Thursday, 3 February 2011

Illinoize (A Mix Of Subtle Joys)

I'm not even going to mention the fact that this blog hasnt been updated in aaaages, i'm just going to move on and pretend you read the last update a few days ago. With that in mind welcome back to Radio Protector, the internets premier source of somebody elses music taste that might just occasionally match yours. Probably not very often though, but hey, we're nice people so its worth a read at least.

Now we havent talked about Sufjan Stevens in a long while, so that means he has a wealth of new material and delicious little masterpieces to blog about due to his new EP and album at the end of last year. But really, if we're going to mention Sufjan then we'd be best mentioning somebody elses work (or rather what somebody else did with Sufjan's work) instead.

(The guy on the cover of the mix seems to have escaped from the cast of the tv show 'Boardwalk Empire' it appears)

Vancouver based producer Tor mixed various songs from Sufjan's back catalogue and collected them into a nice tidy album (ok, EP i guess) under the name 'Illinoize', a nice play on the title of Sufjan's seminal 2005 album 'Illinios'.

Essentially what 'Illinoize' is is just very simple, it's the music of Sufjan's best songs with his lyrics replaced by those of various rappers and hip-hop artists. Why is it worth blogging about? Well, the fact it actually works. It shouldnt work but it does. Strangely of all Sufjan's many many songs on my iTunes (how many is there, like 200 probably even without live and session versions!? Christ can that guy write!) these are the ones i go back to the most often. They fit the most different moods and offer something different, because lets face it, no matter how much you love Sufjan Stevens you wouldnt stick it on before you go out to a club or when you come in drunk. But now you can! Isnt that the last bastion of what Sufjan didnt yet already offer yet?

In short, 'Illinoize' is a triumph. A triumph of genre bending proportions.

Want to listen? Yeah, why not... plus this is a legal download from Tor's site, always a bonus...

Tor / Sufjan Stevens - Illinoize (71mb zip file with all 7 tracks included)

Or you can listen to the tracks individually or find out more about the mix project at Tor's website:

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Where Is My Mind?

Radio Protector is branching out (probably only for this once) into movies! Or rather a song, posted under the pretence of talking about movies. I dont really know anything about films to be honest, which is rather worrying for somebody with a Media and Journalism degree. Nevertheless, i get by. Just.

Basically i'm just wanting to pimp the new film based on a Chuck Palahniuk novel, called Choke. The more educated or culturally aware among you might remember the name Chuck Palahniuk from the first movie adaptation of one of his novels - Fight Club. Without doubt one of the best movies of all time. And no, i'm not biased. Honestly.

First stills of Choke (which stars the excellent Sam Rockwell) are all over the internet...

("Happy hour? I'll decide if it's happy, you decide which hour it is. Deal?")

...and they look rather swell too. Initial reports from the Sundance Film Festival where the movie has been showing for the first time are all positive, with Fox Searchlight picking up the distribution rights for $5 million USD. I've never said USD before, due to the fact i've never known what it meant until i looked it up on wikipedia the other day. Stupid me.

An interview about Choke is posted above. It featured clips and comments and all sorts of good shizzle.

Now, before i forget, this is a music blog. So you're probably hear looking for music (fair assumption, i'm sure you'll agree) - so without further ado, lets speak about the Pixies.

Okay, that's another subject i know very little about. However i do love the aforementioned film (and novel) Fight Club, so i first took an interest in the Pixies after hearing their classic track Where Is My Mind? at the end of the closing scene of the movie. Never has a track better fitted the climax of a film in my opinion, it's just perfection.

Download of Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies...



Chuck Palahniuk Site
Chuck Palahniuk on
Sundance Film Festival Site
Pixies Official Site
Pixies on

Simon x

Thursday, 17 January 2008

When The Ship Sinks We Stick Together

Radio Protector is back. Again. We seem to be incapable of keeping this blog running due to social commitments and apathy. Still, i'm giving it another shot due to the fact this place is still racking up page views without any updates. Means some people are finding it and hopefully enjoying it, which is why it was started in the first place!

For our first entry back i've decided to go with something new and probably little heard - My OK Hotel. Hailing from Kildare in Ireland (lovely place, i've been. Well i think i have. If it's not where i think it is, then it probably isn't very nice at all.) My OK Hotel play a relaxing blend of indie rock which does ever so well to stay firmly planted on the credible side of the fence.

Think Four Day Hombre with Gary Lightbody on vocals, and you're halfway there to imagining how they sound. Their myspace lists influences such as The Reindeer Section, The Postal Service, Modest Mouse, Grandaddy, and Broken Social Scene. Normally i would only use my own examples of what a band sounds alike to, but in this case the band very clearly know who they are and what their sound is. How refreshing that is.

Having been picked for Oxegen Festival 2007 in Ireland as one of the two local bands, My OK Hotel are definately a band for the future if they can carve out a niche in what they do. On the strength of the four tracks i've heard so far, they certainly stand a great chance of doing so.

(Standard "we're doing a promo shot, where do we look?" pose.)

Their wonderful four track EP is hosted for free download on their website, so i can feel utterly guiltless in offering you them for your listening pleasure. Tracks are just Right Click And Save, nice and simple. Hope you enjoy!

When The Ship Sinks We Stick Together EP

1 - Too Bright
2 - Man On Ambulance
3 - When The Ship Sinks We Stick Together
4 - People And Trains

You get check out further information about My Ok Hotel via the following links...

Official Website


Simon x

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

The Final Part of Prima- Dirty Three, Ocean Songs

Sorry, this blog's been asleep for a while. We're just coming to again.

The last part of my Prima adventures involves the Australian band Dirty Three and their album Ocean Songs.

As part of the Don't Look Back involvement in Prima, the band were there to play Ocean Songs [almost] in its entirety. I hadn't really heard any of the band's music prior to Prima and they were only the second act of the first day I saw. Fortunately there was a gap in our schedule to go see them and I was spurred on by Craig B of Aereogramme mentioning on his band's forum that Dirty Three are an absolute must-see live and that if we had the chance, to GO SEE THEM.

It turns out he was absolutely correct. My friend and I were basically spellbound from the moment Warren Ellis [who also plays in the Bad Seeds and numerous other Nick Cave projects] and his band took to the stage. The sounds that just a violin, abstractly arpeggioed guitar and gentle jazz drumming can make are incredible.

Ellis stalked the front of the stage, completely consumed by the sounds his band were making, chopping his arm back and forth over the violin like it was a third limb. The sound was perfect and his casual introductions belied the sheer emotional intensity of the music. I think it's the nearest hybrid I've found of classical and popular music, with the strong points of both.

Basically you should download the opening track of Ocean Songs, track down the album and go explore from there.

Dirty Three- Sirena

I'm starting my Roskilde retrospective sometime next week.


Thursday, 9 August 2007

Random Spirit Lover

Welcome back, summer recess is over and Radio Protector will be back in full swing now its contributors have stopped falling in/out of love and/or drunken stupors. Without these moments of indiscretion we would have nothing to base our aural lust on, and thusly we'll assume your forgiveness is attributed accordingly.

Back to business then...

Sunset Rubdown

The reason we run this blog is so that hopefully somebody somewhere will find a new artist to fall in love with, that our little niche on t'internet could give somebody (perhaps you) a little bit of pleasure to help you escape from your otherwise mundane and empty lives. However, the three of us behind Radio Protector also stumble blindly around t'internet looking for new music - usually whatever i decide to download is a disappointment of grand proportions, often rapidly tossed aside into the Recycle Bin with all the disdain a drag of a mouse can muster. That's quite a lot actually.

(Just how many bands have promo shots like this? Must be the same guy who does them all)

Once in a while something makes it all worthwhile though. This week, for me, that band is Sunset Rubdown. With new album Random Spirit Lover out in October, the taster track "Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days" has been released to vast acclaim - and it's easy to see why.

Sounding like a bastardised version of Sufjan Stevens covering Runrig covering Queen by way of everything that's right with alternative music today, "Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days" is about the most pleasurable five minutes i've spent with the headphones on since... well... a while back at least.

Those crrraaaazy Canadians and their crrraaaazy underground music scene. It's all so kooky and alternative and i hate it all usually. But Sunset Rubdown make it all better, like some Calpol and a hot water bottle when you're an sickly child.

(The album Random Spirit Lover by Sunset Rubdown, released October 2007)

There's not much i can say about this track that'll do it justice or give you any idea of how much you'll like/dislike it. All i can tell you is that if one person feels even half as invigorated as i did on first hearing it, then this entry was more than worthwhile.

As ever, if you like the track, support the artist. This isn't free music, this is taster music, like listening on the radio - if it grabs you by the cojones/breasts and refuses to let you go, then that's a good sign you should buy their album. Not download their album. Simple really.

Without further ado...

Sunset Rubdown - Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days (8mb)


Sunset Rubdown Myspace
Sunset Rubdown @

Friday, 22 June 2007

Prima Pt. 2- The Fall & Beirut


The below post was actually published on 19th June, not 13th. Though that's when I started working on it... Oh.

Anyway, today's post concerns the best double-whammy I saw of the festival. It was a combination that never should have worked and yet it did because they were so different that any kind of imitation or similarity would be a disadvantage. I bring you-

PART TWO- The Fall and Beirut


Yeah, so Beirut got bummed to pieces when his/their (does the name refer to the music Zach Condon makes, or also his band? CONFUSION!) music first appeared and I suppose a good few readers will at least have read about it if not already heard the album, Gulag Orkestar.

There are two things I found remarkable about their performance at Prima-

1) Even though there's only one album so far, they have a glut of other material to play alongside it. There's other compositions and oddities but there's also a range of Balkan and non-Western music for them to draw on. His voice handles the various languages and dialects like each were his mother tongue, so it's pretty amazing to watch.

2) Zach Condon can sing and perform perfectly despite clearly being as drunk as a stoat between songs.

It was starting to darken in Barcelona as Beirut took to the stage, and the stage itself was right next to the sea. There was a large open flight of stairs leading down to the coast from the rest of the Forum site, meaning the stage could be easily seen from the top of the area. Looking back and seeing a wall of music fans was a pretty amazing sight.

And then he played stuff like this-

Beirut- Mandaccordian (live)

Beirut- Ederlezi (live)

The Fall

The Fall are evil. Menacing. One of the few strands in common they have with Beirut is that it's not what Mark E. Smith sings, it's how. Maximo Park were due on later playing the very same stage, and an initial glance had me fearful. There was no way those genteel Geordies could follow this, but fortunately the schedule allowed time for Beirut's Eastern European party.

Like Beirut, there's been a lot written about the Fall, albeit over many more years. To truly understand this band, you need to see them live. I am kicking myself for not seeing them in Edinburgh or Glasgow a few months ago. Mark E. Smith OWNS the stage, the twin-bass attack is monstrous. The stage lighting was a willing co-conspirator, dazzling the dusk crowd as their ears fell prey to the cavalry charge of noise.

I cannot profess to know much about their recorded output, but everyone must hear Blindness. It was one of the highlights of their set. I can't pick between either Beirut or The Fall as my favourite band on the second day, two completely different acts. Equally awesome.

The Fall- Blindness

Part 3 coming soon.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Prima Pt. 1- Girl Bear


Sup team, I've been away/crazy busy for the past month. I did one big trip where I flew to Rome, stayed there for 10 (!) days, then flew straight to Barcelona for Primavera Sound Festival in the amazing Parc del Forum.

The line-up was seriously unbelievable. You can see for yourself on their site. Obviously, there were clashes and it wasn't physically possible to see the 100+ acts over 3 nights/mornings (Barcelona do their festivals PROPERLY) but over the next week or two, I'll go through some of the best I saw.


Girl Talk

Girl Talk is just one guy and as the pic shows, he definitely steers clear of the DJ label. He also hates the term 'mash-up', though his work doesn't so much sit on that fence as barrel through it like a Paris Hilton-helmed Porsche. [incidentally, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA]

This is actually his biggest strength though. In light of traditional copyright's increasingly short shelf-life, we are gradually seeing fewer inhibitions in sampling. Advances in digital technology have meant that musicians can contort (and manufacture) their samples into unrecognisable shapes, but Girl Talk brings a big shiny swagger to this type of music.

He takes a sample, throws another down, whips one away, and lays a big chunk of a summer hit that fits PERFECTLY over the top. All in 15 seconds. He chews through samples like a grizzly baby ruins toys.

He has an intrinsic sense of songcraft and this is what separates him from many goons with a laptop making noise. He also puts on a great show, leaping out from behind the DJ lectern in a full suit and tie, tearing layers off as he cranks the tempo up further and further. At Prima, he finished with a cover of Scentless Apprentice [whilst sampled for his album, the actual cover isn't on it. And I have a special cover to show you later in this post]. He leapt off the stage and into the crowd, clutching his mic like it was the last connection to rock histronics left in this century and yelled into it as the crowd swept him back and forth. In an open dance enclosure.

The album is awesome, here are two of my favourite tracks. You should DEFINITELY see him live if you get a chance.

Girl Talk- Ask About Me
Girl Talk- Bounce That

Night Ripper on Amazon Marketplace [not distributed in the UK yet]
Girl Talk Myspace

Grizzly Bear

This is a band with a fairly conventional line-up, but they don't make conventional music. It has the usual components, but the way it's arranged raises goosepimples. To say the vocals are ghostly is something of a trite simile when it's more accurate to say that they sound as though they come from the transparent lungs of passing spirits. Something particularly astonishing to note from their live performance is the reliance upon a clean electric guitar for the main melody, with the vocals, drums, and occasional clarinet swooping in and out of the soundscape.

This sounds pretentious, but this music is not easy to explain. It's not immediate, and immeasurably better for it. This is music that gently seeps into your pores and leaves a trace. Here are two of their (relatively) well-known songs.

Grizzly Bear- Knife
Grizzly Bear- On A Neck, On A Spit

'Yellow House' UK Quicklink
Grizzly Bear Myspace
Ed Droste's blog


And now, the sum result of their parts. 'Knife' smashed together with a Clipse track [a good a place as any to confess my Neptunes love and shame for not having heard their helmed (ahahaha Paris) and critically-acclaimed album yet) by that scamp Girl Talk.

Grizzly Bear- Knife (Girl Talk Remix)

Enjoy, I will try to post again soon and continue the Primafest. Goddamn life getting in the way of blogging!