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Portishead in Portishead
April 14, 2008 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Portishead in Portishead (your favorite band sucks), but after 10 years, fans are a little excited.
posted by hypersloth (71 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, *I'm* excited. Not heard the single yet, what's it like?
posted by Artw at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2008


Machine Gun is the first single, I believe, and it is like a robotic marching band jumping off of a Shephard Fairey poster stomping through your front door carrying a mechanized Beth Gibbons shooting lasers from her glowing eyes as she sing-wails your guilty verdict on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the government.

That's what it's like.
posted by cashman at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is that good?
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on April 14, 2008


Portishead is one of those bands that I loved, loved, loved ten years ago but can't stand now. Hopefully the new album will be something great and new, and not just another retread of that same one song over and over.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2008


My (sort of) (in the 90s) favourite bands website certainly sucks. Please die, mystery-meat image-link-with-rollover-design-concept.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2008


I can't imagine (based on the tracks I've heard) that this new material would appeal to anyone who wasn't already a Portishead fan, and there's a sense in which the Portishead moment (if there ever was one) has very much come and gone, but I'm a fan, and I like. A lot.
posted by blucevalo at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2008


Is it good? It's okay, I guess.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:10 PM on April 14, 2008


See: Returns, Diminishing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:11 PM on April 14, 2008


That's my old school. Next door to my parents' house. I managed to miss all the hooha by the simple device of heading for a home visit seven days too early. I love the band. The place - not so much. It's the kind of town where you earn the nickname 'Professor' for knowing what a noun is.
posted by RokkitNite at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2008


I saw this on Current yesterday. At first I was all, "Portishead is back, yeah!" but, Airplane! was on Comedy Central and that was ultimately much more entertaining. I kept jumping back during commercials, though. So, verdict: better than the ads on comedy central.
posted by ulotrichous at 12:16 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I disagree. I can watch Comedy Central ads for more than 1:48. Too bad, I like(d) Portishead a lot - still listen in my car sometimes. Willing to listen to another track, but not that one again.
posted by ctmf at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2008


I once saw Kansas in Kansas. There was also in fact dust in the wind that day.
posted by jlowen at 12:25 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Making a Portishead post without linking to this very decent Guardian piece or to this this good piece in the NYT doesn't make any sense to me.

The album—which I've heard twice now—is different, spikier, weirder than their first two, which I loved as much as I've ever loved any record. I suspect, with time and repeated listening, I will love this one as much.
posted by cgc373 at 12:31 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are Massive Attack still goign to be releasing an album sometime this year?
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on April 14, 2008


i can has fail; thx for the Guardian and NYT cgc373
posted by hypersloth at 12:36 PM on April 14, 2008


Hey, no worries, hypersloth. I borked the NYT link, which should go to "After a Decade Away, Portishead Returns", but didn't.
posted by cgc373 at 12:39 PM on April 14, 2008


You can pre-order it (US release date 29 April) at artistdirect.com (which I have--being very excited about it, despite being most disappointed by Out of Season). It is weirder and spikier. I would have pre-ordered it without hearing it first, but having listened to this performance, am thrilled that I've ordered it already.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2008


*shrug*

I found it to be kind of inventive and daring, in a post-triphop way. I think they got bored with the genre they created/perfected.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:43 PM on April 14, 2008


Out of Season grew on me, though some tracks are definatly better than others. I;m probably more fond of it because I never OD'd on it like I did on Portishead.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on April 14, 2008


Why don't they play any of the crowd favorites like Love Shack or Rock Lobster?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:48 PM on April 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


The New Yorker on the new album.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:49 PM on April 14, 2008


The new album rocks. It took a couple listens to grow on me, but it's worth the time. The main thing to say is that they're incorporating a much harsher brand of noise than those smooth-sounding moogs and thermiers in the previous releases; some of the tracks are really abrasive - but that's exactly what they were going for. The previous albums were music of despair, and the new has a strong vein of violence running through a very similar vision.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:50 PM on April 14, 2008


Talking about “Third,” Mr. Barrow and Mr. Utley cited Black Sabbath, Sonic Youth, Kraftwerk, Ultravox, the hip-hop producer Madlib, the Viking-helmeted proto-Minimalist composer Moondog and the glacially slow heavy metal band Sunn 0))),

I am now really looking forwards to getting home and hearing some of this/cursing not bringing any headphones with me into work today.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on April 14, 2008


lol @ lobster
posted by hypersloth at 12:51 PM on April 14, 2008


Dispite Geoff's youtube-like blog comments, I still love em.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:51 PM on April 14, 2008


It's definitely not same-old, thankfully. Then again, I listen to a lot of abrasive and percussive music, but the undercurrent behind their past brooding style has bubbled up and it sounds glorious.

I just wish they'd have a more expansive tour outside of Europe, though I've read that it's not in the cards this year.
posted by myopicman at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2008


My buddy just told me that Beth Gibbons lives here in Cleveland, OH now since her husband got a sweet endowment at our art museum.
posted by sciurus at 1:00 PM on April 14, 2008


I just wish they'd have a more expansive tour outside of Europe

Fuck yes. I've seen Massive Attack, Tricky, Sneaker Pimps, Thievery Corp., Morcheeba, Zero 7, etc. Portishead's the last box top I need to send away for a Lamb reunion!
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:02 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked Third pretty well, though I'm not playing it much. If that makes any sense.
posted by everichon at 1:03 PM on April 14, 2008


I love Radiohead
posted by jouke at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2008


This sounds a lot like Nearly God, the (sort of) Tricky project that involved Terry Hall, Neneh Cherry, Bjork and a bunch of other people. I really liked the darkness and minimalism of that album, especially compared the other Tricky projects that came out after Maxinquaye. That and Blue Lines are really the only two records from that era and genre that I still listen to with any frequency.

Of course, at least Portishead have somewhat of a live presence. Of the three times I saw Tricky perform, the first time his voice was ruined from too much pot; the second, he insisted on performing entirely in the dark; and the third, he walked off stage after two numbers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2008


Ah, Tricky...
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on April 14, 2008


I'm so glad they're making more music together.
posted by hellslinger at 1:24 PM on April 14, 2008


Like This Life I think Portishead should have been lefr in the 90s... Portishead +10 is not good.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:33 PM on April 14, 2008


Saw them in December, and it was good but sounded a lot more like Portishead of old than Sunn-O))), Kraftwerk or Black Sabbath...
posted by anagrama at 1:34 PM on April 14, 2008


the Portishead moment (if there ever was one) has very much come and gone

My god that's the truth. I caught this on current TV (I watch that channel much more than could be good for me) and instantly it was 1993, I'm sitting in every dark hipster bar in San Francisco, having achieved that perfect level of inebriation that results from one gin martini, 2 Red Hooks, and 3 bong hits. We're at the cusp of the dot com boom. Everyone can just taste the money that's about to flood the city and no one yet has developed the sense of responsibility that goes along with all that wealth. Later, I am going to an absinthe party thrown at a guy's loft who traded in his degree in theatre arts for stock options at a start up. You could still light up in the bars then so the air is thick with smoke, and Portishead, and cool.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2008 [10 favorites]


I was listening to Third just as I opened Metafilter. I've been listening to it a lot and I like it very much. If the final cut is anything like the leak, it'll be a very strong album. I liked the point a pre-review I read made. Most come-back albums are a failure because the band ends up sounding like a poor imitation of all the newer bands that are imitating them. Third doesn't have that problem; it sounds like Portishead, but it also sounds new.

I feel bad for having stolen the album, but it's so good I'm glad I can enjoy it now. I've preordered the real thing already.
posted by Nelson at 1:51 PM on April 14, 2008


I didn't get what the big deal was about Portishead the first time around and I doubt this holds any new revelations.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2008


Like This Life I think Portishead should have been lefr in the 90s...

I see your This Life and raise you Attachments - which still using Portishead when it was on it's way to being unfashionable.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on April 14, 2008


(I'll bet freaky bees-eye tale of transatlantic yuppies NY-LON used Portishead as well)
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on April 14, 2008


Well there's been no Attachments+10 yet, although there really should be (and the lack of an Attachments DVD is just a cultural tragedy) but if you are going to fight dirty I'm afraid I'll have to bring up Killer Net... I'm sure there was some Portishead in that (actually there probably wasn't but I felt compelled to play the 'crap television program using the internet' trump card)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:29 PM on April 14, 2008


Actually I'm mildly astonished that the soundtrack for Hackers appears to be Portishead free.
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on April 14, 2008


My god, Tank Girl!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:58 PM on April 14, 2008


I have it but haven't listened to it yet because I've been experiencing some trepidation... I'll unzip the file tonight and put on some headphones.

Of course, at least Portishead have somewhat of a live presence. Of the three times I saw Tricky perform, the first time his voice was ruined from too much pot; the second, he insisted on performing entirely in the dark; and the third, he walked off stage after two numbers.

Yeah, sounds like when I saw him back in the day. But I loved the performance, still, and Maxinquaye is still one of my most-loved albums, ever.

Martina Topley-Bird's solo stuff is very, very good as well. IMO.
posted by jokeefe at 3:02 PM on April 14, 2008


My god, Tank Girl!

Ha ha!

(that list has got to be incomplete, I'm sure it was used waaay more than that. I guess stuff like the loop of Glory Box behind the presenters intros on MTVs late night metal show don't coun't. She was listening to that track for ever, and ever, and ever..)

Martina Topley-Bird's solo stuff

Ooh. I didn't know there was any. have to track it down.
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on April 14, 2008


I get to see them in a couple weeks.

Wooooooot!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:42 PM on April 14, 2008


Artw: She's been busy recently with a new album on the way; her first was entitled Quixotic (2003). If you're in America, get the English release import if you can, it's a superior track listing and at least one good song was left off the American domestic release.
posted by jokeefe at 6:10 PM on April 14, 2008


Nthing Martina Topley-Bird. The new Goldfrapp is pretty amazing, too.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:09 PM on April 14, 2008


The performance is very good. About the only thing I could say about it that even approaches criticism is that I wish they let some of the songs stretch out more so they're not such exact recreations of the album versions.

I can't imagine (based on the tracks I've heard) that this new material would appeal to anyone who wasn't already a Portishead fan, and there's a sense in which the Portishead moment (if there ever was one) has very much come and gone, but I'm a fan, and I like. A lot.

I don't get this reaction. I understand why many people approach the album with trepidation (it has been 10 years, after all)... But not this.

Maybe if Third was a by the numbers rehash of the first two albums...

But it isn't.

They've made something new here. This is not the old Portishead. I can't recall hearing a single record scratch. The number of obvious old-samples can be counted on one hand. The songs are faster (by Portishead standards anyway). There's barely any hip-hop in the rhythm patterns at all. Strings are used, but they're not everywhere. One song is 90 seconds long and the only instrument in it is a ukulele (and it's great).

I'm frankly surprised more people who are heavily attached to the first two albums don't hate it. Deep Water should confuse the hell out of them.

Unrelatedly: There is a moment in Machine Gun that makes me think of the soundtrack to the first Terminator movie every time I hear it. It gets to that part and I start seeing T800s stepping on skulls and shooting lasers. Silence is possibly my favorite track.
posted by sparkletone at 7:14 PM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jeez, 'We Carry On' sounds exactly like a Suicide song.
posted by lovejones at 7:40 PM on April 14, 2008


Is it good? It's okay, I guess.

Well, that was... not a crowd pleaser. 20 seconds in and my wife demanded I turn it off and never play it ever again.

Listening to it a bit later and on my own... hmm... interesting. Not something I can see myself wanting to listen to often though.
posted by Artw at 8:31 PM on April 14, 2008


Though now I'm listening to the live performance of the other stuff and digging it quite a bit more.

Oooh! According to the sidebar Morcheeba still exist. Who knew?
posted by Artw at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2008


but if you are going to fight dirty I'm afraid I'll have to bring up Killer Net...

Killer Net has Trickys uncle!

(I vaguely remember him being famous for a bit)
posted by Artw at 8:54 PM on April 14, 2008


I have not stolen it. I have pre-listened to my pre-order.

But I did wonder for a moment if the peculiar mechanism that I had used to pre-obtain this pre-version had slipped me a totally different album, as sometimes happens from these sorts of pre-aquisitions. It is a very different sound and a very different feel. I really did, and still do, love Dummy and Portishead, and Live in NYC still gets played a fair bit. I know they are pretty firmly tied to their place in time, but at that time I was a teenager and I'm happy to go back.

As for the music itself, I don't hate it. But I don't like it. I'll run it through a few more times before I cast judgement, purely because a lot of the things I was really expecting to hear just weren't there. That slower, melancholic pace is one of the things I liked, which is entirely absent, and that violence that is mentioned up thread is really apparent. I'm ambivalent there, as a bit of roughness is much more fitting, but the ambient qualities they replace were rather nice.

Any minute now I'm going to start talking about texture, and then you'll just have to take me out the back and shoot me. So have some Bill Bailey doing a Portishead-inspired national anthem

Deep Water does not confuse me, but only because I also listen to Joanna Newsom.
posted by Jilder at 9:05 PM on April 14, 2008


Deep Water does not confuse me, but only because I also listen to Joanna Newsom.

As content free a response as this is, I am compelled to say: Heh.
posted by sparkletone at 9:36 PM on April 14, 2008


> Oooh! According to the sidebar Morcheeba still exist. Who knew?

Morcheeba still "exist", but without Skye, it's not really living, is it? They should be euthanased now, for all our sakes...
posted by benzo8 at 12:57 AM on April 15, 2008


'bout time, Portishead
posted by steerpike at 1:59 AM on April 15, 2008


I didn't get what the big deal was about Portishead the first time around and I doubt this holds any new revelations.


lights blue touchpaper and stands well back

That's because your taste in music sucks.

But seriously, as a person with very few CDs personally owned, Dummy is the only one that anyone has ever stolen, and it's been nicked twice. I'm looking forward to hearing what they do next. The column inches so far gained have been not inconsiderable, and nobody seems to have a bad word to say, though they all seem to agree I shouldn't hold any expectations.

So if I go into it, without expectations, and it's nothing like I failed to expect, does that mean they met my lack of expectations?
posted by Sparx at 2:33 AM on April 15, 2008


Girls used to like Portishead. I wonder if they will like the new fast and noisey version?
posted by asok at 3:16 AM on April 15, 2008


I saw them play on Saturday night. The new stuff sounds great (but I am a fan I guess) and the gig was fantastic. Clearly everyone there had been waiting with baited breath for them to get back together and play live. The crowd reactions when they played the older material was ecstatic.
posted by stumcg at 3:42 AM on April 15, 2008


Listening now. Liked Dummy okay but was never really a fan, per se. So far, I like a lot.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 6:12 AM on April 15, 2008


I've been listening to Third for months now. It's hard to believe it's not going to be released for another 2 weeks.

I think it's great, I loved the first two albums and the Roseland NYC live recording, but I still probably won't buy Third. I suppose I have "stolen" it.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:01 AM on April 15, 2008


Hypersloth - I'm a big fan. Thanks for posting this.

And my 2 cents - I can understand someone not being blown away by new Portishead stuff, but I wouldn't want them to reinvent themselves. The stuff they've done until now is great, so if this is merely more, I'm pretty happy.
posted by assoctw at 8:27 AM on April 15, 2008


I suppose I have "stolen" it.

It's only $10; if you've been listening to it "for months" why not buy it?
posted by Nelson at 9:42 AM on April 15, 2008


Oh and earlier I forgot this obligatory quote from that other fixture of the 90s

"No, it's not bad, but it's not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shite."
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:22 AM on April 15, 2008


Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a loft appartment in a repurposed industrial building. Choose glass brick walls. Choose a mid century sofa and a lava lamp. Choose pitabread and houmous. Choose Portishead.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on April 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I get to see them in less than two weeks though.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:52 AM on April 15, 2008


have I mentioned that I am seeing them at Coachella?

I'd hate to have missed an opportunity to gloat.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:53 AM on April 15, 2008


Have you ever been to Coachella?

You won't be gloating for long.
posted by troybob at 11:49 PM on April 15, 2008


If you want to listen to the album without stealing it, last.fm is streaming the whole thing now.
posted by Nelson at 8:25 PM on April 21, 2008


Making out to Portishead
posted by Artw at 7:55 PM on April 29, 2008


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