When you’re stood on the 2nd row for Bombay Bicycle Club, the guy infront is the spitting image of Jack Steadman and he’s playing it cool. You ask him if he’s JS’s brother, and he looks at you like you just sprouted a bicyle from your face.
Givers may or may not have been in Manchester the other night due to the evident spontaneous combustion of common sense, saw some news images of stuff going down Northern Quarter way near where they should have been playing at Night & Day. Listen to their current single Up Up Up if you’re in the majority of people that like good things, Little Comets/Vampire Weekend and not destroying your own city.
I suppose this is what it feels like to have a Robbie moment. Mystery Jet’s favourite floral shirt wearing maverick’s, Kai Fish, has gone solo, and first single ‘Cobalt Cheeks’ doesn’t sound anything like you think it will.
Think of the gloomy vocals of The National with some roaring synthy action as well, It’s all very grown up. He even wears a sensible shirt in the video.
It’s okay, I watched (500) Days of Summer twice last week, balance is resumed.
Also, The Brute Chorus are good. In a similar of way that 6 Day Riot are so innoffensive you’d find it hard to believe they could host a 6 Day Tea Dance, The oxymoronic Brute Chorus are floating in the void between thuggish brute and angellic choir-boys. A kind of glass-half-full-of-nothing happy medium, bluesy folk tinged rock with attitude (read: a kazoo and a rockenspiel). Bury Me In Hawaii is a favourite for fellow Scroogish post-modern quasi-ironicly pessimistic prats like myself. Because happiness is bad.
Lack of posting again, but things are changing. I’m currently reviewing for http://designermagazine.tripod.com/, a Manchester based online music magazine. Today this, tomorrow Krissi Murisons job? Expect social observations, overuse of commas and bad puns. Also, I think I’ve invented the word Manclophile. So far I’ve reviewed The Drums (unfortuntely no Io Echo) and XFM Winter Wonderland, so go and check them out if you’re interested.
Little late on the bandwagon here but listen to Little Comets. They’re really good. Also, lyrically pretty sharp-witted. For example, “disorder surounds her every noun” and “a subtle sloliloquy/straight to his pillow”, because I’m a sucker for grammatical and lingustic techniques in songs. In their own words they sound literally nothing like Ke$ha, which can only be a good thing. Comparable to The Crookes in as much as they could make even the most straight-faced trench coat wearer tentativley tap their Ox-Blood Doc Marten’d foot, especially during Dancing Song.
Along similar ‘kitchen sink’ lines, but a little more folksy, we have Patch William. Apparently Stephen Fry’s a fan and they’re up for an Ivor Novello, but those achievements are really incomparable to me telling my TWO followers to listen to them because I’m so awkward that I won’t tell anyone about my Tumblr, so I’m basically blogging into the abyss, and you two guys, you’re cool. Look up Skinny White Boy, I’m all for self-parody.
And if we’re being honest, both of the bands have significantly above average looking members, and an above average amount of eyeliner per member, which isn’t a bad thing.
It seems I have become a fan of the Swaggering Mancunian.
Um, “mad for it”, or something?
Like the rest of the nation, I’m currently enjoying the touch of Mancunia Shaun Ryder is bringing to the jungle (“It’s kettling my swede” - don’t you mean twisting your melon? har), and in a rare burst of HMV patronage, today I bought Hooky’s Booky Wook, or is that Russel Brand? I’d been considering buying The Hacienda - How Not To Run A Club since it came out last christmas, but discovering it for a slightly less extortionate price I purchased the paperback version.
Anyway, walking down Altrincham High Street, after declining a carrier bag in which to carry THE LEAST INCONSPICUOUS BOOK in history (think Hacienda yellow and black stripes), I discovered Christmas shoppers think it’s wierd to take a small box of hazardous waste out with you.
The fact of the matter is, it’s a pretty good read, if you ignore the grammatical errors (I’m in not position to complain about standard English, but surely ‘the Smiths’ should be capitalized?) And Hooky’s affinity with finishing anecdotes with ‘ha ha ha’ (canned laughter doesn’t work when you’re reading) So verdict so far? Some laugh out loud moments, really interesting, but I can’t see it appealing to non-Mancs (or adopive Mancs) and you should probably know the basic facts and names before you get into it, late night Googling is pretty disruptive to your reading. Example “How infamous can a poster be? I’ve never heard of it”.
Blah….Factory…. Curtis…. New Order….Tony Wilson…. Blah….Gretton….Madchester….Meh. If I met myself, I’d probably scough at how painfully pretentious the whole thing is, and by ‘thing’, I mean me.
On a hopefully redeeming note, I have recently rediscovered the wonder that is The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. A bit along the lines of Belle & Sebastian and especially Yuck, in as much as they’re raucous and twangy and jittery, but kind of hazy and chilled and cutesy due to the male & female vocals. Wow, that didn’t make sense. Like if Sonic Youth recruited Regina Spektor for vocals just for kicks.
In a year of great 'sophomore efforts', should it be the 'controversial third album' trap that bands need to watch out for?
They’re back. It only took them since 2007, but earlier this year, perfectionists Klaxons returned with their ‘notoriously tricky second album’. The critics would have us believe they missed their moment, yet considering the nu-rave scene was apparently dead, buried, and it’s neon ashes sprinkled into the psycadellic synth vacuum which was to be reincarnated as cred-pop, Surfing The Void is actually pretty good. Still recognisable enough to be the day-glo electro heroes of Myths Of The Near Future, different enough for us to think they actually did some work in the last 3 years. Gone are the days of wild all night parties, the mature Jamie Klaxon of 2010 takes girls back to his hotel room and orders wine and cheese.
So in a supposedly dying industry saturated with new bands, does it mean only the best get signed in the first place, thus meaning the second album will be good quality anyway? Do the bad ones with limited creativity not even make it past #1?
Or maybe it’s the fact that the music industry is so vast, and bands so acessible, that with the use of Spotify and iTunes, the bad ones just pass us by, without really making any impression, then fade into obscurity and ultimately get dropped by their label? Just because I can’t quite forgive myself for being one of those people that blogs about how the music industry is in decline due to The Cloud and streaming and all your new fangled gadgets, I’m going to go with the former. Or else I might start feeling nostalgic for CDs and moaning about The X Factor. Yawn.
Take Arctic Monkeys for example, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Favourite Worst Nightmare were amazing albums, and made them near enough superstars. But did you see them at any major festivals this summer playing Humbug? And there’s The Strokes, Is This It is one of the best albums of all time, and Room On Fire contains some of their best work, but there’s usually a tumbleweed moment if you say you like anything from First Impressions Of Earth. Not that it’s necesarrily absolute proof of my theory, but maybe it’s not a recent thing either. I’ll put my neck on the line and say Oasis were rolling downhill since (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? in 1995.
Of course there are exeptions to the rule. Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs is literally perfection in musical form, and it exceeded all expectations and reached Number 1 in the charts, but it was never much of a departure from their earlier stuff. Maybe Alex Turner got bored of being the Yorkshire lad in that band that writes songs about mundane things like trying to nab free taxi rides, chav/indie warfare and prostitutes. Maybe Julian Casabalancas got bored of writing consistent albums (please forgive me, I’m so excited about #4 and think You Only Live Once pretty much carries the whole album). Solo effort Phrazes For The Young proves he had his sights set on something different.
What ever the reason may be, it seems the ultimate Marmite of music is a change of direction. As fans, are we in the wrong by not being open minded? Or are the bands getting too big for their boots by attempting an opinion-dividing stylistic U-turn?
So maybe you should make the most of The Courteeners’ Falcon, Foals’ Total Life Forever, Vampire Weekend’s Contra and Bombay Bicycle Club’s Flaws. For the time being, they’re sticking to what they’re good at, and getting better at it. You never know, they might start experimenting with Dubstep or recruit a saxophonist or start going out with a Supermodel or move to a remote Amazonian settlement to discover themselves….
This could prove quite a challenge considering my tendency to waffle, so I’ll try and write this post during the 2.25 mins of Infinity Guitars by Sleigh Bells.
You may or may not have noticed there’s a vast vacuum in my posting from about August to November, well nothing much of note musically happened (pun definitely intended) or anything of note at all.
Hmm, song’s finished, some 6 Day Riot should work (they’re no way near as hardcore as the name suggests)
Apart from Two Door Cinema Club, Darwin Deez, Foals and Mystery Jet gigs. I covered Mystery Jets in my last post so here’s the summary of the other 3;
Foals: Pretty amazing, didn’t play This Orient, however, Spanish Sahara was fanbloodytastic. Another hilight as Yannis leaping into crowd and emerging almost shirtless, easily made up for the distinctly average support acts.
Deezy: Surreal. Played pretty much the whole album. Bad Day was a surprise hit of the night, Darwin seemed surprised as well. Must have been that miserable Mancunians enjoy songs about bad things happening to other people. Future potential single material? Talking of single, I’d advise you to look up The Darwin Deez Band’s choreographed dance routine to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. Just WOW. Also ‘discovered’ support act Little Comets, there was one of those “Why does everybody know th- OHMYGOSH I know/love this song” moments. Yeah, I know you’ve been there.
TDCC: No crazy anecdotes with this one I’m afraid, just an effing amazing band playing an effing amazing gig. Was almost tempted to put in some crowdsurfing experience. Labelmates We Have Band supported, who are also amazing. (There was some Dede W P stalking going on in the bar between sets).
That’s it really, must confess I got through my Cringily Cutesy playlist whilst typing. If you’re interested:
Patch William - Skinny White Boy
6 Day Riot - Take Me
The Crookes - Backstreet Lovers
Babeshadow - Sea Serpents
Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love (heard somewhere that Carey Mulligan did the female vocals on this, don’t quote me on that though)
Blasphemous experiences with Blaine, Will, Kai and Kapz
Religion-based puns/references to follow. See how many you can spot. Go on, it might be fun.
So a few weeks ago I went to see Mystery Jets In Manchester Cathedral. It was a bit of a miracle I even got in. What have we learnt? 1. Don’t trust other people with minor details like remembering the tickets. 2. Make friends with ticket touts, maybe give them a sandwich. 3. Scope out the wasted yorkshire lads with the more effective technique of obtaining last minutie tickets. So what if they travelled about 30 miles without a ticket, you have as much of a right to be there as them. They should have bought a ticket when they had the chance. So anyway, entry obtained, no laws or stained glass windows broken. Hallelujah.
So first up were Tribes. I’d heard a bit about them and it turns out I’d heard a few of their songs. Suitably impressed, and so, it seems, is Dr. Who becuase he was on Gonzo w/ Alexa Chung (!) raving about them. Next up were Egyptian Hip Hop (One of Alexa’s top 3) who are one of those bands that I don’t care about being obsessed with even though all the blogs/magazines/qualified opinionists have given them the nod because they’re just so damn good. Was pretty impressed the frontman made it through the set becuase he literally looked like he was on the brink of self-inflicted death. Pun-titled songs (Rad Pitt) and mint green guitars made up for this though. Not MINT green like that, mint green like the colour of mint. Yeah…
And finally, another of Alexa’s all time faves (can you see a pattern here?) Mystery Jets took to the stage.
At this point I could go one of two ways. I could express to you how the new material fused perfectly with old, and that they were on ultimate form, that I belive they’ve hit their creative stride with third album Serotonin. I could articulate the beauty and pain that Blaine had penned into the equally heartbreaking and haunting Melt, and how the onstage chemistry could rival that of Pete & Carl, Tom & Serge or Noel & Liam. I could explain that the joint euphoria of the congergation during Behind The Bunhouse encore was amplified by the gothic arches and stone pillars. But quite frankly that wold sound way too deep and borderline cultish, so instead, I’ll do this…
Ironic moment of night: The whole 3:52 mins of Miracle. LOL irony.
Instrument most likely to offend hosts: Kapz’s drum kit, featuring a picture of Jesus with Will Rees’ face
Biggest claim to fame: Egyptian Hip Hop’s drummer (possibly) sold me my ticket (probably not)
Most blasphemous experience: The gentle chink-chink of beer bottles rolling around on the stone floor underfoot, 6 mins after the 11pm curfew.
Most inconspicuous disguise: Arriving painfully early to befriend potential spare ticket owners, we witnessed Kapil entering dressed in a coat and 3D glasses
Irrational qualm: I just don’t like Lorna Doone, I’m sorry, nothing can be done about it. Would have much preferred the closer to be my favourite off Serotonin, Lady Gray which they didn’t even play, but c’est la vie et whatnot.
General summary: This religion stuff? Count me in. Also, the toilets are a damn sight nicer than in the student union building. Lit by candlelight as well, which is a nice touch.
I did it, there’s no denying it, no going back, they arrived today, and the worst bit - I don’t even feel bad.
It goes against all my morals. “I can’t stand them” I’d say. “Stupid hipsters in ankle-grazer jeans, socks and loafers, who do they think they are?” “They come over here, ripping off The Smiths, naming their band after Mike Joyce, and they even have the cheek to act like Manchester is their second home”.
Well people can have a u-turn of heart can’t they? I mean, I used to like Muse.
It's a washout, but it's OK, musical pudding will help.
Long time no post, Sorry. Actually, I don’t know who I’m saying sorry to, as I have literally no readers. Would like to say I’ve been busy festivaling and BBQing and hanging out in trendy/pretentious Northern Quarter cafe’s this summer. but it was literally nothing as cool as that.
It was a washout. I even went to the lengths of making a spotify playlist consisting of ‘summery bands’ such as The Crookes, Summer Camp, The Drums, Surfer Blood, Best Coast and Wavves (check the double V on that, stupid freaking indie hipsters). Even so, my summer resulted in me looking like and extra in Oasis’ ‘Masterplan’ video, reading looking at the pictures in Turkish Vogue, or watching Control and old Popworld interviews on YouTube.
I promise some actually interesting blogging in the future, maybe something profound and/or insightful but more likley ‘OhMyGoshTheFrontmanOfTwoDoorCinemaClubLooksLikeBradleyFromEastenders’ (12 days until they hit a Manchester Academy) Meanwhile, your homework is to have a gander at Babeshadow. They’re all walm and lovely, but also quite cool like the reult of making a Bombay Bicycle Club and Mumfordy apple crumble with cold custard and a sprinkle of Vampire Weekend cinnamon - really, Krissi Murison should be shaking in her boots right now. On Spotify it says the’yre similar Jonquil, who happened to support Bombay Bicycle Club at Manchester Academy a while ago. And like the ad man’s dream I walked over to the merch table and bought their EP, so more to come on those.
That’s all for now, should probably go before I get a tan from the glow of my laptop.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a big fan of The Futureheads; The Hounds Of Love is honestly one of the few covers ever that stand up to the original, they’re amazing live, and The Beginning Of The Twist is well, a ‘tune’.
However, the same can’t be said about their current single from recent effort The Chaos. My local ‘alternative’ radio station insists on playing it at least twice a day, but to be honest it’s a bit bleh.
Let’s start with the title; I Can Do That. Well that’s great but what exactly is it that you can do? It’s all a bit Bob the Builder/Barack Obama. From the lyrics, I gather the scenario is that the protagonist repeatedly goes down the job centre as he is unemployed, but fails as they the jobs in question are being given to younger people. His protest is that he can do it as well or even better than them.
Look, I know there’s been a recession and everyone’s a bit strapped for cash but if you keep on writing songs like that you’re going to end up in the job centre yourself.
Then there’s the lyrics. 'I've made more phone calls than a wealthy guy'. It’s not often that bands take a u-turn INTO landfill indie lyric territory, but seriously, this could be a Little Man Tate lyric. ’Winner stays on on the Sony Playstation’ sounds postitivley poetic in comparison.
I don’t know, by the sound of first single off the album, Heartbeat Song, if the worst was to happen, The Futureheads have a prosperous career ahead of them as a Scouting For Girls tribute band, or maybe a Kate Bush cabaret act. What do you think the next career move for Ross and the boys should be?
Sorry if this post seemed a bit mean, but I was just wondering if I was the only one that noticed this. Also all my past posts have been positive and I’m running out of adjectives.
Frank's fantastic farewell and Mike Joyce related revelations
Okay, I didn’t expect anything significant to happen, but almost immediately after my first post, my stalkation (observation) made a development, of the disappointing kind.
If you live outside the bubble of North-West England, you might not have heard of the unfortunate death of the genius behind comic creation Frank Sidebottom (though I was surprised by size of the national reaction, considering he’s famously from Timperley, where I live). A Facebook campaign raised over £20,000 to hold a tribute to the guy who used to hang around my local co-op in a papier mache head on an open top bus, and 5000 fans in T-shirts and masks turned up to celebrate his life.
So I went along with a couple of friends, and along with finding a man who we were convinced was John Lennon ressurected, we had a great time. Badly Drawn Boy was there too with a few songs, wearing the same hat he has done for the past 10 years. Yeah, the guy that did the soundtrack to that Hugh Grant film.
Throughout the night, 3 major discoveries were made:
1. Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer is amazing. Think Stephen Fry (stereotypical posh guy) meets Eminem (stereotypical rapper), kind of, whilst playing a banjolele. He sings song about going to prep school with Tim Westwood, whilst wearing a cravat.
2. Frank Sidebottom had a sleepover at Mike Joyce’s house. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the house at the end of my road, but I think the fact that the footage was one of the funniest thing’s I’ve ever seen made up for that.
3. Apparently, if you stick a red and a green felt tip together and write with them, then put on 3D glasses, the writing floats off the page. Will be testing this out over the weekend, results to follow shortly. EDIT: can’t find any coloured 3D glasses, only the extorionate black cinema ones, If you have some of your own your results would be greatly appreciated.
More on Frank and Mr.B soon, and maybe even some actual music blogging. Who knows, anything could happen when you witness the drummer from The Smiths and a guy with a papier mache head going to your local chippy, and it’s one of the least strange things you see all day.
If you’ve been living under a sound-proof boulder for the last decade, check out The National. The Ohio/New York-ean outfit has been around since the late 90’s, but their most recent album High Violet is a beaut. All Music Guide describes their infuences as Country-rock, Americana, and Britpop, and I think the vocalist sounds like a combination of Johnny Cash and Ian Curtis, especially in Bloodbuzz Ohio. I think if Johnny Cash and Ian Curtis ever had a love child, it’s existance it would create a paradox and tear the whole of reality apart, centered around two black holes in Tennessee and Macclesfield, and the rest of being would cease to exist. Really.
Check out Anyone’s Ghost, I love it so much I created a playlist dedicated to songs about ghosts. I should probably do something more productive with my freetime, such as learning important things but;
1. A SONG ABOUT GHOSTS
2. BY JACK WHITE’S WIFE, KAREN ELSON
3. WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A SUPERMODEL
4. WHO IS FROM OLDHAM - wait, whut?
yup, further investigation is definately needed, this could end in another reality destorying collaboration of genii. Way more important than education.
I think the drummer from The Smiths lives at the end of my road
I think it was the media circus and 100 or so paparazzi that gave it away.
Okay, it’s hardly a breaking news, but after living in the same suburb of Manchester for over 10 years, I think simple maths tells us the probabilty of living within close proximity of a Madchester icon is pretty likely.
If we take the area of Greater Manchester (493 square miles, according to Wikipedia), and divide it by the total number of The Smiths, Joy Division & New Order, Happy Mondays, The Verve, The Charlatans, Electronic, Inspiral Carpets, James and 808 State (not inculding members who have died or no longer live in Greater Manchester), we can say that on average, in Manchester, you are never more than 13.694 miles away from a Madchester musician, Fascinating stuff.
I’ve heard from lots of people that the house is resided in by Morrisey, John Squire and Ian Brown, but most regularly Mike Joyce (drummer of The Smiths, and after whom The Drums named their band). It must be something about cream brick houses in general that people associate with gloomily glorious Manchester bands from the 80s.
If anyone knows if Mike Joyce happens to own a black Moriss Minor with wooden tbits, and an original red Mini, it would much help my stalking antics, thanks.