29 August 2008
Just thought I'd say in case some of you thought I was gone forever...
26 August 2008
"Someone needs to pimp my wellies, man."
I thinked we'd all love a pair of seriously pimped wellies anyday. Has anyone got the glitter?
Why am I comparing poor Pip to those people? Well I really can't say that she's rock and she doesn't really fall into a dance/electro category either. She's a lot more pop than people woud like to think - but then along with the Black Kids there's more substance, so it makes it okay!
I sourced this down especially for you: it's the video to her single "Paris Is Burning". Not literally, of course:
23 August 2008
You know what? I actually have a slight soft spot for Queens of the Stone Age. Yeah, they're a bit more rock than I'm used to - okay, they're much more rock than I usually go for - but ever since I heard "3s and 7s" I've been slowly warming to them. I can't get away with everything they do but I was more than happy to watch them last night (which is more than I can say for most rock bands like this).
I don't know what it is about this song but I found this footage of them performing "3s and 7s" on T4 and felt the need to put it up, considering I'm becoming a huge fan of this tune. It's something I would never imagine saying, but I have:
In all seriousness though this was a pretty good set from the Brooklyn boys, they sounded quite together even if some of the vocals were a bit rocky now and then. Theunfortunate moment came right at the end when someone thought it would be a good idea to practically turn off their keyboards so that the synths on "Kids" (the core of the song, very important) were barely audible, at least through the TV. It probably would have been an ok finale if someone had just turned them up but unfortunately everything ended up a little drowned by some virtuoso guitar playing and Andy's vocals (his voice ended up a bit muffled by the end anyway when he decided it would be a good idea to use his poncho like a bedsheet to turn into a psychedelic ghost).
Still, the rest of the songs still sounded pretty good (or at least what I saw) so maybe it was just a blip - here's some footage of them playing "Electric Feel" earlier in the year to give a taster of what they do:
P.S. I realise this isn't the best footage but it's the best I could find in a short space of time. Enjoy anyway!
22 August 2008
No idea where this band is from or who it consists of, since their site has very little info apart from when they're touring and what singles they've released. What I do know is that The Magic Wands are seriously hot property, following in the slightly retro footsteps of the likes of Ladyhawke and Black Kids to create a world of fantasy, dreamy pop.
I was first attracted to them thanks to their single "Black Magic" which swaggers along with a killer riff and echoing vocals - certainly the most dangerous of all their floaty pop-rock songs. "Kiss Me Dead" is unusually joyful despite the rather dark subject matter but then I seem to pick my music in this way - you've got to bear in mind that I'm a fan of Asobi Seksu and The Sugarcubes!
This definitely isn't shoegazing rock though, it's setting out a bit of a league of its own. Distinctly less sugary than Black Kids and yet there's something quite sickly underneath it all - but not in a bad way of course. Other favourite tracks of mine include "Kaleidoscope Hearts" and "Starships". I like the distance of the vocals - sometimes it just doesn't work but here it works wonderfully. The lack of immediacy and in-your-face quality just makes everything better while other bands could suffer from not having the singers right in the mix. The overall effect is that the vocals blend lovingly into the music, so you can appreciate both on an equal level.
The production on some of the tracks on their MySpace site is a bit questionable, but hey if it gets ironed out then it could be a good prospect for the future - they're already touring with Black Kids so I see no reason why they shouldn't be big on the indie scene.
Who: Oxford five-piece Radiohead have been going for years, and frontman Thom Yorke has been nominated 6 times for the prize (including his solo album "The Eraser" and his collaborations with PJ Harvey on her winning 2001 album "Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea")
What: Their new, somewhat controversial album "In Rainbows" (people could pay what they wanted for the album, which is okay because why do a massive band like this need the money anyway) which has been hailed as a masterpiece.
Why: I'm definitely not a fan. I know there's a lot of people out there who are absolutely CRAZY about Radiohead but I agree with the frontman from the Hold Steady who says they've lost the plot. If I was ever going to get in to Radiohead it was going to be around the time when they were more rock, since the only song I actually think is any good by them is "Just" (thanks to Mark Ronson who has slaughtered the angst and replaced it with posh-boy brass sections on his cover version. Write your own songs and wreck 'em!). So really they've gone all thoughtful and "weird" on "In Rainbows" and everyone's gone ape over it. I've found listening to the singles very hard going indeed, especially "Nude" which lumbers along like a snail going against a headwind. Not to mention depressing as hell. God, am I the only person in the world who just detests them? I'm sure they've nice enough blokes but they need to lighten up. Nevertheless they're joint favourites to win. "No Surprises" there (oh lord that was an awful joke).
20 August 2008
Well for starters I don't care what the papers say, I don't pay attention to the lyrics. I pay attention to them if I've bought the album and have a mind to dissect them like a frog in a science lab to get to the bottom of what makes the song tick - they supposedly have very clever lyrics these lot. But then, all I can really only hear the chorus properly, possibly because their frontman sounds slightly like he's had one too many cigarettes before singing (maybe he has, I don't know, I've never met him).
So perhaps it's the tune, since it's really the only other thing that could have attracted me to the song. There's a bit of jaunty piano-playing, a bit of a trumpet going on in there, placed between what could be seen as a pretty standard rock song. I don't understand - this is probably just a phenomena like when my mum said to me the other day "I really like that new Coldplay song" (shudder, I pointed out that after ten thousand times of hearing it wears very thin). But maybe not. After hearing this song and being reeled in, I am starting to appreciate their other songs more.
Ooh, do I actually have something in common with Harry Potter? Only time will tell.
This is news to me - I really honestly thought that Bonde Do Role, CSS' little Brazilian colleagues, had called it a day. It was hard not to enjoy the bounciness of their completely bonkers but brilliant tunes. By the end of last year's World Cup, everyone had probably unwittingly heard their song "Solta O Frango" but never really paid much attention to who was making that wonderfully summery tune that planted itself in your brain and wouldn't leave. At least until they stopped showing the advert.
Actually, I too was under the impression that "Solta O Frango" wasn't their song. I was too wrapped up in "Office Boy" which put a hook in me like I was a mountain trout. Luckily not literally. Someone out their must have heard this song - does no one listen to any good radio stations? Hmm, maybe I dreamed that this all happened then. I'm just glad that they're still going - I should really pick up their album "With Lasers" and give it a go; you never know until you try, but if it's anywhere near as good as "Office Boy" I'd be a monkfish eating a juicy worm...
What: "Alas, I Cannot Swim" is a collection of modern folk songs mainly focusing on love and heartbreak, as most of the albums coming out from new young things generally are these days
Why: To be honest, she seems more wrapped up in her side-projects to take her own solo work seriously! It was a shock entry in a way because so many people expected the Mystery Jets (whose album Laura provides vocals for, surprise surprise) to make the list. Her inclusion probably means that the prize is looking to give awards to people who perhaps are a bit different and break outside the indie mould. However, my personal feeling is that she just can't sing! She has a girly but weak voice that rarely strays outside the framework of a few simple notes. It also grates after a while. If she wins the prize it will be more for her songwriting skills and the arrangement of the music on the album rather than her skill as a singer.
19 August 2008
What: "Age of the Understatement", an apparently semi-conceptual album that sees the pair going epic and retro all in one
Why: Well let's put it this way - if I had a choice between The Last Shadow Puppets and either of their "everyday" bands, I'd choose this side-project. I really wasn't that keen on their first single "Age of the Understatement" but I think "Standing Next to Me" is definitely a grower. I still can't get past Alex Turner's voice, which I find doesn't have much soul or heart in it (actually I'm under the impression that he can't sing) but yet this is still more deserving than the Monkeys' "Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not". No-one has ever won the prize twice (even though I think PJ Harvey has been robbed of this accolade on several occasions) - can he make history and win it with two separate bands? We'll just have to wait and see. At least if this pairing wins I won't be bitterly disappointed like I have been for the last couple of years.
15 August 2008
Bad news: In doing this I think I've sabotaged my own plans to buy a new digital camera, scuppering my chances of joining little theme days of SkyWatchFriday and Odd Shots on SCG - major bummer! Oh, the humanity of this credit-crunch! Will it never end! If only ticket prices were as low as they used to be - even these supposedly cheap tickets have killed me!
Ah, Brooklyn. Lately it seems to have become a bit of a breeding ground for talent. Asobi Seksu breaks out with their dreamy shoegazing rock, then Yeasayer shake it up with global influences before Santogold came along and tore everything up with her slightly schizophrenic, genre-hopping pop tunes. Now I've acquired MGMT's debut album "Oracular Spectacular", which is definitely set way apart from the rest.
They've kind of fashioned themselves a little niche that keeps them firmly on the good side of odd but have still managed to break into the mainstream with a psychedelic pickaxe. Their first single "Time to Pretend" was a poetic ode to feeling desperate in the fast lane with a whole verse dedicated to the people and things that were left behind, including the dog (awww). But then they came out with "Electric Feel" which was joyous and broke out like a good rash, far more accessible than their fairly melancholy first attempt.
Peeps living in the UK will definitely have heard one of their songs providing they have a TV - "Kids" has been used as an infectious jingle for an ad and is perhaps one of their most joyous and catchy songs. My personal favourite, it takes hold of you with a vice-like grip and showers you with its brilliant yellow confetti before feeding you sweets and finally lying you down on a pillow to rest. You dance in your head to it so much that you have to bite your lips to stop you smiling. It's that good.
But yet not all of their songs are this up-tempo. "The Youth" and "Weekend Wars" are two songs that are much more down-tempo, prompting some people to say that they're inconsistent and not sure what they want to be - to this I say that sometimes the best albums are the ones that go up and down on the mood and tempo scale. If this album was as happy and bouncy as "Electric Feel" and "Kids" then you'd be exhausted just listening to it. It's good that they're not just operating on one level!
It's not really hard to see why this album has been gaining so much praise really. At the minute there's a bit of a trend for being a bit retro and they pull this off without sounding cheesy or dated before their time. This is a properly modern psychedelic album that more than lives up to the promise of its lead singles.
12 August 2008
Who: Rachel: A group of folk musicians from Yorkshire. Portico: A London jazz quartet
What: Rachel: "The Bairns" a collection of traditional folk songs as well as their own new arrangements. Portico: "Knee Deep In The North", their collection of jazz songs which makes good use of a Swiss instrument known as the hang.
else's faces when its revealed that a mainstream band/artist has been beaten by relative unknowns. If only we could vote and there wasn't just a panel of biased music reps... Ah well, we can dream....
07 August 2008
I don't know what happened, it just seemed to be one of those songs that really hit me and I thought "wow, that's amazing" - I can't find any other way to describe it! So this is a video I found of Grace performing it on TV over here in 1985; apparently the audience of this TV programme ("Wogan", starring Terry Wogan which might explain a lot) didn't really get it but hey, who was in that audience? What were they thinking!?
Okay, Lovefoxxx has explained why the album is called "Donkey" but this is a rather strange title for CSS' second album. Their sound is much more tight and adult, and the risque, sometimes potty-mouthed lyrics have gone out of the window. "Cansei De Ser Sexy" would have been a better title for this one but I'll let it slide this time...
It's been a tough couple of years for the Brazilians: Ira Trevisan left the band and returned to fashion design citing "environmental issues" and they sacked their long-term manager Eduardo for incompetency after they ended up financially in the red despite massively successful world tours that saw them rocket to fame - as a result the band claim that they spent their time without hardly any money in strange cities and sleeping in rubbish motels. Ira was in a relationship with Eduardo. A lot of these hardships are reflected in this album.
"Rat Is Dead (Rage)" is a somewhat lyrically melancholy song that seems to touch upon fighting and desperation and I can believe that the rat of the title is Ira. Opener "Jager Yoga" sees singer Lovefoxxx sing "Don't mess my holiday!" angrily as if speaking to Eduardo when he was messing around with the finances. New single "Left Behind" seems to be a song about moving on, but reflecting on the past, commenting on the bad memories that still haunt them (Lovefoxxx recently broke down in an interview after being questioned over the past couple of years, saying that she was angry over what had happened).
Luckily, they still haven't lost their fun side. Nearly all of the melodies on the album are upbeat and happy despite the dark undertones and tracks like "Move" (my personal favourite song, with Lovefoxxx rapping towards the end), "I Fly" and "Let's Reggae All Night" showing that they still haven't lost their touch for danceable indie-pop, despite being tighter as a unit.
Their debut "Cansei De Ser Sexy" was a brilliant mess but this is a testament to how far they've come in such a short space of time. In a way you can only thank Ira and Eduardo for turning the band into this much more grown-up and yet still utterly fun group. They still look like they're having fun - I still am as well.
What I'm Listening to Right Now - "I Fly" by CSS
06 August 2008
Yep, this is both danceable (mainly, with the exception of "All the Things" which is more like Asobi's "Exotic Animal Paradise" i.e. slow-burning, fuzzy but brilliant) but at the same time you can rock to it which is a nice bonus. It's odd how rock music usually makes you want to pogo and head-bang but this does what Hot Chip makes you want to do - swing your hips around. I think that's why I like them. They're not just like any old rock band.
Unfortunately all I have to offer is some tracks on their MySpace site (where you'll see that they have a large array of famous friends including Ladytron, Peaches, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Gossip) - luckily if you really want to you can download some of the tracks. Unfortunately for me this doesn't include "All the Things". Super-unfortunately is the fact that they'll probably never get any of their stuff released here. Super-bad but hopefully we'll all cope...
What I'm Listening to Right Now - "Rookie Agogo" by The White Eyes
Whee! This was my 100th post so special thanks to everyone who has supported me on Jamjarsuperstar and will hopefully give their massive support in the future!
Yeah so can we please forget about "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" - I appreciate that it's a fun song that's not designed to offend (I just said that a song about being a stalker was great in my last post, so I'm no prude) but hey, the riff is taken straight from "Turning Japanese" and she runs out of lyrics to sing about halfway through. It's not really Ida.
And neither is the title of this debut album! I can hear that it's taken from the opener "Oh My God" but it must be an ironic title surely; no one can sing about being drunk, religion, romance and such like and still name their album as if it's a closed, detached affair. It's plunging into her mind, a mind that has obviously been affected by living in a tiny Danish town where there really was little to entertain a creative young mind.
"Drive Away My Heart" was the first track I ever heard by Ida (pronounced Eeda, not Eye-da) and it it's more reflective of the way she writes in comparison to "I Like You So Much Better". Unfortunately everyone seems to have latched on to this song instead of her better ones. You can tell I'm infuriated! Still, if you want mad then you could also go for "Oh My God", the opener to the album. I like this song because it's not as stupid as that song. Yeah, you know the one I mean.
Other favourites of mine are "Stella" and "Queen Of The World". She's taking rock and becoming the Danish queen of it. I think Queen of the World is a bit ambitious just yet - the NME dissed her album just one week after saying it was going to be great in an interview with her.
Special congrats to her synaesthesia that helped her create the album - apparently she wanted to see yellow when she heard her music. And got it. Aside from that song this is a great debut. I can tell I'll be enjoying it for a while yet...
Yeah, you heard me right - "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" is filled with romantic ideals but turned on their heads in a topsy-turvy world where breaking into your would-be lover's house and rummaging through their belongings is an acceptable past-time.
Well, actually this isn't true at all - on "Obsession" Sioux sings menacingly about being that stalker, but at the same time becomes the harassed woman (I assume it's a woman) and shouts at the man to leave her alone. This must be one of the darker songs on the album, a departure away from the goth-rock of 1981's "Juju" (in my opinion the best album by this brilliant but unfortunately now defunct band) and a step towards the more experimental nature of "Kaleidoscope" and to a lesser extent "Peepshow".
"A Kiss In The Dreamhouse" is an appropriate title for an album that sounds more like a descent into a mad world of illusion rather than reality - in this world, anything could potentially happen. It's a little like being on some crazy roller-coaster - I can imagine being in a garden while the recorder on "Green Fingers" plays, the peaceful flat part where you feel safe but then there's a spiralling descent when "Circle" plays. This song in particular has a rather hypnotic effect. The same synth notes are played over and over and over throughout the song, only broken by Siouxsie Sioux's musings on corrupted children and teenage pregnancy. Actually, it could be a good song to play if you're desperate to get to sleep - it's rather like counting sheep. Pink sheep.
"She's A Carnival" gives a nod to their old form, being one of the more poppy songs on the album but giving into an almost creepy circus theme at the end - it gradually becomes faster and faster until you can imagine being there. "Painted Bird" wears a similar costume - this is probably the best song on the album, particularly if you're not quite sure where to start. It gives more room for guitar playing, and being, if you like, a "standard" pop-rock song.
I struggle to use the term "pop-rock" when describing anything by the Banshees though. You can't put them in one category, and every album is a ride on a different train. Rather like a goodie bag, all the treats are sweet but you never know what you're going to get. Luckily, you can't go wrong. Dive in.
04 August 2008
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the ward itself.
4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y pico"blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.
Yeah it's an Arte Y Pico that I got from Babooshka although I thought you could only give this to photographer. Obviously I'm mistaken.... So, here's the peeps I want to pass on my award to (and why!) - since I'm not a photographer I thought it would be okay not to pick others, so hope this is okay:
- Brett - Lovely photos, lovely tunes, just great really (again, congrats on blog of note!)
- Tara i.e. Diva On A Diet - Come on and write something new, you're so funny and have great looking food!
- Noelia - You're totally random but we love you for it
- Tina - I can't miss out one of my longest-serving blog mates
- Tairebabs - Your post on Cortinas was funny but you've written some great stuff anyway...
03 August 2008
It's "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.
Ewww, I suddenly feel so dirty! Thing is I've got some pretty decent memories attached to this song, so I guess it's a bit more acceptable. Hmmm.... Maybe I'm just not really into bad music.
Anyone anywhere can do this if they really want to - name 5 songs that you'd be embarassed to tell your friends that you like.
I heard the new song by The Streets earlier and thought that it was awful. I would be embarassed to say that I liked anything by The Streets - shocking since when "Dry Your Eyes" came out everyone loved it apart from me. There was this big song-a-long and I thought "oh god, don't make me sing along to this awful song, just because it's all melancholy doesn't make it good!" I'm not even going to go any further. I'm not even going to describe the song... Okay, actually I will:
Imagine a cartoon sound as a beat (think along the lines of a character falling over), make it slow, then add Mike Skinner's rapping in the slowest form ever so that every single syllable is dragged over three lines and then add some gospel choir in the chorus with one of the male gospel singers screaming random words over the top - and imagine it even worse than that.
Yep, it really is that bad... I feel for anyone who is a fan of The Streets. Rapping needs to be fast and/or close to singing so that it doesn't sound like you're addressing your audience as morons... Give up, Skinner!
01 August 2008
Well yes, they are pretty good indeed. You can tell that their influences have had a huge impact but they're not stuck in a retro world by any means. Their songs sound modern with a slight twist, miles better than electronic pretenders like Late Of The Pier who just seem to throw together crazy sounds to make incoherent tracks that go nowhere and bore you after about ten seconds. Crazy synths and a good beat are a decent place to start if you want to make it in the now crowded electro world. But Magistrates are a bit simpler than that. Accessible, you might say...
So all in all it's not bad and really pretty addictive stuff - considering their lead singer was working in Morrisons supermarket as a butcher a few months ago, they've come a long way, baby. Here's the video to new single "Make This Work", making split screen action cool again. Even if it is filmed in the bedroom where they make all their music: