Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup Round-up

Maybe your team didn't get into the World Cup [thank you Ireland]. So? There's 32 countries in it... Surely you'll find one, no? Well, due to a work thing where teams were drawn out of a hat, I'm now Spanish for a month. Call me Amadeo. So without further ado:

Most Impressive So Far:

Spain (amazing football.)
Croatia (Can't think what to say other than: you know it's true.)
Argentina (who else was over-awed by today's performance? Seriously... 24 passes, 9 players involved... all for one goal. Top stuff.)

Biggest Disappointment:

Brazil (What age is Ronaldo anyway? I remember watching him in like 1994 and he was a superstar. Is he like 90 now? However, they do have Kaka... and Kaka is a LEGEND.)

Least Deserving of ANY Hype:

England (Trinidad and Tobago? And you struggled? 'nuff said.)

Out But Should Be In:

Poland (can't believe Germany beat you in the most boring match of the century... that was unfortunate)

Who do I think will be in the final?

Spain and Brazil with Argentina getting to the semi's at least.

Anything else?

One word left. Two syllables. Have you guessed what it is yet?

Bouncing Souls


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jesus, Etc


Jesus, Etc.

This song by Wilco is beautiful and sombre; it's uplifted and innocent. Like a kinder-garden kid who painted a picture, and then placed it on the fridge with his favourite Ben & Jerry's fridge-magnet. The picture was surrealist; cheap paint on thick paper - dispersed unevenly, dispersed joyfully. The picture was of a baby; no, not a baby. The picture was nothing more than a crescent; highly visible - luminous even - in the flourescent pink and green he'd chose. You might say it looked like the moon but it didn't. What it did look like was a frown. And the boy turned it upside down to make a smile. And he smiled at what he'd done.

But this song isn't childish: like I said, it's beautiful. It's chirping from the start. You turn to your lover and you tell her you love her. You make these rhymes that sound silly on paper, but charming and alluring wrapped up in melodies. And who can't relate to the line, "last cigarettes are all you can get, turning your orbit around", apart from non-smokers? [yes, I realise the silliness of my point. but a fact is still a fact.]

I guess I don't have a point other than this: I can relate to it. I think it's beautiful. I've said beautiful lots and lots of times, and that's because it's true. It's got a country twang, an indie intelligence, a lyrical flawlessness and a strong focus on melody. It hasn't been on that many blogs, and it's a shame. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was lauded, and I mean, lauded by Pitchfork - it was one of those rarities: the album that managed to get all 10.0 points... It's why I bought it in the first place. And it seemed a bit weird, at the time, considering I was thirteen.

I ripped open the packaging and put the album in the CD player, waiting to be blown away instantly. But I wasn't. There was lots of seemingly useless noise scattered around the mix. I know now I was missing the point - I think I knew then - because albums - the truly touching/amazing/intriguing ones - take their time to grow. And what I also realised straight away - upon the first notes of this song - was that when they did away with the pretension and the experimentation, Wilco still managed to come out with an absolutely amazing song. And the song is neither complex nor exceedingly simple - just perfect in its innocent execution, like the kid who paints a frown and turns it upside down. The two states are interchangeable, he thinks, when he looks back on it now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Silly, silly, silly!

First things first: Let's hope I don't resort to doing this tomorrow.

So, let's fill in the odd detail here and there. I love Radiohead. I liked Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, and will obviously be buying it when it comes out. Yet others criticised it; got frustrated with it. They thought it was a lack-lustre performance. Like a dull and average all-star Brazilian team; notable only for the big name involved, and not the actual quality of the album.

Listening to early early Radiohead demo's [from the days when they were called On A Friday] is a bit like that photo. Big names involved; lots of happiness. Silly glee. Stupid bliss. Before anti-anti-anti-everything kicked in. When youthful and still dreaming. Shouting about random stuff. Happily, sillily, stupidly. Grinning wildly. Oh, sweet innocence.

I apologise for the writing in this post; it's abbreviated, it's shortened, it's forgetful, it's leaving out details, it's neglectful: it's average. That's what On A Friday are. Like that band that played in your local pub that you can't remember the name of. You know they provided you with a few laughs - but why? Was it happiness or was it a scornful laugh? Could you do better? Whatever. Just lap it up and smile.

Radiohead (formerly On A Friday or Shindig)

How Can You Be Sure?
Upside Down
Life With The Big F
Sinking Ship

#1: I recommend 'How can you be sure?' Lazy in execution; Thom Yorke smiling through half-hearted tears. These demo's were recorded in the summer of 1990; a summer-break from University for the band. Unsurprisingly then, the lyrics seem to describe University life: the alcohol, the poverty, the uncertainty, the relationships, the occasional downer. The recording quality is poor - sounds like it's been recorded in his Halls - but the song overall is still endearing and lovely to listen to.

#2: 'Sinking Ship' is endlessly fascinating: there's saxophone - cheerful saxophone; Thom's 'the captain of the boat'. It brings a smile to the face of a weatherbeaten sailor.
#3: 'Upside Down' - nothing much to say - 'can't stop loving you', dear Radiohead?
#4: 'Life With The Big F': what's going on? Why's he happy? What's he la-la-la-ing about? Is he slaggin' off the French? Fuck it, I don't care anymore.

For more information, and the other 14 tracks feel free to go here and here - that's where I got the tracks from in the first place. Excellent discoveries are excellent. Say thank you to Pierre.

Heylo sunshine

I was going to write something spectacular and flowing; imagetic and hectic. Well, I think I'll save that for tomorrow, since right now my head is still floating around in cyber-space somewhere and when I listen to music with any drums what-so-ever everything goes fuzzy and something inside my skull cracks and splits and then aches. So, for now, make do with sunshine and lollipops, in the form of Lily Allen's two mixtapes. And yes Lily, your shadow does look like 'Peter Pan in a pixie hat':

Lily Allen

My First Mixtape
Mixtape #2

I haven't found the time to listen to these in their entirety yet, but all of her songs are rather good. Charming with lots of potential. And if you must make the comparisons: yes, she does sound like a female version of Jamie T; yes, there is a distinct link between her music and that of Mike Skinner; yes, there are many more that will undoubtedly be made... but not by me; not right now.

The first mixtape starts with 'LDN', the song that everyone has been fawning over. The song of course being a sort of 'i love you London' endorsement that is never overly flattering, and always honest, whilst being, yes, charming. It's like a badge to stick on your blouse; except you stick it on your iPod instead and play it in the background as you lie down on a sunbed and read your favourite novel. That's it... after song numero uno you're on your own. Enjoy the discovery. Think Disney. Be happy.

[Read a review of 'My First Mixtape' - click]

Monday, June 12, 2006

this X is a surrender

Study too much. Study too little. Learn nothing. Learn exasperation.

Chad VanGaalen

Clinically Dead

Feeling: dead - broken heart, broken spirit, crushed demeanour. When I walk my arms hang by my sides. My knees bent - ready when the time comes to roll over, fall on my back, sleep forever. I'm dreaming. They saw my youth and they stole it from me. Replaced my free-will, my vigour, with emotions too complex for me to understand. Placed textbooks in front of me and insisted, "These are a distraction! These are essential!" I tried to absorb every word from those books. I tried to glean sense, knowledge, sort it through in my head, compartmentalise everything into different theories, thoughts, transitions; different feelings isolated, then placed into darkness - took away all lightbulbs. I convinced myself I would perform perfectly, like a well-oiled machine in these exams. Dream on.

Why don't you put up a fight? Dream on.

This X is a surrender. A kiss goodbye. My white flag - I would hold it higher, but...

x : all my love, always and forever - even if you never know; especially if you never know. We never learn, do we? [Learn...]

Bright Eyes

No Lies, Just Love

When I am reborn I will be pure, like snow... like gold! When I am reborn I will decide my own future, my own emotional leanings, where and when my intellect is birthed, which words I will use, I will be king of the Dictionary. I will be in love and out of love, at my choosing, I will be happy, I will be happy - God knows I've waited long enough. Dream on.

When I am reborn I will be the same; but wiser. Hardened by experience, aged by emotion, drowned in a sea of well-meant yet ill-devised intentions. The critics they will call me naive; they will do as they do; they will never cease with their criticisms; they will ask, "well how can you be so sure?" And I will never answer their question. [Discover...]

I am dreaming of a summer day or a winter-sky; an oil-painting burnt to unrecognisable pieces. I am dreaming of a second chance.