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]

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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.

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