I had blood taken today by a woman with really bad teeth. She asked me if I was 'a fainter', gabbled something about George Clooney and, before I had chance to reply, she had stabbed me and was draining my arm. It still hurts. I don't know why I thought that seven discs and 49 songs of anything would cheer me up. It hasn't. Michael McDaeth's bio says that somewhere along the line 'the music started making him, maybe'. Oh dear God. Apparently, he has broken through all the frames of song structure and style. Then he started surfing on the Andromeda galaxy. Shit.

Anyway, hailing from Seattle, here is a man who has been recording and releasing solo albums on his own label 'Sophisticated Monkey' for years, a sort of musical serial killer if you will, going unnoticed for his torturous trail of aural destruction, remaining at large only because no-one appears to give a monkeys about his work. But, not to be overly critical, I have to respect his obvious need to create. He's also written two novels and has made a whole bunch of videos and other stuff. This box-set also comes in a plastic case, kind of like a fake VHS cassette box, with what looks like a hand-made note set. There are wooden-boxed versions too that are fastened with guitar strings that were used to record it. It seems that the joy is in the detail.

But, alas, that is where the joy ends. Not that I am averse to avant garde. I like 'something different', I like a performance. I like an artist that's impossible to pigeon-hole. Perhaps his songs are just more to be appreciated live. Probably not though. The first CD opens with the raucous 'Just die', the first line 'I'm all for falling in love with my dolly' followed by lots of angry swearing. Where Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth and Mudhoney used melody and musicianship (intended or otherwise) to create a largely chaotic, angsty sound, McDaeth just uses a series of random chords and hungover shouting to create something that is, by all accounts, unlistenable. Sometimes he wails (e.g. 'Stuck in Abilene'). This is particularly bad. There are also lots of references to someone called Lou. Occasionally, his voice sounds raw and primal, and, for a split second, it is exciting; you can feel the energy and drive of a man possessed by his own desire to innovate that makes him so intriguing. There is a hint of expression. Then he starts wailing again. I listened to two CDS out of the seven; I'm sorry but that's as much as I could stand. This is DIY in the Nick Knowles sense of the term. You're never going to last through a whole sitting without wanting to smack something. My arm is now even more tense. Emotion-evoking at least. And the sole definition of 'dirge'. SOS. SOS!


Anna C