Songs of Advent 4

Lucky Soul — Lips Are Unhappy

Observant readers might remember that this song appeared last year.


I’ll put it in again if I want to! It’s my blog, and if you don’t like it, you can go home!

chirping crickets

Oops. Anyway, this gets included in this years list because it’s still as ace as it was last Christmas, but more importantly, it was released as a single back in June. So there. If you wanted to attach them to a scene, then it would be UK indie’s rediscovery of the Spector sound; with the advent of ProTools, Phil’s bag of tricks can be stuffed inside a MacBook (and it leaves the shotgun behind, thankfully enough), thus allowing bands like Lucky Soul to sound spectacular on a smaller budget.

But, enough of the technology! “Shake, shake / shimmy shimmy / shake shake shimmy / Without you!” is one of the lyrics of the year; for all its preposterousness, it strikes to the core of lost love. In a bouncy, bouncy, bouncy type-of-way, of course!

The band release their debut album The Great Unwanted next March, while they have a fabulous new single Ain’t Never Been Cool next month (is that the Be My Baby drum beat being played on the guitar?)!

Tomorrow, an entirely new song! Promise!

currently playing: Lucky Soul – Baby I’m Broke

The Ballad of Jake And The Heffalump

Bonnie And Father Christmas!

Donald Rumsfeld: Still A Jackass

RUMSFELD: Well, I’ve read a great many books. They’re all history books; a number about the Revolutionary War and about George Washington and John Adams and others, Jefferson.

I started reading a number of books about the Civil War. And one particularly good one was a book on Ulysses S. Grant. But I stopped. I found the struggle going on — gosh, those years, there were so many people killed and wounded, and they were all Americans, except for the foreign fighters who came over from Germany and Poland and elsewhere.

So I turned away from that and read a great deal about World War II. And that has been basically what I’ve been reading

“I just loved the bit where 20 million Russians bought it!”

currently playing: Life Without Buildings – The Leanover

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