Monday, 26 May 2008

All Tomorrow's Parties - Exposions In The Sky - Day Two

following on from day one, it's day two.
more bullet points, it seems to work:

  • flaming lips became amazing when steven drozd joined, and went duff when he got hooked on smack. they're not playing, but i did watch a 3 1/2 hour documentary that drove this point home, in gratuitous detail. but he's clean now, so maybe they'll start having ideas again. wayne coyne is nice.
  • shitty pompey
  • saul williams thinks he's the one, a rap-rock messiah from the planet, erm, 'space'. but his delivery is less bowie, more bono meets bogshed. question: why do imaginative rappers always make turgid rock? granted, i only have saul williams and mos def for evidence (no body count), but this combo of feather-headed industrial punk has little to recommend it, beyond an adrenaline-high stage entrance. plus, didn't alec empire already do this successfully with carl crack?
  • saul williams could learn a thing or two about how shit goes down in the live hip-hop arena from the break-out star of the weekend, shawn wiggs. rap-idly cementing his position as the white version of tony yayo, wiggs holds things down, especially from the point of view of swinging his arms about and walking with a stoop. his bodyguard/weed-carrier ghostface killah (who moonlights in the 'wu-tang clan') carries most of the vocals, allowing wiggs to do what he does best. ghostface seems to appreciate his end of the deal, too. see more here.
  • i didn't catch much of okkervil river, but they sounded punkier than i'd imagined, and well worth investigating. they were dressed like amish people.
  • iron and wine's feverish folk jams would work perfectly at an outdoor festival, or in the more claustrophobic confines of an intimate club gig, but doesn't quite sustain momentum here. the fault is partly with the venue: playing next to burger king their hazy sound is apt to drift without momentum. but the fault is also sam beam's: expanding from his hushed one-man-show was musically ambitious, and paid dividends on record, but the live show lacks a central personality to give focus to the fiddle solos.
  • de la soul don't have much trouble projecting personality in front of a large band, leading the 11-odd-piece rhythm roots allstars a merry dance. in a festival of sure things and unchallenging thrills, de la score an easy victory. almost all of the near twenty-year-old three feet high and rising, and almost nothing else, save a few nods to class-of-88 fellow-travellers like eric b & rakim, gratuitous instrumental solos, shameless crowd interaction, and goofy banter. maseo and trugoy grow fat(ter) gracefully, while posdnous remains the energetic focal point. likely to be back in 2028.
  • de la's lengthy sound-check allowed for a brief poke in at animal collective. i still don't understand what's going on, but i'm sure something is. loud squelches and screaming, of course.
  • i'm all for the national, who were like tindersticks but with moving parts. everyone else enjoyed them too, which is superb. i love it.
  • adem was on the saturday, too. he was in fridge, alongside four tet, whom i missed on friday, but was apparently quite good. did fridge ever release any records that anyone bought? adem played most of his new covers album, takes, a lovely, warm collection of off-kilter indie tunes from the 90s. the project seems to be conceived as a 'personal history' type of thing, and this works well live, as long as you buy into the scheme. interestingly enough, the most successful covers - yo la tengo's 'tears are in your eyes', pj harvey's 'oh my lover', low's 'laser beam' - were all oringially written by or for women. it all makes adem come across like a sensitive new-dad type. perhaps someone'll give him a column in a sunday supplement, wherein he'll reminisce about this life and detail the pitfalls of ordering your groceries from ocado. more power to the guy.
  • i can't be bothered to load this post with mp3 etc, as it'll kill my computer. but there's plenty of atp on youtube, in amongst the countless clips of rafael nadal press conferences from the other atp tour.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

All Tomorrow's Parties - Explosions In The Sky - Day 1

texan goodwill-magnets explosions in the sky are a sort of budget-price classical-pops version of mogwai. i'm not sure why they're curating, especially as their profile in the uk is rather limited. but best of luck to them: they appear to have decent taste in the sort of pitchfork-approved acts that you're likely to have heard of, with a couple of japanese curveballs for flavouring.

unlike last year's dirty three-curated cro-magnon beard-fest, there's not much that links acts like raekwon, animal collective and jens lekman together, complacent hipster endorsement aside. but if i can't be arsed to post mp3s for all of them, head over to the hype machine, where they'll all be playing happily together.

anyway, some things that occurred to me on friday.

  • bill fay rules. he wasn't at ATP, though i wish he had been. but we had his eponymous 1967 album on in the car. it's like nick drake and van dyke parks teamed up to sing about vegetables. in a good way.
bill fay - 'garden song' (from bill fay)

  • papier tigre sound like fugazi. i'm not sure what they were angry about, but it sounded worth being angry about. they're french, if that helps. punk, without being dream-punk or spazz-punk, or dance-punk or what-have-you. good stuff.
  • upstairs for a dose of mono. if oxford's best ever band, the workhouse, were young, japanese and stand-off-ish, they'd be called mono and all the hipsters would be raving about their sonic cathedrals of sound, like they are about mono. anyway, having seen these guys do their butterfly-in-a-hurricane schtick makes seeing explosions in the sky seem pretty redundant, so off to cook tea.
mono myspace

the workhouse - 'boxing day'
(from flyover)
  • incidentally, this year hipsters have seventies hair, like in the partridge family or the brady bunch. just so you know.
  • dinosaur jr's amps go up to 11, but j. mascis' treble knob goes up to 12. lou needs to fight his corner. it all looks like a lot of fun. best late 80s alt-rock reunion? best ever reunion album?
dinosaur jr. - 'the wagon' (live, 1993)
  • sunset rubdown are like arcade fire but with lots of polka dots and elton john, which is perhaps better than arcade fire with blue-collar rock aspirations, in short doses at least. their bio in the official ATP programme is a list of other bands that members of sunset rubdown are in, all with ridiculous and forgettable names. what will become of all these accordion players when the histrionic canadian indie bubble bursts?
  • phosphorescent wins best new band of the festival. i don't know if he's new - he's had enought time to grow a big ol' beard, after all. but i hadn't heard of him, and he rules, in a will oldham-meets-spiritualized way. will GMS bother with iron and wine after having seen this guy? you'll have to wait and find out....

here's a song of theirs:

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

good lord, a new page element

i said it in the title, but i'll say it again.

"good lord, a new page element"

there it is, on the right, below another page element. it's all about good stuff that's worth reading. it's to the twenty-first century what bentley's miscellany was to the nineteenth. except bentley's miscellany wasn't printed in khaki.

currently, you can broaden your horizons by reading about cliff richard's ongoing feud with general franco, a review of a recent nick cave gig, some conscious nonsense about processed cheese, a critical reinterpretation of a biz markie video, and a shellac show from 1993. but that'll change as soon as i read something else interesting. here's hoping it doesn't take too long.

do you want some music now?

bobby 'blue' bland - 'if you could read my mind' (from ain't nothing you can do)

ray charles - 'i've got news for you' (live in italy, 1984; original on genuis + soul = jazz)

devo 'that's good' (from hot potatoes: the best of devo)

Monday, 5 May 2008

kids tv needs more steeleye span

nowadays it's all pokemon and text messages, i suppose.

GMS takes you back to 1975, through the magic of youtube. hold onto your 'hat'.

steeleye span - 'all around my hat' (live on crackerjack)

Saturday, 3 May 2008

"formed a band, i formed a band"

this sort of thing

this month (or maybe next month) marks the 10th anniversary (or maybe the 11th) of GMS' sole foray into the world of the live rock performance.

that's right, shocked and titillated readership: in may or june of 1998 or 1997, GMS strapped on a tobacco sunrise wood effect replica fender jazz bass and crossed the liminal line between audience and stage, wherein and whereupon unstable identities are forged, challenged and reaffirmed. the shit went down at winchester's railway inn.

we were called blast first for a bit, and sister at some point too. perhaps a pattern was emerging. the headline act was grain, who sounded more like korn than wheat, and nothing at all like bread.

in job interviews, i like to suggest that the experience required teamwork, good communication skills, and an ability to work to deadlines. it helped me to grow as a person, but also to recognise my limitations. no recordings were made of the performance, but here are some mp3s of other bands doing their versions of our songs.

j. mascis & broken social scene - 'freakscene' (live, 2006; orig. by dinosaur jr)

pavement - 'in the mouth a desert' (live, 1996)

nirvana - 'aneurysm' (live at reading festival, 1993)

sebadoh - 'together or alone' (live in tokyo)

helmet - 'sinatra' (live, 1991)

perhaps you have an equally uplifting story you'd like to share in the comments section. do keep it clean.