07.02.2008. the whitest boy alive. electric ballroom, camden, london.

The Whitest Boy Alive

These boys have got it all. The groove, the melodies, the instantaneous desire to just start flicking your hip, you feel the people shout around you and you look at their faces. Her face, the smiles, the hands in the air, the high fiving with a brilliant enthusiastic group of Spaniards off their heads on mdma. the sheer, unbridled joy of the occasion. and suprisingly cool t-shirts (even if I did have to buy a large girls… oh dear… the skininess…)… listen to the video…

‘can you keep a secret?’

the Whitest Boy Alive are the bees knees.

They play at Koko in May on the 21st. [CLICKY THING]

world picture service.

November 18, 2007

Ok, so I’m really bad at this. I just never post, I don’t get regular… never mind.

 

So today (cue fanfare), let’s share something. Something I meant to share a long time ago. This website (err… the big picture) is the World Picture Service.

 

World Picture Service

 

 

 

It’s an amazing set of pictures taken by a guy who travelled round in a car, as he drove from Amsterdam to India and Nepal and back again. They restore my faith in life somehow. All the images were taken in 1976 to 1977. Amazing images.

 

 

J.

a little moment of zen.

August 30, 2007

Corpach, Fort William; 6am.

Before I climbed Ben Nevis last weekend (more to come on that soon), I took a few minutes at sunrise at capture beautiful Corpach, in the Scottish Highlands. The video doesn’t really do the place justice, but it’s beautiful, calm and empty.

J.

mind over time…

August 20, 2007

interpol, koko


INTERPOL are a very emotive band.

There’s no doubt about that in my mind; Turn on the Bright Lights, Antics and now Our Love to Admire are all filled with songs of loss, love, joy, aggression… well in my mind, everything’s there, I’ve played those records to death.

But unfortunately, there’s just not enough. I become desperate to hear every track with bands I love, I obsess, I hunt them down. Even hunting down obscure tracks on soundtracks to shows like Six Feet Under (Direction, it’s all right).

But why?

Because there just aren’t that many bands that can provoke reactions within me like Interpol can.

So when Love to Admire came out, the first thing I had to do was hunt down any B-sides. I found the Mammoth instrumental version, and then I heard of a song that featured as a b-side to the Japanese release of the album…

Mind Over Time
(seven days only…)

This is beautiful. It’s gorgeous, somehow even managing to get away with Jean Michel Jarre-esque synths in the background. They just enhance the song.

But what makes this song so marvellous to me is beautiful lead in and lead out. The dynamics of the song is just perfect. I think the middle section where it seems to rock out, while still pondering about the meaning, it quite sounds like Idlewild’s last title track on The Remote Part. But that’s all right, I like that song too…

It sticks with you. This song resonates in head after it’s been played. I must press repeat.

Enjoy,

J.

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melody day…

July 29, 2007

caribou_ampitheatre.jpgDan Snaith is an absolute genius. Under his moniker, Caribou (previously Manitoba), he has made four outstanding records, particularly with 2003’s Up In Flames.

Later this Summer he releases his latest effort, the nine-song Andorra. Now Snaith seems like an impulsive kind of guy when naming songs and tracks so perhaps this is not a concept album about the miniscule country bordering France and Spain. Or is it? Who knows, and who cares when the music is this good.

So far I’ve managed to rip a considerable number of tracks off the net in advance and I absolutely can’t stop listening to them. The integral song, or the one that a few people might hear is first single (out now) Melody Day. It sounds like a ’60s dreamy pop record put through the grinder by a band of drummers.

And that’s where Snaith stands out even more. On every record, the percussion is always aboslutely amazing. See, what I love about Caribou is that the records are layered, not chucked in, but carefully layered until there are hundreds of sounds on each track. Each time you listen you hear something gorgeous and new. One time, I remember listening to one track of Up in Flames in bed and hearing a frog croak or something.

So buy it, go and see him in Kingsland Road, EC2 on August 2 (I forget where) or see him in Dalston at Barden’s Boudiour, 38-44 Stoke Newington Road, on September 5 (I have no clue what to expect but can’t wait). He’s hardly ever over here (Canadian) anyway, it’s really cheap. He doesn’t seem to get much press but it’s some of the most phenomenal music I’ve heard. It’s magnificent. Oh, and all of his family, including him all have PhD’s in maths or something. That’s great work really, even if I do hate maths.

Enjoy the most beautiful song of the summer…, J.

Melody Day.

my dear Glastonbury,

June 30, 2007

glastonbury mud
Oh, how I love you so. How I wait your call to arms, I delight in the knowledge that you’re around the corner, treating me to your music and madness and your temporary insanity.

You are certainly a challenge, but you make it worth every bit of effort I can summon from my skinbag of bones and blood. You eat people up, you consume them and spit you out. You put us out to the elements,  to withstand anything and everything the weather can chuck at us.

You should be painful, but you’re not.

Except for a little bit where  the dried mud pulled out my leg hair, leaving spotted bald patches on my legs. And the aching, and odd bowell movements from the Mexican place. Despite that, you’re (relatively) painless.

Anything can happen at Glastonbury. You could end up covered head to toe in mud, showering for the third time to get the remnants of the mud out of your nails. But you’ll always be fine.

You could end up lost in a fiery field in the dark, drenched with rain, no phone battery and no mates in sight. But you’ll always be fine. You could slip and crunch your ankle, falling to lay spread eagled in the  rain, mud and litter and piss. You could eat fatty, greasy food irregularly to fill your stomach with stodge and carbohydrates. By Sunday, you could almost pass for a wino with your beard and cheap wine bar booze*. But you’ll always be fine.

You could end up hitting on strangers, drinking wine (I quote, Morrison’s ‘GOOD SICILLIAN WINE’ in a box) from a plastic bottle, dancing to ‘Come Up and See Me’ next to a burger van in 12 inches of mud. You could end up using the same line each night: “Could you teach me how to dance in wellies?”**

You could get trashed on the last night and then be a little taken back when a scary 50ft clown comes up on the big screen at the Chemical Brothers mouthing “Do it again.”

But dear Glastonbury; as you consume us for the weekend, pulling your pilgrims collectively into your belly-town of fabric houses, marquees and mud, you give us something back. Spirit rises in your people; the rain may be cold and muddy, it may stick to me and become an effort to walk but it will not stop me having a good time. You are a challenge, and each person may approach you differently.

See, you could watch the Magic Numbers in the rain, in more rain, then briefly in a little bit of sun, and feel the smile come across your face when the lead singer looks out across thousands of people in front of the Pyramid stage and says humbly into the microphone, “Thanks for making my dream come true”.

You could see Fatboy Slim, in a dress, stripping to ‘Hot in Herre’ facing 500 welly-wearers, dancing monged in a medium marquee glamourously called a ‘Ballroom’.

You could end up sitting in a tipi, watching the cock dance of a half-naked mate and an old kaftan-clad hippy as they shuffle in their seat, smoke and unconciously (or subconsciously?) flash their willies at you.

You could laugh yourself into stitches when a mate tells you he was pissing hungover into a bottle in his sleeping bag and had too much for the vessel, hence overfloweth.***

You could aim to fulfil an ambition, to see a band that you’ve always wanted to see. But you also know that your stage of debauchery, not you, will define whether you’d get to see them (did: Manic Street Preachers, didn’t: Arcade Fire).

You could wake up in the morning, feeling horrible and form the logic that you can get wasted in order to feel better. And you always, most definitely do.

It’s the opposite to reality there. You communicate and (gasp) people are nice and friendly, they share their resources. They don’t look down at the ground, they look up and smile happy. Glastonbury is the opposite of the Tube.

Two guys even invited us to an ex-wife’s marital blessing at 6pm in the Lost Vagueness chapel. It could have been a lovely story – but unfortunately, you get drunk and forgot. It’s always, always, always the 7% pear cider.

You teach us one thing Glastonbury, reality just isn’t the same. People can’t wander around, getting wasted, watching music, doing what they like legitimately in the real world. The beautiful temporary meetings. Shame on them. But you adjust, you realise that real life isn’t so bad, it does have its good points – family, friends, toilets that don’t make you want to vomit, etc.

But I’ve been there before and I’ll be there again. I love Glastonbury. And I think it loves me too.

J.


*, **, *** (sorry)

It’s funny how people trigger memories, things forgotten and left in your nogin. They sit there, just waiting to be remembered and blared into your headspace, whenever you should begin to recall them.

One I’ve recently had is a song from a band I don’t even really know, or own any of their albums – Elbow. They crafted four minutes and forty-eight seconds of absolute beauty back in… (just go look it up… patience…) 2001 with a song called ‘Scattered Black and Whites‘. It appeared as the closing track on ‘Asleep in the Back‘, which had a lead single, ‘Any Day Now‘, which I’m sure a few people remember.

Anyway, this song is absolutely gorgeous. It is an absolute triumph of colour and timbre to suit a lyric. Beautiful. The ‘scattered’ feeling is immediately conveyed from the brushed drumming, but I think it’s the piano in the song that makes me want to cry. Or at least curl up and fluff the pillow.

Now, I don’t think I can store mp3s on here, but I did a search on elbo.ws and someone posted this song on their blog just 31 hours ago. Amazing. Someone’s thinking of the same song! To download the song, go to this blog here…. 

People and memories triggering reactions, brain processes that can spark off memories of the past; assessment, nostalgia.

A tool for this is Facebook. It’s so popular nowadays, it’s almost unreal. Everyday a different person from the past comes back into your life. Some things great, some things shit, but so’s day-to-day life. ‘Confirm, deny or reject‘ – the choice is yours.

Now a lot of people bang on about how they don’t want anyone seeing ugly pictures of them online, or let anyone ‘iStalk’ them, bosses etc. etc. etc. I pretty much allow everyone to be my friend; if someone puts up a horrible picture of me and tags it for the world to see (insert pic here), well, then I guess it’s my fault for posing in the first place. It’s me. It’s actually what you look like.

I don’t know, I shouldn’t slate people just for thinking it’s rubbish or imposing. It probably is both those things. Each unto their own. But if you want to, just do it. What the fuck does it matter anyway?

In years to come, I’m sure that there’ll be stuff about you on there anyway, only this time, you won’t get to control the flow of information.

J.