Lurking in dark corners

I think they chose the name at mining camp
The Summer Underground is a Cape Town band who have just released their first album, called – wait for it – The Summer Underground. Clearly they prefer to pour all of their creativity into the music, which is probably a Good Thing. They are particularly remarkable for the fact that they are fully endorsed by Mrs Tex Benitez, who gives them free pickled heads and renders other services that I’m not at liberty to reveal. Whether this is a Good Thing or not, I couldn’t say.

Nevertheless, the album launch was entertaining, which is most definitely a Good Thing, but it puts me in mind of the sad tale of Antonín Dvorák. He believed that the primary purpose of music was to entertain, while his chum Johannes Brahms held the view that music had a duty to educate and edify before stooping to something so lowly as providing enjoyment.

Interestingly enough, Dvorák seldom rates more than a footnote in most history books, whereas Brahms has whole volumes devoted to him. The typical reaction when you mention Dvorák in a conversation is, “Anthony who?”, and yet he was hugely popular in his day. People who have a passing interest in classical music or soup adverts may recognise his Symphony No 9 in E minor a.k.a From the New World a.k.a The one John Williams cribbed for the Jaws theme+, but that’s about it. The rest is barely heard over the quiet hiss of obscurity.

So essentially, Brahms was right: providing entertainment is all well and good, but to truly capture hearts and minds, you need to be a bit of a pretentious fuckwit. I can’t speak for The Summer Underground, but I’m not doing too badly now, am I?

+ That’s right, Mr Williams. I’m onto you, you thieving, thief type person, you!


44 thoughts on “Lurking in dark corners

  1. Not badly at all. Since you’re entertaining AND capture both hearts and minds, this would make you a best-of-both-worlds pretentious fuckwit. Quite the achievement!


    • I prefer my Bach served up by Jacques Loussier, but I’m strange that way. As to your question, send me your chest measurements and I’ll try and work something out.


  2. I’ve never heard of them, but now I’ll try to listen to their stuff. Maybe you could get a job as their publicist.

    I have tickets for a Carole King concert this summer. Just paint a big L on my forehead and be done with it.


  3. Mmm, dunno. I think new bands shouldn’t be allowed to form. It all sounds like I heard it before, zef not so fres…


  4. if it’s too loud it’s too loud, actually. too mnay bands use loudness to cover up for kakness.

    If it all sounds like crap and you wonder why they don’t make music like they used to…you’re too old.


    • Not just age. The way music is produced, digitally: boost volume of all instruments to catch attention on radio; it flattens the soundscape of the instrumentation. All high, no soft sounds, no medium sounds. Like a MickeyD’s burger; salt and sugar, and nothing else.


  5. Not my cup of soup but those tats and PVC vinyl pants are smokin’!

    Getting out of those pants must be like ripping off a giant band-aid.


  6. What on earth do you mean bands are just as crap as they’ve always been?! As a child of the 60’s & 70’s I can tell you young man, in those days there were bands that made real music and played real instruments. Today it all sounds like crap and they don’t make music like they used to – I’d say more but I am listening to my Dvorák CD and can’t be arsed. ♥


  7. Summer? Underground? Someone’s been reading too much Greek mythology. Or thinks the sun shine outta their…


    It’s artistic. I know, I know.


  8. Thangyew for the (possibly) positive mention, dear. Thangyewverymush.

    Of course, if you’re angling for a free pickl CD – well, I’m good(ish), but I’m not sure I’m that good(ish), if you know what I mean.

    Still, I might be prepared to cripple/elbow a couple of punters out the way so you have a better view at the next gig. (Really, don’t thank me. I enjoy that sort of thing.)


  9. Mining camp?? am I the only one who sees the little pop-ups that are so carefully hidden in each post?
    We have some real idiots here that have no singing ability but because of the beat of the music and the way they look half naked.their CD’s some crazy, stoned, drunk chick names Ke$ha.
    and god forbid we forget the 80’s with all the heavy metal groups, at that time we were all crazy and hearing things that weren’t there. (we’re all better little green pill controls the other personalities)


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