28 December 2011
It's a sad day at De-Minimis Towers. I was browsing the internet and came across a charity song linked with some of Iceland's best known musicians and it is crap. Actually, it's worse than crap, it's so cheesy, so devoid of true emotion or musical credibility that I think it could be a piss-take. You remember those charity songs from the 80s and 90s where various celebs emoted into a big circular microphone whilst holding one hand to a headphone placed upon their head? And the songs were always dire middle-of-the-road rubbish ballads with inevitable key changes at the end and cliched orchestral choir choruses? Apparently, the genre is alive and well and living in Reykjavik.
I know the project is well-meaning but this is Iceland for God's sake. Why pick a transatlantic dirge as a charity song when you have all that talent on that most musical of islands? Why be so formulaic when you have such creative genius at hand and what were the artists thinking when they involved themselves with this project? It's the same with Comic Relief and Red Nose Day. We're conditioned to accept any old rubbish in the name of charity but charity records don't necessarily have to sound as if the music has been measured against the lowest denominator, you can still keep your musical integrity, you can still dare to be different. Whoever put together this record, please take a long hard look at yourself. Look at the resources you have available to you and your own musical culture and influence and next time re-think how a charity record from Iceland might sound like.
I'm not going to post the video directly but if you want to listen to it, you can find it here.
Posted by lee at 13:56
The credit for this goes to Ben Watt aka Buzzin' Fly who tweeted about this. It's a project to record for posterity the importance of Boomboxes (or Ghetto Blasters) in the development of hip hop. Happy days and just check some of the old school rappers highlighted.
Let's have some old school hip hop. This is the Planet Patrol way back in 1982. Is Tommy Boy Records still around?
Posted by lee at 12:30
27 December 2011
25 December 2011
23 December 2011
22 December 2011
It's true. The whole genre washes over me without leaving any lingering desire to hear more...except this one track. I can't explain why either.
Kandi - Don't Think I'm Not
As an aside do you think they pinched the bassline from Christopher Cross's - 'Arthur's Theme'? Compare and contrast....
Posted by lee at 02:42
19 December 2011
This is an absolutely exquisite ambient/minimal/dub mix that I recently discovered. It's heavily influenced by the Japanese and consequently, the clarity and precision of the tunes is spot on and there is no fat on the bone whatsoever with any of the tunes. It reminds me of those Japanese paintings where less is so much more.
Posted by lee at 01:23
18 December 2011
17 December 2011
I've wanted to share this song for ages. It's John Grant's old band and my favourite song from all their albums. Apologies for the God awful embedded player but it's all I could find on the internet that had it. It's the music that's important anyway (but it is an awful interface, I'm sorry).
Posted by lee at 11:55
16 December 2011
Ms Wolfe is making beautiful music. Moody, gothic, atmospheric, cerebral, beautiful music. It sounds slightly retro but also bang up to date. It's not dance oriented and the guitar is her weapon of choice so it avoids more obvious comparisons with PlanningToRock, Zola Jesus, Austra and other ladies of that ilk. They do all draw a common heritage however with Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins, Sisters of Mercy and fully deserve the gothic tag but I'd say on first listen that Chelsea Wolfe's link is probably the one with least deviation.
She has a particular darkness to her music and her voice reminds me of PJ Harvey but a pre-menstrual Polly Jane with a hangover on a particularly bad day. The similarities so not end there, I must confess on first glance at the album cover that I thought it was PJ Harvey. It's not all gloomy though, she has slightly lighter moments where she strips back the theatrics and presents a calmer picture. Early tracks such as 'You Are My Sunshine' are classic Americana. This lady has clearly studied the classics and shows a maturity well ahead of her young age. It's hard to believe that this sound emanates from LA, what with it being the antithesis of perennial sunshine and superficiality but the facts don't lie. I'm a big fan of this music and I think with the likes of fellow LA resident, Zola Jesus, this is the very best around.
These 3 tracks are taken from her 2011 album Apokalpsis, as an apt an album title as you can get. Ms Wolfe wants you to get the message. She wants it painted black.
As a bonus track here's that 'You Are My Sunshine' to provide some light relief.
The Beat - Are You Ready
I heard this being played in Resident Records in Brighton earlier today. Top tune.
Destroyer - Kaputt
Possibly the Beat's best song, it's certainly the most upbeat. This was blaring out from Immediate Clothing. Take it away, Ranking Roger.
The Beat - Are You Ready
Back home with my children and listening to Original Seeds Volume One, it's a collection of songs that have influenced Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. This is one I haven't heard in ages.
Leonard Cohen - Avalanche
Posted by lee at 16:31
15 December 2011
I adore this song so much. And as much as I love this tune, I think the video accompanying it is a masterpiece also. I think if I ever tire of hearing this then I might just give up listening to music altogether. The video features a clip from an old Soviet propaganda film and fits the music so perfectly. I had to register with a Russian email service just so I could get the code to post this directly onto my blog. I hope you like it too.
14 December 2011
13 December 2011
The Nirvana frontman was, by most accounts, in a bad place in 1993. It was the year that 'In Utero' was released and just one year before his untimely death. I am surprised, to say the least, to have seen this interview with him from this time where Cobain is lucid and in good spirits. The interview is all that more important because it's also deeply personal, seeing him discuss his influences and a little about his private life too. This is a must-see for all Nirvana fans.
12 December 2011
11 December 2011
10 December 2011
Remember the halcyon days of the late 90s when TFI Friday was compulsory viewing before heading out to party the weekend through? It really set you up in the mood for a great night. Well... I reckon the BBC could revive that feeling by showing re-runs of Soul Train at 7pm each Friday night on BBC2. I guarantee people would be talking about the dances, the fashion and the style that show had. In fact, I reckon there would be a line dance revival within weeks. I love the fact that it's the men who are the peacocks with the sharpest moves. I wish I could pull shapes like this. My favourite is the bad brother in the double breasted suit who just spins, taks a drag of his cigarette and owns the dance floor.
Posted by lee at 23:17
09 December 2011
08 December 2011
07 December 2011
Kling Klong Records have released a lovely EP of remixes of tracks from Klein's recent album. Of particular note is the one by my favourite German DJ/Producer Oliver Steinberg. As ever, he manages to take a great record and make it his own with his remix of Slowphatty. Here's a stream of the EP for you.
I'm very excited to hear that Perfume Genius have a new album out in February next year. I was blown away with the debut album and the way it combines a personal, stripped-to-the-bare-bones feel with an almost rock opera feel at times. Hailing from Seattle, he writes beautiful ballads and the one track I've heard from the new album shows remarkable maturity for someone still in his 20s.
Here's 'All Waters'
and as a bonus here's 'Lookout, Lookout', my favourite song from his first album. This is an incredible song in any language and by any measure.
There's only so many times you can hear 'Fairytale of New York'. For me it was about a thousand or so before I started to resent it with a passion. I'm now at full blown 'wishing it dead' stage such is the pervasiveness of that damned tune. I've decided that we need some new Christmas songs so I've been hunting around for them. Here's two mighty fine efforts first from Withered Hand who do a mean Neil Young-esque number and then from sadly defunct Paisley and Charlie with a lovely homage to 80s pop. It is a brilliant song and if you can't see why then you were not there.
Posted by lee at 13:08
06 December 2011
05 December 2011
The perma-lovely Madamoiselle Simon has a new album out just in time for Christmas and if you are a fan of Kate Bush you will probably also appreciate this long player too. I have found a short video showing the making of the first single from the album on Youtube and she does look and sound wonderful.
04 December 2011
No man better understood the human condition than Oscar Wilde and in the Ballad of Reading Gaol he expressed so perfectly our frailty but also our innate cruelty. My favourite lines are when he tells us that:
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword.
My brittle ego has truly been crushed tonight by a friendly suggestion from Twitter. It's not that I have been drawn into the epic internet battles regarding X Factor nor am I being cyber-bullied for thinking that Jeremy Clarkson is either a brilliant post-modern satirist or an arse in need of a kick. Oh no, this was far more humiliating. Let me explain. I write a music blog and I've come to love it in a weird kind of way. It's an extension of myself and I feel that the people who know me best can see my character within. So imagine the feeling when Twitter tells me that an account written by a Christian granny with no appreciation of the nuances of minimal techno or Icelandic folk music is similar to mine. That hurts.
Posted by lee at 21:01
03 December 2011
02 December 2011
01 December 2011
I think that everyone should make time for some minimal techno in their lives and here's one from me just before I head to bed. It's exactly the lovely, crisp, clean kind of minimal techno that I love. It's expertly produced with lots bubbling under the hook which bobs along relentlessly throughout. And check out who's behind it - one of the greatest names in techno and one of the Belleville Three, none other than Kevin Saunderson. Who's Kweku, I hear you ask. That's Kevin's nephew and a well-respected DJ in his own right. This is fresh off the press and, joy of joys, they haven't scrimped on the length of the track either. It comes in at over 9 minutes long and this allows the track to come to the boil quite nicely and in its own time.
Kevin and Kweku Saunderson - Roll On (Max Pollyul Remix)
Posted by lee at 23:29
I was reading something on the web where someone cited this as their song of the year so I felt compelled to listen to it. It's got a lovely retro feel to it either late 60s psych-rock or British indie circa the Madchester baggy scene. I may return to this post when I can precisely say which band they remind me of but until then let's just listen to the tune.
Posted by lee at 23:19