Monday, 31 January 2011

Indie Rockers Can Swear Too - #2 - Rilo Kiley

"Hey. Do you wanna talk about computer games and our insecurities?"

Indie kids lose their shit for Jenny Lewis. The girls wanna be her and the boys wanna date her. Actually, they want to take her on a kitsch little date to an American diner where they can get a big sundae to share and Jenny'll get a bit of cream on her nose or some cutesy ting like that. That's her in the middle in that photo up there, by the way. She's not amazingly attractive but she's certainly not ugly and she's in a credible band, that really is enough for most people. The best thing about Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley, of course, is that they made a great swear song.

2. Rilo Kiley - A Better Son/Daughter

"Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can't move..."

This swear song came to me on the way to work today. I didn't have a moment of revelation or anything, it just came on shuffle on my iPod. Just want to say here that I defintely don't listen to my iPod on the way to work whilst driving, in case the police are reading. Anyway, 'A Better Son/Daughter' is a great song about self improvement, y'know, getting right with yourself. It's a central subject to a lot of tunes if you think about it. In contrast to those rappers and their braggadocio, indie rockers find it a lot easier to sing about being or getting better than actually doing it. It's the chasm between making a New Year's resolution and actually quitting smoking or getting a six pack I suppose.

The curse words arrive in quick succession in this song and they're extremely pronounced too which gets Rilo Kiley ten more points on the, erm, fuck-o-meter. I genuinely think they were added in at the last minute because if you sing the lines without those words they definitely need a bridge word and "...the good seems bloody cheap," just doesn't hit quite as hard. One of the band members probably just went "Ay yo Jenny. Throw a coupla fucks into that verse if you can't think of nuttin'," and the rest was, as they say, history.

# of words - 2
Severity of words - The second worst one to youknowwhat.
Manner of delivery - Fuck with a cherry on top.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Indie Rockers Can Swear Too - #1 - Okkervil River

Johnny Cash firmly in F.U.R.B mode.

This post is something I've had kicking around the dust bowl of my brain for quite a while now. It's about swearing, cuss words, cursing. Those words you hear day in, day out from just about everyone yet won't hear on the TV before 9pm. I don't need to give you any examples. Just think about Piers Morgan for a second now for me....yeah, those words.

People often ask if I'm a breast or leg man. Well, I've always been a lyrics man. If a song is especially well written you could back it with a blindfolded raccoon hitting a tin of beans and I wouldn't really care. I listen to lyrics over and over until I've committed them to memory, I listen to songs with the liner notes out in front of me, I google lyrics and get viruses from 'lyric' sites that always immediately offer to send ringtones to your phone for free via a ominous looking pop-up. I'm just a freak for them.

What of swearing though? Does it have a place in music? Are lyrics that include curse words necessary? For me, I think resolutely yes - if they are used well. That's an enormous caveat there, I'll concede.Please note that this post solely relates to indie or alternative rock only because, let's be honest, there'd be little point in writing this about Hip-Hop. Case in point, Rick Ross' 'Hustlin'' which has a first line that reads "Who the fuck ya think ya fucking with I'm the fuckin' boss..." That line right there is twelve words long and includes three curses. That's goddamn 25%.

I'm going to think of a song each day that includes one good use of a bad word and post it up. BTW, in case you were wondering, I'm revelling in the immaturity of writing about naughty words. Revelling in it.

1.Okkervil River - 'Red'

"Yes is my favourite answer..."

This really is an amazing song from the world's best bandTM and it dropped pretty early in their career too. 'Red' is written from the perspective of a guy that knows a mother and a daughter that have grown apart. The daughter has grown up to be a stripper and this could be partly due to her upbringing. At separate times, both mother and daughter confess to the songs protagonist that they miss each other and it is in this daughter's confession that we get a golden swear that goes:
"I know that it's easy to have me/but I have seen some things/That I cannot even tell to my family pictures/And I'm full of fictions and fucking addictions/And I miss my mother."
It's lines like these that make you appreciate how good Will Sheff really is. I can't be the only one that pictures a pretty girl choking these words out as her mascara runs. This swear is one of impact that adds a real spit and kick to its line and especially works well, in more ways than one, with the word 'addictions'.

Along with a helpful youtube link and a paragraph or two of my bollocks, each song will also be judged using the below criterion for my records:

# of words - 1
Severity of word - The second worst one to youknowwhat.
Manner of delivery - Poetic

Monday, 24 January 2011

Vampire, You Should've Come Over.

If I was dating Kirsten Stewart, the last thing I'd want would be to live forever.

I've spent the last hour or so just loitering around the internet like a pervert in a public toilet. You know how it is - clicking on ridiculous stories that you hope are true on reddit and reading about LOLS on wikipedia - things like that. At some point along this journey I stumbled across this story. For those that are too lazy to even click a damn link, it reads about how Robert Pattinson is "desperate" to play Jeff Buckley in a biopic of his life that is due to be made. It also has some made up vague words from 'sources' saying that Pattinson has asked to play the role. I don't know who these sources are but I'm guessing they're the same ones that comment on celebrity romances, football transfer rumours and WikiLeaks releases.

So, Robert Pattinson as Jeff Buckley. Can you even begin to imagine what that would do to teenage girls around the world? Sensitive tragic dreamboat musician + Sensitive tragic dreamboat vampire = the mass running of mascara and the lightening of parents wallets on a scale never before witnessed. I'm amazed it's taken them* this long to make a film like this in all honesty. I dare say that Jeff Buckley's seemingly endless 'vaults' will somehow provide yet another posthumous release to coincide with the film's launch. Either that or we'll get an album of Buckley covers from some of the music industry's leading lights. I don't know about you but I'd love to hear Ellie Goulding's spin on that "I heard there was a secret chord/that David played and it pleased the Lord..." song. I can't get enough of that one.

Jeff Buckley is known for many things. Drowning in a river, 'Grace' always being on sale, having a really cool Dad. It's amazing that all you hear about him comes off the back of a (admittedly fantastic) debut album and a tragically premature death. He might not have made many songs but the ones he did really were proper songs. It's only right that we honour his memory by having someone like Pattinson playing him in a film about his life.

*them being those dicks in Hollywood just trying to make money off of anything, all the time.

A goldfish could burp a cover of this song and I'd still like it. Yes I know it's not a Buckley original.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

"I Was Perfect."

Swan Lake was composed in 1875-1876 and is still being run today. D'ya reckon 'We Will Rock You' will still be going in 136 years?

I've been pretty stressed recently. Incredibly stressed actually. It's nothing to do with my family, my love life or my health. I haven't moved house nor has my car broken down. It's worse than all of that. Yes, I've got a new laptop and I've had to reinstall and reorder iTunes. If you've done this, you know exactly what kind of trick I'm on. I've got albums with missing tracks, misspelt band names and don't even get me started on album artwork. iShambles.

So an Apple program a day keeps nothing at bay aside from satisfaction and fulfillment then. That's what I've learnt. Things threatened to get too much yesterday when I actually typed 'how much does it cost to have someone do your itunes for you' into google. I'd really hit the wall. In my frustration, I got out of the house and went to see 'Black Swan'. That being Darren Aranofsky's new 'psychosexual thriller' starring Natalie Portman as the newly cast Queen Swan in a performance of 'Swan Lake'. Safe to say, things don't exactly go to plan. Nina (Portman) struggles to come to the terms with the physical and mental demans of such a high profile role. She starts to find that her truest enemy resides in the mirror and as opening night approaches, her life starts to unravel and mirror the tragic tale that 'Swan Lake' has been telling for such a long time now.

I don't really want to say too much and spoil a film that truly has you sitting on the knife edge of your seat but man, it's quite a ride. At the film's core is a contradiction that I should think mystifies many performance artists and people of that sort of disposition - how do you keep precise control of your body whilst simultaneously letting go and giving yourself to a character, an idea, an audience? It's a tough one but Portman is fantastic in a lead role that, much like the one she portrays in the ballet production, is incredibly demanding. 'Black Swan' is one of those films where you think that something or someone truly horrid is waiting around every corner. My mood flitted between tense, mega tense and Mr Tense of Mount Tenseington St essentially. It's a film you have to see at the cinema too so please put your torrents to rest for an evening you freeloading nerds. I really urge you to watch this film at the cinema, just don't see it as a first date. Chicks on first dates ain't quite as down with psychosexual thrillers as you probably imagine.

Also, I only found out after the film that one of the characters is played by Winona Ryder. I can't decide if this passed me by because she looks really different now or whether it's just that I don't recognise her if she isn't on the arm of an indie rocker or another. Can I also take this opportunity to inform you that apparently Mila Kunis use to spend nights playing World of Warcraft for hours and hours when she was dating Macaulay Culkin. Just sat next to each other on different computers. Playing World of Warcraft. For ages. That's what they did.

"Shall we have the LAN party at yours or mine?"

Yeah, I'm trying to work out what's worse between playing WoW or dating Macaulay Culkin too. Answers on a postcard to the usual address. Also, if you know how much money Macaulay has I'd like to know that too. A few films decades ago and being MJ's boyfriend doesn't pay that well, does it?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Two Thousand and Eleven.

This year will be your best one yet.

Hangovers have crawled back into their shells, party poppers have been swept up and everything feels distinctly similiar to last year. The new year is ten days old tomorrow and my 2011 post count is unsurprisingly at a whole round zero. I'm almost shocked.

Still, it's a new year and there's loads of things to look forward to even in the these dark pit months of January and February. Here's a little rundown of what falls into that category for me, from the top of my head, at 18:31 on this overcast Sunday.

If you do go to see Janelle Monae, make an effort and dress well forchristsake.

Amazing shows
-Janelle Monae and Aziz Ansari both head to these recessed shores next month for the first time. Expect to dance until you're breathless at the former and laugh until you're in tears at the latter. Whatever you do, make sure you got to at least one of the aforementioned. They will be yardsticks you'll use to measure everything else you see during the rest of the year. Drake is also here in London, Manchester and Birmingham over the coming week. If you haven't got tickets to those dates yet then fully expect to be logging on to eBay and remortgaging your house in the near future.

Do you think Mila Kunis makes Culkin do the home alone face when they sleep together? The freak.

Amazing films - January is oscar month and 2011 sees two massive hotly anticipated releases. Darren Aranofsky is back with 'Black Swan' with Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman and the amazing Vincent Cassel. Christian Bale has (as always, the only variance is whether he's big or small) gone through an incredible body transformation to drop a third of his body weight for his role in 'The Fighter'. If you don't like films about ballet, you'll probably like films about boxing, right? This month, at the cinema, everyone is a winner. 'Black Swan' is released on January 21st, 'The Fighter' hits (geddit?) cinemas 4th February.

Pharoahe Monch bucks Hip-Hop stereotypes by posing for a photoshoot with a revolver.

Amazing records
- The early part of the year sees new releases from The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Pharoahe Monch, James Blake, Drive By Truckers, Wire, Talib Kweli and some sort of Glee release that they recommend you use for a coaster/frisbee to through at wild animals that trespass in your garden. The rest of the year could bring something from Radiohead, Gaga's 'Born This Way', Dre's 'Detox' (yeah, right), Jeezy's TM103 and the return of the best band on the planet, Okkervil River.

So yeah, plenty of things to make you hang around for a bit longer before you choose to hop off your mortal coil. Happy new year all of you mad men and women.