Tuesday, 31 August 2010

They Don't Make 'Em Like This No 'Mo.

Take heed Zac Efron. I think you might look like this in 30 years.

Will country music ever be cool again? The answer probably is no, I don't mind admitting. That isn't to say it doesn't have a big place in my dinosaur heart. Mainly for reasons like the above song. Doesn't it just sound so, I don't know, classic to you? I mean genuine 'classic' there too - there's no talk of Reebok here. Big old sad country songs. That, ladies and gentlemen, is also my shit. I also love how hazy and faded the glamour of this sorta era in country music (1980 if you're asking) looks now. For me, it just adds t0 the all round warmth that you can only get from songs like these and industrial amounts of bourbon.

Longer posts coming this week. I promise. Just thought I'd share my roar of the day.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Some Worlds Can Just Disappear.

Always believe in your soul/You've got the power to know.

First, a confession. No, not murder or arson. Why you think so lowly of me? More that I haven't been to a concert for a while. That's all. Put simply, I'm going to less and less as I get older and I think its just because it takes a lot more to grab me now. I'm not overly happy with the situation but that pretty much applies to all aspects of getting older doesn't it? These days, a show has to be something real special for me to part with a miniscule percentage of my colossal salary and it just seems that every time I check the listings, nothing ever looks standout anymore. It's cool, I can deal with it. Even so, I've got a few things planned for the last quarter of this year and I will reflect these nights on here in the form of a review that will, let's be honest, probably be really long and consist of two absurdly lengthly paragraphs and about four photos that are so sketchy they could be, well, sketches.

I'm just waffling here because I'm trying to formulate some sort of intro for this post. Posts don't necessarily need introductions, of course. If you've got a fashion blog for example, your life is a doddle. All you do is get dressed, take a photo and then post that on your blog under the title 'What I wore today' FFS. Why do I feel I need an intro here then? Well mainly because this post is sort of (it is) about Kanye West AGAIN. I'm sorry. It is also about concerts though too. Concerts that just happen to involve Kanye West. The video below is taken from a secret Kanye show in NYC the other night and it is so much fun. I did watch it really late the other night after some drinks admittedly but I was just loving it. I was dancing around my room like nobody was watching and man was I serious about it. Groovin' and mouthin' the rhymes with a big grin on my face like I just hit the lotto for the fourth week running. I think at some point I even started repeatedly shouting "This is what shows should be like! This. Is. What. Shows. Should. Be. Like." I'm losing it, I know. Still, when's this sort of thing going to happen in my town huh? TELL ME THAT somebody. Anyway, check it out. 'Ye (with some help from John Legend) does renditions of 'Homecoming', 'Run This Town', his verses from Rick Ross's 'Live Fast, Die Young', 'American Boy' (w/ Estelle), new song 'Mama's Boyfriends' 'Power, and 'The Good Life'. Every song is so golden they should be viewed on a bullion shaped monitor.

In a parallel universe I'm in the crowd watching this. In said universe, I also have rippling biceps, astonishing intelligence and a pet wolf.

Also, quite refreshingly for this blog, something not related to Kanye. I dug out 'Winged Life' by Shearwater today for the first time in far too long. Such a beautiful record and I was quite surprised to find that the song below, 'The World in 1984', stopped me in my tracks in the same inimitable way it always used to.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Mixtapes Cut From Mixtapes.

Home taping never did kill music. Looking at Akon sometimes I wonder if that's a good thing.

One thing I really love about the world of rap/hip-hop/call it what you must is the whole concept of the mixtape. The fact that artists will release one or more precursors to any release that are pretty much full length and aside from the standard "EXCLUSIVE DJ NO MARK SHIT BABY! 106.6 SPITTIN' FIRE!" DJ tags at the beginning and end of every song, are of the usual quality or style you'd expect from said artist. I really can't imagine this happening too much in other genres of music. I suppose the odd indie rocker will give away a free EP here and there but by and large, it's a rarity. The internet, of course, has played a massive role in raising the profile of mixtapes from an underground thing where you might get hard copies in a few choice cities around where an artist is based to a global connect that fans anywhere can download in a matter of minutes.

One thing I love about 'em, in particular, is how current they always are. I've always been a sucker for popular culture references in hip-hop and mixtapes that could've been cut days before they leak online are always bang up to date. Admittedly, popular culture references usually become unpopular culture references very very quickly but by the same token, I don't think mixtapes are something you listen to for a concentrated period of time. They tide you over until the real release drops. Unless we're talking about Lil Wayne here of course. In that case all you do is listen to his mixtapes and wish he would go back to those days when he was just unstoppable.

What spurred me to publish this post, naturally, was obtaining a few mixtapes recently that I've been really digging as I go about my days affecting the world in pretty much no way at all. All links and images taken from the ever brilliant Nah Right.

1. The Game - Brake Lights

The Game (not HHH the wrestler I'd hasten to add btw nerds) is usually pretty amusing on twitter (in a #lookatmynewbentley way), however, he's just released this mixtape 'Brake Lights' and so at the moment, avoid at all costs. Rappers, you see, aren't too subtle at marketing on social networking sites. They're main approach is just to say the name of their new song/tape/album over and over again. Example tweet below. Still, get the tape. It's good. It's better than his last two albums which isn't sayin' too much. Doesn't touch 'The Documentary' of course because that was just a cold classic.


2. Wale - More About Nothing

Wale's Seinfeld based 'Mixtape About Nothing' really got me very very excited about his future. When it came out last year I genuinely thought we were witnessing something massive in the making and his ever delayed debut 'Attention Deficit' was quite possibly my most anticipated release of 2009. You've probably guessed where this is going. Yeah yeah, the album came out and it was weak as hell. He'd gone without a major label deal for a long time and it seemed that when Interscope had offered him one, well, let's just say they may have put some stipulations in the small print when it came to how that album would sound. Either way, the above is a sequel to the wonderful 'Mixtape About Nothing' and for that reason demands your attention. This boy must still have it in him somewhere.

3. Fashawn - Ode to Illmatic

This is, erm, an ode from Fashawn to 'Illmatic'. Same beats, new takes. That really does tell you all need to know doesn't it.

4. Young Jeezy - 1000 Grams Vol.1

This is hot off the stove. Leaked today. So new I haven't even listened to it yet but it's from Jeezy and it's called '1000 Grams...' and there's a load of bricks on the cover. Safe to say this isn't going to be a deviation from the normal topics. Thank God for that.

Whilst I'm here, I finally got Arcade Fire's 'The Suburbs' after play.com just completely took the piss directly from my bladder by not honouring an order I placed over two weeks ago. I cancelled that and bought it at Tesco instead. I don't know what it is about Tesco's but it sure does make everything seem a bit soulless, regardless of what you're buying. I think it's got something to do with the CDs coming in terrorist proof anti theft boxes. And the lighting is too harsh. And there was a teenage couple who looked about 14 buying a pregnancy test downstairs. I'll review it soon. One listen in and it sounds a bit murky. Win Butler's vocals seem a little buried on first impressions. Remember how upfront they were back in the day?! 'Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)' use to burst out the stereo like a runaway train made of bricks.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

"Working on being a doper person."

Look at the pathetic size of this private plane. WHEN WILL THIS RECESSION BE OVER FOR GODS SAKE?

I linked to a Kanye video in the last post and I hate to be repetitive but I've gotta briefly write about the man again I'm afraid. Sorry to yer mutha. A lot of words are written about Mr West's ego and his self love or how he seems to believe that he's a bonafide genius in everything he does - we [the whole word minus Kanye], of course, just ain't noticed yet. So, what better arena for a man with too much to say about anything and everything than Twitter. A site that pretty much sums up the internet for me. It's instant, easily accessible from many formats and it's, by and large, a colossal waste of time. As a keen purveyor of all things to do with time wasting, I love it. I love Kanye too of course. I'll cut to the chase, Kanye signed up a Twitter account last week and he's absolutely brilliant on it. So, he tweets about how his private plane is too small (see title photo), he tweets about how he doesn't know what circa 1700 style goblet to buy and he tweets about how hard it is to sleep on fur pillows. How many more reasons do you need to follow the man?

K. West aside. It's already August and I'm not sure I've done anything of real note this year thus far. August is like the eighth month right? Give me a sec here...yeah, so that's erm...two thirds! 2/3rds of the way through this damn year already. I think it is time that we all went out and started getting it, whatever that is, in the sincerest way possible. To put us back on track, I'm eagerly awaiting some big releases before this year is out. *takes breath* Kanye, Jeezy, Arcade Fire, Grinderman, The Walkmen, Of Montreal, Antony & The Johnsons, Kid Cudi, Andre 3000 (maybe), The Cool Kids, Doom & Ghostface (!), Lupe Fiasco. There's still a tonne of stuff from this year I've been sleeping on too. I'm going to be busy erm, sat in my little room listening to loads of records for the rest of the year then.

One of the big names on that list is of course Arcade Fire. Why they aren't called The Arcade Fire, I don't know. People call them that anyway everywhere, I do know. So, I pre-ordered this album last week sometime and I really don't know why I bother. Play.com, if you're reading this. Why are you so slow these days? For real, I pre-ordered Big Boi about a month before it came out and didn't get it for about a week after it was out in normal shops that plebs can go to. Isn't the whole point of pre-ordering that you get it on time on release day and you can be all smug and tell everyone you've already got whatever item waiting for you on the doormat at home? Well, I ain't doin' it again now. I was going to pre-order this Jeezy album I'm always yakking about but then I remembered that some poor souls somewhere probably pre-ordered Dre's 'Detox' about 5 years ago and are still waiting. Those rappers hey? Good when you want some beats to soundtrack ya grind, not so good at being prompt and sticking to their words on release dates. Bet Biggie use to always be late for meetings.

Slow clap for a really ungoogle friendly title Arcade Fire. Why not title your next album "Arcade Fire - Google'?

Either way, 'The Suburbs' is getting some amazing press (here and here) and I'm really excited about it in general. AF are a really special band that I've always thought have a unique talent. That is somehow, when you listen to their records, you feel that it's just you listening. That they're some little band that no one but you knows. You play their songs over and over until they sound like friends. They aren't friends though of course, they're more like little secrets. Little secrets shared between a band consisting of seven people. Little secrets shared between millions of people that buy their records. Long may that continue.


P.S UNRELATED NEWS JUST IN. I'm getting some reports through here that certain lucky play.com users have just had their pre-ordered copies of 'Be Here Now' by Oasis delivered.