All entries for November 2006
November 30, 2006
I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help it.
R2… We love you.
A special double-podcast for you since I forgot to do it the past two weeks running…
Friday 17th November
- Chris produces the show, hillarity ensures
- We play lots of Track 2s
Friday 24th November
- Music pub quizzage
- I get my hands on some new jingles and bedding, and wrongality ensures
The first 10 minutes of the show were hijacked by RaW News, who very rudely didn’t tell us that they were going to come on, so that’s what the first 30 seconds or so is the end of.
November 29, 2006
Love is contagious,
When it’s alright.
Love is contagious,
When it’s alright.
Love is alright.
These simple lines had to be cut from the album version of Magic in the Air by Badly Drawn Boy on his Mercury winning (and one which I personally think he’s never bettered) album, Hour of Bewilderbeast.
When I first got the album, these extra lyrics were printed in the booklet and confused me completely. Was there a hidden verse I wasn’t hearing? Apparently, they were seen as ‘taken’ from another song by hip-hop artist Taja Seville and thus later pressings of the album had an instrumental break in place of these lyrics.
Strange, but here’s the original with end lyrics intact. Not much of a difference, but it does sort of add a more poignant ending to a beautiful song.
MP3 Expired [Buy Hour of Bewilderbeast] (less than a fiver! bargain!)
November 28, 2006
As a kind of ruse to let me post lots of good music at once, I’ve compiled a collection of tunes that showcase the violin in a different light to the standard rock/pop fare that usually comes to mind when a band goes to work with an orchestra. Funnily enough however, all of these are solo male artists so I’d be happy if you could suggest some female artists in the same vein (I’d have posted Joanna Newsom, but she’s all harp, ain’t she?). Anyway here we go:
Andrew Bird and his Bowl of Fire have been playing and recording for years, but it was only when scouting out various sites’ lists for the top albums of 2005 that I came across The Mysterious Production of Eggs. It’s a fantastic array of tunes that shift the focus from strummed, stroked or plucked strings, electric and acoustic, whilst fronted by his seem.ingly effortless vocal. Oh yeh, it seems strange to mention it, but he’s not a bad whistler either.
Fake Palindromes is a rock song with sly rhymes and building rhythms before battering drums back up the whirling violins in the wordless chorus. It’s possibly the noisiest on the album, and it’s over before you know it, but I love it all the same.
Andrew Bird – Fake Palindromes Mp3 Expired [buy The Mysterious Production of Eggs]
Bonus MP3: Andrew Bird – A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left Mp3 Expired
[taken from andrewbird.net]
Owen Pallett is probably more heard for his work arranging most of the strings for The Arcade Fire’s album, Funeral, but if you went to any of the early live shows, you’d find he’s also a damn fine solo artist as well. On stage, he builds up the songs around looping samples, tapping and plucking rhythms before forming string quartets over the top. On record, he’s allowed more freedom and adds effects and instruments into the mix.
Either way it’s amazing, and The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead was one of the first songs I heard before seeing the live show and I still find it’s buildup and release fascinating. He has since recorded a second more expansive and more concise record in He Poos Clouds, but instead of a fresh cut off that, I’ve added a favourite live cover.
Final Fantasy – The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead Mp3 Expired [buy Has A Good Home]
*Bonus MP3:*Final Fantasy – This Modern Love (live Bloc Party cover Mp3 Expired
We now cross the ocean to an artist that actually shares a label with Final Fantasy, and one who also seems to relish a sort of otherworldly feel. Patrick Wolf enjoys revelling in electronics and adding a more harsher edge to his songs. Of course, a firm eye is kept on that killer hook as well as the atmospherics, well presented on both songs here.
The Libertine confusingly came out around the time of Mr. Doherty’s first foray into the public eye (and into the cells for that matter) and didn’t make quite the mark it should’ve done. Its galloping drum loop and punchdrunk violin line definitely made a hit with me, and I’m hoping new song, Accident and Emergency from the upcoming The Magic Position pushes him to fresh and inviting ears.
Patrick Wolf – The Libertine Mp3 Expired [buy Wind in the Wires]
Bonus MP3 Patrick Wolf – Accident and Emergency Mp3 Expired
I’ve been kicking myself for the past week for not paying more attention when my radio co-host (the wonderful Emily Andrews) was thrusting a vinyl copy of Jeremy’s EP, Other People’s Secrets down my neck, and also when we actually played the lead track off the record. Of course now, it’s come back to bite me as his new album, The Art of Fiction is gaining praise wherever I’ve happened upon it and he’s just finished touring it around the UK (again, I missed him last time, despite more protestations).
Dirty Blue Jeans was that lead track, and it’s everything a lead track should be. Excited violins stutter, drums pound, spaces are filled with trumpets and Jeremy forces his way through as the song breaks down with him singing _“I’m still in control!” before it explodes and finally contracts. It’s a wonder so many glorious sounds could be fit into three minutes but he manages it with great aplomb. And yes, the album is a corker.
Jeremy Warmsley – Dirty Blue Jeans Mp3 Expired [buy The Art of Fiction]
Bonus MP3 Jeremy Warmsley – I Keep The City Burning (demo) Mp3 Expired
[taken from jeremywarmsley.com]
November 16, 2006
One of the best things about indie is that it is ridiculously broad. Compare it, if you will, to metal where anytime a band comes along which doesn’t sound exactly like some pre-existing band they are rewarded with their own sub-genre. At the most recent metal genre census it was revealed there are more metal genres than inhabitants of Belgium. But indie is just nice and broad…
Which is why it can be intensely frustrating dealing with the music press sometimes. At the moment they (and by “they” we are largely concerned with the magazine everyone loves to hate but read – NME) are currently enthralled by their latest concoction – New Rave. New Rave is the fusion of late 1980s/early 1990s rave music with modern indie, encompassing dayglo clothing, glow sticks and whistles. It has had a lot of print space, and is seeping into the broadsheets, figureheads already appointed. There’s just one slight problem. Musically it’s the emperor’s new clothes. And the best example is the ‘genre’s’ leading lights – Klaxons.
I have long been accustomed to scepticism about NME hype bands – I maintain Pete Doherty has yet to write an entire song which is worthy of the praise he gets (although he’s managed some excellent parts to songs) – so naturally I treated all talk of Klaxons with a roll of the eyes. As a fan of indie and electronica I was wondering exactly what the hell New Rave could actually be. Apart from the non musical accessories (and to be fair if you like the Manic Street Preachers you’ve almost certainly seen gaudy clothing and glowing items at an indie concert before anyway) I couldn’t get my head around how it could all be rave. So the best solution was to go and see Klaxons live.
Conclusion: They were great! Really really good live, excellent atmosphere, great songs, good stage presence. Where they New Rave? Were they bollocks. It was indie. Fast indie, indie with a disco beat, indie with sampled sound effects occasionally, but INDIE! According to NME the fact they cover two rave songs (‘The Bouncer’ and ‘Not Over Yet’) was a sign they were true New Rave. Well the other day I heard the Magic Numbers doing a cover of Hot Chip’s ‘Over And Over’, surely this makes them New Rave too. And the Arctic Monkeys’ cover of ‘Love Machine’ makes them a girl band who formed on a TV talent show. Tell me I am not alone in seeing the stupidity of all this.
The Grace cover, ‘Not Over Yet’, was a set highlight, it was brilliant. It also sounded like an indie song. Whatever its dance origins, Klaxons’ turn it into a good quality indie stormer, musically like a souped up version of The Research, and vocally reminiscent of loads of good bands, albeit none of which are regarded as trendy by the NME.
Even their singles, like ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, don’t sound like rave songs.
Klaxons – ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ MP3 Expired
Klaxons – ‘Not Over Yet’ MP3 Expired
So there you go, you might want to hate them for what they’ve been hyped as, but there’s no need. Klaxons are not the punchable pretentious genre-name-droppers they might appear to be, at least not when their songs are cranked up. Have a listen for yourself.
As ever, don’t believe the hype.
November 14, 2006
Writing about web page http://www.theorgan.ca/
Within seconds of Interpol having the fantastic idea of ripping off Joy Division there were waves of others who had the great idea of ripping off Interpol. Unfortunately the majority seem to have neglected certain details like the fact that Interpol actually did something more than merely ape Curtis, Sumner, Hook and Morris. For a start their music was denser, against Joy Division’s wiry minimalism. From the Interpol copyists comes precious little diversity, just men with sad voices singing songs which long to be drenched in Mancunian rain.
So what from here? From safety to where?
Why not let the girls have a go?
Oh they already have…
The Organ tend to be described as five morose young women from Canada. It’s not hard to see why. They make sad songs and are Canadian. Sort of. Actually, being Canadian is somewhat irrelevant unless there’s now a conscious attempt to liberate Canada from the Celine Dion/ Bryan Adams/Shania Twain tripartite dictatorship which makes people view Canada with suspicion. And the “sort of” applies to them being morose. Because there’s more to it than that.
Firstly being Canadian and in possession of a knowledge of the New Wave is not new. The Stills did it three years ago but kind of ruined it by being simply dreadful live and then messing around with their lineup and, indeed, every other aspect of their band. But the Organ seem more coherent, more cohesive. I bet they’d never turn around from a five minute jam and ask the audience “Do you think this is indulgent?” like some Canadian bands mentioned in this paragraph.
The clue’s in their timing. Their album is merely half an hour long. No fat, no flab, no fifteen minute jazz oddysseys with controls set for the heart of the fretwank. No song shall overstay its welcome. If you went round their house they’d give you a ready prepared cup of tea, ask how your day was then chuck you out onto the street. Where you belong.
Listening to their songs suggests being thrown out onto the street is something they’ve both done and suffered in the past. The first two tracks on their album Grab That Gun, ‘Brother’ and ‘Steven Smith’, take us straight away into their strange happy/sad world in which “we are warm and we are safe/enjoy it while you can before/things change” and where the eponymous stud Smith is somehow resistable to singer Katie Sketch whilst all others end up having regret filled romps. Chiming guitars, floaty synths and the strange feeling that they might have decided to conceal the Interpol connections with a heady dose of The Smiths abound. Really they’d be happiest wandering around Oxford Road, looking for new guitars at Johnny Roadhouse, M1 7DU, and complaining about the Glazers as the bright lights of the Curry Mile flash around them.
It’s all gone Mancunian!
But why not? No song overstaying its welcome, each emotion kept in check by mere threads. It’s the sort of album you need at 2am when you’re not entirely sure if you’re happy or sad, and need a slab of atmosphere which will happily accommodate both. So very blank and so very detailed at the same time. It shouldn’t work but it does.
Listen To These:
The Organ – ‘Basement Band Song’ MP3 Expired
The Organ – ‘A Sudden Death’ MP3 Expired
November 11, 2006
This is me and my trusty sidekick Ginger, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the show this week due to a nasty case of crotchitis.
In this show:
- The news, what it was yesterday and all that
- The Long Blondes – Once and Never Again
- Ejectorseat – Attack Attack Attack
- We ramble on like idiots for ages, until we’re confident that the start of the next song isn’t too quiet
- Bloc Party – Song For Clay
- Phoenix – Long Distance Call
- We discuss people clearing their throats at the end of songs, emails from Terrence, and we talk about the new Funkscreamer EP and them playing at the union TONIGHT, supported by Alan’s Rankets. Then it degenerates into a spherical show, very confusing.
- Voxtrot – Your Biggest Fan
- The Automatic – Gold Digger (Kanye West Cover)
- We announce the death of John Belusci, Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd, then dedicate a song to Dan Belusci and John Akroyd.
- We Are Scientists – Hoppípolla (Sigur Rós cover)
- Metallica – Battery
- We only let Battery play for about a minute before we started to talk over it, and that worked quite well. In fact, it was better, and the song wasn’t even finished when we moved onto the next one.
- Muse – Easily
- Art Brut – The Great Escape
- We wish a happy birthday to HE THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED and needlessly murder Dan and Chris.
- Wolfmother – Woman
- Mumm-ra – Out of the Question
- We in no way fill 2 minutes with random crap
- Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
(It’s a massive anachronism)
November 09, 2006
I have been pleasingly endowed this month with some tracks for my favourite bands in the world, ever. (Well, a new Radiohead studio release would have been nice, but hey, maybe that’s just a little too much for a couple of months yet). Here are just a few of them (the rest will probably be played on the weekly radio show, Mat and Chris’s Indie Nipple, Friday at 5pm GMT at http://www.radio.warwick.ac.uk/). Enjoy, kiddies!
Voxtrot – Your Biggest Fan
á la discothèque favourites Voxtrot released, by my reckoning, their new single Your Biggest Fan a couple of days ago now. It’s stonkingly good, and bodes well for the debut album being released early next year. Unfortunately, the single is US-only, so us Brits aren’t supposed to get our grimy hands on it, boo!
‘Your Biggest Fan’ MP3 Expired
(Buy ‘Your Biggest Fan’ Import)
Bloc Party – Song For Clay
[MP3 removed by request]
The awesome Bloc Party are back with their new album, A Weekend In The City on 5th February next year. If this isn’t the first track on that album, I’ll eat my hat – a slow starter with Kele’s soft lyrics hitting into a heavy number that is just a little bit more grown up than the rocky songs that adorned Silent Alarm.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Some Loud Thunder
When Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! first emerged on the scene, distributing their own eponymous debut album, everyone kind of winced at their sound. It was a little bit before their time, but luckily they survived into the current age of indietronica and electro-pop that makes them absolutely bloody brilliant.
A new album is on the way in January, and it promises to be good on the basis of this track, which is good because I like them so there listen now??
‘Some Loud Thunder’ MP3 Expired
We Are Scientists – Hoppípolla
In the world of covers of songs that you’d never think would work, We Are Scientists covering Icelandic Gods Sigur Rós’s epic Hoppípolla (of every-BBC-advert-ever fame) is right up there, but after hearing them play it live on a BBC session it seemed strangely beautiful, and after hearing it on their new album Crap Attack (a compilation of B sides and rareities) I’m absolutely convinced that it’s one of the most beautiful covers you’ll ever hear now that the bum notes are gone. It’s a stunning tribute to the song and even the Icelandic/Hopelandish lyrics are there!
‘Hoppípolla (Sigur Rós cover)’ MP3 Expired
(Buy ‘Crap Attack’)
The Long Blondes – Once and Never Again
I yelped in glee on Monday when The Long Blondes’ debut album Someone To Drive You Home plopped onto my doormat. Probably one of the most exciting new artists to appear this year, and sexy to boot. Lovely. I love the way that most of the tracks that we’ve all heard before have been tidied up for the studio release, but I’m not too sure about the massive change that’s come to Separated By Motorways, which was so raw and powerful before but now seems stripped of it? I mean, I still love it, of course…
Anyway, this is Once and Never Again, my favourite track off the album. There’s something about singing “Oh, how I’d love to feel a girl your age” that’s strangely wonderful…
‘Once and Never Again’ MP3 Expired
(Buy Someone To Drive You Home)
November 08, 2006
Writing about web page http://www.wearephoenix.com
For me, there couldn’t be a better time for a band like Phoenix to be entering my playlist. Here in Auckland, the sun is beginning to shine a little more, exams are almost over and I’ve got a whole summer to look forward to (sorry, I won’t milk it any more). This album was rather handily released back in May in time for the Northern summer but it’s only recently that I’ve really got to appreciate just how good it is.
Phoenix started out back when Air were getting big (and in fact spent some time as Air’s backing group) with Moon Safari, and their first two albums United (2000) and Alphabetical (2004) concentrated on the electronic/guitar pop their French contemporaries were famous for, but with a more direct band approach. You’ve probably inadvertently heard them through Lost In Translation (the singer Thomas Mars is dating Sofia Coppola) and the delightful song Too Young, a great example of this vibrant sound. The latest album doesn’t bring a total reverse of this straightforward approach, but instead you can hear the guitars are harder, the rhythms are tougher and it feels a lot more revitalised with an exciting level of energy that tended to be absent from most of previous album tracks.
The album kicks off with the shrill guitar alarm of Napoleon Says and doesn’t let up with the guitar hooks all the way through the album (with the exception of the tepid instrumental North which rather thankfully segues into the giddy blast of Sometimes in the Fall). The European connection is decidedly evident, characterised by Thomas Mars’ slight inflections and accent. Various lines are dotted with sly ‘huh’s that on paper may sound horribly pretentious (in the hands of someone like Jet, heaven forbid) but end up rather sweet and endearing. Another obvious touchpoint would have to be The Strokes, dealing in the same chugging guitar delivery but then nothing in the NYC-ians’ recent output can match the pop brilliance and innocence of something like Consolation Prizes or Courtesy Laughs.
Here are some of my favourite cuts from the album:
Phoenix – Rally MP3 Expired
It’s not a song that really hit me first but it’s one of the songs where there are just parts of the vocal I love. Particularly in the second verse where he croons “Teeeeee-easin’ me”. Gets me every time.
Phoenix – Long Distance Call MP3 Expired
This immediately follows Rally and ends a pretty much perfect first four songs that the two songs afterwards suffer a little for it. The keyboards return for this track but only in subtle touches. A perfect pop crescendo to finish it off as well.
Phoenix – Second to None MP3 Expired
The track that closes off the album, and the taut rhythms here lock into each other so perfectly you almost forget that one guitar has just been playing one note for the past 90 seconds. It doesn’t matter anyway because it’s another brilliant pop song, and a brilliant ending to what I think is a brilliant album. \\
November 04, 2006
Here’s something experimental… here’s the content that was played on Mat and Chris’s Indie Nipple, my radio show, last night on RaW
This content will only be available for a week and you must listen to it in full, so there. (Though a cut down talk-only version may be available at some point, forever!)
In this week’s podcast:
- The news! Oh, wasn’t the news wonderful yesterday!
- Two songs that I didn’t play myself, because I was late… oops, sorry :(
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – In This Home On Ice
- The Departure – Talkshow
- Regina Spektor – On The Radio
- Some lovely banter about how I couldn’t work out how to get the emails on my system because I’m stupid and it all changed :( And how hallowe’en is an anticlimax
- Keith – Hold That Gun
- Ben Folds – In Between Days
- CSS – Music Is My Hot Hot Sex
- Klaxons – Magick
- A wonderful story about cousins and whatnot. Set to the Baby Elephant Walk! Ace.
- Arctic Monkeys – When The Sun Goes Down (Request)
- Badly Drawn Boy – A Journey From A To B
- Rambling in embarassment at playing the wrong Badly Drawn Boy song, and a bad one at that, and whinging about Oasis releasing a B side as a single
- Oasis – Acquiesce
- David Bowie – Space Oddity
- I whinge for 3 minutes of filler about how my two guests are completely incompetent and got the show times wrong and what I’m going to do to them, and also about the Assassins Guild at Warwick. Then I say bye
- Muse – Knights of Cydonia
This show has now expired as podcasts are only available for a week. However, you can see all RaW podcasts here