Monday, 29 November 2010

2011 Musical 'Wish /Looking Forward To' List #1



Here's a start on my musical wish list/looking forward to list for 2011.

Wish:
- Music Go Music or/and Bodies of Water playing End of The Road 2011 festival.  (This would be the perfect festival for them and I'll be rooting for this to happen).

Looking Forward To:
- The Low Anthem's new album 'Smart Flesh' being released on the day after my birthday.
- Caribou's concert on the day after my birthday.
- The day after my birthday.


I'll be thinking of more.


Bodies of Water playing 'If I Were A Bell' in their yard.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

What's been melting my stereo?

In all honesty, not that much. I've been stuck on a few really excellent albums released this year and apart from that, I've been rocked (but not to a significant degree) by the odd song here and there.  

I think the problem lies in me not getting out to enough live shows in the last few months. Live is where a lot of bands are making it and live also happens to be where the money is at in the music business. Live is where I'm more frequently impressed by a band or get caught up in the mood of the audience. Live is where a certain number of bands just seem to sound better than they do recorded.

So to remedy this, I'm staying in tonight. I had a ticket to see Warpaint at Scala but I'm nursing an annoying cold so I'm going to sit in my thermals, slurp soup and generally feel sorry for myself. It's bad timing but at least this is one of the bands I have actually seen once before this year.

*cough cough*.

over and out.


Thursday, 30 September 2010

A sneaky last day of September post

Hello again.  Lots has happened since I last posted an entry here but somehow I'm finding it hard to make the time to sit down and type.  As you can see from my photo - yes that's me (sans face because I'm shy about revealing my true identity here), I had a great time at End Of The Road 2010.  Apart from hula hooping at the circus skills tent - god that hula hoop hurt my sides - I saw loads of amazing bands.  In the true spirit of music geekery - here's a list in no apparent order and why I thought they were good:

Iron & Wine - Samuel Beam has the voice of an angel. Truly a must see for anyone live at least once.
Monotonix - For their crowd surfing efforts and for the man who managed to sleep on the floor in the middle of it all.
Caribou - It is such a thrill to stand in a Caribou concert and see and hear the masters at work, especially for the drumming duets.
The Low Anthem - Old favourites of mine.  I've finally got used to seeing them perform as a four. Their sound and stage presence / song selection has grown in every way I hoped it would. Awesome.  I could go on.

EOTR aside, I've treated myself to a premium Spotify account and I'm still in the honeymoon period of loving not hearing any of their adverts *bliss*.  Here's one of the uninterrupted albums I've been soaking up.




 Tame Impala - InnerSpeaker

**Hello to Gary & Jonny who like us pitched their tent in the same area as last year meaning we were once again tent neighbours.  It was so lovely to see you both, looking forward to meeting up for London concerts soon and EOTR 2011 of course.**

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The dawn to end all nights

Hey, I have been waaaaay busy working with a load of environmental charities and a local museum and have ended up completely neglecting this site. Now I'm back and tonight I'm heading off to see Phosphorescent play at the Scala and if it's anything as good as their show earlier this year, I can't wait!

I've also been falling head over heels with Broken Bells. Here's the first song off the self titled album called 'The High Road'. It's a cracking opening track setting the tone for a really rather excellent album.



Broken Bells - The High Road

Thursday, 5 August 2010

'A year is round' - Peter Broderick inspired animation

She Animates is a blog run by Matt and Kate. Check out this lovely stop motion animation they have made inspired by the music of Portland/Copenhagen based multi instrumentalist, Peter Broderick.

After they got in contact with Peter, he agreed to write the soundtrack for 'A year is round' - what a nice guy!

Read the full story on their blog here and check out Peter Broderick's Flickr account here - this is where I first saw the video.  Peter lives an enviably interesting, creative life and updates his Flickr photo stream fairly regularly with photos and mp3's from projects he's working on.



a year is round from she animates on Vimeo.

Good luck to She Animates, I hope they make lots more stop motion animations.

She Animates
Peter Broderick Flickr

Photo by Fishplums

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

New Official Caribou Video: Sun

Caribou has released an official video for his awesome track, Sun.

Directed by Simon Owens and produced by Rachel Dargavel, this is the second official video from one of my favourite albums of 2010, 'Swim'

There's lots of dancing of the fun, energetic and slightly surreal variety, all taking place in what could be described as some sort of dance expression class in a hotel conference room.

The first group of dancers are the most surreal arousing my suspicions that maybe they had something 'extra' added to their cups of tea...


Monday, 26 July 2010

Green Finger Music

It has been a little quieter around here, don't think I haven't noticed! The thing is, it's Summer time and I've become mildly obsessed with my garden.  This week I've been inundated with an abundance of courgettes/zucchini's and so I've been trying to find new ways to serve them up before the inevitable onslaught of courgette fatigue.  As I type, I'm surrounded by the strong aroma of lemon zucchini bread baking - I'll let you know how that one turns out.

I haven't stopped listening to music, quite the opposite - gardening is so much more delightful when I put on my huge wireless headphones and stomp around getting covered in earth humming out tunes.

Here's what I've been listening to:

Lower Dens - Twin Hand Movement  
Some of their more echoey surf rock guitar sounds remind me of Man or Astro Man.  There are some really good tracks on this album towards the end, definitely recommend you take a listen.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
This album has featured fairly heavily on my play list for the last month.  I especially like Butthouse Blondies and Fright Night, both nicely constructed songs with a twist of humour as the titles might suggest.  Look out for him supporting The Flaming Lips on their up coming tour.

When I have been in front of my computer for longer than a few minutes (it has a hyper reflective screen which makes daylight surfing slightly frustrating), I've been checking out these:

Caribou playing Barnowl at Cat's Cradle - the crowd get excited and make it onto the stage for an all out dance party!  See here.

6 Music's Matt Everitt examines the early years of Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. Listen here.

UnhappyHipsters.com Witty captions to modern day home catalogue photos.

...and lastly, THAT video about Newport - the Welsh take on Jay Z and Alicia's track about New York called State of Mind. Here's the Welsh version, here's the American version.  Very funny.

Right, my cooker just made a ping sound so I'm off to investigate whether I've concocted anything edible.

See you later!

Monday, 19 July 2010

"It's hard to get by just upon a smile, girl"


Cat Stevens, you wrote some great songs. This is one of them.




Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Eye EYE! Bella Union showcase & good news for Phosphorescent Fans

Late last week, I tweeted that Phosphorescent had their van and all it's contents i.e. $40,000 worth of every bit of music kit dear to them, stolen overnight in Brooklyn where they had been playing the first night of their US tour. Miraculously, their van and more importantly, it's contents have now been recovered by the police and the tour is back on track. See, people can be good (well kinda)! Here's a photo of the van being recovered.

In other news, Rockfeedback are running a sort of tribute/celebration week for the excellent UK based indie label, Bella Union. They'll be featuring live recordings of artists signed to the label on the TV section of their website all week. Yesterday they posted footage of The Low Anthem, My Latest Novel, Ohbijou and The Acorn playing short sets and being interviewed on the 'London Eye'.  This footage is quite special to me since I was actually in the pods with the bands going round and round and round and round that day (4 times!) -see my review here. I'm so excited to finally see it!  It was also the first time I saw The Low Anthem play which lead me to buying a ticket to see them at The Slaughtered Lamb the next day which ended up without doubt being my favourite live show of 2009 (review here) - they even played The Horizon Is A Beltway the way it was recorded on OMGCD, I've not witnessed it being performed with quite as much gusto since.

Anyway here's the link, I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed the day!


Ohbijou


The Acorn

Monday, 12 July 2010

William Onyeabor - "Better Change Your Mind"

Over the weekend I was introduced to William Onyeabor's addictive blend of Nigerian electronic funk music and now I really HAVE to hear every single song he's ever written. Amazing stuff!  

His music comprises of heavy afro beats and crazy soulful synth sounds from the heady days of a 70's Nigerian funk scene that until Saturday, I never knew existed. Some of the electronic sounds leave you doubting his songs were recorded in the late 70's/early 80's, but they really were and pretty much no one anywhere else in the world was making music like this back then.

From a quick glance around the internet I can see his music has a similar positive effect on a lot of people and finding copies of his recordings is akin to rare stamp collecting- albums sell for hundreds of dollars on ebay.  Maybe it's time for a re-release?

Information about William Onyeabor is equally as rare to track down, Wikipedia had a little:

"William Onyeabor studied cinematography in Russia for many years, returning to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a music and film production studio. He recorded a number of hit songs in Nigeria during the 70s, the biggest of which was “Atomic Bomb” in 1978. William has now been crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he lives today as a successful businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill."

I recommend you listen to these videos and soak up the moralistic teachings of a young William Onyeabor, a guy whose music was so far ahead of itself, we're only just catching up!


William Onyeabor - 'Better Change Your Mind'

William Onyeabor — 'When The Going Is Smooth And Good'

William Onyeabor - 'Good Name'

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Saturday, 10 July 2010

Tour De France - Early Kraftwerk Video

It's that time of year where MrChalky continuously offers me Tour De France updates. To celebrate, here's an early Kraftwerk video.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Peanut Butter & Screamin' Jay Hawkins

I've recently developed a penchant for running and peanut butter. It's a bit of a yin/yang situation, I can't remember which came first but I'm hoping they balance each other out.  I've also been doing some volunteer work which I'll tell you more about another time.

In the music world:

BBC 6 Music has been saved from closure, for now.  Read all about it here.  So that day when hundreds of us hung out in the cold rain protesting the closure was all worth it in the end.  Well done!

The late great and totally eccentric Screamin Jay Hawkins has at last had At Last added to Spotify, listen here.  Coulda', Shoulda', Woulda' sends chills down my spine, soo good! I thoroughly adore so much of his music and would have loved to have seen one of his crazy live shows.  If you did, it would be great to hear about it.

Here's some footage of him performing 'I Put A Spell On You' (which he wrote).  Keep an eye on the hand on the piano.

Screamin Jay Hawkins - I Put A Spell On You

Monday, 28 June 2010

Album Review: Blitzen Trapper – Destroyers of the Void (Sub Pop)

Just before I vanished from the internet for my week of relaxation and chocolate M&Ms, I wrote another album review for the lovely guys over at Rockfeedback.com - this time it was the latest offering from Prog/Folk/Rock/Pop Oregonians, Blitzen Trapper called Destroyers of the Void.

This album has such an American sound I managed to get a Louis L'amour reference into my write up.

Read all about it here.



Destroyers of the Void
Label: Sub Pop
UK Release Date: June 14th, 2010 

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Do De Duckie

I've been on a lovely family holiday full of energetic mountain treks, a yummy bbq, beachy laziness and my mums awesome psychedelic rabbit blancmange (complete with M&M droppings).

I managed to stay away from my computer pretty much the whole week and it was actually quite nice, reminded of life before the internet.

Best moment of the week? All my family dancing along with my 1yr old niece to the Sesame Street song Do De Duckie. She does a really cute head wiggle and gives you a great big smile whenever she hears it.  Here's the video - Reggae and Sesame Street FTW!

Friday, 18 June 2010

What's Going On in London? June 18th - June 25th

Good old London, there's always someone willing to entertain you, some even do it for free! Yay!  Check out my list of recommendations for the next seven days and forget about those friends who'll be swapping your superb company for some muddy Somerset fields or the football, or both.

Friday 18th June
Saturday 19th June

Monday 21st June

Wednesday 23rd June
Thursday 24th June
The Black Keys Instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (See RT website for entry/wristband details) (FREE)


Friday 25th June
Dirty Projectors and Alarm Will Sound: The Getty Address @ Barbican Centre

If you have any concert suggestions, please feel free to share by leaving a comment.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Phosphorescent @ The ICA 02/06/10


What a wonderful concert!   My early arrival turned out to a be a winner and for once I was plum in the centre, right at the front of the stage taking in the full musical force (and occasional blob of musician sweat) from this most excellent band.

Although I love listening to all the Phosphorescent albums, hearing the songs performed live triggered some slightly more intense emotions.  Whether it was the result of their indie folk/ alt country sound being given more of a rock injection or Matthew Houck's vocals cracking in all the right places on the more intimate songs (such as Wolves), I think I prefer them live, you get just that little bit extra that makes you feel connected and entertained.

The band were great fun, ploughing their rock energies into their collective instruments like they were presenting their offerings to the Gods of Rock.  They also shared some of an already fairly consumed bottle of Jameson Irish whisky with a few members of the audience mid set, not only showing their friendly (and a bit drunk) vibe, but they also have good taste in whisky!  Rock'n'roll man!

Favourite songs of the evening included The Mermaid ParadeLos AngelesIt's Not Supposed To Be That WayWolves and an extended heavy sounding At Death, A Proclamation which ended the 2nd and final encore in a wave of euphoria leaving me with that post gig feeling of That was so good, what on earth am I supposed to do with myself now?!! kind of rush.

A great evening, these guys can seriously rock!  Can't wait to see them at the End of the Road festival in September.



[All photos from Phosphorescent @ ICA by Martin Leung]

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Album Review: The Acorn - 'No Ghost'

As promised, here's a link to my review of No Ghost by The Acorn currently featured on the Rockfeedback website.


"As indie folk band The Acorn unpacked their guitars and debated over who had which bedroom in their isolated log cabin/recording studio in Northern Quebec, they must have felt a certain weight of expectation to deliver following the success of their Polarias-nominated previous release, Glory Hope Mountain.  However, changing your focus from an album recalling your mother’s turbulent past must have also provided to a certain degree, a collective sense of relief, giving the band an opportunity to cut loose and pursue a new direction... read more"

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Album Review : CocoRosie - 'Grey Oceans'

It's been a bit of a hectic time over the last few days and I've been down with a cold which has been a total inconvenience as far as getting things done.  However, I have managed to write a couple of album reviews for music website Rockfeedback.  Here's the link to my review of CocoRosie's latest album 'Grey Oceans', I'll post more links soon.


Also, there's an interesting chat taking place on the Drowned In Sound Message boards about whether it's a good thing for bloggers to run record labels, read here.  

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Bodies of Water - New Songs

It's nice and sunny in London today and I'm fancying an ice cream but first I thought I'd share a couple of things:

Bodies of Water have released a few of their new songs via the music blog Gorilla vs Bear.  Here's the link where you can download the songs.  I particularly love Rise Up Careful. Wonderfully sexy sax and Meredith's (singer from Music Go Music) lovely vocals.  Can't wait for their new album, reckon it's going to be a corker!

And in other news...

If you like a bit of skiffle, try out these guys http://www.myspace.com/theseveredlimb.  Danced to them for hours on Sunday night, so much fun.

Phosphorescent tonight!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Villagers review and some words of wisdom



Couple of things...

I've written a review of the debut album from Villagers (Conor J. O’Brien) Becoming A Jackal for Rockfeedback, read here.

Warpaint have announced another London concert, this time it's Scala on October 28th - I told you they'd supersize their venues yesterday and I was right!  Happy for them.

And one more thing, (that's three things and not a couple but hey, it's my blog so I can mislead you if I want, right?) The wonderful Phosphorescent will be playing the ICA on June 2nd (that's next Wednesday).  At the time of writing this blog post there were 8 tickets left.  If there are still any left, you can get yours here.  Here's To Taking It Easy is one of my albums of the year so far.

And one last thing (!) the latest album from Woods At Echo Lake is really good.  If you can get past the sad but touching lyrics, Death Rattles is a really good song - they keep a blog here.

OK, that's four things and no real wisdom.  I'll stop there...

[Photo: Phosphorescent by Martyn Leung - I think it's an awesome photo!]

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Warpaint Photos

Check out these super Warpaint photos from fellow London based music lover Martyn Leung (thanks Martyn!)  I saw them play a sell out gig at The Lexington in London last night and they thoroughly rocked the show! I think this description of their sound on LastFM just about sums them up:

The band weaves intricate guitar lines, hypnotic vocals, and driving post-punk rhythms into gorgeous, sprawling songs that skirt the line between the soundscapes of psychedelia and intimacy.” 

Make up your own mind here.  The Billie Holiday track is one of my favourites.


I can't see them playing small venues for much longer.




All photos all from The Luminaire concert on May 12th 2010.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

CocoRosie - New Video 'Lemonade'

Here's the latest video from CocoRosie for 'Lemonade' taken off their recently released album Grey Oceans.

Directed by Emma Freeman, it's quirky, wonderful, haunting and so very CocoRosie!   Really enjoying the flow of their new album too (I'll be writing a review shortly).  All in all, a good time to be a CocoRosie fan.




For those of you on Spotify, here's the link to hear 'Grey Oceans'.
CocoRosie Myspace


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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Favourite Albums of 2010 (so far)


Since May seems to be accelerating into June at an alarming rate, I thought it was time to do a quick short list of my some of my favourite albums of 2010 so far.  

In no apparent order:

Midlake - 'The Courage Of Others' [listen]
Music Go Music - 'Expressions' [listen]
Gill Scott-Heron - 'I'm New Here' [listen]
Caribou - 'Swim' -(favourite live concert of 2010 so far) [listen
Phosphorescent - 'Here's To Taking It Easy' [listen]
Nada Surf - 'if i had a hi-fi' [listen]
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 'I Learned the Hard Way' [listen]
Love Is All - 'Two Thousand and Ten Injuries' [listen]
Dag för Dag - 'Boo' [listen]
CocoRosie - 'Grey Oceans' [listen]
Musée Mécanique - 'Hold This Ghost' [listen]

Thoughts?   



All of the links are for Spotify, my apologies if you don't have access yet in your country. On that note, as of today Spotify is available in The Netherlands- Welkom!
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Saturday, 15 May 2010

Revolver @ Pure Groove 13/05/10 review and catch up

On Thursday I had the real pleasure of listening to the sweet sweet music of French band Revolver performing a free lunchtime show at Pure Groove.

Thanks to a tip off from FG, I did blog about how much I liked this band last Summer (read here) but I've had to wait until now for their first show on UK soil.

Hearing them live and so close up (I was basically sitting on a chair right in front of them) gave me the perfect opportunity to listen clearly to how their gorgeous harmonies come together, picking up on the little subtleties that are perhaps sometimes polished from recordings.  They treated us to a cover of the Crosby, Stills and Nash song 'Helplessly hoping' which I adored and could quite happily have sat their all day listening to over and over.

Lovely guys, a great sound, highly recommend you catch a show while they're in the UK - Incidentally, they're playing The Great Escape in Brighton today, 7:45pm on the Life stage.  Go! Go! Go!

In other news...

The Tate Modern is celebrating it's 10th birthday with a free arts festival this weekend. Details here.

I've been enjoying listening to the Phosphorescent album 'Here's To Taking It Easy' and can highly recommend.  Favourite track so far is 'Hej, Me I'm Light', a soulful, mellow track with Matthew Houck's vocals sounding awesome.  Here's the Spotify link for those of you who can access. Also, it's great to hear The Netherlands will finally be getting Spotify on May 18th, article here.

In other other news (i.e. my garden)...

I have beaten the slugs'n'snails with my two new weapons -sand and beer.  No I haven't decided to head off to the coast and forget about them in a drunken haze, their slimy little bodies don't like sand and they love beer so much they drown themselves in it - no self control...

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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

She & Him @ Koko's

For those of you who don't already know them, 'She & Him' are actress Zooey Deschanel and musician, M Ward. I think most people who have ever seen 'She & Him' perform live would agree that it's more like 'She' and 'a little bit of Him'.  She is very much the face and voice basking in the spotlight, He is more the all in black traditional axeman contributing occasional vocals.

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know I'm a major fan of M  Ward and I'll be honest, unlike most of the people there on Friday, I was there to hear M Ward rather than Zooey.  Given this fact, there was a risk I would perhaps be a little disappointed since, well, it wasn't an M Ward concert and also I can't say their second album, Volume 2 has really excited me all that much.  As it happens, the outcome was quite the contrary, I really enjoyed myself.

I'm not going to write a detailed review, I was after all there on my wedding anniversary so it would feel wrong!  So here are a few points of note.
    Friday night was She & Him's (Her & His?) first ever London concert.

    For any doubters, Zooey really can sing.  A powerful yet tender delivery of 'I Put A Spell On You' gave her the perfect opportunity to showboat her vocals.

    M Ward played 'Magic Trick' straight after MrChalky told me how cool it would be if he played it.  Spooky!  

      If you like Volume 1 more than Volume 2 it's still most definitely worth going to see them live, just look at the bumper set list below.   The last five songs were by far the best sounding (along with 'Magic Trick' of course).  The last song before the first encore, 'Sweet Darlin'' was simply stunning and they could have easily finished the show on a high right there but to come back with three more fantastic songs was simply awesome!

      Koko's Set list

      I Was Made For You
      Thieves
      Black Hole
      Me And You
      Lingering Still
      Sing
      Home
      Change Is Hard
      I Thought I Saw Your Face Today
      Brand New Shoes
      You Really Got a Hold on Me (The Miracles cover)
      Would You Like to Take a Walk? (Ella Fitzgerald cover)
      Magic Trick (M. Ward cover)
      Gonna Get Along Without You Now (Skeeter Davis cover)
      In The Sun
      Take It Back
      Don't Look Back
      Over It Over Again
      This Is Not A Test
      Riding In My Car
      Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
      Sweet Darlin' 
      Encore 1:
      Fools Rush In (Johnny Mercer cover) 
      Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry cover)
      Encore 2:
      I Put a Spell on You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins cover)

      If the super camp/drunk guy at the back of Koko's singing and dancing along to Zooey singing 'I Put A Spell On You' is any measure of audience approval, I'd say they scored 10/10.

      A great night with fantastic company.


      [Photo by Bobbles]

      Thursday, 6 May 2010

      Flight of the Conchords @ The Melkweg

      Just back from a lovely few days in Amsterdam visiting our good friend Chris and watching the very funny Flight of the Conchords kick off their European tour at the Melkweg.  Not only was it great to take some time out from the familiarities of every day London life, it was also a very welcome respite from the UK general election coverage.  Phew!

      The Melkweg is a great little venue, a former dairy set next to a canal within a stones throw of lots of bars and in a pretty central part of 'the Dam'.  I wasn't prepared for the compulsory 10,50 Euros charge for three monthly memberships to allow us to actually get in with our tickets, but I had booked the tickets on the strength of my dutch (which is zero) so I could very well have missed the bit that said this was necessary.

      The show itself was fun.  My favourites such as 'Foux du Fafa', 'Robots' and 'Business Time' all sounded superb. The crowd was pretty much laughing before each of the songs began and I did get that slight feeling of over familiarity with the material, a little bit like when you've seen a comedian a few too many times and they start recycling the same jokes.  Yes they are still funny but they do start to loose their edge somewhat the tenth time round. (Please cult fans - don't knock me for saying that!) 

      Even though FOTC released their second album 'I Told You I Was Freaky' last November, their set still relied heavily on their self titled first album.  There were some instruments still unused at the end of the set which made me wonder if they either ran out of time or perhaps chickened out of playing some of their newer material. An audience member pointed out the tiny red piano at the centre of the stage hadn't been played to which Jemaine responded "we just keep that little piano on stage to make Brett look bigger".

      Sure, they were a bit rusty (forgetting how some of the songs went) what with it being the first night of their tour but funny stage banter linked everything together nicely so you could easily forgive them, sometimes it's important not to take such details too seriously.

      All in all, really fun evening but keen to see where FOTC take things next.

      [Photo by Elger van der Wel]

      --

      In other news- things that I have grown in my garden that have now been eaten by snails while we've been away- kidney beans, courgettes, marigolds (they were only 2cm high!), sweet peas, raddishs and sunflowers.  Pffft.  Snails taking advantage of my absence.

      Wednesday, 28 April 2010

      TLS Update


      Sometimes I just like to write about what's going on here at Chalky Towers, so here goes.

      I have two shows coming up in the next week, both for pretty high profile bands - 'Flight of the Conchords' and 'She & Him'.  I've haven't seen either acts before and if I'm totally honest, I'm probably looking forward to the comedy factor of FOTC more than the 'cutsey' factor of 'She & Him'.  The main reason I got tickets to 'She & Him' is because a) I love M Ward's guitar playing and b) it's on our wedding anniversary, and yes, I do have two tickets!

      Two very different concerts and neither having anything in common musically with the last act I saw, Caribou.  Incidentally, I've decided my Caribou phase is perhaps a sort of electronic allergic reaction to having overdosed on folk music last year, anyone else feel this way?  I'm not turning anti-anti folk but my electronic batteries just need a little recharging.

      In other news, my broad beans are doing well but the slugs have eaten my courgettes.  Grrrrr.


      [FOTC photo by Rakka and interestingly made from concord grape juice on cotton.]

      Tuesday, 27 April 2010

      I have a Vuvuzela!

      I have a new musical instrument/noise making device!  It's called a 'vuvuzela' also known as a 'stadium horn' and was given to us by a friend following his recent trip to South Africa.

      The vuvuzela is basically a metre long plastic horn and to play it (according to wikipedia) "requires some lip and lung strength to blow" and it emits "a monotonous noise like a deep foghorn or an elephant."   So far the only sound I've been able to make is akin to someone blowing their nose and it really hurt my cheeks!

      Vuvuzelas are synonymous with South African football, so if you're planning on watching the world cup this summer, you're going to hear this foghorn noise A LOT!

      Here's what it's supposed to sound like.  This is definitely not the kind of instrument you want falling in the hands of your 7yr old nephew.

      Wednesday, 21 April 2010

      'Turn On, Tuna In, Drop Out' - The Future of Internet Radio

      Internet radio, thousands of stations out there but where do you even begin to start looking for a station that will suit your taste in music?  Enter Radio Tuna and with it the future of Internet Radio.

      The brainchild of a small team of Brighton (UK) based web developers, Radio Tuna will not only help you find internet radio stations it will match them to a particular genre with amazing accuracy.  I caught up with Will from Radio Tuna who explained further:

      Q1:  How would you describe Radio Tuna to someone who had never seen or heard about it?

      The short answer is 'Google for online radio', the longer one is 'a nifty search engine that brings order to the chaos of internet radio, making it easier to find needles in the haystack of stations and genres. We cover around 20,000 stations and make them searchable by artist or genre through a simple and intuitive interface'.

      Q2:  For the techies, how does it work?

      There's a number of separate processes working together. Once our spider or site user adds a suitable station to the database, we regularly visit its server status page to collect the track data that tells us what they're playing. We process this data as it's often dirty i.e. 'Madonna - Holiday - 789HITZ RADIO' and use a fuzzy algorithm to match it to our database of 10 million tracks. Once we know what the track is, everything else flows from there - we know its artist, genre etc and this data is tied to the station. Once we have a number of tracks for a station we work out the genre profiles that you see on the site. It's quite involved and there's quite a bit of clever tech behind the scenes - I could go on but that's probably enough!

      Q3:  RT is a really impressive service - how did the idea of creating it come to you?  Was it a daunting project when you started?

      Thanks! It kind of grew naturally out of other things - our blog (http://blog.radiotuna.com) is probably the best place to read about how it all began. Yeah, it was daunting but we've just kept putting one foot in front of the other. It helps that it's such an exciting project.

      Q4:  Do you like Tuna? (sorry couldn't help that one!)

      Very much so, as long as it's sustainably caught!

      Q5:  How much of a challenge does the success of applications such as Spotify or LastFM provide to RT?

      Naturally they are a challenge - they're great services! However, we feel that we're different enough for us to happily co-exist alongside them. Sometimes you want to hear a particular album or artist right now, and sometimes you just want someone (or something) to play you a selection of music that you'll enjoy. Radio is very much about the latter, and it's good sometimes to be taken places you wouldn't necessarily choose to go.

      In absolute terms, radio provides a wider range and depth of choice, with better niche provision - unlike other services, there is no 'catalogue' limited by the licence deals we've managed to strike or the limits of our servers. We don't actually know how many different tracks get played, but our database contains over 10 million tracks and we still can't identify everything!

      The other difference is that most stations are curated by experts and enthusiasts, real people who are mostly broadcasting for the love of the music. There's something special about knowing that someone out there has chosen to play you a particular piece of music right then that you'll never get with an algorithm.

      Q6:  Which country do you get the most visitors from?

      The US, followed by the UK, then Japan and Italy. Since we launched in December we've had visitors from 186 different countries and territories.

      Q7: When do you plan on going past beta?

      Good question! We are now getting pretty close to being able to drop the beta tag, but it'll probably be another month at least until we do.

      Q8: RT has just introduced me to 'Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy' by Bappi Lahiri for the first time.  Who has been your favourite artist find?

      No one artist stands out, but we have collectively discovered a love of Bluegrass.

      Q9: Most of my friends who develop web applications spend a lot of time surfing the net when they're not working.  Are you guys pretty much the same, or do you rush away from your computers to look for inspiration elsewhere?

      We're all heavy internet users most of the time, whilst working or not! We do tend to read around what we're up to (books as well as tech sites), as well as keep up with others in the Brighton web dev community.


      Many thanks to Will.


      If you wish to get in contact with the Radio Tuna team or have any feedback for them, click here and select contact on the bottom left hand side of the screen.


      Monday, 19 April 2010

      Caribou @ Rough Trade East (London) & The Freebutt (Brighton) 17th April 2010


      What's better than seeing Caribou perform once in a day? Seeing Caribou perform twice in a day of course! 

      Last Saturday, Caribou (Dan Snaith and his band) played an in store show at the Rough Trade East store to celebrate Record Store Day 2010.  It also kicked off the European leg of their tour to promote their latest album, 'Swim'.  


      When I arrived the queues were literally down the street and around the block.  I'm not sure everyone was queueing to see Caribou since there were other bands playing, but I am certain lots of people who witnessed the awesome performance and didn't already know of them were duly converted. Their second show of the day was at the legendary and very small (150 capacity) Freebutt in Brighton, this had sold out two weeks prior.

      Both shows looked and sounded fantastic.  Thankfully the loudness of the PA systems didn't overly 'dull out' the sounds as can quite often be the case. Crowd pleasers such as 'Bowls' and 'Sun' sounded particularly great, the band really looked like they were finding their groove.


      Drawing mostly on songs from ‘Swim’, they also performed ‘Melody Day’ from their last album ‘Andorra’ (2007).  This is a personal favourite so it was lovely to hear it performed live -annoyingly I still haven't figured out what they're actually singing in the chorus. 

      My favourite part of both shows involved the drums.  I was completely transfixed every time Dan Snaith and Peter Mitton beat out what looked to me to be quite complex rhythmical drumming sections in seemingly perfect symmetry, this was incredibly impressive and blew my mind a little.

      After the show I got a chance to meet Dan Snaith in person but I must have been slightly overwhelmed and just muttered lots of thank you's and shook his hand!  I can be so frustratingly useless sometimes in these scenarios!

      Anyway, Caribou has earned my award for best performance of the year so far. If you get the chance to see them play, do not pass it up.






      [Photos: 
      Caribou at The Freebutt 17/04/10
      Caribou at Rough Trade East 17/04/10]

      Friday, 16 April 2010

      The Day Geoff Travis Inspired Me To Write A Music Blog

      During the summer of 2007 a new Rough Trade Record Shop was launched in London's East End.  It was 31 years after its partner store Rough Trade West was opened in Notting Hill.  Generally speaking, the music industry was on a pretty slippery slope with record stores across the country disappearing at an alarming rate. Opening a new record store was considered a fairly brave if not ridiculous move.

      At the same time, thanks to an intensely time consuming job I had experienced a bit of a hiatus from the world of music and to put it simply, my soul was in dire need of musical replenishment.  The only problem was, where was I to start?  The sheer amount of music out there can be daunting when you've been out of the loop for a couple of years.  I noticed an advert inviting the general public to attend a live interview with Geoff Travis, (founder of Rough Trade Records) at King's College, London.  Geoff was there to explain why he was opening his new record store and to discuss the state of the music business from an artistic as well as a business perspective.  This interview could not have come at a better time for me.

      As expected, the evening was very insightful and it was great to listen to someone who was still so very passionate about music after many years in the industry, I think I really needed to hear that.  The most interesting part for me was when Geoff mentioned he read music blogs.  I'm not sure I should have found this to be such a revelation, but I guess having grown up under the influence of a very established music industry who you could pretty much call the 'gatekeepers of organised talent', to hear now these very same people were also looking to the internet and reading what music bloggers had to say was something new.  Music blogging had started to gain some sort of influence.  Yes it makes sense now but I just hadn't realised it was actually going on back then.  Indie music was no longer a one way flow of communications, controlled by record companies and magazines such as NME or Q, it was a free market of thought, opinion and creativity thundering along endless miles of fibre optic cable at an unstoppable rate.  

      The next Arcade Fire or Gill Scott-Heron could be posting their home recordings from a basement somewhere in godknowswhereville and I could be listening to it in my own home on myspace.  The thought of being a part of all this excited me a great deal. 

      On leaving the lecture theatre on that cold November evening I decided to create this music blog.  I was so excited and got straight to trying to think up a catchy name and design.  Two years later I'm still here, perhaps not posting with as must frequency as I wish and I still have a lot to learn about writing (and music apparently) but whenever I need motivation I often find myself thinking back to the day Geoff Travis inspired me to write a music blog. 

      Incidentally it's Record Store Day 2010 tomorrow (Saturday 17th April) and almost three years on, that 'crazy' idea of opening a record store is still working.  Rough Trade East is very much alive and kicking and one of my regular haunts for free instore shows and buying music.  The Rough Trade team have organised so many awesome instore shows that I know have provided endless photo opportunities and talking points for so many aspiring music bloggers.  Their influence on the blogging world can not be under estimated.

      So why not pay them a visit this Saturday, bring your kids along and get their faces painted up like the guys from Kiss (really!)-or just forget the kids and get yours done. Take a look at this list of acts they have playing live at both their stores and there will be special limited edition vinyl on sale, it promises to be a lot of fun.  See you there!

      Record Store Day 2010 is happening across the world, find out what your nearest Record Store is doing to celebrate here.

      [Photo of Rough Trade East by Joe Pettersson]

      Wednesday, 14 April 2010

      Music Go Music New Official Video - 'Light of Love'



      The pop-tastic 'Music Go Music' have just released an official video for 'Light of Love'. It's the opening track off their debut album 'Expressions' which now has a confirmed UK release date of  Monday,19th April.  I can't wait to see these guys perform here hopefully someday soon.

      Music Go Music - Expressions
      (Mercury Records -R.D. -19/04/10)

      Tuesday, 13 April 2010

      Bottoms Up!

      I now declare the new look Terrible Love Songs blog officially open!

      There are a few tweaks still to be made but quite honestly I think I've had more than I can manage for one day!

      Pheweee! Time for a glass of something nice.  Unfortunately the insanely pink margarita in the photo was drunk by yours truly just over three years ago- tonight I'll be settling for something a little less extravagant and probably a bit healthier (yawn).

      Bottoms up!  Normal blogging will resume tomorrow.





      Friday, 9 April 2010

      Terrible Love Songs Logo







      Dear readers,

      I'm in the middle of redesigning this website and wondered whether you might be able to help me out.

      I'm looking for Terrible Love Songs logo suggestions, anything from cartoons to sketches, graphics etc.  If you find yourself stuck in a boring meeting this afternoon with a pen and paper or fancy exercising your creative side this weekend, any ideas would be really appreciated. Please send to tlsreview [at] gmail.com.

      Thanks muchly Chalky xo

      Stream Caribou's Latest Album 'Swim'

      If you listen to one piece of music today make it Caribou's latest album 'Swim'.

      Currently being streamed in its entirety two weeks before release (April 19th), I am confident this album will be taking it's rightful place as a soundtrack to many a dance lovers' Summer 2010.

      In Caribou's own words “I got excited by the idea of making dance music that’s liquid in the way it flows back and forth, the sounds slosh around in pitch, timbre, pan… dance music that sounds like it’s made out of water, rather than made out of metallic stuff like most dance music does.”

      Maybe this is why I'm really enjoying some new dance music for a change?

      Really hope not too many more of these songs turn up in adverts.  Films are OK but adverts can be a bit too much.

      Top Tracks: Sun, Leave House


      Caribou facts:
      He has a PhD in Maths form Imperial, his Dad is a Maths professor and his sister reads Maths at the University of Bristol.

      Great mathematical brains that also have great musical talent - this is a subject that has always fascinated me.  A friend of mine at university was a finalist in Young Musician of The Year while studying for her Physics degree. I remember the corridors of Imperial College Physics Department reverberating with the sounds of musicians practising in empty lecture theatres during lunch hours.  Music and maths.  Anyway, listen to the Caribou album, it's awesome, he's a very talented man.


      [Thanks to Chromewaves for bringing the Caribou stream to my attention.]

      Tuesday, 6 April 2010

      Things I'm Enjoying






      Here's a list of things I've been enjoying recently.

      Secretly Canadian Record Label.
      This is where bands such as Bodies of WaterFrida Hyvönen and Music Go Music live. Such an interesting label, always worth checking out the bands on their books. Can't wait for any of those three to tour through the UK, hopefully soon.

      Getting promotional codes to download an mp3 version of the album when I buy the vinyl option.  Such a good idea and a reason to always buy vinyl rather than CD.  Recently purchased vinyl from Secretly Canadian and Merge Records have both included download tokens.

      Spring (the season).

      Album sleeve picture frames (for vinyl).  Another reason to buy vinyl (and hopefully get an mp3 download for convenience). Album art is to be enjoyed!

      The Love is All latest album- 'Two Thousand And Ten Injuries'.  Favourite track- 'Take Your Time'.

      Back with more soon.

      Wednesday, 31 March 2010

      Save BBC 6 Music Protest Photos



      Last Saturday I joined the peaceful protest against the closure of BBC 6 Music which took place outside BBC broadcasting house in London.

      If you're a fan of 6 Music and haven't already contacted the BBC trust about the BBC's proposal to shut it down, please please do it now, let them know how you feel.  It's through giving the Trust feedback and joining in at such organised protests we can potentially make a difference.

      If you want to help, here's your next step and if you want to find out more information about the proposed closure here's a link to the Save 6 Music Facebook group.

      I believe it is possible to stop the closure of 6 Music, there's still time. If you agree join the Facebook group and start spreading the word!

      Here are some of my photos from Saturday's protest:





















      I hadn't noticed the 'Jim'll Mix It' van in the background until now - nice BBC reference


       
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