Saturday, April 08, 2006

Straight From Our Hearts To Yours...

So tonight was a weird night. The title of this post is something close to a song title by The Poets of Rhythm. I bought their CD at the end of the night, and I was scared to put it on there now. See, the whole live thing made it sooo much better. I was worried it wouldn't work at all on CD. That, and the fact that the CD in question [Practice What You Preach] is 13 years old, culminated in worry. I guess there was no need to fear. I'm on track one... exactly three minutes and twenty-three seconds in, and it's funky. So how would I class The Poets of Rhythm? Well, visually I would say their live performance is a mixture of Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire. In fact, for the first hour or so I was wondering why the xylophonist wasn't in Arcade Fire. He was going mental. Actually. I spent the next hour wondering why he wasn't the drummer. The passion and rhythm with which he was hitting the xylophone was to be admired.

So, yea. I went out feeling lonely, bored, tired, fed up. I'm at home now - kinda buzzing, alone but feeling like I own the world or at least belong in it, and happy. The redemptive power of music? I think so. My friends buggered off to the Metro. I've been there too many times this week so I didn't go. I thought I'd finish my drink and then head on away from Sandino's but... nah. Just wasn't happening. Last night I was dancing to Westlife. Tonight I was skankin' to The Poets of Rhythm. Pure sweet. Diversity is definitely a blessing.

The track that's on right now is one that they played. Sweeeeeeeet. Anyway, there was 8 people on stage... bongo/flute [or something?] player, xylophonist/singer, singer/drummer [it was a special, maybe Indian, drum which I know not the name of], drummer, bassist, flute/maracas player, saxophonist, and... I can't remember what the other guy played. Jeez this is goin' to annoy me now... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Uhm. I can't remember at all, sorry.

But their music... I heard a fan [and the xylophonist] call it breakbeat. So, I would say. It was funk, breakbeat, world music, jazz, soul, and alot of other things which I'm not in touch with. It was amazing. Actually.

"There's the whole funk scene going on everywhere in the world". So said, the xylophonist, who also mentioned that the band were playing here, then London, then Belgium, then Germany... et cetera. You get the picture. An amazing band if ever I saw one. But if I just listened to the CD I probably wouldn't get it. Alot of bands are like that. For example, Broken Social Scene, although amazing on CD, make much much more sense on stage. It's easy to understand what's going on. You see the heart, the passion, the soul, within everything they play. And suddenly it clicks. You feel it. In your heart.

On another note, I'm developing my politeness. It's working. Tonight: "shocking... finally a decent guy and not some fuckin' stupid arsehole"

The other night: "wow, you're polite, here you can have your food straight away since you're so nice".

And on another note, I'm working tomorrow, so I'm going to sleep now. I won't be hungover. I barely drank anything. And it's just a job. It keeps me living. I'm happy. The world is a nice place. It's twenty to four. AM. Night night.. x

Friday, April 07, 2006

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

So. In the last few days nothing but Tom Waits has been coming out of my speakers. I first heard him was a few years back in my Dad's car, on an old cassette that he had gotten a lend of from one of his friends, and I haven't looked back since. Waits has one of the most distinctive voices in the business. It was once descibed by a fan as 'like how you'd sound if you drank a quart of bourbon, smoked a pack of cigarettes and swallowed a pack of razor blades... Late at night. After not sleeping for three days.'' And I pretty much agree with this. His trademark gravelly singing voice/growl has, in my opinion, given him a unique edge and it's always nice to hear something out-of-the-ordinary once in a while, and he certainly delivers. He listened to Bob Dylan as a youth, and has certainly got the less than typical singing voice that Dylan has.

His songs are mainly blues and jazz with an experimental inclination. His lyrics usually touch on the wierd and rare side of things with a dark and depressing tone that make you think of all those characters you would find in an alleyway out the back of an old pub beside a dumpster. Interesting life story, but totally out of it.

His third album, "Small Change", which was released in 1976 is my favourite so far, and I think it is the quintessential Waits album. It has been described by others as "his transition from jazzy lounge singer to experimental, rhythm driven growler." It captures Waits at the peak of his changeover. I recommend that if you do not have this album, go purchase it as soon as you can as it would be money very well spent.

Here are some of the tracks off "Small Change" that I think you should really take the time to listen to.. and enjoy.

Tom Waits - Pasties & A G-String

Tom Waits - The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

Tom Waits - Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen)

Tom Waits - Invitation To The Blues

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My [Current] Top Covers

I wanted to post the best ten covers of all time. But then, I realised I'm a person... not a god - I couldn't possibly be so arrogant to believe that I knew everything about everything. It's alrite if I think I know everything, and for the purpose of this post I do know everything because I know all about what I like. And I like these covers. No particular order; at this caliber it's hard to choose without changing your mind constantly.

Benjamin Costello - Such Great Heights
Original - The Postal Service
I just listened to this, and liked it so much I had to put it on again. The whole piece of music fits in well with the more chillout acoustic feel. The only pity it is that this is awfully similar to Iron and Wine's cover of the same song. The reason why this made it rather than Iron and Wine's version is because i prefer how the vocals are laid down on this version; I think Costello has a more down-to-earth vocal feel. I also prefer the production on this version... it all just seems to work better.

Jack L - Hallelujah
Original - Leonard Cohen
I know what you're saying, "you mispelt Jeff Buckley". No, I really didn't. Although I do really love Jeff Buckley's version, I felt it was a bit cliché so I thought I'd throw in a surprise. I have to say hearing this version of the ballad is so invigorating. Jack L's voice is astonishing, and this song really shows it off to the fullest degree. The build up's ["The fourth, the fifth the minor fall, the major lift"] are powerful and when it breaks down and becomes softer it's really beautiful*. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a version of it but here's a sample from his website of a different cover, this time of Kylie Minogue's "Can't get you out of my head". Yes, right here.

*Sorry, I don't mean to sound like a sap, I just couldn't think of how else to describe it.
Original - Modest Mouse
Sun Kil Moon is Mark Kozelek who is also known for being part of Red House Painters. His latest release as Sun Kil Moon, is Tiny Cities, which is his take on a number of Modest Mouse songs. This one is Ocean Breathes Salty, which was one of the singles from Good news for people who love bad news*. I love Kozelek's voice over the picked guitar, and it's so big for so little instrumentation being involved. The whole thing has a real big, floaty feel like you could be walking on clouds or flying or something.

*Side - Really recommended album.

Radiohead - Nobody Does It Better
Original - Carly Simon
Carly Simon's Bond* tune gets a trashy guitar remake courtesy of Radiohead. Some quality work here, with Jonny Greenwood's guitar definitely standing as possibly the most significant part of this song. Yorkes vocals give it a raw edge, that contrasts the original's more polished vocals to say the least. I don't think I need to say much, as it pretty much speaks for itself.
*Side - Timothy Dalton was probably my favourite Bond, but Roger Moore comes a close second.
Original - Gloria Gaynor
I don't know how this wasn't really big, because its really great. The original was good but this funky version contrasts it so much it surpasses it... if that's possible? This song get's you hooked right away when the vocals come in with "At first I was afraid..." the singer's (John McCrea) red-neckish vocals REALLY work over the tinny guitar I think. The first 20 seconds of the song are quite empty before he fills it out with his voice... but enough has been said. Nearly. It's a REALLY good cover.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Giant Drag Play Their Part In A Wicked Game

I woke up this morning. Nearly. Well, I did, and then I got dressed, and got into the car and I went to sleep. Then I woke up and I got to school and it's like one long day-dream. Nothing happening, not listening, just floating. Anyway, I'm now listening to Diane Cluck's "Nothing but God" [from my new mixtape, Leaving... On a Slowly Falling Paper Plane], and it's weird. The sound is travelling from one ear to the next. Now, I don't know if it's the extremely lo-fi production, or the fact that my headphones are over-used, and the speaker things in them are blown? Well anyway, the point is, it's annoying. Hi! Alarm clocks. Yes. There was an alarm clock that just rang there now! Very clever. Anyone else like Guillemots? I do. Yes sirree. "And I think of you on cold winter mornings; Darling, they remind me of when we were at school" *cue alarm clock sounds*.

So, I was out last night, and that's why I was groggy this morning. Saw a play - goodish. Went to the Metro eventually. It was shit. Depressing. Boring, old, tired, overplayed music. And by old I mean old. But whilst we're on the subject of old music, maybe we should mention Chris Isaak? I've always liked Wicked Game - a brilliantly sad, pop song, á mon avis [even if slightly boring to some], and well, I didn't know Giant Drag covered it. Mainly 'cause I don't pay attention to anything about Giant Drag. I already have enough stuff to check up on.... so I'm not goin' to get dragged *Note: [/pun] down, am I? Anyway, the song wasn't on the original US release of Giant Drag's album, Hearts & Unicorns, [it was on the UK release, however], but now the band's label are re-releasing the album, with the cover version. Hardy had this to say on the matter:

"Obviously, the cover wasn't on the original version of the album because we didn't fucking want it there. It was a song that I had been playing before, and it's only three chords. Little did we know."

She also writes this on her website:

"wicked game" is out now, dudes
the new version of “hearts and unicorns” featuring “wicked game” as a bonus track is out now all up in america, so now you don’t have to be jealous of british people who were the only ones that had it up until now. this means that the UK version of “hearts and unicorns” is no longer very special so we are in the studio recording more crap so THAT one can get re-released with a real bonus track. this is pretty ridiculous but shit happens, i suppose.

Giant Drag

Go here to find that cover of Wicked Game. It's a bit good.
Stream Giant Drag songs here.
Check out an interview with Annie Hardy, here.

2 Many DJ's do NOT spoil the mix

I'm going to see Soulwax's Dewaele brothers (2ManyDj's) on Easter Monday, and I can't wait so I thought I'd vent my excitement here. I know there is a lot of really good stuff going on in the area of remixers and the like, but although artists like The Phones, MSTRKRFT, Justice* and Erol Alkan are really tearing down the boundries of music, the 2manydj's album (This is Radio Soulwax Pt.2) is second to none. [Hopefully it will be contested when MSTRKRFT bring out "the looks" later this year.] There's also lots of other really good mixes floating about the internet. For information on all the different mixes check HERE.

The only officially released album is Radio Soulwax Part 2, which is an hour compilation, mashing up songs from the full music spectrum, 2manydjs mix tracks which really shouldnt go together and make them work, one memorable part is where they mix Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" with Royksopp's** "Eple" - having the Royksopp tune linger in the background until the climax of Parton's verses (As far as i can remember) where it breaks right into the main ding-a-ling part of "Eple". Pt.2 also has one of my favourite intro's to a 2manydjs mix, with their mash up of a live rendition of "Peter Gunn" with a "Where's your head at?" rock-appella coming out of nowhere.

If you have the album and haven't found the hidden track yet, it's worthwhile to check it. It's a remix of Kylie Minogue's, "Cant get you out of my head", which slices her 'la's and gives a start and stop feeling to bring it in, which works really well. The bonus track is before the album and means the CD has to be rewinded from the first track, doesn't seem to work in some CD players... which is why it took me a few months to find it... pfft.

*[Side note, im a bit ragin that I had the chance to see Justice but left early. They have an unbelievable remix of Soulwax's NY excuse that you all should check out. It's on Justice's myspace which unfortunately i can't remember right now, but im sure its linked off]

**[Two worthwhile Royksopp remixes of What else is there are Thin White Dukes mix and the Trentemöller remix. If i get a chance i'll post on these later.]

Skee-lo Vs Foreigner Vs The Breeders

Monday, April 03, 2006

Big Names, Big Messes

And you will know us by the trail of dead. I may be used to the name by now, but i'm pretty sure the first time i heard it i thought it sounded like a metal band. The name apparently came from a Mayan chant and a similar Egyptian chant, however in an interview Conrad Keely pointed out that this, amongst some other "facts" about the band were lies. you can check that out HERE. But once i got over the fact that TOD are not a metal band and listened to their music i realised they write quite nice songs, nowadays they are possibly my favourite band. Likelyhood is you've probably heard them before, but, i think they still deserve a post.

At the minute if i could see any band in the world live, it would be these guys. I suppose THIS is as good a reason as any. I like bands that make a mess and throw things about, gives you that chance to stop at a gig and turn to your friend to say, "Did he just do that?". Another great thing about there live show is the instrument swapping, with the drummer swapping to be frontman at some points.

My optimum choice for checking out has to be "A perfect teenhood" from the album "Madonna" [Live at Reading, taken from TOD's media page] for its fast paced Hardcore/punk feel throughout the song only to drown in its own noise at the end, with Conrad's yelps of "Fuck You" being the only thing remaining afloat. But other noteworthy songs to check out are:

-Prince with a thousand Enemies
-Days of Being Wild
-Richter Scale Madness

Mistakes and Regrets
The Best
Worlds Apart

Further MP3's and Videos on Trail of Deads Media Page

People In Planes

I have things - bands, artists, thoughts - which I would post about if I could properly be bothered, but I'm having a lazy day, during which I shall do absolutely nothing [hopefully]. You know how it is. So, I'm just going to find an old email I got, with a link to a song by People in Planes. They've already been featured [no hyperlink, due to laziness], so I guess there no need to say much of anything at all, really.

People in Planes

Light for the Deadvine

Oh yes! Must say that my reason for posting this, is that I saw they were #1 on Elbows' "What's Hot?" chart, so it felt appropriate. Just checked it out, and yes, this is the song that everyone's been posting.

Buy the album from iTunes. I hear that's the cool thing to do. Now, I swear when I was linked to that song it said "acoustic" in brackets after the title. Is it just me, or is this possibly the least acoustic sounding song [...previously labeled "acoustic], that you've heard all day? I think so. Then again; maybe it's just me.

Internet PR/e-marketing really is working, eh? I'm just a slave to the game...*

*Note: irony/sarcasm.

Sigur Rós

April Fool's Day was... uhm... two days ago. Here's the news bulletin from 18 Seconds Before Sunrise:

"sigur rós have been kind enough to give the fans a preview of the upcoming sæglópur ep. you can now download one of the b-sides, refur, here. refur is a unique sigur rós song as it marks the first time that kjartan steps away from his usual background vocals and takes the lead vocals. as a result, the song has taken a more upbeat direction than the band’s previous works, which, according to jónsi, is likely to characterize the band’s future releases. "

You should listen to it. It's stupid. Although, I reckon it'll probably make you laugh, when you think about the absolute beauty of Sigur Rós' glacial, orchestral, etc etc music, while you listen to the absolute... silliness... of this. Hehe..

So, that makes two April Fool's day pranks, which were rather amusing. Cool.

*Note: information originally discovered on Gorilla vs Bear.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

E . S . C . O

WARNING: this is not your usual post that you might, or would hope to see on this page... it's just going to be me rambling on about fuck all in general. Thanks.

Definition of "hate"
feel hostility or animosity toward.
To detest
To feel dislike or distaste for: hates washing dishes
[ if you dont believe me:]

so this is the general feeling that i have towards my work today, i don't want to disclose thier company name, incase i offend one [or many] of their place of employment. 'cause we all know that's just plain not nice.
But there is a play i want to go to on Tuesday night, and now apparently i have to work, which is not part of my contracted hours so i don't want have to work. it's simple : tell work to fuck off.
but is anything ever that simple!?
answer: NO
i have a mate [a good one at that] who is contracted to work on tuesday nights, and he is also going to the same show, and i don't want him to miss it... cause to be honest, he'll probably enjoy it more than i will. My real reason for going is to get blocked. I think? or maybe not, cause i know that i'll actally enjoy the show.

On another note: I never thought that any band / artist could ever get the word "uga buga" into a song but the so called metal band [more edgey punk to me] Evangelists managed to do tonight, which was kinda fun.

So, things i hate...
i hate the way when you are writing in this blog spot when you notice that you have made a mistake and wish to go back and retpye you cant cause it types over the rest of the text. But in fairness i would'nt encounter this problem if i had a full keyboard, damn this small [less character] laptop keyboards.
I think i need the "insert" key ... dont you?

so i think that my bed is calling for me... but it's not actually calling me cause it's a bed, and they can't talk

so i would post some music here for you all to listen to, but i couldn't be fucked.
That's a lie; "couldnt be fucked" should be replaced with "dont have to the time to figure out how to." but its ok cause im gona name some songs that you should go and check out:
1. caP'n Jazz - Yes, im talking to you
2. American Football - Never Meant
3. Wolf Parade - Grounds For Divorce
4. The National - Secert Meeting

So this is how i feel about the things i hate at the moment ...
yes they are really not that important to me

this blog is for Mont, whom thought id never do one for him ... but look ^^ i have.
thats me
Over and Out

*Note: Edited to fix certain spelling errors. As there were too many, many grammatical errors were left uncorrected.