Moby just finds it easy to pick the best five seconds or so of a vocal performance and then just repeat it for a while. It sounds as canned as it is. Don’t get me wrong—his songs can be very moving. But I don’t like that smooth, near disco production thing he has, at least on 18.

In 1973 artist Mike Kelley, Vocalist Niagara and a number of others formed the art-rock, anti-rock, punkish group Destroy All Monsters. It wasn’t a success in any monetary sense. They were self-consciously horrible with the intent to be so. They taped a lot of it and some of that came out. As time went by the band, at least temporarily, pared down to a quartet with Niagara still on vocals but with guitar, bass and drums from such proto-advanced-garage bands as the Stooges and MC5. At any rate they did an EP called Bored (Cherry Red) in 1999 and it is great, if you like some raw, in-your-face rock. The title cut is the best, with Niagara laconically sounding as bored as the lyrics indicate. It works. Next time I hope to cover some of the bluegrass I’ve been checking out.

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