25 September 2008

I Did Get Round To It Eventually

Yes, it's been a while but I've finally updated my playlist on the radio station and here it is in alphabetical order (well I've turned on the randomizer so I've got no idea what's coming next!):

1. Asobi Seksu - Strawberries
2. Basement Jaxx - Cish Cash (featuring Siouxsie Sioux)
3. Bat For Lashes - Sarah
4. Beck - Tropicalia
5. Bjork - There's More To Life Than This
6. Black Kids - Hit The Heartbreaks
7. Cajun Dance Party - Amylase
8. Camille - Gospel With No Lord
9. Chemical Brothers - Hey Boy Hey Girl
10. CSS - How I Became Paranoid
11. Daft Punk - High Life
12. Earlies - Morning Wonder
13. Editors - The Racing Rats
14. Faithless - God Is A DJ
15. Feeder - Seven Days In The Sun
16. Goldfrapp - Cologne Cerrone Houdini
17. Hercules and Love Affair - Time Will
18. Hot Chip - Shake A Fist
19. Howling Bells - Velvet Girl
20. Ida Maria - Stella
21. Imogen Heap - Whatever
22. Interpol - Obstacle 1
23. Kate Bush - Hammer Horror
24. Kings of Leon - Charmer
25. Klaxons - It's Not Over Yet
26. LCD Soundsystem - Time To Get Away
27. M.I.A. - Amazon
28. Manic Street Preachers - Empty Souls
29. Metric - Empty
30. MGMT - Kids
31. Muse - Plug In Baby
32. Mystery Jets - Two Doors Down
33. Neon Neon - Belfast
34. PJ Harvey - Good Fortune
35. Rilo Kiley - Close Call
36. Roisin Murphy - If We're In Love
37. Santogold - You'll Find A Way
38. Siouxsie and the Banshees - She's A Carnival
39. Sons and Daughters - Split Lips
40. Super Furry Animals - Slow Life
41. Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha Man
42. The Go! Team - Doing It Right
43. The Kills - What New York Used To Be
44. The Long Blondes - Century
45. The Raconteurs - Attention
46. The Sugarcubes - Traitor
47. Yeasayer - Sunrise

24 September 2008

How To Keep Warm In The Winter: Depeche Mode Style!

I know when I must be starting to feel the effects of dark nights and cold days around September and October because I instantly reach for Depeche Mode's "Ultra". I'm much more of a fan of "Ultra" than any of their other works, which includes the highly praised "Violator" (i.e. the one with "Personal Jesus" on it).
I've done this for a couple of years now, so I'm starting to wonder why it's such a good winter album. Strangely enough, despite the dark undertones there's a sort of coziness and warmth about the album as a whole. Okay, there are some pretty rock moments in "Barrel Of A Gun" and "Sister of Night" among others but then there's other songs that only feel right if you play them at night. I know this sounds weird but "The Bottom Line" in particular makes me think I'm a cat stalking through some dark alley - the fur is soothing! Of course it could just be Dave Gahan's sumptuous voice.
Well, whatever it is I'm sure I won't be getting through the winter without this album. It's like a cure for cold...

Friendly Fires

What do you get when you cross British electro-pop with some good old fashioned Brazilian samba? A wonderfully eclectic debut

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the appeal of Friendly Fires, a three piece band from St. Albans who are effectively saving the UK from another year of washed-up UK indie-rock. While indie-rock seems to be the genre du jour, electro-pop and all its associated sub-genres are creating an underground storm far more exciting than your Courteeners, Oasises and Glasvegases (yeah okay I know this is really bad grammar!) There's a reason why I'm buying mainly American this year - luckily this band have saved me from saying that I've only actually bought three albums from British acts this year! Now it's four.

"Paris" was featured last year of a taster of things to come from this little band and provided a glittering saving grace from the brash nu-rave that dominated the new music scene. While Klaxons et al were pushing a form of electro that was incredibly in-your-face, "Paris" was a sparkly, dreamy piece of electronica that could be enjoyed by anyone.

So to my despair they dropped off the radar, I thought into obscurity. Then they come back with the equally dreamy and very percussive "Jump In The Pool" which glides along magically as the first track on this album - the soaring vocals at the beginning of the song transport you to a magical world. "Lovesick" is a soulful, totally danceable track where Ed McFarlane's voice morphs so much you can hardly tell that it's the same man singing! There are moments of pure pop heaven as "Photobooth" and "In The Hospital" play and although these are both what you may term as "safe" songs they also show that Friendly Fires are willing to try different things and aren't glued entirely to one style of playing.

"Skeleton Boy" is almost childish in its persona but then it grows up in the chorus, then we have "On Board" which is daft but likeable - it's a bit like listening to Daft Punk in their least repetitive faze when they actually put together a "traditional" song (that'd be on "Discovery"). The most rock moment comes from "White Diamonds" which has a swagger all of its own.

I don't really know what's happened to the UK scene this year - it was all looking up in 2007 but now we've fallen off the bandwagon and gone back to the dirge of a few years ago. Once again America (and in particular New York) is leading the field for inventive and distinctly cool music but at least Friendly Fires are putting up a very respectable battle to save our face. Good on them!!

23 September 2008

Another Award! Seven To Give Away...

I got an award from Brett, thank you very much, as with all awards there are certain rules to follow:

1. Link to the giver

2. Nominate up to seven other fab blogs and link to them

3. Leave messages announcing their rise to greatness.note - You may have been given this already, so that means you are a GREAT blogger

I would like to award this to the following fellow bloggers who are my daily reads no matter what, and cheer me up on a daily basis,

  1. Babooshka
  2. Diva
  3. Noelia
  4. Tina
  5. Popin
  6. Kitty
  7. Daryl

21 September 2008


Congratulations to the Kaiser Chiefs who have released what is not only their worst tune but also the most irresponsible piece of music they've ever written!

So for those who've been living under a rock and have escaped being exposed to "Never Miss A Beat", you can count your lucky stars that you haven't heard the following lines:

1.) "Why didn't you go to school/I didn't want to"
2.) "It's cool to know nothing"
3.) "What do you want for tea/I want crisps"

I presume that the Kaisers were thinking of releasing this song as a bit of a satire against the increasing problem of laziness and "something for nothing" in society today. However this bitter irony will probably be lost on many of the people who listen to and enjoy the Kaisers' music, which is where the problem starts.

In the states people started accusing M.I.A. of glorifying guns and violence in her music (particularly "Paper Planes"). Maya sensibly replied: "The intelligent 5% of the nation will probably work out that it's irony and it'll get lost on the rest." I doubt the Kaisers will fall into the same trap because of who they are and what they've, ahem, achieved.

However, it is clearly irresponsible for such a mainstream band to seemingly "back" the actions in their lyrics, even if it is tinged with irony or satire. In discussing this point with friends, they also acknowledged that younger people might listen to the song and start a mini-rebellion against learning. We can't have that now, can we?

I've written a couple of pretty angry posts this week haven't I? Maybe I'll get back to happier posts next week. I'm hoping to grab my hands on Ladyhawke and Friendly Fires and possibly if I have enough left in my budget the old Raconteurs album too - for now I'm letting my anger melt away.

Four Times Meme

So thanks to Rozella for having faith in me that I'll actually complete this meme!


Instructions: What you are supposed to do...and please don't spoil the fun...Copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your lists! Don't forget to change my answers to the questions with that of your own.

(A) Four places I go over and over: Office, home, H&M and er, various supermarkets

(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: I really don't get spam (luckily) but just people from work...

(C) Four of my favorite places to eat: Home, Thai, Indian and anywhere that I deem to serve good food!

(D) Four places you'd rather be: On holiday, on holiday, on holiday and er, on holiday

(E) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: Dexter, The West Wing, The Simpsons and Futurama (wow, what a contrast!)

(F) Four people I think will respond: Babooshka, Tara, Brett and Noelia

Have fun peeps!

17 September 2008

Gleeful Quick Post

How silly is this? Last week I was in a semi-conversation with Mark Beaumont aka The Raving Reporter from the NME, discussing the apparent role of Jon McClure aka The Rev of Reverend and the Makers (now of Mongrel. Don't ask).

So basically it was about politicising songs, and I said that if the songs became too political then it would either alienate the fans and they would stop caring because they wouldn't understand OR there would be a mass cheering of "play Heavyweight Champion!!"

He conceded defeat in his next post - he admitted that there needed to be a balance between the two in order to maintain a steady fanbase that keep the more popularist followers.

Scarlet 1, Mark 0!!

16 September 2008

Free-Range Voices

And at the minute they're not going to come too much more free-range than this - Wild Beasts are from Leeds via Kendal in The Lake District and Hayden, the real frontman of this four-piece set-up, has a falsetto voice that's just like Marmite. So basically, you're either going to love it or hate it. Luckily for those of you who are going to fall into the latter category, I imagine you'd be more tuned into Tom and Bert's voices who are described as tenor and baritone respectively.

Well there's one word that you can't apply to this lot: that's boring. Since I've been plugged into America for so long lately and am under the stupid influence that The Lake District is a place where folk music is born and raised, I was surprised when I listened to their songs a few times and was gradually turned on to the melodic harmonies and general weirdness of the lot. "Limbo Panto" is supposedly out now, and here's the video for the very Marmite "Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants":

Wild Beasts - Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairevoyant

14 September 2008

U R So Shallow

Why so shocked Katy Perry? Surprised that someone is actually angry that you've realised possibly the most a.) annoying, b.) degrading and c.) infuriating songs of recent years?

Well here I am! Ready to say that "I Kissed A Girl" is possibly the most pre-packaged, vile piece of garbage the music world has known for a while (and that's discrediting some of the reality show stars and, gasp, Miley Cyrus!)

Allow me to explain: Here is the daughter of very strict protestant parents (I think her dad was a vicar or something) who used to sing nice little gospel songs. Someone obviously found her and thought that she'd be a great "rebel" and threw a homophobic song in "U R So Gay" at her. Then America is thrashed with "I Kissed A Girl".

Here's where the vile part comes in: forget all the stories about female "experimentation" and start to thinking about it this way - the song is pandering to the sick fantasies of idiotic men who have wild sex fantasies about, yeah, two women. And I'm not going any further than that. So really the record companies are on to a winner. In the one corner we have a bunch of sicko men who lust over the idea of their girlfriends going around snogging other women and in the other we have impressionable teen girls (and, perhaps most unfortunately, tween girls) who think that it's okay to be lured into this highly sexual world - often too much, too young.

Luckily most of my friends hate "I Kissed A Girl" with a vengeance - but none of them actually stop to think about the almost brainwashing effects that it could have on impressionables. It's obviously a song that's made millions worldwide but at what cost?

Finally, can we please have some sympathy for some great bands and female singer/songwriters who are today struggling to even get the slightest foothold on the chart ladder - that includes my lady of the moment Ladyhawke who releases her debut next week. I am in no doubt that it will not sell nearly as well as I'd like it to, but in an ideal world her warm and uplifting pop would be up there with the best. If you want R'n'B, what's wrong with M.I.A? She's still infuriatingly underground, completely eclipsed by Perry and other so-called "stars".

Be ashamed Perry - you're not only a brainwasher but you're also keeping truly talented people from getting anywhere in this industry!

11 September 2008

Congratulations Elbow!

So to everyone's surprise, Elbow won the MercuryMusic Prize this year for The Seldom Seen Kid. It came as a slight shock to me because even though they write good music and on that level they are deserving winners, the prize is meant to be about innovation and breaking boundaries - something the band have kind of failed to do with their album.

But still... Kudos to you Elbow, hopefully this makes up for when you lost to PJ Harvey in 2001!

09 September 2008

Returning To Musical Heaven

I imagine that if I lived in New York I'd be spoilt for choice band-wise - I already have too many lurvely bands to talk about from there, in particular Brooklyn which is firing forth so many brilliant bands and solo artistes that I'm suffering from a massive overload.

Come forward our latest discovery, whose MySpace site boasts the supreme support of psych-pop golden boys MGMT and Yeasayer - we're talking here about shapeshifting three-piece Chairlift who're getting around to releasing their debut album here in the UK. Soonish.

Well their signature tune is "Planet Health" - it's about a made-up world where the food pyramid is a church and health advice must be given as law. Slightly freaky but it's such a gorgeous song that you're sucked into its charms no matter what. But really, who wouldn't want to live on a planet where disease doesn't exist and people actually care about what they're stuffing into their bodies? The song has a slightly far-eastern feel to it, which stays with the theme that the world really is getting smaller (as proven before by Yeasayer, remember that?). But see what you think for yourself:

Ack, and I'm really sorry about the whole text bunching up thing that keeps happening at the moment! I can't get it to stop!

08 September 2008

Houston, There Is No Problem

For the masses who choose to read SCG instead of JJS:

Scarlet's Culture Garden is now officially re-opened for business! Come back to me after a long break I have finally written! And how good does it feel?

Mercury Round-Up

Feeling guilty is horrible - I promised to give a full round-up of all the Mercury nominees before the prize was announced. It's being done tomorrow. And I still haven't discussed British Sea Power, Estelle and Burial. So quickly, here's the mini-roundup of these peeps.

BSP - Maybe "Waving Flags" and "No Lucifer" should win it for them. "Do You Like Rock Music" has been touted as being absolutely brilliant, but if I'm honest (and it's not really that easy to say this) I don't think they have a brilliant chance of winning at all. 'Tis a shame.

Estelle - Oh gosh, where to start? Well I think I'll start by saying... WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!? Every year there seems to be someone on the list who should have been left off altogether and this year I'm saying that Estelle should be written off. I don't mind different styles of music winning the prize and I have nothing at all against R'n'B - when it's done well. Sorry, but I have no kind words. However, M People managed to shockingly win one year so perhaps it wouldn't be too hard to see why she's in with a shout.

Burial - The outright favourite. By far. Even beating Radiohead and Last Shadow Puppets. I think perhaps this is the true winner - the style never faulters, there's no ego and until recently the guy was completely anonymous, a bit like a Dubstep version of Banksy or something! Unless of course we have a screw-up like last year when (with all due respect) Bat For Lashes was robbed by Klaxons, and the year before Richard Hawley was robbed by Arctic Monkeys, we're staring at the winner right here.

So there. Stand-by for the winner to be announced. Reaction wil hopefully come on Wednesday...

And We Have Relaunch...

By which I mean that I've been very very bad and neglected the blog for what seems like ages! I must now say that if I seem to have gone AWOL from my blog desk, I must be very busy and bogged down with a whole load of work.

Now for the fun part: here's a little electro number that's pretty, well, catchy, and with (whisper it quietly) a guitar! Yes, it doesn't stop with Hot Chip's "One Pure Thought" because now Metronomy have used everyone's instumental weapon of choice to give me a wake up call.

Now these guys have been around for a good while now, but to be honest it wasn't until I was blasted out of bed with this riff (or rather blasted into the waking world while trying to pick out some clothes to wear - because of course there's nothing in my wardrobe I don't think) and suddenly I've done nothing but think and ever so lightly hum this tune ever since. I don't like particularly everything about the song - personally I think his vocals are a little iffy. Still, see what you think of "Heartbreaker":

04 September 2008

Shoot Me - We're Friends

So here's three things you should know about Friendly Fires:

1.) They all seem to be called Ed in an almost comical Ed, Edd and Eddy kind of way
2.) They're inspired by both samba and electronic
3.) You'll follow their orders when they tell you to "Jump In The Pool"

Although actually it was their debut single "Paris" that drew me into them when I heard it last year. And then I all but forgot about them, thinking stupidly that they'd died the death before I was turned back on when I heard "Jump In The Pool". "Paris" is a simple little song but very catchy although I'll let you decide for yourselves:

Hee hee I'm just loving the Youtube inbed function...