Songs of Advent 3

Shimura Curves — Stronger

Given the (somewhat surprising) news last night that ‘Ver Curves are no more, it seems only appropriate to dedicate today’s entry to them. They were destined to appear anyway, as their mixture of spacerock, classic Phil Spector girl-groups, and laptop pop (or LapPop, as I insist on calling it before being threatened with hammers) was a highlight of the past twelve months.

(note of bias: I spent a lovely afternoon with Kate Shimura Curves and members of ILX before a SC concert back in June. The strawberry beer does not cloud my judgement)

I could have chosen Noyfriend, with its wonderful “das ist my noyfriend! chorus (complete with dance!), or the Jesus And Mary Chain / The Ronettes homage of Just Like Friends. But I didn’t, ace though they are. My favourite Shimura Curves song is Stronger, mainly for the lyric towards the end of the song:

My sin wasn’t that I was angry or was hateful;
It was that you wanted to save me, and I wasn’t grateful

With that, the space-y guitar solo takes the song straight out into space, gazing up at the heavens. It’s a beautiful moment.

The best band to be named after an elliptical curve used to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem? I think so.

currently playing: Stars – Going, Going, Gone

Songs of Advent 2

Christine Aguilera — Ain’t No Other Man

It hasn’t been a banner year for Pop, has it? Smash Hits was the first to fall, although with Black Type long since having been consigned to the dumper, it wasn’t a shadow of its ‘80s heyday. TOTP followed shortly afterwards; the changes to the UK chart, countless failed revamps, and the move to BBC2 each nailing the show’s coffin shut. The Sugababes continued their campaign for Pop’s Most Stalinist Band, while Girls Aloud limped back with an ace Greatest Hits but also with an abysmal version of I Think We’re Alone Now that makes the Tiffany version sound like Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. Robbie Williams continued his downward spiral, and Mr. Timberlake’s follow-up to Justified didn’t come close (what is a SexyBack, anyway). And does anybody have sales figures for Paris?

So, almost by default, the Pop highlight of the year was Ms. Aguilera’s Ain’t No Other Man. This year’s One Thing (last year’s Dangerously In Love), the DJ Premier-produced track jumps from the go-go stylings of Amerie’s and Beyoncé’s songs to a more horn-based affair, but is no less fun on the dancefloor.

Just avoid her album, as it’s one good track followed by two CDs worth of mush, as far as I can tell…

currently playing: Stereolab – French Disko

Or tomorrow.

I think this happened last year, as well…

currently playing: ABC – When Smokey Sings (The Miami Mix)

Baltimore Tourist Board Loves HBO

David Simon talking about The Wire (hopefully tracks of the year to resume tomorrow).

currently playing: Jimi Tenor – Spell (Radio Edit)

Johnny Boy at Stay Beautiful: See You Running Back And Forth

Most embarrassing moment of the evening: heading back to Stay Beautiful, lost, as usual, in my own dreamworld, and almost bumping into Lolly. Oops.

To think that I was disappointed that I missed their April concert this year; mind you, having seen them twice, I would still go for a third time before the year is out.

After a very thorough sound-check (seriously, it lasted longer than the performance, and was quite fascinating to hear some of the sacrifices that have to be made to bring an album like Johnny Boy out in a live setting; backing tapes stopping and starting at odd times, syncing up video footage, etc.), the band came on at eleven, Johnny Boy's Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel leading in to Johnny Boy Theme, introduced by Davo by saying "This could have been a Christmas Number One!", Lolly countering with "Well, perhaps a January one." Is that a hint? Are we going to see singles next year? The question remains unanswered, but who cares as Robert De Niro runs across the projection screen, Lolly again breathlessly asking "Johnny, we're your friends, what they hell's got into you?" (and her curling 'r's in War on Want being another highlight).

The crowd was somewhat more animated than the Luminaire concert, although we were lacking the dancing accompaniment of Kieron and Alex DeCampi. Chat between songs was fairly brief, but everybody seemed to be having a great time.

Exactly the same running order as back in June; I still don't know how Bonnie Parker's 115th Dream sounds like a 1930s Ford running across a dirt track, or why All Exits Final sounds like Grant Morrison's Kill Your Boyfriend compressed into two minutes. But they do, and they're still sublime. I'm repeating myself, and will be repeating myself again in twenty days time.

And then…well, you know what's coming.

"This could have been Christmas number one last year, this year,the year after, and the year after fucking that, you know. This is You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Fucking Deserve"

If there's a hint of regret, it quickly disappears as the Be My Baby drumbeat kicks in.

"And I just can't help believing, though believing sees me cursed"

Anything but a cynical stab at the Christmas market. "Yeah! Yeah!" Lots of dancing down at the front, lots of singing, glitter hanging in the air as the fireworks shoot across the speakers. Just wonderful.

To end, like last time, a riotous cover of The Ramones' Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, the club erupting into a punk hoe-down, as images of Dylan, Smith, Rotten, et al flash across the projection screen. A Merry Christmas from Johnny Boy, just as good as you could imagine. Here's hoping that 2007 brings more from them…

currently playing: Johnny Boy – Johnny Boy's Adventures on the Wheels of Steel

We Love Johnny Boy

Lolly!

Songs of Advent 1

As is customary around these times, the next few weeks here will be home to a step through some of my favourite songs of the year. They’re in no particular order, except for the 24th, which will talk about the best thing I’ve heard all year (and it’s probably not going to be much of a surprise, really. A clue: see the entry after this one). Entries may have downloads, they may not; it all depends, really.

So, let’s begin!

Lily Allen — LDN

Tommy McCook & The Supersonics — Reggae Merengue

Despite there being lots of reasons to dislike Allen (celebrity nepotism, fawning press, another use of ‘MySpace’ to discover an artist who, surprise!, was already signed to EMI), I just can’t do it. Not when she calls out the NME for dropping her and Beth Gossip from the cover for Muse, slags off part of her own album which was foisted on her by the record label, and well, for songs like LDN. Based around a horn sample from the linked track above, LDN’s cheery sounds belies the rather depressing lyric of a trip through modern London. It’s rather spiffy. The single lacks the rather sad image of the video with Lily wandering around a grey London in her red dress, but it’s still rather splendid.

And yes, I can forgive her for the “Tesco” / “al fresco” line. But only just.

currently playing:

Let Them Eat "Love Me Do"

A few days late, but I like to think that they took Mick Hucknall and Cliff Richard’s whining into account before deciding not to extend the 50-year copyright on sound recordings. However, given America’s success with knocking out the last legs of allofmp3.com this week, I’d wait until the Government announces its intentions before smiling at the idea of public domain Beatles recordings…

currently playing: Bow Wow Wow – C30, C60, C90, Go

A Quick Torchwood Recap

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<p>Dr. Date-Rape, please indulge in a bit of misdirection that does nothing but show you're a really bad doctor!</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood2.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>What, we're not supposed to play football in the office? You bitch!</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood3.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>I think I preferred it when I came across pig aliens.</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood4.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>I'm edgy in a sex pistols t-shirt. Plus. Boobs. BBC3 is classy.</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood5.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Hey, I remember Earshot!</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood6.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>We're making lots of references to sex! We're so hip!</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood7.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>I'm really sad. Poor me. Perhaps I'll make a cup of tea.</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood8.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>GIRLS! KIsSING! OMG!</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood9.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>No, really, I remember Earshot.</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood11.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Just call me Jonathan!</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood10.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Let's stay here while your dad loads the gun, sweetie!</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood12.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>My God! I'm even more annoying this week!</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood13.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Jack, despite being the computer nerd, I've completely forgotten how to use Google. God knows why the alien tentacle thing I've just had sex with is making allusions to Greek myth, but please help!</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood14.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>And then Darla and I were in China during the Boxer Rebellion with Spike - oh...</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood15.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Hey, don't be so judgmental. At least my mouth looks normal.</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood16.jpg" width="384" height="288">

Earshot! Earshot! Earshot!

That's impossible! Mouths don't look that normally? I've been living a lie!

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood18.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>What is it? I'm brooding. Do you know have many years Wayne had to do this before he became Batman?</p>

<img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood19.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Tosh! I'm setting up a plan which I'll forget I even mentioned in ten seconds time!</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood22.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Wait, that makes it three rogue members now? Out of five? God, I suck at being a boss.</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood21.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>Remember that bit about how we scavenge technology to protect The Crown? You do? Damn.</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood23.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>I'm still really upset!</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood24.jpg" width="384" height="288">

<p>No time for love, Doctor Jones! You interrupted my brooding!</p>

    <img src="http://snappishproductions.com/blog/images/torchwood22.jpg" width="384" height="288">

        <p>STEVEN MOFFAT! COME BACK!<p> 
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currently playing: Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart