Jun 20, 2012

Rowland S. Howard - Pop Crimes (2009)

I contracted liver disease a while back and I've basically got liver cancer, I'm waiting for a transfer, if I don't get it things might not go so well...so..
-Rowland S. Howard, 2009 
And so we have Pop Crimes. In my baseless view of the story of rock n roll he's the guy who made The Birthday Party the sick surf punk weirdos they were, rather than the tedious elitist post-punkers they might've been (although I couldn't imagine any of the members producing anything too hip, jerky, or intellectually arty). Pop Crimes would be his last album and it's a good one full of "surf guitars gone to Hell" (Henry Rollins) and monotone low-pitch singing. It's a really sad listen given the tragedy of Howard's death and when reading Cave's statement that he was "Australia's most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist," it leaves a kind of hole in the listener's stomach, like, man the guy really was a legend in the underground. But then Harvey's "Sometimes people are ready to go because they have been sick for a long time, but Rowland really wanted to live. Things were going well for him outside his health and he wanted to take advantage of that, and he was very disappointed that he wasn't well enough to do so," elevates Pop Crimes as a statement, not just a reason for music magazine obituaries. It becomes sadder- dude really wanted to live- but also better- Howard's own statement on the album becomes life-affirming rather than defeated, and that permeates the album. Shut Me Down might shove its hands down the listener's throat, pull his/her stomach out and stomp on it with the simple chorus I miss you so much- it's not just lovelorn but a real tear-jerker, particularly given the circumstances, but Howard's cover of Talk Talk's Life's What You Make It is so ballsy and optimistic that the previous tragic narrative becomes just that, a narrative. Pop Crimes is Howard's final statement and he's not gonna have you crying after crediting too much of his craft to existential introspection. A bold defiance of the Romantic image of the songwriter. So bold in fact that here I'm gonna quote Life's What You Make It and it can't be cheesy because it's one of Hollis', not Howard's: Beauty is naked. Life’s what you make it, celebrate it, anticipate it. The spirit of that is all over Pop Crimes. If it's gonna make you cry, cry tears of happiness a la Donuts

You fucking crybaby





  1. so sorry to hear about the cancer man. hope you get well soon.

    1. huh? that was rowland dude i'm fine lol

  2. oh yeah! i see that now!! lol!!! well, don't get cancer okay man?

    1. i'll try not to! thanks for lookin out!

    2. had a good laugh. Had to check in an leave a comment.

      Anyhow, too bad about the old IDCAS blogspot, some of my first downloads were off that blog. My jimmies would be severely rustled if something were to happen to you and your liver, as well as this current incarnation of the idcas blogspot.