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"Buddy Holly taken to outer R&B space by Timbaland"
October 19, 2011 11:31 AM   Subscribe


 
"Let me introduce Willy Moon, who has been sitting alone in his room for more than a year to write songs. Although the world has yet to hear Willy Moon, I am familiar with his music because Willy Moon is my neighbour."

Intrigued to hear more? Tough luck (it seems), and please note that Willie Moon is not Willy Moon.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am underwhelmed.
posted by rhizome at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2011


I am underwhelmed.

I really liked this. It's a fairly good musical adaptation, but it's the performance that sells it. We're in a sort of blessed time for stage performances right now, where, with the exception of shoe-gazing indie rock acts, performers are sort of expected to have a shtick onstage, as has always been the case in r&b and soul. You're supposed to dance to your own music, and perform it in some way. But you see a lot of the same cliches, pleasurable though they may be.

This feels somehow different, even though it's essentially a Watusi the performer is doing. I like how his movements seem to give visual expression to what's happening in the music, in a way that's somehow both lively and robotic -- the gunshot sequence specifically is a standout. And there seems to be a legitimate joy in performing being represented here, and I am glad to see androids can feel joy, or at least offer a convincing simulacra of the experience.

What I just did there was support my opinion. Now I am curious to hear you support yours. Why are you underwhelmed?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


What I just did there was support my opinion. Now I am curious to hear you support yours. Why are you underwhelmed?

I agree that the dancing is pretty compelling, but I see lots of people raving about the music, and I don't really get that praise. He sings well but the musical content is awfully thin, as far as the things I value most in music (melody, harmony) go, and I like plenty of three-chord songs. People seem to be excited about the arrangement and production, so I assume there's stuff going on there that is more interesting than I perceive.
posted by dfan at 12:32 PM on October 19, 2011


I'm underwhelmed by the fact that this is the only song this guy seems to have released.
posted by axiom at 12:33 PM on October 19, 2011


Well, his facebook page is pretty funny.

Great news! Been offered a brilliant record deal from a label in Nigeria, just have to send £500 via Western Union to unlock the £100,000,000 advance. Apparently an administration fee. Will keep you posted!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think part of the problem is the small sample size: can he do more of this, or is this his one hit song/video? Or (possibly worse), is this what he will do every time? I'm hooked, now reel me in.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:42 PM on October 19, 2011


I'm hooked, now reel me in.

That seems to be the intention. Doing some quick searching, he had about seven songs that were available online from this series of recordings. They have all been removed. I suspect this is a pretty clever teaser campaign, creating an aura of mystery around him. From what I can tell, he writes original songs in the style of early rock and roll and rhythm and blues, but with this same sort of spare, ultra-crisp, sci-fi retro quality. There's some real buzz about him as a songwriter, and I am very curious to see more as well.

From my searching online: Here's an article by his neighbor.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:47 PM on October 19, 2011


I'm at least moderately whelmed by this.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:28 PM on October 19, 2011


What I just did there was support my opinion. Now I am curious to hear you support yours. Why are you underwhelmed?

I don't know, I just am. There's nothing in this track to raise it above indifference for me.
posted by rhizome at 1:32 PM on October 19, 2011


Bunny Ultramod: Doing some quick searching, he had about seven songs that were available online from this series of recordings. They have all been removed.

Where were they? Any chance of finding an archived view of those site(s)?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:46 PM on October 19, 2011


dfan: “He sings well but the musical content is awfully thin, as far as the things I value most in music (melody, harmony) go, and I like plenty of three-chord songs.”

Rhythm? You don't like rhythm? Seriously?
posted by koeselitz at 1:50 PM on October 19, 2011


Remix, remake, reinterpret, reimagine, reboot, homage, sample, cover: I'm so tired of them all. There are hundreds of thousands of talented people actually creating wonderful and unique art out there. Why is there so much attention for what amounts to someone telling someone else's joke? We used to make stuff. Now we can't even do that. Yes, I know... I don't have to listen, different strokes, etc. Whatever. Get off my lawn.

/curmudgeon
posted by FrankBlack at 1:58 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There had been some on MySpace and Facebook. I have no idea how to rescue these from the memory hole, and am curious to hear them too.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:01 PM on October 19, 2011


/curmudgeon
posted by FrankBlack at 3:58 PM on October 19 [+] [!]


Well, we can't all have been members of the Pixies.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:02 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice guitar playing, but those drums are too distracting. The arrangement didn't do anything for me. The whole thing was okay I guess, but I wouldn't listen to it again. Now, those old Bo Diddley records? I never get tired of those.
posted by JBennett at 2:04 PM on October 19, 2011




dfan: “He sings well but the musical content is awfully thin, as far as the things I value most in music (melody, harmony) go, and I like plenty of three-chord songs.”

Rhythm? You don't like rhythm? Seriously?


Of course I like rhythm, and I hope I didn't imply that I don't. The important word in that sentence was "most".

For the record, I don't think the rhythm of this particular song is hugely compelling either; like a thousand other people have noted, it's a basic Bo Diddley beat. The production is probably interesting but that's an aspect I pay less attention to than other people do.

It all comes down to personal taste. I'm certainly not claiming that everyone who loves this song is wrong; I was just trying to explain why it doesn't do it for me. To take another catchy derivative two-chord song for comparison, I adore That's Not My Name, and I could list a bunch of reasons why, but if it doesn't resonate with someone, there's nothing wrong with their opinion.

(There is one thing I found kind of interesting about I Wanna Be Your Man, which is that the guitar is mostly hanging out on A, despite the song being in E, and the tonic "chords" are largely just implied by the vocal melody.)
posted by dfan at 2:08 PM on October 19, 2011


(there is just NO beating...) sorry.
posted by JBennett at 2:12 PM on October 19, 2011


I have to say, I dig it.
posted by oddman at 2:13 PM on October 19, 2011


What planet did Willy Moon come from that has endowed him with this singular charm and Bowie-esque other-worldliness? The answer is New Zealand.

Is it selfish to want him to disappear and never release anything else, to just leave 1:50 of Bo Diddley Dubstep and a cryptic psuedo-interview?
posted by minifigs at 2:13 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, we can't all have been members of the Pixies.

Anyone can. It's easy. ;)
posted by FrankBlack at 2:42 PM on October 19, 2011


The headline is fabulous, the actual song, not so much. I'm more reminded of Pat Boone redoing RnB hits than anything Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, or Timbaland have ever done ("ever did" for those who have passed).

Really, what was that? A boring guitar riff, a drum machine, over processed samples, and a hollow voice. I love seemingly disparate music genres melded into one for a beautiful sound. This is not that. And the fake nostalgia factor of dressing up like you're on American Bandstand does not make it work.
posted by loriginedumonde at 3:40 PM on October 19, 2011


Caravan Palace does a fantastic job of adapting old styles into the electronic age. (And they do it with real instruments!) They're closer to electro-swing than early rock, but a good example of how this kind of thing can be done well. And really, there isn't that much of a gap between late-style swing and early rock.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:54 PM on October 19, 2011


Remixes are a crime against music.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:24 PM on October 19, 2011


Remix, remake, reinterpret, reimagine, reboot, homage, sample, cover: I'm so tired of them all. There are hundreds of thousands of talented people actually creating wonderful and unique art out there.

I gotta disagree here, unless you want to complain about pretty much any popular music from the last 60 or more years including some of our most celebrated musicians like the Beatles and Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. As long as you put your own mark on it, I say go for it and interpret away. At least these days people are considerate enough to acknowledge when they're borrowing.
posted by Hoopo at 4:29 PM on October 19, 2011


I get pretty ill when I hear good rock songs remixed.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:38 PM on October 19, 2011


FrankBlack: “Remix, remake, reinterpret, reimagine, reboot, homage, sample, cover: I'm so tired of them all. There are hundreds of thousands of talented people actually creating wonderful and unique art out there. Why is there so much attention for what amounts to someone telling someone else's joke? We used to make stuff. Now we can't even do that. Yes, I know... I don't have to listen, different strokes, etc. Whatever. Get off my lawn.”

Lovecraft In Brooklyn: “Remixes are a crime against music... I get pretty ill when I hear good rock songs remixed.”

What in god's name are you people talking about? This is not a remix of Bo Diddley; the quoted review above was being euphemistic, as in 'this sounds like Bo Diddley remixed by Swizz Beatz.' It's an original song written by Willy Moon. It's its own thing.
posted by koeselitz at 5:17 PM on October 19, 2011


Ah. Well, it STILL makes me angry.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:18 PM on October 19, 2011


Remix, remake, reinterpret, reimagine, reboot, homage, sample, cover: I'm so tired of them all. There are hundreds of thousands of talented people actually creating wonderful and unique art out there. Why is there so much attention for what amounts to someone telling someone else's joke?

It's all just history repeating. At least in this case it mostly rocks.
posted by nola at 5:24 PM on October 19, 2011


History repeating, you say?
posted by loriginedumonde at 5:40 PM on October 19, 2011


Yeah. I had that track back in 2000. It's all just a little bit of history repeating. Kind of like dinner. A touch to much garlic, tomato, and heavy cream. It'll do it every time.
posted by nola at 5:52 PM on October 19, 2011


Ah. Well, it STILL makes me angry.

Whatever. If you had any Bo Diddley records you'd already know it wasn't a remix so much as an homage. We need this kind of thing. We need artist reintroducing some old school rock into the ears of the 20 somethings. God knows the music being released isn't anywhere near what it could be. Fuck the god damned indie scene. I grew up listening to indie music cause I hated the pop shit on the radio in the 80's, but this pretentious bullshit has got to stop. Music is. And it needs to be. We've got to dig deeper and want more from music. It's not enough to strike the right pose,. or be the flavor of the month, or the band nobody's heard of. We need some Rolling Stones, Johnny Chash, Elvis. We need musical gods, and anyone who pushes us towards that and away from musical atrophy is a friend as far as I'm concerned.
posted by nola at 6:03 PM on October 19, 2011


Whatever. If you had any Bo Diddley records you'd already know it wasn't a remix so much as an homage. We need this kind of thing. We need artist reintroducing some old school rock into the ears of the 20 somethings. God knows the music being released isn't anywhere near what it could be. Fuck the god damned indie scene. I grew up listening to indie music cause I hated the pop shit on the radio in the 80's, but this pretentious bullshit has got to stop. Music is. And it needs to be. We've got to dig deeper and want more from music. It's not enough to strike the right pose,. or be the flavor of the month, or the band nobody's heard of. We need some Rolling Stones, Johnny Chash, Elvis. We need musical gods, and anyone who pushes us towards that and away from musical atrophy is a friend as far as I'm concerned.

I agree!
Jim Jones Revue
bunch of Aussie acts
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:06 PM on October 19, 2011


Listening. Loving. Hating you for being on to this before me. Loving you for sharing. Fuck you LiB. Fuck you dude. *weeps*
posted by nola at 6:08 PM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


We need musical gods, and anyone who pushes us towards that and away from musical atrophy is a friend as far as I'm concerned.

Actually, I'm pretty firmly of the opinion that we're in a bit of a golden age musically. I think the phenomenon of 'musical gods' had a lot to do with the broadcast media they dominated; with only a few channels, it was inevitable that everyone heard the same stuff, and that a few of those that didn't suck and actually made some good music would become legendary as a result.

We have artists working today that are every bit as talented, but there's a lot more specialization in what people listen to, and a lot more opportunity for people to be heard. The internet has led to an incredible proliferation of working artists. This, after something of a dead-zone in the late eighties and early nineties when the music industry had strangled itself, believing that it could manufacture what most people wanted, being overly controlling of narrow broadcast media, and largely producing shit, punctuated by a bit of a boxer rebellion in the early nineties.

If you could put away the nostalgia, I'd argue that the Mountain Goats are every bit as good as Dylan, and if cleverly composed pop is your thing, there's the Magnetic Fields, Andrew Bird, and the Decemberists. Joanna Newsom is amazing both lyrically and compositionally. Need to rock? Well, LCD Soundsystem kick(s/ed) ass, as did the Unicorns, and if you're really feeling angry and mostly brain dead, you can always go 'round to Titus Andronicus. And then there's Tune-Yards coming on in from left field. There's a world of incredible stuff going on, just waiting to be found. Like this mind-blowing Spoek Mathambo vid.

Really, the main thing working against right now is that people are comparing it to a forty year span. It's the most fertile period since the post-punk years of 78-83-ish, and there's a lot more breadth to what's happening now. People are pushing boundaries all over the place. I'm pretty sure that if you're not being amazed by some of the music of the last ten years, you're just not looking hard enough.

Disclaimer: These selected artists very much reflect my own predilictions and picadilloes, and I'm sure you'll think they all suck, individually. But that doesn't invalidate my point.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:14 PM on October 19, 2011


you're really feeling angry and mostly brain dead, you can always go 'round to Titus Andronicus yt

Yeah, Titus Andronicus are so brain-dead. Nothing but mindless, 10 minute rock songs about Civil War battles and Dutch painters. And man, could those recitals of old Abraham Lincoln speeches and Walt Whitman poems before each song are SOOOO stupid.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:17 PM on October 19, 2011


And man, could those recitals of old Abraham Lincoln speeches and Walt Whitman poems before each song are SOOOO stupid.

BE ANY MORE STUPID, I mean.

I guess listening to all this brain-dead Titus Andronicus is rotting my brain.

Anyway, I agree that John Darnielle and Craig Finn might be up there with Dylan (and I'll through in Will Sheff from Okkervil River) but they're all lacking that pure Elvis ROCK AND ROLL EDGE.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:18 PM on October 19, 2011


thought it was ok... but a bit grating
posted by mary8nne at 3:27 AM on October 20, 2011


The video reminds me of the one for Francis and the Lights.
posted by functionequalsform at 1:59 PM on October 20, 2011


I've revisited it a number of times ever since this was posted. Ignoring the video, which I already expressed my enjoyment of, I think there are quite a few things going on, musically, that I like.

Firstly, it's essential melody is drawn from Bo Diddley, yes, but it's actually closer to the Diddley-inspired garage rock of the 60s. And I'm always going to like that.

Secondly, the guitar part is really interesting. Deeply reverbed, and sort of floating around the melody without ever completely landing on it. Those two items alone would make this, basically, a Chris Issak song.

But this has a wild rhythm track, and I wonder if that isn't what people find grating. Because there is heavy breathing driving the beat, as well as jungle bells that seem to just randomly pan around in the stereo mix. And the jungle bells sound like they are mixed very high, so they are at the top of the sound spectrum, while the breathing is very low on the spectrum and the song's vocals are somewhere in the middle. This gives the song the sense that it's actually contained within the rhythm, which surrounds it on both sides, stereo-wise, and takes over the top and the bottom of the song, EQ-wise. It's not a rhythm section that is immediately comprehensible, but is, instead, sort of overwhelming. I don't know that I could listen to a whole album of songs that use rhythm like this, but I like it here. It provides the song a sense of chaos that also feels appropriate to garage rock.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:27 AM on October 21, 2011


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