Sunday, 11 October 2009
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Monday, 8 June 2009
The other day I was waiting to catch a train on Merseyrail. If you don't know, Merseyrail is similar to the London Underground, yet somehow grubbier and less punctual. Once upon a time (probably in the 1970s), it was decided that Merseyrail's official colours would be a cheerful yellow and a sophisticated chocolate brown. Unfortunately, I always think it looks like nicotine yellow and poo brown.
But anyway, I was waiting when another train passed through the station. One carriage had the words 'John Peel' stencilled on. It was too quick for me to snap a picture. A fitting tribute to a great man? Hmmm...
Another John Peel tribute is The Ravenscroft, a pub in Heswall, Wirral. Mr Peel was born John Ravenscroft, in said town. A large picture of Peelie surveys the staircase up to the toilets.
The Ravenscroft is one of those anonymous, beige pubs with pleather couches and a muted plasma screen with rolling Sky Sports News. As my dear friend Nigel pointed out, not the sort of drinking establishment that Peelie would have particularly liked. And, equally, not the sort of drinking establishment that would have welcomed a man like Peelie.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Let's take a look at the video and find out.
We open with Little Boots herself, staring dolefully at the rain-splattered LA streets that pass by her car window. It's a lonely life being a touring artist. But at least she's wearing a spectacular necklace and dress (made by Ashish, if you must know).
Meanwhile, a group of ne'er-do-wells are scrabbling around to survive. They're probably under a railway bridge. In a dubious area called 'downtown'. This chap has a sign that reads 'Need food - spent all my money on judo lessons'.
Being new in town, Little Boots accidentally wanders in and finds herself surrounded by shopping trolleys.
Wait a second - they're not ne'er-do-wells. They're trained dancers!
For the second verse and chorus, she accidentally wanders into a backstreet dance battle. Like I told you, she's new in town. But it's all rather jolly.
For the middle eight, she accidentally wanders into a local dogging spot. Because she is, after all, new in town.
We end with Little Boots staring dolefully out of the car window, as at the start. Meaning that she dreamed the entire thing.
And there you have it. A quite good video. The song itself doesn't really do it for me yet, but I'll give it some more time. It sounds like the Human League, and I love the Human League. So some more time. I don't want to be one of those people who huffs and puffs that "the earlier stuff is better".
But at least I'm not this YouTube commentor:
"i really liked her better with dark brown hair and when she was with dead disco"
Just let it go. Dead Disco were not bad, but the rest of us have moved on.
Monday, 4 May 2009
1) Blues Roses Acoustic loveliness from the Bradfordian formerly known as Laura Groves (pictured). Album out NOW.
2) Soft Toy Emergency Liverpudlian whippersnappers making bouncy electro pop. I think they rehearse in a studio over the road from my flat. That makes me feel like a weird stalker.
3) The Yeah You's Literally everybody has been going on about these two chaps. Well, I've seen them mentioned in a few places. And now it's my turn. Their pop songs are rather splendid. Somehow, I managed to get through this paragraph without mentioning their lackadaisical approach to grammar. Oh wait. Damnation.
4) The Whiskycats Rabble-rousing Mancunian folksters, featuring trumpet. I'm told they know how to throw a good party. This is a very important component of becoming a good band. However, I'm still waiting for my invitation to arrive.
5) Menya 'Electro crunk' New York trio. A bit like CSS, but fuzzier.
Sunday, 3 May 2009
I do enjoy reading The Stool Pigeon. It tells me about all the cool new bands I should be listening to. And don't the Yeah Yeah Yeahs look spanky on the cover? Jonathan Safran-Foer (at right) is looking a bit Photoshopped. The shadow doesn't match his cheekbones, but nevermind. I don't think The Stool Pigeon has demanded he digitally slim down.
The tagline, however, confuses me. I understand that Father Christmas has reindeers called Donner and Blitzen, and the new YYYs album is called It's...
...but what's Donna got to do with it? And why slip in the German connective? Perhaps Karen O and co have gone...
And they sound very...
But come on. It just doesn't quite make sense. Or maybe I just don't get it. Can you explain?
Monday, 27 April 2009
Country Czech Republic
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Friday, 24 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
Tuneage (This Is Not A) Love Song by Public Image Ltd
That's a brilliant idea This song is a parping, rousing post-punk foot-stomper. It's based on a contradiction, similar to Sexy! No No No... John Lydon repeatedly snarls 'this is not a love song', but there's something about the way he sings it that makes me think it is.
Then again, maybe not Do Girls Aloud really want to be tackling free enterprise through a pop song? Also, French dance music supremo David Guetta recorded a dark, synth-led version in 2007. (Did you know the French verb 'guetter' means 'to watch for'?)
Lead vocalist Sarah. She could take on John Lydon. Easily.
Tuneage The Facts of Life by Black Box Recorder
That's a brilliant idea Girls Aloud are somehow quintessentially British. And so are Black Box Recorder, who write songs about cups of tea, motorway service stations and queueing for the bus in the rain.
Then again, maybe not It's not much of a song, is it? More of a spoken lament for missed adolescent opportunities.
Lead vocalist Kimberly. She's the slightly prim one. And don't pretend to me that you wouldn't want to hear her cooing 'experimentation, familiarisation... it's all a nature walk'.
Tuneage No More I Love You's by Annie Lennox
That's a brilliant idea Girls Aloud have underachieved with slow numbers. This one isn't quite a ballad, but it has a very lovely chorus.
Then again, maybe not It's a little bit too kooky. Remember the male backing dancers dressed in as ballerinas? And the vocals jump around a lot. Even more than Annie's eyebrows in the video.
Lead vocalist Nicola. She's my favourite. She's kind of glacial.
Tuneage Unchained Melody by Everybody
That's a brilliant idea Everybody else has done this. Robson and Jerome, Gareth Gates, everybody. Girls Aloud might as well make their contribution to the most covered song of the 20th Century.
Then again, maybe not What was once a poignant song is now just a hackneyed, karaoke staple.
Lead vocalist Cheryl. The nation's sweetheart can do her dewy-eyed, wobbly jelly chin thing and we'll all blub in a sad (yet joyous) way with quiet obedience.
Tuneage I Know What Boys Like by the Waitresses
That's a brilliant idea Sassy post-punk pop about attracting male attention, but waving it away. With a massive saxophone solo.
Then again, maybe not Shouty bubblegum poppettes Shampoo released a version in the mid-90s. It reached number 42. But who cares about chart positions? It was a more than respectable effort.
Lead vocalist They can all have a go. Especially the 'boys like, boys like, boys like [hand clap] me'.
Tuneage Maybe by the Chantels (also the Shangri-Las, and Janis Joplin)
That's a brilliant idea Yes, it is a rather brilliant idea. Girls Aloud acknowledged their debt to 1960s girl groups in the video for The Promise. And didn't they look lovely in those sparkly dresses? Maybe is almost a canonical song for 1960s girl groups. It's a beautiful, heart-breaker of a song about yearning for a lost love affair. Even in the opening lyric it manages to reach out and touch you ('maybe if I pray every night / you'll come back to me'). Which a lot of songs fail to do in three or four minutes.
Then again, maybe not Nope. I can't think of any reason why this couldn't work. It's just a really, really good song. It's practically transcendent.
Lead vocalist Nadine. She's got the biggest voice. Sorry, rest of Girls Aloud.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
There's only three possible answers.
1) The garage, to fill up the tank and buy some Rizlas.
2) An exotic location in order to exact violent revenge on someone who wronged her, as in a Tarantino film.
3) The Eighties.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
Another similar website is SellaBand, where artists sell $10 shares in the hope of raising $50,000 to record an album. 50,000 sounds like a lot of dollars for some bands. You know, not very good bands. Then again, ProTools isn't cheap. And you need to know how to use it. Spunky Japanese rockers Electric Eel Shock shifted their shares in eight weeks, and are now recording. Good for them.
What's the point of all this? I like hearing about people getting on with things themselves and (hopefully) having a bit of fun in the process. Scrolling through all those bands and singer-songwriters made me realise just how many people out there are making music, or trying to make music. Obviously, a lot of it will be a bit rubbish. From the RPM Challenge, I listened to an Edinburgh band called The ZX81s. I picked them because I thought if they named themselves after an early home computer, they might sound like Kraftwerk. They don't sound like Kraftwerk but are still rather good. So well done.