4play: Back 2 Skool

For some reason, there isn't really a wealth of songs celebrating that sensation that I've just experienced, and I'm sure many of you guys have too/will be soon. Yep, it's time to return to school/college/university and put the summer behind you. I mean, there's this, but I've never really cared for the Deftones. If only Alice Cooper would write some sort of flip-side response to his own 'School's Out', that'd make my life a whole lot easier. So, for the most part, here are four songs about the end of summer.

Walking Barefoot - One of Ash's greatest songs, sad but lively, and there's a great bit toward the end where all the instruments cut out and Tim says that the rain just won't go, and then all the noise comes back in that always gives me goosebumps.

Autumn's Here - Someone once played me this song and said he's "Canada's Rufus Wainwright". Well, it's the only song I know to use the word "kindling" so fair play to him. Also it has lovely strings.

The Laws Have Changed - Second year of law school is already more intense than anything I've done before (see image). No more mid-week crack binges, I guess.

Summer Falls - Always got love for the 'Food here, and this song is about a world gone mad, which is probably this one. "As if by magic, summer ends" and a really sweet drum fill around the 3.40 mark. Yep!

[download Ash - Walking Barefoot]
[download Hawksley Workman - Autumn's Here]
[download The New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed]
[download Seafood - Summer Falls]

Our brainwash attempt

Hello! We are Jakobinarina!

They are from Iceland, they're very young, and this is their latest single. It's very gung-ho, and kinda-superfluous extra fifty seconds of outro notwithstanding, it's dead good. "We will change our name to the Coca-Cola band!" the guy barks, and it's a big tongue in cheek anti-corporate rant that's very enjoyable on this kind of wet Sunday. Hit them up on myspace for some more songs, too.

[download Jakobinarina - This Is An Advertisement]

Whoever has the money has the power

Since I really quite enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt's last film 'Brick', I was eager to see his latest, 'The Lookout', but disappointingly, it only played in my town for about three days upon release in the Spring. So now it's on DVD (and Blu-Ray, but who cares?) and I caught it the other day.

Thrillers concerning amnesia/serious head trauma aren't anything new, and though 'The Lookout' owes a nod to 'Memento', it does just enough to stand strongly. Gordon-Levitt is reliably ace, and supported by Jeff Bridges, Isla Fisher and a menacing Matthew Goode, it's a solid set of performances. The plot is simple, if unremarkable, but keeps you interested and the action set pieces are just short of edge-of-the-seat stuff, but it's still a very subtle thing. There's some nice humour, mostly out of Bridges, and the wintery look of the film is really effective. It's hard not to think of 'Brick', another low-key smalltown noir story, which 'The Lookout' isn't quite as original as, in terms of both plot and presentation, but it's still well worth at least a rental.

And, because it plays over the start of the film...

[download My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday]

[buy DVD from Deep Discount]

You can do it, Pimp Lucius

I haven't updated in a while, but thankfully, that's not because I died. Instead, I moved back up to Gainesville, settled into a new room in the same house, began 2nd year of law school and all the reading that entails, had a friend over from London and showed him all the sights (including all-you-can-eat wings night), I've been monitoring my Fantasy League team, and perhaps most importantly of all, I've been trying to understand what this mysterious "Package" could be.

More posts soon.

Wrapped up in books

The summer is coming to an end. I'm sitting in the waiting room while my car gets checked up, and since they offer free wireless here (thanks, Honda!), how about an update. Over the past few weeks, I've been working an easy-but-tedious job, and so I've been listening to a lot of books on tape. In fact, in addition to the handful of books I actually physically read, here's my reading list since the end of April:

Michael Chabon - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Michael Chabon - The Yiddish Policeman's Union [thoughts]
Stephen Fry - Rescuing the Spectacled Bear
John Hodgman - The Areas of My Expertise
Khaled Hosseini - A Thousand Splendid Suns
Chuck Klosterman - IV
Chuck Klosterman - Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs
Jonathan Lethem - Men and Cartoons
Jonathan Lethem - The Disappointment Artist
Howard Marks - Book of Dope Stories
Cormac McCarthy - No Country for Old Men
David Rakoff -Fraud
Ian Rankin - The Naming of the Dead
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter 7 [thoughts]
Louis Theroux - The Call of the Weird [thoughts]
Kurt Vonnegut - A Man Without A Country
Sarah Vowell - Assassination Vacation
Sarah Vowell - The Partly Cloudy Patriot

Knowledge is power. From now til December, it's only gonna be this and this for me. Weep.

4play: Heads of State

Rumours that I didn't think this feature through and that I'm already running out of ideas may or may not be entirely accurate. Anyway, here's the second installment. Songs about leaders of government.

Didn't quite make it: SFA's 'Presidential Suite', about "Monica and Naughty Billy", because it's too slow-but-pretty; iLiKETRAiN's recent 'Spencer Perceval' (wrote about that here), or anything about the Garfield assassin, Charles J. Guiteau, my new favourite historical figure.

But enough about those losers, here's today's four:

Revol: Could've gone with 'The Love of Richard Nixon', but that song is rubbish, and Revol namechecks at least ten figures. Raus Raus!

The Day That Thatcher Dies: Any possible feeling of moral uncertainty about this song's sentiment is washed over by the fact that it has a kid's choir.

Teddy Roosevelt's Guns: I'm new on the Godspeed/Mt Zion bandwagon, but I'm head-over-heels with all that stuff now.

El President: The subject of this song, Gen. Pinochet, was kept at the Priory in North London for a while, about five minutes from where I lived. I remember protesters and hearing our town in the news.

[download Manic Street Preachers - Revol]
[download Hefner - That Day That Thatcher Dies]
[download A Silver Mt. Zion - Teddy Roosevelt's Guns]
[download Drugstore - El President ft. Thom Yorke]

R.I.P. Tony Wilson

Sad news.

4play: Roots Manuva guest spots

New feature! New feature! Ring the bells and flash some lights! For trivia fans, rejected titles for this feature were "4real", "4pack", "4songs", "4way" and "Gimme 5". I decided that, if I wanted to sustain this, though, I should limit it to four and not five tunes. The premise is: four songs that I like, united by some arbitrary theme. Questions?

To begin with, four songs that feature London's Rodney Smith, better known as Roots Manuva in a cameo. He's had a variable career - a handful of genius moments (if you've never seen the video for 'Witness', go go go go) but lots and lots of mediocre output. When I saw him live at Reading 2001, it was a weak show and he cut off 'Witness' after one verse. He may proclaim to be a vision of splendid splendidness, but he's frustratingly uneven.

But these guest appearances are all ace. The Cinematic Orchestra track is long and brooding and has some reference to a Tardis, and the line about his best friend dying always gets me. Meanwhile, 'Dusted' was a great taster for the disappointing 'Rhythm and Stealth'. Get up!

He only drops a verse on the other two tracks. Exodus 77 is a huge dude who you may have heard on 'Won' by the Beta Band, and the Bhangra mix of the TY track is ace. Enjoy! The tune with Exodus isn't even listed on Wikipedia, so consider that an exclusive?

[download The Cinematic Orchestra - All Things To All Men]
[download TY - So You Want More (Refix)]
[download Leftfield - Dusted]
[download Exodus 77 - 3D Reconstruction]

There is a man, a certain man

Yesterday, I watched Citizen Kane for the following reasons:

  • "Wait a minute! There was no cane in Citizen Kane!", plus the episode with the Ramones and Mr. Burns' teddy bear, Bobo.
  • This news headline from the Telegraph. Zing!
  • Next month when I see The National, they'll be supported by The Rosebuds.
  • Two songs, both below. Firstly, from N*E*R*D*'s much panned second record, the song 'Drill Sergeant', easily the highlight of a poor album. There's a reference to Orson Welles in there, plus Barnes and Noble and other things, and I don't know what on earth it's about, but I love the breezy harmonies and it reminds me of SFA.
  • Also, less obliquely, 'The Union Forever', which is almost entirely made up of lines from the film, which caused some controversy. The version here is from the 'Redd Blood Cells' mashup, and as such, features bass parts!
  • Orson Welles was in The Muppet Movie.
  • Lastly, because I'd never seen it before and some people say it's quite good.
[download N*E*R*D - Drill Sergeant]
[download The White Stripes - The Union Forever]

Summer gave us sweets

This is rather embarrassing, but when I posted about The Strange Death of Liberal England recently, I neglected to mention that they had an album coming out literally days later. Well, they do. Sorry about that, TSDOLE, although on the plus side, now you get a second post on AYGH?

The record's called 'Forward March!' and it's dead good. Some moments sound like A Silver Mt Zion - the sharp, often indecipherable vocals and epic building of noise, and the other reference point is Arcade Fire. Hooray, them. There's a part in 'Oh Solitude' where all the instruments cut out, and it always reminds me of the "Between the click of the light and the start of the dream" part in 'No Cars Go'. And it's lovely to have a version of their debut 'A Day Another Day' that's not a rip from the vinyl, although those warm crackles at the start certainly have some charm. As a lifelong subscriber to "the big music", I really like what TSDOLE are doing. Long may they prosper. I just wish the lyrics function on their myspace was working, I'd love to know what the fuck he's saying.

[download The Strange Death of Liberal England - An Old Fashioned War]

[Buy 'Forward March' (UK)]

With the angst of a teenage band

They haven't released a record yet - October 8th, apparently - but The Wombats have become one of my favourite new bands. All the songs of theirs that I've heard so far have been lyrically interesting and bouncy as fuck. Also, one of them has the @ sign in its title (Backfire @ the Disco) which is pretty cool. I haven't heard next single 'Let's Dance to Joy Division' yet, but here's hoping they rhyme "nuclear fission" with "Transmission". I'm terrible.

Recent single 'Kill the Director' opens with a blast of noise before carrying on their theme of fun, upbeat songs about not understanding girls, before a big, Helen Fielding-baiting outro. It's catchy, pithy, and a whole heap of summer joy. Also, if you're that way inclined, there's a remix by CSS, which you can listen to at their myspage. Check 'em.

[download The Wombats - Kill The Director]

Find It