So when exactly did promoters, journalists, media and PR types lose the ability to string rational meaningful sentences together? It seems to me (and please bear in mind that I’m a grumpy old bastard) that the eloquence of language is being lost from the music sector. Admittedly few people are going to match the beauty of the writing of Paul Morley, the aggressive and brutally honest gonzoism of Lester Bangs or the view from the underworld as documented by Nick Kent, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop trying. With social media becoming the main way of promoting local gigs I suspect the spiralling demise of literacy was inevitable, so we find ourselves subjected to promotional devices and phrasing that would have even got the red pencil at script meetings for 2 Broke Girls or Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

I can’t be the only one who looks at a post for a local show that follows the lines of “OMG, this is going to be awesome, I can’t wait” and thinks if the person that they trust to do their PR appears to be a semi-literate, 14 year old who has had too much Tartrazine, it’s probably not the band for me. “Awesome” is a word that is probably better saved for watching your first child being born, watching the sun go down over the Serengeti or snorkelling in the Red Sea, not because a bunch of 16 year olds played a reasonably good show using all 4 chords they know. Good or great, even brilliant…. but probably not awesome. (This does not apply to New Model Army who actually are awesome!)

Similarly every show that takes place seems to be “rammed” rather than well attended, every band that plays seems to “destroy the place” rather than turn in a good account of themselves,  “burning, scorching or blistering” makes you sound like Beavis and /or Butthead and worst of all “groundbreaking” – if in 30 years time they have a string of releases that have spawned whole musical movements then maybe, just maybe.

And if you can defend the average on-line post for probably being the work of the friend/fan/mother of one of the band members, printed journalism has fewer excuses. Just because it’s “local” journalism isn’t an excuse for it being poor quality. Headlines that would even face rejection by the Sun for their lowbrow punning scream out at every opportunity. Bands are always “on song…” or “hit the right note” and if I see one more “bad weather doesn’t dampen the spirits…” I will probably drown myself in protest.

And it gets worse when you get into the article itself. Bands aren’t breaking, new or emerging they are always “up and coming,” I’m not  sure that I know what that even means! And Jazzy is one that irritates me. Journalists who know nothing about jazz will often use this one too freely when they hear a chord progression with flatted 5th, 7th, and 13 chords, basically anything more sophisticated than 3-chord rock. Sorry to break it to countless rock journalists, but there was nothing “jazzy” about the Grateful Dead. Just because you improvise on a pentatonic scale past the twenty-minute mark doesn’t make you a jazz player, just self-indulgent, really stoned, or both.

I must admit that I’m guilty of this one – hauntingly beautiful or indeed beautifully haunting. These words together make more sense in terms of silence or a description of a really attractive stalker or an apparition. A song, an album, a performance, or even a note can of course be beautiful, too.  But if it’s haunting you, talk to your shrink. (I freely admit that my quota of “other-worldly” and particularly “ethereal” is used up for the next 7 years to come, but lets not make this about me.)

Other annoyances in no particular order. “Catchy” – should be reserved for measles, “lush soundscape” – the music you hear when buying bathroom treats, “latest outing” or “latest effort” in referring to a new album, mentioning how your cat reacted to hearing it for the first time and worst of all….”songsmith.” It’s like referring to an author as a “wordsmith” (arrrrgggghhhh!) or politician as a “bollocksmith”, hang on…that one actual might have some mileage.

Also why are the phrases “all girl” or “girl fronted” used so much but not its male equivalent, which seems to be some sort of default setting. Do we still need to live in a world where if a female is involved it is noteworthy just for the mere fact?

The comparison thing is a bit over-played as well. “ Like (Insert seminal post-punk band here) crossed with (another post punk band) with a twist of (yet another band from 1978-1980)

This phrase became extremely popular when the new wave of post-punk sound-alike bands started proliferating indie music around 2003. These bands can name the following five bands as their influences in press interviews: Joy Division, Public Image Limited (First Issue to Flowers of Romance only), Gang Of Four, New Order and perhaps maybe Wire. Usually the newer band doesn’t really sound like any of these more legendary bands, except they have album covers which sort of look like things Peter Saville would cook up, and they really dig using jagged-glass guitars with melodic bass lines while singing about death, sex, and socialism.

For example – “sounds exactly like ‘Death Disco’ by Public Image Limited if they were married to Joy Division, with a twist of the poppy, fun sounds of Heaven 17.”

Back on the local level you also know when you read such iconic bands being cited as references it means that the band in question wished they sounded like that, but as they are not old enough to shave they actually sound like a bad Oasis/Strokes/Libertines/White Stripes rip-off. Never write your own blurb, it stands out a mile.

Local writing itself often seems to miss almost every opportunity to really examine the work in front of it, hold it up to the light and look at the inner workings and raison d’etre of a piece. Anyone can describe what a bit of music sounds like. We don’t need to know how each song sounds in building block terms, hippy metaphors have very little mileage when comparing the music to thunderstorms, crashing waves or summer breeze. The good writer, for my money, is one that examines why the band exist in the first place, what they are trying to say and more importantly, how does the music make you feel, how does it speak to you and if the band didn’t exist in the first place, would there be a need for them. The philosophy of music is an important aspect, the fact that the song is “really well played” isn’t. Without getting all Blade Runner on you, isn’t the emotional reaction more relevant than the technical workings?

Anyway, enough ranting from me, I need to get these things off my chest and I know it will make little difference but it helps me sleep at night. And anyway, in a world were your average celebrity (another over used word) is regarded as some sort of philosopher if they are seen reading a book, maybe these things needs to be said.