Tuesday, 27 March 2007

With the volume up and the windows down

It’s good to know words just aren’t enough sometimes. One of the absolute stand-out albums of last year, Leave Now For Adventure, had only eight words in it, and i can’t even remember them properly. i think that’s very telling, not when it comes to my occasionally lacklustre memory, but regarding the sharpest, shiniest, most potent noises. Some people are just better wordless.

The aforementioned Feedle long-player came out last year in a digital sense (£3, kids) on SVC Records, which, as eager mp3 aficionados may realise, is the imprint wing of masterful weblog Spoilt Victorian Child. (If you click on that link RIGHT NOW you’ll not only see a heart-warming-as-artery-cardigans photograph of Peelie and Gedge on ‘This Is Your Life’ but also a little bit of writing about The Greatest 7” Single Of All Time). However, this week saw the re-release of Leave Now For Adventure on Illicit Recordings, in a proper physical digipak look-you-can-get-it-in-the-shops(-if-you-ask-them-to-order-it) CD format and everything. You can buy for Not Much Monies at Norman Records, see?

If i controlled radio stations worldwide i’d make sure they played you this straight away.

Feedle – Song For Dogs

Worth getting if you think you’d like 65daysofstatic without the guitars, i think you’ll agree. There’s even a malicious rumour that Feedle used to be in 65dos which would make a lot of sense, but we do know that at the very least they are mutual admirers and keen buddies.

65daysofstatic – Aren’t We All Running? (Feedle remix)

Speaking of which! Not only does Feedle re-return, but a new 65daaaaaaaays album is due upon us. In the UK here, the rest of Europe over there and the US in the other direction, you’ll all have to wait until 30th April for ‘The Destruction Of Small Ideas’ on the marvellous Monotreme Records (you’ve got to admire a label that names itself after one of these little buggers). Japan get it a week earlier on Zankyo Records, which is nice, and if you can’t wait that long you can listen to them live in Austin if you visit the Lounge Acts page at Texan radio station WOXY.

AND (deep breath) the single ‘Don’t Go Down To Sorrow’ will precede the LP, which i’ve just noticed will include a remix of ‘The Major Cities Of The World Are Being Destroyed One By One By The Monsters’ on the b-side. Ace-o.

i’ve got a wealth of 65days stories, none of them particularly interesting to anyone but me i suspect. However, a word of advice, this goes down well in clubs:

65daysofstatic – born apart

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Annals Retentive: 2005

Eurgh, Sunday.

Sweeping The Nation said something very kind about us but it also doubles up as evidence of another unsatisfied customer regarding Wiki Upload. i’d like to inform readers (uhm, hi?) that this use of wiki is not really through preference, but more because it appeared to keep all files for an indefinite period of time for free and wouldn’t hassle visitors with pop-ups about some casino with computer-animated wannabe neo-rat-packers slyly taking dollar off you, or porn. Turns out the catch is that nobody can download the bloody files.

This is probably an apt time to tell you that i’m not a technophobe, i’m just incompetent. i don’t hate technology, yet technology seems to at the very least think i’m a bit of a knob. So from now on, i’ll be doing what i know, i.e. sticking all files that i can’t link to directly on YSI and then if you the viewer want any of the files that have run out we can either stick them up again or e-mail them to you. We’ve got a week to think about it anyway so hold your horses. (They might be lonely.)

Where was i? Oh yes.

Did i say that 2006 was my worst year on record? Now, that was very self-indulgently and disgustingly 3mo of me. Particularly as 2005 was worse. i jest, of course, 2005 wasn’t particularly bad per se – we’ve all got access to electricity, clean water, warmth, companionship, open skies, abundant medicine, decent meals and the new Robyn single, let’s have a little perspective here – it’s just that other years were particularly better. Anyway, most of my memories of 2005 are happy ones, particularly 12th July for reasons too happifying to go into now, and 9th/10th/11th September for being the weekend i was an attendant at my favourite festival line-up ever.

There were great songs too.

Magoo – Robot Twin

The first truly great album of 2005 arrived on the doormat at the end of 2004 in a Christmas card from Norwich. The album was called Pop Songs, although really with it being a double-CD release that only resulted in eight songs it was difficult to really know what to call it. It was, it transpired, a stop-gap of sorts, re-announcing Magoo as an album band after four years of LP-release dormancy since 2001’s Realist Week. (The follow up, The All Electric Amusement Arcade, didn’t appear until June last year). As well as the awe-striking joy and depth of the music, one thing that i absolutely adore about the album is its title. Pop Songs. Go on, say it to yourself. Pop Songs. Pop Songs. It’d be great if it was really an album of discordant abrasive concrete noise collages but as it actually is an album of pop songs, there’s really something very…satisfying about it. Pop Songs. i don’t know why nobody had thought of it before. Pop Songs.

This Et Al – All You’ll Ever Be Is A Dancer

This Et Al were another lot that sent me a great deal of releases and information at a time when bands from Leeds (UK) were quite hot property with the indie cognoscenti, yet being on the Dance To The Radio label meant they were, and are, forever in the shadow of ¡Forward, Russia! who, despite the odd cracking tune and a natty song-titling system, never made (and judging by their new material, probably never will make) anything as frantic and frenetic and bitter or better than ‘All You’ll Ever Be Is A Dancer’. This is the track that i place blame on for my current year-old habit of having to listen to certain songs on a loop several times over just because one spin isn’t enough and, by crikey, i still try and hit that high note on the last chorus. And to think this was a b-side.

Alter Ego Distort – Statements Galore

Along with a wealth of local bands like The Sways, Alter Ego Distort were another pleasant surprise that found their way through the letterbox (not literally, it was a demo of their EP ‘…in all oceans now’) all the way from Sweden. Sadly i can’t tell you anything about what they’re up to now as their official website has disappeared from cyberspace and their delicate yet soaring indiepop uber-tunes never even got a proper release. Injustice, much?

Saint Etienne – Teenage Winter

i adore Saint Etienne (and their website) and have done since barely older than toddler age, gawping a gap-toothed smile at the delight of ‘You’re In A Bad Way’ oozing from the car stereo. Which is why 2005’s Tales From Turnpike House rather disappointed me – well, that and David Essex. i even ended up having a lengthy e-mail correspondence debate with a 50-year-old backing vocalist called Ingemar Gustavsson (who i think may have even been on the album) about how everybody trying to do Beach Boys harmonies at that time (this was quite shortly after the eventual release of Smile, you see, hence it was en vogue) were just going to sound inferior, even the Et. ‘Teenage Winter’ however made up for all of it; it was bleak, forlorn, melancholic to the point of misery, bursting with regret and i couldn’t get enough of it. It was probably too close to the bone – i know where that Sainsbury’s is, i know the second hand shop that is suffering from eBay’s success and i definitely know those Christmas cards you can’t bear to throw away. But on a happy note, their appearance at the aforementioned Bestival, particularly the glorious closing rendition of ‘He’s On The Phone’ played to a crowd of enraptured C86 fanatics was a highlight in a weekend of highlights.

Talking of Bestival another artist there was Kid Carpet who i missed because he clashed with Super Furries and frankly there was no contest. i did however see his DJ set where in between spinning his own records and bits of 2 Many DJs bootlegs he ‘played out’ the likes of ‘Rah Rah Rasputin’ and ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?’ If i had his b-side ‘£1500 and a Bus Apology’ or the superlative ‘Bristol Carpet Factory’ on me i’d play you those, but instead you can have the cover version that a lot of people remember him for:

Kid Carpet – Jump

It was a very indie year it seems, but there was little more…oh go on then…twee than Pete Dale’s collection of songs with his band Milky Wimpshake. As an example, here are three versions of a song about love and The Beatles, and one minute-long punk song about a milkshake taster. Yep.

Milky Wimpshake – My Heart Beats Faster Than Techno (live version)
Milky Wimpshake – My Heart Beats Faster Than Techno (7” version)
Milky Wimpshake – My Heart Beats Faster Than Techno (French version)
Milky Wimpshake – Milk Maid

i’ll leave you with a rather muddy representation of quite possibly the most exciting moment of live music i witnessed in 2005, particularly the moment just before the vocals start. Hold on tight:

Saturday, 24 March 2007

A Cookie Is A Sometimes Food

Hi there. Sorry we lost touch the past few days. i'd love to say that personally it's because i've been busy doing work of immense beneficial consequence to the rest of mankind but really by day i’ve been standing around doing ‘art pieces’ that involve wearing gas masks and pretending to be a corrupt accountant, by evening writing a thesis on why Disneyland is the most important art installation of the late twentieth century and by evening playing Beatbox Saboteurs records to eighth-full clubs of disinterested students before stumbling around Brighton seafront with the word ‘MASK!’ written on my face. Bianca has been very busy doing more important medical research and, if she wasn’t at this very moment a-sleeping and dreaming her enviably vibrant dreams, i’m sure she’d say a cheery hello.

Now, have you ever taken a personal psychology test? To see through a set of drawings or ink splodges and your interpretation of such whether you are either a well-adjusted upstanding member of society or a raging ball of psychopathic unpleasantness simply choosing to keep it in at the moment? Well, you’ve no need, because i can now judge your inner being using simply some Johnny Cash, Sesame Street characters and nifty html.

Just relax, watch these two videos and tell me afterwards which one you prefer. Your results will be processed shortly.

Chosen? Me too. i chose the latter. i’ve even had an mp3 of it on rotation (mp3s can rotate, right?) for the past coupl’a days. Bad move. i’m quite obviously unhinged, sadistic or just plain not-nice, siding with the Grouch like that. Look at ‘Don’t Take Your Ones To Town’: it’s sweet, dammit. It’s not only got a moral message in it, it removes the original message about unsavoury firearms violence and uses it to teach kids about the importance of numeracy. It has a comedy sound effect in it. And Cash is even polite to all the characters, especially the ones that (being vampires) have probably just got back from draining a virgin dry of their blood supply through their soft pale necks. He’s not curling his lip at a Jim Henson creation and going all shifty-eyed like he would rather be at the bar but doesn’t want anyone to notice. ‘Nasty Dan’ comes to the conclusion that being an utter bell-end your entire life will land you in unscrupulous happiness, and i can’t stop listening to it. Plus he’s wearing a denim jacket. What sort of sick freak must i be?

As we’re on the subject of Sesame Street, here’s one of the myriad reasons why new rave will never really better old rave, not even in the early-Nineties nonsensical sense. Enjoy.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Friday, 16 March 2007

Steven, if you keep this up...

i went to a gig last week, by myself that is. i tend to go to gigs by myself, mostly because i can’t really find people who both want to go anywhere with me AND tend to like a lot of bands i do. i don’t mean that in an emo meets indier-than-thou, i’m-so-lonely-but-i-have-the-consolation-of-being-into-much-obscurer-bands-than-you kind of way, it’s just that a lot of the people that i know with similar taste in music (although that’s a questionable concept in itself, i feel) would probably rather be sat at home watching Top Gear or Lost or whatever on Sunday night than have to forcibly spend time trying to be sociable with me. Questionable taste in television aside, i don’t really blame them. i think the last time i went to a gig with other people was, ooh, freshers’ week probably, and although i know there were a few musos there i assume most of them were just pleased to have found somewhere else to get drunk in. Ah, how sweet student prejudice is. The gig, by the way, was at Audio with Coin-Op and Fujiya & Miyagi. The latter were…well i’ve heard a lot of their material since and it sounds very impressive, but there was something a bit cringe-inducingly ‘jazz funk’ about their live presence. Maybe i was just having a bit of a bad week, because Coin-Op were also a bit disappointing, frankly. i knew of them already because they used to be on Fierce Panda and were even in the 2002 Festive Fifty with…

Coin-Op – Democracies*

…but, now, they just seem a bit contrived really. Like they’ve realised that what they were doing then, the whole Fall-larking-about-on-the-end-of-the-pier thing, became fashionable between then and now so they’re gonna try and dominate the South scene by getting trendier haircuts and ditching all their old songs. Hmm.

Anyway, last week i went to Komedia which i don’t usually go to for a number of reasons, firstly because most of their gigs charge quite far into the double figures, secondly because they have much fewer bands playing than your average venue (although when they’re good, they’re really good – the next few months sees Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid, Camera Obscura, The Skatalites (!), Scout Niblett and John Shuttleworth (!!!!!)
for instance) but also it’s difficult to tell how exactly to act in there. It’s a building with two floors acting like two separate venues and often hosts comedy acts and spoken word nights, so when a band roll in they usually get one support act, who seemingly play from the moment the doors open for half an hour, and then the main band comes on and does nearly a two hour set. It does feel like the band is in an unusual setting, like they really are playing on a stage where there’s usually stand-up or improve theatre or something, and the crowd rarely help make things less confusing. At this gig, the two blokey blokes in front of me hugging their beer bottles were leaning into each other discussing how good the guitar sound was with the acoustics in the room, while a couple of guys behind me were flailing their arms in the air and belting out the lyrics like they were crushed against the barriers on Worthy Farm.

The support in this case seemed to be The Left Outsides who when the male vocalist was singing made them sound like the folky-dokey Elbow, almost comedically so, yet when the female vocalist took her turn the songs had a certain dusty charm to them. On the drumkit was a friendly, gaffa-taped greeting that bore the legend ‘HELLO LOVE’, but seeing as that’s how The Broken Family Band commence their e-mail emissions i suspect it was their doing.

The last time i was at Komedia was to see the Brighton leg of the Phrased & Confused tour which aims to collate artists recognised for either poetic or musical accomplishment or, preferably, both. For instance, the poetic side included the magnificently bemused and bile-fuelled Brendan Cleary, the music-poetry divide was bridged by Sore Throat and of the lyrical/musical bent was former Delgados songstress Emma Pollock.

Emma Pollock - Limbs

[Edit: i like to think i’m very rarely star-struck, or at least that i’m pretty much just as awkward around most people regardless of their fame or lack thereof, but i feel like i was with Pollock. Strange really. She was just sat behind the merchandise stall but i could barely force myself to approach it, perhaps in case she happened to start singing and i’d start weeping or something, i don’t know. i think it was because i was recalling when i was about 14, being driven around rural France listening to ‘Everything Goes Around The Water’ over and over again on my cassette walkman and thinking every time that it got to the chorus, no, this can’t be mere mortals making this sound. Or maybe it is, and the rest of us are just singing all the wrong notes. i sure was a dramatic little shit in my early teens but they’ll still always be a band i adore greatly, and there will still always be some people that you simply do not talk to.]

Also on the Phrased & Confused bill was Chris T-T who, as a Brighton resident and Bee Eff Bee Dee Voe Tee was also in the crowd at the gig. He’s pretty much given up his snidely comedic light-relief pop culture swipes, like, for example:

Chris T-T – Eminem Is Gay

…and is mostly concerned with either socio-political (with emphasis on the political) lyrical attacks or heartstring-weaving acoustic domestica-yarn songs. The band noticed him in the crowd, which was sweet i felt, and at the beginning of the encore Steven Adams even worked a line from Chris’ tune ‘The Tin Man’ and shot him a sly wink. A touching moment, soiled only by realising that i’m a big enough T-T geek to have realised it ever happened.

Chris T-T – The Tin Man

Anyways, the band in question were indeed The Broken Family Band and they were good, which is about as extensive as my critical assessment of the performance is going to get i’m afraid. i should point out that although Steven (who could possibly, as far as i’m aware, now no longer be referred to primarily as the singer from The Broken Family Band but as the singing Adams from The Singing Adams?):

The Singing Adams – Minus Nines

…held the attention of a very warm and admiring crowd, guitarist Jason turned out to be quite the rock n’ roll showman, managing to get an audience member to chuck him a light in the middle of a song, pulling one of the smuggest grins ever seen in popular musical performance during the solo in ‘Poor Little Thing’ and wearing a Boston t-shirt to mark the passing of lead singer Brad Delp that weekend. There was even a short improvised rendition of ‘More Than A Feeling’.

Surprisingly (i felt anyway) they started with this:

The Broken Family Band – The Perfect Gentleman

…and ended with this:

The Broken Family Band – You’re Like A Woman

The only interesting downside was that near the end the audience were asked to hold hands with the person they turned up with or were standing next to, in a move that Mr Adams recalled from seeing Lenny Kravitz at some enormo-dome somewhere hot, and i realise that i’m seemingly the only sad bugger in the room who’d turned up by himself.

*please note: i’ve no idea what an .ogg file is.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Rave Of Mutilation

Can i say ‘jag!’ around here? No? Okay.

This Saturday sees no-rave noiseniks The Walk Off play Unit 22 in an event organised by South coast promoters extraordinaire Ejector Seat. DJ sets will come from also-promoters-actually-but-we’ve-turned-up-to-play-records SubSonic and something moronic called The Thomas Ferguson Band . i do realise that it says all of that in the poster above.

i apologise if you do not live on the South Coast of England as this is probably not of much interest to you.

So, uhm, have a song, about walking. A cover version about walking. Yes.

The Stranglers – Walk On By

Monday, 12 March 2007

Just a band


If you tune into Radio 1 right now you'll hear Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip performing live. Should be good. i think you ought to really.


Well i guess you missed it then. BUT if you’re reading this before this time next Monday morning you’ll be able to hear them on Listen Again for the Rob Da Bank show. What i didn’t realise was that there was another session from Kate Nash at Maida Vale who was surprisingly great actually, intricate motor-mouthed ol'-joanna pop with a fractured heart and an especially healthy bout of swearing in it, a bit like a cross between Lily Allen and pre-production Regina Spektor. Sweet.

i’m afraid this show is one of the ones that makes me feel i can’t keep up as well as i used to. Only today i discovered a rather good white-soul atmosphere-smith called Jamie Woon, and today Rob played the Burial remix of his Appalachian folk cover ‘Wayfaring Stranger’. Losing my edge, evidently. (i think the term is ‘sadface’?)

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Empty beds and lonely dinners

i was alerted to Au Revoir Simone only this morning by my lover, principally because she asked if i’d heard much by them and, shamefully, i hadn’t. She was curious because she likes the name and thinks their legs look great in photographs, and although i’ve not checked the whole legs thing – i’m not really sure it stands with my principles – i agree about the tag; maybe it’s a stark yet forlorn goodbye to Nina Simone? Or a floral yet scathing dismissal to Simone Clarke? Let’s face it, probably not. Anyhow, i’ve included ‘Through The Backyards’ off their debut album Verses Of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation, partly because it was the only one i could find BUT also because it featured on Grey’s Anatomy a while back.

Au Revoir Simone – Through The Backyards

The trio’s new album The Bird Of Music came out this week in the UK on
Moshi Moshi, if you’re in Japan though you’ll have to wait until April and US readers (uhm, hi?) will have to wait until May 1st. They play annual bus driver’s holiday South By Southwest this year, which should be nice for those jammy A&R gits, and you can hear some of their (really rather good) tracks, as always, on here.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Post rock: As poetic as the crumbs in my beard

We like Jamie and owe him a drink.

More stuff through the letterbox this morning which has taken a while to get listened to because we’re so excited by the wealth of Breezeblock shows suddenly available to download. Oooooooh yes.

There’s a new single from Stylus Rex due on Monday (called, ever-so-slightly alarmingly, ‘Squelch Freak’) released on the new label BijouBeats, the not-unreasonably-monikered division of LA-based breakbeat haven BijouBreaks. It is indeed freaky AND squelchy and you’re dancing feet pretty much need this in their lives.

Also on the doormat was new single from Smilex called – i’m afraid – ‘Flimsy Fickle Fashion (Fuck Off And Die)’. Uhm, lovely. It clocks in at 1:46, it regurgitates a flaccid cod-punk of the sort Towers Of London can only dream of and if you can’t guess what the song’s about, it’s about 105 seconds too long.

Thankfully, though, there was also a couple of new releases from Truck Records, one being new single ‘Come To Love’ from Popjustice favourites Trademark. It’s very Pet shop Boys-y, wondrously synthetic and you can here the leading track right here. Also in the parcel was the new split 7” between Hayman, Watkins, Trout & Lee and The Epstein, which looks very promising, yet i haven’t got the heart to tell the Truckers that i haven’t currently got a (working) turntable. i’ve also not got the heart to upload any of the tracks, so you’ll just have to go out and buy them in’t. (You can, however, get a load of Epstein bootlegs here and listen to both of their tracks on the single – ‘Black Dog’ and ‘6:06pm’ – right here so go and do that too.)

However, last and by many means least i received a new, supposedly more professional demo of last year’s 2006: The Love EP by south-coast cut-up cretin Ziggy Bollus. (It’s called an EP but lasts 45 minutes, i.e. one side of a C90, and is eleven tracks long.) i say supposedly because, although the content is plenty interesting, the sound quality is utterly horrible. The original album was released last year on Helen Llewellyn Product Nineteen Recordings but available only on cassette, which obviously bemused a great deal of people who are even starting to regard CD as an outmoded form of audio data handling. It prompted a certain Rob Da Bank to react with a great deal of format puzzlement on its arrival at Radio 1 HQ – judging by that response he might as well have received a wax cylinder or encountered a homing pigeon trying to recite the EP with a penny whistle on demand*.

Bollus put the use of cassette down to technophobia rather than nostalgia purposes and it’s plain to see, or hear rather, because in trying to convert the EP to compact disc he has, for want of a better phrased, completely bollocksed it up. The recording levels are set so far into the red that a lot of it just sounds like indistinguishable fuzzy white noise, which if you’re The Thermals or something probably works in your favour but for a plunderphonic scamp who thinks too hard it takes a great deal away from the work, especially the central track ‘The 237 Songs Closest To Me When Mary Called My Name’ that, clocking in at over 29 minutes, sounds like someone’s replaced the magnetic strip with emery paper. Oh well, judge for yourself, although if you want to hear the original rendering you’re going to have to dig out your old boom-box and start trawling the eBay of your mind.

Ziggy Bollus – 50 Seconds Of Love (radio edit)**
Ziggy Bollus – Biscuit City
Ziggy Bollus – Vitamin Dee Dee (wishpigmentation)

[Edit: You’ll be glad to hear (or probably not, after that) that Mr Bollus has assured me he is working on new material, using computers and everything.]

*actually, that’s not a bad idea, get the bugger on the phone.
**note that the radio edit is 49 seconds long. What larks.

Oh we went fiddly diddly diddly diddly fiddly diddly diddly diddly dee

i’ve got spaghetti on my window. That’s not a euphemism or anything, i really do have spaghetti on my window. My staple diet at the moment is about 60% spaghetti and i have to eat in on the windowsill as i’m concerned all the steam billowing from it will set off the fire alarm, and i was a bit too rigorous slurping it up this afternoon.

It is at this point that i should apologise for the lack of quality control in posts so far. Hopefully my better half will say something soon for you, although firstly she is very busy with university work (a concept that for my art student brain is becoming increasingly alien), and secondly you (the abstract construct we believe to be ‘the reader’) are probably doing something else and don’t even subsist as a mass.

Where was i? Oh yes.

This March (hey, that’s now!) Misty’s Big Adventure will be embarking on a tour which they’ve delightfully called A Month Of Tuesdays. Because, well, they all fall within a month of each other, and they all happen on a Tuesday. A bit like that old Linoleum song. Anyway. They look like so:

Tuesday 13th March – London Water Rats
Tuesday 20th March – London Water Rats
Tuesday 27th March – Birmingham Glee Club (with Poppy & The Jezebels)
Tuesday 3rd April – Manchester Jabez Clegg (with The Retro Spankees!)

How glorious are those going to be, especially with support bands like that? Very, hopefully.

The Retro Spankees! – Mr Brilliant

Although i’ve not see them play on the same bill before, MBA and the Spankees! go together beautifully. They shouldn’t really, seeing as some of the Retros are the spit of Grandmaster Gareth’s arch nemeses The Teats, but they’ve got a deft hand when it comes to skewed pop brilliance too so really it makes sense. As did the last support act i saw flank Misty’s:

KateGoes - Yoyo

i’d not seen or heard of KateGoes before their Misty’s support slot but the next day i eagerly proclaimed them to be the best band in the world ever ever. Well, i suppose maybe they did get me a bit over excited but they had lyrics concerning how terrible they were at playing Pogs, one song comprised entirely of the word ‘flob’ and the bassist decided to start fishing in the middle of the gig. The place wasn’t particularly full at that point but i was stood near the middle of the venue and the guy in front of me, who had both been exchanging grins of bemusement and delight, stepped towards me and said “I never thought anyone could make music like this”. i told him that i thought my heart exploded and we went back to the grinning and pupil dilation towards said band.

Anyway, i hear that one of these Misty’s gigs is going to have a setlist voted for entirely by the viewers of their MySpace page. Seeing as i won’t be there, and i’d rather have a slap in the buttocks with a wet towel than a MySpace profile, i won’t be voting. But if i was…

Misty’s Big Adventure – Fighting For My Life
Misty’s Big Adventure – Microwave
Misty’s Big Adventure – The Whaleians

Apparently the new Misty’s album, Funny Times, is finished but took so long to get done because no record company would have them. Jeez, what a world. But i hope it’s a world that has a good weekend.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Annals Retentive: 2006

If art school has taught me anything (and i’m starting to wonder if it actually has) it’s that i hate nostalgia. Presumably because the majority of our tutors are around the age where they can remember (or, as the masturbatory drugs phrase puts it, not remember) the Sixties, new students are virtually on arrival reminded that we are all still in thrall to a decade that withered away nearly forty years ago. Our first lecture, for instance, was about said decade and how (this is a direct quote, or rather as close as i can get through the jumbled slices of paper and string in my tired mind, but the most important words are still intact) "a thing called magic still existed". We all, of course, live burdened with the post-modern condition that makes us believe the world will only get worse – it wouldn’t be a profound stretching of the imagination, i don’t think, to hear that this is part of the reason. At the start of this term, our first lecture was about Andy Warhol and those hep Factory cats, accompanied by slides of his numerous and thus quickly tedious portrait prints that have been rammed down our visual lugholes since deciding art would be a great subject to study at GCSE. It strikes me as perverse that, even given the reminiscent age of the staff, such a cynical and questioning subject as art can be so rose-tinted about any period of history, let alone a twentieth-century one. The sun shone every day, they say. The eyes of strangers were full of rainbows and hence everyone loved. All the unbettered ideas were being had. They nearly neglected to mention there was a war on.

[Edit: When Moldy Peaches first arrived in Britain, there was a large NME article centred around them written by one of New York’s most esteemed hacks (i can’t recall who) which basically said you limeys never got over punk. i was annoyed at this, more because of the way in which the article only talked about the band themselves when mentioning the rumour that they drank each other’s urine, but in hindsight it was a very accurate point. Here, in Britain, we haven’t got over punk and we haven’t got over the Sixties, and i doubt that it hasn’t made some sort of hindrance to progress in most areas of culture and society. With regards to music, The Rolling Stones had what i’ve heard was the biggest grossing tour of recent years and, although i much prefer the support of a live artist refusing to die to the over-reverence of a dead artist you can’t remember living, i can’t help but want that accolade to have gone to someone else.]

i told one of my tutors this – one who, because of her lesser age, pines more for the days of long black overcoats, Morrissey’s credibility and when Nick Cave was a smackhead – and pointed out that maybe i’m just suffering from nostalgia envy. This is a particularly good point, especially when pondering what the ‘Noughties’ (bleurgh) will be remembered for. Uhm, Iraq. Uhm, the internet. Uhm, i’m struggling here. We’ve been living on revivals for too long now, as proven by the wealth of movements prefixed by ‘new’ – New Wave of New Wave, New Rock Revolution, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, Nu Metal, New Acoustic Movement and so on. The last reasonably original cultural movement i can think of was rave (grunge was an almost onomatopoeic regurgitation of a punk/college rock hybrid, Britpop was British Invasion Mark 2 only not as successful etc.), and now that even that has been re-hashed as New Rave it’s difficult to know where to go next.

But, then again, i disagree with nostalgia on principle as it doesn’t let us learn from our mistakes. Which is why, dear reader, i’m worried i’m suffering from it myself. With regards to music, i go along with Our John’s view that the best ever year for music is the one you’re in now, but it doesn’t seem quite right to let people believe what i’ve just written up there, especially myself, when i know that so much (for want of a better phrase) good stuff has gone largely unnoticed. So, in an attempt to combat this, i will ramble on at great length in a vastly self-indulgent manner about the years i begrudgingly admit that i remember most fondly, i.e. all the ones that occurred this side of the Millennium, with accompanying songs. Agreed? Agreed.

Baby steps first, as i work my way backwards, starting with 2006. Ah, those were the days! The crazy fashions we wore! The zany crazes we followed! The long hot summer evenings! Etc.! It feels quite fitting starting with this one, not only because it was so recent that a lot of our weblog brethren are still reflecting on it, but also because it was, if i’m being quite frank, one of my least favourite years on record, largely made sweeter by a relatively limited yet very VERY wonderful list of things:

1) The co-creator of this blog
2) My father and his lover’s wedding
3) Park Farm Shop
4) We Are The Pipettes*

But as my memories are basically formulated by or around songs, i’ll just have to post you a few of them.

Now – The Incase

i should admit that the reason i’ve even heard of Now, even though they’re on the excellent Pickled Egg Records, is that the keyboard player used to be my art lecturer at Arts Institute Bournemouth. Alas i can’t remember much of the content of these lectures, other than one was about that controversial United Colours of Benetton advertising campaign and that she’d describe everything she didn’t like as “chronic”, but rather refreshingly for an art lecturer she was actually willing to stay behind afterwards and talk to you more about art. i think we had a debate about Martin Creed once and a reasonably lengthy talk about the use of contemporary artwork by Manic Street Preachers. What i remember more, though, is being sat by the radio at 2.55am one morning listening to Radio 1’s sadly missed (by me) magazine show OneWorld and, specifically, their Pickled Egg special where, because the show finished at three and they’d already played the early Go! Team single they previously said they didn’t have time for, i assumed i’d missed their airing of a Now track. But, rather spectacularly the show finished on this, meaning that those clattering clangs at the end segued straight into the next programme. i miss radio like that. Is that a tear forming?

The Schla La Las – Hot As Possible

This is my favourite Schla’s track so far, particularly as it sounds a bit like ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ by The Cars only, y’know, good. i first saw Schla La Las in 2005 but i met most of them when stumbling into a marquee tired and confused on the Sunday night at Truck. Unbeknown to me, George Schla was the same as George who writes for Drowned In Sound and so we had something to talk about pretty quickly. After a while George admitted that after a few drinks she desperately needed the toilet and yet, as any glam camper knows, the cubicles on the third night of any festival are a no-go area – as i had discovered earlier that evening when my good friend Jonathan found (and there isn’t really any way of skirting around this i’m afraid) a footlong turd in the sink. Anyway, in an act of (in hindsight, quite laughable) gallantry i said i’d stand at the wooded perimeter of the festival site, keep guard to make sure nobody asks her what the hell she’s up to and whistle loudly with my eyes closed while nature took its course. On the way there though, we were stopped by a reasonably inebriated reveller who seemed to know who George was. A few moments later they asked, “where are you off to then?”
“Oh”, said George, “well we’re going to the woods just over there. I’m just off to…you know…powder my nose.”
“Ah, I see”, said our acquaintance, giving both of us a knowing look. “Well, you’re welcome to do it in my tent if you want.”
All i could do was stand there and surpress my laughter as George’s face turned to a picture of horrified bemusement, thinking that a passer-by had just quite sincerely offered her the chance to urinate in their tent, whereas they obviously thought that powdering our noses meant we were off to do a line of coke together.

Yaporigami - Yamato

Before Adaadat released their really-quite-good-you-know compilation Trade & Distribution Almanac Volume III i’d not been aware of Yaporigami and, who knows, may even have been in a pub at the same time as him/her without realising it. As far as i’m aware, T&DAVIII is the only compilation i’ve ever awarded ten stars (unless you count ‘Songbook’ which, considering its near-biblical status in my head, i don’t).

Easy Star All Stars featuring Morgan Heritage - Electioneering

Who would have thought that a reggae tribute to OK Computer would not only work but still be just as enjoyable several plays later? Most feedback i got about Easy Star’s previous release, Dub Side Of The Moon, was that it was astounding on the first listen but tiresome on the second. Also, Radiodread is only one of two reggae-based band puns i’ve heard yet it is definitely the worst. Then again, the other one is Jah Division.

Coco Electrik – Apple Pie (Skylab remix)

Let’s end tonight on my favourite remix of last year, even though the numerous remixes of 'Atlantis To Interzone' gave it a fair bit of competition (especially as the Klaxons remixes made a fairly poor song sound interesting, whereas the remix of Miss Anne Booty simply made quite a sedate song sound like it’d happily chisel your face off). i don’t know why Coco Electrik hasn’t snatched Goldfrapp’s crown and isn’t shifting more units than that last woeful Madonna rekkid did. She’s already recorded ‘Cuts and Lies’ with Acoustic Ladyland, and although i prefer it when they’re doing all that that skronk-jazz-noise that irritated Jools Holland, i won’t begrudge them the chance at sultriness. In terms of the dancefloor fitted somewhere between my mind and my ass, though, Skylab’s rendering off ‘Apple Pie’ obliterated all.

However, if you’re interested, single of the year for me was ‘Fashion Parade’.

*(Sorry i was mildly distracted by the new video for ‘ABC’.)

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

They're not blood, they're Cherryade

The second ever Hey Charlie! post is tonight being celebrated with the consumption of Crawford's Bourbon Creams.

i should maybe have mentioned in Our Virgin Post that whenever i make a compilation, dj set or similar i have, for a good few years now, started with a People Like Us track which, given its full title from the Another Kind of Humor/Another Kind of Murder split LP with Abraxas, is called 'Sing With Melodious Inarticulate Sound And Frequent Changes Between Falsetto And Normal Voice In The Manner Of Swiss And Tyrolean Mountain-Dwellers...Please'. i was instead going to draw your attention to the track OB & Cha Cha, as it reminds me of a film my friend made near the end of last year that at one point involves me putting on a white boiler suit, painting my hair with a brush and green paint and then collapsing. Then, having noted her recent additions to her site, i was going to point out her remix of 4:33 by John Cage, particularly as i gave a presentation about the very same piece last Thursday to a group of students who plainly weren't interested and, perhaps justifiably, didn't find my accompanying projection of completely blank OHP acetates remotely amusing. But, as Vicki Bennett is a firm believer in the power of profit through free distribution, i thought i'd just post a link to her exhaustive list of downloads which covers pretty much her complete discography and lasts well over 24 hours. i say 'pretty much' because i'm still unable to find the track she made for the 1999 Work & Leisure International commission in Manchester. Ah well, someday.

The (almost) entire People Like Us back catalogue.

Letting the circle be unbroken though, or rather granting the triangle the three sides it requires, the next release in the People Like Us schedule is a collaboration with one Ergo Phizmiz. Yesterday in the post i received a lovely parcel from Peter & Sarah Nelson which included the new Phizmiz album on WOMB Records which appears to be a collection of choice cuts from 2001 to 2006. i’ve not heard it yet, but rifling through a few seedees this afternoon i came across another Ergo composition i already had on one of The Wire’s free Tapper covermounts. Listening to this again, i’m pretty certain that WOMB must be the sort of place they only let members of the magic circle into.

Ergo Phizmiz – Sticky White Glue (extract): Rectify

Also in the package though was a lovely couple of releases from Listen With Sarah herself that recently ‘dropped’ from Cherryade Records. So lovely are the people of Cherryade that they included some jelly cherries in a miniature pick n’ mix bag with the parcel. One thing i found particularly intriguing/unnerving is the cover of the most recent LWS EP, The World Of Listen With Sarah. Because, as pictured above, it depicts Sarah sat at an organ belting out her hits; only, it is a doctored interpretation of a record cover that, as a cack-handed volunteer for a fairly esteemed second-hand record shop, i’ve had the pleasure of staring at on many an occasion. Yes, i’ve even been known to play the recordings of said Blackpool-based Wurlitzer demon Reginald Dixon to unsuspecting members of the public on rainy Saturday afternoons, particularly The World Of Reginald Dixon as it opens with a triumphant and quintessential rendition of ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’. The World Of Listen With Sarah, however, opens with her rendition of Lemon Jelly’s ‘Ramblin’ Man’, only replacing the original narrator with one Andy Kershaw.

Listen With Sarah – Ramblin’ Andy

That’s all to be getting on with for now really, except to point out that today’s title is indeed a reference to the rather outstanding new Los Campesinos! single that you can still download for no pennies if you click on the link sixteen words previously. What a nice group of young artists they are.

What i See When i Close My Eyes

"The blank canvas consumes me, and I quiver at its ferocity. There is nowt so similarly terrifying." - Augustus Sterling

Dear reader, thank you for existing. Have a song:

Bearsuit - Hei Joska, Hei Jokkunen