Tuesday, 19 February 2008

"Bomb the House of Lords, then onto the Brit Awards"

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your television, the annoyingly smug and thoroughly depressing back slapping coke fuelled awards show returns on our goggle boxes tomorrow. Needless to say that I won't be watching The Brit Awards this year. I think I might have bothered to sneer my way through it until I learned that Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne were hosting it. Woop-de-fucking-doo.

Don't get me wrong, it's not totally devoid of any entertainment; after all we can all remember with glee when Jarvis Cocker jumped up on stage to protest against Michael Jackson's stomach churning and bile educing performance. Also last year provided valuable evidence that I was in fact quite correct, when for the previous 4 years I had referred to Josh Stone as a useless, untalented, annoying, sudo-yank, finally everyone believed me! It's just so fucking irksome, especially with the media furor that will inevitably follow, particularly about Amy Winehouse, (who whilst I'm on the subject off, am I the only one in England who thinks she's crap- with the obvious exception of 'Rehab'?). My only temptation to watch it would be for Leona Lewis’ performance. Unashamedly, ‘Bleedin’ Love’ is one of my all time top ten ‘Guilty Pleasures’.

There is also the forthcoming NME Awards show, which is actually about twenty times worse than the Brit Awards. The bands feel obliged to get wasted and try to act as cliched outrageously as they can when they collect their awards. How cool- look there's yet another spotty, skinny cockney tosser in a porkpie hat dribbling into the microphone, slagging off the people. Great. How very youthful! Are the NME responsible for the emergence of these talentless fuckwits, or are the fuckwits at the NME just tapping into the youth culture? To quote Abe Simpson:

"A little from column 'A', a little from column 'B'". Though I suspect the former, rather than the latter, is the more probably answer.
I was unlucky enough to have caught 10 minutes of last year's award ceremony and boy was it painful to wacth. Mostly for Lauren Laverne who had the misfortune of presenting the show. I think Joe Pasquale's or Billy Pearce's gag writers were hired to write the jokes for this particular show, which of course fell as flat as pancake. Utterly cringe worthy.

Still, until I joined the band my only claim to fame was being thrown out of Laverne's former band Kenickie's dressing room in 1996 (a long and unfortunate story). I think like most fellas of my age, we all had a thing for her at sometime or another. I actually saw a rare solo performance she did at The Leeds Festival in (I think) 2000. I can't recall all that much, except a) she looked hot b) it was a surprisingly good set and c) none other than Arab Strap's Malcolm Middleton was playing guitar for her! (I later discovered they were an item to my dismay).
Anyway, the only Kenickie track I could find was Punka which is on cassette (which is of little use to me now) so instead I've attached a clip from Youtube for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Hot Chip - Manchester Academy 16th Feb 2008

Huuuzzzzzarrr; the gig season is upon us! The first of what's planned to be a slew of forthcoming shows, the missus and I popped over to Manchester to catch Hot Chip performing at the newly refurbished Academy. Actually I was led to believe this venue was to be newly refurbished, which was why the damned place had been closed since last March. As we eagerly stepped into the dimly lit building it soon became apparent that little to no work had actually been done, and most alarmingly of all was that the much needed new bar hadn't been installed. "No matter" I thought, we've always managed to get served (eventually) at one of the two bars...wait an 'effing minute! Where's the other bar??!!!!

Turns out that after nearly twelve months of re-building, the only noticeable difference was a) there was only one (the smaller of the two) bar open and that b) the toilets had been relocated (actually the words 'relocated' and 'toilet' may be a bit of a stretch- they've simply shut the old ones and put a collection of portaloos a short jog away from the building) Being a chivalrous s.o.b I sent Lisa into the swarming crowds to fetch the booze, I figured she would be less likely to be squashed by some sweaty giant in the melee in the seriously packed bar. I was wrong so decided to join her. Approximately 30 minutes later (or more accurately - the entire length of support act Matthew Dear's set) we emerged, damaged and sweaty beers in hand. So far so good.

Hot Chip eventually made their way on stage and judging from the crowd's reaction it looked as if a good night was install for all (perhaps except that poor girl I was squashed behind in the queue for the bar...should you be reading this I can assure you that it WAS my mobile phone digging into the small of your back not my cock).
And it was (note the grammatical clanger of starting a sentence with 'and' is a homage to my favourite Hot Chip Song) a good night...I suppose. My only real issue which has been hotly disputed by my better half was that the songs didn't really carry over that well to a bigger stage. The up tempo songs plodded somewhat and tracks like 'Over and over' felt tired, the band looking as if it was the millionth time they'd had to perform it. Nevertheless is was a good night despite the venue's owners trying to spoil it for us. Not that I think you should make comparisons to other bands of similar ilk (I'm going to do it anyway), but when we saw LCD Soundsytem at the same venue last year, they managed to successfully translate their sound to the audience with (in comparison) consummate ease. Perhaps my real issue is my disappointment with Hot Chip's new album 'Made in the Dark' where I'd hoped they'd be stepping 'it' up a gear rather than ambling round with a retro sound, which to these ears resembles early Squeeze.

Anyway- I'm sure by the time of the summer festivals they'd have got their shit together and no doubt I'll be proved wrong about their album (I haven't given up on it yet).
In the meantime instead of posting some Hot Chip tracks (which would be requested to be removed in seconds no doubt) please find two Hot Chip Covers versions and Squeeze's 'Up The Junction'- which I'm sure you'll agree sounds similar to a few tracks on 'Made in the Dark'.

Please let me know if you agree?

Hot Chip Cover Versions:

Portastatic - And I Was A Boy From School
The Miserable Rich- Over and Over

(debatable) Hot Chip proto types:
Squeeze -Take Me I'm Yours
Squeeze -Goodbye Girl

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

We're going to need a bigger boat

It saddened me to learn this morning that Roy 'we're going to need a
bigger boat' Scheider passed away yesterday . Aside from his role as Martin Broadie in the Spielberg classic 'Jaws' and 'Jaws II' which the majority of people will no doubt recognise him from, his finest role was that of "Cloudy" Russo in The 1971 film French Connection, excelling as the Good Cop to Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle's Bad cop.

Of course it's a completely hollow and thoroughly shallow sentiment for me to post a tribute to a guy I never met, and who I know for only three films, but fuck it -I love those damned films, though it's a shame I couldn't find an MP3 more appropriate to post.


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Clinic- Live Performance, BBC Merseyside, 1st Feb 2008

T’was a night to remember…though sadly due to my alcohol intolerance I can’t recall a great deal from my visit to the BBC Merseyside studio to see local boys Clinic perform a specially recorded session for DJ -and all round good bloke/local music champion extraordinaire- Dave Monks, in support of their forthcoming 5th album ‘Do it’.
Thankfully, my better half has managed to fill in the blanks that an impromptu after-work visit to the pub caused and as luck would have it, I managed to get some pictures (of varying quality) on my phone.

Their attire for the night was striking as ever; their trade mark surgical masks, this time accompanied with matching army regalia and Beatles Mop Top wigs.
The set played tonight showed off some of their new material, which was sounding pretty darned impressive - not just for Clinic afficianardos but also to the uneducated. Notable tracks included psych rocking ‘Corpus Christie’ (One of the few songs they introduced and certainly one for future Easter themed music blogs no doubt) and the free to download from their website Radiohead tinged current single; ‘Free Not Free’ and threw in some older favourites like the brilliantly toe tapping title track from their vastly underrated second album ‘Walking With Thee’.

The set was like their songs, to the point, punchy and fascinating. At risk of plagerising John Peel when discussing The Fall, one of Clinic’s finest attributes is “They’re always different, yet always the same”. I’m sure in ten or twenty years time, once the dust settles, we’ll look back and rightly give thanks and praise on to these odd ball geniuses and regret the missed opportunities to see them perform live- or in my case the alcohol induced remorse!

Band's website Myspace

Monday, 28 January 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Burns

Belated happy Burns Night (belated). A suitable Mp3 to celebrate...yay!

The Ramones- Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns

Thursday, 24 January 2008

It may as well have been little Kim, when every song you hear still reminds you of him

Well it wasn't too long before the finest moniker of any artist or musician ever (and this is official; I've checked) and writer of one of my all time favorite songs (Tonight was a Disaster- where the lyric used in this post's title originates) Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is returning to the UK.


I've been kicking myself for the past two and a bit years since CTFPA's Owen Ashworth's lo-fi symphonies graced these shores and I decided I'd rather stay in and watch a poor TV movie than drive to Manchester on my own to see them. This was a poor error of judgment on my part and I've been hoping that I would have a chance to atone for such a heinous fuck up.

Judging from news via his website there's no new material on its way, however there is a free download of the previously unreleased 'New Year's Kiss (4 Track Version)' available...for which the following link will (hopefully) take you to:
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - New Year's Kiss

Older track (again via ctfpa website)

Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Young Shields

Check the following list of gigs, select a nearby venue, go to the gig, enjoy yourself...maybe get a little drunk if you want.

Please don't be a chump like I was.


05/03/2008 UK London (Bush Hall)
07.03.2008 IRE Galway (Roisin Dubh)

08.03.2008 UK Belfast (Black Box Café)

09.03.2008 IRE Dublin (Whelan's)

10.03.2008 UK Leeds (Brudenell Socia
12.03.2008 UK York (The Crescent) 1
3.03.2008 UK Manchester (Charlies)

14.03.2008 UK Bristol (Cube Cinema)

15.03.2008 UK Cardiff (UWIC Howard Gardens)

16.03.2008 UK Nottingham (The Social)

17.03.2008 UK Brighton (Pressure Point)

Beach House

Ignoring the steady slew of crap bands that the usual sources insist will change my life etc...I've somehow come into possession of some interesting and standout tracks of late. One of which comes from the rather lovely Beach House. Sounding somewhere between Kingsbury Manx, Radar Bros, Beach Boys and Grizzly Bear, the two band members Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have most sincerely impressed (and soothed) these tired old ears of mine. I note with eagerness and glee that they have an album coming out soon called 'Devotion' which is released Stateside on BellaUnion, so please make sure you investigate. This track in particular is has the rare quality of a splendidly haunting guitar lick and a warm and beautiful organ (insert your own joke there peeps).