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.

E!

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)

Links

Sunset Rubdown Myspace
Sunset Rubdown @ HMV.co.uk

Friday, 22 June 2007

Prima Pt. 2- The Fall & Beirut

PRIMAVERA SOUND FESTIVAL 2007, BARCELONA

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


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

PRIMAVERA SOUND FESTIVAL 2007, BARCELONA

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.

PART ONE

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!

E!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Aereogramme (1998-2007)

It is not easy to write a post like this. Although we have yet to mention them, Aereogramme are dearly loved by all three of us at RP. However, just yesterday- 11th May 2007- a statement was released. It began-

"It is with heavy hearts that we tell you all that Aereogramme have decided to split up. Reasons are multiple and complex. It is however fair to say that the never ending financial struggle coupled with an almost superhuman ability to dodge the zeitgeist have taken their toll, ensuring that we just don't have any fight left in us.
We are immensely proud of the four albums that we made over the past seven years. We hope that they continue to grow in your hearts..."

This is not merely a band split. This is not merely the conclusion of some rock'n'roll fable. This is certainly not Take That breaking up in the mid-90s. This is the death of a dream.

Aereogramme are not an easy band to get into. They have never appeared on a hit TV show, soundtracking the lives of gurning yuppies. For many, they were a bunch of angry guys with beards, skulking onstage in venues scarcely bigger than a student flat. For them, Aereogramme are just a band.

For those who perservered, who looked past the lack of image and pretty packaging, Aereogramme became a totem. A band to dream along with when times were difficult, when they needed music that not only pleased the ear, but challenged accepted and tired forms. Music that cut through superficial bullshit and cheap sentiment to leave an indelible mark on those who truly listened.

Over the course of four albums, they created a vast vista of dynamics, instrumentation and emotion. Live, they brought the songs home, concentration etched on their faces as they strived to recreate
the extremities of their art. Their use of sequencers was strange to me- I usually far prefer the spontaneous aspect of live performance- but Aereogramme justified it and made the technique their own.

I find it difficult to continue without sounding like a green hack, hurling hyperbole at some band in an attempt to shift units and copies of their self-interested wankrag. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, and those who choose to scrape past the light soil and get stuck in will find their efforts rewarded tenfold.

They have not finished quite yet- there are touring commitments in Scotland and Germany. They are supporting long-term allies and underground (though this is quickly beginning to change) heroes Biffy Clyro on the Scottish leg of their tour to begin with. Then they are headlining (!) one festival in Germany with some other dates (full details on their Myspace). The real conclusion will be their final headline set in Britain-

16th June 2007- Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, Scotland.

My advice to those who have read this far is to invest in a ticket and for those who have not heard any of their music to purchase Sleep And Release immediately. There are no MP3s available in this post, though many are easily (and legally) available at their fansite- Saviours of the Underground.

Aereogramme survived for nine long years, an anomaly in a quick-fix, eyes-down world. Even when they were faced with the worst situations- rooms so sparse that some gigs must have felt more like a soundcheck than a performance, hard cold nights in an old van, returning home from tour to no fixed abode and months of scrubbing dishes and digging roads- with steely aplomb, their music sang out to the downhearted, gave them hope that they too could rise above the grim mundanity of everyday life and dream a little further.

That is why I cry when I begin to wonder what life will be like once this band finally cease to create music, but it is also why I will be forever grateful to four hairy men for letting us dream to begin with.

Thank you.

-------------------------------------------

Links:
Aereogramme Myspace
Sleep and Release quicklink
Saviours Of The Underground [check the downloads and interview sections especially]
The SOTU board

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

American Gothic.



It's an odd quality in music to draw you into a time and place that creeps you out enough to be completely infatuated with. The past few years have witnessed the birth of a dark and twisted North American 'indie rock'. The kind that makes you feel uneasy, like staring into the painting above and being lost in the pitchfork and gothic revival window frame, the American Midwest in the early 20th Century. Arranged marriage and self sufficient communities, a last innocence before the world wars and technology pounded out through the years.




What's fascinating is that it's creeped into the mainstream climate of both the United States and the UK. It shouldn't have happened, but The Arcade Fire have crashed into the culturally conscious on both continents and it seems people can't get enough of them. Do they succinctly sum up how a generation feels? The new record 'Neon Bible' is quite frankly desolate, a band waking up to the complexities of 21st Century society. It seems a disillusionment has washed over us and no-one's putting up a fight. So resigned to a dreary and dirgey existence. If this is a protest record, then God help us! But there's an anger there, at least that's something to work with. That'll tide me over until the world rebels against technology and regresses into caves..! You can blog with chalk.
Time will tell if this is a band that made a difference.

Download 'Ocean of Noise'
Buy 'Neon Bible'
Visit the website.



Midlake are different in so much as they don't write about today. They don't do social commentary. The last album 'The Trials of Van Occupanther' was almost a concept album, set around a group of settlers surviving in and around woodlands and travelling across vast American landscapes. Musically they recall classic American folk rock such as Neil Young or early Fleetwood Mac. On 'Young Bride' there's a heavy sadness that takes ahold of you and demands you take notice, you're on a wagon and it's winter and she's dying. Joyful, yes? It's ok, the violin will keep you warm.
They recently toured the UK twice and it seems they may be back in July, so look out for dates around then. You shouldn't miss them.

Download 'Young Bride'
The videos of Van Occupanther
Buy 'The Trials of Van Occupanther'
Visit the website.


Band of Horses are a Sub Pop band originating from Seattle attracting a lot of attention with their debut album 'Everything All The Time' released last year. Like the previous two acts there's a soaring melancholy throughout their songs, something to get your teeth into and wistfully ponder over. Perhaps a little more modern sounding, they're appealing to a whole different set of fans than both Midlake and Arcade Fire, having appeared on both The OC and One Tree Hill. 'The Funeral' gets a UK single release on 21st May and it's a lush and epic indie ballad, 'At every occasion I'll be ready for a funeral' drips from the layered instruments and you remember this isn't no typical OC fare. Tour dates to support the single are as follows;

UK Tour Dates
May 20 2007
ATP vs. the Fans
w/Built to Spill, Shellac, Sparklehorse,
and more!!!
Minehead

May 22 2007
8:00P
Scala
London

May 23 2007
8:00P
King Tuts
Glasgow

May 24 2007
8:00P
The Music Box
Manchester


Download 'The Funeral'
Buy 'Everything All The Time'
Visit the website.
Go to Myspace.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Yesterday Went Too Soon


I guess to a large extent music is a reflection of a person and their personality, and therefore as an extension of that, this blog is a reflection of the personalities of the three of us that run it - Ed, Johnny, and my good self.

The younger a person is the more the music they listen to seems to reflect their personality, it’s a simpler more raw listening experience - when you’re young you listen to anything that appeals regardless of quality. Then when you’re older you listen to a better standard of music (if you develop any taste at all).

The first band to capture both your youthful zest for life, and your more mature desire for increasingly credible music remains a firm favourite with most people throughout the rest of their lives, no matter how much their music taste develops or changes.

For me that band was Feeder. I’ll always love Feeder for what they used to mean to me. Everybody I knew was loving Blink 182 and Linkin Park, and I felt I knew more than anybody. Was better than everybody. I’d endure the chats about “Take Off Your Pants And Jacket” at school with a wry smile, then jog home to listen to "Yesterday Went Too Soon" - the breakthrough Feeder album, and better in every way than its predecessor "Polythene".

I cried when Jon Lee killed himself, I’ll remember the moment I heard the news forever. I don’t remember where I was when I heard Princess Diana had been killed, but I remember Jon Lee like it was yesterday. It felt like a death in the family - as lame and pseudo emo-core as it sounds to admit that.

In later years I found out I wasn’t alone in this - with the proliferation of the internet, and indeed Feeder themselves, I realised Feeder weren’t a small underground band like they seemed to be to a young me, and that thousands of people had variations on the same experience as I had.

Even now I like Feeder. I hear the new songs every so often on the radio and - although they’re mostly fairly dull - they remind me of being young. Being excited about music for the first time. I still buy the albums as they come out, even though I know I wont listen to them much. If at all, actually.

I guess we all properly connect with credible music for the first time because of our personalities and how we feel a track we hear on the radio/television reflects ourselves. For me that track was Yesterday Went Too Soon by Feeder.



Walking along the streets with that on my headphones thinking about lost loves, future loves, and even self-love, everything felt ok. I loved the lyrics, I loved everything about it for childish reasons. Yet it was a more mature type of music for me to like than anything that had passed my ears previously.

Three minutes in when Grant’s vocals kick in, even now I get nostalgic. Feel like crying. Y’know, I can kind of see why emo has caught on - if it makes this connection with so many kids, then I guess you have a market. You have sold out tours. You have gold discs.

Hopefully you have a million new fans of more credible music in a couple of years time too, I think there’s chance.

Next up was my first gig - Feeder were playing at a locally hosted Radio 1 Roadshow hosted by Jamie Theakston and Chris Moyles. Feeder and the Manic Street Preachers. Not bad for a first gig, and not bad at all considering it was free. Also playing that day were OPM, of Heaven Is A Halfpipe fame.

From that day, my first ever connection with live music, I remember mostly Feeder playing Buck Rogers. Everybody else I know that was there that day says they remember the Manics. I don’t.

Actually, in truth I remember booing the Manics. I still had a lot to learn about music.

So yeah, this entry wouldn’t be complete with Buck Rogers for your aural pleasure.



"I think we’re gonna make it."

x

----- ----- ----- -----

Links:

Official Feeder Site

Feeder On Amazon

Monday, 23 April 2007

Your Eyes Are the Sun












Electronica is a very vague term- some would say it's fairly self-explanatory, others wave their genre cleaver and yell things like "NO NO THAT'S IDM." OR "THAT'S JUST A POP SONG WITH SOME BLEEPS IN IT." I'm not really a fan of genres, historical context aside, and even that can be wildly open to debate. The media (including that saviour/villain of modern music, the internet) is extremely prone to slapping stupid titles on things and manufacturing scenes that don't actually exist. So I prefer to use very loose terms to describe different families of modern mainstream(ish) music- pop, rock (a ludicrously large category), soul, funk, metal, hip-hop (essentially the innovation of rapping and sampling, borne out of funk and soul) and finally electronica.

It's easy to forget how quickly computers have infiltrated music, both in the way we listen to it and the process of making it in the first place. Electronica is a category dedicated to music in which computers have been integral to its creation. Distinct from the turntable and other manual editing techniques, using a computer to deconstruct blocks of music and then reassemble them into something new is a mindboggling task, as anyone who has fannied about with Audacity can testify.

Some people have already got the hang of these new techniques and my current favourite is a guy called James Vella, known hereafter as A Lily. There's only one album around at the moment, mostly because this is really a side-project. He pays the rent- well, it probably helps a little next to some kind of day job or dreaded shift pattern, perhaps too ambitious in this post-rocknroll world (yes, the ROKNROLLDRUGSNPARTIESNGROUPIESWOOOOO reverie is just that these days. Whether it was ever anything apart from a brief glimpse at paradise for a small cluster back then is worth discussing elsewhere.) to say bills are paid by recording and touring- playing guitar in Yndi Halda.*

There are two interesting things about this album, titled Wake: Sleep. The first is the mixture of organic instrumentation like guitars, pianos and homemade percussion with the usual bleeps, swoops and gurgles that distinguish electronica from more traditional genres. The second is the concept behind it. As you'll see in the interview (linked at the bottom), he wrote the music entirely for his girlfriend. Every note, rhythm and squelch was lovingly crafted for her enjoyment. It's not explicit (no dirty samples, you sick perverts) when you hear it, as although a few pieces employ his hushed vocals, there is no stomach-turning narrative of how much they weally wuv eech ovah.

If you're looking for pop hits with obnoxious noises blasted in at inappropriate moments, you'll be disappointed, though I'd question whether you'll find much of interest in this blog in the first place. It works best as a complete piece of music- even the extremely testing 30+ minute final track, The Shipwreck. I've included two tracks from the nine that Wake: Sleep offers in order to give you an idea of what to expect. As Simon sagely noted in the previous post, it's absolutely vital that people understand how music is funded- writing, recording and especially touring require time off work and a spider's web of payment. The proverbial fly is you, the listener/audience member. Everything worthwhile in music begins when somebody gets enthusiatic about a song, band or gig.

Sadly, as I'm increasingly finding while trying to delve further into less obvious music, it's very difficult to get hold of this album in Britain. In fact, Amazon (never mind the High Street) don't stock it- not even in the Marketplace! Finally, the third track is a cheeky treat discovered in a secluded corner of Myspace.

Enjoy!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MP3s:

A Lily- I Am To You [Track 1 of Wake: Sleep]

A Lily- Aeriels Quiet And Death-Defying [Track 5 of Wake: Sleep]

A Lily- A Song For Ron Mental And Sidney Bishop [unreleased]

Links:

A Lily Myspace

More obscure A Lily stuff, definitely worth hearing!

A Lily on Last.FM


A Lily interview, on the site of his US distributor

Wake:Sleep from Dotshop, the best value for UK folk (in Swedish Kroner, currency fans)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* It's my party and I'll write ridiculously convoluted multi-claused sentences if I want to do so.

E!

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Eastern European Dance Parties

In advance, please forgive me for a rather contemplative and reflective entry... I won’t do it again…

I felt that at some point the name of the blog should be explained to those not in the know; it’s the title of a 65daysofstatic song. Radio Protector was an obvious choice when I named the blog - it references the role I see blogging playing in the media, blogs protect our right to listen to music to see if we like it before we buy it.

(65daysofstatic, pretending to be homeless at the multiplex)

Just the same as a track on the radio is to encourage you to buy an album, this blog (and indeed most music blogs) is there to hopefully make you go out and buy an album. A single. An EP. A vinyl. Maybe take in a live show sometime. I feel the need to stress that this isn’t free music - this is taster music.

Starting this blog we signed up to Google Analytics so we could track interest in the blog. We don’t actually know who any of you kind readers are, but we know which cities and countries you live in. Hello to, among many…

  • Los Angeles
  • Manila
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Amsterdam
  • Washington
  • Vilanova De Segria
  • Loads of Finnish places. Oddly

There’s too many to list over the past few weeks, but I’m glad you’ve all stopped by and taken a look. We’re Scottish, if you’re from far away leave a comment, it interests me!

A lot of stuff that we can track interests me. Most importantly, we know what tracks you download from us and how often. In short we know what you enjoy, or at least we’re getting there.

But with regards to the name, Radio Protector it is then. My reflection period is over.

Now the music…

65daysofstatic are a glitch-rock / math-rock / post-rock (delete as you deem appropriate) four piece from England. Their blend of instruments and samples is sometimes beautiful, sometimes powerful, and often just damn loud. In a good way.

Honestly, I must have seen this band a few times live by now, and every time I’ve left thinking “christ, that was loud”. That said, it’s in 65dos’ more tender moments that their true talent shines through - the pianos / keyboards, building like Newborn by Muse for want of a better comparison, make for glorious listening when they allow themselves room to experiment.

The best example of this is the song Radio Protector, the epic closer to 65daysofstatic’s second record One Time For All Time. Enjoy!

65daysofstatic - Radio Protector

(65daysofstatic - The Destruction Of Small Ideas)

The third 65daysofstatic album - The Destruction Of Small Ideas - is released at the end of this month, and while I wouldn’t like to spoil the surprises it has in store, I’ve seen fit to link up a couple of rare live in session tracks from it which the band laid down recently when they played the famous SXSW festival in Texas.

Links for both tracks are included below…

65daysofstatic - The Distant And Mechanised Glow Of Eastern European Dance Parties (Live at SXSW)


65daysofstatic - When We Were Younger and Better (Live @ SXSW)

The Distant And Mechanised Glow Of Eastern European Dance Parties - surely that’s a contender for best track name this year so far? Only post-rock gives you such classic titles, y’know.

You can find out more about 65daysofstatic on their official website, or buy their new album, by clicking the following links:

www.65daysofstatic.com

65daysofstatic On HMV.com

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Unexpected Cover Versions Of Our Time - Episode 2

I see your Michael Jackson and raise you a Jennifer Paige.

You know who Jennifer Paige is? Here she is, on a swing-


















[Jennifer Paige- about to crush some stupid-haired guy]

EVERYONE knows this song, but you might not have it to hand- I didn't until a friend chanced upon it while scouring the net for cheesy pop classics- so here it is for everyone's enjoyment.

Jennifer Paige- Crush


This time it's The Dismemberment Plan dishing it up. Yeah, they were the band I covered in my FIRST EVER RP post-

















[The Dismemberment Plan- about to be crushed]

The D-Plan substitute their polyrhythmic anthemic approach for something more sedate. MUCH more sedate. The previously chirpy tempo is racked over three hundred and seventy-four seconds, mostly just Travis Morrison's vocal accompanied by a bone-dry electric guitar.

I've noticed a lot of covers- let's leave aside the desperate eye-gouging-inducing pub-rock strumathons- either rock up a quiet song or hush down a loud song.

I'm trying to pick covers that do much more than that, where the performer(s) digest(s) the original song and spits it back up rearranged and with something new and different and most of all EXCITING.

It's the creepy as hell synth noises that make this track for me.

Dismemberment Plan- Crush

Enjoy!

Official D-Plan site
Previous D-Plan blog (+ tunes) on RP
Official Jennifer Paige site

Unexpected Cover Versions Of Our Time - Episode 1

Welcome to the first in yet another series of infrequently updated themed blog posts. This time, as the title states, the onus is on Unexpected Cover Versions Of Our Time.

In short this is a topic which allows me to cut loose from all the credible music and painstaking research that goes into my normal blog posts (slight exaggeration, but bear with me), and have some fun instead.

Everybody loves cover versions. It’s a scientific fact. So, in honour of this, I present to you the first unexpected cover version for your aural delight…

(Chris Cornell, looking pretty damn cool)

Chris Cornell covering Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, live and acoustic. Unplugged I believe is the popular word for this phenomenon. I heard this for the first time on Tuesday night on Radio 1’s Black Hole, where they basically play any old shite and pass it off as “random” or “experimental”. For once however, they got it spot on. Cornell (ex-Soundgarden and Audioslave rock god of dubious merit) brings his surprisingly strong vocals to MJ’s classic disco filler Billie Jean. And it works. Honestly.

I’m not even going to attempt to review the song. Just listen to it with no expectations and an open mind. Personally it’s one of my favourite cover versions ever, but I’ll leave it with you to form your own opinions.

Chris Cornell - Billie Jean

Of course, I couldn’t upload that without uploading the original. Is Michael Jackson still cool? Perhaps not. Is his music still cool? You bet it is. Billie Jean is responsible for some of the worst dancing of our generation - an identical scene of foolish drunken men failing miserably to recreate the moves played out in nightclubs and indie haunts around the world. A modern day Shakespearian tragedy if you will. Only MJ himself truly had the moves to do this song justice.

(Michael Jackson, back in the day)

As before, I’m not going to delve deep into the subject matter, i'm just going to post the track. I suspect you have this one already (you really should have, especially if you’ve ever thrown a house party), but just on the off chance that you don’t, here it is anyway…

Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

You can find out more about either artist by clicking the following links:

www.chriscornell.com

www.michaeljackson.com

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

So what the fuck, are you going to do kid?



Passion in music is a curious thing. Some would argue all music contains a passion of sort. To commit yourself to tape requires a series of events you’ve initialised and that you’ve put time into to get to that point and to create music people genuinely care about requires a powerful emotion; passion by definition. Others would argue thinking certain songs have passion and others don’t is purely subjective, if it stirs emotion through lyrics or music then you’ll immediately consider it passionate. How very contrived.

Lets blow that paragraph apart and I’ll run you through my personal Passionate Top 5.



5. A Day In Black & White – There Are Objects & Objects (Download)
This song is taken from the Washington DC band’s EP, ‘My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys’, one of the finest discs you’ll ever buy. The incendiary opening lulls and you’re left building up to a release of tension, before you know it you’re standing with your hand in the air, pounding with the beat, screaming “AND WE, CAN NOT, CAN NOT, CANNOT BE SAVED”. It breaks away and you have a massive smile on your face. If you’re having a shitty day, this is your tune.
Taken from the EP ‘My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys’
http://www.dayinblackandwhite.com/



4. Shellac – Prayer To God (Download)
Wow, you have to feel sorry for Steve Albini here. The hatred that shines through here almost makes you feel ill. By the time the song finishes you feel like you’ve been cheated on. You’ve left the house to kill ‘him’. Keys? Check. Black bag? Check. Meat cleaver? Check. Prayer To God? Check.
Ooops, you’ve done it again.
Taken from the album ‘1000 Hurts’
http://www.southern.com/southern/band/SHLAC/



3. Arab Strap – Piglet (Download)
Perhaps not so much passion as unbearable sadness an honest brutality. It’s worth looking up the lyrics to this one, it’ll leave you cold and alone, the darkness draws you into the abyss. If you’re a total freak it’ll probably ruin your life, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Good luck! See you next week!
Taken from the album ‘Philophobia’
http://www.arabstrap.co.uk/



2. Why? – Rubber Traits (Download)
This one bleeds out of the speakers! Yoni Wolf spits it at you, it’s a creed for the disillusioned and the people who long for a better day tomorrow. You’ll feel it, this is passion from within one’s self and somehow turning it into a indie hip-pop classic. It almost leaves you feeling optimistic, at least if you don’t tune into the lyrics. Dance, dance!
Taken from the album ‘Elephant Eyelash
http://www.anticon.com/index.php?section=artist&target=Why&js=yes




1. Modern Life Is War – The Outsiders (Download)
If ever a band were going to kickstart a young person’s life into gear and make them start something then it’s these souls. Motivation shines through, you feel angry? Perhaps a bit lost? Looking at leaflets for Church groups? Fuck it. Stick on ‘Witness’ and release it all into the atmosphere, feel a part of something. Claw at the message and start a band, start loving music and loving life, just do something. Just do it so you can feel like this band, this song. Who wouldn’t want that. Sing along.. this.. this folks, this is fucking passion in music. Right here.

So try and listen to the voice urging you on...
Saying...
This is it kid...
This is your last chance...
And this is the only way to glory...
And this is our last dance.

Taken from the album ‘Witness’
http://www.modernlifeiswar.net

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Johnny Marr - The Smiths / Modest Mouse


(Johnny Marr, circa 2007)

Firstly, I’m not ashamed to admit I love The Smiths. I love Johnny Marr. (I even love Morrissey, but that’s a separate issue for a different blog on a future date). So it was with interest that I charted the reawakening of Johnny Marr’s career, and it was with due surprise that I read the following in an interview with Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock:

"He made a cautious commitment to write and record with us, and then the tighter we got, he was like, ‘okay, let's tour too.' Then he was pretty much a member of the band - not pretty much. He's a full blown member of the band. It's really fuckin' nice."

Nice? It is indeed. Marr wasn’t the only new string to the collective Modest Mouse bow as they wrote and recorded their fifth studio album - James Mercer (indie wet dream frontman of The Shins, and reason number 36 why Garden State is such a good movie) adds backing vocals, and previously departed drummer Jeremiah Green returns on the sticks.

(Modest Mouse promo shot, 2006 line up)

Such change could be considered a shock, following the success of Modest Mouse’s last album - Good News For People Who Love Bad News - which had an American Modern Rock #1 with their first cut off it, ‘Float On’ - a summery breeze of a tune, included for your listening pleasure below…

Modest Mouse - Float On (Good News For People Who Love Bad News, 2004)

However, change was deemed appropriate, and the fifth Modest Mouse album - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank - is a 14 track, 62 minute long, recorded testament to the tweaks in lineup. Everything just sounds fuller. Bigger. Better. Bang! It hits you. Hook! It snares you. Track after track after track.

This isn’t a review, this is an appraisal. A damn positive one at that.

(Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, 2007)

The best track to demonstrate the blend of a fuller Modest Mouse sound, Brock’s glorious fluctuating vocals, and the battle of his guitar and Marr’s, is the lead single from the album - 'Dashboard'. If you don’t love it by the breakdown at 2:15, then you’ll be hooked thereafter. If you’re not hooked by the guitar at 2:44, then you’re a fool. And you’re reading the wrong blog. Actually, you’re inhabiting the wrong planet. Download via the following link… just a couple of clicks away is a song which is sure to feature in many “Best Of 2007” lists - certainly mine, hopefully yours…

Modest Mouse - Dashboard (We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, 2007)

Before I digress too much, this blog is about Johnny Marr, not just Modest Mouse (although I cant stress enough just how good their new album is, and that’s coming from somebody who wasn’t a massive fan in the past). Johnny Marr was, as you no doubt already know, one of the two true genii behind The Smiths. Together with a certain Steven Patrick Morrissey he created some of the 1980’s greatest and most enduring songs, and in the album The Queen Is Dead, he helped to create arguably the decades best mainstream album. As the 80’s progressed the relationship between Morrissey and Marr became strained, and eventually broke down, leading to the demise of The Smiths. Slander followed. Court cases followed. Huge fame for Morrissey as a solo artist followed (although most fans insist that Morrissey without Marr was never the same again). The theories for the true reason that The Smiths split persist to this day - did Morrissey have an unreciprocated love for Marr? Was Morrissey jealous of the praise afforded to Marr, when he wasn’t the frontman of the band?

(Morrissey on the left, Marr on the right, circa 1985)

Regardless, Morrissey carried on to achieve huge levels of success - still selling out arenas worldwide to this day and releasing decent albums which, while not original or groundbreaking, sate his fanbase and provided the odd killer radio track every now and then (see: ‘The First Of The Gang To Die’ and ‘You Have Killed Me’).

Johnny Marr however only achieved mixed success post-Smiths. Albums with The The, Electronic, and his own band, Johnny Marr And The Healers, never even came close to his achievements with The Smiths. Joining Modest Mouse to many seemed a strange move, but the fruits of their collective labour speak for themselves. The paring of Brock and Marr could, perhaps, in time be afforded the same praise as Morrissey and Marr before then. The signs are promising.

By way of tribute to Marr’s work in the 1980’s I’ve linked below three quintessential Smiths tracks below. Two cuts from The Queen Is Dead, and one from compilation album Louder Than Bombs.

(Louder Than Bombs, 1987, and The Queen Is Dead, 1986)

Essential listening for any self respecting music fan.

The Smiths - Panic (Louder Than Bombs, 1987)

The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again (The Queen Is Dead, 1986)

The Smiths - Vicar In A Tutu (The Queen Is Dead, 1986)

You can check out more of the mentioned artists, or buy some of their works, via the following links:

Modest Mouse

The Smiths

Johnny Marr

‘We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank’ on Amazon

‘Good News For People Who Love Bad News’ on Amazon

‘Louder Than Bombs’ on Amazon

‘The Queen Is Dead’ on Amazon

Enjoy! x

Thursday, 5 April 2007

The Blue Nile.

"Do I love you?"
















"YES, I LOVE YOU!" the crowd roar back as one from the seats of the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, on the 26th day of November in 2006. This moment remains forever fresh in my memory as Paul Buchanan performs 'Tinseltown In The Rain' on this world-famous stage. It's a Blue Nile concert in all but name, complications arising from a member who does not want to tour.

They don't tour very often, nor do they pump out albums on a frequent basis. There are merely four released so far in the twenty-SEVEN years since they began making music. This is no ordinary band though. The Blue Nile are very special, the kind of band that forge new sounds and ideas for generations to come. It is pop music, but with endless layers. Not a single note or beat is wasted, efficient yet incredibly moving.

Back in my seat, it is apparent that Paul Buchanan was born to sing in this concert hall. The sound coming out of his mouth diverts in two directions; out of the large PA speakers either side of the stage to sweep across the auditorium, and scaling up the roof of the hall- itself built specifically to magnify natural sound from the stage- to drench the patrons sitting in the upper and grand circles in a warm sonic mist.

I have in my possession a mere thirty-three songs from their studio albums (no official live releases have been forthcoming, nor sadly a full audio document of that night) yet trying to choose a selection of songs was horrendous. After all, I can only use so many words to convince you of their worth and impact on Scottish music until I implore you to just listen.

Craig B of Aereogramme (my favourite band that are still active, no question) has mentioned them as an influence and if you search, you can find screeds of effusive journalistic praise. You can read further into their history, though the members themselves will provide scant information for the trendy photoshoots, fact-sheets and various paraphernalia afforded to bands far less magical.

Yet nothing can really prepare you for what you are about to hear, so just listen and enjoy. If you have a spare fiver- or equivalent currency of your choice- invest in Hats (discussed further below). You won't regret it. You MUST see Paul Buchanan/The Blue Nile tour if they are near you. Alas, their most recent US tourdates were suddenly pulled, leaving fans bemused but not shocked considering their previous regard for essentials of the 'business'.

They just want to make beautiful music, and in an age where image is everything and the depth of a personality can be scoured open with a mascara brush, I salute them with a tear in my eye. Just like I did when they left the stage of the Usher Hall that fateful night.

--------------------------------------------

The MP3s:

Paul Buchanan- Tinseltown In The Rain (live)

Paul Buchanan- A Walk Across The Rooftops (live)

The Blue Nile- Stay Close

The Blue Nile- Happiness


Two songs from their debut- A Walk Across The Rooftops- performed live in Coventry (or Warwick, I can't recall?). One each from their third and fourth albums- Peace At Last and High respectively. I've swapped the third and fourth album choices because I can. But nothing from their second album?!

I'll leave you to discover the magic of Hats for yourself for two reasons-
1) I'm not in that haunted mood that lets repeated plays of it envelope me like a shroud. This is music that asks a lot of questions amongst its blissful resolutions, and it can leave me utterly drained.
2) It's probably in my top five albums ever, as a suite of songs it's basically perfect.

And now I shall leave the others to post.

Slackers. ;)

From here:
The Blue Nile on Wikipedia
The Blue Nile on Youtube
The Blue Nile on Facebook

Quick UK link to Hats (it's £5 in a few notable chain stores, email me to ask)

Thursday, 29 March 2007

10 Reasons To Love 1 Song- Ep A

The 'Ten Reasons To Love One Song' Series.

Episode A- 'The Butcher' by Matt Pond PA

1) The rumbling sweep at the beginning to let you know something is going down.
2) The introduction before the vocals, each furious jab of the cello paradoxically drawing the listener closer.
3) The way the strings stalk the start of each verse to sketch out the melody.
4) The duh-dunk of the bass, the bassline itself providing absolutely no more than required amongst the melody lines.
5) The foilage that the drums hide behind for the opening forty seconds, only to spring out as the strings retreat to drive the rest of the song with a metronomically passionate 1-2-1-1-2 beat on the bass drum, snare and a smidgeon of cymbals.
6) That steady, dead basic guitar chord progression strummed up and down, up and down, up and down throughout the whole song. Some things constantly change, some things stay the same.
7) The completely unflashy yet melodically essential guitar bits in the middle and near the end.
8) The fact that the song doesn't even have definable verse, chorus and middle parts, just repeated sections. I mean, there's no repeated vocal hook in the second section (what you would think is the chorus), just the musical equivalent of a Moebius strip.
9) The delicate urgency in the singer's voice, tugging the string of words along the spine of the instruments. It succeeds even without knowledge of the English language, his phrasing leaving you breathless at the end of almost every line.
10) The oblique story contained within these words, something about a butcher and a lover and intrigue that I cannot fathom even after at least a hundred listens. Can you?

Episode A [the full 4:15 version, the first upload I put up cuts off after a minute!]
Official Site
Myspizzle
Quick UK link to buy the excellent album where this song resides.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Sufjan Stevens - Free Man In Paris



Ah yes, we’ve arrived at Sufjan already. As much of a clichĂ© as it is to blog about the much hyped American wonderkid, it’s easy to forget he’s such an exceptionally talented artist with possibly the most glorious ear for melody currently producing material on a regular basis.

Producing material is something he does a lot. A hell of a lot. Seven albums (one of them spanning five discs) in the last few years, and you have something of a prolific writer on your hands. He had 63 officially released songs in 2006 to be exact. But - get this - every single album is good, usually better than the last. Remarkable.

But then, you read blogs; you already know this no doubt… so I’ll leave the introduction to Sufjan at that…

The reason for this torrent of praise? Sufjan covering the legendary Joni Mitchell, one of “the greatest songwriters ever” (Rolling Stone, 2002). "It has to be worth a listen" I thought when I stumbled across it to download. Oh my, it was indeed.



In typical Sujfan tradition he’s entirely fucked the song up, twisting and beating it into a pulp of its former self only to leave it bloody and bruised and more beautiful than ever.

Without further ado, I present to you, Sufjan Stevens - Free Man In Paris:

Sufjan Stevens - Free Man In Paris (Joni Mitchell)

While I’m at it I may as well upload his other two rare covers of note - What Goes On (The Beatles) and The One I Love (R.E.M.) - The Beatles cover is a personal favourite, and ranks high amongst even the choice cuts from Stevens own arsenal.

Sufjan Stevens - What Goes On (The Beatles)
Sufjan Stevens - The One I Love (R.E.M.)

You can check out Sufjan or Joni on the following links...

www.sufjan.com
www.jonimitchell.com

Simon x

Monday, 26 March 2007

Superhero Songwriters..

The nation is awash with mediocrity. Take note; Pillaging decades of passionate, influential and inspired singer-songwriters and clogging our senses with dull, unimaginative Fuckwit Blunt (yes that scapegoat) and his pals is going to cause a backlash when the nation realises we're knee-deep in their pseudo heartfelt nonsense and when the majority actually don't understand why some absolute tit is singing about his new shoes. Nutini: Is Shite the t-shirts will say. We'll celebrate all that is pure, honest, challenging. We'll shove their nylon strings where... Well ok, you get the point of this rant. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of another myspace friend whore adding me with 'their new tunes.' only to find DIRGE. That's the word for it, nothing more, nothing less. Yes ok, myspace isn't exactly the forefront of talent in this country but it's giving a voice to people who think they are and they're knocking on my inbox. Yes, I know I can turn band friend requests off but quite frankly the day Beyoncé added me as her 'friend' was the sexiest day of my life to date.

My pretentious 'snobbery' and internet social life aside, it's rare in this day that I find a solo artist to connect with. Someone who sounds, feels and has the ticket to the fairground extravaganza that is myself and my emotions. In two weeks I found two and they're both from Scotland and they're both wildly different but parallel each other quite nicely.


The first of these discoveries was found rather excitingly the through the radiowaves, a rarity these days for lots of music lovers around the country. His name is Malcolm Middleton and yes he's been around a fair while and yes he's the half of Arab Strap that doesn't drunkly commit himself to tape for all and sunder to dissect. I say that, but in fact he has a vocal style not dissimilar to Aidan Moffat, that thick Scottish drawl shines through but with a quicker pace and cynicism replacing the downright angst but the musical similarities to his previous project stop here.
His third solo album 'A Brighter Beat' has recently been released and it is downright angry & bitter. I pity his heart for it seems a sad thing, I pity those who connect with it but quite frankly you can't help it. Everyone's been there. That romance thing. It's a bugger and he's expressed it wonderfully. Song titles such as 'Death Love Depression Love Death' and 'Fuck It, I Love You' barely scratch at the door, but give an idea of the tone of this album. Don't be fooled, this is an enjoyable and beautiful document; tender but raw. Well worth a few moments of your day.

Listen:
A Brighter Beat
Up Late At Night Again

More info:
Buy 'A Brighter Beat'
Official Website
Myspace (With more tracks)




My second saviour is Emma Pollock, of defunct Scottish cult heroes The Delgados. Always having a beautiful voice, she's now pursuing a solo career and it's producing fabulous results. With a busy gigging schedule, the adding of a backing band and recent appearances at SXSW in Texas, things are looking up and moving forward for her. I recently experienced her live and she captivated the room immediately both through her songs and her obvious charm and bashful nature. There isn't much publicaly available (if at all) that's recorded but a debut album is planned for 2007. The two songs for download here and different in many respects, one is a haunting and natural folk lullaby that gnaws at you and the second is almost jaunty in it's own piano led way (lyrics are supplied on the second track by author Louise Walsh who collaborated with Pollock on the recent Ballads of The Book Compilation). I'll leave you to fall in love with her at your own pace.

Listen:
Limbs
Jesus On The Cross

More info:
Official Website
Myspace (With more tracks)


Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 March 2007

This Dance Is Difficult

Sorry for the static, I forgot how to sleep and spent the last week staring comatosely at the screen.

We've had a bit of a sausage fest so far. Time for-




















MIRAH


I first heard Mirah on a homemade mix CD and I haven't heard anything like it. It's music full of contradictions- sparse but with lots of subtle touches, melodically simple yet concealing looping riffs that stay with you and- most of all- more sensual than a skipful of sodden FHMs.

I think my favourite album of hers is
You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This so I'm putting three songs here for your consumption.

Much, MUCH longer (and frequent) posts coming soon.

MP3s!

Mirah- Sweepstakes Prize (best introduction, probably)
Mirah- La Familia (Guy Sigsworth Remix- the other half of Frou Frou) FIXED LINK DO ME A FAVORE
Mirah- Murphy Bed (if the seat you are sitting in is not moist after listening to this, see a doctor)

Mirah on K Records (best place to get her CDs in Britain is probably Amazon Marketplace)

Bye!

Monday, 12 March 2007

Moving pictures with sounds..

The greatest actors could portray the perfect screenplay and plot, the cinematography could be beautiful and the director might capture the moment and be hailed a genius by everyone he/she has ever worked with. Yet you feel empty, an ingredient is missing, something which takes it to a higher level. Yes.. that's it.. where is the music? Where is the tension and romance? The horror and beauty? Music at the closing credits can change the whole mood or music can be a thread that strings every scene throughout the piece.
A movie is nothing without a good soundtrack, in my personal opinion. Outwith the terrible teen movies which merely cash-in on their musical output, a film can become something so very special based on songs or score which surrounds it.
A lot of of films are of course scored and arranged using various orchaestras from around the world but there are many occasions an established artist not only provides a song but composes an entire collection of songs to accompany the story.
Examples of this can be found both decades ago and in the present day.

In 1971 Cat Stevens collected an entire album of songs (including two specifically written for the film) to partner Hal Ashby's classic cult movie 'Harold and Maude'.



Stevens' songs were the backbone to the story, proved by generations of new fans being introduced to and loving his music, long after he was popular owing to the gradual rise in the popularity of the comedy. The lovliest song from this movie is 'If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out'.. a wonderful acoustic piece, leaving you with a warm feeling and general optimism, which parallels the film beautifully.

Listen; Cat Stevens - If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out


Now if there was ever a soundtrack or film that could contrast Harold and Maude so vividly it would be 2005's Austrailian Western masterpiece, 'The Proposition'. The film was written by the desolate Nick Cave and he composed a sound to match with his partner in crime Warren Ellis.


A sparse composition of ambient and tense material, this not only pins the whole movie together but just listening later to the OST CD recalls the film inside your head, leaving you as un-easy and un-nerved as you were when you left your seat at the cinema. The track 'Gun Thing' sums up the sound the pair were aiming for and which they pulled off magnificently. Melancholy strings paired with Cave's low mumbling and groaning... "I'm gonna go out.. and get myself a gun." isn't the cheeriest thing you'll ever listen to, but it'll make you think and want to see this movie which is just as scattered and on edge.

Listen; Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - Gun Thing


Moving away from whole pieces written for a movie but keeping in touch with the theme of connecting scenes with a single sound we approach Baz Luhrmann's award winning adaptation of 'William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet'.


The song in question here is Nellee Hooper's glorious re-mix of classic Radiohead B-side 'Talk Show Host'. It appears throughout the movie, introduced by the haunting guitar line and Thom Yorke's ever disturbing vocals. This is one of the things I remember most from the film (which for me is otherwise a little cheesy), for days I wondered what this was.. what was stuck in my head? I didn't recognise it, not having delved into Radiohead previously. The song managed pop back into my consciousness, suitably, as a b-side to the moody Street Spirit single which I picked up second hand. I much prefer the mix on the soundtrack however and it's here for you to download and devour and become depressed over.

Listen; Radiohead - Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper Mix)


And so we come the end of this little jaunt through the world of movies and sound with a song which lies outwith the rough theme that has followed here. But this song, a cover, fits the film so perfectly and is so beautiful that it has to be heard and explained. The song twins with one of my favourite films of all time, 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'.

Michel Gondry's chaotic film is one of the most heartbreaking yet pleasing cinema experiences I've ever had and I could write for an hour about just how much it gets to me, but to spare you this I'll provide you with Beck's astounding cover of The Korgis' classic 'Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes'. It is actually a collaboration with Jon Brion, the films composer (and a sterling job he does too) but it's Beck's subtle vocals that does the trick here. The song sums up the whole script, the films images and feelings so wonderfully. I hope you enjoy!

Listen; Beck - Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes (The Korgis Cover)

Friday, 9 March 2007

I Know It's Not Quite The Custom In This Country...

This week, ladies and gentleman, I give you-

FRIGHTENED RABBIT


Frightened Rabbit are a bassless trio [Soon, I'm going to show you a band with TWO bassists (!!), so I'll fulfill the bottom end in time] with the best debut album I've heard in years. Their main trade is creating wonderful pop songs with a surprising amount of instrumental depth and some stunning lyrics to chew over.

It's really difficult to pick out an album highlight, because it's consistently amazing and the flow 'is like woah' [(c) me], including awesome wee interludes. So I've picked two from it, one to highlight the uptempo triumphant indie-rock and one to reflect their folkier side.

I had never even heard the name when I stumbled into about the only regular gig venue in Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire, for one of their free gigs last year. I had intended to see Beerjacket, but he was literally packing up as I made my way down! He said 'Stick around for the next band'. I did, and my jaw hit the fucking floor. I hope these MP3s do the same. You can stream the album on their site and there's goodies on their Myspace too.

P.S. I put in a sexy bonus new song because I'm nice like that.

E!

Frightened Rabbit- Music Now!
Frightened Rabbit- Behave!
Frightened Rabbit- The Twist
FR's Myspace (touring the US now, playing a Glasgow date in mid-April)
FR's own site (bands, make sure you do this! Myspace is buggy as fuck.)

P.P.S. The title of this post is a lyric from their utterly phenomenal Go-Go Girls. It's also on the album.