Thursday, 28 February 2008


Like listening to random people recount last night's dreams, the contents of recent iPod playlists are affairs that would probably be best left private. Still, here goes anyway. A few months back a friend tipped me off that the Destroy All Monsters box-set was online, and I've just finished listening to the 3-hour-plus contents on my headphones. It's taken about a week, mostly soundtracking bus journeys and walks through town.

Some time ago the Guardian's wry middlebrow rock/pop stooge Alexis Petredis listened to the TG24 box-set for a full day and wrote up his findings in a rather snide article. I anticipated this being a similar experience, but shorter and broken down into more manageable chunks. So... DAM really are a great lost band, some of whose members have gone on to find great success in the visual arts. The music itself is wildly uneven, often recorded on cheap supermarket equipment, and always willfully amateurish. Still, commitment will be rewarded. Their early output is so endearingly ramshackle and uncompromising in its desire to go beyond any kind of conventional rock paradigm that it begs you to get swept along and submit. Punctuating the lengthy drone and free jazz freakouts is the occasional garage rock number with a bored-sounding Niagra delivering some nicely absurd lyrics, "I love you but you're dead, and the bed is all red". Best of all, to my taste anyway, are the points where the group allow full-on sonic abandon to break out and pitched battles of feedback take place over a sludge of percussion and old B-movie samples.

Prior to me getting the iPod device as a Christmas present I was always hating on them, thinking it would be antithetical to a proper appreciation of music. Since then though, I've reconsidered. After all, you'd hardly want to listen to this kind of material sat on the sofa, and negotiating the city streets with an earful of random noise can lend the experience at least a glimmer of heightened reality.

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