Saturday, 28 February 2009

"a universal language"?: the cultural semantics of busta rhymes' "arab money (remix)"

to post this ridiculous video any fewer than six times would be an act of disrespect. it might even be racist.

to achieve the best effect: start video 1; after ten seconds, start video 2; start subsequent videos at 10-second intervals; when video 1 ends, start the process again. we're through the looking glass here, people.

t.i. shows up towards the end. as t.i. is on house arrest for buying a machine gun in a pub car park, presumably this is what t.i.'s house looks like.

acorn: "let me exchange the currency 'cos it's all foreign". does acorn look sad to you? like a really deep, existential sadness?

at first i was confused and a little nonplussed. then i became angry, then hungry. after that, diddy turned up, and i started to feel nostalgic and rather warm. i did the pointing dance a couple of times, but i wasn't grinning enough to make it work. after it was all over, i went and had some yoghurt.

where is spliffstarr?

Friday, 20 February 2009

NME Awards Tour - Glasvegas, Friendly Fires, White Lies, Florence and the Machine

I haven’t been to any of these 80s revival package tours, where they have hen parties and David Van Day and possibly other cool 80s stuff like remote-control cars and Saint and Greavsie. But this NME gig provided a general sense of it, albeit with shitter tunes, less alcoholic sports presenters, and a toilet venue (RIP the C***ing Academy, long live the O2 Academy).

Florence and the Machine are like bands that journalists compare to Kate Bush, with a leavening dose of Kate Nash. Florence – for ‘tis her – does lots of toothy head-girl yelling, and really is quite enthusiastic. There’s lots of dressing up involved, but none of the intimacy that this kooky-lady template seems to be based upon. The effect is less Kate Bush and more T’Pau, except that T’Pau were completely awesome.

T’Pau – ‘China In Your Hand’

White Lies are preposterously serious, like an entry-level Interpol with occasionally operatic vocals copped from Bruce Dickinson by way of emo. The lyrics don’t bear scrutiny, but at least with keyboards you’re guaranteed a couple of tunes, and the Lies deliver, tolerably. The effect is less OMD and more Ultravox, except that Ultravox were completely awesome.

Ultravox – ‘Vienna’

Friendly Fires skew this 80s revival thing a bit by sounding like one of those grim dance-punk bands from the early 00s, like the Rapture or Radio 4 or what-have-you. At a push, they’re like the Happy Mondays, except with a plummy voice nonentity instead of a lardy Mancunian drug-hoover as a frontman, and with no knack for dub or funk or house. So, then, less like the Mondays and more like one of the bands Factory signed after the Mondays made it big, I guess. Incidentally, Happy Mondays were completely awesome.

Happy Mondays – ‘Kinky Afro’

Glasvegas are supposed to be the Jesus & Mary Chain crossed with the Proclaimers, but they have nothing to do with the economy and wit of either. Tonight it’s all chest-beating and yearning howls, which is to say, more like Simple Minds. I can’t vouch for whether Simple Minds were completely awesome: I suppose not, but given the logic of this review, maybe I’ll have to revise that opinion.

Glasvegas play throbbingly loud, which suggests they caught a My Bloody Valentine concert last summer. Occasionally this works, as on aggressive terrace shouters like ‘Go Square Go’ and Tonight-with-Trevor-MacDonald-style emotive sucker-punches like ‘Daddy’s Gone’ and ‘Flowers and Football Tops’. The rest of the time, it only unbalances their odd combination of yelling, girl-groups, Elvis, RAT-pedals, and late-90s Manics.

To be fair, all these NME package tours are a shower. As far as they go, this one wasn’t bad. I hope they all become big and famous, like the Coldplay or the Killers, and don’t disappear without trace, like the Llama Farmers or Alfie: that way, I’ll end up feeling pretty ‘with it’, as far as that goes.

Monday, 16 February 2009


songs called 'yes' > songs called 'no'

transexual prostitute 'yes':
manic street preachers - 'yes' (live at the astoria, december 1994)
pour out a little liquor for the astoria. dead with the mystery jets and the black kids on the front of the venue. shameful shit.

idiot savant 'yes':
lil' wayne (feat. pharrell) - 'yes'
this is the best neptunes thing since 'nothin' by NORE.

mcalmont & butler 'yes':
mcalmont & butler - 'yes'

that's that, then.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

uke sighting

beard? check.
willie nelson cover? check.
'95-era will oldham steez? check.
ukulele? bingo.

phosphorescent - 'too sick to pray', 'at death'

more phosphorescent on GMS

buy to willie

Sunday, 8 February 2009

NASA - 'The Spirit of Apollo' - album review

if i could invite anybody i wanted to a dinner party, i'd invite barack obama, homer simpson, a porn star, and einstein. the conversation would flow, and a few of the world's more pressing problems would be set to rights. on the menu would be baked potatoes and wine.

in the background, i'd play NASA's guest-list-heavy fantasy-dinner-party past-present-and-future-of-critically-approved-rap-rock-and-pop debut album, the spirit of apollo. i've no idea who these NASA folks are, except that they're two middle-aged chaps with silly names, as if gnarls barkley didn't put them off. i do know that they've got a massive, retro-looking rolodex, from which to make hip musical alchemy and shit. hence: collabos :-
NASA - 'Hip Hop' (feat. KRS-One, Fatlip & Slim Kid Tre)

tom waits makes great records by prentending to be mad; kool keith makes mostly-awful records, possibly because he is mad. david byrne is gawky, white and likes gadgets; chuck d is shouty, black, and likes terrible puns. ol' dirty bastard is un-self-conscious, drunk and dead; karen o is hip, sardonic and possibly past it. so it goes on. will they make musical magic, fuelled by baked potatoes and wine? or will it be more like that dreadful movie starring raekwon and bijou philips?

of course, reader, it's neither of these. the spirit of apollo pitches its pretend-united-nations tent somewhere between an above-par jurassic 5 record with a more singing, and a woolly-minded-liberal version of neon neon. "money is the root of all evil", sings someone who might be seu jorge. "you can be whatever you want to be", wails david byrne. "hip hop", declares KRS-One, king of say-what-you-see. "sizzla", replies sizzla. "strangling the monkey with the hands of a clock", suggests tom waits. all civilised repartee, at least until scarface arrives.
NASA - 'Money' (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip)

ten years hence, this won't look a shabby monument to late-00s mash-up hipsterism, especially if you skip over santogold's contributions (or leave them in as a warning to future generations). then again, this exactly the record the beastie boys could have made in 1999 with their grand royal roster and friends. nor does it look that far removed from 1989, when chuck, KRS, del tha funkee homosapien, kool keith et al were more than just list fodder, and when another daft-named white hip hop act was pushing things forward.

so, to break the ice, whatever happend to peanut butter wolf?