Monday, June 30, 2008

Fantastic journey?

Another year another crap re-make of a classic? I see they have remade 'Journey to the centre of the earth.' I fear another B-movie effort like 'The Time Machine' remake but I can't wait for '20,000 leagues...' - that one's sure to be a C-movie...

Until then...

Radiohead vs New Order

or how Ceremony should have sounded with Ian Curtis singing it...

Radiohead vs The Smiths

The Headmaster Ritual

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Santogold - Santogold


It would be easy to compare Brooklyn's Santogold to M.I.A. - both women of ethnicity making catchy dub indie... But since I've never listened to an M.I.A. cd I'm not going to make such a comparison (well maybe just once...)

Having only heard the remix of L.E.S. Artistes I was caught offguard by the cd opener - a much more straightforward pop song than I was expecting, with hints of Cyndi Lauper in the vocal. 'You'll find a way' is a throwback to early 80's two-tone pop, blending new wave and reggae that brings to mind The Selecter, The Ruts, The (English) Beat, Fine Young Cannibals and bizarrely Men at Work! 'Shove it' continues the reggae flavour and 'Say aha' starts off all FYC with a groovy bass line, choppy guitars and an infectious sing-along chorus... Ok, here's the M.I.A. comparison - 'Creator' sounds a close relative of 'Paper Planes' and is almost as good...

'My Superman' starts with a lumpy 80's drum machine beat but is saved by some Marcella Detroit type yodelling in the choruses. The start of 'Lights Out' has some neat Pixies-like guitar chops but the light vocal and chorus brings to mind The Go-Go's and even The Cranberries... The lo-fi bleeps and clicks of 'Starstruck' don't really work for me but 'Unstoppable' is a better effort and sounds like Pauline Black with an electro backing rather than the traditional instruments used earlier on the cd... 'I'm a lady' sounds slightly out of place on the cd - the production is weak, particularly on the drums giving the song a demo feel. The song itself is ok - more hints of Shakespears Sister - which continue on 'Anne'... Last is a remix of 'You'll find a way' - a dub mix which is spoiled by sections that sound like Britney Spears...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Idle Tigers - The Spirit Salon



The Spirit Salon is a strange and compelling cd... or as my iTunes describes it 'unclassifiable'... Sounding a little like a distant cousin of label mate Momus, there are also shades of Noel Coward and George Formby, but reborn in an age of casio computers and analog bleeps. There is also a baroque or chamber music feel to some of the arrangements and instrumentation which is an interesting contrast to the lo-fi electronica... The cd starts slowly for me with the jokey 'Prologue' and the slow obtuse 'The shadows fall across the fridge, Frank' but by the time we get to (best title ever alert) 'My girlfriend was insulted by a futurist artist' we are in full swing...

'Catfish' has an arabic flavour and the excellent 'The Wanderer' has a touch of Serge Gainsbourg in it's delivery... as does 'Every young lad needs mates' which has a Kraftwerk-like keyboard phrase that will have the samplers reaching for, well, their samplers... 'Unlace me behind the hedge' is the best song about adolescent fumblings since Morrissey/Marr's 'Stretch out and wait' but Ross Hawkins takes the experience to a whole new level that Morrissey would find criminally vulgar. The last minute of 'Unlace me...' morphs into a lo-fi hip-hop treat that elavates the songs to one of the best on the cd.

With this debut Idle Tigers stakes their claim to be the new darlings of the lo-fi scene and 'The Spirit Salon' proves they have more than a ghost of a chance...

ExDetectives at Robertos






Robertos should be a great venue - cool Chinatown location and large outdoor patio. The band room/bar is ok, pretty large but basically a square room. I'm no sound designer but if you have a square room - not so good. Ok, so we have a square room so we need to do something to stop the sound bouncing around too much - I know, we'll make every wall a huge mirror! Ok, strike 2 but we'll put our sound desk in the best possible location... Er no, the sound desk (if they had one) or PA was behind the stage somewhere! I saw the 'sound' guy walk out a few times but I suspect he knew his hands were tied...

OK, so you probably know by now I'm not going to describe the best ExDetectives show I've seen... Chris's guitar was too loud, Meriah's bass was inaudible (the one instrument supposedly DI'd) and Faris's vocal was drowned in a sea of reverb... But credit to them they kept at it and actually the last three songs (Closing Bell, Problem Song and The Lawn) sounded very good from the side of the stage. ExDetectives live performances are consistently good but tonight they were at the mercy of four mirrored walls of sound...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Conspiracy Theories...



A couple of things occurred to me the other day whilst listening to The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy complilation 'Draining the glass'...

1) The title refers to the fact that the compilation covers the JBC output on Glass Records... This probably seems obvious but I thought the title was just a reference to the band's legendary alcoholic intake...

2) Max Eider was the biggest influence on my guitar style. For years I was under some misguided illusion that I played like Johnny Marr (I thought that if you had a Rickenbacker guitar, it meant that you were...) but I was mistaken. I have certainly butchered many of Eider's jazzy licks on Hunky Dory songs...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Groovin' with Nancy...

Who Will Buy


Bang Bang


Sugar Town

The other 11 dreams...

The second half of Weller's opus starts with 'Push it along', which as the title suggests, chugs along like a Weller (ahem) jam should... However, the chorus breaks into 60's garage territory - the 60's nod continuing with the psychedelic 'A Dream Reprise' - a crescendo of backwards guitar... Next is the Noel Gallagher cast-off 'Echoes round the sun' - a two note riff that Noel couldn't do anything with (he's never had a problem in the past!) Weller just about rescues it with a solid if rather unadventurous vocal and a nice descending string part in the chorus...

A real surprise is next with 'One Bright Star' - set to a tango rhythmn and very dramatic it is too... Instrumental 'Lullaby fur Kinder' follows - all tinkling piano and romantic strings like something from an old Hollywood movie... The piano theme continues into 'Where'er ye go' - Weller's 'Danny Boy' for want of a better description... The spoken word 'God' is next featuring Aziz Ibrahim from The Stone Roses - some thought provoking words but Aziz's Mancunian delivery is a little flat... '111' is an extraordinary piece of ambient music - changing from pastoral to an almost Gy├Ârgy Ligeti-like scream in places...

'Sea spray' returns to the folky acoustics that started the collection and the cycle is completed with 'Night Lights' - another Drake-like effort that sounds like 'Introduction' from 'Bryter Layter'... Finally, long-time collaborator Brendan Lynch mixes 'Rip the pages up' and very groovy it is too - full of the usual Lynch effects, clicks and bleeps...

A remarkable LP! Believe the hype - this is Weller's best since 'Wild Wood'...

11 Dreams...



I was slightly concerned a few tracks into the new Paul Weller opus '22 Dreams'... The opener 'Light Nights' is cool, the backing track all Nick Drake with some Linda Thompson type backing vocals but the voice unmistakably Weller. However, at the back of my mind I was thinking 'Wild Wood' revisited... My mood wasn't improved by second track '22 Dreams' which sounded like 'Peacock Suit' - revisited (for the nth time!) and 'All I Wanno Do (is be with you)' which although pleasant enough, is a poor imitation of 'Out of the sinking'... 'Have you made up your mind' is great though - a familiar sounding riff leaving you searching your memory banks only to realize it's Weller's own 'My ever changing moods'...

The hype surrounding this collection is that it's Weller's 'White Album' but for me it's his 'What's going on'. 'Empty Ring' is a good indication of this, with it's subtle production and light strings... 'Invisible' perhaps should have remained so - any Weller piano ballad struggling to live up to 'You do something to me'. Next is 'Song for Alice' - an airy free-jazz instrumental followed by another Marvin Gaye flavoured track 'Cold Moments' and the pastoral interlude 'The Dark Pages of September'...

Next is one of the highlights of the album 'Black River' - the Weller/Graham Coxon collaboration that was (criminally) originally hidden away on a B-side of Coxons... The song starts off like Ray Davies meets The Style Council and suddenly morphs into the sort of cockney knees-up usually tucked away on the end of a Blur LP! 'Why walk when you can run' is 'English Rose' but revisited by an older, more sceptical Weller.

Part 2 to follow...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thanks but no thanks...

It seems my 'thank yous' never made the final version of the Promis CD... C'est la vie...

Anyways, here's how they looked on the proofs:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We Still Love Them!

STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION's 'We still love them' - the 8 minute live version -ha!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Deconstruction 15

Episode 15 of Deconstruction is hosted by ExDetectives guitar wizard Chris Barrus. I must admit to never having heard of most of these bands but really enjoyed the podcast... Fantastic stuff!

Track listing is:

The Morning After Girls - Run For Our Lives
Asobi Seksu - New Years
Airiel - Thrown Idols
The Oohlas - Gone
Persephone's Bees - Muzika Dlya Fil'ma
Hooverphonic - Stranger
Goldenhorse - The Last Train
The Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound - The Morning Maiden
Mahogany - Tesselation, Formerly Plateau One
Emily Loizeau - L'autre Bout Du Monde
The Lovetones - Everybody Hides Away
Telenovela - Breakfast With Birds
The High Violets - Xstacy
7% Solution - The Road And The Common
Ed Kuepper & The Kowalski Collective - Miracles

For your ears only...

STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION at Unknown Theater

STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION took his one man show to the Unknown Theater last night... With the set from the play 'Kingdom Come' as a stunning backdrop (I was expecting a climb up the rope bridge at any moment!) Stanley worked through the usual favourites including the excellent 'Gods Don't Worry' and 'Insatiable' along with new songs 'We still love them' and 'Friday night in LA'. Both new songs sound great but need work on the live arrangements... The recent studio version of 'We still love them' is amazing but like everything Stanley does it takes a while how to figure out how to play all the parts live...



Thursday, June 19, 2008

I don't care for Quinn and Collins...

It's rare that a gem like this shows up on YouTube! Usually someone finds a VCR they recorded off TV 20 years ago and the quality has degenerated... This find is exciting, not just because the quality is excellent but it's possible there is a complete JBC show out there somewhere from this era...

Pat namechecks Paul Quinn and Edwin Collins in the song 'Soul Happy Hour' from 'A Scandal in Bohemia'...

The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy - The Human Jungle...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Going Blank Again...

They keep playing Beck's new song Chemtrails on 'Left of Center' and the uptempo parts bear more than a passing resemblence to Ride's Leave them all behind! Whatever next?

The Fratellis at The Key Club

I've never really been able to get into The Fratellis. It's all a bit 70's glam rock for me - Bay City Rollers without the tartan, Mud without the silly dances, Slade without the stack heeled silver boots, Sweet without the bad haircuts and T-Rex without Marc Bolan (although the singer's shaggy perm bears more than a passing resemblance...) I was half expecting Rod Stewart to make an appearance given the scottish flags attached to the cymbal stands on the unnecessarily tall drum riser...

Anyway, it is what it is and The Fratellis do it well... The songs from the first album, particularly 'Chelsea Dagger', sounded strong but from what I've heard of the second cd it's just 'Costello Music' Part II...

The Fratellis

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More ExDetectives

Got some good pics on the regular camera last night. Shooting without the flash can be a little hit or miss but there is some nice lighting at The Good Hurt...






ExDetectives at Good Hurt

It's been a while since I've seen ExDetectives but they are light years ahead of where they were 6 months ago as a live entity. Recent recording sessions find the band's confidence levels higher than ever and they now embrace their strengths and weaknesses with equal gusto... Great set!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Double whammy

We had the pleasure of seeing Andy Diagram weave some trumpet magic the other night at the James show using a Digitech Whammy and some delay effects... I'm not sure what the Whammy would sound like with a guitar but I want one anyway... I can always use the midi option doing brass in Reason!

Radiohead vs Portishead

Radiohead doing Portishead's The Rip...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Seven degrees of separation

It might have been a coincidence (after all, Dodgy were played earlier in the evening) but the DJ at Spaceland played 'Shack up' by Factory Records stalwarts A Certain Ratio immediately after James left the stage last night...

James were briefly on Factory Records, releasing the single Jimone in 1983. For the sleeve, the band decided to each come up with an idea and they'd pick the best one... Only Jim Glennie completed the task and so was born the felt-tipped glory that is the sleeve for Jimone...

I can just imagine the conversation down at Factory between Anthony H. Wilson and label designer Peter Saville:

Tony: "C'mon Peter, it's a post-modern situationist masterpiece!"
Peter: "Tony - it's a pile of shit! Can't we use something out of Die neue Typographie?"
Tony: "But you've already plaguerized half of that book."
Peter: "True... We could reproduce it using the dichromat technique, mount it on a die-cut hessian sleeve and use a sans-serif..."
Tony: "This is my label so fuck off!"

I quite like it now (but at the time it was terrible) but it's probably is a good indication of James not really fitting in at a pre-Mondays Factory... and hey, if it's good enough for you it's good enough for me!

FAC78 James - Jimone 7 inch single

James at Spaceland

It was panic stations Thursday after James announced a gig for Friday night at Spaceland during their guest slot on the excellent KCRW show Morning Become Eclectic. Flight to Seattle cancelled, flight to Vancouver booked, tickets for the show purchased...

5 of the current line-up had made the short promotional trip over to LA - a teaser for the new CD 'Hey Ma' which comes out here in September. Despite being without their drummer and keyboard player James still sounded great - even more chilled and dreamy than usual if that's possible... The songs came mostly from Laid (their last US tour!) and the new album, which although not exactly exploring any uncharted James territory, skirts around a few familiar places you haven't visited for a while but have fond memories of... The band were joined for the encore 'Say Something' by the drummer from the support band Sky Parade (a piss poor Brian Jonestown Massacre imitation) and that sounded great - Saul Davies looking particularly relieved as he'd been sweating behind the kit for a couple of earlier songs...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Death at one's elbow

You may have noted a few RIP posts recently... I try and keep these to a minimum - music, art and entertainment people for the most part...

But aren't obituaries great! (everyone should have one) It's a biography for people that don't like reading! But unlike a biography (at least of a living person) there's a beginning, middle and most definitely an end... You know the whole story - without the boring parts!

I am a closet obituarist myself - a rather glowing testimony to Anthony H. Wilson last year which I must post here at some point...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Deconstruction 14

In between the obituaries here's what's on the next podcast...

The Go! Team - Titanic Vandalism
Santogold - Creator
MIA - Paper Planes
Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding
The Jam - Shopping
Babyshambles - Albion
The Waterboys - Old England
Todd Rundgren - Sometimes I don't know what to feel
Lee Moses - California Dreaming
Love - Orange Skies
Tom Jones - Promise her anything
Paul Quinn & the Independent Group - Will I ever be inside of you
Gene - Speak to me someone
Blur - To the end

RIP Alton Kelley

San Francisco graphic artist whose psychedelic posters and album covers captured the mood and music of the Grateful Dead, the Steve Miller Band, Journey and other top rock 'n' roll groups of the '60s and '70s...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley



Johnny Marr talking about the Bo Diddley influenced 'How Soon is now?':

'How Soon Is Now?' was the one, though. I wanted to write a track with an intro that you couldn't forget, something that you knew straight away was The Smiths. In that regard it was very 'worked on'. I arrived at the studio with a demo of the whole thing, apart from the tremolo effect - though that was bound to surface on a Smiths track sooner or later, 'cos at that time I was playing Bo Diddley stuff everywhere I went. I wanted it to be really, really tense and swampy, all at the same time. Layering the slide part was what gave it the real tension. As soon as I played that bit on the second and third strings, John Porter put an AMS harmoniser on it. Then we recorded each individual string with the harmoniser, then we tuned the B string down a half step and harmonised the whole thing. The tremolo effect came from laying down a regular rhythm part (with a capo at the 2nd fret) on a Les Paul, then sending that out in to the live room to four Fender Twins. John was controlling the tremolo on two of them and I was controlling the other two, and whenever they went out of sync we just had to stop the track and start all over again. It took an eternity. God bless the sampler, 'cos it would have been so much easier! But it was just one of those great moments. When Morrissey sang the vocal it was the first time we'd all heard it. John Porter said, 'Oh, great - he's singing about the elements! I am the sun and the air...' But of course it was really, 'I am the son and the heir/of a shyness that is criminally vulgar'... A great track.
- Johnny Marr, The Guitar Magazine, January 1997

I dream of genius!

Keith Haworth has done a great review of the new Paul Weller album '22 Dreams' for Culture Deluxe. Read it here!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Twat

For no other reason than twat is a criminally underused word in the states here is John Cooper Clarke's 'Twat'

Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end.
Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you’re clean round the bend.
You give me the horrors
too bad to be true
All of my tomorrow’s are lousy coz of you.

You put the Shat in Shatter
Put the Pain in Spain
Your germs are splattered about
Your face is just a stain

You’re certainly no raver, commonly known as a drag.
Do us all a favour, here... wear this polythene bag.

You’re like a dose of scabies,
I’ve got you under my skin.
You make life a fairy tale... Grimm!

People mention murder, the moment you arrive.
I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.
You’ve got this slippery quality,
it makes me think of phlegm,
and a dual personality
I hate both of them.

Your bad breath, vamps disease, destruction, and decay.
Please, please, please, please, take yourself away.
Like a death a birthday party,
you ruin all the fun.
Like a sucked and spat our smartie,
you’re no use to anyone.

Like the shadow of the guillotine
on a dead consumptive’s face.
Speaking as an outsider,
what do you think of the human race?

You went to a progressive psychiatrist.
He recommended suicide...
before scratching your bad name off his list,
and pointing the way outside.

You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart.
You’re heading for a breakdown,
better pull yourself apart.

Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss.
Your attitudes are platitudes,
just make me wanna piss.

What kind of creature bore you
Was it some kind of bat?
They can’t find a good word for you,
but I can...
TWAT.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl

Apart from owning (at some point in the distant past) the 12" of 'A Forest' and tapes of 'Head on the door' and the 'Standing on the beach' I wouldn't exactly call myself a Cure fan. However, I enjoyed their Hollywood Bowl show despite our seats being in a different zip code than our seats for REM (courtesy of Daniel McCoy who is Peter Buck's cousin) and it being a three hour show (4 encores!) Unlike REM (who loaded all their new material at the start of the gig) the set was a perfectly paced mix of old and new songs. The band sounded spot-on (except a half-hearted Love Cats) and Robert Smith's singing was faultless. His look? Well, it is what it is - a fat bloke wearing makeup, although it may be time time to get the hair cropped again!

65 Days of Static opened up - a goth/emo/shoegaze instrumental combo... They were very average - bands like The Workhouse do this kind of thing 100 times better...

In search of a cure for acrophobia!


Sneaking into the garden section for a closer look!