Much against everyone's advice

You don't forget your first time. Mine was in 2000, when I saw Soulwax open for Muse at ULU. (Stadium-slayers Muse headlining 800-capacity ULU? That was a long time ago). Didn't know anything about them, but they blew me away. I was hooked enough to see Soulwax return to headline the same venue a couple of months later. They had tubelights for mic-stands! They sang in English as a second language! They made entire rooms dance like bastards! For a while, they were always playing in London - and I was always there. These guys, formed around the nucleus of Steph and Dave Dewaele, soon started 2ManyDJs, a club experience that I didn't get to nearly as often as I'd have liked. Also, they now play live sometimes as Nite Versions - a band that reworks Soulwax songs.

It gets confusing. The new documentary Part of the Weekend Never Dies (warning: website is incredibly annoying) attempts to explain the differences in nomenclature, plus show exactly how hard they tour, and capture the manic exhiliration of the live experience. The doc was shot entirely on one camera, which makes it different from all others. There's a lot of up-close-and-personal interview footage with the band, but also with newer bands who're far bigger, at least in the States. Klaxons, Justice, Tiga and James Murphy all extol the virtues of the band. Nancy Whang from LCD Soundsystem, the voice of one of Soulwax's best songs, also is involved, and tells the story of how she hates 'NY Excuse'. The footage from concerts is spliced from all over the world, and it really is rollocking. I watched half the film on headphones in the library yesterday and it was hard to stay sitting still in one place. God, they're so much fun.

The main weakness in 'Part of the Weekend...' is that a lot of it is showy and doesn't have too much substance. There are lots of shots of empty hallways - stuff like that. It sets a mood, but doesn't tell us much. It's just a series of very brief snapshots of life on the road for Soulwax, without much context or depth. And that's ok. But there are parts where it kind of drags. But it's worth seeing for moments of insight like "It's like a place that sells dragon sticks" (Tiga) or "They're like cocaine but without the big ideas' (James Murphy).

Here are three songs from Soulwax. Firstly, there's 'E-Talking', out of which the documentary got its title. When this album ('Any Minute Now') came out, I played it to death, and my roommate Justin thought the guitars on 'E-Talking' sounded like Godzilla crying. Also, there's a live cover of 'Poplife' by Prince, and their song 'Saturday' mashed up with 'Billie Jean'.

[download Soulwax - E-Talking]
[download Soulwax - Poplife (live)]
[download Soulwax - Saturday Meets Billie Jean]

[Soulwax official / myspace]


j-henry wolfe said...

i had completely forgotten this and listening to the intro of that song had no idea what you were talking about...and then the godzilla crying guitars came in! i totally stand by that as the most accurate possible description of that sound, although if i meant it as an insult (or more likely a stoned aside) then i totally mean it as a compliment now.

because of you i still have never been able to give any franz ferdinand or the first concretes album a chance. god, that "take me out" guitar riff still makes my muscles unconsciously tighten up. on the plus side, without yr influence i wouldn't have gone on to enjoy pulp or dylan moran or have like every ricky gervais XFM show and the steve show on my hard drive. i also still listen to "the great eastern" occasionally and it is still, erm, great and eastern.

evo said...

I can't believe Muse and Soulwax were in the same room... and if you mean University of London Union then that means I am incredibly green with envy

Koen said...

Could you please upload poplife again?

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