Sunday, March 19, 2006

Last night at home


On Friday I was preparing to go back to the mother country (France). Instead of packing, I started to record one of those podcast things. Well there was so many songs that I wanted to share as they've been on my walkman throughout winter. The program is pretty moody and melancholic, which is sometimes how I feel the night before going home or rather, the place one calls home as in where you've grown up. For me it's always the change of culture that makes me reflective. It's like switching from one identity to another, not that it' unpleasant but my first reflex is to reach for a constant. Music helps greatly to get back to a moment where, whatever happens, you'll feel the same way about something, the sounds would stir familiar feelings. The program is split in two, so you can listen to one part while you download the other.

Last night at home pt1
Last night at home pt2

In part 1 you'll find:
Vera November - flourish (music for These Horses)
Make Up - watch it with that thing
Wet Dog - steal a car
The Knife - heartbeats (session)
Black Lips - hippy hippy hoorah
I'm Being Good - sixteen children's eyes
Bonga - venda poro
Vera November - our last night together

In part 2 you'll find:
Dirty Three w/ Catpower - great waves
Sprills of Ore - hidden away
Failed Rockets - maybe I
excerpt from Jean Vigo's L'Atalante
Ray Rumours - looking for you
Frànçois - I'm so glad I met you
Tuenayo - polie snay
Jenny Wilson - a hesitating cloud of despair
Charlottefield - how long
Electrelane - oh sombra (session)
Las Pulpas - vaya momento

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I remember....


Wow, how long has it been since my last post? Sorry if you've been lurking around here during a bored moment and didn't find anything to occupy your mind. In the meantime, I've been doing stuff like...working (mmm) and playing music (ahhhh). In fact, I played my first gig with Failed Rockets, we had a blast! Even more as were supporting Falling Boy, Dreamer and Leopard Leg!! I'm just posting this one quickly, I had a dream that Failed Rockets could be a reincarnation of The Orchids (pictured). I mean, we don't really do vocal harmonies (yet) but I reckon I look like the middle one. The Orchids were three 14 to 16 year old girls from Coventry, they released a handful of singles in the early to mid sixties.

The Orchids - don't make me mad


And I'm obsessed with the following song. Does that make me gay?

Jackie DeShannon - I remember the boy

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

FELIX LAJKO (ES ZENEKARA)


Felix Lajko is a Serbian born violin and zither player. I might as well give you the virtuoso warning right here. Lajko is largely self taught and was kicked out of a prestigious music school due to the uncompromising instinct of his craft. The rigid classical music gentry has since learned that they must love him or die of shame, the guy is amazing. From his origins, you can guess that Lajko's music is largely influenced by Gypsy and Klezmer, sounds and rhythms typic of the Balkans with accents at the same time uplifting and celebratory but deeply melancholic. The tracks that him and his orchestra (zenekara) play together blend genres not to play on modernity but to expand the scope of emotions of their music, leaving room for improvisation and the freedom for the members to reach emotional peaks. So, classical and popular but not in the pop sense more in a way that music can sometimes tell people's history. The tradition of popular orchestras in the "ex" Yougoslavia is inherent to the cultural history of the country and yet so alive compared to how "folklore" is considered in other countries. The passion of Lajko's music is best fulfilled there, where the audiences match what he gives out with their own energy but that probably doesn't happen in concert halls when you're likely to see him play across the rest of Europe.
Please try these, even if classical's not your bag! The tracks are from a now deleted 1998 self titled album and they'll take your breath away.

Felix Lajko Es Zenekara - el cavillo
Felix Lajko Es Zenekara - hosszu

Monday, January 16, 2006

Copyrighted MP3s, moi!?


"Well sir, your account was temporarily stopped due to copyrighted MP3s being hosted on it." Oops, of course you think, everybody's doing MP3 blogs these days, they're actually a great way for artists to be promoted. Well Kate Bush for example does not need me to be talked about, and easyspace know that (well me too). Easyspace wanted to see a paper from EMI saying I had the authorisation to post these songs. I did try to explain to them that 4/5 songs were not actually copyrighted by EMI but it was a tough one to prove. However, if you're a Kate Bush fan, look here. The songs I had posted along with the whole of the pre "kick inside" sessions were available on the net even before I grabbed the bread from Kate Bush's mouth (french expression, may not make sense). Oh well maybe it was something to expect, they have no problems with people who "aren't signed" though. I mean yeah, what is it like being signed these days? Untouchable sound? Anyway, I'm just going to be a little wiser, juggle with providers and make the songs available for a limited time only (10 days sounds about right).

As Lesbo Pig are not signed (EMI begged and begged though) but are DIY goddesses, the songs are still available on the related post here.
Also I'm going to repost some of the previous tracks that appeared on here bit by bit. For the moment, please listen to the songs from the excellent Billy Childish and Holly Golightly album here and check out Lizzy Mercier Descloux under her Rosa Yemen disguise here.
The Electrelane video is still available on this post.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This is it

Wow so long without an update.....laziness, noooooooooo. I'm doing more music of my own now with my friends Rinser Boy (Dan) and Slag Bite (Jamie). Hell, we even have a name: Failed Rockets; and a My Space page where people can listen to the improvs we recorded last week end. I'm a bit shy about it and about these particular songs being online as they are complete improvs and we haven't been playing together for that long but we thought what the heck, we were having fun while doing it! This will kinda be like a work in progress and we'll probably share our sessions through the My Space thingy. I'm very excited about this at the moment, it's ace to play music with your friends and to share it with people.
So no time for 2005 retrospectives! Who cares, the best from 2005 will remain the best in 2006. I'm looking forward to post songs by Shoplifting (whose album I'm waiting for with sheer excitement), Neptune, Gang Gang Dance, Bonga Kwenda and Felix Lajko very soon but for now, an overdue Christmas presents for all Electrelane fans out there.
I can't stress enough how much I like what Verity, Emma, Ros and Mia have achieved as a musical unit, especially with the 2005 album Axes. It's actually very hard to talk about a band you like so much... I'll have several attempts as there will definitely be other posts about Electrelane with more rare footage and live cuts (in agreement with the main protagonists of course).
In October 2003, Brighton saw its first Brighton live week, an event which was then organised in association with BBC Radio 1 live, a radio promoted annual festival always taking place in a different city in England. One of the highlights was the Electrelane gig at the Old Market, a Peel Session where the band played tracks from their yet unreleased album "The Power Out". To date, this is the only live performance of the song The Valleys, a wonderful choir based song with a Jazz feel. 6 men and 6 women joined the ladies on stage to peform it (but you couldn't see the boys very well due to lack of space on stage). Ros was not in the band yet for this performance, Rachel Dalley was then handling the bass lines. Here is a video of the track filmed with my trusty (but now broken) DV cam (I'm not a pro, sorry about the shakes). This goes out to all the people from the Electrelane forum. Enjoy!
WARNING: it is a large file and will take a while to download (if you have a dial-up connection, I would suggest that you ask one of your friends with Broadband to download it for you). PC users can play this video in Windows Media Player (to save, right click and choose save target as). Mac users may not be able to play this in Quicktime (I'm not so sure, you can try anyway but save it by doing a control click, I know that much!). A tip: if you have Windows Media Player for Mac it should be fine. If not, please proceed and download the Mac OS X version of VLC PLayer from VideoLan, it's a very safe and useful media player, you can play absolutely everything with it.

Electrelane - The Valleys

Saturday, December 31, 2005

This was that


Goodbye 2005, you were a shit year! Well I had a good year so can't complain. I'm not so sure it was the case for people on other parts of the globe where war is still going on. Equally not sure about 2006 improving things... Here in the Western middle classes with rebellious tendencies, we'll be partying for sure, what is there to do otherwise? I won't make a fuss about new year, ok maybe just a little bit. The best NYE party is happening in Brighton tonite, it's at Jack's house and Tall One Behind, Rope, Falling Boy and Charlottefield are playing. In the meantime, here's some stuff I've listened to lots this year:

Jenny Wilson - let my shoes lead me forward
that's the lady in the picture. I never thought I could listen to that much pop music anymore, how stupid really. It took this Swedish lady to put the pop world back on the right tracks. Her album "Love and Youth" was released this year and this song is the first that I heard from it. I remember the exact moment, the night was memorable already. I was in a van with friends having a night time drive through Brighton, Jenny Wilson's song pumping through the stereo, the song definitely made sense then.

Afrirampo - afrirampo
This is from the Japanese's duo previous album, the girls' Afrirampo theme tune. They were great at Ladyfest Brighton and I'm looking forward to see them again.

The Magik Markers - I trust my guitar, etc...
Mayhem on their LP of the same name. 2 girls, 1 boy, dangerous fun, free to fuck it up (whatever it is).

More tomorrow...

Monday, December 26, 2005

KATE


So who got Kate Bush's new album Aerial for christmas? Actually not me, I got it when it came out. I remember putting it in my cd player with a mixture of excitement and fear. You never know, Kate is Kate but it was still 12 years since the last one... I probably would get the old cliche out and say she's one of those artists who you either love or hate. People make a point of having an opinion about her and opinions I'd say aren't really based on proper thoughts. I'd love to see Kate Bush escape the frame of pop and rock chit chat since what she does has been so oblivious of the whole structure that the music industry (her own record label EMI included for sure) has built since the sixties. She's never played the game in the same way than other recording artists of her stature are meant to. Therefore, people think she's weird, abnormal, depressed or a recluse. And she's probably laughing.
A few years back, I got hold of a bootleg cd of songs which she had recorded as demos, just her and a piano. That was before the release of her first album, she must have been 15 or 16. I'm very fond of this collection, the recording sounds old (the cd I have was ripped from a vinyl), the songwriting is naive, pure and just lovely. And yet what a maturity, in the voice as in her piano skills. It's almost like you get to have her come play her piano in your bedroom, intimacy with Kate? Wow! The tracks are a bit like a lo-fi version of her first two albums and strangely very relevant now especially since people like Catpower have demonstrated brilliantly that sometimes less is more. Don't get me wrong, the lady has put so much of herself into shaping a sound which cannot be mistaken for anything but her own, she diserves most credits for that. The crazy arrangements and sampling madness of Kate's "The Dreaming" LP are amongst my favourite Bush moments.
So on this post, you get a bit of both, 4 songs from the demos and 1 song from the dreaming era, a cover version of Donovan's Lord of the Reedy River where la Bush just takes you to that place with sound effects and eerie harmonies. This was the B side of the Sat in your Lap 7". The demos are 4 of my favourites, they're all songs which never appeared on albums apart from Oh to be in Love which was on "the Kick Inside" in a very different version.

Kate Bush - oh to be in love
Kate Bush - on fire inside a snowball
Kate Bush - where are the lionhearts
Kate Bush - frightened eyes

Kate Bush - lord of the reedy river

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Frosty, fairytale, drummer boy and general fucking about


In case you haven't noticed, we're approaching the end of a frenetic month of "christmas is coming" being shoved down everybody's throat. No, I didn't write any christmas cards...sorry. Anyway christmas and end of years are generally pretty cool if a little depressing. You have a great excuse to get drunk and spend time with people you love but it still does not make up for the sheer consumerism side of it. My friend told me at the week end that father christmas as we know him today was a coca cola invention. Yes, the white bearded granpa in a big red coat only had one intention from the start: to get little kids hooked on caffeine. If I ever have kids, I've always wondered if I could sustain the lie. I don't know what the Cocteau Twins said to their kids about santa but if they hadn't had them kids, they would never have done the below version of frosty the snowman, so I've read somewhere. It's pretty cute, almost funny as it could be a parody of the cocteaus singing that song, like more cocteau than cocteau.
Also, here's the Dandy Warhols version of that xmas classic little drummer boy. Tipically, that song is a all about some poor young kid offering gifts to baby Jesus although he's got nothing. And what did Jesus give back I 'm asking? Nothing but trouble that Jesus really... prophets, can't live with them, can't live without them (although you wish). Next is the British and I suppose the Irish's favourite christmas song (it's all about drunks and lowlives), The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's fairytale of New York. I love that song, it's a really sad one behind it's humour and drunken joy. Favourite bit, when Kirsty sings "you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot. Happy christmas your arse, I pray God it's our last!" You've probably heard that song lots already if you live in the UK, mostly in shopping centers if they haven't banned it from their playlist yet. One that won't be played in Brighton's Churchill square shopping center is Shawn Lee's I'll be fucking you this christmas. Shawn's almost being slimy on that one, he's good lad though, does funky folky stuff. I mean sometimes christmas can be so boring, I wish you all the sex you can get. To aggravate things, listen to the Firmturds' Oh well Noel from the Ho Ho Homocrime xmas compilation. The homocrimers go at it straight for the ass of that poor Noel, I hope they release a follow up where Noel actually gets it in the end, or where our friend gets Noel, depending which way you look at it. Ethical World View closes our selection, singing about what's on our minds during christmas. Do they know it's christmas is not a cover and also appears on the Ho Ho Homocrime compilation. This is a homocrime band aid including members of Lesbo Pig and Humousexual. The song is half dead serious and half piss take of charity records, recorded as it was played: on the spot.
As it's a time for presents, there should be quite a few during the coming days. Lots of love to you people!

Cocteau Twins - frosty the snowman
Dandy Warhols - little drummer boy
The Pogues feat Kirsty MacColl - fairytale of new york
Shawn Lee - I'll be fucking you this christmas
The Firmturds - oh well, noel
Ethical World View - do they know it's christmas?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

COCTEAU TWINS


Or something like that since the single Peppermint Pig is a bit of an oddity in the Cocteau's catalogue. Let's be frank, the band hates that single. Well, it may not have sounded quite like what they had in mind but sod it, Peppermint Pig is a beautiful piece of New Wave/Cold Wave music (from 1983) and one of my favourite tracks. The early Cocteau Twins catalogue is generally what I like most about the band. From the "Garlands" LP to the fantastic "Head Over Heels", it's obvious that the Cocteaus had not found the sound that would be their trademark in the second half of the eighties and early nineties. The etherial Cocteau sound is present on this track but the guitars and drum machine have taken a large dose of amphetamine, in fact they're overdosing somehow. This exageration works perfectly since Peppermint Pig sounds like a bit of a come down nightmare in new wave pop land.

Cocteau Twins - peppermint pig

Sunday, December 11, 2005

LESBO PIG


At last, a classy post on the most magnificent female trio of all time, forget the Supremes, ban Bananarama, slaughter Atomic Kitten (if not done already), here's Lesbo Pig! First, let's see about the rumours surrounding this mythic band. Yes, a third of Lesbo Pig was born in the snow. Yes, Madonna wanted them to produce an album but she couldn't handle working on Minidisc (she thought the sound was worked for hours in the studio to sound authentic, it never occured to her that it was actually just...recorded in a room with people, acoustic instruments and microphones). Yes, Lesbo (aka Les Beau aka Irene) has troubles singing Up Yr Arse on stage because it's rude, she was recovering from Tourette Syndrome just as the band started recording their unique and "unique" album "At Home With Lesbo Pig". No, Pig (aka Ros) was never the heiress to the Murray Mints multinational, but she is the secret half sister of Kiefer Sutherland. Yes, Piglet (aka Anna) was stalked by the closeted Princess Victoria of Sweden, which is the main reason why she escaped to England for a while.
The identity and politics of Lesbo Pig are received like the Eucharist on a Sunday, they stick to the roof and taste a bit bittersweet. How many times did I end up in a gay bar and the lyrics of the anthemic "Up Yr Arse" suddenly popped in my head and through my mouth, wanting to burst out in a liberating chant for freedom (no not because I fancied someone there and wanted to engage in anal sex, listen to the song please). Lesbo Pig and their queer piggy army come to the rescue as gradually the gay and lesbian scenes become more gentrified and intolerant, all in the name of the pink pound (or euro or dollar, whatever). Also, she (as Lesbo Pig is an entity itself) manages to diss and criticize with light heartedness and total cuteness. Don't miss out, listen up, here are 4 of their short songs, if you want more e-mail them why don't you! lesbopig@hotmail.com

Lesbo Pig - up yr arse
Lesbo Pig - shaving pubic hair and stuff
Lesbo Pig - seahound
Lesbo Pig - sexual deviant (an Avocado Baby cover)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Quel genre de garçon???


Argh I'm still thinking of the Quintron and Ms Pussycat dance party, it was so great!!!! Do yourself a favour and go check'em out as soon as they hit your town!! Just a small post to say that we were lacking a bit of electro shit around here (unlike on Chut Up Cherita where your eurocrunk wet dreams may just come true). I've been listening to this Noblesse Oblige song a lot as a) it's good, b) it's kinda gay and c) it's fun (I don't need much do I). Don't know much about the band, I think they're German somehow. Would be intrigued to check them out live, see if thet're worth the attention.

Noblesse Oblige - quel genre de garcon

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mind your P's and Q's


Your Pussycat and Quintron are coming to Brighton with puppets too apparently (just an example on the left here). I can't wait for that show! Been listening and wiggling to the "Swamp Tech" album for the last month, to the point of having the Swamp Buggy Baddass song popping in my head when I'm out in town. But it ain't the one I'm posting, you gotta get the album guys, maybe from them directly. Instead, the Pussycat sung (shouted) Love is like a Blob is here below. I'll get on to definitions of love again, even after my pitiful attempt interpreting stuff from The Symposium. So Pussycat's version stays in line with Socrates (the philosopher, not the cat from My Space), love is something that catches you and eats you up. Examples: "oh baby yeah baby oh baby now babyyy" Miss Pussycat; "I must ask you to protect me, Agathon; for the passion of this man has grown quite a serious matter to me" Socrates, well Plato really. (oh yeah they were so gay back then in Greece.)
Anyways, I also wanted to post this wickedly stupid song with lyrics about loving shit, as it stays in line with our love theme. Teddy and the Frat Girls (aka Sheer Smegma) were a Florida punk band from the 80s, they only released a couple of singles, one of which was posted by Fatty Jubbo on his great blog Cake and Polka Parade, in links here. That song, Alophen Baby, is just so rude, really basic toilet humour quite literaly but I reckon it would tear the dancefloor in any decent indie club. This is also as a message to Crystal to say I need more US punkrock girl bands stuff in my ears please!!!


Quintron & Miss Pussycat - love is like a blob

Teddy and the Frat Girls - alophen baby

Friday, December 02, 2005

ROSA YEMEN


Hey, some arty NY no wave stuff, just what the doctor ordered! Ha wait a minute, I dug out Lizzy Mercier Descloux's 1979 "Press Color" album on ZE records which was re-released in 2003 (she died last year unfortunately). I found out I still preferred this EP which was put on the CD as a bonus. "Press Color" and Lizzy's sounds are generally more funky affairs but the Rosa Yemen EP, released in 78, is a more stripped down angsty version of what her sound was to be. 2 guitars, a voice, some field recording, percussions (and Antonin Artaud's voice somewhere apparently). Lizzy's singing is more around spoken word, almost poetry but the French or English words are only used for their rhythmic qualities to add to the two guitars rushing into 1min30s of twangy pirouettes. The effect is great, it sounds like they've taken a few drugs, like they're having a beatnick style arty freakout but it completely works for me musically. That's mostly due to the fact that, unlike other arty crap, the result is emotionally rich and strangely connected to my moods this week (insane?).

Rosa Yemen - rosa vertov
Rosa Yemen - decryptated
Rosa Yemen - herpes simplex

Thursday, December 01, 2005

UNREST


mmmm No time for much blogging these days. I'm helping the lovely Maya to master a Leopard Leg recording. Yes people, Leopard Leg are releasing a record! One of their last gigs at the Freebutt will be out in the shops next year and it's going to be good (in a scary satanic way)!
But for now, here's some Unrest songs! I looove Unrest (which you could've guessed from my nickname). Mark Robinson, the boss of seminal Washington DC pre-grunge label TeenBeat, and Phil Krauth started the band in 1985 with a friend on bass duties. But it wasn't until the early 90's that Unrest found its unique sound mostly thanks to bassist Bridget Cross. I love them for their fun pop sound and also their experimentations. When listening to the excellent album "Imperial ffrr", you just never know what's gonna come next. A sugary power pop song, a downtempo etherial track, a jam excerpt, abstract experimentations, this album's got it all and is a total pleasure to listen to from beginning to end. Mostly, the band always sound like they're having fun playing together and don't take it all too seriously which I guess is what makes room for their experimentation antics which have little boundaries in music genres, rare in an indie band I reckon. Here we've got Deaf from a 7" Sub-Pop Singles Club release which consists entirely of cover songs that were originally released by Factory Records. The one here was by ephemeral band Crispy Ambulance. Some say it was Bridget's first record with the band others say not at all but it's good so thought I'd put it here. Next, two of the most experimental tracks from "Imperial ffrr", Champion Nines and Sugarshack, both great and very different. Last is a B-Side from the "Cath Carroll EP" called Vibe Out with Bridget on vocals, it's a bit of a psyche epic that one. Enjoy!

Unrest - Deaf
Unrest - Champion Nines
Unrest - Sugarshack
Unrest - Vibe Out

Sunday, November 27, 2005

IN BLOOD


This one's for the lovers. Billy Childish and Holly Golightly released the album "In Blood" in 1999. Hard to introduce that man without mentionning the hundreds of records he's released from the mid 70's until now (and the books and the paintings) but also his unique path into our hearts and ears. Billy Childish was never one to accept the many dodgy ways in which his talent could be absorbed and redigested by the media. So he only reached my ears recently and when you get the Childish bug, it never lets go. The garage blues rock sound that both Childish and Golightly are famous for sounds like it's coming from way back when. In their seemingly naive simplicity and stripped down songwriting, the pair concentrates on the feel of the music especially on this album.
One Chord! One Song! One Sound! The album is not a duet and does not have harmonies in the singing. Instead, it's a ride down a rhythm n blues tunnel of love where the two sing in unison about burning desires, love in its raw primal form and, well, ecstatic sex! Liberating? Well yeah, love is the word in the English language (or any language) that has the most bullshit attached to it, and not only in songs. What is love anyway? If you have a definition that isn't from a dictionary, thanks to comment. Or alternatively we can always get back to Plato's Symposium, but not Aristophane's stories on how we're missing that "other half" of ourselves, that's kinda too desperate (see Hedwig and the angry inch's total adherence to that fucked up concept). Socrates' concept is better and, thousands of years later, can be summed up like "you fucking drive me around the bend you little shit but that thing you do when you do this or look like that, that really gets to me."
Back to Billy and Holly anyways...
Upside Mine
I Believe
Let Me Know You