"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." - Frank Krappa

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Future gigigigigigs

I just spent a horrific £70 combined to see Portishead in July at All Tomorrow's Parties/I'll Be Your Mirror and Caribou in February at the NME Awards Show (booooo! hissssssss!).

To celebrate my past money, present poverty and future aural pleasure, I thought I'd write a blog post.


Portishead are fucking amazing. To be honest, I'm still having trouble getting into their newest album, Third, but their first two are masterpieces of misery. Also, according to YouTube, they do a mindblowing live show. I don't think they'll be doing the massive orchestra thangg in July, but they might as it's such a big, high profile show. Look at the heart tearing renditions that'll happen in the event that they do:

Also playing that day are Grinderman (OMG NICK CAVE), who are pretty awesome, the dreamy Beach House, the bodacious Liars and several other bands I'm not cool enough to know
It should be an amazing day.


Although I was originally upset to find out Caribou wasn't a Pixies tribute band, I am constantly amazed by the complexity and beauty in Dr. Dan Snaith's music. His most recent albums, Swim and Andorra, are very different, but share the capacity to make me very angry that I'll never be that good at making music. Caribou are also supposed to be really great live, something I would have witnessed first hand if not for being fucking kicked out of fucking Offset fucking Festival FOR NO FUCKING REASON, but that's a story for another blog...

Also playing in February are Factory Floor, who I also missed at fucking Offset but were apparently so intense live someone passed out. It could have been me... 

Friday, 26 November 2010

Review: 'Great Vacation!'? more like 'Great Albums!' (Oh I crack myself up...)

Sleeping in the Aviary, who I have written about at some length before, have a new album, Great Vacation!, out on November 30th. Due to me pre-ordering it immensely quickly and the people at the label (Science of Sound) being very nice, I received it a couple of days ago.

The first thing that struck me about the album was the giant increase in production value, unlike the last two it can't be described as lo-fi in any way, shape or form. It originally worried me that they might have lost the rough, roguish charm I loved them for, but luckily Sleeping in the Aviary aren't one of those awful bands whose only talent is being recorded terribly.

Musically, they've moved away from the Folk-Punk aesthetic of Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel and closer towards a softer, surfier one. There is still the odd distorted guitar, but sadly singer Elliot Kozel has generally refrained from screaming and there is nothing that even compares to Gas Mask Blues.

There are many genuinely great songs on Great Vacation!, some of my personal favorites being the immensely fun You Don't Have to Drive (which you can listen to here)Axes Ground Looth Tooth (in which the token girl, accordionist Celeste Heule, has a fantastic official lead vocal debut) and Last Kiss on a Sinking Ship, for which they made their first ever music video (which I really like) and combines a daft premise with touching lyrics about getting it awwn.

I must admit that I'm slightly upset about the lack of punky material, and I do think it has resulted in 2 or 3 dud songs, but I guess they have moved on creatively. There are some fantastic new things going on, such as the slide guitar on Maria's Ghost, the weird aesthetics of the softer sounding ballads (that they've borrowed from Elliot's brilliant side project she is so beautiful/she is so blonde) and also the Blondie-esque, falsettoed last track.

Another thing I would have liked is more songs sung by Celeste, her voice is really lovely and reminds me of whoever it is that sometimes sings with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. On this brilliant, freely downloadable thing (it includes earlier versions of some songs), I heard her singing the fantastic song Deep Sea, which really should have made it onto the album.

Anyway, despite my quibbles, I do like Great Vacation! quite a lot. I would have liked a repeat of the last album, but that would never of have happened and I would complain about their lack of innovation anyway. My love of EVIACH has made me judge Great Vacation! very harshly.

Great Vacation! is a solid effort, but if you only have £10 to spare, buy Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel right away.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Jesus Lizard

So I was watching Clerks clips on YouTube when I saw the trailer, which said "including music by blah blah blah..." and I thought the bands might be quite fun to check out, so I did. Corrosion of Conformity were quite fun, but the best band I found also had the best name: The Jesus Lizard.

They make music that Wikipedia calls Noise Rock, and I'm not one to argue with Wikipedia (I'm sure it is called Noise Rock), but to me it sounds like if you took those weird, slightly sickening songs on Chairs Missing by Wire and mixed it with The Birthday Party. And then put in some Nirvana (who they actually did a split single with).

Anyway, despite my unsatisfactory description and generally rubbish writing, I do quite like what I've heard of them. Again, I haven't listened to them enough to really know their best songs. Here are some ones I think are coooooool.

Also, here is a Wire song I rediscovered recently which I think is amazing and beautiful. I think.

I'm rambling quite a lot, I'm pretty tired and very aware that nobody actually reads this. And if they were to read it, they would gain nothing from the experience anyway.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Apologies to my millions of readers for not posting in a while

I have recently been listening to Guided by Voices. I downloaded a random few of their albums after watching some videos of them that were related to Pavement videos on YouTube.

They are enjoyable to listen to. Some of their songs are kinda crap, some of their songs are really good and most of their songs are very okay, but are nice to have on in the background when you're doing other things because they make you feel like you're a nonchalant Generation-Xer in Clerks or something.

They make that kind of messy, 90s lo-fi type indie rock that makes you feel okay about being disgustingly lazy as it feels like (and sounds like) they're probably just as disgustingly lazy as you are. However, unlike you, they have the capacity to sound really rocking, in a similar way to songs like Summer Babe by Pavement and Sacred Attention by Sebadoh.

Here are some of my favorite songs that I have heard so far by them. They're probably not their best songs though, as I haven't listened to them nearly as much as I should have, especially considering that I'm writing a blog about them.

Oh also, I forgot to say that their songs are all really short, which means they get extra brownie points.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Throwing Muses

I saw Kristin Hirsh's solo set at Latitude this summer without realising that she was the singer of Throwing Muses, who I'd kinda heard of and knew were supposedly good. She was really, really great and sounded a bit like a sad, vicious grandmother with a guitar. I looked up who she was afterwards and then finally checked out Throwing Muses, which as it turned out was a very good idea.

I haven't heard 100% of their output, but what I've heard I've really liked.

They sometimes have incredibly beautiful harmonies, like in this song:

 Throwing Muses - Flood .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

And they sometimes have really hyperactive songs with lots of different bits like this wonder, 'Mexican Women', which after the first listen I had to repeat a couple of times just to figure out what was going on.

Is it just me or does it sound a bit like Elbow ripped 'Mirrorball' off this song, 'A Feeling', at least a lil' bit?

The only real weaknesses they have is the sameyness of their harder songs and occasionally the drummer(s?). If you listen to this song, 'Freeloader', it seems like if there was Nirvana's rhythm section behind Kristin, the song would explode after the drop. Sadly, it just ends up sounding like Queen-esque, camp rock/pop.

On the plus side, Kristin's shouts make her a contender for the 'Female Black Francis' throne, and the songs are generally great. Obviously they don't touch the divinity of Pixies though, I used their name in vain to just say her voice is grand.

Anyway, look at this video, it's great (especially the bass:

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Beach Girls (lolololol!!!!11!!1!1)

This whole female led surf-poppy, lo-fiing, reverb soaked craze that's being going on for a while (although I've been extremely late to come to it) is really quite brilliant, even if it does mean that there are loads of identical sounding bands out there.

I mean, can anyone really say that Vivian Girls, Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls are all artists who've tried to push sonic boundaries and really add something special to pop music? Well maybe one of these bands (or a contemporary) did at some point, but the fact remains that differences between these bands' sounds, and between their songs themselves, is very, very thin.

However, this doesn't change the fact that they're as exciting and catchy as fuck, and make me wish I was an American hipster woman who could sing, and start a band of my own. All I would need is a drum machine to go boom-cha-cha-boom-cha and I'd be set.

Here are some videos of my favourites from each previously mentioned band (which also happen to be probably amongst their least generic songs):

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

the band in Heaven [sic] (and The Radio Dept.)

the band in Heaven

I recently stumbled across the band in Heaven whilst reading a live review of a band they supported at some point, somewhere. I thought I'd look them up as they were described as "blissful shoegaze" and I quite like shoegaze, as well as bliss.

Although I (evidently) like the band, I wouldn't quite describe them as blissful (the shoegaze tag is fair enough). They're more crunchy and skuzzy, seemingly partly due to the particular type of guitar distortion they use, and partly because of the lo fi recordings. They do make a fantastic noise, and they also sound quite beautiful at times, in their own crunchy, crunchy way.

I downloaded three fantastic free tracks (what more could you want) from their Bandcamp, including a wonderful cover of The Cranberries' 'Dreams'. I would advise doing the same if you like noisy lo fi and/or the slightly messier side of shoegaze. I'm aware that the lo fi/shoegaze mix isn't the first of it's kind, the difference being that the band in Heaven don't sound like complete over-hyped wank.

The Band In Heaven - Dreams (Cranberries Cover)
Found at skreemr.org

The Radio Dept.

I have loved The Radio Dept. for quite some time, and I was amazingly happy to find out today that they let you download lots and lots of lovely music for free off their website, including their great new politically charged song, 'The New Improved Hypocrisy'.

I just don't know what I'd do without their commentaries on internal Swedish politics.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

My little fucking brother fucking made this

For some reason, I taught my 13 year old brother how to play guitar a couple of years ago and he got way, way better than me in no time at all. Then I showed him how Garageband works, and he's completely PWNED me at that as well.

Look as this insanely good mashup he made:

He's fucking 13, for fucks sake!

He's made a couple more, but he hasn't uploaded them yet.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Django Django

I recently stumbled across some live videos of this band on the Roundhouse website and they were so fucking awesome that I had to look everywhere to find a blog that I could download free mp3s from.

I'm not really sure how to describe their sound, but they've got those awesome harmonies going on that Fleet Foxes do, with cool Monk-esque, occasionally dancey rhythmic shit happening, plus nice electronics and surf-ish, westerny guitars. And it all sounds like it was recorded on a safari or something. I don't know.

Anyway, they're seriously epic, and the lovely people at the Roundhouse did a real brill job of filming them. Have a look:

One day I may actually spend some money in appreciation.

Friday, 10 September 2010

I am a Complete Twat

Pixies and Violent Femmes often sound extraordinarily similar

This is something that really struck me from the first time I heard the Violent Femmes, and since then I've searched the internetz, head to toe, in an attempt to find out if anybody else has noticed this, or if I'm just plain crazy (admittedly, the fact I care so much doesn't show my mental health to be top notch).

Anyway, the only thing I managed to find on the subject was this, which just straight up says ""Nimrod’s Son” is a theatrical update of the Violent Femmes’ early acoustic punk". While this told me that someone else agrees that they sound familiar, it seems to assume that the Pixies' style of music was a conscious development on the Violent  Femmes' particular brand of rock'n'fackin'roll.

I'm forced to conclude that there is little possibility that Violent Femmes influenced Pixies, mainly due to the complete fruitlessness of internet searches regarding this. The only way that I can explain the similarity in their sound is that they both:

A) were American and got together in the '80s.
B) were influenced by a variety of genres, most notably folk, surf and punk.
C) had most of their songs written by, at the time, teenage lunatics (read: geniuses).

Anyway, here's a couple of videos to show what I'm on about:

Violent Femmes


This was a pretty pointlessly long winded way of saying two awesome bands are similar.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Sleeping in the Aviary

While I wouldn't say I listen to the most popular bands all of the time, there is one band who's popularity is so negatively correlated to the high esteem I hold them in that it thoroughly astounds me: Sleeping in the Aviary

I came across them when I bought 2 albums from their label, Science of Sound (who I previously found out about through the fairly brilliant Pale Young Gentlemen), and they emailed me to say "thank you". When I emailed back saying how nice their label looked, and how I'd buy more music if I had more money, they decided to throw Sleeping in the Aviary's second album in with the other two. What lovely people. As it turned out, the SITA album was way better then the albums I actually paid for.

Their first album is a fun-enough, poppy, punky romp that's not too special in any respect, but their second, Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel, moves them in a folkier direction and is really something special. The first thing that really stood out to me when I first listened to EVIACH is the lovely, noisy energy that assaults your ears on the majority of the tracks, and the sombre restraint on many of the others. The musical aesthetic and the sometimes singing, sometimes screaming vocals would be appreciated by fans of Violent Femmes, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pixies and other American indie-rockish-lofi-type-things.

Lyrically, the album is one of my favourites. The lyrics manage to be incredibly funny and self deprecating whilst still retaining, what I hate to refer to as, an emotional punch. I'd say their just as entertaining and interesting to listen to as Pavement or NMH's lyrics.

The standout tracks (for me) would be 'Gas Mask Blues' & 'Everybody's Different, Everybody Dies' on the louder side of things, and 'Windshield' & 'You're a Party' on the quieter. There isn't really a track I don't like on the album, although I would say that the first track, 'Write On', is definitely the weakest musically and lyrically.

According to YouTube, their live shows are fucking amazing, and are probably the only good reason for someone from London to be jealous of those who live in Minnesota.

Here is some evidence:

Also, their website is truly brilliant.

They have a new album, Great Vacation!, coming out later this year, which will apparently be yet another change in direction. I eagerly await it.

I have started a music blog

I have recently come across some terrible, terrible blogs written by people I know, and this has spurred me on to write one of my own. As my life is fairly boring, and my music taste is far superior to everyone else's (ever), it was obvious that I should start a music blog.
Also, one or two people have told me I should start a music blog, but that may have only been to try and make me vent my desire for other people to listen to the music I listen to somewhere other than in their ears.

Anyway, here is one of the GREATEST MUSIC VIDEOS OF ALLLLLLL TIIIIIIIIME (geddit?)

This is mos def my favourite YouTube video of the Violent Femmes, you really do believe that each and every one of them would rape a girl in their dads' cars.

A fun fact about a father of the Violent Femmes:
The dad of the drummer (Victor DeLorenzo) loaned $10,000 for the recording of their self-titled, first and best album.

However, whilst he was fine funding a debut album, he clearly drew the line at lending out rape-mobiles.