I’m a big fan of Will Oldham, a singer-songwriter who has worked under various monikers including Palace, Palace Music and the most recent: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. I’m going to post a few YouTube videos over the next few days which will highlight his genius and beard.
This is a song by Jeffrey Lewis, another singer-songwriter who is described as being ‘anti-folk’, whatever the hell that might mean. It’s something of a classic, being a tribute to Will Oldham and featuring a Will Oldham look-alike.
It takes a lot of balls to name your band with a reference to The Fall. These New Puritans (apparently abbreviated to TNPS, though I prefer the simpler ‘Turnips’) have done just that and after they were featured in the Guardian the other day, I thought I’d check them out. You know, see whether they live up to their name.
The answer is: no, they don’t. They’re basically a mixture of Franz Ferdinand and The Klaxons – and not the best bits of either band, for that matter. I’ve been intrigued by several newspapers and websites referring to them as actually sounding like The Fall. I figure this was more lazy journalism than impossible fantasy: These New Puritans have nothing of Mark E. Smith’s vitriolic wit or poetry, let alone a proper-sounding jangly guitar. In Numbers, the lyrics go “What’s your favourite number? / What does it mean? / Number 1: the individual / Number 2: duality / Number 3: …numerology is all shit”. Talking about the song, lead singer Jack Barnett says, “It’s our attempt to recreate numerology in a song. It’s a pop song with a dubby beat. But I say “numerology is all shit”, so it’s all deconstructed immediately”. Hmmm.
Sometimes people question whether the Internet is actually at all useful or if it’s full of silly rubbish clogging up our minds like cholesterol. To those people, I say: without the Internet, we wouldn’t have YouTube. And without YouTube, we wouldn’t have Hairdresser.