Monday, December 31, 2012

More Jewels on Jools

Oof, look at that, it's been a month!  A whole month!  Well, I'm back now, mostly because I watched Jools Holland on Palladia this morning and found some things I liked, and had some thoughts on it too.  First off, it's a big shame that Palladia cuts the show down in order to show ads -- they cut out performances to do so, and interviews, and in this episode they cut a performer out altogether!  Not cool, but at least there's Youtube to catch up on things with.

On to the show, and  I will of course be pasting in (too) many videos, but still want to say that I was very impressed with Natasha Khan's dancing and liked how Soundgarden brought the RAWK -- Chris Cornell's voice is still really good.  I'm not a big fan of the band's tunes to be honest but they did make a change to what's on the show otherwise.

Two Door Cinema Club were on and I found out that they're not from the west coast of America but are actually from Northern Ireland.  Not impressed by their clothes or haircuts I must say, and out of their three songs I only liked one -- the other two had that dancey DFA beat that I'm not really much of a fan of (I prefer proper dance music, sniff).  But this track was alright:

Next, the Staves.  I didn't want to like them despite their very photogenic singer, but I found myself listening to this song and getting a bit nostalgic for I don't know what.  And I liked the whistling:

Now some Bat for Lashes.  When her newest album came out earlier this year I listened to some of it online but wasn't too impressed.  But I liked everything I heard on Jools, so perhaps I need to give it another go?  Or maybe it's the live touch that's helping.  During this song I wondered if she was miming but I know that's not allowed; now that I've heard it again I feel a bit silly for even wondering.  Note to Two Door Cinema Club: this is how you do a dance beat:

I really liked this song by her too.

Last vid here, and this is from a show I saw a few weeks ago, but I have to put it up cos it may be the most amazing performance I've ever seen on Jools.  Here is Willy Moon:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Talking to Myself

Yes, definitely, but that's OK, it's good to have a place to put down my musical thoughts and links.

I was in New York this last weekend and heard a couple of things I liked, but wow, how things have changed.  Am I still the person who'd go to New York for a weekend just to see Ellen Allien (check out that mix btw, I'm listening to it and it's very good so far)?  I don't think so really.  The only music I came across on this trip was background music while I was doing other things (picking up jeans, drinking a cappuccino).  But, it still counts, and with the wonders of technology I was able to remind myself who the first track was by and figure out what the second track was.

I'd forgotten how cool looking the video is to this song.  I heard it again while sitting in a hotel lounge at seven am, and the funny thing is that this song sounds like hotel lounge music anyway!  Still good though, very good:

Here's a Grizzly Bear track I like.  I liked Grizzly Bear when I saw them on Jools Holland, playing live, but wasn't as impressed when I listened to them on record.  Might have to give them a bit more time though.  Definitely like the drama in this record:

Just came across this shamelessly retro track at the Guardian.  Very late 80's sound to it I think, but maybe that says something about how forward sounding music was in the late 80's??

Couple of reading links now.  I'ved lived in the DC area since 2007 but never really paid attention to the Washington City Paper (WCP) until a few weeks ago, when I decided to pick it up randomly.  I'd been turned off in the past cos it didn't compare to the Baltimore City Paper, but I've been quite happy with what I'm finding in there now.  It's a short read but there are always at least a couple of good articles in there.  This week's issue has two good pieces that relate to music. One is an amusing tour diary that seems to capture the modern life of an indie rock band pretty well.  I'm not sure if the print version's intro is included, or if this fact was in the diary section, but the writer has been doing this for ten years.  Keep that in mind as your read the entries...  Second article is by Ian Svenonius, a local musician who's been popping up randomly for me recently.  First read a bit by him in Harper's, then came across some more writing somewhere else, then an acquaintance was going to see him live, and now he's on the cover of this weeks WCP.  He only stood out to me cos I found his writing quite funny and truthful, and now you can check it out for yourself here.  I wouldn't mind picking up his books myself.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am really liking these Detroit sounds I am hearing. Just loving it. I just heard this tune, as in 10 minutes ago, while listening to the latest programme from Benji B on BBC Radio 1. Seems like I discover these Detroit tunes whilst listening to BBC radio.

Here is "New For U" or is it "New 4u"? - by Andres. So good! It has that dreamy feel, that seems to be my fave kind of house/techno tune.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From Later

A nice perk of my massive comcast bill is having the music channel Palladia.  Why's that a perk?  Because the excellent BBC show 'Later... with Jools Holland' is on it.  If you've never heard of it, 'Later...' has been on for twenty years and is a live music show -- around six different artists are in a studio together, where they take turns playing songs in front of each other and an audience, and it's all broadcast (I believe) live.  It's pretty cool and makes for some great juxtapositions, as well as great performances.  Look it up online and you'll find all kinds of clips from the show -- it's almost like the old Peel sessions from Radio One, but on tv.

I've been taping the current season and catching up with episodes every now and then.  It's great to see some favourite artists live, like Jack White and Brett Anderson; it's also cool to check out some artists I've heard of, or who are famous, on the show, such as Sharon van Etten and the Beach Boys.  Another cool thing is hearing artists I've never heard of before on there and being blown away by their amazing voices, which is what happened last time I checked the show out.  I guess I've got a thing for female singers with big voices at the moment, as both the singers that stood out to me most recently fit that description.  

First up is Beth Hart, who was on a few weeks ago.  Never heard of her before, know nothing about her, but her voice was amazing.  I can't find the clip from 'Later...', but it was a great performance -- it seemed like it was no effort at all for her to sing, and that she was using her authentic voice.  Here's a different live clip I found (I don't think it's as good):

Lyrically it's nothing special, but I do think her voice, especially as I heard it on 'Later...', is pretty amazing.

My second find is Natalie Duncan -- similar in that she's got a big voice and she's on the piano, but different since she has a band and seems to put a bit more effort into her singing:

Again, no info, but she looks very young and seems like a new artist.  The song seems like it may have something to do with 'Skyfall', the newest James Bond flick, but I don't know of any connection.  I really like this track, even after a few more listens today.  

Hearing these two slightly different artists reminds me of another who also had a big brassy voice and was tatt'ed up a bit like Beth Hart is.  She comes to mind as I'd heard her again on the radio quite recently.  I refer, if you haven't guessed, to Amy Winehouse.  'Back to Black' is what I heard a few times recently, and I was really struck by how evocative that song is -- when I listen to it I can see scenes, places, people, in my mind's eye.  

I think you're better off just listening to that song and ignoring the video -- let your imagination do the ... imagining.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nu Clear Sounds

Well, first off, sorry for the mis-leading title: not everything I'm going to write about is actually new, but it may be new to you!  First part definitely is new though, a new album of Bjork remixes that's currently streaming at the Guardian.  The album, 'Bastards', is remixes from 'Biophilia' and it's rather good on a first listen; I'm even thinking about picking it up, but I think I'll take advantage of this free stream a few more times first.  You can check it out at the link as I can't do an embed on this one, sorry.

On to Ash now, a band from my good old teenagehood who are still around and are on a 20th anniversary tour.  I went to see them last night at DC9, a fairly small venue that was nicely packed for the energetic and happy pop-punk show Ash put on.  It was definitely enjoyable, with some good trips down memory wormholes in search of lyrics I didn't even know I knew, from songs I haven't heard in years.  But as well as the smile-inducing old stuff there were some more recent songs that were also really good -- I haven't really paid a lot of attention to Ash recently but it's great to know they're still around and still releasing good music, while the industry has changed so much in the 20 years they've been going.  I couldn't help reflecting on things like that while I was seeing them, and also on the fact that when I first heard them we were all teenagers -- me, my friends, my brother, and Ash themselves.  Now we're all in our 30's and it was a bit odd seeing Tim up there singing, still looking the same really, but knowing that things like Kung-Fu are now 20 years old.  It was a little sad; I find a fair amount of Ash songs to be tinged with sadness anyway, I don't know why:  maybe something to do with lost youth, or that yearning feeling all their tracks seems to produce?  But we're all still here and OK so it's alright really.  I also found myself wondering about what it's like to be ... them?  Making a living as a band, doing it for 20 years, doing it while perhaps raising a family and all those normal things too but still getting on stage on tours and striking cool guitar poses on top of amps.  It's a bit weird seeing people like this grow up -- they made sense as teenagers, playing this music, but it's almost strange now to see men in their 30's playing the same stuff.  Ho-hum, my incoherent thoughts on music and aging once more.

I'm going to put up a random selection of songs I enjoyed, some old, some new, which'll hopefully serve as a decent intro if you've never heard of Ash, and a nice reminder of how good they are if you have.  The show, by the way, was excellent; great crowd, lots of energy and movement, and great banter from the band too -- they really seemed to enjoy it, even though it was a pretty small place.  I think it served as a great way to celebrate one of the best pop bands of the 90's.  Not that they're done or anything mind; they mentioned working on a new album and touring the States again soon, so hopefully they'll be around for a while yet.

'Arcadia' was new to me and I was really happy to hear that Ash still make great pop songs:

So was 'Return of White Rabbit', which was surpringly funky but NOT crap in that punk-funk way!

I'm going to finish up with two songs from 'Free All Angels', the Ash album I most got into.  These are two songs I hadn't heard in years and had basically forgotten -- until the first chords rung out last night, and they instantly came back to me.  Good stuff!

In case you're wondering, Tim looked exactly the same except he's got a beard that's flecked with white hair (if he shaved it off I don't think he'd look any older really); Rick's got less hair but otherwise hasn't changed much (though he's really really thin); and Mark was slightly tubbier and reminded me of Rick Mayall for some reason.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

the void

I've been going through a teenage diary of mine and when I heard the first line of this next track I immediately knew that teenage me would've related (current me can relate too, really):

Next track got me thinking about the different ways people experience love -- infatuation, passionately, pragmatically, etc.  Are some forms better than others?

That's it.  Look at me, being so succinct.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Deetroit tech

I found this video via my twitter feed - see, twitter is good for some things eh?

Its a video produced by RA (Resident Advisor) and its a beautiful short documentary about the birthplace of techno. Unfortunately most Americans have no idea where electronic music came from. But if people did some digging they'd learn that house and techno originated in Yankland in the 80s'.

I myself didn't really know this for a long time - even when I lived right by Detroit! Imagine, a lover of electronic music, living right by Detroit, having no idea that the music I love found its origins just a few miles down Ford Road. That shows though, how buried this crucial part of music history is in the mainstream.

That's why I like this video, because it expresses those frustrations, of how much Michiganders and Americans have no clue about this amazing part of music history in America. Me and my brothers and some friends have expressed these same frustrations. Imagine if house and techno became as big in America as they did in Europe, or as big as hip hop in America - electronic music would nowhere be as underground as it is now.

Anyway, watch the video. What I especially love is the bit about the Youthville group - those kids are so damn lucky! And talented! And I'm pretty sure I've passed by that building. And here's an article about Motor, a club that's mentioned in the video.

Real Scenes: Detroit from Resident Advisor

Now that I think about it, I'm a filmmaker, I love electronic music, and I'm familiar with Detroit - I wish I did some work on this video!

Oh also, here's a list from Beatport of more films about Detroit techno! One day I will have watched all of them. :-D

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Things I've heard recently (including the Wales, part 3)

Even at the height of my musical fandom, back in my late teens and early 20's, I was never a true obsessive, or completist, like some people can be.  Even with my favourite bands, I might've listened to some of their albums repeatedly, but I didn't always get round to hearing everything.  There was a time, a fairly decent stretch of time, when the Clash were my favourite band, and I listened to 'London Calling', 'Black Market Clash', and 'the Clash' multiple times, til I knew all the songs.  I even tracked down the UK version of 'the Clash', cos I'd read it had different tracks on it, and a 10 inch vinyl version of 'Black Market Clash' -- and where did I read about those albums?  Probably not on the internet, cos back then I'd even read books about bands I liked, and I owned a few books on the Clash.  Those multiple listens were great though, and it's probably cos I did that that those albums mean so much to me, and probably always will -- just like 'Achtung Baby' will, or 'Definitely Maybe' will.  But there were some Clash albums that I didn't properly get round to, despite owning them, one of which is 'Sandinasta!', from 1980.  I heard a track off that on the radio today, and while it did sound familiar, I don't think it's a song I really had heard a lot before.  I liked it when I heard it today but I realised that the way I'll listen to it, pay attention to it, and process it now, is totally different from how I would've when I was younger.  I may listen to it a couple of times today, and now and then when I look back at this blog, but it's not going to enter that part of my brain where my musical memories are kept -- it won't define a time period or anything for me, or go down in my thoughts as a great song because it's by the Clash;  it'll just be a good song I heard today.  Which is a bit of a shame, cos it's a good song, and it's by one of my favourite bands -- I'm just not hearing it during the right period of my life.

Next up is another track from young whippersnapper, Jake Bugg.  What I'm gonna write now is different from what I thought I was going to write.  I was going to ask, again, about what does this young person know about anything? and I can't take him seriously, etc etc.  But I re-listened to his song and you know what, he's singing about normal things, things he probably does know about -- and he plays an instrument, writes the songs himself, and so on, which is more than you can say for most crappy teen-pop artists.  I think his singing style is a little too throwback and contrived, but maybe that'll change with time.

Last up, Bodhi, from the capital city of Cardiff -- a town I wish I knew better than I do.  Came across Bodhi yesterday, kind of randomly, but  I'm glad I did as I think one can always use some euphoric dance music in one's life.  Plus their beanies are cool!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I went to see Laetitia Sadier last night.  The ex- (former-?  current-but-on-a-break?  I'm not sure) Stereolab singer is touring her second solo album, 'Silencio'.  I never really listened to a lot of Stereolab but have been aware of them so when I heard she was coming to town, and that it was cheap and in a tiny venue, I thought it was worth going to.  I've been listening to 'Silencio', and quite like it -- a good indie album that doesn't just stick to whatever sound is cool now -- instead it really does seem like her own individual work.  This track is one my faves:

Yes it's very sincere and direct, but I think that's OK -- it's actually quite refreshing to hear someone sing about something current in a very direct way and have it still sound pretty good.  The album version's even better.  The show itself was decent, pretty low-key but Sadier and her band were charming and had some good between-song banter.  I kept looking at her thinking "'Emperor Tomato Ketchup'... she was on that album and it came out when I was teenager ... but she doesn't look very old... which must mean she was really young in Stereolab..."  Yup, my idle thoughts.  I was very tired.

I heard some good songs on the radio yesterday too, both of which I think were somewhat of note.  First one was by Alabama Shakes, a band I've never really heard but have been trying to resist anyway.  Why?  Well mostly cos of their name, the way they look, and the fact that they seemed kind of big in Europe -- seemed to me like a band trading on a name (ooh, Alabama), a quirky singer and "diverse" line-up, and some retro sound that's probably been done better by someone else.  But I heard this song yesterday and I like it:

I also heard and liked a Pixies track.  The Pixies are one of those bands that are basically classic in the indie world but who I've never really heard a lot by.  They were slightly before my intro to indie music, and American, like a lot of other bands of that era who I'm sure are good but I've never got round to check out -- Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and Sebadoh, to name a few.  I probably never will either to be honest, but there you go.

Speaking of old American indie that I never heard, here's some Bob Mould, ruining my theme cos I heard him today:

Hmm, seems like that last one is new!  Look at him, growing old disgracefully!  May have to check that album out.  Though it's a bit Foo Fighters for me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dance America

Hi everyone.
First off a couple weeks ago I heard this track and watched this video by Azealia Banks. I never jumped on the Banks bandwagon mostly because I thought "212" was too loud with a lot of unnecessary swearing. But I really like this "1991" tune. Why? It's a great title first of all coz the song sounds like it could've come out in 1991 - almost. Same with the video. And I'm loving the throwback to hip house. Also, this song is a proper dance tune, unlike all the rubbish these days that somehow passes for dance music, or even as house. I hope Banks is teaching those wack producers a lesson here.

I read somewhere that she left the XL label. I wonder why that is. I've always liked XL.

Anyway all the hip and cool kids will already be familiar with this song and video, but I don't care. I'm posting it anyway! 

Also, a few weeks ago I happened to tune into BBC Radio. I listened to the "Essential" show by Pete Tong except that this time, 2 lads named Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler replaced him. I wish they hosted the program every week! The duo were terrific to listen to as they had a fantastic selection and were also quite funny. And it turns out that Jones is Welsh, and Troxler is from Michigan! You can actually listen and download to the mix here, since its now expired on the BBC Radio website. Also Jones is quite fanciable :-D

One of the tunes they played was by a fella named Omar S, who is from the D! Representing good ol' Detroit Techno. Have a listen, and this is Omar's website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brooklynisation reaches Sweden

It's not a new thing, and now that I think about it, I'm not entirely sure that what follows is an example of Brooklynisation or just an example of a band going a bit too far in going for a certain sound.  The band is First Aid Kit, you can listen to them at the following link:

Go ahead and do so.  What do they sound like to you?  Something from the Southern US perhaps?  Maybe California in the late 60's?  That's how they sound to me, but they're bloody Swedish, and they're new!  Now fair enough, I know a lot of bands from non-English speaking countries end up singing in English, but this is beyond just the use of a language, this is the use of all kinds of signals that indicate where this is from -- but it's not from there.  They even sing with little catches in their voices!  Honestly, as much as I like the music, it's hard to take seriously when it's such a facsimile that's almost a parody.  Sorry, First Aid Kit, but you've gone too far.

In other news, Woods are coming to DC -- Friday, Nov 2nd, at Red Palace.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Brooklynisation of Music

Quite liked this article I just read in DC's citypaper -- seemed somewhat on point in that a lot of popular music does sound the same.  I don't agree with all the conclusions though -- there might be some blanded out genres that it seems like everyone is going for, but there are plenty of people out there making really weird, different music still -- possibly a lot of music that no-one will hear.  But the great leveller, the internet, does mean that some musicians can just tap into whatever is cool now and just copy that sound, rather than innovate in their own little corner of the world.  

Our Band Could Be Your Band: How the Brooklynization of culture killed regional music scenes

Monday, September 10, 2012

Siberian Winter Blues

I have no idea if this is real or a hoax, but I hope it's real.

So I'm on Russian-dominated blogging site, Livejournal.  Yes, I really am.  Anyway, I got a message on it, possibly the only one I've ever gotten (though there was one time a writer contacted me to take down his article).  The message was from "Sam", and here it is:

They call me Sam, i am from Siberia (Russia)! 
You wonder where it might be? 
Oh c'mon! Everyone knows that Siberia is a snow desert somewhere deep in Russia. 
We still got internet but for the rest it's a beat complicated. 
However I managed to setup a studio using a lot of cardboard, Soviet synthesizers and iMac G4 
Besides I borrowed a camera from my next-door buddy. 

Wonder what we could make using all these garbage? 
I'll tell you what! 
Mate, garbage is the most fashionable thing now! We got lucky with that / The luck itself found us here. 
See what we did with our own powers in the subject youtube link! 

It was not comfortable to work in a small room with cardboard walls :)) 
That's why I'm looking forward to fixing the whole ''studio'' situation. 

If it blew your head off or at least didn't leave you emotionless I would like to ask for your support. 
Use PayPal,Itunes or BandCamp links from video description in Youtube. 

I would also be delighted to hear from you in my guestbook or simply buzz my office: +7 926 251 4440 

I speak some English and Chinese, besides there are German and French speakersin da house. 
That's why I truly believe we can find common language and exchange opinions. 
Za zdorovye!

Sounds dubious, but the link was a real youstube one, and the account was a real person too, so I went to the link and the vid posted below was what I found.  I'm sure Sam isn't the only person in the world making weird local hip-hop, but he's the only one that's contacted me, and I'm quite happy about that.  Again, I hope it's real, cos it's quite amazing seeing something like this from some distant land -- the powers of the internet!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Parklive, 12 August 2012

For everyone that's been wondering what I thought of the Blur concert from a few weeks ago; here's an email that I've been circulating to family and friends:

Got there really early, too early in hindsight.  The original time given for doors was 2:30 but then that got changed to noon as I think the promoters, BT London Live, got stressed about the amount of people coming and didn't want to have a huge crush, or everyone coming at the same time (i imagine).  We got there around 1 and there were probably 50-100 people there already.  My first concern was making sure I'd get a spot at the front as I didn't want to go to all this trouble to just be in the back or middle of 80,000 people watching it on a screen.  At this point, there was loads of room up front.  The venue was set up so there was a main stage at the front and then sort of a front area for the crowd which was partially separated from the rest of the audience by a large hole with barriers and security.  I'm guessing, but I think they did this to have some sort of control over the crowd and to make sure people wouldn't get crushed and stuff.  I'd heard that it's too overwhelming to be all the way up front and you lose your shoes, people piss on you, and you can't enjoy the concert from up there.  So me and Sumeera basically picked a spot which was in the middle of the front section.  In hindsight, this was not one of those concerts where people lose their shoes and all the rest of it.  It was very well organized.  There were all kinds of food options, lovely toilets with sinks, loads of places to get merchandise, etc. all over the place.

So once we scoped out where we wanted to sit/stand, we walked back up to the front/back of the venue (maybe a quarter of a mile away?) and went to Cadbury Village, prayed, went to the bog, and got food (some very nice vegan, organic Mexican burgers).  After that there was a looong wait watching the Olympics in the sun until Bombay Bicycle Club came on.  They were alright actually but I can't be bothered to get into most new music.  They were on for about 45 mins then there was a half hour break before New Order took to the stage.  We were both quite excited to see them, I think Sumeera wanted to see them more than Blur, however their performance was quite underwhelming, at least at the beginning.  They're crazy old first of all and show/act it (unlike The Specials who played after them).  They also played a selection of odd songs to start off their set including some song I'd never heard of, ever, and Crystal.  They had some good visuals though which made things interesting.  Things got even more interesting when they started playing the hits which were nicely reworked so you didn't quite know what song they were playing until a minute or two into the actual song.

After that it was The Specials who were great.  I noticed quite a lot of Specials fans in the crowd actually.  I'm guessing it's b/c they recently had their 30 year anniversary tour so they had some buzz about them.  Everyone was really into it.  I didn't even like The Specials that much before this concert but they put on such a good performance with loads of energy, they looked smart, and you could actually tell what was being sung.  BTW the sound at this place was brilliant.  It wasn't too loud at all and didn't distort or anything.  The screens were also sweet.  They were in HD, and you felt like you were all the way at the front of the stage looking at the band right in front of you, they were that good.

The Specials played for something like an hour then they showed some of the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics and split the screen when the Parklife bit started (at the CC) with a massive Blur logo.  The band came out behind this 3D replica of the Westway motorway (which is actually on the way to the tube from Z-Man's!) which looked crazy

 I dunno, it's gonna be hard for me to explain how great the concert was, words cannot do it justice.  They started off with four tracks off Parklife and place was going insane!  It seemed like everyone knew the words and everyone was totally into it bouncing around and dancing.  It was amazing.  They brought on this Syrian bloke who did the Oud for Out of Time and Phil Daniels and Harry Enfield came on for Parklife (that was one of many highlights for me).  I just felt so, I don't know what, listening to all these wicked tracks being placed out live in front of me by my favourite band by what will probably be the last time (I know that sounds a bit bent but you get the idea).  The time just flew by.  At the end there was a massive encore and after the last track, The Universal, Damon just stood there looking out at the crowd pumping his chest where his heart was and almost crying.  Unfortunately, it looked like he was saying goodbye to me (and no, I didn't cry, Z-Man asked me that).

I do not regret coming one bit.  I will never forget that concert. 

The end.


Friday, August 24, 2012

the Wales, part 2 and too much new tunes!

Phoof, I tell you what, it gets overwhelming, it really does.  The amount of good new stuff I hear, it's bloody hard to keep up with, let alone blog about!  I feel like when I was younger I really had a lot more time to listen to music than I do now.  Plus I also think there's way more music now (I won't go on about it, see some of my previous posts on that topic).  Anyway, point being, I could probably blog everyday, there's at least that much I hear and like.  Well, getting to it...

First off, my promised continuation of posts about Welsh artists.  Today I'm going to post about Cian Ciaran, who's in Super Furry Animals but is releasing a solo record called "Outside In".  SFA have been around for a while but I believe this is the first time Cian's releasing things solo.  He did a session on the radio, which is where I heard 'You & Me', a great song that reminds me of John Lennon and David Bowie

Right,  now that I've tackled that, onto the shedload of new stuff I've been liking over the last week or so.  I'll give minimal information, when I give any, cos you all know how to use the internet and can find more info yourselves.

Jake Bugg, straight out of Nottingham, and only a teen, which makes me incredibly jealous.  Not sure how good his other stuff is, but this song has really grown on me (actually, just heard 'Lightning Bolt' at his website and liked that too).  Sidenote -- I'm finding that I'm liking songs and artists more when I've only heard them on the radio, and have to imagine who they are, what they look like, etc.  Seeing them has been detracting from the mystery somewhat.  Alright, here's Taste It:

Next up, Bat for Lashes,  not a new artist, must have something new coming out but I don't know anything about that; I just know that I like this song, even though it's not what I'm usually into:

And lastly, outta Canada, it's a band with a really crap name: Purity Ring!  Didn't think too much of their other songs but this track is cool:

Purity Ring - Fineshrine from Young Replicant on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

the Wales, part 1 -- H. Hawkline

I'm hoping this will be the first in a series of posts from me highlighting Welsh music I've heard and liked recently.  There's definitely something about certain Welsh acts that ties them together -- a wistfulness, a taste for the psychedelic, and definitely a singing style -- when you listen closely you can tell when a singer is Welsh; not all the time, but a lot of the time.

My first taste of Welsh bands was in the 90s when I got into Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals, Stereophonics, and, to a lesser extent, 60 Foot Dolls and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.  The act I'm going to highlight today reminds me a bit of the Magnetic Fields, at least in his singing voice; there's also a similar hint of folk and psychedelia, and a similar accent, to Gorky's frontman (and current solo artist), Euros Childs.  I quite like this track, which I heard on the radio the other day, not only for it's sound but also for it's lyrics.  It's by H. Hawkline, and I believe he's a solo act:

I looked up the other tracks from this EP on t'web and was similarly charmed by them -- I wouldn't mind getting the vinyl but it's adding up to a bit too much after currency conversion and shipping.  If only I was in some indie record shop in the UK....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Got it covered

There's been a couple of tracks that have recently popped up on the radio that I'd first heard only as covers.  It's a little embarrassing when that happens sometimes -- you hear a song, love it, and don't even realise it's a cover.  I'm not sure it matters but I can definitely see some purists berating anyone who loves a cover while thinking it's an original.

The ones that have come up recently for me have been 'Concrete Jungle' by the Wailers (and by the way, I'm assuming it's an original by them, but I don't know for certain) and 'Staring at the Rudeboys' by the Ruts.

The Wailers track is the one I'm more embarrassed about.  I first heard it in a version by Ceu, but then heard the Wailers' version on the radio last week and thought "of course it's a cover!".  There was always something about that track on the Brazilian artist's album, but I never thought to look into it.  I like both versions though, I think Ceu did enough to make hers her own.  You can check them both out below:

The Ruts track I first heard as a version by Gallows.  Unlike with Ceu, hearing the original has changed my thoughts about the Gallows version.  It's almost a straight cover (just some added aggression) and I don't think it even makes any contextual sense.  Yes, they added some rapping and a weird bit in the video that looks like a stand-off between black and white people.  But the Gallows track came out in the UK in 2007 and, as I recall, there weren't exactly any racial tensions that needed addressing -- at least not the black vs white kind.  Plus, I find it hard to take the short, shouty, ginger, Gallows singer very seriously -- he looks sooo angry, and he's got lots of tats (but everyone does now), and he screams a lot in the vid, but he'll never seem very hard to me.  The original is more appealing, especially when you consider that it came out in 1980 -- you can imagine how it addressed some of what was going on at the time -- race riots, the rise of the skinhead, but also the musical mashup that was happening between punk and music from the Caribbean.  The Ruts vid I'm putting up isn't complete, but I'm sure you can find your own, better, version, if you try hard enough.

Doing this has got me remembering one of the first times I heard a song and realised the version I'd been liking for so long was actually a cover, and a cover that didn't really change much about the original.  The song is 'That's When I Reach for My Revolver; by Moby, or so I thought for years!  Then I heard the original version by Mission of Burma and realised that Moby had changed nothing about it!  I'm sure it served a purpose for him though, as up til then I, and probably most people, had only known him to be an electronic artist.  The production on his version is a bit cleaner, the song a bit tighter, but if anything I think that makes it slightly worse than the original.

Obviously, this happens a lot.  There are good covers and terrible covers (oof, remember that horrible cover of 'Blue Monday' from a few years ago?  Shudder!).  If you've got some you'd like to highlight, feel free to stick them in the comments.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Baba O'Riley

Me again, had a couple of things I thought I'd highlight.  Couple of Guardian links to begin with:

First, a link to a neat page they've got where music bloggers from around the world put up a compilation of their favourite new tracks once a month; each compilation is downloadable, or you can just hear individual tracks if you'd like.  A cool way to hear some different, and worldly, sounds I think -- though of course it's only one track by one band picked by one blog per country, so hardly representative of what's happening in China or Denmark or wherever.  Still, worth checking out here.

Next is a good article on the recent NPR-intern-thinks-Public-Enemy-are-crap "controversy".  Agree with this writer's view, though I'd probably say the same about someone arguing the other side if it were convincing enough.  You can read that here.  The gist of it is, why should a 19 year old give a crap about an album that came out before his time if he doesn't like it when listening to it?  I'm sure many of us had the same experience with supposedly classic albums -- we want to like them, we spend money on them, but they're a bit ... crap.  I've had this argument in the past with my Rush and Pink Floyd loving friends -- is music appreciation an objective exercise?  I would say NO!  Especially when it comes to those last two bands -- I don't think I'll ever make time for them.

Now for some actual music.  I first heard of Bicep thanks to Resident Advisor, perhaps a year ago.  RA highlighted the fact that they make some funky house tunes, the best type of dance music basically.  They had a review of their latest single recently, and that's when I noticed that they're from Northern Ireland.  That got the old nostalgic-romantic-sentimental imagination working and I pictured really white young Irish people, in some sweaty little club, dancing to this funky stuff -- and you know they'll actually be dancing, as people on the other side of the Atlantic really like to get down to their dance music -- it's not just background for drinking and gawping (though I'm sure plenty of that happens as well).  Well I checked out their Soundcloud, which is full of tracks, and I recommend you do the same.  Gonna stick some below to whet your appetite:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good stuff I've heard recently -- NZCA/Lines, Mystery Jets, PJ Harvey, Woods

My work has had a nice technology update recently; new computers, new drills, things like that.  One of the side benefits has been that I can now listen to internet radio while I clean people's teeth -- definitely a bonus! I used to hate cleanings, now I find myself looking forward to them just so I can hear some BBC radio.  The Beeb, and basically Radio 6, is as far as I've got in my net radio exploration I'm afraid.  I find that the DJ's and the mix of music on there seem to suit the kind of work I do; it's great having eclectic UK radio to hear again, instead of the advert-supported format crap that DC is dominated by.  There's a definitely more of an indie and old music focus, as opposed to the latest dubstep, but that's OK.  Having the radio on has definitely introduced me to some new bands and tunes that I probably would've missed otherwise, and I thought, why not share my discoveries?  No doubt I'm late to the party on some (many?) of these but I'm ok with that -- I'm a 33 year old dentist, I don't mind not being up on the latest stuff (one reason why there's no Frank Ocean on this blog yet).  And with that, here are some tunes, with very little background info -- you can do some of the work yerselves.

First up, NCZA/Lines.  No idea how that band name is pronounced, but I do like the electro sound of this track, 'Compass Points':

The singers's got that perfect indie-singer look too -- check out those cheekbones!  You can hear more from them at their site.

Next, Mystery Jets, with 'Greatest Hits':

I was quite charmed by this song and had a few guesses as to who it was by.  I haven't heard anything by Mystery Jets before, but they've been around a while.  You can hear their latest album in it's entirety here.  Recorded in Austin, don't ya know.

So one thing that's cool to do while hearing these good songs is trying to figure out who I'm listening to.  I'm pretty embarrassed about the next one -- not only was I unable to guess who it was, I've never even heard the song before.  The references to Brooklyn and Manhattan definitely put me off, and had me thinking... Patti Smith? The voice had me thinking... Chrissie Hynde?  Wrong both times -- it's PJ Harvey with 'You Said Something':

Ok, last one, and I can imagine at least one of my siblings getting annoyed at this post being too long now.  This last band is called Woods.  I've never heard of them, but it seems like they've been around for a bit.  Here are the gentle indie sounds of 'Cali in a Cup':

Had me remembering Teenage Fanclub, they did.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Iron Galaxy, Tomas Barfod

A few weeks ago I found a great site via some link on SoundCloud. Beats Bass is a website out of London that posts a new track everyday. I've only listened to a few and really liked what I found so far. Definitely click around their site and listen to tunes, and there are some downloads as well.

One of the tunes I found from that site is "Attention Seeker" by Iron Galaxy, a new producer from Montreal. The track is long at 8 minutes but intensely varied, and it has that techno-house-dubby sound that a lot of producers have these days, a sound that's been around since 2009 or so I'd say in my ill-informed opinion. Some call this stuff post-dubstep, or future garage - I don't care what it's called. Labels don't matter and they never did.

Have a listen!

I also wanna highlight another tune I've really been digging recently. I found it from this mix by Tomas Barfod on XLR8R that Fahad passed on to me a while ago. It's become one of my favourite mixes (my list of fave mixes just keeps growing). A couple weeks ago I was sitting in Prospect Park and enjoying this mix then let my friend listen to my headphones, and my friend who doesn't follow music at all, loved the mix! Yay. So definitely have a listen to the mix.

What I really enjoy about this tune below is the broken beat that appears here and there on the track. I think that's what is so unique about this track and why I'm stuck on it, and overall the track is quite pretty.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Blur

Last Monday, July 2nd, Blur debuted two new tracks on Twitter and then made them immediately available for purchase on iTunes.  These were the first new Blur tracks since the lone Fool's Day in 2010 and the album Think Tank which came out way back in 2003, almost a decade ago.

Well, I was excited.  I love Blur.  I loved them ever since I heard Girls and Boys in '94 and Sunday Sunday in '93.  They're one of the few bands that I never stopped listening to.  I like all their albums.  I like how they're different, and quirky, and how I'm able to find something new in them almost two decades after first listening to them.

Well the new songs didn't disappoint me.  They were debuted live, with Blur playing on a rooftop in West London near the Westway motorway.  There was something epic about how the songs made their debut, especially Under the Westway which has such an understated sound.  Check out the videos below.  The Puritan sounds a lot different, harkening back to Blur's more unpolished material.

I found it amazing that I was able to buy the songs immediately from iTunes.  This was a vast difference from the days of going to record shops and buying import singles for $10 months after their UK release.  A lot cheaper as well.  Both songs set me back a measly $2.50.

I've been checking the charts this week for the first time in years eager to see how the single fared.  Under the Westway was the highest new entry at number 34.  Now to me, that seems crap.  I'm still used to the days of songs landing at the top of the charts and then falling steadily downwards.  It looks like now, it works the other way around.  With more airplay Blur should climb the charts and eventually arrive in a position that they're more familiar with.  I'm sure that will happen once the single's released physically and definitely after Blur's massive performance on August 12th to close out the Olympics in London.

Lets hope these are just the first couple of tracks of a lot more material from Blur over the next year.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More George Fitzgerald

Another fantastic mix from Georgie Porgie whom I blogged about before. I am really liking his sound; I think he is the new Martyn for me, ie my new favourite producer.

You can listen to his XLR8R mix right here. I recommend downloading it. I enjoy this mix so much because it has that kind of dance music that's got the spiritual element, for me at least. Lovely stuff.

Like lots of musicheads I frequently get new tunes from mixes I enjoy, and this one has got many tunes I wanna get my hands on. The one I've downloaded so far (legally, let's support these artists now) is the Policy track, that appears around 42 minutes in on the mix. Apparently, Policy is a NYC producer who used to be a cinematographer, which I find mighty interesting as a filmmaker myself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Detroit takes over football! Really.

I was watching the dreadful Italy-England quarterfinal Euro 2012 match this past Sunday at my friend's place. (Rooney is rubbish by the way). We could hear the football chants of course and someone remarked that it sounded like the White Stripes. Huh? But I was too busy gripping the arm of the sofa from nervousness, to think about it further at that moment.

After England inevitably got kicked out, the football chant was stuck in my head on the way to the train. And I realized, that it did sound like the guitar riff from "7 Nation Army". But I thought nah, that's a coincidence, the English fans were just singing something similar.

And of course I was wrong. Completely wrong. Turns out, it was the ITALIAN fans and they were ACTUALLY singing "7 Nation Army" by the White Stripes! How did I find out? For some reason the chant was in my head again today, so I looked up "football chant white stripes" today on Google and I found this article. I learned that its the unofficial anthem for Italian football fans.

Well isn't that just amazing? I think it's great that this Detroit garage rock band has this tune that sports fans sing the world over. Here it is.

And here's some video of Italian fans singing the song, to prove this actually happens. This is after Italy stole the World Cup from Zidane's France (can you tell I'm not a fan of the Italians?) But it's cool that this is their chant.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I take the subway to work here in DC and, most mornings, I pick up the free rag that's handed out at the stations, the Express.  The paper has a music column on Tuesdays, written by Christopher Porter.  Almost every week I find myself shaking my head at whatever he's written about -- usually some obscure 90s local hardcore, which I'm pretty sure almost no DC commuter cares about -- yet somehow he still retains his column!  Last week was different though, and I found myself slightly intrigued.  The column was about a young local MC/producer who goes by the name of Oddisee.  What intrigued me was his real name, Amir Mohammed el Khalifa -- a Muslim, like me!  Or at least that's what his name implies.  The column went on to detail some of Oddisee's work, which only intrigued me further, as it sounded like he had some pretty eclectic tastes.  So I looked him up, and found out that as well as being a local artist, he spends a lot of time in London!  After that I ended up listening to some of his music, reading some articles, and even checking out his thoughts on gentrification.  I was well impressed all round . One of his tunes really stood out to me, and I'm going to stick it in below.  It's off the "Odd Renditions" EP, which can be downloaded for free at bandcamp, and it samples a Metronomy song I hadn't heard before: 

I really like the way he uses the Metronomy sample in this track -- it sounds more like a collaboration than a sample.  The original Metronomy song, which I heard after the Oddisee version, now sounds like something's missing from it to me:

Oddisee has already put out a lot of work, as a solo artist, a producer, and as part of local hip-hop trio Diamond District.  He seems to be one of those artists who's a lot bigger abroad then he is even in his hometown, let alone the States as a whole -- in my experience that usually equals quality.  He's just put out a new solo album, People Hear What They See, and is currently on tour in Europe. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Couple of new things to highlight.  First up is a new remix by Gold Panda.  It's a little different from what I've heard from him in the past, a little more uptempo, dark, and glitchy.  The remix is of a track by Night Works, a new outfit started by the former bassist of Metronomy.  They sound quite intriguing themselves, so I'll try and check out more by them and hopefully do a post. 

Next is a new(ish?) track by Burial and Four Tet.  I saw Four Tet in DC recently (I don't think I posted about it, but my memory isn't what it used to be), at U Street Music Hall.  I was in two minds about going but it turned out to be a good decision.  It always seems like a bit of a gamble going to a live dance music event but it almost always pays off.  Thoughts of "it's just a bloke with a laptop" evaporate when the music starts, mostly cos the soundsystems make such a massive difference, as does the experience of being with a crowd of dancing people.  But the fact that the musician is there, playing the music in one form or another (Four Tet was definitely not just pressing play on a laptop), does make a difference -- and it definitely makes a difference from a DJ'ed show, a difference that to me is positive.  The DJ has his place too, but there's something about listening to a live set that appeals to me more.  Anyway, enough of that; the collaborated track is called 'Nova', and here it is:

Finally, RIP MCA.  I can't say I was ever a massive Beastie Boys fan, but I did like them and enjoyed having my life punctuated by a new Beasties track every few years.  The singles from Ill Communication will always remind me of my teenagerhood, as will the amazing videos.  Adam Yauch seemed like a decent person, and 47 is very young. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Georgie Porgie

I haven't posted anything in ages mostly because I started to make a mix here and there, and that's where I throw in tunes that I'm listening to. But Fahad still blogs so I thought I'd give it another go.

I used to put my mixes on Mixcloud, but I've switched to SoundCloud instead. SoundCloud seems more fun, interactive, and easier to share and listen to. I don't think I'm very good at the mixing in my mixes (heh) since I'm not a DJ, just a massive music nerd, but people do say they like what I've put together :-D So this is my latest mix below:

One way I think a lot of music heads find new music is by listening to mixes. This mix by George Fitzgerald released last year has become one of my fave mixes for the last few months, you can listen to it here.

From that I discovered some of his tunes, which are really something else. Have a listen. He does a great job at meshing up a lot of genres together, and I think that's something all my favourite producers do in one way or another.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Graham Coxon, the Chemical Brothers, and buying records in Yemen

Graham Coxon's got a new album out, called 'A+E', and there's a stream where you can hear the whole thing. I haven't heard it properly yet but I'll put it up for any Blur fans out there:

There's also a stream up for the Chemical Brothers' soundtrack for their live film 'Don't Think'. Not sure if a film is the best way to get the Chem Bro's experience but the live album's not bad, and can be found here. Glad the Chem Bro's are still doing their hedonistic drug-fueled party thing. Well, apart from the drugs part.

Lastly, just read a disappointingly short but still interesting article on buying records in Yemen here. There are some tracks up there that are worth a listen. I'll be off to the mid east soon myself but I've got a feeling that I won't be finding many record shops in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or Saudi Arabia. Will hopefully have some luck in Turkey though!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


This is what happens when I don't blog enough -- I end up with a mega-post trying to catch up with everything! Having a sprog at home means I don't really get time for this but I'm making it happen tonight, wooooooh! Yeah. I'm going to split this up into new tune, old tune, albums, soundclouds, and a mix.

Ok, been hearing this on BBC Radio 6 a lot, you've probably heard it if you're into things, but I only heard it this week. It's a great glam-rock stomper, and it's by the Black Keys:

I've not heard much Black Keys but I think I'll have to check 'em out now.

Just a random track that's been in my head lately. I miss these slinky sounds. MJ Cole always got great reviews so it may be worthwhile picking up his album (or at least the one this track is off of):

Couple of artists I like have put out new albums recently and handily stuck them up on Soundcloud to be previewed for free. I quite like that tactic, it allows fans to hear things and then decide if they want to buy but without having to mess around with illegal downloads. I at least would consider buying an album I liked properly, on a physical format, as I think the sound is better and I'm over being cheap and trying to own everything that gets a good review. So, I recently checked o out the new Tindersticks and the new Scuba. Entirely different types of music but there you go. I can't really comment on the Tindersticks yet as I've only heard it once and need to give it some more time, but I tried Scuba's album, 'Personality', a few times. It definitely sounded better at home, played at a good volume through some good speakers, but it still left me a bit cold, like something was missing. Just didn't move me fully, but there are some good tracks and it's worth a listen -- but only if you've got a good way to listen; don't rely on computer speakers, everything'll sound bad that way.

Scuba - Personality [HFCD007] by Hotflush

The Something Rain - TINDERSTICKS by Constellation Records

A couple of other Soundclouds I've checked out and enjoyed recently have been Gold Panda's and Graphics'. Both are electronic artists, Gold Panda being a bit more dreamy while Graphics is a bit harder. Good to stick on a decent stereo while you go about your business. I'd just go direct to their pages, hit play, and let Soundcloud go through the tracks if were you.

Lastly, a mix by Aeroplane, who I did not see when he played U Street Music Hall recently (other act I didn't see: Carl Craig). He puts up a mix on his Soundcloud every month but I listened to a few last year and didn't really like them. Randomly came across the Februrary 2012 one though and got into it so I'm putting it up here. Much dancier than what I'd heard before, which is what I like -- I don't mixes which are supposedly dancey but then are too eclectic and start off with a bunch of weird stuff that you can't really dance to. No point, other than to try and create an out there setlist that may impress people. Can't be easy coming up with good mixes though, when everyone's at it. I wonder how these DJ's come across good tracks to pick that haven't been played out already? Hmm.
Aeroplane February 2012 Mix by Aeroplane (Official)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things I've Heard and Liked Recently: Leonard Cohen, Shigeto, some others.

I'm still processing my current relationship to music. I think this process is taking so long, and seems important to me, because music previously was such an important part of my life. And I think that's what's changed now -- it no longer seems as important, and, sadly, it no longer seems as enjoyable. Not that I don't come across something every now and then that stands out. Those occasions are few and far between, but here are a few things that I've smiled at recently.

Ghostly is an electronic-music orientated record label out of Ann Arbor, MI. Their location, as well as the quality of their music, led me to stick myself on their email list, which is how I came across one of their artists, Shigeto. He's also out of Ann Arbor and released his latest EP, 'Lineage', on Tuesday. I liked what I heard straight away, the instrumental tunes making think of trip-hop with a jazzy tip -- like something on a Ninja Tune compilation I owned years ago, but my memory's pretty hazy. Anyway, I think the EP is well produced, without the throw-away quality of some of the electronic stuff I've been hearing over the last couple of years. I think it's because there's an organic feel to it, and it doesn't sound like it was simply made on a laptop. You can hear samples here.

Leonard Cohen is, of course, a Very Famous Musician. But he's one of those musicians who I've always heard of and known about but never actually listened to. Until now. He's just come out with a new album, 'Old Ideas', and the Guardian has handily been streaming the whole thing. I quite like it -- I like the age to his voice and lyrics, and I think I can take him seriously because he's been around so long. Again, it doesn't sound like someone just doing it, just mouthing some meaningless cliched lyrics -- it sounds like someone who actually means it, like the lyrics matter to him. I especially like the first track, 'Going Home'. I think I will listen to some more Leonard. As long as it's up, you can check out the stream here. And just in case, 'Going Home' is below.

Those are the most recent things I've listened to and enjoyed. I've also recently checked out the best of John Lennon and the best of Fleetwood Mac -- both had good songs on them and were enjoyable for a time, but neither has really got me feeling anything. Especially when listened to in the car, I just don't have the patience for things so poppy (referring strictly to Fleetwood Mac there actually; didn't try Lennon in the car). Funny, cos the car used to be where I did all my listening. I even bought some music a week or so ago -- 'Some Girls' by the Rolling Stones, used. Heard it once or twice in the background at home, barely paid any attention. I should probably try a bit harder. What I've really enjoyed are some classical cd's I got from the library that are aimed at kids. I got them for my kid, even though she's young, but I was inspired when I learnt that David Bowie had narrated a version of 'Peter & the Wolf'; from there I went to the Carnival of Animals and anything else that sounded cool. Yet to get tired of any of that stuff! God, I feel old. Just to prove I'm not a complete codger, couple of tunes from the summer that I still like are below.