Saturday, July 08, 2006

the DJ was asleep



True. False. Which is it? Don't know. I have been sleeping a lot but I've been keeping late hours recently, so it evens out. I was awake for 21 hours yesterday, so why didn't I post on the blog? Bit of a break that's all. Well, to make up for it I'm going to update you with what's been breaking into the mainstream recently and getting well-deserved radio coverage. First, the title of this post is from a Regina Spektor song called "On the Radio", which she played on BBC Radio 3 quite recently, and the recording is taken from it. As with most excellent / rare / brilliant / beautiful / raw things, I found the recording on Kwaya Na Kisser. Read the blog, find hidden gems, download, listen for days, sleep eventually. Repeat. Before that though, download the rest of the tracks from the session... sorry, yea, they would be here. Yea cool. Enjoy.

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Anyway, what an appropriate song to begin this post with, eh? So let's continue. Jamie T. I've said alot about him before. I've been enthusiastic to the point of hyperbole, excited like his music is a sugar rush. Fair play. I don't take it back. He's amazing. And now everytime I listen to BBC Radio 1 at night, I hear "Sheila", and I smile to myself. And some nights he does live session tracks. And some nights he just does a phone interview. In other words, his rare breed of music is breaking through in a big big way, and even the NME have decided to lavish him with their ridiculously 'hip' and hyperbolic praise. Amazingly however, he deserves it. Here's what they had to say:

An all-singing, all-swaggering West London rude boy specialising in tales of booze, birds and being broke. They don't call him the one-man Arctic Monkey for nothing.
They're right, y'know. No one calls him the one-man Arctic Monkey at all, mind you. Jamie T has 22 demos online, that can be found rather easily, and a few of them are simply fantastic. I've always liked "So Lonely Was The Ballad" for it's perfect portrayal of laddish friends - "always take the piss but they're loyal in the end, but watch out, 'cause they'll steal your girlfriend". I've also been a fan of "Ike & Tina" since those days sitting trying to study/revise/waste time in the library at school when the sun was out from its hiding place behind the clouds. Perfect song for that exam period before summer - "kids don't study / they cram, Goddamn!". It's clearly a very adolescent song, but don't let that put you off - it has enough wit and beat to keep everyone interested. Plus, I've always been endeared to the song for the way out from this low-quality and sometimes jarring recording, the words "off of my face, need a hug" appear like a rainbow through the drizzle. It's such a perfect and acute observation that's sang so lazily - I've lost count of the nights I've been drunk and just dying for a hug from anyone. I'd never heard "A New England (Another Girl)" but I'm glad I now have. A very low volume recording with only a bass backing him up as he proclaims, "well I don't want to change the world / I'm not looking for a new England / I'm just looking for another girl". By turns self-deprecating, ironic, bitter, humorous, and sincere, it's a lovely simple song that shows another side of this clearly multi-dimensional talent. There's no album yet, but when there is, expect to hear a lot more about him.

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On Across The Line (I can't quite remember if it's still called that or not, but let's assume it is) - another show on BBC Radio 1 - they played "When the Night Turns Cold", a song by the Swedish artist Tobias Froberg who's friends include José González and Ane Brun. It's a classic pop tune harking back to a time seemingly long since past. However, I'm still more partial to Froberg's other efforts. No matter, here's what he had to say about this song:

It’s actually two songs that I compressed into one. We wanted the middle section, or the bridge, to sound completely different from the rest of the song, like the odd part in Simon and Garfunkel’s ”You don’t know where your interest lies,” from the Bookends-sessions.


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MTV's often superb 120 Minutes program and Pete Tong (of BBC Radio 1) have played Lazy B's new single, "Underwear Goes Inside The Pants". It is absolutely breath-taking. The chill-out vibe fades the song in and then fades out, and a newer, intenser vibe falls into its place - it's a brilliant backdrop for the words, and the words themselves stop you in your tracks. I believe there is a very strong element of Bill Hicks in the lyrics to the song - his bitterness, and his acute tongue which was able to portray reality in such a way that mere facts have the ability to deem reality absurd. The similarity is especially apparent in the lines, "that is the greatest disease ever! How do you get that? That disease comes with a hot chick and a puppy", as well as other lines towards the end of the song. Lots of satire, and lots of irony. Listen to it. It's like a modern-day "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" - the Romeo & Juliet director, Baz Luhrmann's song - only instead of advice, it focuses on offering insight and perhaps raising a smile - "I can't watch TV for four minutes without thinking I have five serious diseases".

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Related to that brilliant song is this fascinating discovery (it appears I'm slow; You Ain't No Picasso wrote a post on him around this time last year): Rx. Think The Avalanches. He samples George W. Bush's speeches and makes songs. You know the way when you type "failure" into Google and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky", the official biography of The President appears on your screen? Like this: look! First result! Well, these songs are like that. Different words taken out of context and then shuffled to make statements - political, social. I can't force the right words into the right sentences to describe it. Not coherently. I'll offer a few stand-alone words though.

Political ### Heart-felt ### Sincere ### Beautiful ### Sad ### Funny ### Important ### Protest ### Ironic ### Satirical ### Generation defining ###

You should explore for yourself. "HIV AIDS" is heartbreaking. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is one of the most accomplished efforts - mastering not only the samples, but also the beat behind it, and the humour. It's a wry humour. A not-amused humour. Laughing with bitterness. But fuck it, "My Generation Rx" just kick-started the party. Were you there? Were you listening? Were you drunk, coughing in the bathroom? Or were you with me in the kitchen pissed off your face, hugging people and laughing and laughing and laughing. At my dancing. At the music. At life. With joy we poke fun at the lives we lead and the world we live in. We only feel redemption when we're talking about it, revelling in it. "My Name Is Rx" joins in on the party vibe, fabulously falling over it's shyness and grooving out onto the dance-floor. This is freedom. It's in the words. Or should that be samples? "I don't give a fuck!"



I would guess that My Generation is a pseudo-cover of The Who, and My Name Is is a pseudo-cover of Enimem, but Sunday Bloody Sunday is definitely a relatively straight-forward cover of the U2 song. Never heard it? Okay, here: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2. Anyway, Radiohead are also anti-government and always up for making a fuss - something you'll realise if you read Dead Air Space - so I think they'd probably appreciate Rx's take on the song, which they have also covered live. Yea I know, check it out: "Sunday Bloody Sunday (live)". For some reason I really like the cover. So, listen.

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And how about this for linking? The LA band Sunday's Best sound slightly slightly like Radiohead in the opening lines of "The Salt Mines of Santa Monica". I would class the music as driving indie rock with emo-tendencies and probably leave it at that. Well, textually I would leave it at that. But if you were beside me, I would visually point you in the direction of my speakers, whilst sticking on "Love My Friends Hate My Life" for your aural pleasure. After that I'd send you out of my room, unplug my laptop, unplug my speakers, and fall asleep. Right... about... now. Goodbye.

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Downloads:

Regina Spektor - On the Radio
Jamie T - Sheila (demo)
Jamie T - So Lonely Was The Ballad
Jamie T - Ike & Tina (demo)
Jamie T - A New England (Another Girl) (Billy Bragg cover)
Tobias Froberg - When the Night Turns Cold
Lazy B - Underwear Goes Inside The Pants
Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Rx - HIV AIDS
Rx - My Generation Rx
Rx - My Name Is Rx
Rx - Sunday Bloody Sunday - (video)
U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday
Radiohead - Sunday Bloody Sunday (live)
Sunday's Best - The Salt Mines of Santa Monica
Sunday's Best - Love My Friends Hate My Life