Jun 26, 2006 · 2 minute read
It took eight years, but I finally met Kieron Gillen
, fellow Kenickie-obsessive/videogame journalist/writer of comics/boy, he’s a busy man. I was in two minds as to whether to go and say hello, but I decided to try and skip past the shy thing for once (possibly not helped by essentially wanting to be KG all through my university career, but hey, there are worse role models. And I didn’t have the hair for Julian Rignell). And hurrah! We talked both before and after the Johnny Boy
concert. There’s more to come about that, but most of it will probably end up being part of the Static review that I’ll be writing in the next couple of days. Suffice it to say that I think we’re both completely mystified as to why 15 Minutes
is not in its 15th week residency in the charts. I’m currently entertaining fantasies of breaking into the feed for the final TOTP and giving over their final few minutes to a performance of You Are The Generation…
Still, maybe they’ll garner some success in Japan.
Anyway, that was the end of the day, but the other parts were just as filled with happenings and crazy events, from the much-better-than-you’d-think combination of strawberry and beer to the consideration of how custard can affect house prices. Erm, yes. And pirates. Because no afternoon is complete without pirates. Arr. I met up with Forest Pines
, his friend Miranda, and Kate from Shimura Curves
at the Sun & Splendour in Notting Hill for a football-free afternoon of chat and drink (also joined by Ed a little later on in the day). From there, it was off! off! to the Shimura Curves concert, clutching our groupie cards that had each been kissed individually. You don’t get that sort of detail from most bands, do you?
I have to say that I felt like a hipster in the Notting Hill Arts Club, Or more appropriately, an interloper in hipster-ville. But it was fun - ‘Ver Curves combine the fun of 1960s girl-groups and dronerock. It shouldn’t work. But it really does. I hope you’ll all know the words to Noyfriend
by the end of the year!
So that was a little round-up of my day in London. I would post pictures, but…er…I forgot to take any. Sorry. Perhaps next time!
Jun 25, 2006 · 1 minute read
More. to follow.
Jun 24, 2006 · 2 minute read
I do feel like I’ve been neglecting the blog in the past week. I offer my humble apologies; it’s not as if I’ve been lacking for ideas, but I just haven’t had the time to write anything, giving that I’ve been watching season 2 of Gilmore Girls any time that I can. But! Here’s what you’ve missed so far:
- A guide to the HMV sale, pointing out that if you’re interested in picking up back catalogue from either New Order or Madonna (or both! Go crazy!), then the current sale is good news, but for everything else, it’s a rather familiar line-up of titles.
- How I fell in love with Radiohead’s Talk Show Host again.
- A discussion about Doctor Who and how, aside from last week’s slight mis-step (I don’t mind if it attempts to do something different. In fact, I’m glad. I would just prefer it not to end up being rubbish, that’s all), the second half of this series has been quite strong. That would lead into talking about Fear Her, and how the show is really good when it’s using children for maximum creepy effect (see also: The Curse of Fenric; the only thing I really remember about that story is the hot goth vampire girls killing Nicholas Parsons because his cross wouldn’t work without belief).
- Part one of an occasional series on Albums That Don’t Quite Suck As Much As People Say, which I will save for another time.
- A worrying post about how I hope I don’t crawl into my shell when meeting everybody for the Shimura Curves gig tomorrow afternoon
- A selection of YouTube TOTP links, including Tiffany (she had such a formative effect on me, it seems).
- How Opera DS could be the greatest thing in the history of mankind. And possibly treekind as well. Oh, sure the trees look innocent and, well, stumpy, but behind our backs they’ve already invented faster-than-light travel and made an alliance with our eventual Squirrel Overlords.
So there you go. I hope you forgive me!
Jun 23, 2006 · 1 minute read
Eeeek. Sunday’s plans have become a little more extravagant all of a sudden. Which could be quite nice!
Jun 21, 2006 · 2 minute read
Well, obviously, it’s not. But things aren’t looking too rosy, either. Smash Hits has gone, TOTP is about to go, cd:uk was spirited away in the middle of the night (though rumours speak of its return), and we live in a world where Level 42! Level 42! Level 42! can get into the Album Top 20 with a greatest hits collection.
And things aren’t going to get better. ITV have somehow managed to stop it from becoming a big news story, but the announcement that they’re beginning to wind up CITV as a programme-making venture should be ringing alarm bells in every record company across the land (it also makes me incredibly angry, but I’ll spare you the Robin Carmody-esque rant). They’ve already axed the traditional Saturday morning children’s show in favour of Andrew “Spit In His Meal” Worrall Thompson.
What does this mean? The traditional avenues for a pop act are disappearing rapidly. Even for the bigger acts, things are going to be hard. When Justin Timberlake heads over here next month, where is he going to promote his new single on national television? The zombie remains of PopWorld
? The children’s TV circuit used to be an essential way of getting a new band in the public eye. No longer. Some might point to the Internet as being a natural progression of this type of advertising. It plays a part, but Sandi Thom wouldn’t have got anywhere near the charts if she didn’t have her PR company getting her splashed all across the national media before the single’s re-release.
It just seems very depressing. I want a band like Lucky Soul
to scrape into the Top 40 and get a five-minute slot on national television. I want their to be an arena where people like Rachel Stevens can survive. But it looks as if those days are firmly behind us. No more shall we have the likes of New Kids On The Block and the Happy Mondays on the same show. And I think we’re all poorer for that.
Jun 20, 2006 · 1 minute read
Well, it took just under a year from when I rambled on about Top Of The Pops, but today, the BBC finally switched off its life support, axing the show after 42 years of faithful service. And it still strikes me as unnecessary. Even worse, it leaves the BBC with Later… as its only regular music show. shudder.
Let’s hope that the final show has a compilation of John Peel’s withering comments during the chart rundowns, and a shot of the pair that were simply too ugly to ever appear on TV again before the watershed
(at this point, I would also like to plead for someone to YouTube the ‘Topless Lard’ bit from their football series. I…I have my reasons).
And ten, fifteen years into the future, maybe it’ll get its own RTD to bring it back…
Jun 18, 2006 · 1 minute read
I have just come into possession of Y Kant Tori Read. Hurrah for the magic of the Internet.
Jun 15, 2006 · 1 minute read
A very weird thing happened to me today. I was reading a press release for an upcoming concert in London. As you do. And, as customary in these missives, they feature press clips saying complimentary things about the band. They’re easy enough to skim, so I read while the ticket website was loading. But idly, not paying too much attention.
As I was reading, something seemed very familiar.
They had included quotes from my review in their mailout. Directly after The Guardian.
Wow. I’m still a little starstruck that they thought my review was good enough to put on their press. It’s like living in Almost Famous
. Almost. And I couldn’t be happier that they were the first band to do it.
That’s Johnny Boy
. Playing at the Luminaire
in London on June 25th. I recommend them once again. Wild horses, and indeed the prospect of spending Monday morning in a haze, will not stop be from being there.
Jun 13, 2006 · 2 minute read
It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Lansing-Dreiden – Two Extremes
It’s taken how long? Twenty years? But an American band has finally embraced New Pop wholesale. Lansing-Dreiden
is, well, I’ll let them describe themselves:
Lansing-Dreiden is a multi-media company founded in Miami, FL and is currently based in New York. Its output includes artwork in the form of drawings, collages, sculpture and video, as well as the production of music recordings and Death Notice, a free newspaper containing fictional stories and images. All Lansing-Dreiden projects are fragmentary, mere stones in a path whose end lies in a space where the very definition of “path” paths.
Yes, so they’ve got the incredibly pretentious pose down pat. They even have a separate group simply to perform their works live. Thankfully, the songs on their new album The Dividing Island
don’t collapse into a Sigue Sigue Sputnik
-level disaster, instead sounding like a lost Trevor Horn sideproject from 1983, coupled with Paul Morley’s scribbed manifestos (and while we’re on the subject of Mr. Morley: while I appreciate that the Joy Division/Manchester scene is important and well worth revisiting, I’d love a ZTT retrospective piece focusing on what exactly he did during those years as a pop svengali rather than another look back at Factory. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Factory era, but there’s other stuff to talk about sometimes! Besides, we all want to hear the story about how he came to be in The Look Of Love
Having said all that, it’s not quite as shiny and glossy as a proper Horn production; songs often jerk at right angles instead of being slimline pop works. And their closest relation probably isn’t ABC
, or even The Art of Noise
; it’s Disco Inferno
, the greatest forgotten British band of the 1990s.
So download Two Extremes
and see how many different Horn pieces you can pick out!
The Rosebuds — Shake Our Tree
The album this is taken from was recorded in Carrboro, and as such is already known to a few people who read this blog. The Rosebuds’
core is Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, a couple who started the band just a week after getting married. And, well, there’s really not a lot more to say about this; it’s just a fun song that would have sounded right at home over here during the 1994-1996 era of Britpop. When played live, it gets a lovely call-and-response section, but you’ll just have to imagine that.