Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday night choons

Once again I'm going to easily prove just how out of it I am by posting up tunes that are probably super old but new to me.  I was driving home and listening to Pete Tong count down his top tracks of the year when I heard these two tunes by artists we've featured before (herehere, and here).  Great tracks, really great, make sure you turn it up and if there's a small child nearby who can dance with you then all the better.  

First up, George FitzGerald, remixed by Scuba.  Didn't know George FitzGerald had an album out, but I think I may pick it up if this track is anything to go by.  We've had Scuba on here before too. 

Next, Bicep, who don't have an album out.  Yet.

I got home right at the start of the top 10, will have to go back and finish the show off this weekend, or maybe during the commute next week.  Quite amazing how easy it is to keep up with things thousands of miles away now -- I can just turn my car on, turn my phone on, and it's like I've got UK radio on my car stereo.  I do wonder about how disconnected something like that makes me from my actual surroundings -- it's not like I can get to work and discuss the last Pete Tong show with anyone.  But I think I'd rather be disconnected than tune into what's actually happening or popular around me.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I could do with another

Time for another collection of tracks that I'm partial to.  First up one by Field Music, a band I often here on 6 Music and usually like.  There's something about the production of this song that makes me thing of music from the late 70's, especially the vocals.  An XTC vibe perhaps?  

Now for some nice garagey shambolic rock by a new band called Dracula Legs.  At least one Welsh person in the band so, yeah!  

I was gonna post a track by another garagey girl band from Spain called Hinds but I can't find the track I liked -- must take better notes next time!  

Here's something a lot softer by Sufjan Stevens.  I've never been too sure about him but I've always liked what I've heard so I should probably give him more of a chance.  I don't like too-precious indie artists so I've been very wary.  I first heard of him back when he was planning on putting out an album about every state in the US, and put out Michigan.  I've been hearing this track he remixed himself a bit and each time I have to stop and properly listen; it really is very affecting.  Blue Bucket of Gold, which I believe is off an album about his parents -- I may have to get it, seems very suitable for winter.

Deerhunter now with something a bit more upbeat.  Nice vibes here:

I was actually going to end with some Billy Joel but I changed my mind.  Instead I'll end with this -- remember it?  If it came out today it'd be accused of all kinds of cultural appropriation and that.  It probably was a bit at the time too.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Birthday Blog

You know what's a bit weird?  When Google knows it's your birthday and they customise their search page illustration into birthday cakes for you!  I thought it was a coincidence and got quite excited, but then found it's just Google's  most basic data-mining -- I probably told them my birthday myself.

Anyway, I'm clearing things up today, a few things, a few tabs off my Chrome basically -- tunes I've had open for ages that I'll now blog and then close, satisfied.  I had an open tab with the new Missy Elliott track but already closed it as I wasn't too impressed.  I was a big fan back in the day, and the track is by no means bad, and I'm glad she's back but... it didn't really catch me like some of her stuff from the past.  I'm hoping there are other new tracks that are better but I do wonder as I'm sure she'll have been advised to kick off with her best stuff.

Ok, most recent open tab is C. Duncan, a RadMac fave, and I do really like the single they keep playing.  The other stuff I'm listening to right now is quite good too, but not as good as this is:

Another track I've got up, which has been up for ages, is by the late artist who went by the name of Muslimgauze.  Now, I first came across this chap ages ago, in the early days of Napster and Limewire.  I'd search for Muslim stuff on those (yeah, bit weird really, this was when I was living on my own and went through a slightly more religious phase which culminated in me becoming the president of the graduate Muslim association on campus, to chortles from old friends -- but I digress...) and he'd keep coming up.  I looked into him a bit back then, pre-Wikipedia, and found out he was an Englishman with an interest in, or sympathies with, the Muslim world, particularly Palestine.  The titles were a bit of a giveaway, they were very intriguing, but the music was always lyricless so it was hard to really know what he wanted to get across.  He'd already passed away back then.  You can easily find more info on him now, but here's a track I stumbled across on FACT.  The story goes it's from the pre-rave era, which puts Muslimgauze way ahead of his time.  Mash'Allah.  Oh, the Soundcloud version is actually a back-to-back with another track by a different artist -- Muslimgauze is up first.

Now a track that's also been up for ages -- in fact it's the first tab open in me browser.  Wiley x Zomby:

That basmati rice line would make a great t-shirt.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Back II Life

Yes!  Finally blogging again!  It's been a long time.  As you may know, I've had a big move recently, and it's taken me some time to arrange my life in a way that allows me to get some good radio time in.  I was in the UK recently and have been feeling reinvigorated since then.  I also got a good glimpse of how some people over there get in their radio time -- while getting ready, or doing chores, for instance.  I don't use an actual radio like they do, but I find an ipad does the job, and even has the same tinny sound quality as a cheap radio!  The wonders of wi-fi mean I can carry it around with me, even to the bog, so I've basically recreated the radio experience very well.  I'm also mixing it up (slightly) now -- I've expanded from Radio 6 to Radio 1 and 1Xtra too, mainly cos 6 lacks the urban and dancey stuff.

So I've heard lots of things over the last week or two, all of which I'll stick down below.  No need to feel overwhelmed. just view this as me sharing things with you that you may not have come across.  Stick it on while you're doing something else, no need to over think it.

I've put a Soak track up before.  I find her pronunciation a bit annoying, but the track is still nice.

Roots Manuva's been around a long time now.  I never got properly into him, but there's always a single now and then that will stick out.  Now, post-Ghostpoet, his output suddenly seems worth exploring further, especially after hearing this new track.  I don't mean I'm going to go through is entire back catalogue, but definitely interested in hearing his latest work.

A change of pace now: time of jangly indie-pop by Martha:

Something charmingly shambolic and very American sounding from this Canadian dude Destroyer.  I'm not one for lyrics so I'm wondering what specifically he's saying about Times Square here, that very unromantic tourist trap of a place.

Maribou State now.  I've written about them before too.  I like their low key dancey sound, though it's easy to imagine it being used as background music in some wanky bar.  Mmm, piano.

I'll leave you with something overblown and very sincere from the 80's.  Very easy to jump around to -- thanks Pete Wylie!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sounds of Iceland, Part I

Recently spent a few days in Reykjavik on the way back from the UK and got into the quite awesome music scene over there.  Actually, I've been into Icelandic music for a while but didn't get a chance to experience it first-hand until now.

Most of the record shops in RVK (yeah I'm cool like that) are just full of overpriced vinyl but I did find this nice shop/record label called 12 Tónar where I was able to sit around listening to CDs and drinking coffee for free!  Bloke there recommended I check out the INNIPÚKINN music festival over the holiday weekend.  I asked another guy for an Icelandic experimental electronic music recommendation.  Among the acts he suggested was Futuregrapher.  I ended up buying his last album Skynvera which you can listen to here:
Sounds quite good on headphones, like Aphex Twin which is probably what he was going for.  Can't really get into it properly though (also like Aphex Twin).

Sunday, August 16, 2015


It's been a while since I posted and that's because I'm in the midst of a pretty major life change.  After eight years living in the same apartment building in Arlington, VA, and after living on the East Coast of the US since 2002, I've moved down to Dallas, TX to see how things go down here.  It's quite a drastic change but I'm taking it day by day; it'll probably be a few months before I have any solid thoughts on life here.  Right before I left I heard a couple of good songs while all my stuff was slowly getting packed away, both on 6 Music.  First up is a Zomby remix of a track by an artist called Gwilym Gold.  I don't know a whole lot about him but I found this track terrifically moody:

Next, a Matthew Herbert track from his latest album, The Shakes.  I've been meaning to post about the album for a while but I'm only just getting around to it.  There was a free preview stream up and several of the tracks were good, so I'm glad I got a reminder about it.  Bonus!  The video features Rough Trade East:

I'm getting some Basement Jaxx vibes without the annoying aspects.

I drove down here by myself a little over a week ago.  Before going on the trip I got together a lot of music to keep me entertained.  It seemed like a great opportunity to listen to some new albums without too many distractions, and maybe some podcasts too.  In the event it didn't really work out that way.  This road trip was 1300 miles but I've done shorter ones in the past and found that what keeps me most awake is actually talking to people on the phone.  Music seems to fade into the background, and even podcasts don't involve me taking enough of an active role.  So, sadly, I didn't do as much listening as I would've liked.  I did do a bit though, including the rather surreal experience of driving on the freeway in the Tennessee night while listening to Burial -- completely out of context but still great!  I also listened to some XLR8R mixes and the newest Tame Impala album.  That one I first came across during an earlier part of this transition; I heard it in Dearborn Music playing over the speakers the day before it came out.  It's one of those rare albums that I've found quite engaging almost the whole way through, and I've heard it a few times already.

Their hazy psychedelia and a summer road trip to the American Southwest went together like... chips and salsa.

Since getting here I've heard a little bit of radio and been pleasantly surprised.  I've found a couple of independent stations without even trying, including KXT, which bills itself as the independent music station for North Texas.  I was listening to it last night and came across a couple of tunes I'll share.  The first band, the Flowers of God, are even based in Dallas.  Can't tell if they're a religious band, but I do like the tune regardless.  The other track is by the Doobie Brothers.  Nuff said.

Any big change can be challenging, but I'm hoping to keep a positive mindset and make the most of this.  Hopefully that will include more radio and checking out local record stores, and maybe even going out!  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, and Kim Gordon

Over two nights I watched the groundbreaking and well-received documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Like countless others I'm a casual fan of Nirvana and own a copy of Nevermind. You grow up hearing about Kurt and what happened to him and what he did to himself. I've never read any of the books or seen any films about him though, until this one.

What's so great about Montage is its use of archival footage. The filmmaker had full authorization from Courtney and Frances and so he got access to everything-Kurt - his journals, drawings, paintings, recordings, home videos, etc etc. I read somewhere that 85% of this film is new, unseen footage. There are few actual talking-head interviews, and even so they're only with his close family and with Kris from Nirvana. Apparently Dave was interviewed but for some reason wasn't included in the final cut. I wonder what he had to say.

The film is disturbing at parts, mostly due to Kurt's own drawings, at least for me. The guy was seriously disturbed from a young age. I've had a fair amount of experience with mental health/illness, and it seems to me Kurt should have received serious therapy since at least his teenage years. The stuff that he was drawing, what he was writing, etc - the guy needed help but couldn't get it, because hey we know that poor people in this country have great access to healthcare, right?! And by the time Nirvana blew up and Kurt had money, he was already a heroin addict...still, if only someone had taken him to see someone. Maybe it would've been too little too late, and also, what's the point of doing all these what-ifs - still for me, from a mental health perspective, it was clear that Kurt needed professional help. Actually, maybe someone did try to get him to a mental health professional, what do we know after all.

Since most of the film consists of Kurt's own artistic outputs, its kind of like seeing things from his perspective, or as close as we can get to that. May he rest in peace inshallah.

Since watching the film I read about Kurt and Frances, and about Nirvana, and came upon videos of Nirvana being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year in 2014. It was at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and was open to the public - if only I had known! Dave, Kris, and Pat performed, and for Kurt's vocals they had 4 female singers. It was a pretty great nod to Kurt's feminism. Joan Jett and St Vincent I feel were good, but they also just kind of imitated Kurt's recorded vocals. Lorde did her own thing but I don't think it really worked.

Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth though - wow, what a revelation. I LOVE THIS PERFORMANCE. I think its how Kurt would've done it and/or he would've definitely approved. Kim is badass and punk to the core here. I love it. I've been watching it on repeat.

I've included the full video of all 4 performances so that you can compare. Kim's starts around 15 minutes in.

The New Yorker did a piece on Kim and here's a bit about this mindblowing performance:

"The performances with Lorde, St. Vincent, and Jett had an odd, denatured quality that left both song and singer exposed, missing the viscera of the thing and, in effect, the point. For her number, though, Gordon chose “Aneurysm,” not a hit but a B-side, released on the 1992 compilation “Incesticide.” Wearing a black-and-white striped minidress of the sort she favored in the early nineties, Gordon seemed to pull the song from her guts and trap it in her throat, her body switching, bouncing, and lurching to get it free. “Love you so much it makes me sick,” she spat, “Uhhhhhh-huhhhh.” Not a singer, exactly, Gordon was perhaps the only hope for a song like “Aneurysm,” which in the absence of its author requires less a vocalist than a medium for translation.

In the final pages of “Girl in a Band,” Gordon’s sober, ruminative new memoir, she recalls that night. One of her first appearances following her split from her husband and former bandmate, Thurston Moore, for Gordon the performance became “a four-minute-long explosion of grief,” a purge involving both “the furious sadness” of Cobain’s death, twenty years earlier, and the recent end of her nearly thirty-year marriage, her band, and whomever she was inside of both. Afterward, Gordon reports with some pride, Michael Stipe told her that her singing was “the most punk-rock thing to ever happen, or that probably ever will happen, at this event.”

I've been listening to more Nirvana of course since watching Montage, but I'm also gonna read Kim's book and check out her tunes. Rock on Queen Kim! 

Jamie XX at Terminal 5

Saturday August 8th I went to a proper show after a long, long time. I found out Jamie was on tour the day after tickets went on sale; they were already sold out. I got a pair of tickets on Craigslist though for a decent price. The girl I bought them from was a blonde from California, with a gross boyfriend who was all over her. Anyway, I found a friend to go with and there we were at the gig!

I haven't actually bought Jamie's album "In Colours" yet but I know the main tracks off of it. I dunno why everyone likes "Good Times"...its a weird tune to me. I prefer "Sleep Sound", "Girl", and "Loud Places", which I wrote about here.

The opening guy was Mike Simonetti. He DJ'd for TWO HOURS. Two flipping hours. Not only that, but he was pretty terrible. His set had some good moments but they were few and far in between. His set had no flow to it I felt.

Jamie came on finally to everyone's relief at 11. I've listened to a few of his sets so I'm pretty familiar with how he builds up things and with what he plays. The highlights of his show were definitely his own tunes, especially everyone singing along to "Loud Places". Also "Girl" at the end was a win. The other stuff he played though was ok...the other sets I've heard of his are better. For some reason this one seemed a bit random and not as good of a soundscape, in my opinion.

Still, I'm glad I went. One nice thing was how diverse the crowd was, much to my surprise. I thought it'd be all white hipsters. That really wasn't the case. It was a good night, got fish and chips after and was able to take the train home, didn't have to pay for a taxi, woohoo!

Photos by my friend Sarah R.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Got it covered

Nothing new here, just new to me; both tracks actually date back to 2014.  Well, really they're one track, the original song by East India Youth, and the cover by Hannah Peel, which I heard on the radio today.  I've got a lot going on right now and found the Hannah Peel version very soothing, which made me want to hear the original and do a post on both.  I've been meaning to check out East India Youth so coming across this has been a nice reminder.  To confuse matters a little Hannah Peel herself has two versions of this song, one a slightly simpler live rendition.  I'll post all below and you decide for yourself what you like!  I think I like Peel's delicate live version best.

I like this version; don't let the video put you off, even though it looks like she's playing in an East London shed on a home-made music box -- trust me, my hipster radar went beserk too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sounds of the Arabz - part 1 - DAM and Narcy

So I'm coming across a lot of contemporary Arabic music. I've been a fan of Arabic music for a while, probably because of my days in Michigan. As some know I am a HUGE fan of Yasmin Hamdan. But I've been discovering other stuff too, so here's part 1 showcasing other Arab artists, this one with some Arab hip hop:

DAM is Palestine's first hip-hop group. I first heard of them about 10 years ago in college, when they were featured in the Sundance documentary Slingshot Hip Hop (the director is a friend). A few years later I saw them perform twice in NY and they were terrific.

Here's my favourite track from their first album Ihdaa' (Dedication), "Mali Huriye" (I Don't Have Freedom):

DAM now have a female member and released a new single a few months ago, a feminist anthem, yeah! "Who You Are", has a quite inventive video directed by Palestinian director Scandar Copti. Here's a brief article about the band and video:

Narcy is an Iraqi rapper by way of UAE and Montreal. He's got a new album out called World War Free. Its in English. Here's a short film called "Rise" to help promote, directed by Gulf director Ali F. Mostafa - to me its mostly flashy visuals but I like the part with the kids, that was cute and unexpected:

The other thing I liked about the video was the song "Epiphany". I'm not really a fan of Narcy's sound but I like this track:

Lots more coming soon featuring other artists of Arab origin. But seriously though - where are my desi artists at?!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

odd past

Not as impressive as I first thought

I'm in the midst of listening to a profound mix by Squarepusher.  I'm about halfway through and a distinct theme has emerged, a theme so specific that it's given me new appreciation for the art of DJing and the selector in particular.  The sheer musical research and knowledge that Squarepusher must have is quite amazing.  What's the big deal? you're probably wondering.  Well this mix focuses on a very specific genre of music.  You could call it early rap, but that wouldn't be specific enough.  You could call it early UK rap, but that still wouldn't be specific enough.  You'd have to go with early UK rap with a positive message and then you'd pretty much get there.  Every record so far is an amalgam of sampled beats, housey sounds, and strangely positive rapping!  Topics range from racial unity to standing up to the police to putting down drugs.  It's just so... strange!  Who on earth knew there were so many early UK rap songs that focused on these topics?  And who has access to them all, now, 25 or so years later?!  Squarepusher, that's who, and I must salute him.  Oh balls.  I just looked at the FACT mag page where this mix is hosted and realised that all the tracks are either by Shut Up and Dance or the Ragga Twins.  So basically he could have a couple of best ofs and that'd be that.  Oh well.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I heard this track on this radio a few days ago and I wasn't sure if I'd like it on a second or third listen, but I do!  In fact it's grown on me every time I've heard it again.  At first I thought FFS were just some new band, but now I know that FFS is a collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks (you can read more about that here).  So, below is the new single Johnny Delusional, as well as some Franz Ferdinand tracks because, well, why not?

Friday, May 29, 2015

You can't go back

It seems like a host of 90's music acts are making a comeback this year . First there was Blur, then Ride, now the Chemical Brothers and Leftfield are getting in on the act.  To be fair, the latter two aren't reunions like the first two, but it's still been a while.  See what you think of their latest efforts below.  I wonder if these acts take a look at their popularity on social media sites and decide to have another go?  It would make a lot of sense for Ride to say something like "Oi, we've got 125,000 fans on our unofficial facebook page!  Time to get back together!"

Friday, May 8, 2015

Jamie XX and EBTG

As we've mentioned on the blog before, Jamie XX of The xx has been doing his own work outside of the band. He's remixed the likes of Adele, Gil Scott-Heron, and more, and has become a very good and popular DJ. He's released some of his own solo tracks before and now he's putting out his debut solo album next month, called 'In Colour'.

The first single is 'Loud Places'. I LOVE this tune. Its been on repeat all week. I also quite like the video, especially the cinematography towards the end. Here's what Jamie and Romy had to say about the video via The xx facebook page:
"Romy and I grew up skateboarding together, when I was thinking of what the video for Loud Places should be, I kept coming back to the idea of Romy and I skating in London, visiting the places we used to go to. It’s a part of our friendship not many people really know about and it’s something I wanted to share.” Jamie
"When Jamie asked me If I was up for skateboarding in the video, I wont lie I did hesitate, it’s been a few years since I was properly into it, but skateboarding was such a big part of Jamie and I’s friendship when we were growing up. We would literally spend every weekend from early in the morning till late at night, skating and exploring the streets of London. I guess it gave us an escape and a sense of freedom, which we later found from making music." Romy 

Here's the tune and video, oh do enjoy!

'Loud Places' has a terrific sample from 'Tracey In My Room' by Everything But the Girl, a group I fell in love with a couple years ago. Tracey Thorn responded to my tweet about the sample, have a look!
She corrected me and reminded me that 'Tracey In My Room' was actually a mash-up of EBTG's 'Wrong' with Soul Vision. Here's the wonderful mash-up :-D

AND here's the original version of 'Wrong' - its definitely more of a melancholy tune, but still quite good of course. Todd Terry also did a version. Here's the original though:

Ok now back to Jamie. There's a nice interview with him in Fader about his new album, and gasp, in one photo he's not wearing black, which is what The xx are known for. Here's a nice quote, and it expresses how I also feel about dance music:
"I don't think dance music is important in the big scheme of things to a lot of people. But it's important to me because it just makes me happy. There's not that many things that make me happy. I mean, that's why it's important to a lot of people. It can be something that you listen to on your own if you want, but really it's something designed to make people happy, even if it's a sad song. The act of dancing is a happy thing to do."

I'm not sure how I got word about his new album, maybe it was through browsing The xx facebook page. I also found out about his tour, and of course his NY gig was already sold out. But guess who got tickets today!! Hell yeah! I am so excited!! Here's a set from Jamie that's quite nice, I wanna download this set, unfortunately not allowed to embed the video but make sure to have a listen!

Yay. And happy birthday to my nephew Yusuf, who turned one year old today mashAllah :-D

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Getty Funk

I heard a song today that caught my attention.  It's by the Belgian band Balthazar, who I don't know a whole lot about except that they're not particularly new, just new to me.  I like the laid-back but funky sound on the two tracks I'm posting.  I thought I was on to a good thing, but not all their stuff is as great.


I also like the new Ghostpoet single, which showcases his "rock" sound a bit more.  I'm not really qualified to judge musicianship, but his band sound just OK to me;  I wonder what he'd sound like if backed up by a really great band, like Radiohead say.  They could really up the sonic experimentation behind his lyrics and increase the weirdness level.  As it is this song sounds good but the backing doesn't provide any surprises.

Have to keep it brief now, as I've go to go pick my kid up from daycare.  I came across this via Vice and then heard it on the radio on the same day.  William Onyeabor is a Nigerian musician from the 70's who I must hear more of!

A Dauwd mix at XLR8R led me to this remix of his, which is, as usual, great, though quite subtle (so's the mix by the way.  Great I mine, not necessarily subtle... I can't remember if it's subtle or not, but it is great.  Probably.  I heard it a few weeks ago!):

And finally, thanks to the wonders of Soundcloud's algorithm, that Dauwd track led me to this John Talabot one; I remember checking Talabot's album out a couple of years ago, cos it was topping some end-of-year lists, but I wasn't that into it.  I like this though:

Phew!  Hope that's enough funkiness for ya!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Atypical Girl

Last night I finished Viv Albertine's autobiography 'Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys'.  I wasn't at all familiar with her or her work with the Slits and beyond, but the book kept popping up with good reviews so I decided to check it out, and I'm glad I did.  To boil it down to a very simple summary, she was around in 70's London when punk started to take hold, knew all the main people, and was part of one of the original bands, the Slits.  When I say she knew all the main people I'm talking about all of the Clash, Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood, and many, many others.  She was around when they  were all just kids who were starting out, and she presents them as they were -- (quite) normal people with certain ideas about music, politics, and what matters. She's had a very interesting and eventful life beyond that too, including stints as a film-maker and ceramicist, as well as lots of personal events that I don't want to give away.

A few things stood out to me in the book, the main thing being the sheer amount of abuse and even violence that she's gone through as a woman!  I don't know if it was the time, the place, or just the people she was around, but it's shocking just how much she's put up with in terms of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. From words to slaps, from being stalked to chased to ganged up on; it doesn't stop in the 70's either, it carries all the way through to the late 2000's, and her friends and acquaintances all seem to have similar experiences.  As shocking is how they take it in their stride -- some of what they go through is just seen as normal because that's what they expect from at least some men. I know I'm quite naive about these things but I really hope it's not that bad for every woman.

Another stand-out was her particular brand of feminism and the very real reasons behind it.  She outlines multiple instances of being put down or held back by men, simply because she's a woman.  She then details how she dealt with that, writing about her feelings and thoughts and the emotional toll it all took on her.  It's a great read and I'm planning on buying a copy to have around for when my daughter's a bit older.  I hope I never utters the words "because you're a girl" to her, especially not as a reason to stop her doing something -- not just because of Viv Albertine, but her book is a good reminder that things shouldn't be that way.

Reading about the Clash and all those other icons when they were starting out was great as I had a time period when I was quite into punk.  I read a few books about the Sex Pistols and the Clash, watched 'Sid & Nancy'; I enjoyed seeing them through Albertine's eyes -- to her they're not icons, they're mostly just people she grew up with, and she doesn't go into any details about Sid Vicious' death, or Joe Strummer's.  This isn't a book eulogising an era and sound, it really is a book about her particular life and experiences.

I've not really read a lot of biographies or autobiographies, but I am starting to see how inspiring they can be.  Albertine's in her 50's now, and she went through a very normal period of life -- house, family, marriage, children, etc.  I sometimes think that my life is basically domestic -- it's all about the kids and the time to really do things and experiment has gone.  Albertine came to a similar conclusion, but then went beyond it and started doing different things, experimenting, find herself again.  It was good to read about and reflect upon -- life doesn't end at 30, or 35, or 40, unless you let it.  There's still plenty of time to do more and keep starting things, and it's ok to care about clothes and fashion too!

There's more to this book than what I've detailed above -- I enjoyed her introspection; her discussion of how she and her peers analysed music, what they listened out for; the details of her childhood and working-class life in the 70's; the life-long impact her parents divorce had on her.  Honestly, reading about a whole life in a book is pretty amazing!  I can only hope my life looks as interesting when I look back on it years from now (iA).  I was going to read Kim Gordon's memoir, 'Girl in a Band', too, but then decided against it.  I get the impression that it'll be a lot more po-faced than this, so Billy Idol's book is next on my hold list.  Maybe I'll change my mind though; it could be interesting to compare the two.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


I've had a fair few favourite bands in my time.  The first one I can remember is U2, back in their 'Achtung Baby' days, but it's never been just one band for life.  There have been different ones at different stages, including a pretty long period of the Clash.  One from the mid-90's was the Prodigy; in fact, 'No Good' may have been the first piece of dance music I liked; before that I was all about the indie and rock sounds, but 'No Good' got me on board with electronic music.  I lost track of the Prodigy after 'Fat of the Land' and the "electronica" push in the US, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who did.  But they made a bit of a comeback a few  years ago and I caught them live at the 930 club.  I can't say I really paid any attention to their new stuff, but I didn't mind it; live it all seemed to slot right in with the hits.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't go to the (sold-out) show just for nostalgia; I went because I knew it was the closest I'd come to a rave, and I wasn't wrong!  They're back again now.  I wasn't too impressed by what I heard at first, but this song has grown on me a little bit -- it's not very deep but it's got some classic Prodge elements to it and will probably sound good live.

Also back is Gaz Coombes.  I've no idea why this track is called Detroit, but I like it -- I like the quiet bits more than the loud bits, they remind me a bit of Supergrass' 'Road to Rouen' album, which is a great one in my opinion.  The video is just a bloke running in great scenery, with a silly bit in the middle (it is Gaz Coombes after all); makes me want to go for a jog somewhere nice.

Lastly, Oddisee's back with some solo stuff and it's rather good:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Truffle, but her? (Sorry)

Heard a few good things on the radio recently so it's time to share.  I feel like Hot Chip just had an album out, but they're back with a new track again already.  Again, they're a band I've kind of avoided -- always heard that they're good, liked a few things that I've heard, but I've made a semi-conscious decision not to get into them.  I may revise that soon though.  Really like the off-kilter keyboard line in this track, it's nice when things are a bit weird.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra are coming to U Street Music Hall soon I gave them a listen, especially  after Ghostpoet tweeted about them.  Not really the kind of thing I want to check out live, but I do like this track:

I thought it was new but it's from 2013!

I was listening to the actual radio the other day and heard a Nicki Minaj song.  The beat really stood out to me, but it had the feel of something I may have heard before -- turns out it's a slowed down beat from a Maya Jane Coles track!  They didn't really change it much either.

Finally, I don't have a whole lot to say about this Richard Hawley track I heard a couple of weeks ago except that I like it -- it's very evocative.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The London-centric videos of Ghostpoet

Ghostpoet is another one of those artists who I've been aware of but never properly checked out.  I've shied away of getting  too into him for some reason.  I think it's because his Britishness (look at the photo above!) produces some intense feelings of yearning in me.  But he put new album 'Shedding Skin' out recently, and I've been hearing the single 'Off Peak Dreams' quite a lot, which has grown on me.  Alexis Petridis did a short video recommending the album; watching that, I couldn't help but notice the London-y vibe of the video to 'Off Peak Dreams' and it led me to check out some more of Ghostpoet's videos.  He's got more that seem to have been filmed on the cheap in surburban parts of the city, ones that have, of course, produced those feelings I wanted to avoid.  I thought I'd post a selection below for anyone else who's feeling the same way I do sometimes.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Not the previously blogged about musical outfit, but some old but great songs with small blurbs.  OK.

My appreciation of the band Squeeze increases every time I hear a track by them.  I really like the story-telling aspect of this song, and the shambolic quality of it all.  Dance to this with a mug of tea in your hand, that's what I did yesterday, and I felt pretty cool.  Bonus!  Spot young Jools Holland in the video!  He looks great.

Of course I heard this next track on 6 music, source of at least 90% of what I hear now.  It's Lulu and it was apparently produced by Bowie himself.  Love the production on this, especially the sax.

There's something about off-kilter pop music that I love.  I heard this next one again recently in a coffee-shop.  Weird contrast between the lyrics and the sound of the song itself.

Monday, March 2, 2015

All this useless beauty

I've been indulging in remembrances of simpler times today.  It's funny how life can seem like it's full of problems when you're young.  Then you grow older and look back to the past and miss how easy it was; "if I only knew, if I only knew..."

SOAK - Sea Creatures
from Christopher Vickers/CR VICKERS on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Triple Threat

Just heard all three of these tracks yesterday.

I posted about Woods a while back and this first track is by the Babies, a band featuring a former Woods member by the name of Kevin Morby.  There's a nice bit of trivia for you there, as well as a link to the past of this here blog.  

Next, Maribou State.  What do I know about them?  I know they're coming to U Street Music Hall in April, that's what.  I'm digging their laid-back sounds so may have to check the show out.

Here are another act that I've featured before, Welsh housesters Bodhi with a decent remix of George the Poet.

Lastly, this gorgeously moody track by the Unthanks -- I really like the organ here.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Nu Free Sounds

In my last post (see below, probably) I wrote about Ghostly putting a free new compilation with a Dauwd track on it.  Initially the Dauwd track (which is, as always, amazing) was my only point of interest, but I've listened to the whole compilation a few times now and I highly recommend you check it out -- it's full of great, quality stuff and it's FREE.  You have nothing to lose!  You don't even have to download it cos you can stream it at the site -- so go ahead!  I'm quite happy that something that's being given away is still so good.

I also posted not too long about Caribou (Dan Snaith) posting a massive playlist of his favourite tracks on Youstube.  It's full of gems, and as I come across especially good ones I may post them, which I'm about to do.  What I really like about this tune is it's sheer weirdness, makes a nice change.

Lastly, a track I've had on my mp3 player for months now cos I enjoy it every time it pops up.  Originally recommended by Alexis Petridis, I can't say I love the whole album it comes off of, but this track is quite stirring.  Part of me wants to resist, cos the track obviously wants to take the listener to a certain place; but it's so well done that the time has come to share it with you.   Check out 'Says' by Nils Frahm, preferably on good speakers or headphones and at a good volume:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday night lights (off)

One of my current favourite electronic musicians, Dauwd, has a new remix out that I've been grooving to here in the office.  It's out on Ghostly records.

He's also got track on this free Ghostly compilation.

I'll post some more dancey stuff while I'm at it.  Floating Points is an artist I've heard of but only recently heard.  His most recent release is Nuits Sonores, and it's a pretty epic 12 minutes, featuring some nice acid squelches:

Going back a few weeks now to New Year's eve.  I was at home with my three year old, who had no idea that it was NYE, or even what that means, so there was no need for her to stay up til midnight.  That didn't stop us tuning into some UK radio though, and hearing their new year hit five hours before ours did!  There were a couple of great tracks leading up to the big moment, which I'll post for you below.  They're relatively route one, but still good.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


In a week during which it seems like all Muslims have been placed into one big homogeneous box, here's Hanni El Khatib to mess with people's expectations.  Spooky video; I appreciate the normal America locales of multi-lane roads and big box stores.

The UK is so cool that this little track reached number one in 1978:

Digging the jazzy music in this new De La Soul track:

Lastly, if you work from home or are just able to listen to LOADS of music at once, you could do worse than check out this 1000 song playlist that Caribou's put together on youstube.  I took a listen earlier and didn't hear a single dud -- mind you, I barely made a dent.  He recommends putting shuffle on but I'm thinking it'll be easier to keep track of things if you go sequential.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Twee bags

The title of this post is a bit mis-leading, as I actually like both the tracks I'm about to post.  I was going to write about some club bangers I heard on New Year's Eve but I'll save those for now.  Today's been a snowy day here in DC, or at least it was this morning (the sun's out now).  That meant a slow day for me, so I started listening to this six hour mix by Floating Points and Four Tet.  The length of the thing would be a total turn off normally, but since it's a slow day I've been getting through it.  

I've written about H. Hawkline before, and now he's got a nice new track out.  Here's hoping he tours the US as he's got an album coming out in February.

This track by the Cardigans was the first one I ever heard by them.  It randomly came back to me today and I was happy when I realised I wasn't humming Lovefool to myself.

Listening to this has reminded me how much I liked the Cardigans 2003 album 'Long Gone Before Daylight'.  I think I'll see if I still do.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Nowhere Human

I heard "Waterloo Sunset" by the Kinks twice in the last couple of weeks, and each time it gave me that sad I-want-to-go-home feeling.  Recently I've been pondering home and places to live and I've realised that I may never really feel at home.  This may be something I have in common with other emigrants/immigrants -- a feeling that home is now only a place that exists in my head, an amalgamation of geography with nostalgia and fantasy.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a fact really, but I'm starting to think that no-matter where I am I'll always feel like a bit of an outsider.