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.

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83_joshhomme_l081105.jpgJosh Homme (from Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Desert Sessions, Eagles of Death Metal and other brilliant things) always makes me chuckle when he does interviews…

Pitchfork: When’d you start to play drums?
JH: I’ve been tapping on tables and chairs since I was little. [laughs] I got into guitar because no parent will buy their eight-year-old kid drums, unless they’re divorced and trying to get back at their wife. You know what I mean?

JH: Banks are kinda cool, you put some money in there. It should be kinda vaguely sexy, but it’s not.

His psyeudonym for some recordings has been Carlo Von Sexron (I laugh everytime I read this)

NME (on Eva Vulgaris): “Mentally, it’s the gnarliest Rubix Cube I’ve ever worked on”

KTVU.com: “And with the music industry the way it is with downloading, to ask artists to play for free … I might as well skip through the English countryside with a flute. One of the things about my generation is that there’s this punk rock guilt where people don’t know what they’re worth and they’re embarrassed to ask for anything for what they do. And that’s something that we need to get over. I don’t need to be the Sultan of Brunei, but at the same time, would you get your hand out of my crotchpouch please? Or at least be sexy about it.”

KTVU.com (on playing a Rock Honours show): I wrote ‘G-U-N-T’ on my arm during our performance at ‘Rock Honors’, because it’s an uncensorable word. Censorship isn’t about intent, it’s just about words that we universally agree are bad. Since ‘gunt’ is uncensorable slang, they actually focused in on my arm. A friend of mine was standing right behind Sharon and she said “Gunt? What the hell is that supposed to be?” I heard that and thought “My work for the day is done.”

Recoil Mag (on the band’s biography that goes out to journalists in advance): “That bio was written by Black Jesus of The Dwarves, and I think he’s bitter because they never asked him to be on the Warped Tour. We just told him, ‘Would you please write a bunch of lies and inflammatory bullshit about us in our bio just to make it more entertaining?’ And he obliged. And to be honest, he read it to me over the phone once, but I’ve never read it myself.”

I really wanted to collate more of these, because I love the guy’s wit, but time (and lunchbreak) is up…

Have a free song, a bonus track from the sessions for Era Vulgaris. A cover of the classic Billy Idol song…

Queens of the Stone Age; White Wedding

(have I nicked that link? You bet I have… Sorry! Oh, and click through to it, don’t right click as I’m not hosting it!)

J.

the sun is shit.

May 31, 2007

Having a go at the sun is a bit like shooting dead fish in an dry barrell, but today they set themselves a new standard of respect with the front page of their website.

First, there’s a story about a butterfly that landed on the head of mother of missing child, Madeline McCann. I’m not going to go there, but it’s a nice gentle touch for a newspaper that spends its hours making a load of stuff up, trying to indoctrinate everyone in the country into hating certain segments of society and trying to slate everything and everyone 24/7.

But the bit that shows truly what the sun is about is the left hand side of the screen.

As everyone in this country is no doubt aware, Big Brother has returned to Channel Four in England. The makers, deciding to start with an all-female house, have set a new agenda for reality television. What will these females say about feminity and modern Britain? What impact will it have on the way women are perceived?

Well, the sun has chosen to focus on the important issues of the show, rather than focus on the day’s news. As well you can gague from the headline…

the sun is shit

That says it all. But it’s most definitely not all. What headline news stories do the sun highlight as imperative to today’s news?

– EMILY – “I’d do naked film” (sic)
– CHANELLE – shows undies
– SHABS – “I speak Spanish”

For fuck’s sake. As I said, why have a go at them?

I just wanted to.

J.

burn my shadow.

May 29, 2007

Actually quite excited this lunchtime; there’s a new UNKLE album coming out that I completely wasn’t aware of. I don’t think it’s out for a while, but the first video from it is quite nicely weird and features some guy from ER. Once you see the clock, you almost have to listen to the end of the song; good idea from the marketing peeps…

J.

UNKLE – Burn My Shadow

Ok… so I know Nine Inch Nails isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this is very interesting from a marketing POV and use of the Internet.

Their forthcoming album, Year Zero, is going to be concept album set in the future about the end of the world, with a bleak vision of the United States, its military and the way in which it treats citizens – drugging the population on two substances, dependent on who they are.

Trent Reznor (who is Nine Inch Nails and controls musical and artistic direction) has always been involved with the Internet, running a detailed blog for registered users of NIN.com, the band’s website.

Currently on tour, Reznor has started deliberately leaking a few of the new album’s tracks, leaving them on Flash Drives in the venue’s toilets. So far this has happened in Lisbon and Madrid. Naturally, these tracks have appeared on the Internet to fans. This is not all.

Parallel to this, fans on the website discovered that the latest range NIN merchandise had highlighted or marked letters on it, spelling out “IAMTRYINGTOBELIEVE”. Someone then tried this as a website…  http://www.iamtryingtobelieve.com/

You need to highlight the text in order to read it on the sites.

The fan section of the official website then discovered further related sites to the original…

http://anotherversionofthetruth.com/  (which features a faked forum and audio clips) – highlight the picture and draw over it, more will be revealed
http://105thairbornecrusaders.com/
http://www.consolidatedmailsystems.com/citizen_unknown/
http://bethehammer.net/
http://churchofplano.com/
http://www.uswiretap.com/71839J/

These websites suck the reader into this world, there is even the mention of a hand – known on the album as ‘the Presence’ – that comes down to earth from above.

This “alternate reality game” (as it’s called on Wikipedia) was designed by the same group who make the computer game, ‘Halo’.

It’s definitely a unique marketing campaign that’s attracted a good amount of interest in America.

Reznor says this will be the first of two concept albums, so wait and see what the next viral marketing campaign will be.

Much much more on the details of this in this MTV article (very well researched… http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1552470/20070215/nine_inch_nails.jhtml)

J.

Scroll down and press play on the video. It’s just the song with one still image, listen & read.

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Nick Drake’s Place to Be is one of the most compelling and longing songs I’ve ever heard. One of my favs.

place to be. Nick Drake.

when I was younger, younger than before
I never saw the truth hanging from the door
and now I’m older see it face to face
and now I’m older gotta get up clean the place.
and I was green, greener than the hill
where the flowers grew and the sun shone still
now I’m darker than the deepest sea
just hand me down, give me a place to be.
and I was strong, strong in the sun
I thought I’d see when day is done
now I’m weaker than the palest blue
oh, so weak in this need for you.

Immense. Three chords and the mood of longing, melancholy suits the expressions of the words and Drake’s fragile voice perfectly. Admittedly, the romanticism associated with the now-deceased musician helps, but you just believe it’s true. It sounds like it’s his words, like he means it and this is him. It has soul.

It’s a popular thought that he speaks of his head at the start of the song. Drake goes from childhood innocence to adult knowing very quickly. In each verse; the first lines conveying innocence and exuberance (‘younger than before’/‘greener’/‘strong’) to darkness and knowledge (‘older’/‘darker’/‘weaker’). The juxtaposition of idealistic nature, then the ‘deepest’ and ‘weakest’ blues illustrate how far he has come from his youth. Each verse, Drake doubts his youth and sees the dark, he realizes ‘the truth hanging from the door’ and realizes the pain before him.

It’s the ‘place’, unknown and unclarified, that stays with. The longing for a place to be. The desire. To rest, be grounded and content.

The beauty of this song arcs higher with the proclamation that he’s ‘so weak in this need for you’. It is undefined, layering it with connotations. Is it a person? Death? Sanity?

You will never know; the song’s ubiquitous in its longing and desire for the ‘place’. Just hope he has it now.

ADDITIONAL: For gee-tar aficionados… go to here … where Robin Frederick talks about Drake’s unique take on finger work and song construction.

Listen and enjoy – x, J.

place to be

supporting scatman john.

February 15, 2007

Right, so I was reading Prefix, and then I saw this post… Awful Album of the Week: Scatman John ‘Scatman’s World’

I think it’s harsh. Yes, his album may have been made up of early-’90s-pseudo-trance disco-pop-rubbish but I don’t like the way they talk about the chieftain. They talk about him like he’s some kind of paedophile pop star. It’s so lazy.

The dude was an old jazz musician, with a stutter that embarassed him. He turned that around and with the help of some A&R music executives (you’re picturing them as evil henchmen now, aren’t you) reinvented himself as a perculiar popstar.

He deserves plaudits. Firstly (and maybe this should be an ongoing feature), who else has a better moustache in pop music. Second, watch his videos, the guy is so bizzare it’s amazing. His movements are mental.

If I’m honest, the thing that offends me more than anything is the bloke playing the trumpet in the Scatman video, when it’s clearly a synth. Oh, and the worst drum miming I’ve seen.

Praise the Scatman – give him a break. Actually he died in 1999, which is a shame because I was thinking it’d be great to get an interview with him now looking back. I wouldn’t get one, but it’s a nice idea. Shame.

The bloke was a hippie for the early 90s techno age; a prophet if you will…

“Everybody’s talkin’ something very shockin’ just to
Keep on blockin’ what they’re feelin’ inside
But listen to me brother, you just keep on walkin’ ’cause
You and me and sister ain’t got nothin’ to hide.
Scatman, fat man, black and white and brown man
Tell me ’bout the colour of your soul.
If part of your solution isn’t ending the pollution
Then I don’t want to hear your stories told.
I want to welcome you to Scatman’s world…”

Do you want to watch him now? Below…

RIP Scatman.

J.

Scatman’s World

Well… my mate Decanus tells me that he checks every Friday now that I’ve done two posts titled ‘Something for the weekend’, so it seems I may have to do this regularly.

Well, he loves Bowie too, so in honour of the great man, today’s two YouTube’s are two great Bowie songs. The first, Oh! You Pretty Things, is taken from a BBC performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Now I always thought this song was about parents and their children and generational change but after having a quick look at SongMeanings.net, some people have taken it a bit more deeply. Oh, it’s also about aliens. I haven’t been able to stop singing it for about three days now.

The Heart’s Filthy Lesson, the second video, is taken from his Outside albu. The video is cool and very weird. This was the stage when he was friends with Trent Reznor though… maybe that explains it… it’s almost like a Tool video but with posturing. Completely bizzare, I’ve only watched it twice, but I cannot understand the fucker…

J.

Oh! You Pretty Things

 

 

The Heart’s Filthy Lesson

 

times-front-page.jpgSo the Times relaunched their website this week. I think there are bugs as some of the pictures are missing etc. but I have other issues…

Two things, why have a lime green header if all the headlines are in blue? Surely that’s a bit estupido? It just looks crap.

Second of all… they have this new ‘Times Recommends’ banner… I kinda think they should be a bit careful what they put in there… or at least attempt to phrase it a bit better! What do you think?

times-banne-400r.jpg

Bit inappropriate?

However, they do have some respect with me (despite being Murdoch-ised) – I do like this from John Henley in the Guardian about the website’s launch…

“We just adore the new Times website! So lime-green, so unlikely! Also, for most of yesterday, so down, and, on Sunday night, so entertaining! “Sorry, Times Online has gone to the pub,” it said, above a picture of a pint of beer. “We have finished building our new-look website and are having a drink while our friendly geeks connect it to the internet.” Bless”

At least that’s a good sense of humour… shame about the website.

J.