Monday, 21 December 2009

Dinotour : Modest Mouse - The Ritz, Manchester - 13.12.09

"That's what we're waiting for, that's what we're waiting for, that's what we're waiting for aren't we?"

That's a couple of lines from 'Little Motel' by Modest Mouse. I was going to run that into some amusing chatter about how its taken me ages to write this review but it always takes me ages so I sort of think why keep apologising. You expect the review to be late and I'm not really that sincere with the apology anyway.? To keep things topical, ya really think it makes any difference to Tiger Woods' wife when he apologises yet again after ohidontknow the 26th woman comes out of the woodwork? Exactly.

A liar and apologist, yesterday. I bet his name isn't even really Tiger.

So, when I attended this show it was still summer and Christmas seemed so far away it looked like a melting ice cap but time, as is its wont, rolled on and here we are, 22nd December and no review written. I'll do my best. Frightened Rabbit supported which (and no disrespect to support bands, everyone has to start somewhere etc.) made a really welcome change because I both have heard of Frightened Rabbit and more importantly, quite like them. For these reasons and these reasons only, we got to the show on time. People had been queueing for a while even before then which sort of amused me because, well, why bother? It's the curse of this country, the queue. You could hand out STDs or gypsie curses and these fools'd be there queueing their little asses off for hours. I guarantee it.

Frightened Rabbit. New song 'Swim Until You Can't See Land' assumes an unfair amount of athletic prowess of the song's protagonist in my view.

Frightened Rabbit looked and sounded like they were really enjoying themselves. The drummer in the photo there was a true drummer. Bit mad but just fully immersed in what he was doing. He was sporting a 'Where The Wild Things Are' t shirt which not only did he not buy from Urban Outfitters but he actually obtained from the ..Wild Things island where they actually live. Apparently he had to fight off the one with the perversely long nose for it so yeah, he was actually wild to give him his due. FR mainly stuck to material from breakthrough 'The Midnight Organ Flight' and were warmly received by the crowd which I was pleased with. I really want to cry when support bands roll on to the stage and play to a crowd of people that are still talking amongst themselves about last weeks X Factor or whatever. I wonder if people at the X Factor shows talk about recent Frightened Rabbit news. New single 'Swim Until You Can't See Land' sounded instantly recognisable and I've only heard it a couple of times. It's very Snow Patrol actually *ducks*, I think it'll do well for the band.

After FR, it was time to wait. We waited like Penelope did for Odysseus in The Iliad and then some. Let me just briefly put that in perspective for you, Odysseus left his wife and embarked on his incredible voyage which took him away from home for ten years. My legs felt like anvils, I had about ten toilet breaks and by the time Modest Mouse hit the stage, I was more than ready. Ripe teetering on going off, that was me. The band were met with a raptourous welcome. They've got one of those fanbases you see. Super keen guys that care big time about selling out and setlists and band related tattoos. Yes, I'm stereotyping. Kicking off with 'The Whale Song' from this year's 'No One's First and You're Next' they found their groove pretty rapidly. After a punchy run through of 'Paper Thin Walls' Isaac Brock informed the crowd that he had a sore throat and that singing was a pain for him. He didn't really need to say that because he sounded great to my ears and some of the songs he would later perform in the night are harsh on the vocals to say the least ("THIS PLANE IS DEFINITELY CRASHING!"). General life tip here: Unless someone confronts you angrily and violently about something, don't own up to anything until you really need to. I pushed the emergency stop button on an escalator in Marks & Spencer when I was about 6 and when I was pushed by the store manager all I did was point vaguely Northwards and say "He did it." I was off scot free like OJ up in that mother mayne.

Modest Mouse in background. Someone with a woollen beanie on INDOORS in foreground. Sigh.

The crowd were pretty packed in and probably evenly split between "older material" fans and post 'Moon and/Good News....' fans. I'm sort of in both camps (although my coolness also transcends both obv.) because although I've known of the band for a fair while, I probably actually prefer those newer records. I know I'm not meant to say that, I know but that's the rub of the green. This considered, the song selection was perfect. 'Bukowski', 'Gravity Rides Everything', 'Missed The Boat' and 'Dramamine' would actually feature in my dream setlist so for that, I was pretty pleased.
Totally siiiiiiiccckk.
The band interacted with the crowd a fair bit more than I expected which I like when it is done well. I mean, it gets to me when you get the feeling that you're putting the band out by buying tickets and travelling miles to watch them do their thing so to see the band enjoy themselves was a welcome sight. The amount of times I've watched bands (and bought dreadful merchandise I'll never wear/use) and they've looked downright miserable as sin, God, you wouldn't believe. Yo! Interpol! How yo' doin?! Isaac, in particular, seemed in good spirits and I think that was partly down to playing to a really responsive crowd and also because their last gigs would've been in a damn Butlins at ATP to (probably) a load of thirtysomethings with unkempt beards and penchants for cardigans and playing scrabble. Hell an audience with various unsavoury despots and the WI would seem a scream after that lot. Much love ATP. Talking of, I saw this band there once and was pretty dissapointed/admittedly hungover. The two drumkit thing worked great in the Manchester Ritz in contrast to that floaty 'arena' they have at ATP. Really loud, sounded proper punctual.

Again, I promise this who I say it is. It's Isaac Brock. Not Captain Pugwash.

'Spitting Venom' closed proceedings in all its glory and my God it was long. Must've been about 15 minutes by the time they wound that up with mouths open and venom splattered all over the front row. The crowd then had this novel idea of how to force the band to keep playing *after* they had left the stage...they just kept clapping and you will never guess what? The band actually came back out! Unbelievable. Pleased I hung around for this event (an orn call? Orrncore? New to me) as we were treated to 'The Waydown', 'Float On' and 'Doin' The Cockroach' which, let's be honest, is a pretty good run. Wish they played 'Little Motel' always gets me feeling all wistful and in the mood to drive to Mexico. I've never worked out why. Beautiful song.

Before I go, gotta give a shout out to the crowd. Lot of dickheads. I hate saying that because y'know, there was some alright folk too but people were crowdsuring during 'Missed The Boat' and some other guy I overheard talking about "It's sometimes hard to truly appreciate the dynamics and logistics of the old Modest Mouse setup." Like, what does that even mean?! Guy should be working in office management with lines like that to just throw down without any forewarning. Seems the band weren't the only people 'Spitting Venom'. See what I did there etc.

10 points for the nerdlinger trying to take a photo with a wingmirror. Snigger.

All in all, a strong show I'm pleased I made the journey for. 450 miles no less that was. I'm pretty sure if I added up all the miles I've clocked up following small to medium size alternative bands around the globe I could drive to the planet Avatar* is set in by now.

*Not seen it. Know little about it. If the film is set in Finland or something I'm going to look stoopid. These are the risks I take. This is my life.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Dinotour : The Antlers - Bristol - 29.11.09

Yes that does say 29th November up there. I haven't written this review up during the week because I've been busy. I'm not making apologies. It's been a good week actually. "How?" you ask. Well, I don't like to brag but I've been doing my bit in the community for the last few days. Giving a little summin back y'know. I spent a couple of lunches with the old guys in the residential home at the start of the week just talking to them and running little errands that they can't do so easily anymore. Wednesday I was at the primary school helping those little cats with their reading. Boy, they've come a long way since last week the little blighters. I topped up this beautiful week of sharing and giving by doing a bit of weeding on a couple of local roundabouts. It's really important we take care of our community isn't it, after all, we're all in this together.

Yeah, this is all bullshit. I ain't been doin' nutin. In fact, the only thing I've been doing is actively avoiding writing up this review. I can't even remember the gig. It was that long ago. In fact, I was going to walk out on this blog like a disgruntled and disenchanted father might on his family but then I played 'Izzo (H.O.V.A)' four times in a row and before I knew it I had my damn hands up and was logging on to this bitch. "Can't leave blogs alone the web needs me."


A while ago I posted a poorly written entry about 'Hospice' by The Antlers in which I probably said how it was the best album of all time and that I was selling all my other CDs or something reactionary like that. Time usually changes opinions, that's just the way things are. I don't think I utterly detested Dannii Minogue two years ago, for example. Still, 'Hospice' is a very special record and whatever I said about it a few posts back, I probably more than stand by. It really is incredible. Over the course of it's ten tracks you really start to feel how intensely personal it is. It sounds strange to say but on occasion you almost feel like your prying by simply listening to it. It demands attention and once its got you, it doesn't let go until that last second of Epilogue is done. And when it is, where are you left? In your hospital bed when its very quiet and your heads spinning because all your visitors have now left and you feel very alone.

Peter Silberman. "Letting people in..." apparently. Get him. Captain social.

Still, the gig. It was at a little place called the Louisiana in Bristol. We got there early and the band were enjoying a pre show carvery. Bit of a WTF moment but what can I say? Sure beats hospital food. Arf! Forgive me for this but I can't recall the name of the support. Something about hills (not Lauren Conrad et al). The Downhills perhaps? Either way, they were aight. Sounded a bit like Editors and yes I know that Editors are copyists of all and sundry, "...sounded a bit like Editors" is not really a compliment anyway. The band arrived at 2130 sharp (oh fascinating ! thanks for including the little details MMD. Bores) and launched straight into
'Prologue' which is all Kid A swells and twinkles and I was already thinking "That sounds a lot better than I thought it would."

They continued to play 'Hospice' in track order which I thought was a nice touch. It's such a cohesive record as one statement that doing it any other way would be foolish. The songs segued into one another beautifully which is a big compliment to Darby Cicci who was manning all those little Korg machines that no one knows how to operate. 'Keys 'n Synths 'n Shit' I often refer to them as. Peter Silberman's voice sat beautifully layered within the songs, rising and falling with the tumbles of the music. Michael Lerner's drumming was really well measured. I'm not a drummer but like with actors, I think I know when I see a really good or bad one. Lerner drums to precision only adding what he needs to. It's a difficult skill to master but when you're performing songs like these, it's absolutely crucial. Colour me very impressed with him basically.. I was going to make a stupid point back then about him being a machine you can rely on and comparing him to a jumbo jet but then I realised I only trust planes as far as I could throw 'em (not far) and I'm utterly convinced I'll die on one. Probably in economy class too to add insult to injur...grizzly death.

Yes. Rubbish photos again. I know. I had to use my phone FFS. Next time I'm just going to do sketches like they do in court. Mine will be of musicians though, not murderers and burglars.

I posted 'Two' on here a while ago and as lead single, it was this song that got the biggest cheer of the night. The fantastically frantic second half of the song was reproduced so well. I could've watched it all night in all honesty. It remains the best Arcade Fire song that those nerds never wrote for me. By this point even the dullards chatting by the bar had worked out that the setlist corresponded to the album tracklist but more importantly, with 'Two' being track seven, we were nearing the end of the gig. I was really excited to hear 'Wake' as its breathtaking on record and again, I wasn't dissapointed. The 'in' on that "...letting people innnnnnnnnnnnnnn" line is so stunning that I knew they wouldn't be able to completely carry it off live but they had a good stab at it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, listen to 'Wake' immediately. It's just over four minutes in. I know because I checked when listening to it in bed the other night. Hairs on my neck all pricked up and tears streaming down my face like I was in Pokemon. It's second only to the "Oh my Gooooooooddddddd" line in Sufjan's 'John Wayne Gacy Jr' in the world-stops-for-a-moment stakes. If you haven't heard THAT then you're an idiot that should be in prison.

Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy Jr.

As a new band that have just released their first proper album, material was a bit thin on the ground. The band were in and out in an hour a bit like erm...a film that needs to be developed. I really welcome this approach because although I'm nails and could beat anyone up in a fight up to and including Van Damme, I get a bit tired stood at gigs sometimes, regardless of who is playing and how good/bad they are. I think its my attention span thats to blame.. I reckon I've got attention deficit disorder actually. By that I mean the"BLAHBLAHLOOKATMEPUTTINGAPENCILUPMYNOSEANDDOINGACARTWHEEL" sort and not the album by Wale because you can't get the latter for love nor money. I'm pretty sure that Wale posts more tweets in a day on his twitter than there are people in the world who have a copy of 'Attention Deficit"

In conclusion, a truly memorable show from a band I predict great things for. Where they'll go after 'Hospice' I really don't know but I can guarantee you it'll be better than home help with a disinterested nurse.

The Antlers - Kettering

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Hammer's 'Gon Be The Death 'O Me Lawd Lawd

Phonetics up there son. Yeah, I can do them too.

Yeah, anyway. It's a Sunday night, 2138 GMT. I, along with millions of others, am dreading going to work tomorrow. Work, work, work. Why do you make me do things against my will huh work?! Who are you and why do y'all get off being the great oppressor? Why can't I do something fun tomorrow? A massive slide? A hot air balloon? Loads and loads of alcoholic drinks in bathtubs? Huh?! NO not for you MMD, it's hey ho hey ho, off to work you (begrudingly) go.
One of the dwarfs on his way to work. Naturally, he's completely hammered in a vain attempt to mask the bone crushing monotony that a work day presents.

Aside from these ridiculous thoughts above, I've also been thinking that I should get an ultra manual job in rural USA. y'know. Give me a reason to really relate to this life I've created in my brain that doesn't actually resemble my actual life in any way at all. Working on the railway lines, drinkin' moonshine, Hank Williams, All dat. Live the cliches.

Essentially, I want to be John Henry swingin' them 30 pounds from his hips on down. In reality, I'm a spotty blogger with nothin' but a toffee hammer.

Dems the breaks...

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one." - Oscar Wilde

Yeah Oscar, I'm imagining real hard brother. It looks a lot like 'Call of Duty', Sushi in underpants and waking up naturally with the 3pm church bell. In other words, it looks pretty pretty on.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Frankly Ridiculous Clip From Forthcoming Lil Wayne Documentary 'The Carter'.

When I saw this video over at Nah Right I thought it might be interesting. Of course it would be. What would someone like Lil Wayne have in his Louis (obv.) briefcase? Guns no doubzzzzzz

Well, the correct answer is below...

- A book on naked women.
- A bottle of vitamin water...or so we thought! it's actually 'sizzurp' in a vitamin water bottle.

Now, I'm not saying Wayne is predictable or cliche. Actually I am saying exactly that. It's like me opening my Louis Vuitton briefcase plastic bag I carry around to reveal its contents and them being a book entitled '1001 ways to tell everyone you know how you can't be bothered to go to work', a creepily cutout photo of Nick Cave/a dinosaur and a bag of crispy M&Ms. Predictable is the point I'm trying to make here guys. Look It's Sunday night okay? I've got to go to work tomorrow and I have a very small bank balance. Cut me some slack.

Yes bores, before you say it, I'm aware of people putting things on for the cameras. I've seen wrestling and 'The Hills' too.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Dinotour: Morrissey - Salisbury - 02/11/09

Firstly, I didn't take the above photo nor is it from the show in Salisbury. I hate to state the obvious but sometimes people are a bit dim. I would've used one of my photos for this header but you haven't seen them thangs yet, more about that later. Yeah, they bad man. They bad.

I was due to see Morrissey live and in person the week before this show in Bournemouth but he cancelled after collapsing onstage in Swindon during 'This Charming Man'. Now, as it happens, I was born in Swindon. I make no apologies for this but by the same token, it's not exactly beautiful. It looks like a Smiths song in fact, "...Rain falls down on a humdrum town.." indeed. Thankfully the Swindon collapse wasn't a Tommy Cooper job and the man was back on his grind hustlin' within a week. After a trouble free London show at the Royal Albert Hall, Morrissey rolled up to Salisbury for a show which I'm sure he just couldn't wait to play. Almost as much as I couldn't wait to write up this review that I've been putting off by just generally doing other things since the show. These things include Xbox, cutting my nails and trying to get the light switch perfectly stuck between off and on so the lights flicker.

My Morrissey ticket in foreground. Hilarious photo of T-Rex tribute band in background.

As always, my disorganisation meant that we didn't actually have tickets so we had to source them from somewhere. Cue the Morrissey fan forum which is definitely not full of obsessive fans that listen to nothing but The Smiths, Morrissey and bands covering songs by either The Smiths or Morrissey. Great place actually. I set up a 'username', picked an 'avatar' read some 'threads', sent some people a couple of 'PMs' and that was it. Two tickets to the gun show baby! By gun show I mean 'Morrissey Gig' and I also apologise wholeheartedly for using the phrase "Two tickets to the gun show."

A friend of MMD was so upset about Hard-Fi simply existing he decided to get a drink to numb the pain. Guess what?! Bastards have spoilt alcohol too! When will they stop?! Tune in next week when the Hard Fi guys spend a day pricking holes in condoms and dropping atomic bombs on poor African countries.

The venue was of perfect size I thought. It was a bit light (as in torches and lightbulbs) when the support, Doll & The Kicks, were playing and I couldn't help but think of a school talent show in a gym. You know the drill. Five little girls do a spice girls routine, angsty teenage boys cover a Foo Fighters song or summat. I had plenty of space but in front of me I had a man I affectionately could only refer to as Mr Kilimanjaro. Simply because he was as big and cold as hard rock. Safe to say I had to struggle to get a view of our main man through a gap under MK's armpit or through his legs as and when the chance arose. When it comes to man mountains in my vicinity at gigs, I'm like a moth and lightbulb tale and I've never worked out why. Think it's just people being surefire spiteful bastards.

Mount Kilimangiro. The six phonebooks and two ladders I was using to get this photo out of shot

Right, an actual review. The setlist was peppered with the Smiths songs you'd expect him to play and make no mistake, most people are there for Smiths songs. 'This Charming Man' has had a bit of a reworking which I kinda disagree with. It's all a bit power chordy now. Regrettably, it now sounds a bit like a semi decent cover of 'This Charming Man' as performed by ohidontknow The All American Rejects? 'Cemetary Gates' was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I had to apologise to those around me for getting a bit too involved in the singalong. There really always is someone, somewhere with a big nose who knows how to ruin everything so it particularly resonated. 'Irish Blood, English Heart' chugged along brilliantly sneering at every corner whilst 'Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself' was met passionately by the crowd syllable by syllable. It seems this setlist has been doing the rounds for a while now but I think it plays to the band's strengths pretty well whilst still pleasing most crowds. There's a few they can rip through. There's some easy singalongs to fall back on regardless of venue. Even a couple of b-sides from 'Swords' for the 'Morrissey Forum' guys. There's no 'Now My Heart Is Full'. Wait, that last one isn't a good thing at all.

Camera was so toilet I actually started taking photos of Kilimangiro taking photos of Morrissey. Kinda post modern, more pathetic.

At some point during 'I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris' I gave up taking photos because they were looking truly dreadful (see above). It's my camera. It's a bad workman blaming his tools. Either way, half the photos could be of anyone. A blurry face that could be Morrissey or y'know anyone else on the planet. " Yeah, perhaps. Like maybe it's Morrissey, I mean it's definitely a man.. Actually, it could be Che Guevara; Is it? Oh, and that person on the drums looks familiar? Is that Mel B?! Shit. weird pairing but wait....a dragon playing bass?!" You get the picture. Actually when it comes to the picture, you really don't get it. Geddit.

Morrissey or Casper the Friendly Ghost post puberty. YOU DECIDE.

God. I really haven't written anything about the actual show have I? a blog by its very nature is self obsessed and self indulgent though right?! I don't know. This is a hard review to write. Seeing someone like Morrissey is a funny thing in a way. I felt similar when I saw The Stones and Dylan. Without wanting to sound like a student idiot, these are genuine 'legends'. Cornerstones of popular music even. Still, they are only mortals. They age and everything. Belie dat? What I'm trying to say is that it's hard to judge them on merit of a single night or a new album. Bloke was in The Smiths knowhaimsayin?

My best photo. No I'm not joking. Do I have a joking face? Do I look like a clown to you? [/Joe Pesci in Goodfellas]

Still, I enjoyed the show. Truly I did. I really pray that Morrissey did too. Sometimes you wonder if he genuinely enjoys singing these old songs in front of these people (and there were some funny looking buggers in the crowd) anymore. It's been a tough tour and as I'm writing this the internet is awash with videos like this one from Stereogum showing Morrissey being struck with a bottle at the Liverpool show at the weekend. Heavens above. Just when you thought this tour might be getting back on track and then bang! November goes and spawns a monster. In Liverpool too! That's only down the motorway. Barbarism Begins at Home!

I'm now solely writing in song puns. I swore this would never happen. I'm a pastiche. I'm past it. I'm out.

P.S The Antlers - Hospice. It's the album of the year folks.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Love With Clipse, A A Bondy, The Antlers and a Cod.

1.) Clipse - Till The Casket Drops

Over at Complex they've got a pretty decent preview of the new Clipse album 'Till The Casket Drops' which many people are pretty excited about. In fact you could say it's going to be "Kinda Like a Big Deal." THAT'S THE TITLE OF A SONG FROM THE ALBUM. DO YOU GET IT?! There's a few peaks into some of the new songs and I'll be honest, I was a little dissapointed initially. 'I'm Good' is decent but y'know this is Clipse. This album is due to follow 'Lord Willin'' and 'Hell Hath No Fury'. No pressure then.

Note I did say initially up there because I then heard 'Popular Demand (Popeyes)' (dirty and clean link over at nah right.) which is just brilliant. No idea how long The Neptunes have had this beat hanging around for but it's refreshingly great for them. Pusha takes it on points over Malice but Cam'ron kinda holds his own with his murky verse. Those 'ehhs' are very 'Run This Town' aren't they. I think that's the point dumbass.

This album has a release date of December 8th but this is a hip hop album so yeah, pinch of salt delivered by a dumpster with that. It might actually come out on December 8th, I might wake up tomorrow with animal legs like that guy in Narnia.

That photo up there of the Thornton boys and Cam'ron in a Popeye's (I assume) is from nah right too. They look really funny and I don't know why. If they think they're gettin' served with their backs to the counter, they got another thing comin'. Rappers these days. No manners.

2) A.A Bondy & The Antlers

I've been listening to these two a lot this week and there's just nothing better than finding a new artist you really enjoy. I sometimes worry I'll wake one day to find that I've listened to everything I want to and there's nothing left. I usually then remember that worrying never saved anyones life, put on 'Ignition (remix)' and get on down.

- A A Bondy
is currently touring with The Felice Brothers which is a good decision I think. He very much has that sound and if you like the latter, you'll definitely like the former. Hell, he's not doing anything new or different but I've not always been one striving for innovation at every corner. There just nice tunes man, put em on. 'When The Devil's Loose' is out now.

A A Bondy - A Slow Parade

"...these dogs will tear your flesh/you best give them a bone."

- The Antlers have made a really foreboding and simple album in 'Hospice' that sounds beautifully honest. Lauded by the people it's good to be lauded by in these circles, I really hope they go far.

Pitchfork say:

"Hospice is a skyscraping blend of the ambient and the anthemic, a record that swings for the bleachers at a time when it's fashionable to bunt."

We say:

"Hospice is a really beautiful album to listen to when you're walking in the forest trying not to think about too much and you're really pleased you brought your coat and not just your jumper."

People will mention Arcade Fire and perhaps Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! as influences and whatnot. I would say that but I'm fully aware that people say that about every band that's released an album in the last 5 years. So, If I wanted to bore you, I'd direct you to the appropriate website dear reader.

The Antlers - 'Two'

"...Well no one's gonna fix it for us, no one can/You say that, 'No one's gonna listen, and no one understands."

Both albums are on Spotify too. Here.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and 'Gamers'

A Cod, yesterday. Spends its whole life in the miserable dark ocean attempting to avoid getting caught yet is still pleased it's not a 'gamer'.

'Gamers.' Just look at that name. It's something you can never use to describe yourself without then collapsing under a wall of ridicule and/or silence. You can say you're a drug addict, you can say you're a professional clown and you can probably say you are a really big Nickelback fan with out too much trouble but you say that you're a gamer, yo on yer own son.

Why? It's about LAN parties, drinking 2L soft drinks out of the bottle, fast food, obesity, little burrowed pits for eyes, poor social skills and online 'girlfriends', an absolutely ridiculous vocabulary and a strange penchant for Rammstein that truly sets these gamers apart. Today, however, finds me worried. I've just spent the last few minutes looking at videos of 'Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2' on youtube. This is out of character.

Okay some background, I have recently been exposed to both the worlds of Xbox 360 and Call of Duty (or COD as it is affectionately known to most teenage boys) and I'm seeing its appeal, I really am. There's little feeling like killing a friend/enemy in the head on this game. That's for sure. I'm guessing it's a bit like your wedding day or seeing your first child being born. i.e. pure joy. My dilemma, however, is this: I will buy COD:MW2 (even the acronym is geeky) when it is released and despite my obvious failings (I'm often shooting my own feet and/or the clouds) will play it until I am bored but the real concern is can you game and not be a gamer?

I'll leave you on that distinctly Carrie Bradshaw looking last sentence there my gamers. I'm struggling to link a song in here. Ermm. I always that when in doubt, go tenuous!

(Don't Fear) The Gamer guys.

Blue Oyster Cult: (Don't Fear) The Reaper

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

a Spotify Playlist!

Yeah, that's the title. Click to open dumbass. It's not got a theme or anything. Just good tunes I've been listening to recently on the wonderful Spotify that I thought I would share. I assume you are all in on spotify, if not....where have you been?! Get with the times Grandad! Did ya hear home taping is killing music? Did ya hear The Berlin wall came down? You old, man.

"An MMD Playlist?! Oh no they di'int!"

Be sure to check some of the stuff on the playlist out. Click the artist/album links if you feel like going positively insane. The Whiskeytown tune is taken from an essential collectors edition (such a thing actually exists, yes) of 'Strangers Almanac' which is definitely worth a listen, the Johnny Boy song would be in my top ten of the last decade (no, not just for the title) and Radiohead's 'Talk Show Host' contains the lines

"You want me/Fuckin' well come and find me/I'll be
waitin'/With a gun and a pack of Sandwiches"

Oof. Death by a .44 and a BLT. It's no way to go.
Nutin' but a Gallimimus thang baby..

By the way, When I say "...wonderful Spotify" up there I'm obviously skimming over the adverts and in particular that new advert I keep hearing for some new shit kids on the block emo band fronted by Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. No, I don't know what they're called. Life in The Shadows? An Internal Fire? From Dark, Comes Light? The New Shit Kids On The Block? Who cares. It'll be something like that won't it. And and...don't you even try and get me started on those voicemails people leave either. That guy that starts singing The Jam or whatever! God! That other one,"Spotify iz de bomb (welsh accent, not an arnie thing)" Shit!

So yeah, Spotify adverts are killing music.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Winter Knocked On My Door.

It really did today for the first time. The sound of its glass knuckles is unmistakable. A harsh alarm. An unwelcome visitor. The journey to work was as cold as it was dark and to think that it gets worse from here on in. Holy God. It'd be almost unbearable if, say, I didn't have a wonderful holiday to look forward to or I recently got a speeding ticket or something. That would just be rotten. WAIT A MINUTE Breaking news here! Man your depression stations! We've just checked your diary and guess what? There's no holiday on the horizon buddy AND just check this shit out below...

This photo is taken from the police website. It shows me stomping blissfully unaware towards a speed trap so cleverly hidden it could never be seen by human nor dinosaur eye. After I opened the letter informing me of my motor discrepancy, I cried for a medium to long time. After that, however, I got to thinking. Mainly, I got to thinking 'How?'. How did this happen? It's impossible. I saw no camera, I saw no police. Nothing. I thought about it for a while until I arrived a conclusion. The only conclusion possible. GATSO what?! Lazer camera who?! No, no, no, no, no. Squirrel with a camera up a tree my friend. That's what this was right here. Unbelievable. Look how relaxed and happy I look! Little did I know! Have they no heart?! Man, Meet Judicial System. Gimme a break.

Whatever. Here's three records I've been digging recently. They're good for winter in their own little ways. Keep the wolf from the door whatever way ya can.

1. Russian Red - I Love Your Glasses

This is a really beautiful record. Very glacial. I don't mean slow there either. It just reminds me of glaciers. Very cold sounding yet so graceful. 'I Love Your Glasses' sounds like a Mirah album if Mirah moved to Antarctica with a broken heart but enough candles to last the night. I also know absolutely nothing about Russian Red as a person which is kinda cool with music sometimes. Surely I can't be the only one who would love Joss Stone's music if she wasn't such a clowning idiot?!* 'I Love Your Glasses' sounds perfect on a bitterly cold morning when there isn't much around other than dew, mist and a journey to a job you probably don't wanna do that much. Squirrel speed traps optional.

Russian Red - Take Me Home

2. Morrissey - Vauxhall and I

I've just rediscovered 'Vauxhall and I' and man, am I pleased. I'm convinced I now like it more than 'The Smiths' and 'Strangeways...' which is saying something isn't it. 'Vauxhall and I' broods like no other Morrissey record. It's a feeling this man is just amazing at. 'Now My Heart Is Full' is not just in my top five Morrissey solo songs but also in my top five songs that Morrissey has ever been involved with. Great, great song. Other than this weird man, tell me someone alive or dead who could write lines like "Tell all of my friends, I don't have too many. Just some raincoated lover's puny brothers..." 'Vauxhall and I' is not just Morrissey's most cohesive album but his warmest too. Naturally it's about loneliness and all but I've always taken a lot of comfort from it. Consider it a cuddle from the man looking over the edge of the multistorey car park if you must. I've got both this and 'I Love Your Glasses' in my car. Warm and cold. My CD changer is basically that joke about a flask containing a choc ice and a cup of tea.

Morrissey - Now My Heart Is Full

3. Micah P. Hinson and The Gospel of Progress

I bought '...and The Gospel of Progress' in 2004 just a couple of weeks after I started dinoversity. Strange time of my life really because I often felt both young and old at the same time. This is all pretty apt when discussing Micah P. because that dichotomy is often discussed about him too. "He's got a voice and a sound beyond his tender years." They all say, the insufferable bores. Beautiful album though this that I NEVER listen to in summer. Sounds about as welcome as 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' in June. Listen to 'The Day Texas Sank To The Bottom of the Sea' and try not to end up in a glassy eyed trance. In fact. don't do that. Winter's at the door. Somebody let it in.

Micah P. Hinson - Beneath The Rose

*JOKE. Repeat. A joke. I really hate Joss Stone. In every way. She might be named after a joss stick for God's sake and we all know who uses joss sticks don't we? Idiots. That's who.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

End of The Road Festival Review.

"...although we've come to the END OF THE ROAD/still I can't let goooo." - Boyz II Men

First of all, apologies. I don't know why I've been procrastinating on writing this post so much. I went to this festival ten days ago and since then I've had ample time to write it up but I just haven't. I've been to work, I suppose, but what else? Oh, I went to look at some really cool funny weird little horses at this local place at the weekend (see below). Either way, I think I'll put my laziness down to my computer. It's just so slow now it really laughs in the face of things like 'super fast broadband' and 'Quick Start' on Championship Manager. A little example for you - I saw some dweeb on facebook I went to school with and thought "Oh. I'll find out what he's up to/whether he is doing worse/better than me since I last saw him," and clicked on his profile. By the time it had loaded (I had to leave the PC for a while) his profile picture was his own gravestone. THAT much time had passed. True story.

So funny. Like the size of a dog. Imagine seeing this thang tied up outside the bookies.

So, End of The Road. It's a great little festival for sure. It's getting bigger each year like.. erm, a teenager or the hole in the Ozone (*clang!*) but still, I'm not convinced that's a bad thing. I'd like to think more people = more festival revenue = better future festival but either way, it's not exactly getting like Reading (as in 'and Leeds' in contrast to 'and writing') or anything. The organisers seem to be in it for the right reasons and they genuinely dig the music yadda yadda so it's definitely one to keep an eye on. God this is boring. I'll talk about my individual experience.

En route. End of the Road by name and nature.

We got there on Friday afternoon and somehow assembled the tent. Which pole for which hole? Anger. Frustration. Sadness. Immense relief. It was like losing your virginity. Before long the tent was semi erect and we headed to see our first band of the festival, otherwise known as 'Shearwater'. Shearwater were a little dissapointing for me. I think it was mainly the mix of the vocal. It was really prominent and forward yet it still sounded a little lost in the midst of the songs. Yeah that's a contradiction I know, I know. I love the environment yet often fly tip in quiet lay-bys, I AM contradiction.

'First Band of The Festival' aka Shearwater

Up next were the much vaunted Dirty Projectors who I really enjoyed actually. Thankfully they sound as unpredictable live as they do on record. Things that shouldn't work, do. The harmonies were just fantastic. I'd say 'starkly melodic' but yeah, really great. After that we had our headliners; Explosions In The Sky. Post Rock then? what's the deal with that? I mean, I kinda dig it and I'd love to stand there watching/nodding and saying it was epic and everything but it's boring isn't it. Yeah, I said it. I thought the same when I saw them before. I tried, I really did but it's boring. It's like my education. Yeah, maybe now I can't read and write too well but I was never bored. Incidentally, I don't remember anymore of that night because I accidentally got really drunk. Someone played a Silver Jews cover in the tipi tent at some point. Herman Dune perhaps. You know 'Suffering Jukebox'? Yeah, that song.

Can somebody wipe the dust off that OHP please?

Saturday was different. The weather was real kind and the main stage certainly looked inviting as we made our way in to catch The Low Anthem who had drawn a big crowd on the back of this year's 'Oh My God Charlie Darwin'. To my cloth ears, they sounded pitch perfect to record and OMGCD IS a lovely warm record so good on those guys. Some songs perhaps hung around a little too long but I think that might have been my fault for not sitting and/or laying down like everyone else was. Everyone was all taking-in-the-moment and all that. I'm guessing wearing a stupid hat and smoking a prison thin roll up wasn't mandatory but from looking at the crowd then, I wasn't sure.

We then tried to get to J.Tillman at the The Local Stage and like the night before when we had attempted to do the same for The Low Anthem's acoustic set, we couldn't get anywhere near it/them. The layout of this tent was absolutely abysmal. Just terrible. Sack the blind guy who designed this thing! Ok, Shape wise it was like a casket with a single entrance at the thin end. This also housed the bar and obviously, its queue. I shall do a drawing for you dear reader:
I am queueing outside. Hear me roar.

God, I'm pleased I did graphics at skool. Anyway, naturally I'm the aggrieved dinosaur outside spouting various internetisms. The rectangle in front of the entrance is the bar and the orange mass is just loads of people. They weren't all ginger but they can be in your mind's eye if you like. The circles are damn tables. TABLES! Whilst the brown is millions more people watching the band whilst I am not. J Tillman packed this tent out like he was The Beatles with Jenna Jameson on the tambourine. Not that I saw him of course. I was outside. Repeat. Outside, not inside.

Before this palaver we had seen The Broken Family Band on the main stage and they were thoroughly entertaining. TBFB (who are to split, sadly) always are. Stephen Adams is an entertainer. Funny guy, good songwriter. Double thumbs up from me for those two reasons. They even played 'John Belushi' which is more than an ode to the great man, it's a beautiful song in its own right.

The Broken Fam.., erm, Band Band

Next up was Alela Diane. "...vocal cords were made of gold" Jeff Tweedy once sang and it that line sure applies here. Alela's Stunning, stunning voice aptly romanced by her Dad (eek, shouldn't have used 'romanced' there) on guitar and Alina Hardin on backing vocals. Sounded like two little angels. If one of the angels had brought her dad along. And that dad was really good at soft yet intricate guitar interplay.

Daddy, Daddy cool just in shot. Lover boy.

Okkervil played next and everyone knows that I sure love these guys. They were really really good again. gush gush gush. I know, I know. Seriously though, if you wanna depend on something in life; forget about your family and friends. Forget about your pension or your pacemaker. Okkervil putting on a good live show. You can depend on that shit. The crowd seemed to really dig the hand clap assisted 'Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe' and Sheff went a bit Bono on 'Unless It's Kicks' with his crowd participation but all was entirely justified. By this time, I was one of those laid down roll up smoking buffoons. I was in the moment, maaaannn.

"Packed and all eyes turned in..."

After this our festival went downhill and no, it wasn't Fleet Foxes fault. A member of our party mysteriously (read as stress fracture) injured himself and we had to get the on site medics to 'assist' us. Now, I'm all for people looking the part when they are at work, let me get that straight. The Royal Guards should have those furry hats on, ballerinas should wear tutus. These guys in the medic tent really oughta've looked the part too. By that I'm thinking over sized shoes, heavy upside down smiling makeup and a squirting flower atop a colourful waistcoat. Serious: you have NO idea. After leaving our guy with them overnight we returned to find him in excruciating agony only to be refused an ambulance to get him to A&E because his injury wasn't deemed an 'emergency'. Anyway, after being inspected at the hospital (by doctors who had the proper uniform on and everything) it turns out he has a broken leg. Like a real life broken leg. Sheeit. Pretty serious I reckon. The rest of that night was pretty unmemorable. We caught a bit of Jarvis Cocker's DJ set after that I think. He was playing a whole loada tunes I didn't know or care for. It reminded me of pretty much every nightclub I've ever attended.

After spending the first half of Sunday in the hospital with our broken friend who was less Fleet Foxes and more The Horrors, a couple of the MMD crew made it back in time for Magnolia Electric Co. who I think work a lot better in a small venue (or at least in darkness) than on a big stage in the open air. It's something to do with the subject matter I think. Owls, loneliness, the empty road, the North star. Don't really match no sunny day in Durset dunnit? Either way, our fatigue had caught up with us by now and we needed refuelling so we went to get some food. Big plus point of EoTR; good food! yeah yeah it's all hideously expensive but this is a festival. Pie Minster (they sell pies dumbass) did a roaring trade and a big shout out to the mexican food van. That was good stuff. Straight Outta Tijuana mayne! Only misstep taken (excuse the pun) foodwise was our then-yet-to-be-injured friend buying this stuff on a plate:

We never worked out what it was.

Back to Sunday. Steve Earle had the whole crowd utterly captivated. Anecdotes from the wrong side of the tracks and the blues being the main interests. For me it was amazing to witness someone talking about Townes Van Zandt so candidly. Scratch that. Talking about and playing TVZ's wonderful songs at the same time. Earle is the real deal. Always was, always will be. I'm sure he'd be delighted when I say that I very much suspect he was cut from the same cloth as the great man himself. You could say they are men of fault, sure. More importantly though, they are men of heart. Real heart. After Earle I wanted to do little but get out of my tree on a truckload of contraband whiskey or something but a close second was watching The Hold Steady and lo and behold the headliner of the night - The Hold Steady!

After a rough day, THS were just perfect. I've seen a fair few bands now but I can safely say that these guys seemed the most genuine of the lot. It's not just because they look like they've been plucked straight from the accountancy department of a midsized business, no, it's more because they sounded and looked like they really meant it. No posturing or posing. Just a truly great bar band (and I mean that as a big compliment, not an insult) playing fun songs about fun times. That's what festivals are all about, aren't they? Craig Finn spoke about how he was still working in an office at the age of 33 and so to be headlining anything was genuinely a big deal for him. He seemed as pleased to be up there on that stage as we were to be dancing below him. The geezer (only word for him) on the keys looked like a mix between Ron Jeremy and Tony Montana and I nearly ruined my lungs trying to match him on those 'wooh-a-wooh-a-woohs' from 'Chips Ahoy!'. 'Massive Nights' was apt, 'Your Little Hoodrat Friend' had a fantastically more refined chugging menace live than on record and 'Stuck between Stations' sounded anything but static. "We gotta stay positive..." they sang, "We're gonna build somethin' this summer.." we roared back. Band of the weekend for me.

This is a jig! Who else does jigs?!

Taking the tent down on the Monday morning wasn't amazing, naturally.It was then that a member of the crew got some bad news. After the legscapades of the day before, we were kinda pleased to get back to the real world and leave all this bad luck behind on the The End of the Road fields. Strange weekend really because although the sun shone steady and bright throughout the festival we also couldn't help feeling that sometimes when it doesn't rain, it pours.

Friday, 11 September 2009

End of The Road Festival Preview.

I am literally just about to stomp to this mother to watch some good shit and drink some things that my body will vehemently dislike me for. Pretty good lineup this year if you like this sort of thing. That's what I've been saying to people recently because there is nothing worse than someone saying "Who's playing?" and you having to reply, with a straight face, "Stardeath and The White Dwarfs, Motel Motel and Explosions In The Sky" like they aren't going to respond with a face that sort of resembles the essence of this guy below:

So yeah. Great if you like this sort of thing. I did start making up the lineup but that get me in more problems than it was worth. "Coldplay, Kasabian AND Kings of Leon?! In Dorset?! That sounds amazing! I might get a ticket!" Luckily for me, I do like this sort of thing. In no order, a list of End of The Road related cool shit:

Dirty Projectors (the band, not a dusty OHP)
Hold Steady
Okkervil River obv.
Steve Earle
Time off work (literal. Not a new band)
Broken Family Band :'(
Blitzen Trapper
The Week That Was
Seriously loads of alcohol.
Alela Diane
Magnolia Electric Co.
Arsenal owning Man City (occurs during the event)

This list could be as long as my arm. I've gotta leave to get to this thang. Review coming next week. As comprehensive and incomprehensible as ever.

Official site here.

The Hold Steady - Massive Nights

"We had some massive nights..."

Dinotour : Okkervil River - Birmingham - 05.09.09

Before this gig, I hadn't seen anyone on dinotour for far too long but when OR tour: I always go. Simple reason for that being that they're the best band going today. Big plaudit to get from an esteemed site like this one, I know. Congratulations Okkervil River.

I hadn't seen a show in Birmingham since Ryan Adams & The Sedatives were in town a while back slowly jamming everyone to slezzzzzzzzzz. For this reason I was pleased for the city of Birmingham to have another opportunity to leave me with pleasant, nay, more awake memories of a gig in their fine city. The people of Birmingham are, of course, spoilt for choice when it comes to live shows and the like as reflected in the picture below. This is just who is in town in the coming weeks in one venue! L-U-C-K-Y!
Have you ever seen what Bring Me The Horizon look like?! Holy shit.

Editors! The Twang! Bowling For Soup! Calvin Harris! What company OR are in! God, it's like arriving on the LOST island only to find the only other inhabitants are Robert Mugabe, Nikki From Big Brother and well, that really fat one is who actually is on it. Also, I'd like to draw attention to the event occurring on the 27th August - 'New Found Glory vs International Superheroes of Hardcore'. Now, maybe it's just me but how can *that* be on in a mainstream and relatively well lit venue on a (probably) rainy Thursday night?! Sounds like some Amsterdam side street 10 euro entry shit. Jokes of course. I'm fully aware that New Found Glory are a dreadful punk pop band that probably now spend most of their time forlornly tracing the lines of their dated tattoos and thinking about what once was, what could've been and what will never be again.

Down with this sort of thing.

Okkervil have been playing similar set lists for a while now. Usually, when bands do this it gets kinda boring but when a band are largely drawing songs from albums like 'Black Sheep Boy', 'The Stage Names' and 'The Stand Ins' you really can't complain can you. A fair few of the song arrangements (and the band lineup!) have been changed from the last time I caught them so for me, it was no issue at all. I say 'for me' there. I probably mean ' for silly little fan boys like myself who would be happy if the band came out, farted in the mic and left".

Will Sheff: Not the lady killing sort.

Kicking off with the pop culture reference laden 'Plus Ones' the band kept a solid pace going through the entirety of the show. Both in tempo and time, the concert seemed to be over a long time before the usual "I'm quite liking this but I wouldn't mind them finishing because I would love a little sit down" protestations set in. Drawing more on the rockier side of their sound 'The Latest Toughs', 'Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe' and 'Unless It's Kicks' ensured that the people who had turned up just to watch a band they hadn't heard of on a Saturday night (and there seemed to be a fair few) remained interested and more importantly at an indie rock concert; got involved on some hardcore arm crossing and subtle head nodding action. I couldn't write this review without singling out 'A Stone'. It's always been a special song to me but live, it's just beautiful. Also, I'm yet to hear song with a better closing verse (copied and pasted from - expect special spelling and grammar).*

And when that Queen's daughter
came of age,
I think she'd be lovely
and stubborn and brave,
and suitors would journey
from Kingdoms away
just to make themselves known.

And I think that I know the bitter dismay of a lover who brought
fresh bouquets every day
when she turned him away
to remember some knave
who once gave
just one rose, one day, years ago.

Sheff has started singing this last verse acapella. It works pretty well but I do have my suspicions that he's actually just trying to highlight how well written it is. His face had "Do you dorks even hear what I'm singing up here? Put your damn iPhone down!" written all over it. What else? The newish lineup seem to get on well and for me, a touring Okkervil and a touring Shearwater is better than just one or the other. The guitar interplay on 'For Real' is now more visceral than I can recall ever seeing it before and OR now seem to have finally nailed the power of that song live. So much so that you now don't miss the brilliant "...and real life really fills my mind" calm before the storm that works so so well on record. 'Lost Coastlines' ran a little flat this time out which was dissapointing and the no show of 'On Tour With Zykos' made me want to cry but other than that, I really couldn't have any compliants. Will Sheff had a little (controlled, natch) rant about the venue saying that it was too new and 'had no soul' and how big companies were now"drip feeding" us our music at their own leisure. It all felt a bit 'Rage Against The Machine fan wearing a "Fuck Mcdonalds" t-shirt' but in essence, he does have a point. Still good spirits were shared by both band and crowd and more importantly: Man, Meet Dinosaur. For the rest of the night. Loads of spirits in fact. Spirits of all colours and quantities until we didn't know our own names anymore but went to the bed smiling none the less whilst trying to sing 'Girl In Port' and get the girls names in the right order.

"Hoist up the John B. sail..."

Some roadie guy came up to me as the gig was finishing and handed me a setlist which you can see below. I'd like to think that a couple of the band members write this list out on a few paper plates pre show and then completely load them up with food before giving them to the rest of the band. Just for fun like. "Yo Will! what are we playing first tonight?" " those sausage rolls and cheese and pineapple on a stick and you will find out." Kinda mix things up a bit. Must get boring out on the road, right? ANYWAY:

1. Plus Ones
2. Pop Lie
3. A Hand to Take Hold of The Scene
4. The Latest Toughs
5. Girl In Port
6. John Allyn Smith Sails
7. A Stone
8. For Real
9. Lost Coastlines
10. Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
11. Unless It's Kicks
12. Black
13. Westfall

God, that plate looks grim and boring there. I should've taken it to Disney to photograph it or something. Somewhere fun. I don't live in a prison or anything.

*when I say 'A Stone' has the best closing verse I have ever heard. I obviously don't include Just Jack's 'The Day I Died' in it because I, for one, never saw that coming. Just like the protaganist never saw that taxi. Thanks for exposing me to this song Radio 1! Legends! Random good times! etzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

God. Radio 1 DJs. Gotta hate 'em all!

Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks

"...When I've been fixed I'm convinced that I will not get so broke up again"

Monday, 31 August 2009

Get Arrested On Your Wedding Day*

I feel I should publish a post because what I'm currently doing is a complete and total waste of time. That being looking at various celebrity mugshots on The Smoking Gun, of course. The thing that really gets me about this activity is that I actually do it quite often. It's the same with mass murderers on wikipedia. I can imagine someone finding these things interesting when stumbling across them for the first time but I think that I've looked at both of the aforementioned in last month or something. Damn. Sorry for wasting everyone's bandwidth.

Either way, top three mugshots.

1. The Picture Below - I'm not even going to say who the guy below is. It's kinda obvious if you were once a teenage boy and liked relatively embarrassing 'sports'. Still, he was arrested for allegedly throttling another motorist after getting a bit of the old road rage. Much like the Raekwon cover I posted about the other day, the only way to sum up reacting in that manner to a road rage incident is "That's What I'm Talking About!" Guy cuts you up at a junction or something, it's annoying sure, but what can you do? You might think "Grr I'd like to throttle that irresponsible gent that just railed me like that." I mean we all think about doing things like this but this nature boy actually did it. Hats off. Sure beats a wanker sign coupled with speeding off whilst constantly checking your mirror. WOOOOO.

2. Phil Spector - The most recent shot from the murder trial. Don't even look at me like you need justification for why it's so great. LOOK AT HIS FACE UP THERE. A real life 'LOL' for me, fact fans. LOL: a little kid dropping his ice cream on the floor, people that are really bad on the golf course and Phil Spector's mugshots.

3. Mel Gibson - Not only did he invent a new insult/term of endearment when he called a female cop "Sugar tits" during this arrest but in this mugshot he looks like a cute little dinosaur. Maybe it's just me but that little curl of hair at the front, his angled downwards face, it's totally a Michael Crichton trip. Around these here parts, we love dinosaurs so that's Gibson in at number three. Apologies to Johnny Cash, Andy Dick and Paris Hilton. Close but no smoking gun guys.
*because then you'll be all dressed up and will subsequently look smart and cool in your mugshot. Good idea huh?