acb: (indie rock)
Yesterday was the first day of Primavera. I saw:

  • The last 30 seconds or so of Wild Nothing; I arrived at the venue a good 15 minutes before they were due to start, but hadn't factored in the ticket exchange queue. They were OK from what I could tell.

  • about half of Savages set. They were doing the post-Joy Division dark-cathartic-post-punk thing, only with more danceable grooves. Is it time for another Goth micro-revival in the hipster hotspots yet?

  • About half of the Tame Impala set, from some distance from the stage. Not to worry; the visuals on the big screens were pretty trippy. I imagine they'd have been even better to see whilst on psychedelic drugs, or at least not surrounded by the ever-present hipster social chatter.

  • Do Make Say Think, from right near the stage. They were pretty good, being part of the post-rock generation of a decade or so ago, alongside GY!BE, Explosions In The Sky and such.

  • A bit of the Dinosaur Jr. set; I wasn't really into them the first time around (my dislike of grunge and its aesthetic of shittiness sort of left large areas of 90s alternative underexplored for a while; I never got into Pavement either). I recognised one song they did (it seems to have been a GenX slacker anthem of sorts), and then they went into their cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven. They must have made a lot of early-middle-aged people wistfully happy.

  • Part of The Postal Service, who were better than I expected. Their material works better with live drums, guitars and such added; one song (This Place Is A Prison) sounded like, if you only added 2-3 minutes to the end, it'd be a Cure song; another one (a new one perhaps, seemingly about tagging things on social media) sounded a bit like New Order minus Hooky (or perhaps The Other Two plus Barney). They, of course, did all the crowd-pleasing romantic-comedy-for-robots songs they're loved for. Is the female vocalist in the duet Zooey Deschanel, by the way?

  • Computer Magic; a female singer playing keyboards (or one keyboard; the other one, the big synth with lots of knobs, seemed to be controlled by the MacBook, though she tweaked the knobs from time to time), along with a drummer. They were fairly decent, though not life-changing; I seem to recall their material having more rough edges a few years ago, but here it was polished electropop.

  • A few songs by Dead Skeletons. A new Icelandic band, sort of like a gothier Singapore Sling.

And also a bit of Deerhunter, Grizzly Bear, Fucked Up, Four Tet (who sounded more housy and less noodly than I remember) and Simian Mobile Disco. I left before Fuck Buttons and Animal Collective, though.
acb: (buttons)
Tonight, I went to the Veronica Falls gig at the Islington Assembly Hall. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the first band on were “Debsey and Rachel”.
It did turn out to be Debsey and Rachel from Dolly Mixture, much to my pleasant surprise. They only did about five songs, playing guitar and singing, taking turns on verses and doing harmonies in the choruses. I imagine they would have been an influence on The Softies (though Debsey seems to have had leanings towards a mid-1960s style).

(Debsey's more recent (i.e., 1990s) band, Birdie, are playing late in May; I won't be able to go, though I hope that they will play again.)

The other support band were Comet Gain; I'm not the biggest fan of them, but they played a few good songs (they opened with their answer to Orange Juice's You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, which one hears in DJ sets a fair bit). (I imagine those brought up on 1980s Scottish indie might get more out of them.)

Veronica Falls were great. They played a full set, and then did a 3-song encore. Right now, they'd be one of my five or so favourite London bands to see; they play a sort of angular indiepop, with influences in the Brooklyn C86 revival (think Vivian Girls/Crystal Stilts), surf rock and post-punk. They have two albums, and played songs from both; the new material sounds a bit sharper and tighter.


Lyrics quiz

Nov. 8th, 2012 09:40 am
acb: (jukebox)
It has been a while since I posted one of these.

Below are 10 lyrics from songs. For each one, if you know the artist and song title, post them in your comment.
The quiz )
Once again, comments are screened; if you know the answers, post a comment and I'll update the post with the correct guesses. If you don't have a Dreamwidth/LiveJournal account, log in with another OpenID or identify yourself in the anonymous post.
acb: (Apple Loops)
Over the past few months, I have been working (in my copious spare time) on a remix of a track from the last Momus album. I have hinted at it here and elsewhere, though not said much. I finished it last week and sent it to [ profile] imomus, who liked what I did with it. (In his words, it "captures the original and carries it deep into dub reggae's 'jungle of wires'".) So, anyway, here it is:

I may have some other remixes for other people out soon.
acb: (beatnik)
I've just posted my review of the albums and gigs of 2006 to my blog.

Executive summary: the albums of the year are by The Blow, CSS, Gersey, I'm From Barcelona, James Figurine, Mojave 3, Momus, The Radio Dept., Spearmint and Wolf & Cub. The gigs of note were Belle & Sebastian, Jens Lekman, dataPanik, AIH, Os Mutantes, François and the Atlas Mountains, Spearmint, CSS, I'm From Barcelona and Ninetynine.
acb: (indie rock)
This evening, I went to the Piano Magic/July Skies/Epic45 gig at the Luminaire. It was great; all three bands are really good (if you like atmospheric shoegazey music).

July Skies played some songs from The English Cold, their concept album about the shadow of war over the English countryside in 1939, as well as some new songs which will end up on a new album, due out next year (finances permitting). The new songs were pretty good, and I look forward to hearing the new album.

The Piano Magic set was great. They started off with I Am The Sub-Librarian, following into No Closure, and taking it from there. Think driving grooves, vocal harmonies and the odd wall of oddly melodious howling guitar. One new song they had was titled England's Always Better (as you're pulling away), which started off sounding a bit like Black Box Recorder and then went into somewhat darker Piano Magic territory; it was basically their attempt at that classic theme, the malaise-at-the-heart-of-Englishness song. As this was their 10th anniversary gig, there was a brief interruption between songs as some members of the audience presented the band with a chocolate cake (which, after the gig, was cut into slices and made available at the bar) and sang Happy Birthday. Then the band resumed, playing Password (complete with its massive buildup of an ending).
acb: (beatnik)
The person living upstairs from me appears to be playing the guitar and singing.

Which is a good thing; it's reassuring to once again live somewhere where people play musical instruments and do creative things, rather than merely wallowing in consumerism.
acb: (passionate subscriber)
Just listening to [ profile] justlikehoney's show on RRR, in the background. So far, pretty cool; Bill Hicks or some similar (un-)American comedian George Carlin, followed by an Indian percussive vocal track, and now an amen-break-based track that sounds like it was made on an Amiga tracker. (It seems to use the same samples as the "Jesus On E's" tracker tunes), then a bunch of new-waveish tracks, finishing with V. Spy V. Spy's "Mugshot". Not a bad start.
acb: (jarvis)
Every so often, a stopped clock shows the right time, a right-wing tabloid columnist says something one can agree with, or the PA system in a supermarket plays a good song. The last happened this afternoon, when I was in the local Morrison's; in between some quite ordinary songs, the PA played Aztec Camera's "Somewhere In My Heart", which has been playing in my head since.

I can totally see that song in a mix between any of: The Bodines' "Heard It All", OMD's "Dreaming", The Go-Betweens' "Streets Of Your Town" or Deacon Blue's "Real Gone Kid" (to name four tracks that come to mind).

Which reminds me: some way, somehow, I'm going to have to get back into DJing.
acb: (fey indie boy)
Observations on listening to Mark Radcliffe's show tonight on BBC2:
  • Gogol Bordello sound like Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen crossed with a NME new-wave revival band.
  • The new Belle & Sebastian single, Funny Little Frog, sounds nothing like Belle & Sebastian. There is nothing particularly fey about it (other than the title, of course); the vocals are strong and confident and it bounces along energetically. It could easily be, say, The Thrills or The Magic Numbers, or anything in the top 40 in the two decades before Stock/Aitken/Waterman and Dr. Dre. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you; it's a pretty classy piece of pop craftsmanship, though don't expect Lord Anthony or The State I Am In.
(xposted to [ profile] thenulldevice:)
acb: (passionate subscriber)
Just writing to say: Machine Translations' "Wolf on a String" EP/album is a work of great beauty. It has everything from glitchy beats to hauntingly melancholy melodies, from lush string arrangements to understated vocals. It'll probably be one of my records of the year.
acb: (passionate subscriber)
A parcel just arrived from Australia, containing four CDs:
  • Francis Plagne - "Idle Bones" (rather quirky multi-instrumental art-pop, interspersed with lots of environmental recordings; it's a bit like something from a Montréal post-rock collective only with the moroseness replaced by a jaunty playfulness. Well, actually, it's a set of enviromnental recordings and drones with three or so jaunty songs scattered between them, though, given that it's from Synæsthesia, that is hardly surprising)
  • Machine Translations - "Wolf on a String"
  • The Winter Ship - "Teardrops" (rather nice Melbourne shoegazer/post-rock, with more than a passing resemblance to Mogwai)
  • and the Australian edition of Camera Obscura's "Underachievers Please Try Harder", with its bonus tracks ("San Francisco Song" and "Amigo Mio", for what it's worth); that came out in 2004, but I was too busy packing to move to London to buy it at the time.
Thanks to my sister for doing the rounds of Melbourne's record shops to pick those up for me.
acb: (coffee)
I spent much of this afternoon sitting in a cafe near Stoke Newington. Good atmosphere, good coffee, execrable music. Their entire music collection seems to consist of one CD on repeat; that CD appears to be a collection of covers of obvious Bob Marley songs done in corporate-jazz/R&B-ballad/bland-acoustic-ballad/smooth-black-music-for-rich-white-people style. It appears that there is a whole generation of musicians influenced by Kenny G, Luther Vandross and Boyz II Men Color Me Bad, churning out insipidly bland pabulum in fully-equipped ProTools studios somewhere (presumably) near LA.

If I ran a café, one of my key hiring criteria for staff would be that they have to be passionate about music. It doesn't matter what kind of music: whether it's hip hop, krautrock, country and western or whatever. As long as they care enough to bring in things that have inspired someone, rather than falling in the valley of the undead at the statistical average of public taste, and dig up the good things that don't end up getting played otherwise. Part of the job description would involve bringing in CDs to put on.

(Of course, they'd have to be able to make a decent cup of coffee, but that can be learned.)


Nov. 9th, 2005 12:53 pm
acb: (morrissey)
I'm now listening to Nada Surf's cover of OMD's If You Leave. It's rather good. (Thanks, [ profile] trayce.)

Entirely by coincidence, a few days ago, I ordered "Pretending To See The Future", the indiepop tribute to OMD, from the Shelflife $1 CD sale, along with a stack of other discs. It should arrive within a week.

The first OMD song I remember hearing was Dreaming. It was playing, quietly, on a ferry on a school trip to Tasmania in 1991. I didn't know what it was, but remembered it when I next heard it. It appealed to me for the same reason that New Order did: the combination of polished electronics, catchy pop melodies, and the human condition. My favourite OMD song now, though, would probably be Souvenir; nicely understated, in exactly the way that the shiny, sassy Pepsi Pop of today isn't, with a good pop melody, and notes of various things (closure, regret, bittersweetness), yet sufficiently enigmatic to not stake its territory in any one small part of the human condition. Brittle Stars' cover of it is also good, with a cello and some shoegazey touches, and Moby's remix/cover is surprisingly non-sucky.

[Poll #608550]
acb: (beatnik)
  • Yesterday, I went to Banksy's recent exhibition, Crude Oils, at 100 Westbourne Grove. (It's on until Monday.) It basically consists of "remixed" oil paintings, as seen through his characteristically cynical sensibility; think 19th romantic landscapes with police incident notices, CCTV cameras and shackled and hooded Iraqi prisoners and such. Oh, and the gallery was crawling with live rats. I've written more about this here, and there are photos here.
  • Last night, I went to the Club AC30 gig at the Water Rats, seeing a few bands of a shoegazey stripe. I saw only part of Sleepless's set, though they were OK. Sennen were good; they sounded a bit like a cross between Season and the Underground Lovers at their most krautrocky. Then there were Malory; they're a German band who appear to have been very much influenced by Slowdive. One could probably describe them as two parts Slowdive and one part Kraftwerk (not because they're German or their use of electronics (which is sporadic) but because of the precision of their music; their drummer even plays from a click track). Finally, Ulrich Schnauss went up and played some tracks, mostly new ones. Much of his tracks seemed to be coming from a PowerBook, though he was playing melodies on a keyboard over them, and there was a female vocalist/guitarist playing along with him. It wasn't exactly rock'n'roll, but it was good. I ended up going home with pockets full of CDs.
  • The Nathan Barley DVD turned up in the post this morning, and it's well bum. Even though the booklet that comes with it is essentially a Nathan Barley-branded pisstake on Banksy. More about that in my blog.
  • This afternoon, I spent some time wandering around Canonbury/Newington Green, which is quite a pleasant area. I was taking photos of a plaque-shaped hole in a fence post when a boho-looking black dude saw me with my camera and spontaneously started striking poses. It turns out he's a bit of a local character there, a DJ and a youth worker. I suspect that that area could be the London equivalent of North Fitzroy/East Brunswick.
acb: (fey indie boy)
A copy of Den Baron's The Soundtrack Of My Life arrived in the post last night. I ordered it on the strength of various tracks I had heard around the place (the Airpop Terminal 2 compilation that was everywhere for a while, and the Seven Summers: International Pop Vol. 2 compilation).

It's quite decent summery jangly bossa-pop; a bit like the Sounds of Leamington Spa compilations or various Sarah bands, with a few 60s soul influences, some synth strings and the odd thrift-shop keyboard. It's not too far from Spearmint (who are also on Apricot outside of the UK). It has its ups and downs, and the vocals sound a bit awkward in places, though that's all C86, innit? The singer's German accent (think thin indie-boy vocals, not sternly Teutonic goth-metal) adds to the C86-ish shambolicity of the package.

When I get back into DJing at indie-pop nights (possibly when Tigermilking gets back off the ground), I'll probably spin some tracks from this; alternatively, I could see about sneaking a run of twee jangle-pop into a Lounge AC30 set (once that gets out of hiatus); late in the set, when people have had a bit to drink, one could probably get away with a lot worse.
acb: (morrissey)
I just found out that My Favorite have broken up. I'm glad I got to see them, though it is somewhat bittersweet to know that there isn't any more where that came from.
acb: (make coldplay history)
A package arrived in the mail today for me, containing the new EP from BAM BAM. (They're that really tight pop/rock band (they call themselves "Swank Rock") from Melbourne, who sound somewhere between Transvision Vamp, 1960s garage rock and a bit of Lush; they're fronted by Kristie Montagu, who wrote a best-selling book about op shops in Melbourne and does other cool things.) I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, though look forward to doing so.

Tonight, I went to Bethnal Green, and caught most of a band called The Kissing Time. They were enjoyable, in a post-C86/Library Records sort of way; they sounded a bit like Tugboat (mostly the vocal harmonies). A few of their songs were a bit bland and AOR-ballady; one of them sounded not unlike 1927. I'm told that this is because one of them is into Coldplay.
acb: (fey indie boy)
I recently heard a rather impressive track from a CD by one Francis Plagne, titled "Idle Bones". It's a sort of jaunty melodic art-pop with understated vocals, surrealistic lyrics, constantly changing instrument lines and musique-concrete elements, apparently made by a 17-year-old in a bedroom somewhere in Melbourne. From that one track (which was played on RRR's International Pop Underground a week or two ago), it sounds somewhere between Machine Translations and a bedroom Architecture In Helsinki.

It's out on Synaesthesia, whose online ordering facilities appear to be broken or nonexistent.
acb: (fey indie boy)
The first My Favorite album, Love at Absolute Zero, arrived in the mail today. It's similar to The Happiest Days Of Our Lives/the Joan of Arc trilogy: a combination of synthpop keyboards, live drums, gloriously jangly guitars, the odd dub influence, upbeat pop tunes and beautifully heartbreakingly poetic lyrics, like some combination of OMD, New Order and The Smiths, only with better songwriting than most, if not all, of those. (IMHO, as a songwriter, Michael Grace Jr. holds his own alongside 1980s Morrissey quite comfortably.)

My Favorite are increasingly living up to their name in my book. There are bands you like, and then there are bands you feel passionately about, see whenever they play (assuming they still exist), whose CDs you end up buying in large quantities to give to people and whose tracks end up on mix tapes; the bands which are transcendently brilliant because their music says something profound (whether with words or otherwise). For me, there have been a handful of the latter: The Paradise Motel, Slowdive, The Field Mice and ninetynine. And it looks like there is now another one.

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