Steven Sourman

Steven SourmanSteven Sourman is Riot Radio's conservative contributor. In an effort to balance out us "new-music-loving, jazz-hating, internet-comprehending hipsters", Steven will be keeping us all in line with his old fashioned ideas on music, trends and how nothing good has been released since 1989.

Any resemblance to any bullying, self important, and out of touch well respected New Zealand music journalists is purely coincidental.

Steven Sourman reviews Riot Radio’s favourite records

May 7th, 2011 by

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back Steven Sourman: the beige face of backwards looking music journalism.

Steven SourmanI say, these Riot Radio fellows obviously have some doubts about their own music taste because they have asked for my expert advice on some of their favourite albums. I notice there’s no Prince amongst them so it looks like I’m in for a rough ride. Still, what do you expect from a bunch of people that refuse to fear modern music like the not-as-good-as-vintage-jazz juggernaut that it is? Anyway let’s have a look at these “albums” they have asked me to review (I say “album”, but Dark Side Of The Moon is an album – I doubt any of these could be synced in a non-ironic way with a Judy Garland movie):

Best Coast – Crazy For You

Best Coast - Crazy For YouHahaha, Riot Radio. You are joking with this one, surely? This sounds vaguely like any one of a number of albums from my collection of obscure late 50’s/early 60’s, Phil Spector influenced, out of print 45’s collection. Why would I not just go on TradeMe and buy a bunch of those at collector rates of up to $200 apiece than listen to this modern rubbish? You’re going to have to do better than that, I’m afraid.

Nirvana – In Utero

Nirvana - In UteroWell, while not really in my comfort zone (where are the 16 minute tapping solos in 7/8 time signatures?) this one is generally considered a classic, so I won’t bag it too much. But I really wish Kurt Cobain had included more organ solos in his music: Jim Morrison recorded five albums before he went off the deep end, while Nirvana only managed three. I think we can agree that there is an incredibly forced point to be made there.

The Naked And Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You

The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive YouA New Zealand album amongst all these albums from more reputable countries? Now I know you’re playing games with me. This sounds like a bunch of hipsters who put on their hipster clothes, went to their hipster studio, picked up their hipster instruments and decided to record some hipster songs. And as much as I understand what a hipster is, which isn’t much, that cannot possibly be good thing. If that’s not enough to pass judgment without even bothering to listen to the music properly, then I don’t know what is.

Oasis – Definitely Maybe

Oasis - Definitely MaybePop music from Manchuria? Now I’ve heard everything. I thought we’d taught these fellows a jolly good lesson in World War 2, yet here they are releasing life-affirming rock music. I’m not even going to bother listening to this one properly: if you like Oasis, then the terrorists win.

At The Drive-In – Relationship Of Command

(Mike Riot Radio’s Favourite Album Of All Time)
At The Drive-In - Relationship of CommandWhat is this, I don’t even… (*composes himself*)… Hmmm, this is OK, I suppose. A bit like… (*twiddles thumbs*)… The Sex Pistols mixed with… (*twiddles thumbs some more*)… Sonic Youth and… (*gives up and looks up a random band in iTunes CD collection*)… Dave Dobbyn. But seriously, where are the melodies on this album? Did Bob Dylan scream and jump around and collaborate with Iggy Pop and grow an afro on his classic albums? I think you’ll find he didn’t.

Stone Roses – Stone Roses

(Dan Riot Radio’s Favourite Album Of All Time)
Stone RosesAh, now we’re talking. Guitar solos and released before 1990 – I’m in heaven. Admittedly, the singer can’t really sing, but the songs sound a lot like The Beatles, thus providing me with a convenient – some might say lazy – point of comparison. There’s some nice long guitar bits here too – and if there’s one thing to be learned from the success of Led Zeppelin it’s that the longer the solo is, the better – so I definitely like this. Unless hipsters like it too, in which case it is complete hipster garbage. Someone let me know in the comments, please.

The State of Modern Music by Steven Sourman – Part Two – Hip-hop: Music?

March 23rd, 2011 by

Steven SourmanIntroducing our newest contributor: Steven Sourman. In an attempt to balance out what Steven has referred to as the “liberal hipsterness” of Riot Radio, we’ve employed Steven to offer his more “traditional” view of music, for our more conservative readers.

Good evening,

I assume you are reading this in the evening, as this is clearly a ‘personal interest’ website entry and you couldn’t be doing that at work.  If you are, cease and desist viewing this content at once!  You will get fired because as we all know the internet sucks away time from your working day.  Also, what you may not be aware of is that the internet not only sucks away your working hours but it somehow sucks away valuable information about your company.

Or your life.

Be vigilant!

To be honest, the internet should be avoided at all costs unless you are sitting at home, you are done with the newspaper, you have watched the television news and you have arrived at your allocated ‘internet use’ hour.  I suggest 8PM.  Get those emails out of the way first…


So I will assume that it is 8PM.  Sharp.

In any case, while I am suspicious on the format, I thank Mike and Dan for inviting me back on to engage in a good, honest discourse on the ‘State of Modern Music’.

Tonight we discuss “Hip-hop”.

Now, I use the modern trend of putting a word, or phrase, in quotation marks for a reason; I am in two minds as to whether hip-hop is even really music.  For a start, it wasn’t invented  in the 1960s and it seldom has guitars in it.  The Beatles never released a hip-hop record and I have my doubts whether the Rolling Stones ever did.  While I accept that there have been some half decent musical genres invented since the 1960s, I am usually skeptical about them.

However, on the positive side, Prince did have one or two stabs at hip-hop on the cusp of the 1990’s and I have recently discovered, by way of Lupe Fiasco’s recent album ‘Lasers’, that you can find hip-hop music recorded on compact disc.

So I was, as you can imagine, divided.

Now, the thing with hip-hop is that it is largely made up of a series of electronic noises joined together with a person, or persons, talking in rhyme sequences over the top of this collage.

Sometimes it is performed by white people as in the case of The Beastie Boys but more often than not it is performed by black people, much like the aforementioned Lupe Fiasco or, because it is older and thus far better, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five.

Now I can appreciate what hip-hop artists are trying to achieve, it is no secret they wish to sound like funk and soul musicians from the 1970s such as Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament or Funkadelic.  The key problem however, which is their key impediment to all hip hop sounding like actual music, is they often don’t incorporate a ‘band’.

I have heard that some hip-hop artists on occasion do incorporate real instruments but when I asked about this at Borders the clerk gave me a look of incredulous insolence.

Sometimes I do wish there was a way of finding out about music that didn’t involve the occasion of good customer service in a major retail chain or reading a newspaper review, I really do.

Now I was going to cover electronic dance music in another chapter but since Mr Fiasco’s album incorporates a lot of this as well, I will simply say that this style is even less musical and is basically hip hop music performed by homosexual people and slightly more difficult to buy.

The State of Modern Music Part One by Steven Sourman

March 3rd, 2011 by

Steven SourmanIntroducing our newest contributor: Steven Sourman. In an attempt to balance out what Steven has referred to as the “liberal hipsterness” of Riot Radio, we’ve employed Steven to offer his more “traditional” view of music, for our more conservative readers.

Thank you very much for having me on the site. Not sure about the pink, best keep my bottom to the wall when visiting the Riot Radio office in future, if you know what I mean. I see you’ve also got a link to those “MP3” things above too – good for you, they may even catch on, you never know.

Now, music. It’s a well known fact that no music, no matter how good, will ever be as good as Prince was in 1989. So why people bother to write new music in 2011, when they could simply put together and release Prince compilation CDs is beyond me. If I had a dime for every time this week that I’ve heard a song that wasn’t as good as “When Doves Cry”, I’d have $6.50. Which, when I was a teenager, was enough to buy 15 Prince records and a gramophone to play them on, with enough left over to buy mustache wax and a monocle.

We also had proper music festivals when I was growing up. Woodstock, Montery Pop: these were real festivals. This weekend they’re supposed to be having some sort of Homegrown festival in Wellington, showcasing local music. I doubt it will be as good as the Newport Jazz Festival of 1965, so I shant be attending. Where New Zealand musicians get off thinking that their music is worthy of an entire day long festival, without a single Led Zeppelin tribute band, is beyond me. You’ll be lucky if you get a single Pat Benatar cover, let alone a Lou Reed song, amongst that lot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thanks, Steven. The Homegrown Festival actually looks pretty awesome to me, but what do I know, I’m just a trendy hipster (whatever that means). More from Steven soon!