Live vault: Primal Scream at Maida Vale (2000)

"Good evening.. We're called Elvis Presley, all the way from Memphis, Tennessee..."

Live set for Radio 1, recorded at the legendary Maida Vale studios on March 20th, 2000. It rocks pretty hard. A few months later, I caught them at Reading, where they were playing in front of a crowd of Oasis fans, and it seemed like only five of us cared about the Scream, who sure enough, played up to the antagonism. When they played 'Higher than the Sun' and it started to drizzle and the sun went down, it was one of the best live music experiences I've ever had. In fact, that whole gig is second only to the Flaming Lips. So enjoy this set of angry, politicized, righteous rock and roll from the real last gang in town.

[01 - Swastika Eyes]
[02 - Shoot Speed/Kill Light]
[03 - Pills]
[04 - Burning Wheel]
[05 - If They Move, Kill 'Em]
[06 - Insect Royalty]
[07 - Kill All Hippies]
[08 - Exterminator]
[09 - Kowalski]
[10 - Accelerator]

Songs for a good weekend spaz-out

In case you don't know, let me tell you something about Law exams. Four months of material condensed into one, four-hour long exam, and 100% of the course's grade is based on that. Scary. Yesterday I wrote 3,500 words in that time, afterwards I felt like I'd been in ten rounds with Mike Tyson, whilst taking part in a triathlon. When I came home, I wanted to play some songs really loudly and jump off my bed and play air guitar for a while, before the requisite going-out-drinking.

To that end, here are ten songs that I love which are ideal for that very purpose. Turn them up. Many of them are track two on their respective albums. Conspiracy? Hmm... Apparently this is AYGH's two hundredth post, so consider this a nice gift.

Sleater-Kinney - Entertain: I never liked S-K til I heard this. Every word is delivered as a defiant fuck-you, and the guitars will blow the nose off your face. [buy 'The Woods']

Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure: I put up Mark Ronson's hornier version the other day, but here you have the original, which is 100% bouncier. [buy 'A Certain Trigger']

The Libertines - I Get Along:
Listen to it once, figure out the part where everyone in North London shouts "Fuck 'Em", and then play it repeatedly. [buy 'Up the Bracket']

Dizzee Rascal - Stand Up Tall: His upcoming album may be named after two of my three A-Levels, but this was off the last one. To the playa-haters, I'll see you later! [buy 'Showtime']

Pulp - We Are the Boyz:
From the expanded 'This is Hardcore', this is Pulp at their rockingest with horns and noise and Jarvis rhyming lads with slags. [buy 'This is Hardcore']

Mos Def - Know That (ft Talib Kweli): I can rap this whole song. Fact. Best post 'Black Star' song by Black Star [buy 'Black on Both Sides']

Primal Scream - Accelerator: The most skull-fuckingly chaotic song from their greatest album. There is no intro - it just kicks off. Kevin Shields make noise. Duck and cover. Come On! [buy 'XTRMNTR']

The Pixies - Tame: loudQUIETloud and all that. [buy 'Doolittle']

Thursday - Between Rupture and Rapture: Well, I like them. And this song lurches and rocks and shouts and lurches and rocks some damn more. [buy 'War All The Time']

Asian Dub Foundation - Officer XX: Not the most cacophonous of ADF's songs, but it's still fantastic. About the Stephen Lawrence murder, it's angry, heavy and brilliant. [buy 'Community Music']

[download Sleater-Kinney - Entertain]
[download Maximo Park - Apply Some Pressure]
[download The Libertines - I Get Along]
[download Dizzee Rascal - Stand Up Tall]
[download Pulp - We Are the Boyz]
[download Mos Def - Know That (ft. Talib Kweli)]
[download Primal Scream - Accelerator]
[download The Pixies - Tame]
[download Thursday - Between Rupture and Rapture]
[download Asian Dub Foundation - Officer XX]

Live in the recess

Yeesh - Another one bites the dust. From NME:

The Cooper Temple Clause have announced that they have split.

Confirming the split, band member Daniel Fisher wrote to fans explaining: "It is with a sad and heavy heart that I must announce that The Cooper Temple Clause have decided to split up."

Fisher explained that the break was caused after he decided to leave the band last week.

I mean, I didn't dig their newest record too much, but in their early days, this band's live shows were borderline religious experiences. Here's the first song on the first EP they ever put out (I think). Raise a glass, for we'll miss ye, Team Cooper.

[download The Cooper Temple Clause - The Devil Walks In The Sand]

[buy 'Kick Up The Fires And Let The Flames Break Loose']

We love a bit of trouble

The new Arctic Monkeys record 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' is out now on both sides of the Pond, complete with NSFW inlay artwork. I haven't got to the end of it yet - but I dig all I've heard so far. The previous album was great for the first three and last three tracks, and dipped in the middle, but thus far, 'Nightmare' comes across as much more even. I really like the guitars on 'Do Me A Favour' and I'm a sucker for overlapping vocals, so the end of 'Fluorescent Adolescent' really appeal to me, even if the song title doesn't. Plus the Oz-themed 'Old Yellow Bricks', and the part in 'Brianstorm' where it pauses before he says "....Thunder". It's all good.

Not going to post a song from the record, but here's a song from the 'Brianstorm' single. Not the one with Dizzee Rascal (I don't think that collaboration as nearly as good as it should be), but 'If You Found This, It's Probably Too Late'. This is what the band's current live sets have been kicking off with, and is under two minutes long, and yet has two very distinct parts. Reminds me of The Coral once it goes mental, and of course it's over just when it starts taking off. In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the video for 'Brianstorm', which is six kinds of brilliant.

[download Arctic Monkeys - If You Found This, It's Probably Too Late]


Sad drunk and poorly

Well, my hardest exam is out of the way. Still two to go, but there's a few days' breathing space before the next one. In today's exam, I managed to namecheck Kill Bill 2 and Slim Thug, and paraphrase Albus Dumbledore. In other news, I've decided to not shave til next week when the exams are done - and as a result, now I look like Rino Gatusso. Here are some good things on today's internet.

  • Eddie Argos is writing a new column for the Guardian. Here's the first one.
  • The guys that made Lucky Number Slevin are working on the adaptation of Rum Diary, and even though I Watch Stuff isn't stoked, I sure am.
  • Shane Meadows' new film 'This is England' is out this week in, well, England, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. He's been writing about it here and here.
  • There's a new song from The Clientele over at Good Hodgkins - and it's ace.
  • How great are Flight of the Conchords? Answer: really great. And they've got an HBO series coming up.
  • And here's a great song that's ten years old. Signposted solo-Coxon. Very pretty and lo-fi. Enjoy.
[download Blur - You're So Great]

Science can't save you

Exams start tomorrow morning. One song to capture/release the mood.

[download The Rakes - Terror!]

Malcolm Middleton XFM Session

Pretty much what the title says.

Full band session, I assume that's Jenny Reeve accompanying on vocals (Check out her band Strike The Colours), and because it's for radio, the second song is simply called 'I Love You'. They don't play 'Death, Love, Depression, Love, Death' which is a shame, because it's one of my songs of the year. But still a fine little selection, and hopefully it'll inspire you to seek out the album.

[download Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat (XFM Session)]
[download Malcolm Middleton - Fuck It, I Love You (XFM Session)]
[download Malcolm Middleton - We're All Going To Die (XFM Session)]


Put on your shoes, pick up your spoon

Found something funny amongst the NME.COM archives. It's a live review of two bands from the year 2000.

The headliners Terris were cover stars in that weekly rag, and had a singer who was prone to the kind of hyperbole that the press thrives on. "The new Joy Division" screamed the front cover. Because of this, most people dismissed them as crap, and so, by the time their debut album 'Learning to Let Go' dropped in 2001, nobody really gave a shit, and they split up not long afterwards.

Problem is, their debut album is fantastic. Overproduced to death, mind, but fantastic. Anthemic, heavy, raw, emotional, at times crap, it was a great debut. Some reviews said it was a bit too Bon Jovi. They're wrong. And the band didn't have a bass player - but a guy who played keyboards through a bass pedal. Result!

The one time I saw them live was a minor tragedy. They were opening the main stage at Reading (the same day as the Marx-starring Manics show I mentioned the other day) and played four songs before "technical difficulties" forced them to finish. Like I said, most people didn't give a shit, but a few of us were capital-g Gutted.

The other band in that review, who opened for Terris? You might have heard of them. They're called Coldplay.

[download Terris - Cannibal Kids]
[download Terris - Midnight Sun]

Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home

Today's virtual "Buy a rocker a pint" award goes to... Barry Burns from Mogwai. From his blog:

Hi everyone. I just woke up to find that average blues guitar peddlar and all round unlikeable London pirate-like arsehole Keith Richard snorted his dad's ashes on a drug binge. Well done Keith, you talentless publicity hungry horrible prick of the highest order. He then goes on to say modern bands are a load of old crap. Right, but can we really listen to the opinions of a nasal cannibal? Keith, your band are possibly the worst band in the history of human events, worse even than Placebo and The Reynolds Girls combined. Your posh English singer sings with an American accent about a load of old American prostitutes he met once and your guitar licks are Grade F. The sooner you die the quicker my Ladbrokes bet comes in between you and McCartney you old dick. I hope you kick the bucket in the most humiliating of ways, like on the toilet and then being eaten by your own dog. Stop living and give us peace you attention seeking non relevant oxygen thief.

God, I love that band.

[download Mogwai - Cody]

Rap music is just clicks and whistles

Do you guys in Britain watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Does it play there? They have a film that just came out, with the word 'Colon' in its title. In case you're unfamiliar, here's what Wikipedia says:

The show is about three anthropomorphic fast food items and their life together in New Jersey. The Aqua Teens were originally billed as a detective crime fighting unit; as the series progressed, however, the crime-solving aspect of the show was quickly abandoned. There is very little continuity between episodes; almost all recurring cast members have died at least once. The focus is instead on character interaction and a pervasive form of sarcastic and surreal humor.

I haven't seen the film; I can't see it holding my interest for 75 minutes. The show itself is alright - I really appreciate that the episodes are only fifteen minutes long, that's about as long as I can stomach. In the first series, though, they had an episode called 'MC Pee Pants' which was really funny, and featured the excellent rapper MC Chris. The song in there, 'I Want Candy', reappears on the movie soundtrack, and you can download it below. It's ace and all, and there's a reference to Jessica Tandy. Download lots more songs of his (as in, two albums!) for free at his site. My favourite is 'Fett's Vette', which makes me a huge nerd. Star Wars fans will love-love-LOVE it. Check it out below.

As for Aqua Teen, look out for the episode 'Frat Aliens' - "My dad owns a dealership" - or the one where Carl's body gets replaced by eyeballs. I can't remember what that one's called, I apologise.

[download MC Chris - I Want Candy]
[download MC Chris - Fett's Vette] from

With all your power, what would you do

Hello people who came here after reading today's Guardian shout-out. How's it going?

This might be the last post regarding last week's Flaming Lips extravaganza. A bootleg of the show is floating around on the torrent sites (cough) so check it out if you're keen. I've put up 'Yeah Yeah Yeah Song' because it was the set highlight. At the beginning, there's a few minutes of Wayne talking about politics. It'd be annoying if we wasn't so endearing (there's that word again).

Also, thanks to Alissa Strother for these pictures from Sunday - click 'em to see 'em full sized.

[download The Flaming Lips - Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (Live in Gainesville)]

Wipe That Sound!

Considering I write AYGH? entirely as a labour of enjoyment without any real purpose, it was nice the other day to be included on a mass mailout from Domino Records about the upcoming Von Südenfed record. It gave me a sense of legitimacy. Thanks, Domino!

I've written about Von Südenfed before very excitedly, and here are two more songs from their upcoming record. If I were being lazy, I'd say that 'The Rhinohead' is the one that sounds like The Fall, whilst 'Flooded' is the one that sounds more like Mouse on Mars. I'm usually not lazy, but I've got a big exam on Monday.

[download Von Südenfed - The Rhinohead]
[download Von Südenfed - Flooded]

Blowing up my cranium

Also, the new Chemical Brothers single got its first play on the radio this week. Hooray! As a language nerd, I was disappointed when I heard that the forthcoming record will be called 'We Are the Night', which for the first time in their album titles, is not an imperative. Yes, I know, I need help.

Small mercy, then, that the first taster of it is called 'Do It Again' - an imperative. The song is alright - not quite as fantastic as the winter's 'Electronic Battle Weapon 8', which you can enjoy here - but it's not bad. The first half reminds me of 'Galvanize' - an angry voice repeating the title over and over, and then the refrain comes in. It features vocals from Ali Love about whom I know nothing, other than he's on a Myspace-sponsored tour, and his website has a free download called 'Vincent Brain'. It'll get'cha nodding, and that's what they do best.

[download The Chemical Brothers - Do It Again ft. Ali Love] (radio rip)
[download The Chemical Brothers - Electronic Battle Weapon 8]

Live Vault: Manic Street Preachers at Reading 97

Promised this the other day - here's Manic Street Preachers' headlining set from the Reading Festival in 1997. It's always fun to look back at old festival line-ups and see how far up/down the bill certain bands are, since the later a band plays in the day, the bigger they are. For instance - is that Bennett and Subcircus relegating Mogwai to the early afternoon? (The mighty) Audioweb above Embrace? Tiger following Travis? Republica getting a bigger crowd than Stereophonics? Feeder playing before Dog Eat Dog? Oh, hindsight. See the poster for the event here.

As for the Manics... It's one of the best bootlegs I have of theirs. Great setlist - a healthy mix between the old and new, as it was at the time - first outing for 'Ready for Drowning'; big singalong as the intro tape plays the Stealth Sonic remix of 'A Design for Life'; nice antagonism between JDB and Wire ("Just because he wears a dress..."); and a massive Heavenly ending to 'You Love Us'. The sound quality is good, if not incredible.

I wasn't there in '97, though I saw them headline Reading again in 2001. It wasn't all that great, to be honest, although they were introduced by Karl Marx, which was cool.

EDIT: Aug 12: So apparently lots of you are coming to this page. Here's the whole set in two zip files. Maybe check out the rest of the site, yeah?

Part 1
Part 2

00 - Intro Tape
01 - Australia
02 - From Despair to Where
03 - Kevin Carter
04 - Faster
05 - Ready for Drowning
06 - La Tristesse Durera
07 - Yes
08 - Roses in the Hospital
09 - Enola/Alone
10 - Motown Junk
11 - Motorcycle Emptiness
12 - No Surface All Feeling
13 - Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky
14 - This Is Yesterday
15 - Elvis Impersonator
16 - Everything Must Go
17 - A Design For Life
18 - Introducing The Band
19 - You Love Us

"I'd like to throw mirth in prison"

Hot Fuzz is finally out this Friday here in the United States. If you're of a high moral fiber and avoided watching dodgy shakycam rips back in February, here are some ways you can get even more excited:

  • Read my friend Tom Neumark's review of the film, written especially for this site.
  • Read a new interview with Edgar, Nick and Simon at the AV Club
  • Watch Jimmy Kimmel tonight (Wednesday) for Nick and Simon. (12.05am, ABC)
  • Listen to the latest episode of the IFC News Podcast. In tribute of the 'Fuzz, it's about cop movie clichés. Or you'll get your ass sent right back to the precinct.
  • Watch the latest episode of the guys' video blog - filmed by Joe Cornish - as they arrive in New York City as part of the press tour that never ends. See below.

And completely unrelated - go to Stones Throw right now for their free podcast - Madlib Mixes Motown. 64 minutes of Perfection.

Cheap whiskey and godawful truths

Well, the new Manic Street Preachers record has gone and leaked, and it was with pretty low expectations that I gave Send Away the Tigers a listen. The bad news is that there isn't a song on there that really grabs me and makes me say "Yes! That is fanfuckingtastic!", but on the plus side, it's their first album in almost ten years that I imagine I'll listen to multiple times.

'Rendition' and 'Underdogs' are the requisite rockers, but there's a strong sense of the big-strings-plus-huge-choruses sound of 'Everything Must Go' that's a welcome return. I mean, I say return, but to be honest, I couldn't even name more than two songs on their last record, much less hum any of them. 'Indian Summer' and 'Autumnsong' are pretty, ideal for bigger venues and singalongs. 'Winterlovers' is an anticlimactic closer - veers close to being a huge, fully formed power-rocker (complete with na-na-naaas) but clocking in under four minutes. 'Imperial Bodybags' is about the war but isn't trite, the image of "children wrapped in homemade flags" is macabre enough to recall vintage MSP.

Your sample track has the word patsy in its title, that should be explanation enough. Reminds me of first album Stereophonics, which is no bad thing. What's going on with that album cover, though, guys?

[download Manic Street Preachers - I Am Just A Patsy]

All of your friends are standing in line

Hours after a rain storm the size of Belgium hit Gainesville, a second storm - more metaphorical in character - returned the favour. More on that later.

As I said last week, I was pretty excited - stoked, in the parlance of our times - to see the Flaming Lips. About four thousand people were, too - a great turnout for a free show. Considering it was a free, open-air show, the bands had to contend with playing in front of mostly people who didn't know their songs. No matter.

The Rapture went for a lean set - no room for the more spaced-out noodling tracks from 'Echoes', preferring the more instant, accessible tunes. Pretty much every song I wanted to hear was in there - 'Pieces of the People We Love', 'Sister Savior', 'Killing', 'W.A.Y.U.H.', 'Heaven', 'Get Myself Into It'... Luke kept doing that thing where he shoots the audience with his guitars, but the crowd interaction was pretty limited. Still, people were dancing, and their set worked in the glorious sunshine very well.

The downside with seeing the Flaming Lips is that their stage set-up takes the best part of an hour. Maybe they were just killing time, waiting for it to get dark, because the light show would've been much less effective otherwise. Any question about whether the long wait was worth it was quickly answered as Wayne came out in his giant hamsterball and rode over everyone like a human manifestation of joy and indomitable spirit.

As I suggested the other day, it's really hard to write about the Lips live experience without sounding like a twat. It doesn't matter that they only play ten songs. It doesn't matter that it gets really cold. It doesn't matter that the prevailing winds are blowing all the balloons and streamers behind the stage. It doesn't matter that most of the projections were the same as they've been for at least five years. It certainly didn't matter that, as I said, most people weren't familiar with the tunes.

...because the Lips are so fucking endearing. Wayne is always happy to be playing - he's genuinely happy to be playing a free gig, he's genuinely happy that his nephew's band played earlier in the evening, he's genuinely happy to be here. There are girls in alien suits on one side, dudes in Santa Claus suits on the other. One guitar has a mobile phone stuck to it, the other has an iPod and two necks. There are lots of balloons, one of which is a beast, finger puppets, penguins, singalongs, anti-Bush tirades, hands-in-the-air-moments, and the sentence "I was worried that the lady on stilts might get her abdomen sliced off by the laser"... Only a monkey could have made this show better.

I've never been too hot on any of their albums individually, so it's always great to see that the live show captures their best songs. Oh, and 'YYY Song' was the best of the night - made me appreciate it a lot more than on wax, so there.

Go and see them before you die - you won't regret it.

Race for the Prize, (Instrumental), Free Radicals, Fight Test, Yoshimi..., Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Vein Of Stars, Waitin' for a Superman, She Don't Use Jelly, Do You Realize??

[download The Flaming Lips - Yeah Yeah Yeah Song]

Pics by Rafael Rodriguez

Just call everyone Auntie and you'll be fine

The other day, I caught the Fox Searchlight film 'The Namesake'. I had mixed feelings going into it.

On the one hand, the main actor is Kal Penn, who hasn't yet not been in a crap film (did I mention I saw 'Van Wilder 2' recently? I didn't?). And his blog for the film was really quite dull, albeit with a poorly conceived KKK joke.

But, it's based on a fantastic book, and the plotline is very similar to that of my parent's life - get married, move to the West, try to balance being Western with being traditional, etc. It's the only novel that I can think of that all four members of my family read in the same few weeks.

Penn, as it turns out, isn't bad in the film. He's shown up by the veterans that play his parents, though. Mira Nair is one of my favourite filmmakers, and the colours, framing, cinematography and organisation of the film is great, as you'd expect. I can't really talk about it too impartially, because the whole time I was saying "Yes! We did that too!" and annoying everyone else in the cinema. Maybe a little too much happens in the last twenty minutes, but it's always engaging. I recommend it highly, but then I'm annoying and Indian. It'll make you want to a) call your mum immediately, and b) slap Jacinda Barrett.

Check out one song from the score, and one that's nothing to do with the film, but the band shares a name with the main character. Rock.

[download Nitin Sawhney - The Namesake (Opening Titles)]
[download Gogol Bordello - Immigrant Punk]

Too hot to Trotsky!

Alright, so after I do five/six hours' worth of outlining a night, I put up a song in here. That's how it's going down. Tonight, I got through 'Levez Vos Skinny Fists...' twice. It's so great.

So earlier today I had a very random flashback to when I was taking my A-levels. That'll be about 2000/2001. It was towards the end of term, and our Maths teacher decided that, instead of teaching, he'd play us one of his favourite films - Leningrad Cowboys Go America. No, none of us had ever heard of it either.

It was fantastic! A comedy about a rock band (from Finland, fairly obviously), who go to America and hijinks ensue. It's not available in the U.S. at all, and even in Britain, it seems to be deleted. This is bad news. You'll just have to trust me, that the movie is ace.

The film's great legacy is that the band continue to make records and tour. And they're bloody great. Covering everything from 'My Sharona' to 'Stairway' to 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' and 'These Boots Were Made For Walking'. They often tour with the Red Army Choir (yes, it is what you think) - and you need need NEED to watch this video of their 'Happy Together' right now.

Like I said, they're brilliant. Here's their cover of everyone's favourite dance-pop 90s classic by Haddaway. Sing it loud.

[download Leningrad Cowboys - What Is Love]

These things you can't unlearn

I've got law school exams coming up very soon, so there may be fewer updates here for the next couple of weeks. I say "may be" because I'm reckless and find writing about British indie bands to be more interesting than the Rule Against Perpetuities. Someone help.

When I'm reading and highlighting and note-taking, I can only listen to instrumental stuff, or music with very few vocals. I need something on in the background, but if there's any lyrics, that's where I'm focusin'. So, lately I've been rocking bands like Cats and Cats and Cats, and today's offering, 65daysofstatic.

They've got a new record out next week called 'The Destruction of Small Ideas', and I like it. It's noodly, heavy, gentle, and perfect for the background. I know that "perfect for the background" may not sound very positive, but I mean it endearingly. Check 'em if you like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, or other lazy comparative bands. This song has the best title and is relatively accessible.

Wish me luck with this crap!

[download 65daysofstatic - The Distant & Mechanised Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties]

I hope that I will live to see you undress

There's been quite a bit of talk about Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather's take on that Smiths song lately. Arctic Monkeys don't like it, but Moz&Marr do like it. Me? I'm not so hot on it. This week, Ronson's album of cover versions, helpfully called 'Versions' is out in the UK. Some work better than others - Amy Winehouse's take on the Zutons' 'Valerie' is alright, and there's a horn-heavy take on Coldplay which is pretty cool.

I'm most interested in 'Apply Some Pressure' - dare I say it, still Maximo Park's finest moment to date. Ronson throws in horns and a sexy RnB beat over Paul Smith's patented Geordie yelping. I'm not so keen on it, but maybe that's just because I dig the original version so much. See for yourself, plus enjoy a track from Ronson's mixtape 'Here Comes the Fuzz', which will cold rock the shit out of a party.

A couple of other songs are available here, or you can stream the record at myspace.

[download Mark Ronson - Apply Some Pressure ft Paul Smith]
[download M.O.P. and Mos Def - On Tha Run]

I guess I'm something of a ne'er-do-well

The Decemberists
Orlando Hard Rock Live
April 8th, 2007

I haven't made up my mind about last night's gig yet. I don't know if it's just little things that annoyed me about the environment or the band.

Things that were ace:

Sons and Daughters - with hurdy-gurdy and mass singing in the round. Fantastic.
Engine Driver - of course
Mariner's Revenge Song - now back to stay, with a ridiculous new prop.
Crane Wife 1 but not 2 - good choice
Bachelor and the Bride - just because
Colin's chatter - that one's a given
Jenny's balloon-animal-hat

Things that weren't ace:

-Opening with 'Oceanside', a song that maybe five people knew. Similarly, encoring with a Brian Eno cover. Polite hand-clapping and little else from the audience.
-'16 Military Wives' and 'Perfect Crime' lasting about ten minutes each because of extended singalong/dance contest respectively. Entertaining, sure, but I couldn't help but thinking "they could be playing something else now".
-Big venue - maybe I'm just spoilt from seeing them in small places before, but it rarely felt like the whole crowd was behind it.
-Heavy reliance on 'Crane Wife' - I guess that's to be expected. But I could really live happily without seeing 'Shankhill Butchers' or 'Perfect Crime' again. One song each off the first two records is a shame, though.
-There were only five of them - what happened to Lisa? Though it was nice to see Chris Funk playing violin at the end of 'You'll Not Feel the Drowning'.

Maybe it's just because the last couple of times I saw them they were tremendous, and since then they've put out a record that I only like half of. But I still like them more than these guys do.

Oceanside, July July!, The Bachelor and the Bride, The Engine Driver, The Island, The Crane Wife 1, Yankee Bayonet, 16 Military Wives, Shankhill Butchers, O Valencia, Perfect Crime, Sons and Daughters... I'll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoe), The Mariner's Revenge Song

Here's the song they opened with, in case you don't have it. And video of a song they didn't play.

[download The Decemberists - Oceanside]

It's not how you fall, it's how you land

As Professor Farnsworth from Futurama often says, "Good news everyone!"

The Criterion company have been releasing classic (read: obscure) films on comprehensive (read: though it seems unnecessary it's actually kinda cool) DVDs for a while, and next week they've got a new title being added to the collection... And it's only La Haine!

Classic from France from the mid-90s, pre-dated the actual Parisian race riots by almost a decade, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, dark, brooding, unsettling, powerful... there's no wonder it hasn't had an American release yet. I have the UK edition of the DVD, with no extra features, and subtitles in white. Which, for a black and white film, was a poor choice.

But the new issue DVD has loads of stuff, including a commentary from Kassovitz, an interview with Jodie Foster, documentaries, featurettes, essays, basically the sort of thing only I would ever watch.

Here's a song that plays at the start of the film, and a song inspired by the film. I honestly can't recommend the movie highly enough. Read a nice essay about it right here.

[download Bob Marley and the Wailers - Burnin' and Lootin']
[download Asian Dub Foundation - La Haine]

"As if figure skating wasn't gay enough already"

Hi, Cleveland Show fans! This post has nothing to do with your inquiry. But you could read newer posts on the site if you'd like!

As I said back in the summer, I'm a fan of dumb-as-shit Will Ferrell comedies. After seeing Blades of Glory last night, I should put a caveat on that. I'm a fan of dumb-as-shit Will Ferrell comedies that were co-written by Will Ferrell.

Blades has four writers, and two directors, none of whom I've heard of before. The directors were, apparently, nominated for an Oscar a few years ago for a short film. A couple of the writers have done some episodes of King of the Hill. The upshot of all this is a film that has funny parts, sure, but just isn't very satisfying. The plot arc is familiar enough: triumph - disgrace - obscurity - redemption - training - near-disaster - triumph, but the jokes are just way thinner than when Ferrell and Adam McKay write them.

It's a shame, too, because there are plenty of very funny people in the film. Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jenna Fischer, Romany Malco and Rob Corddry don't really have to much to go with, and you imagine the best lines are improvised. (Winner? "We embarrassed Marky Mark and let down the Funky Bunch"). There's a "grown man admitting to soiling himself" joke, as well as others that are too easy even for a silly film like this. There were a couple of neat cameos, though, including Brian Boitano, who I admit to only knowing from this.

Nick Swardson (from the awful 'Grandma's Boy' has a part that's completely unnecessary, as a creepy stalker to Heder's character. The lead two do well enough, Ferrell reels off the one-liners as you'd expect - "It makes my hair shine like the Belt of Orion" being the most obvious. Wait for it on DVD, people. To be honest, the main reason I went to see it was because my friend used to skate and we needed something to do on a Friday night.

Today's download is really tenuous in its connection to the post, but it's a song I love by a band I love, so there.

[download Super Furry Animals - Ice Hockey Hair]

The softest bullet ever shot

The last time I saw The Rapture, I wrote about it pretty coherently.

The last time I saw The Flaming Lips, though, I didn't half babble about it:

By the end of the Flaming Lips' set, there were many people in tears. No point in shitting about, this was the best gig I've ever seen. Bar none. It would be too easy to be distracted by everything going on around the music, and there was a lot, but the point is, the Flips' songs are strong enough to stand up alongside such panto. Even though they play my favourite four songs as the first four, the rest of the gig is just as exciting, warm, unforgettable...

It's rare to see a frontman so pleased to be playing live. "London's where it all started for us, thanks so much" he says at one point. There's a long ramble about how he saw Husker Du live once, and Bob Mould's a weird guy, and some people have only come to the gig to see their friends and do coke. They do a neo-gothic cover of 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head', which isn't much cop, but is preceded by Wayne showing us his "droopy ass". Before 'How Will We Know?' he says "Science has proven that the most exciting sound that humans can hear is the sound of other humans." Throughout the song, which is very quiet, there is ridiculous cheering, and it's like being at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.

In the nearly five years since then, I've moved to a new country, seen many more gigs, met the Godlike Genius Wayne Coyne, but that show remains the best I've ever seen.

Next week, both bands are playing in a field here - five minutes' walk from where I live. For free. I'm more than a little bit excited. Even though 'At War With The Mystics' was pretty toss, I'm sure it'll be ace. To celebrate, here's a live version of my favourite Flips song.

[download The Flaming Lips - The Spark That Bled (live)]

Why don't you come back when you're not Asian?

Just a heads up - over at iTunes, you can grab the first episode of The Human Giant for zero money. The show begins on MTV tomorrow night, and is the much talked about sketch show from Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer. It's pretty funny. There are parts you'll have seen if you've been to one of their shows, or seen any of them do stand up. And there's some ShutterBugs, which you can catch online, but it's still good, and I'm not just saying that because one of them is named after me. Not every sketch hits, but most of them do. And the opening music is 'Romantic Rights'! And there's a great cameo from Mr. Ghostface Killah!

Check out the trailer:

When we combine it's like good food and wine

Guys, I have a serious and sincere question.

What's up with Common?

I'm not talkin' about the Gap adverts. I'm not talkin' about 'Smokin' Aces' (he wasn't bad there at all). I'm not even talkin' about the fact that his new record will be called 'Finding Forever'. I'm talking about his guest spot on Joss Stone's new record. That's this Joss Stone. The collaboration isn't terrible - I've nothing against Joss, unlike the NME - but it's so ordinary. I love Common, but this one sounds so "contractually obliged" that I just can't dig it. His records are welcomed because they're a nice relief from mainstream lightweight RnB, which is everything that 'Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now' is.

In other news, did you hear his song 'A Dream' earlier this year? It was alright, nice rhymes and all, but it was produced by Will.I.Am and consequently had a strong Black Eyed Peas feel to it. That's current day BEP, as opposed to these guys. Check the video below.

Like I said with Manic Street Preachers the other day, it's not that it's bad, it's just ordinary, and we're used to more from Common, that's all. Hopefully 'Finding Forever', due in June, will be as good as we've come to expect.

[download Joss Stone - Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now ft. Common]

I'm yer dad, so get to bed, you bastard

Listening to that LDN Is A Victim song yesterday reminded me of the great MC Pitman. Why? I don't really know. Maybe because he has the same level of detached distaste for everything that's trendy. Read an interview with him here.

Not a lot is known about the Pitman. He's from the north, possibly from the mines. He loves tea and biscuits - play the "Find the Tea" game at his site - his rhymes, over better known beats, are solid and usually very funny. At his myspace, check out 'Witness The Pitness', a story about going for a Sunday at his mum's, set to the Roots Manuva track, and there are a few Mike Skinner disses in there.

This song is from his first record, 'It Takes A Nation of Tossers' and though you'll enjoy it more if you're British, it's not without value to people from other countries who have ears. There's a shout out to Robbie Coltrane, plus 50 Cent ("Get back to your club, mate, and fuckin' stay"). You'll recognise the riff from 'Simon Says' by Pharoahe Monch, and perhaps the hook from a song by one of the Spice Girls.

[download MC Pitman - What I Am]

Stupid people think it's cool

Today on the GU Blogs, I read about this song called 'LDN Is A Victim'. Basically, it's an extended piss-take of the various kinds of London hiptards, going so far as to name many names. Best lyric: "Everyone says the Klaxons are the shiz, but I think they're a bit gay, I prefer the Maccabees". Nobody's claiming responsibility, but give it a listen, see what you think, yeah?

"You're gonna eat your babies!"

Just a quick heads up: the newest episode of Louis Theroux Meets... aired in the Old Country on Sunday night, and luckily for those of us on this side of t'Atlantic, it's already up on YouTube. It's entitled Louis Theroux Meets The Most Hated Family In America. Them being the Phelps family from Topeka, KS. Better known as "the people who picket dead soldiers' funerals".

His shows have moved away from the funnier material of yore (Bodybuilding, Infomercials) to more mature, serious subject matter. This episode is more in line with the Wrestling or Black Supremacists episodes, in which Louis himself looks visibly more shaken than usual. Especially when he's told that the thought of him going to hell gives one Phelps great joy. As usual, it's great television. His interview style and approach is so unassuming, it's interest to compare it to Sean Hannity, or even Tyra Banks, both of whom appear in the episode (in clip form), shouting at the Phelps. Louis doesn't get angry, and so he gets more out of his subjects. They still seem to hate him though.

Watch it! Part one here, then follow links for other parts.

So much for happiness

First things first - whooooo! (Related: Chuck Klosterman's NCAA Blog is worth a look, if you care). Last night there was much debauchery on the streets here in Gainesville, I assure you. Mostly in the way of hi-fives and cheering.

Anyway, back to the program. I've posted songs from great Sheffield bands before, and here's a new band from the Steel City who've put out a pretty good debut single. They're called Slow Down Tallahassee [no website, just a myspace], and I'm not just posting about them because I lived in Tallahassee for four years.

The song, 'So Much For Love' is fun, breezy and easy to hum along to. If the whoa-whoas won't get at you, the harmonies on the chorus will. It might not stick with you, but for three minutes, this is great summer pop. Even if it's one of those "love is crap but let's put on a brave face" lyrics, you'll want to put on a nice dress and dance around your purse like in the 'Disco 2000' video.

[download Slow Down Tallahassee - So Much For Love]

Trade all your heroes in for ghosts

As you can see below, it looks like the Manic Street Preachers have brought back the inverted "R" for their new record 'Send Away The Tigers'. They last used it for their masterpiece 'Holy Bible' album in 1994, and so there must be some sort of statement being made by bringing that typeface back.

Trouble is, apart from the letter R, there's really nothing else in common with the band they were thirteen years ago. First single 'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough', with Nina Persson of the Cardigans, isn't necessarily bad, it's just overwhelmingly pleasant, which has been the case for the last few albums. Again, this album has been heralded as a "return to the roots" but it really misses that mark. Watch the video here or, if you're up for it, a live version of it here, with Nina Persson replaced by Charlotte Church, surely providing conclusive proof that the band has lost the edge it used to have. Ten years ago, they headlined the Reading Festival (I'm gonna put that show up for download soon, keep an eye out), this year they're second on the bill (to the Kooks!) on the second stage at the less rockin' V Festival.

There's positive signs, though. Go to the official site for a free download of 'Underdogs', a song described as "All out punk metal" by Nicky Wire. It's not too shabby. Lyrically clunky - no song should ever begin by declaring itself "for the freaks" - but at least it rocks. When I was 15-16, this band meant the world to me, so I always want to love what they do, but they're making it harder and harder. Here's one of their greatest songs.

[download Manic Street Preachers - Yes]

Holy holes make homeless moles

Good news from Camp SFA...

Super Furry Animals have titled their forthcoming album 'Hey Venus!'.

The record, the follow-up to 2005's 'Love Kraft', will be released at the end of August.

Frontman Gruff Rhys told NME.COM earlier this year to expect a "speaker-blowing" LP, though no further details have been made available at the moment.

I can't wait for my speakers to be blown. I miss the days when SFA would rock like crazy people. Nice, title, too. Always nice to have exclamations. But what would the other turtle, Serena, think? Or maybe she understands.

[download Super Furry Animals - Venus and Serena]

Onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel

With Arsenal and England both crapping out, my entire sporting season rests upon one basketball match tomorrow night. Hopefully, we'll see more scenes like this on the mean streets of G-Vegas.

Anyway, sad news from west London. Tonight's the last ever gig at legendary venue, the Hammersmith Palais. I've only ever been there once, and the experience was actually quite annoying - it was for "An Evening with Primal Scream", which meant that they took to the stage at 11pm on a Wednesday, and last train left at 11.45, so we only caught half of the set. It was brilliant, but we left before 'Higher than the Sun'. Bah!

But the Palais will always be remembered fondly, mostly because of one particular song, which you can enjoy below. Accordingly enough, Paul Simonon rocked the house last night with The Good, The Bad and the Queen, even taking an axe to the stage. The final gig will be from the Fall, apparently a side project for that dude from Von Südenfed.

[download The Clash - White Man in Hammersmith Palais]
[download The Fall - How I Wrote Elastic Man]

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