Wednesday, 29 October 2008

loverman: my trick is i don't die

Loverman seethe. Theirs is the sound of a demon dancing on your roof about to swing through the window and burn the place to the ground. Over a misunderstanding, I'm sure. Tension winds itself tighter and tighter around guitar licks that can't contain it any longer, they explode. Anger slowly filling up the singer's jaw, oozing out in a series of couplets laced with vicious oxymorons. Calm checks in, but it doesn't stay the night.

Loverman - My Trick Is I Don't Die

///visit their myspace///website

Loverman have a single out on Young and Lost on November 17th. It's called Crucifiction. If my record player isn't working by then, I'm going to throw it out the window. The track above would make a fine B-side, but you can find it also on the Strummerville compilation, which contains some of the best tracks I've heard all year.

Monday, 27 October 2008

good // great // oh so fine

I'm sure most of you are well acquainted with Focker. If not, then get acquainted. The video is below, you can have a few moments to compose yourself. Bipartite would be one way to describe the song, the second part being the component Boys Noize has decided to play with. I say play with because it isn't really a remix. I don't feel as if the song has been ripped apart and put back together in any way. It's just the bit at the end, sprinkled with the Boys Noize scuzzy, bass-heavy, robot magic. Turning it into what you almost wish the whole thing was in the first place - an all out banger. The fact that it isn't makes you more aware of Late of the Pier's charms though.

They are playing a gig in their fair, hometown city of Nottingham in the most unorthodox and small of venues, the Chameleon Arts Café on November 30th. Support from Phantasy Sound's Fan Death, it promises to be wild. There are about 10 tickets left, I doubt the place will hold more than 120 - 150. I'm heading back on the East Midlands Train, so should you.

Late of the Pier - Focker (Boys Noize Terror Re-Did)

///buy tickets for the Nottingham gig here

In other remix news, check out this choice cut from Aeroplane featuring Au Revoir Simone on vocals. They have a stab at Friendly Fires' Paris which takes on the wintery, pop classic incorporating Aeroplane's choppy disco sound with lush vocals that seem a better fit for certain parts of the song, chorus especially. It evokes a blissful, honeyed night-out that you would never find at Le Showcase ironically, but certainly walking home past Place de la Concorde and dancing around by the operahouse. Watch out for Aeroplane's remix of Sebastien Tellier's Kilometer (coming soon!), it's fair to say they are on a bit of a roll.

Friendly Fires - Paris (Aeroplane Remix feat. Au Revoir Simone)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

mystery jets @ astoria 23/10/08

photo: +++ponyrock+++

Mystery Jets were in triumphant mood on Thursday night at the Astoria, in their biggest headline show to date. A year to remember and cherish is the only way to describe their transformation from odd-ball prog poppers into a leaner, meaner outfit where the emphasis on pop has been thrust even further to the forefront. Resplendent in sparkly attire, they tore through material from Twenty One with verve and panache, casting aside any homecoming nerves to thrill the crowd assembled in the Astoria, the doors of which are set to close for the final time. Most of the adulation was reserved for the newer songs, Two Doors Down sending the audience into raptures.

It's easy to forget sometimes that Mystery Jets have the ability to leave you awestruck with their softer, less danceable numbers. As a treat for the London crowd, a string quartet appeared mid-set and Blaine serenaded the crowd with Umbrellahead, inspiring a joyous singalong despite the morbid, lyrical undertones. The band are heading out now on tour to show up The Kooks around Europe and the UK, before going down under over Christmas. Catch them if you can.

Mystery Jets - Umbrellahead (iTunes Session)

///watch the gig on YouTube///visit their website

Friday, 24 October 2008

dirty hands xfm session : 30/08/07

So in my life before entering the blogosphere, I fronted a band called Dirty Hands. We released a single, did an XFM session then split up as two of us were moving to Paris as part of our French degrees. XFM never told us when the session was going out and then took an age to send me the session. I never thought I was going to hear it really. But thanks to Jim at XFM, it popped into my letterbox this week to whoops of joy.

Returning to something you left over a year ago, without really thinking about it in the meantime is strange. As if it had just been stuffed in a drawer, a safe place but then completely forgotten about. As a band, we didn't write many songs (I think maybe 12 or 13 over two years) but they were all damn good. If you play lots of gigs, you get tight and it just ends up being really reflexive.

Here's a little insight into the writing of the four songs on the session, which looking back certainly provides a lyrical insight into the rollercoaster bedlam that was my second year at university, spent playing the long game, chasing the dream and trying to prevent the inevitable hangover:

What About The Frames?

By the end this had become our intro song. We liked to start with a bang. Lyrically, it recounts a friend’s 21st party with a free bar. To this day, I still don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people that fucked in one room. Upon falling out of a taxi on the Strand to get our connecting nightbus eastside, we encountered some youths who accused one of our lot to be looking at his bird. They weren’t looking to reason, however, requiring no reason to unleash punches left / right / centre. Our good friend, Tom, got a stiletto to the head for his troubles, Robin (guitars / vocals) lost his phone and I got my glasses smashed into wiry little pieces. My dismay at the damage to my specs forms the angry, but humourous backbone of the song.

All of My Respect

Built around a sterling Korg riff from Douglas, this badboy fuses a nice turn of phrase from Craig Clevenger’s Dermaphobia with that feeling of being half-awake, drooling on lecture notes whilst you long for the night before at some dark, dirty warehouse carpark supermarket supercool venue obviously getting down to a guitar solo from heaven.

Desire. Desire. Desire

Borne out of beatsmith JK’s desire to write a song like that Larrikin Love one (I think he meant Edwould) it then went off a slightly fairground gypsy tangent. Lyrically, I put myself in the shoes of Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris in Les Poupées Russes) who carelessly tosses aside his girlfriend by chasing a beautiful, but shallow, model who ultimately doesn’t fulfil him anyway. Managed to squeeze in a vocal breakdown and a London Calling esque yelp in there too.

Get On Yer Bike (Charlie)

First proper song I ever wrote about 3 years ago now. A simple tale fusing characters from George Orwell’s Down And Out In Paris and London and a tour diary tale from the most prominent ‘rockstar’ of the last decade. Go figure, I’m not going to make it too obvious, but the song was a valiant attempt to capture the feeling of being beaten to a girl by your best mate, and not being able to say anything. You then settle for much worse.

So there you have it, a single came out on Happy Release just before I went off to Paris to form anew. You can still buy it here. Will set up some kind of savefile for all the songs that we did and edit this post later. I think these recordings, weighing in at ten minutes, demonstrate how tight we were as a band and how we progressed musically and probably would have continued our ascent. It's angry as hell, which was definitely how I felt, I can't really speak for the others.

Lots of new content coming up, be excited.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

eugene mcguinness : nightshift

The other day I expressed a view misgivings as to whether the Eugene McGuinness album would cut the mustard so effortlessly and thrillingly splattered by the preceding mini-album, The Early Learnings...

The self-titled affair has been knocking around my shitty MP3 player for a week or so and I'm warming to its subtleties a lot. I was worried that there would be no moments of joyous exuberance to match the likes of Bold Street, Monsters Under The Bed & A Girl Whom My Eyes Shine For.

Nightshift weighs in at 1:38 and still packs one hell of a punch whilst including all the trademark McGuinnessisms like three bags full nursery rhyme lines allied to cooing falsetto breaks and jangly guitars. Surefire second single. It also maintains the weird atmosphere that surrounds his music that leaves me unsure what decade it is. At times, his voice and his delivery just belong to a bygone era.

Eugene McGuinness - Nightshift

visit his myspace////buy the album///get an acoustic version from keep hope inside

Now to some other views, this guy over at DrownedinSound seems to love the line about synchronising watches and meeting of crotches in Fonz. I don't like it, but maybe it's just that I don't like the fact my attention was brought to it before I'd actually heard it's delivery. Whoops, sorry, I didn't mean to bring it your attention. Great tune otherwise.

Something I would like to bring your attention to also is my new band. I'm not usually one for shameless self-promotion but this involves a party that's free, so I figured it would be good to share. The gig takes place this Saturday 18th October at Kensington Roof Gardens. Entry is free before 10pm and there is a drinks reception. You have to look sharp. It's because of the flamingoes they have there, they get upset if you aren't smart. My talents have now expanded from being able to sing well to also being able to play a Micro Korg synthesizer slung low around my hips. The name of this soulful jazz-punk sextet is Al Cool and the Stranger Wines. I'm fucking excited. Recordings to follow in a week or two and the Dirty Hands XFM session for John Kennedy should be rearing its head soon also. Enough about me, here is the flyer. You can ask questions but I may not answer them. Tunes speak for themselves.

email me here to go on the guestlist or invite your bad self on facebook.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

the chap or esser?

The plethora of opportunities available to people in London never really ceases to amaze me. There is always so much to do, and so much to see. Perhaps, too much. Tomorrow night in Central London, I am torn as to where I should direct my feet and my ears in search of music. My genre of choice is slightly off-kilter wonky pop music, and still there is choice.

At White Heat, housed in the salubrious Madame Jojo's, I could go see The Chap. The below track, passed on to me absent-mindedly by my graphic design whizz-kid friend, Lucas, leaves me in mild disarray whilst wondering if this really is a song about Wendy Carlos (née Walter) and Stanley Kubrick. It could also be about Walter Stanley, a NFL player but it's most likely about nothing at all. Shivering synths, guitars jarring around nonchalent vocals yet ridiculous lyrics. Barringtone were meant to be supporting but I hear the singer, Barry, has broken a finger.

The Chap - Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley

Down the road at the ICA is the electro pop troubadour that is Esser. It's fair to call him a troubadour since he writes almost incessantly about the bitter suffering he endures at the hands of the fairer sex. Executed with panache, Satisfied laments the male condition whilst going on to illuminate the futility of trying to please a woman, as buying all the shoes just won't do. Whilst I Love You felt like a reinterpetation of White Town, this latest single from the ex-Ladyfuzz drummer demonstrates his knack for oddball pop, this time set against a 1920's vaudeville piano line. One of the singles of the year.

Esser - Satisfied (Radio Edit)

I can't decide which gig to go to. The presence of Micachu (ironic given her lyrical opposition almost to troubadourdom) supporting Esser might swing it.

Friday, 10 October 2008

anoraak : nightdrive with you

I like it when music matches the mood. Even better when it seems to fit the season, if at times it is a little eerie. Anoraak is the soundtrack to those dreamy earl grey mornings spent shivering on the way to the bus stop, before being enveloped in warm scatters of sunshine. Except the French don't drink earl grey, and in Paris they sure as fuck don't take the bus.

This is Nantes synth pop that recalls the best underwater filter moments of the 1990's à la Modjo et les Dafts, whilst being imbued with a lightness signified by a general lack of distorted, earsplitting electro-banger moments - note the word general. The vocals and lyrics are filled with that insouciant nonchalance that used to be the domain of all French synth-bands. Arpeggiated teenage vibes run all over this album like indecisively skewed hormones at a school-disco.

Check out the title track from the mini-album below in streaming and download Waiting For Your Phone Call, my personal favourite. The mini-album, out on Endless Summer Recordings and limited to a 1000 copies, is available exclusively in Rough Trade in the UK at the moment*. They are playing White Heat in Soho on 18th November with Minitel Rose.

Anoraak - Nightdrive With You

Anoraak - Waiting For Your Phone Call
///buy Nightdrive With You

I'm off to check out the rest of the Valerie Collective.

The retro aspect is pushed further to the fore by some beautiful artwork that makes me think of a Tron style video game set on a beach with some kind of summer-prom subplot. Best electro artwork since Kavinsky in my mind. He's not dead in case you wondered when he might put out some new material (obvious lie, Kavinsky is dead, he's a zombie). According to my boys chez Record Makers, Vinco has been working on his album and has done a remix of label-mate Sebastien Tellier's Roche, which is supposedly better than the original. The Sexuality remixes (SebastiAN, Boys Noize, Danger, Midnight Juggernauts, A-Trak, Moulinex, Donovan, Kavinsky to name but a few) are looking formidable don't you think? Roche is the French release, Kilometer's out in the UK and internationally. I prefer the original, just can't beat it.

Sebastien Tellier - Roche (Kavinsky Remix)

* p.s. - If you go to Rough Trade be careful. I went there a few Sundays ago and was just minding my own fucking business, writing said blog, and an instore gig appeared behind me. It was Adam Ficek of Babyshambles going solo. The man can't sing. I was blocked in.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

daniel johnston: the story of an artist

Sometimes the lyrics and melody of a song just speak for themselves. The hairs on the back of your neck were made to stand up for this one. Taken from Don't Be Scared, released way back in 1982, strap yourself into the most comfy of armchairs and be taken on a five minute trip through the half-rendered beauty pouring out of the fractured genius that is Daniel Johnston. You won't want to get up.

"Listen up and I'll tell a story

About an artist growing old

Some would try for fame and glory

Others aren't so bold

Everyone, and friends and family

Saying, "Hey! Get a job!"

"Why do you only do that only?

Why are you so odd?

We don't really like what you do.

We don't think anyone ever will.

It's a problem that you have,

And this problem's made you ill."

excerpt from The Story of An Artist

Daniel Johnston - The Story of an Artist

/// M. Ward cover

///visit his website and buy stuff.

If you aren't familiar with Daniel Johnston, go watch the brilliant, brilliant, moving documentary - The Devil and Daniel Johnston and you will see the song in its wider context.