Your computer was out of oil

Comedy Album of the Year: Scharpling & Wurster - The Art of the Slap

As a (literally) card-carrying member of the Friends of Tom, I can't be entirely objective about 'Art of the Slap', but suffice to say, it's S&W's most expansive and best compilation yet. Although 'Andy from Newbridge' is a little too gimmicky, the rest of it is genius, including a very angry postal worker/James Blunt fan; extreme cinema's Trent L. Strauss (who you may remember for directing 'You're Soaking in Her'); Horse from Jock Squad, and culminating in an epic, two part installment of "Mother 13: First band to play Mount Everest". Buy it now, youse creeps.

Elsewhere, it was a strong year for comedy albums. I enjoyed Patton Oswalt's 'Werewolves and Lollipops' for his combination of political disgust, pop cultural disgust, nerdiness, and his handling of a heckler during an otherwise sweet story about abortion. Maria Bamford, the only Comedienne of Comedy who came off respectably when I saw the documentary, put out a solid album called 'How to Win!' where her insecurities and different voices came to the fore. Despite his presence on 'Best Week Ever', a show I can't stand, I really liked 'Impersonal' by Paul F. Tomkins. There's no intro or outro, and a great story about goths. What's not to love? Meanwhile, all three of the above, plus others were featured on the compilation, which was ace, particularly Andy Daly's bit where he doesn't really tell any jokes, and Mindy Kaling's story about retarded people. Comedy Death Ray. Finally, Michael Ian Black's album 'I Am A Wonderful Man' was funny, too, although he was involved in the weirdest part of 'The Ten', so he gets a slight scowl from me.

[download Scharpling & Wurster - Philly Boy Roy (excerpt)]
[download Maria Bamford - Alicia Keys]
[download Michael Ian Black - Gay?]

[The Best Show on WFMU myspace / official site]
[Patton Oswalt myspace / official site]
[Maria Bamford myspace / official site]
[Paul F. Tomkins myspace / official site]
[Comedy Death Ray myspace / official site]
[Michael Ian Black myspace / official site]

4play: Bottom of the Barrel

What with the proliferation of streaming video sites, and a summer where I didn't have anything to do after 5pm for three whole months, I managed to see a whole lot of shitty movies this year. Here's a recap of the four worst. They're all blockbusters, which in a way seem like an easy target, but to be honest, I didn't see any truly horrendous indies this year (though Eagle Vs. Shark was a bit pants). Also, if you're looking for more of a laugh, the AV Club did a piece about the year's worst films which is way funnier than mine.

Evan Almighty - I wrote about this one pretty extensively at the time. I guess it wasn't completely abhorrent, unlike some of those below, but it was just a whole lot of not good.

300 - Hoo boy. The non-fighting parts were boring enough, but when you're waiting for the fighting parts to stop because those are boring, something's wrong. Here's what I wrote at the time.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - I didn't hate it as much as the Good Doctor seemed to but that doesn't mean I liked this overwrought, soulless, plotless, senseless waste of my three hours. Why they didn't just call it "Pirates : Fuck you, audience!" is beyond me. (Original review)

Epic Movie - Easily the worst film of the year, possibly the worst film I've ever seen. When I saw it, I couldn't even write the words to convey the hatred, so I opted for an Alan Partridge clip instead. Apparently, watching two episodes of 'Best Week Ever' was enough research for these guys to base a film around. Who needs a joke when there's FOUR musical breakdowns. With 'Meet the Spartans' due to drop soon, I'm gonna have a whole lot more hate where this came from. You know I'm going to watch it. Take it away, Hater.

Acting out your own death

Most unfairly maligned cover version: The Killers - Shadowplay

I mean, I can understand why the Killers are hated on by certain elements. Saying that your upcoming record is the greatest in twenty years, while being named Flowers, and seemingly modelling your look upon that of Manuel Almunia, it's pretty annoying. Especially when, as it turns out, 'Sam's Town' was, at best, a whole heap of okay. What's more, I love Joy Division, and can understand why they're seen as a sacred cow to many. But I still kinda feel like this cover was never given much of a chance. I think it's pretty good - not a simple identical copy of the original, with plenty of the Killers' best elements (big guitars, whoo's), and still keeps the original's sense of detachment and longing. It gets a resolutely uncool yet adamant thumbs up from me.

[download The Killers - Shadowplay]

[The Killers myspace / official site]
[Buy Control soundtrack UK / US]

I won't get in your gang

Best 60s soul themed indie album of the year: Lucky Soul - The Great Unwanted

Great songs, good choruses, solid arrangements... it's a shame 'The Great Unwanted' didn't get much more attention this year. I shouted about it wherever I could, and I'm sure I heard 'Get Outta Town!' in a shoe advert, but this album seems to have stayed under radar, and that's a pity. There's a 100% pop sensibility throughout the record, whether on the stompers ('Add Your Light to Mine, Baby', 'Lips are Unhappy', the title) and the very, very sad torch songs like 'Baby It's Yours' or 'It's Yours'. Again, if they had a bigger push, this could've been a smash. Never mind, more for us, right? Also, they're better than Winehouse.

[download Lucky Soul - Ain't Never Been Cool]

[Lucky Soul myspace / official site]
[buy 'The Great Unwanted' UK / US]

This is all we care about

Most Disconcerting Trend: Great bands that are younger than I am

I'll be turning 25 in February, and for the first time this year, I really noticed that there are (a) plenty of bands who are way younger than me, and (b) many of them are actually really great.

From the United States, there are two bands of Kids (Black and Cool), from Jacksonville and Chicago respectively, who are pretty good and show promise for the future. Cool Kids, particularly, have the balls to name a song 'I Rock' and it's entirely accurate. Beirut put out a great second album that sounds like a travelling carnival. I'm sure there's other American whippersnappers that I'm forgetting.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the water, London gave us Cajun Dance Party, whose single 'Amylase' is one of those summer singles that grabs your attention and stamps on your attention and then leaves your attention bleeding on the pavement. Their mate Fryars put out an EP that I talked about here before Stereogum and GWFA (small victories!) and Ben sent me a nice message over myspace, so I've nothing but time for him. Los Campesinos! have received all the attention in the world, and good luck to them with the album due very soon. My birthday party had a facebook event entitled 'You! Me! Dancing!' in fact.

The year's MVPs for me, though, were The Strange Death of Liberal England, a band whose debut album 'Forward March!' brought out the best parts of dearly beloved Hope of the States, plus a bloke whose voice is like Efrim's from A Silver Mt. Zion. For me, at least, it's been a match made in vocal post-rock heaven. Check 'em out.

[download Cajun Dance Party - Amylase]
[download The Strange Death of Liberal England - I Saw Evil]

Bonus: 'I Rock' (live) from the Cool Kids video:

[Black Kids myspace / official site]
[Cool Kids myspace / official site]
[Beirut myspace / official site]
[Cajun Dance Party myspace / official site]
[Fryars myspace / official site]
[Los Campesinos! myspace / official site]
[The Strange Death of Liberal England myspace / official site]

Boom cha-cha, boom-boom cha

Best band to cancel a gig in my town: Bonde do Role

I mean, I know they're not a great band, but 'With Lasers' is a fun album, and sure enough I was totally stoked to see them live. But they cancelled a whole swathe of dates in October, including a show at Common Grounds in Gainesville, Florida, where I live. I was mad as hell, because nothing makes me happier than dancing like a spaz to baille funk with heavy metal guitars and that lyric about gorillas, with a pretty girl singing. So I was truly upset at them cancelling. And then in December, Marina left the band, so the chances are pretty slim that they'll reschedule the date. And even if they do, it'll just be the two blokes. So a humbug upon those kids!

[download Bonde do Role - Gasolina (Buraka Som Sistema remix)]

[Bonde do Role myspace]
[buy 'With Lasers' UK / US]

They've got cars big as bars

Festive cover of the year: Ted Leo - Fairytale of New York

Teddy Rockstar (and his missus) stopped by WFMU last night to keep Tom Scharpling (and his missus) Christmas-night company. They discussed nudity, gifts, and how you shouldn't shop at Kohl's if you're pro-Christmas. Then, at the end of the show, TL busted out the tunes. In addition to 'Feliz Navidad', my least favourite Christmas December Wishes Song, he did an a cappella old Christmas song that was terrifying, and after Tom prohibited him from playing 'Colleen', closed out the show with the best December Wishes song of all, helpfully taking out all the toilet mouth and making it more radio friendly.

Happy Boxing Day!

[download Ted Leo - Fairytale of New York] - new link, should work!

Also, here's a video of the song from '88 with Kirsty, Joe Strummer and David Byrne.

[Ted Leo and the Pharmacists myspace / official site]
[The Best Show on WFMU]

What way is that to live your life?

Best Glasgow song of the year 2: Glasvegas - Daddy's Gone

(Incidentally, Malky probably would have made it into this category, but I already gave him some props, before I thought of this one. So there).

Glasvegas are from Glasgow, not from Las Vegas. You can hear the Glasgow in the man's voice. I tried about another of their songs and failed miserably. 'Go Square Go' could've made the cut, too, but let's stick with 'Daddy's Gone', a song whose title tells you everything you need to know. There's some rumbling bass, harmonies, a big ending, and very sad lyrics. What more do you need?

[download Glasvegas - Daddy's Gone]

[Glasvegas - myspace / official site]

Living out a dream I had

Best Glasgow song of the year 1: Emma Pollock - Paper and Glue

When the delgados broke up a couple of years, I was really sad because I loved them - but I completely understood. You can be critically acclaimed all you want, but that doesn't pay the bills. I saw them play in half-full houses in America a couple of times, and that's no good. Plus, after 'Universal Audio', they had nowhere to go musically, so it was as good a time as any.

So this year, co-lead-vocalist Emma Pollock returned, first with a song on the 'Ballad of the Books' compilation, which featured most of the Glasgow luminaries, and then the debut album 'Watch the Fireworks', which I'm very happy to say, was really good. Singles 'Acid Test' and 'Adrenaline' set the tone nicely, 'If Silence Means That Much to You' is sinister and angry, and 'The Optimist' ends things on a powerful note, but it's 'Paper and Glue' that has the killer-est chorus. She toured the U.S. with the New Pornographers not long ago, and there's a nice tour diary on her site. I really wish that tour had come further south than Atlanta... those jerks. As a bonus, listen to her set in D.C. on NPR as part of their great All Songs Considered live series.

[download Emma Pollock - Paper and Glue]

[Emma Pollock - myspace / official site]
[Buy 'Watch the Fireworks' UK / US]

Then I tell you some more about me

Best Music Video: Maximo Park - Our Velocity

This was a pretty strong selection to pick from. Could've gone with higher profile selections like Zach and Will and some morris dancers, Justice and their t-shirts, Ted Leo's which was written by Tom Scharpling, or Snoop's latest masterpiece. All were great, but all had a lot more attention that 'Our Velocity', which took seemingly simple stop-motion technology, and turned it into a whole room full of Maximos. I really liked the concept, and it was pulled off brilliantly. The song, too, is ace - seven choruses, more hooks than a regulation dressing room, and the word "velocity" in the title. As seems to be this band's way, the album was pretty uneven - a couple of great songs to jump off a chair to ('The Unshockable' is particularly ace) but mostly forgettable. But that 'Velocity' video - top marks.

[Maximo Park myspace / official site]

4play: The future's bright

Best bands that will release albums in early 2008

1. British Sea Power

BSP's third album is called 'Do You Like Rock Music?' and it's a huge leap forward from their also-great older material. As you may expect from the title, it's heavier than they've ever been, the guitars chime like the Bunnymen, there's a nod to the Hitler Youth ('No Lucifer') and plenty more that I haven't yet had time to fully absorb. Having been straight-up blown away when I saw them way back in 2001 at the Dublin Castle (!) in Camden, co-headlining with National Prayer Breakfast (!!). Check out first single, 'Waving Flags' in the embed:

2. A Silver Mt. Zion

They toured for most of the year, and then didn't put out an album! But since I've slowly become fully immersed in the world of all these Constellation bands, and since 'God Bless Our Dead Marines' is one of my new favourite songs, I'm now very eager to check out '13 Blues for Thirteen Moons', which is due in March. Here's a live recording of the first song.

[download A Silver Mt. Zion - One Million Died to Make this Sound (live)]

3. dEUS

It's no secret that I'm kind of in love with the grandaddies of Belgian music (that description makes them sound crap, though). The good news is that unlike the seven years it took them to make 2005's 'Pocket Revolution', this time it was only three years. The new one is coming soon, says Tom Barman on their website and I'm sure I'll love it. Not a lot of details yet, everything that's known is here. And to tide you over, here's a nice live video.

4. The Notwist

Please? It's about time. We still remember.

The beard is still rocking

Best song by, about Les Savy Fav:

Les Savy Fav - Kiss Kiss Is Getting Old; Jetplane Landing - Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav On The Radio?

I wonder how many times I can use the words Les, Savy and Fav in this post? I've never really been all that into the Tim Harrington-fronted band, but this year's 'Let's Stay Friends' was a little more accessible than their older stuff. And since I'm obviously a huge square, I really dug it a lot. It's not too abrasive, there are some tunes and melodies, but it still makes a whole wall of noise and is pretty bonkers. Since I'm a sucker for male/female vocals, my favourite song on the record is 'Kiss Kiss Is Getting Old'.

Meanwhile Londonderry's most righteous band of hot-rockin' bastards Jetplane Landing came back this year with an album called 'Backlash Cop', which shouted out Dizzy Gillespie, Sam Cooke and Les Savy Fav. The song in question asks a valid question, and quite possibly has the lyric "I love U2 more than I probably should". Andrew Ferris has never sounded more angry, the band has never sounded more tight (I managed to catch them a few times back in the day, because they're mates with Seafood) and I really wish a few more of you here in the States liked JPL. Check 'em.

[download Les Savy Fav - Kiss Kiss Is Getting Old]
[download Jetplane Landing - Why Do They Never Play Les Savy Fav On The Radio?]

[Les Savy Fav - myspace / official site]
[Jetplane Landing - myspace / official site]

I ain't no abacus but you can count on me

London album of the year 2: Jamie T - Panic Prevention

From the opposite, southern end of the city, the debut album from the real J.T. begins with him shouting "Fucking croissant!"and it goes only uphill from there. 'Panic Prevention' is a big silo full of energy, joy, ideas, hooks, put-downs and choruses. I'd like it a lot more if there weren't about three songs which I ALWAYS skip, but let's forget those. There are few songs I've played this year more times than 'Salvador', 'Calm Down Dearest' and 'Back in the Game'. Few! My housemate and I spent many a happy hour skanking through the house to 'If You Got the Money'. 'Pacemaker' shouts out the 12 Bar Club (Denmark Street, son!). Jamie's not-quite-singing, not-quite-rapping is endearing, the tales are personal and occasionally very dark (that'll be singalong 'Sheila') but always ace. Hopefully he'll make more of an impact in the States next year, but the boy can toast a job well done, because even with the misfires, 'Panic Prevention' is pretty fucking great.

[download Jamie T - Operation]

[Jamie T myspace / official site]
[buy 'Panic Prevention' US / UK]

We make sure we are noticed

London album of the year 1: Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City

I'm kind of like Roy Zielger in the way that I will always give a chance to any band from my home city. Often, they turn out to be balls (not naming any names, Towers) but there have been plenty of success stories to justify my irritatingly stubborn attitude. Two great records out of the capital L this year. The first one disappointed a lot of people because it didn't go hit-hit-hit-hit-hit like their previous album did, but not unlike 'You Could Have It So Much Better', it's well worth coming back to. The first five songs are stonkers, then it lapses a bit, though 'I Still Remember' is a solid single and the last track 'SXRT' is great, check out the live version below, with a choir. Back to the first half, though...

The xylophones on 'Waiting for the 7.18', 'Hunting for Witches' and its 'Daily Mail' bashing, the COLOSSAL bit in 'The Prayer' when the bass kicks in and it sounds like a spaceship is landing on your head, 'Uniform's' transition from gentle to mental to gentle again... all good, good stuff. And that opener... it's good and all, but I really wish they'd made it sound more like the vastly superior demo version. 'Flux' is a bit gash, though, isn't it?

[download Bloc Party - Song for Clay (Demo)]
[download Bloc Party - SXRT (Live, with the Exmoor Singers)]

[Bloc Party myspace / official site]
[buy 'A Weekend in the City' US / UK]

Success! Hoorah!

Most disproportionately elaborate song title: The New Pornographers - All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth

The song is like two minutes long! The title takes three minutes to say! Still, it's a solid song from a pretty stellar album, which boasts some good tracklisting vocabulary - any band would get my respect for using 'Myriad' and 'Mutiny' in titles. There's a little too much going on on 'Challengers', I think that having four different lead vocalists over ten tracks makes it a little disjointed, and there are fewer knockout songs than on their previous records. But 'Go Places' is very pretty, 'All the Old Showstoppers' builds to a mountain of joy, and 'Unguided' was Carl's longest song ever. I wish their U.S. tour had come further south than Atlanta (they're not the only ones), but I still love 'em.

[download The New Pornographers - All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth]

[The New Pornographers myspace also with a Christmas song! - official site]
[buy 'Challengers' UK / US]

Superb in every word

Most misleadingly fantastic album opener: The Go! Team - Grip Like a Vice

I'd never been too hot on the Go! Team. Thought the first record was alright, but didn't go nuts about it the way many did. But then I heard 'Grip Like a Vice' sometime in the spring and thought "Holy Shitballs! This song is amazing, and I was clearly wrong about this band all along". I'm never wrong! 'Grip' does what it promises - old rickety piano into fiesty rap with punch-the-air attitude and bags of sass. The rest of 'Proof of Youth' kind of passed me by, though, in a blur of kind-of-blandness. Even Chuck D showing up can't really help me get into it. It all blends into one not-very-good boring track, to my ears. But 'Grip Like a Vice' is the Megaladon of tunes.

[download The Go! Team - Grip Like a Vice]

[The Go! Team myspace / official site]
[Buy 'Proof of Youth' US / UK]

All that I do turns to be wrong

Best cover of a classic Christmas Number One - Maps: Stay Another Day

This one is sort of cheating, since it just went up today, but since I mentioned the Christmas Number One phenomena recently, I think it's relevant. Northampton's Maps, whose debut album came out this year and was pretty good, has covered 'Stay Another Day', East 17's 1994 honoree. If you've never heard of East 17, you're missing out, read the Wiki. Maps' cover takes out the sleigh bells and the annoying "stay now!"s of the original, but had a lot more feedback. And you, sir, can download it for free from About the song, Maps says:

“This song is my special Xmas gift to you, inspired by taking 12 Es and running myself over in my own car. Only an enormous puffer jacket prevented me from certain death.”
[download Maps - Stay Another Day]

[Maps official site / myspace]

Bonus: Here's the East 17 video, in all its mid-90s glory. The best part is 40s into it:

Try to keep your trousers on

Least Effective Sophomore Slump - Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare

I don't know the exact statistic, but I'm pretty sure that, in Britain, every person bought eight copies of the band's debut last year. That put a lot of pressure on t'Arctics to not screw up this time around. Bringing in producer James Ford from Simian Mobile Disco probably helped, as did jettisoning choruses, rocking harder than they ever did before, playing it slow and not sounding crap ('505' for the win) and generally making an album that didn't lose its appeal after the 15th listen. 'Do Me a Favour' is genuinely emotional, 'Balaclava' is a whole lot of fun, and 'Old Yellow Bricks' and 'Teddy Picker' are killer for bedroom air guitar. Also, great music video for 'Brianstorm' and great live performance of 'Fluorescent Adolescent'. Shame about that latter song title, though, eh?

[download Arctic Monkeys - 505 (live at Glastonbury)]

[Arctic Monkeys - official site / myspace]
[Buy 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' US / UK]

At night when I have nothing else to do

Best singer whose name sounds like slang for diabetes - Candie Payne
Worst joke of the year - the one above

Sorry, that was truly horrendous.

Anyway, Candie Payne's debut album 'I Wish I Could've Loved You More' came out in May and was a great summer record. With Mark Ronson involved behind the scenes, the record recalls classy vocalists of the past, like Dusty Springfield and frankly any time someone evokes Dusty, I'm bound to be hooked. The slower songs are ideal for smoky jazz rooms ('In the Morning' is sexier than Kathleen Turner!), and 'One More Chance' and the title track give the album some nice up tempo balance. You can stream the whole record through her site, and why wouldn't you do that?

[download Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More]

[Candie Payne myspace - also with a Christmas song!]
[Buy 'I Wish...' UK / US]

I'm not good enough for Saturdays

Most charming album title sentiment: Softlightes: 'Say No! To Being Cool, Say Yes! To Being Happy'

I don't know a whole lot about Californian band Softlightes other than that they're Californian. Oh, and they're on Modular Records, home of the Avalanches. Their record this year, with the unwieldy but actually-kinda-cool title, was pretty. Low-key, restrained, but stellar. Sometimes it's a little precious ('If the World had Cookies') but enjoyable all the way through. There's a pretty untitled duet ('Untitled Duet #3'), an all-out summer stormer ('Heart Made of Sound'), one about John Lennon's death ('Leanor and Me') and a song called 'The Robots in my Bedroom were Playing Arena-Rock'. It reminds me a bit of the Postal Service, but with more instrumentation, less computers, and less irritating lyrics. This little album may have passed many people by, but it's well worth looking out for, it'll leave you feeling happy.

[download Softlightes -The Microwave Song]

[Softlightes myspace - hear their Christmas song!]
[buy 'Say No!... US / UK]

The internet is full of mean and evil people

Best Supergroup - The Black Arts

...With all apologies to Velvet Revolver.

Have you heard The Black Arts Christmas single, 'Christmas Number One'? It's pretty ridiculous. There's a lyric about the Devil's dandruff. The concept of Christmas Number One isn't too big a deal here in the States, but in the U.K. some people really care about it. It's usually some terrible, TV talent show single, but this year members of Black Box Recorder and Art Brut got together to write this song. I'm not going to post the song itself - watch the video here (complete with star wipes!) - but here's the b-side, featuring a great Eddie Argos rant and some nice harmonies. Luke Haines is a genius, Eddie Argos is a genius, Sarah Nixey has a sexy voice, what's not to love?

[download The Black Arts - Glam Casual]

A tenner in my pocket and fridge full of beer

It's time for my end-of-year posts, I think. I'm not making a list, because I really have trouble ranking music. So, as I did last year, I'm going to come up with arbitrary awards and accolades to give songs/records that I was especially fond of this year. You'll pick it up as we go along.

Most improved - Malcolm Middleton

Malky's first two albums were dour, dark, depressing and other "D" adjectives. He's got a really soft voice, and over the skeletal songs on those albums, he was very, very sad. In the spring, he put out 'A Brighter Beat', and it's fanfuckingtastic. What happened? More instruments, more pulse, more variation, more happiness... well, maybe not that last one, although 'Fuck It, I Love You' was kind of pretty. Elsewhere, there's some rockin' moments (I've posted 'Death Love Depression Love Death' before), a great candidate for Christmas Number One ('We're All Going to Die') and in 'Superhero Songwriters' a straight-up opus. Oh, and don't forget the XFM session I posted in the summer. As an angel said at the end of his first album, his songs are alright.

[download Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat]

[Malcolm Middleton - official site / myspace]
[buy 'A Brighter Beat' US / UK]

Hey Jarrod, you look like Wolverine

My exams finished yesterday! Brilliant! How did they go? Let's move on... (Although my last sentence in the last essay of the last exam was "For shame!")

So to celebrate yesterday I had a couple of beers with the lads, and then watched the New Zealand indie 'Eagle Vs. Shark', which played at, and won at, this year's Sundance. The trailer pretty much tells what you to expect, and it's hard to watch it and not think about Napoleon Dynamite, what with the characters almost entirely being quirky archetypes. One of the guys from Flight of the Conchords is the main guy and plays the awkward, deadpan Jarrod, who's alienated from his family and is on a mission to avenge being bullied in high school. He's the eagle. Lily is the shark, and she's got a crush on Jarrod. Why? Who knows.

There are plenty of laughs in the first half, mostly at the crazy things that these kooks get up to - like throwing shoes at a guy in a helmet - but there isn't a whole lot of depth to it. The second act, when you learn about Jarrod's family background is a little more profound, but even so I struggled to really care. There is a climactic showdown with the bully at the end, and unfortunately, I could predict what would happen an hour before it did happen. Ultimately, there wasn't too much heart in the film, and without that, you end up just laughing at the characters, and not feeling for them. There's nothing wrong, of course, with shallow films just playing it for the laughs but when there is emotional heaviness brought in - as there is in the second act here - it has to resonate, and there wasn't too much of that with 'Eagle vs. Shark'.

But the Roses did play over the end credits. Nice one.

[download The Stone Roses - This is the One]

Birdsong calling my name

Next week, I'll start doing some end of year malarkey, because I'm sure that you're all just itching to know what my 33rd most favourite record of the year was. In the meantime, though, some good news! There's a brand new track from Get Cape Wear Cape Fly available right now for free. Sam's debut album, 'The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager' was a sleeper hit, and something I've played the proverbial shit out of over the last year. His song 'Once More With Feeling', in particular, makes me swoon every single time.

The new song, 'Waiting for the Monster to Drown' is from his upcoming second album, due in March and co-produced by Nitin Sawhney(!) and sho'nuff you can hear some nice electronic drum loops in there and it sounds like some canned violins too. It's all very plesant, except right at the end he starts screaming, which I could've done without. But as a taster, it's still oh-so-delicious. Second album? Call me Eager.

[download Get Cape Wear Cape Fly - Waiting for the Monster to Drown]

What's the use in making the bed?

Black Kids
Gainesville Common Grounds
November 27, 2007

It's nice that Black Kids are getting so much exposure. They're from Jacksonville, about two hours away from here, and so it means that my housemate and other friends know the guys from the band. It also means that at the end of their set, people were shouting "DUUUVAAAL!" at them, which you have to be from Florida to understand. After giving the world Limp Bizkit, it's nice to have something a little more credible to call our local band.

The downside of the massive hype machine already behind them is that they only have, like, ten songs, and so it's too soon to speak of them as the next saviours of music. Other people can debate the hype all they want. It's weird, though, that the band has played more shows in New York than in Florida (outside of Jacksonville), and next week have like six London dates lined up. Remember, they have ten songs.

But ignoring all that, we went to check 'em on Tuesday and they were pretty solid. Not spectacular, but really good. The band knows how to get people dancing, recalling in parts The Cure (Reggie has a Smith-like voice) and the Killers, with their twin synth onslaught. Also, if UK readers remember the band Younger Younger 28s, there's a touch of them in there too. I never, ever thought I'd bring up YY28s on this website. Just the two girls, one bloke approach on vocals, that's about it.

They opened really well and finished really well, with a bit of a lull in the middle. What are these guys? 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'? (I've been meaning to make that joke ever since the show a few nights ago).

People only know four of their songs, and they threw out the best known, 'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You' very early, but others like 'Hurricane Jane' and the last one they played show that they've got some good ideas under that Afro. If you see them, expect nothing more than a good dance and you'll be golden. Also, throw shapes!

[download the 'Wizard of Ahhs' EP from their official site]
Thanks to Sarah for the pic - see her full set on Flickr.

More like "Dr. No Thanks"

I've got exams coming up very soon, so I'll either post a lot more in here, or even less than I already have been. In lieu of real content, here are some links that you should click, open, and subsequently read.

  • The Kid begins his quest to review every Bond film. [Scharpling and Wurster]
  • Bradley's Almanac offers two really great (new) live sets - The National(s) in a pub, and even better, Spiritualized in a museum. [Bradley's Almanac]
  • Oh, so that's why we lost to Croatia. [BBC News]
  • is trying to make Lucky Soul the Christmas number one. Good luck with that. []
  • Crispin Glover gets some props. Not mentioned: His eyeball collection. [Guardian Unlimited]
Here, make yourself a nice potato parade, and in case you haven't yet, give some free rice.


Wouldn't have it any other way

Less Than Jake/Pepper
Gainesville Flavet Field
November 12, 2007

Not long ago, my housemate and I were talking about the band Bloodhound Gang, and about how their brand of juvenile, aimed-at-high-schoolers-and-frat-guys music is inoffensive enough, but are they really going to still play the same songs when they're in their 40s? When dudes are a lot older than their audience, and are singing about sex and drugs and booze, it gets a little embarrassing. Enter the evocatively-named Pepper, a band from Hawaii, who know their audience very well, and accordingly play a really dull brand of lightweight ska-rock which all sounds the same, and only talk about how they love getting drunk/high and getting girls to take their tops off and such. Also, they had a song called 'Dirty Hot Sex' (sample lyric: "get down on your knees, and don't forget the balls"). Maybe it's because, at 24, I was older than most of the people in the audience (it was a free show at a college campus), but I just didn't like it at all. Nicest thing to say about Pepper? One dude looked like the main trapper (on the right) from 'Cannibal: The Musical'.

Less Than Jake are pretty juvenile, too - they get people to make out on stage, talk about drinking an awful lot - but at least they know how to have fun. Again, I only vaguely know a couple of their songs and went along because it was free and close to my house and some friends were going, but I had a good time. I didn't quite get the skanking right - my elbows weren't quite hitting my knees - but it was fun regardless. They mentioned a few times that they are from Gainesville, and how they haven't played on the UF campus in twelve years. They went down very well, but like Tom Petty or Chris Leak, they could shit in a trombone and people in Gainesville would go nuts. They threw out lots of t-shirts and other merch from the stage, which is cool I suppose, and they finished, of course, with a massive singalong to their most a propos jam. A nice way to not study on a Monday night, don't know if I'd have gone if it had required any effort on my part, but certainly check them out if you're at a festival and there are no conflicts with bands you'd rather see.

[download Less Than Jake - Gainesville Rock City]

4play: The Sporting Life

Slow Down Ronnie - Mark E. babbles about snooker champ Ronnie O'Sullivan in a manner that is comprehensible only to Mark E.

Jamie Thomas - Camden's favourite son sings about a skateboarder. Good tune for a quick spaz out.

Tony Adams - One legend's tribute to another legend.

Mr. Carbohydrate - "Have you heard of Matthew Maynard? He's my favourite cricketer. I'd rather watch him play, than pick up my guitar".

Bonus: Post Match Analysis - A nice companion piece to 'Tony Adams'. Alas, there are no songs I can think of about Dixon, Winterburn or Bould.

[download Von Sudenfed - Slow Down Ronnie]
[download Graham Coxon - Jamie Thomas]
[download Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Tony Adams]
[download Manic Street Preachers - Mr. Carbohydrate]
[download Blak Twang - Post Match Analysis]

Saturday stuffs

Here are things on the Internet that I think are good.

  • The last three episodes of Music Weekly have featured Ray Davies, King Creosote and Steve Mason - that's a pretty solid track record. The latest one, with Steve using the phrase "like Beelzebub in hotpants" is available here.
  • Speaking of Steve Mason, you can download the single from his new project Black Affair for free from their website. It's electro-pop goodness.
  • Neko Case is offering a new song on her site - it's a demo from the 'Fox Confessor Brings the Flood' days, but it sounds very robust and more developed than yer average demo. It's ace, of course.
  • [download Neko Case - Behind the House (demo)]
  • "I can't believe I'm skipping Gossip Girl for this shit." SAH liveblogs the Country Music Awards.
  • Carrie from Sleater Kinney has a blog and it's great and you should read it. Lest you've forgotten:
  • [download Sleater-Kinney - Entertain]
  • Finally, I know I've not been posting much lately, but I've some good news: I've discovered what I'm going to do after I get my law degree:

The roar of far-off black jets

I can't explain it.

I really like the band Thursday. Have done for years.

I don't like any of the bands that they're often lumped in with, nor do I like much else that sounds like them. I don't know what makes them so special, but I've dug two of their albums - 'Full Collapse' and 'War All the Time' - a whole lot. The latest one, 'A City by the Light Divided' I could take or leave, but I still care enough to have bought their new rarities set 'Kill the House Lights' [buy].

As with most compilations, it's a little hit-or-miss. There's a handful of new songs - lead track 'Ladies and Gentlemen - My Brother, The Failure' (listen at myspace) is probably the most interesting, because it features backing from Tim Kasher out of Cursive. There are some demos, a couple of interludes which I could do without, and a version of 'How Long is the Night' with an extended intro, which again is a little redundant. I bought it over iTunes, so I don't get the DVD with live performances and documentary, so I feel dumb about that. This band are terrific live.

Here's the original, album version of 'How Long is the Night', listen to it!

[download Thursday - How Long is the Night]

Could we lose the brother's suicide?

The TV Set’ is a very, very dark comedy that isn’t intended for a broad audience at all and therefore came out on a small independent label and wasn’t really seen by many people. Fittingly, it’s about a television program, a very, very dark comedy that isn’t intended for a broad audience at all BUT gets picked up by a major network and then gets watered down to reach the broadest possible audience. There are big(ish) names in the film – David Duchovny, Sigourney Weaver and Ioan Gruffudd – so it was a surprise that this film flew completely under the radar. It’s pretty good, no big laughs but a steady flow of chuckles. It’s interesting to see how the network television system works in all its ugliness. There are plenty of parts where, like Duchovny, you want to punch the suits in their stupid collective face. The thing is – who really cares? This film, with its many digs at the system, is aimed at such a narrow audience, that the focus group scene that’s played for laughs seems very appropriate. I enjoyed ‘The TV Set’, definitely, but one of the running punchlines is sleazy reality television shows, like ‘Slut Wars’, the network’s flagship show. Gruffudd’s character is kind of redundant, he begins as an exec who’s going to stand up for the writer’s vision, and then he bottles it. There is an imbalance between the serious, quite astute humour and obvious (dare I say… broad?) jokes. There’s an impassioned speech from Duchovny about the need for original and not lowest-common-denominator programming, and then he yells at his agent for not having seen ‘Taxi Driver’. I never saw director Jake Kasdan’s previous film ‘Orange County’, but I enjoyed his debut ‘Zero Effect’, and his profile’s about to get a lot bigger because he’s part of Team Apatow and this winter’s ‘Walk Hard’ is his too. Check out ‘The TV Set’, but don’t expect to get too much out of it.

Incidentally, series two of ‘Extras’ makes many of the same points in funnier ways.

This is it, this is it, this is it

I'm not the first person to write about Glasvegas, but I may well be the most handsome. I've been listening to their song 'It's My Own Cheatin' Heart That Makes Me Cry' a lot of times, and I'm still not sure how to put it into words. So I'll let Alan McGee do it for me. Do you think he likes exaggeration?:

"It's a DIY epic of pop regret, the sound of Scottish Morrissey singing Del Shannon's songs with Phil Spector arrangements and Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz meeting Noel Gallagher's anthem addiction. An utterly unique proposition and totally soulful." [from 'Viva Glasvegas']

Their are more downloads from the jukebox at their site, and they're all great, and I recommend them highly.

[download Glasvegas - It's My Own Cheatin' Heart That Makes Me Cry (Home Tapes)]

The pain of someone you love

Today's winner of the "Fantastic Music Videos that Samir arbitrarily remembered while walking to the bank this morning" is... 'Stop Your Crying' by Spiritualized (2001).

In context... It was the first new material they'd put out after 'Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space' was named NME's album of the year, and so there was more attention on the band than ever before. I remember hearing the song on XFM for the first time and shrugging a little. It's okay, but the lyrics never really struck me. Nice use of an orchestra and a gospel choir, though... And the cover art was pretty ghoulish. Luckily for me, the album 'Let It Come Down' is astonishing and has far better songs.

But then I saw the video.

Wow. It's one of those moments when cinematography and lighting, which really aren't considerations for music videos, play a huge part. Beginning with just a spotlight on Jason, to opening up and showing the whole orchestra and London Community Gospel Choir, through some gorgeous deep red lights casting huge shadows across the floor, to the huge floodlights... all the thought that went into this piece is majestic. Performance videos are usually the most boring, but this one gives me goosebumps every single time. The still images thrown in really capture moods perfectly - there's one of a beer bottle and a pair of shoes, one of a musician sitting down exhausted and slumped over his cello, one of the choir raising their fists in triumph... I'll leave it for you to watch the video without me saying anymore, but this: if you don't get goosebumps at the 2:54 mark in the video, then you, sir, are probably already dead.

[If the embedded video doesn't show up, click here]

Reading isn't just for squares

Two articles in this month's Observer Music Monthly are worth your attention.

Firstly, there's an excerpt from Slash's soon-to-be-released autobiography. I've never been much of a GNR fan, much less a Velvet Revolver fan, but I absolutely loved reading 'The Dirt', the Motley Crue chronicle, and I'm sure I'll get a giddy thrill out of this one too. In this paragraph, he's talking about either weird hallucinations, members of Hanson, or Jim Henson creations:

They always looked like the creature in Predator to me, but a fraction the size and translucent blue-gray; they were wiry and muscular with the same pointed heads and rubbery-looking dreadlocks. They'd always been a welcome, carefree distraction, but this hallucination was sinister. I could see them gathering in the doorway; there was an army of them, holding tiny machine guns and weapons that looked like harpoons.

Read the whole excerpt here.

There's also a great feature on Sigur Ros, where they get drunk and dance to Village People. It's interesting to see a usually quiet band get hammered and talk about politics and Duran Duran, especially after this emerged over the weekend. Read the feature one here.

Merry Little Fancy Things

Caribou/Born Ruffians
Gainesville Common Grounds
October 13, 2007

There are three of them, they all look about fifteen years old, and from what little we caught of them the other night, Canadian trio Born Ruffians are pretty damn good. Before their last song, someone shouted a request, and the drummer said "We were going to play a different song, but it blows our mind that people know our songs in Florida, so we'd be stupid not to play what you asked for" and I thought that was very sweet. They play songs chock full of energy, with hand-claps and whoo-whoos and were six layers of fun. I even bought the CD! They played a song called 'This Sentence Will Ruin/Save Your Life', which was especially ace. Listen to a whole live set of theirs here and look out for an album early next year.

Dan Snaith, better known as Caribou, has some trippy visuals, and more importantly, two drumkits! Opening with 'Sandy' from his much-loved new record 'Andorra' [buy it], the band suffered from awful sound problems for the whole show. All of them at different times tried to get different levels adjusted, and the result was that vocals were very low and drums (two sets, remember) were really high in the mix. It was still all very enjoyable though - a little harder than on record. Lots of dancing, a couple of Manitoba tracks ('Crayon'!) and a brief encore. I'm not good with his song titles, so I can't give much more of a tracklisting, unfortunately. 'Melody Day' had the most recognition from the audience, of course, and saw more dancing. All in all, a good set but definitely hampered by poor levels.

Playing games in the rain

There's a great article over at the Guardian today about the reformations of several Britpop-era "also-ran" bands, like Dodgy, Kula Shaker and Shed Seven. None of them were ever particularly fashionable, but without them, there may be no Kaiser Chiefs or the View. But they're playing in front of bigger crowds now than ever before. Jim from Gimme Back My Head remains the only Northern Uproar fan in Britain, though.

Best sentence: "One single review said I stank of piss," sighs Witter, still as slender as before (and not noticeably odorous).

Also, look out for the Echobelly diss towards the end.

[download Dodgy - Staying Out for the Summer]

Tailor-made to suit men's needs

I've never seen The Cribs live, but if I ever get the chance, I should probably take a crash helmet along with me. Reports abounded last week of various onstage hijinks, with a passed out singer in the moshpit, and a hospitalised bass player (blood poisoning apparently... yikes). Add to that talk of fights with security guards, and you have a recipe for a mess-sipy. Ahem.

The band have a new single coming out soon, and here's a live version of it. 'Don't You Want to be Relevant' (which isn't on their unwieldily titled new record) will be released with 'Our Bovine Public' sometime in the near future. The song, in its live form at least doesn't really sound all that good, but see what you think. Two more live tracks from the same gig are streaming at 6Music.

[download The Cribs - Don't You Want to be Relevant? (live)]

That's pretty transformative right there

I'm sitting in my Art Law class and we're listening to 2 Live Crew.

Things are good.

Put olive oil on my face

The Forkcast today links to a new song from west London's Estelle, whose long-overdue second record is due out early in '08. The album, 'Shine', will have a lot of big American names helping out, like Wyclef and Kanye and Swizz and John Legend. Not bad at all! She moved to NYC and recorded it there - her blog has some fun stories about life there. Her accounts are touristy and easily impressed, but in a totally endearing kind of way. The new song, 'Wait a Minute', was produced by Will.I.Am and is better than his new song, so that's a plus.

[listen to Estelle - Wait A Minute] (myspace stream)

And lest we forget, here are two of her older songs. Her breakout single, '1980', which has a huge string motif and a Mel and Kim shout-out, and her duet with Blak Twang. I saw them do this live in a park, either 2001 or '02, at an anti-racism event which De La Soul headlined. Good times.

[download Estelle-1980]
[download Blak Twang ft. Estelle - Trixsta]

You don't have a backhand

In the overcrowded realm of the table-tennis themed gross-out comedy, Balls of Fury is probably still the worst. I laughed a few times, thanks to pre-movie drinking, but rest assured I still feel dirty from the laughing. The plot doesn't really need repeating - some mumbo about a fatty, the world's worst FBI agent, gay sex slaves, and Christopher Walken - the dude from 'Envy', lest we forget - in one of his weirdest roles yet. If you like people getting hit in the crotch, a suppository joke, Asian people being hilarious because they're Asian, a blind man falling over, a running stereotype about East German athletes/supporters, Cassandra's dad from Wayne's World 2 (Jeff?), and no sense, then check it out. The main guy is the dollar-store Jack Black, and there's a love story subplot which doesn't fit at all. Also, jackets which explode, and the old plot-arc I talked about before. The biggest laugh, though, was for our drummer-in-Def-Leppard impression when they played 'Rock of Ages' towards the end. 'Balls of Fury' is a harmless film but it's dumb as a brick and probably less ultimately satisfying. Even a brief appearance from 'Rambocky' star Patton Oswalt can't save it.

For a song download, go back here to that Operator Please song that I posted earlier in the summer which is entirely fitting today.

From poisoned cloud to poisoned dwarf

OK, so you've probably heard about the biggest news in the world ever ever, and though I'm excited and it may - hopefully - legitimately shake up the industry in terms of distribution, etc, I just have one gripe.

Still no Big Boots? Come on!

[download Radiohead - Big Boots (live)]

That spark of electrical something or other

Welcome to this week's episode of "Really Unlikely Childhood Friends". To my left, you have multi-million selling, Grammy nominated, Live Earth-playin' singer-songwriter KT Tunstall. I don't have anything mean to say about her, I'm just not that bothered. To my right, there's the far more interesting, and far less famous troubadour King Creosote, whose latest record 'Bombshell' -his 32nd(!) - just came out. It's strange to think that these two musicians, at completely opposite ends of the global music conscience, have been close friends for many years. Read an interesting interview with the pair of them here.

'Bombshell', then, is a very pretty record. The King writes simple songs with lyrics of heartbreak and sadness, with gentle guitars and arrangements that really need to be played repeatedly. It opens with an accordion, and there are plenty of great moments to enjoy. Check out the catchy first single 'You've No Clue Do You?', and 'Nooks', which is romantic in a dark-hearted kind of way, and the album's loudest moment, 'At the W.A.L.', with its repeated promise that "It's gonna be alright" before - get this! - some feedback and electric guitars. A voice that's sweet and lyrics that are anything but, chalk up another win for Scotland.

[download King Creosote - Spystick][buy 'Bombshell' (UK)]

Contending with this cheese on toast

Two things we already know:

  • 'Witness' by Roots Manuva is the mothertruckin' JAM, and it should henceforth replace the national anthem at the beginning of sporting events.
  • This year, reworking recent songs with full-on big band arrangements is the new black.
What if the two combined, eh? Step forward The New Mastersounds, about whom I know nothing, who've thrown in a lot of brass. Their song is funky and indeed fresh, and doesn't recall the original too much. Maybe only Ronson could've afforded the actual Roots to appear on the song. Check it out nonetheless!

[download The New Mastersounds - Witness][buy '102%']

The voice of reason

According to their page on, people don't seem to really like the debut album from iLiKETRAiNS. This comes as a surprise to me, because while 'Elegies to Lessons Learnt' doesn't do anything new or shocking, it certainly takes the sound they've established already and makes a cohesive and solid record. There's plenty of history in the tracks, for geeks like me. In addition to 'Spencer Perceval' the album has 'Remnants of an Army', set in 19th century Afghanistan, a song about the Salem Witch trials, and other songs about renowned fakers Donald Crowhurst and John Stonehurst.

There's more to them that just an afternoon's worth of Wikipedia-ing, though. There are a lot of shorter songs, which is new for the band, and they usually succeed to condense their widescreen sounds into more accessible form. There's still the drama, the grandiosity, the icily detached vocals, but it comes off as more focused than before. Noisy, beautiful, profound... but enough about me. The album is pretty great too.

[download iLiKETRAiNS - Death of an Idealist] [pre order album UK/US]

Working for names above doors

I sort of missed this, but apparently last month a new Kathryn Williams album was released in the U.S. This is certainly a reason to be cheerful, even if it's a year since 'Leave to Remain' came out back in the Motherland. Kathryn is a singer-songwriter from the north of England who I saw live once at the swanky Queen Elizabeth Hall, and she was very good, and told some funny stories about the Beatles. She's made a series of gentle, folky and very pretty records over the last few years which are ideal for studying or feeling wistful to. There's a covers record in there, too, called 'Relations', which includes 'Spit on a Stranger' and 'All Apologies', but if you like this sort of thing, seek out her '02 album 'Old Low Light' because I think it's the best one, and I'm never wrong about anything.

Stream all of 'Leave to Remain' at her label.

[download Kathryn Williams - When] [buy 'Leave to Remain' UK/US]
[download Kathryn Williams - Wolf] (from 'Old Low Light')

Avarice is all that he's made of

Rejoice, for here's the new single from much loved Scottish four-piece Sons and Daughters, which just got its first play on 6Music earlier this week. It's produced by Bernard Butler who used to be in some band (McAlmont and Butler), and is the first taster from their second album 'The Gift', due in the new year.

And to answer your immediate question... No. They haven't become shit.

[download Sons and Daughters - Gilt Complex (radio rip)]

4play: Kill the Director

No, not the Wombats song that I just posted recently. It seems like a logical 4play step, after actors last week, to progress to the person calling the shots. Also, yesterday I phoned into the Best Show to talk about Uwe Boll, and that's quite exciting. Semantics: Mike Skinner singing "Mine's a Kronenbourg" doesn't count. Also, could've been: there's a Mos Def song that references "Woody and Soon-Yi at the playoff game". Stereophonics had 'Looks Like Chaplin' off their first record. Obv 'Clint Eastwood' again.

Today's selection is:

Sure Shot - Amongst the hundreds of shout-outs, they get mad hits like my man John Woo.

Kit and Holly - Great Neu! style beat, earnest lyrics and towards the end he keeps bigging up Alfred Hitchcock.

The End of an Era - "Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?"

Stanley Kubrick - Nuff said.

[download Beastie Boys - Sure Shot]
[download Echoboy - Kit and Holly]
[download Team America - The End of an Era]
[download Mogwai - Stanley Kubrick]


[bonus download Patton Oswalt - At Midnight, I Will Kill George Lucas with a Shovel]

Carried in the arms of cheerleaders

The National / The Rosebuds / Doveman
Orlando Social
September 10th, 2007

The first thing that Matt Barringer says is “This is cosy”, before America’s The National kick off with ‘Start A War’, a relatively gentle song from their wonderful and relatively gentle latest record ‘Boxer’. He’s right, it is cosy. The Social is an unfeasibly small place to be catching this band – it’s a sell-out but there’s only about 400 people here. Compare to the far bigger places that they’re playing in other parts of the world, including two nights at Shepherd’s Bush in London, and you can see how special this setting was.

In the live setting, the band really beefs up the ‘Boxer’ tracks – ‘Start a War’ rolls from its gentle beginning to a huge noisy climax, making it a great opener. ‘Squalor Victoria’, ‘Fake Empire’, and an accordion-assisted ‘Slow Show’ are all immense. Some of the album’s subtleties are lost to this heavier sound, which is a shame, but it’s very enjoyable all the same. In a place this small, the sound of the violin carries really well, so that nuance comes across nicely, especially on ‘Baby, We’ll Be Fine’, one of a handful of ‘Alligator’ songs. Matt’s deep, deep voice carries the slower songs, like ‘Daughters of the Soho Riots’ and ‘Racing Like A Pro’ and, to make the point yet again, the small venue suits those songs really well.

He has a really nervous, self-conscious stage presence, clinging to his all-white mic stand for most of the evening. He doesn’t seem too at ease talking to the audience, so chat is limited. Before ‘Mr. November’, we get “This song is about baseball… It isn’t really”. That song, with its sprawling lyrics about the English and cheerleaders and the great white hope, gets the most energy from both crowd and band, with Matt keeled over screaming the chorus. They don’t have any songs like that on ‘Boxer’, so it’s nice to hear how far they’ve come.

start a war / mistaken for strangers / secret meeting / slow show / brainy / baby, we'll be fine / all the wine / squalor victoria / racing like a pro / apartment story / daughters of the soho riots / abel / fake empire / about today... green gloves / mr. november.

Earlier in the evening, North Carolina’s The Rosebuds proved to be more than just an allegory to lost youth, by turning in an energetic set which had the crowd clapping and nodding. Nothing remarkable, but they did the job as far as support bands go. Unlike Doveman, who looked very sad while playing. His songs are better suited to smoky late night establishments, and this setting didn’t fit him too well. Most of them sounded pretty alike, with only the last song picking things up a bit. I’d be interested to hear his upcoming second record, but this wasn’t too hot of a set.

[download The National - Apartment Story (live)] [buy 'Boxer']
[download The Rosebuds - Get Up, Get Out] [buy 'Night of the Furies']
[download Doveman - Sunrise Medley] [pre-order 'With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead']

Live vault: SFA at Ocean (repost)

Man, you guys really destroyed my bandwidth on this the last time around. So here it is again, as two zip files. Get it while it's hot.

Tracklisting again:

(part 1)

[01 (A) Touch Sensitive]
[02 Sidewalk Serfer Girl]
[03 (Drawing) Rings Around the World]
[04 Receptacle for the Respectable]
[05 It's Not the End of the World?]
[06 Nythod Cacwn]
[07 Presidential Suite]
[08 Run! Christian! Run!]
[09 Fire in my Heart]

(part 2)

[10 Juxtapozed With U]
[11 The International Language of Screaming]
[12 Golden Retriever]
[13 Do Or Die]
[14 God! Show Me Magic]
[15 Calimero]
[16 The Man Don't Give A Fuck]
[17 Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar y Blaned Neifion]

Part 1 / Part 2

Like Beckham with the ladies

The Capital L's favourite emcee (no? maybe second? top five?) Kano is back with his second album 'London Town', which drops on Monday. Of course, when you name your album that, you at least know that I'll probably like it. Guests include Damon Albarn, Kate Nash, and a couple of times Mr. Craig David, which means it's a little more radio friendly than 05's 'Home Sweet Home'. The production is slicker, and it's definitely lacking some of that record's edge and sense of fun. I heard K on Zane Lowe's show last week, and he said that 'London Town' was the first song he wrote thinking of how great it'd sound live, and it's among the best tracks on the record. The sound, he says is like grime but slower. Sho'nuff, if you listen to the live version over at myspace, you'll see what he means.

I'm a little disappointed with the record, to be honest, so I've put up 'Typical Me' off the first record, to see how great he is at his best.

[download Kano - London Town] [pre-order album (UK)]
[download Kano - Typical Me]

4play: Big screen idols

With the exception of the gone-and-long-forgotten Hepburn, there aren't too many musical nods to film actresses that I can think of. Someone really needs to write a song called "Ashley Judd" or "Me and Kathleen Turner Down in the Schoolyard" or some such. I guess there's 'Lindsay Lohan' by Spank Rock, but technically, she isn't really an actress; and there's always 'Candle in the Wind' (original version).

For the fellas, though, there are some musical tributes to speak of. I couldn't find The Crockett's song 'James Dean-esque', despite my best efforts, but anyway, here are today's four.

Clark Gable - Here in the States, everyone who likes indie music seems to love the Postal Service, but they do nothing for me that the Notwist don't do better. Except write songs that fit this post.

Bill Murray - Rather than go for the ubiquitous 'Clint Eastwood', here's a song from the last Gorillaz record, but only the Japanese edition - I think. Who'll they write about next? Smart money's on Colin Hanks.

Bruce Lee - life kid suck from the box / drink from the box / the juice kid suck / life kid suck / the box / yeah / bruce lee

Kurt Russell - One of my favourite songs. "I want to be your hero - Pacino, De Niro and me".

[download The Postal Service - Clark Gable] [buy 'Give Up']
[download Gorillaz - Bill Murray] [buy 'Demon Days']
[download Underworld - Bruce Lee] [buy 'Beaucoup Fish']
[download Ultrasound - Kurt Russell]

And, since they're experts, here's a video about another A-Lister, from Adam and Joe. (As always, if you're reading a feed, the embedded video might not show up, so click here to see it).

Find It