Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bloc Party at the Mayan

Bloc Party are very cunning... take a support band on tour that is so bad that whatever you do will sound brilliant. The band in question is 'Does it offend you yeah?' They did offend me because they were fucking awful... When nu-rave came out it sounded like an interesting concept but 30 seconds into some 'Shit Disco' song or other I realised it was crap. Shit music, shit clothes, shit disco. 'Does it offend you yeah?' are great spokesmen for the dead in the water movement that is nu-rave - deafeningly loud and wouldn't know a tune if it crawled up their shell suits and bit them in the bum...

Talking of shit clothes, red shorts and a white Obama T-shirt isn't a great look - you haven't got the legs for it Kele! Still, it makes a difference from the pastel Lacostes... Anyways, Bloc Party sounded great after DIOYY and it was actually a good show... I wouldn't say I'm a fan exactly, the music (like the live show) is all smoke and mirrors to me, reflections of Robert Smith in Kele Okereke's vocals and the music is stuck in an early 80's timewarp somewhere between early Bunnymen and Adrian Borland's The Sound. For current bands playing this type of stuff I would choose Editors any day. Bloc Party are best when they step outside their comfort zone and take a break from the duelling 100 mph guitar riffs that dominate songs such as Helicopter and Hoping for a miracle. A good example is Mercury, which has room to breathe and shows what Bloc Party could sound like if they went down the dub route, a good direction to take...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zombie Zombie vs The Thing vs G.I.Joe

Evolutionary Sunset Call...

Received the new STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION cd from Sean the other day and it's great. One or two minor things to be fixed before we do the mastering but it's 99% there. It's more commercial than some of his other stuff and that's probably a good thing... Amongst the songs he's been playing live over the last few months ('New Stone 40', 'Sacred Sons', 'Insatiable' and 'We still love them') there's some new stuff like 'Consultation Valley Ruse' which sounds like a lo-fi 'Boys & Girls', the spritely opener 'Wasteful Youth' and the epic 'I need love downhearted'. The CD is strung together with some instrumental intros and outros which give the CD a musical journey feel - right through to final track 'Happy Sun Day', with its backwards guitar giving the end of the LP a poignant, almost celtic feel...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Brookline at The Clinic

The Clinic is a new art/music/workspace a few doors down from The Echo in Echo Park... An interesting space - a long narrow room (that was obviously a clinic) with rooms either side with some art exhibits, amongst which were an exhibit that could only be described as upskirt photography... Up a small flight of stairs was a makeshift bar serving sangria and kegged beer and then on the roof was some food and a band called Dogweed, who were serving up some decent alt-country... The crowd was cool and artsy - definitely Echo Park hipsters... The music was great too - the DJ playing the Santogold vs Diplo mixtape before Brookline came on...

Orange County's Brookline played a good set - one or two minor sounds problems but these were quickly resolved... I find it difficult to classify Brookline and this may be a good or a bad thing. Definately bad in terms of my lazy 'journalism' but I think they need to develop more of an aural personality. They look good and are all great musicians but their lack of a memorable song or two has me thinking 'Battle of the Bands'... Anyways, they are better than 95% of the bands I see when I go to this type of thing and I'd like to see them play again before The Unknown Theater night...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Emotional Rescue

Seems like EMO fans are having a tough time of it recently... Boo hoo, I'm going to lock myself in my room and listen to Panic at the Disco...

I don't condone attacking anyone but banning EMO, that could be a great idea!

Mexico's Emo-Bashing Problem

EMO to be made illegal in Russia

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Meltdown...

Wax Amy:


Madame Tussauds in London revleased their wax model of Amy Winehouse today... Back when I was a kid it used to be members of the royal family, historical figures and legends of stage and screen - you know, important people!

Also, the best thing was the waxworks looked nothing like the person they were supposed to be - I remember the Queen looked more like Dickie Davies... Wax Amy looks scarily like the real thing - at least the Amy of a few years ago before the meltdown...

Dickie Davies:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Deconstruction 17



Episode 17 of Deconstruction podcast features the following:

01 Stereolab - Three Women
02 Matmos - Polychords
03 Idle Tigers - The Wanderer
04 The Human Jungle - A means to a beginning
05 Portishead - The Rip
06 STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION - Consultation Valley Ruse
07 New Order - Your silent face
08 Simple Minds - Theme for great cities
09 Sparks - This town ain't big enough for the both of us
10 Tubeway Army - Me I disconnect from you
11 Associates - Party Fears Two
12 Stephen Duffy - She wants to share her magic
13 Black Box Recorder - The facts of life
14 Furniture - Love Me
15 John Barry - The girl with the sun in her hair

For your ears only...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hate mail...

An Anonymous comment was left about my review of Coldplay Inc at the Forum:

Anonymous said:
"prick"

Ian D. Matthews said:
"Eloquently put... you must have been at the show too, although calling Mr Paltrow a prick is quite unnecessary...

Isn't anonymity a brave and wonderful thing? You should be over at the new Coldplay Inc forum - I hear it's only $50 to join but for that you get some (as Mr Paltrow admitted) crap merchandise... Not sure of the exact name but google 'music for people that don't like music'..."

Ho hum...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hundertwasser

In 1953 I realized that the straight line leads to the downfall of mankind. But the straight line has become an absolute tyranny. The straight line is something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling; it is the line which does not exist in nature... Any design undertaken with the straight line will be stillborn. Today we are witnessing the triumph of rationalist knowhow and yet, at the same time, we find ourselves confronted with emptiness. An esthetic void, desert of uniformity, criminal sterility, loss of creative power. Even creativity is prefabricated. We have become impotent. We are no longer able to create. That is our real illiteracy.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Food, sex and paranoia!

Gideon Coe recently featured a couple of tracks by one of the best bands of the 80's - Furniture... I got into Furniture too late and only saw them once live (Goldsmiths College supporting The Wedding Present around 1986...) With the demise of the legendary Stiff Records and tours to the most unlikely (even now) countries they broke up prematurely... At a time when guitar bands were rule of the day they broke the rules - sax, keyboards and girls who weren't a pretty lead singer; they changed my outlook on music...

BBC6: Gideon Coe

The Furniture songs are in the Wednesday show at approximately 4 mins 'The Unspoken Things' (unreleased) and 1hr 40 mins (She gets out the scrapbook)...

No crap zone?

Coldplay Inc are apparently disappointed in the quality of their merchandise...

Coldplay make merchandise 'no crap zone'

Wonder if this includes the new cd?

Back to the old house...

"When you walk without ease on these streets where you were raised..."



Two policemen were attacked by a gang of thirty youths in my home town of Croydon yesterday: Litter Cops Shocked By Mob Attack

Croydon has changed a lot since I was a kid and from what I hear (and witness on my occasional visits back) is in steep decline... I don't think it helps that the UK immigration offices are there - asylum seekers cross the street to the Whitgift centre and after seeing that, why would anyone want to leave? I propose the home office is moved - to Wales...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Coldplay at the Forum

The Forum was a nightmare as usual. Armed with some local street knowledge and a GPS we got to the venue quickly but then spent an hour waiting to park and paying $20 for the privilidge. The venue is what it is - an outdated basketball arena, although with the low ceiling the atmosphere can be electric when the crowd gets going...

Coldplay Inc played for less than 90 minutes, which unfortunately included most of the new album. Plus points were the huge 'Liberty Leading The People' backdrop (restored to it's original glory without the paint splattered Viva La Vida title) although it (and the band) were partially obscured by a huge net (Mr Paltrow's hair-net?) for the first couple of songs... Other highlights were passable versions of Clocks, The Scientist and Fix You...

On the downside, Coldplay did what they do best - stole ideas from other artists... from the extra drums rolled on stage for some numbers (Radiohead) to 'acoustic' sets on little stages in the audience (U2) and even a political video montage (Jay-Z) before the encore... The acoustic sets (one stage was about 10 rows in front of us which was quite interesting) were particularly bad and featured an appalling version of Yellow...

At one point Mr Paltrow compared the crowd to Starbucks (we were Venti compared to the previous nights Grande...) which was a little like the pot calling the kettle black... Coldplay Inc will continue taking your money until people wake up, smell the coffee and realise they can find something better (and cheaper) elsewhere...



Monday, July 14, 2008

Lunar phrases...

A great song should still sound great even when played on an old school piano and a whistle... as proved by Mike Scott and a bloke with a whistle!

However, a homework assignment to learn the words was not considered a success...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ricky Gervais at the Kodak Theater

Nothing was taboo for Ricky Gervais last night - the holocaust, AIDS, cancer, obesity and it was all hilarious. Having fallen asleep during the rather dull Christmas special of Extras a couple of weeks ago I wasn't sure what to expect but I was laughing from start to finish...

My favorite parts were 'Sharks vs Nazis' - a comparison caused by watching too much Discovery Channel which asks why the Nazis couldn't find Anne Frank... (her book was OK but ended a bit abruptly and there was no sequel...) and 'Humpty Dumpty' where Gervais tries to find the moral behind the nursery rhyme (if you're an egg don't sit on a wall? Don't send horses to perform medical procedures?)

Great fun!

Friday, July 11, 2008

She said I know you and you cannot sing...

ExDetectives at the Derby

ExDetectives put in a strong performance in front of a boisterous crowd at the Derby last night. The sound was much improved from Roberto's a couple of weeks ago and the set was well received by possibly the biggest crowd I've seen at an ExD show. Faris McReynolds gave the Rickenbacker 330 an airing and she still sounds good after all these years - particularly on the wonderful 'Closing Bell'...

So that's the last live show for a couple of months for ExDetectives but they definately went out on a high...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Feelgood by numbers...

A short documentary on The Go! Team...

Trainer Wreck...

I see Nike have released a limited edition Air McFly - you know, the ugly shoes from 'Back to the future'. Only 350 made by all accounts and selling for $1000 on Ebay... Slightly more tasteful (or not...) are the Peter Saville designed Y3's for the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Hacienda. Only 250 made and god knows what they are going for now - the originals were 345 pounds and came in a 6 sided maple bottomed box in the shape of the Hacienda dancefloor (not like PS to be extravagant!) However, my personal favourites were the 'New Balance' Joy Division design project turned internet hoax. One pair made and therefore priceless...





Monday, July 7, 2008

Theme for great cities

Few bands have jumped the shark quite so spectacularly as Simple Minds did around 1985. What killed it for me was 'Don't you forget about me' - soundtrack of John Hughes 'The Breakfast Club.' The songwriters were disco producer Keith Forsey (who won an Oscar for "Flashdance... What a Feeling" - nuff said...) and Steve Schiff (guitarist/songwriter from the Nina Hagen band.)

Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol were asked by Forsey to record the song but both declined, although Idol later covered it on his 2001 greatest hits compilation. Schiff suggested Simple Minds, who initially refused as well, but then agreed under the (ahem) encouragement of A&M. According to one account, the band rearranged and recorded the track in three hours in a north London studio and promptly forgot about it...

Later in 1985 came the uber-commercial 'Once upon a time' but for me the story was already over...

I don't usually watch muso crap on YouTube but for the best bass-line ever I'm willing to make an exception...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Immediate Records



I don't go into book stores very often - I always see 4 or 5 books I want to buy and get demoralized... A book I will definitely be buying though is the Immediate Records book in the 'Labels Unlimited' series... Immediate was the coolest label of the 60's and was the first independent label to compete with the majors. Formed in 1965 by Andrew Loog Oldham (manager of the Stones) it's roster included The Small Faces, P.P Arnold, Chris Farlowe, The Nice, Amen Corner and Humble Pie. From it's moddish logo to the mod(ern) sleeve designs it was the epitomy of cool...

Bengali in platforms...



Brick Lane (based on the novel by Monica Ali) is a movie about a Bengali woman Nazneen (Tannishta Chatterjee) who spends her life dreaming of her childhood in the Bengal running through paddy fields with her sister. Nazneen is sent to the UK to marry the tyrannical (but ultimately good-hearted) Chanu (Satish Kaushik). We rejoin the story some 16 years later and the couple have two teenage daughters - a 16 years in which Nazneen has apparently been staring at the walls of her East London flat and only going out to do the shopping. She takes a sewing job to help save up for a long-planned trip home and falls in love with young and handsome Karim (Christopher Simpson) who delivers the sewing jobs. Everything is hunky dory until 9/11 when Karim turns militant against a backdrop of hightened racial tension against muslims in the East End...

The movie is beautifully shot and the acting good but the characterizations rather stereotypical - demure obedient wife, overweight tyrant husband, moody teenage daughter, hot-headed handsome militant etc. There are too many flashbacks and the plot seems to stall in the middle of the film, only to be conveniently jump started on the way to a conclusion by 9/11 and muslim extremism ("I've been away to Bradford...")

Deconstruction 16



I've been thinking about a podcast of cover versions for a while and suddenly you end up with enough ideas for two or three... I tried not to pick the obvious choices like Jeff Buckley's 'Hallelujah' instead going with Leonard Cohen's 'I'm your man', not least cos Bill Pritchard is a nice chap... Also, it would have been unfair to include just one song from 'Scott Walker sings Jacques Brel' so I chose Dusty's almost perfect (aside from the spoken line in that lovely welsh accent!) version of Brel's 'If you go away'... Other bands have a few covers to choose from like Divine Comedy (Brel's Jackie, QOTSA's 'No one knows', 'Make it easy on yourself' etc), the Trashcans did Scott Walker's 'Little things that keep us together' and Weller/The Jam have done a few classics including The Beatles 'Sexy Sadie', The Kinks 'David Watts', Martha and the Vandella's 'Heatwave' and topically the theme from Batman... A couple of songs I couldn't find were The Waterboys version of 'Purple Rain' and Travis' 'Hit me baby one more time...' I'm sure everyone has there own favourites so give me your ideas for 'Covers 2'...

01 Primal Scream featuring PP Arnold - Understanding (The Small Faces)
02 The Go! Team - Bull in the heather (Sonic Youth)
03 Jarvis Cocker & Kid Loco - I'm just came to tell you I'm going (Serge Gainsbourg)
04 Bill Pritchard - I'm Your Man (Leonard Cohen)
05 Cat Power - Stuck inside of Mobil (Bob Dylan)
06 The Divine Comedy - There is a light (The Smiths)
07 Happy Mondays - Step On (John Kongos)
08 Tricky - Black Steel (Public Enemy)
09 Michael Stipe - L'Hotel (Serge Gainsbourg)
10 Dusty Springfield - If you go away (Jacques Brel)
11 Paul Weller - Wishing on a star (Rose Royce)
12 Trashcan Sinatras - To Sir with Love (Lulu)
13 The Kills - I call it art (Serge Gainsbourg)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

McGee speaks...

Alan McGee, Creation Records founder:

"I'd recommend a band not to go to any record label, I think they're all fucking rubbish," he said. "You're better off doing it yourself. They're living in the past, it's like owning a tram company or something."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bored to Death...

I read a couple of interesting things today:

1) In just two weeks the new Coldplay effort Viva La Vida has sold more downloads than any album in digital history...

2) US Weekly quotes Chris Martin as saying "Like millions of people in the world, I can't listen to Coldplay."

I'm siding with Mr Paltrow on this one, he is 100% right - 'Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends' is unlistenable. I'm not anti-Coldplay by any means - I thought the first cd was good but they've mailed in the last few. Even the godlike genius of Brian Eno couldn't save this one and I suspect he done a runner after the first 30 seconds of the cd, leaving a sugary sticky mess of guitars that sound like keyboards and vice versa. The songs are underdeveloped and the lyrics cliche-ridden beyond extreme... The one song that seems to have any lyrical adventure is 'Viva La Vida', the sort of historical tale of empire that Neil Hannon is so adept at, but that turns out a clumsy jumbled mess in Mr Paltrow's hands...

Keith Haworth, on the other hand, was never a Coldplay fan:

"I have nearly managed to avoid hearing practically anything that they have ever done due to being a dab hand with the remote control. They are also the worst dressed band in the entire history of the world and even Eno cannot inject an ounce of life into their bedwetting middle classic cuntishness of inane melodic inspired insipidity."

I'm off to listen to 'Low'...

Meat is Murder...

My favourite Smiths clip. I taped the Whistle Test episode this was on and watched it many times... Good interview (although this one from the same period is better - Tony Wilson interview The Smiths) and fantastic clips of Andy Rourke's sublime bass playing on 'That Joke isn't funny any more' and Johnny Marr playing 'Nowhere Fast' on an awesome green Telecaster with Moz crooning in a booth...