I recently learned that the band JJ72 are breaking up. Even though I haven’t listened to them in somewhere approaching four years, this news made me sad. Back in early 2000, they were the first band that I ever interviewed. I was really nervous, going to the now-closed Camden Falcon, and asking for Acko, the tour manager, who turned out to be nine feet tall. He led us into the backroom, where the band was soundchecking, and it was my first taste of seeing a band play to a room of just five people. The interview itself went well and they turned out to be kind of lovely. Over the next few months they grew and grew from being “our” band to being “as seen on Top of the Pops” big.

So when it was announced last week that after two albums, one line-up change and ultimately no record label, they’re packing it in, it got me thinking about some of the other bands I’ve interviewed. Mo*Ho*Bish*O*Pi. My Vitriol. Younger Younger 28s. Straw. Alfie. Preston School of Industry… Where are any of them now? I talked to Johnny Marr on the phone once, but despite his being in one of the 80s’ most iconic bands, his band The Healers have also sank without trace. I think I’m a bad talisman for bands. Clinic are the only band I can think of who’re still around – and even they’ve been quiet for a long, long time. Whatever happened to those Coldplay guys? They were nice...

[links to some of their songs]


With individual taste being what it is, I’m surprised to see that many critics agree that the new Gomez album, ‘How We Operate’, is their best in years and years. I’m really interested in the idea of a return to form – as if to say “Well done, lads, you’ve finally put out an album that isn’t shit! First time in four attempts! Nice one!” I really love their debut album ‘Bring It On’, and this new one is the first one I’ve enjoyed since, so I guess I’m going along with the consensus here. Saw them at Glastonbury in ’99 and they were fantastic, but a couple of times after that on the ‘Liquid Skin’ tour they were rubbish, including an interminable set at the Forum in London where every song had twenty minutes’ worth of drum fills.

There’s a new gig of theirs available to download as part of NPR’s excellent All Songs Considered series. The good: they play lots of old songs. The bad: they still like to stretch every song out, and the drums are still all over the place. Nice version of ‘Make No Sound’, though. Check them out.


You may be aware that there’s a World Cup going on at the moment. British comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner used to cover World Cups with a nightly installment of their actually-very-funny TV show Fantasy Football League. This year, though, they’re doing a podcast. I found out about it over the weekend and listened to all the episodes so far. It’s nice to hear the latest gossip, match reports and some coverage that just doesn’t make it to the U.S. Unfortunately, there are lots of things that I don’t like about their podcast. In bullet form:

· Baddiel laughing at his own (terrible) jokes and observations

· Frank Skinner playing banjo

· All their rubbish songs, except the one about David Pleat on a plane which was actually funny

· Skinner’s Morrissey impressions

· The proliferation of jokes about a) Nazism/The Holocaust, and b) Peter Crouch

Say what you want about our constant dissing of Lion’s Gate, but at least we never busted out the banjo.


At work, I like to listen to audiobooks off my iPod. It makes the time go by more enjoyably than if I were just playing music. I’m working a pretty tedious data entry job at the moment, so I need the time to fly, and not just walk. Today I listened to Michael Chabon’s novella ‘The Final Solution’. I didn’t like it much, as I didn’t like his ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’ much. I can’t really put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy it. It’s a detective story, with the central character supposed to be Sherlock Holmes, but when he solves the mystery, it’s lacking any of the really satisfying explanation that Doyle delivered. The characters were nice and well defined, just the final third let it down, I thought.


That’s enough for today, yeah?


Nico said...

Samir i have thought you possessed an inverse midas touch for years. add to this list the Lo Fidelity All Stars, Straw, Younger Younger 28s and the Manic Street Preachers and you have a fan no band would want to come near them :) sorry x

keep up the blog, i like it very much. u were ahead of all the prancehall kids with the brainfarm and sticking up mp3s of new music. bring back BF and BTZ, lets party like its 1997!

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