29 September 2009
this post is to caution you to take great care when you're ripping CDs to your computer. why? your computer is probably not smart enough to realise which songs belong to which albums and in consequence, may copy over some of your older files when ripping the new ones.
I'm used to popping them in the CD tray and clicking on "Rip" on the Windows Media Player console without a second glance. I did that today with the second CD in the Friendly Fires self-titled, expanded edition pack this morning. when I went back in to check on the progress of the rip, I made a terrible discovery.
the rip copied over the first 8 songs on the first CD (the original album). so in other words, I've got all 8 songs of the second CD (4 songs plus 4 remixes) and then the last two songs from the original album. when I realised this happened, I wanted to bash my computer for being so dumb.
I was able to fix it via "Find Album Info" so that the computer now recognises the 8 songs I just ripped as the second CD of the expanded edition. poor "Photobooth" and "Ex Lover": they're just sitting there by themselves, looking lost without their usual playmates.
of course today I really wanted to come into the office and queue up "Kiss of Life" followed by "Paris" but after what just transpired, that's not gonna happen. sigh.
guess I'll have to bring in the original album tomorrow and re-rip it to fix it. this time however I'll be paying closer attention.
25 September 2009
equally important are anniversaries. and for a music fan like myself, anniversaries of gigs are up high in importance on the "special dates" ladder.
so please humour me while I reminisce exactly 6 months ago, as yesterday was the 6-month anniversary to the day of the first time I ever saw Friendly Fires live...
they were playing with the Soft Pack and White Lies at the relatively small (700 people thereabouts) Black Cat club in Washington. this gig didn't require anything of me except driving a couple miles to the closest Metro station, putting some cash on my Metro SmarTrip card and going downtown via subway, getting off and walking by the now-famous Ben's Chili Bowl (thanks Obama) and down 14th Street to get to the club. the place is so small that even tho I queued briefly outside - and had to calm down some people behind me in the queue, explaining to them, "yes, White Lies is going last, they taped Letterman in New York this afternoon" (most of the people appeared to be only interested in them, and were ringing their friends to tell them, "yeah, you can show up later" - whatever) - I got inside and found the D.C. Britpop group already staking their claim on the front row real estate, so I would be fine location wise.
I knew nothing about their live show so I didn't know where to stand. I finally I decided on a place slightly right of center. after the Soft Pack finished and Ed Macfarlane came out to set up his synth (the heady days before they had dedicated roadies), for a moment I thought, "oh christ almighty, I have picked the worst spot imaginable. he's going to be standing at that Moog all night and what view will I have? his arse." (remember, I had no idea about his now-legendary dancing.) I snapped a photo of him fiddling with the Moog dials and of Edd Gibson tuning his guitar, pick in mouth. I couldn't see Jack Savidge at all b/c the White Lies bass drum was at my eye level. I had no idea who the guy in the red plaid shirt was, bass slung over his shoulder. (I now know this is their mate and touring bass/percussion guy Rob Lee.)
any previous reservations I had about the band evaporated from the opening bars and words uttered out of Ed Mac's mouth of the first song. yes, they had me at "Lovesick". I haven't been the same since.
exactly 4 months ago I saw them headline at the Dot to Dot Festival, where I interviewed the Ed(d)s on their tour bus for almost an hour (unheard of pretty much in blogger interview land) and found them to be probably the most charming, humble Englishmen I'd met up to that point. I realised at that point that they were true music fans. which, whether you choose to believe it or not, a lot of people in pop music have no clue what's going on out there. there are so many people in this business who are up there in the charts not b/c they're especially talented, but b/c their management has built up their image and/or they are controversial for bad reasons. (er...Lady Gaga? sorry. I know she has a global fan base, but where will SHE be in 2 years?)
not trying to be corny here, but yeah, they changed my life. it had been years since I really gave dance music a chance on my turntable. they have changed the way I've looked at the music business - I now think, you know what, there is room in the business for people who want to make music their way and not have to sell out. and you can be yourselves and not be someone else your label wants you to be.
some bands sound great on record but are horrible live. I have never met or heard of anyone who has been to a Friendly Fires show and has left saying, "that was bloody awful". 4x I've seen them now and they've never been awful, even if they themselves think they've been. they're just that humble!
in my life, I've had more than my fair share of stupid medical problems. so being able to give myself over to joyous synth-driven dancepop and forget about everything else is a godsend. I know that's why I ♥ them so much. they have a good time on stage playing their music, you can't help but join in and have a good time dancing to them.
THANK YOU Friendly Fires. it's been a pleasure to be one of your fans. and to know you.
...and 71 days I plan to see them again, in chilly Boston. that's a good 440 miles away from here, so I'll have to fly. am I mad? quite possibly. will I have a good time? indubitably, yes.
my PopWreckoning review of the Black Cat gig
all PopWreckoning articles tagged with friendly fires, including my interview and gig reviews
all There Goes the Fear articles tagged with friendlyfires, including my NYC gig reviews
earlier thoughts on the Black Cat gig on this blog, plus photos
24 September 2009
1. Foo Fighters - "Wheels" - from that "other" FF named band. is it just me, or is this a snooze? is Dave Grohl saving all his vitriol for Them Crooked Vultures? (I may be a bit spiteful, as their PR refused to give us a press pass to cover their D.C. gig in October but...)
2. Thom Yorke - "the Hollow Earth" - was never a fan of Radiohead specifically b/c I did not care for Thom Yorke's voice. the noise in the background sounds weird for his voice. the best part of the song? when Yorke stops singing. ::rimshot::
3. Jay-Z - "Empire State of Mind" - guess this is a song about NYC. ugh. I think one of the few records of Jay-Z's that I actually enjoyed was "Hard Knock Life". and HOW many years ago was that? this just feels like unoriginal...well, based on the votes, this one is gonna take it I bet...
4. Little Comets - "Adultery" - the title alone is going to cause problems. the song itself is not offensive, but it's not memorable either.
5. Death Cab for Cutie - missed it, sorry, I was so bored by it! - they are really big in America. I am not really sure why. LOL at the panel's opinions. is the band really named after a Captain Beefheart record? hahaa
6. Julian Casablancas - "11th Dimension" - this track has been blowing up across the blogosphere, if the stats from Hype Machine can be believed. hmm. sounds interesting. sounds like it might be a grower. it's not jumping out at me right now but I think I might learn to like it a lot. it's got that '80s poppy sensibility in the background.
7. Dizzee Rascal's new album - the winner - oh dear. ugh. I dunno why everyone loves this sort of sound. gimme a break. there isn't even a good beat to it! sometimes I have to wonder why I don't "get" some music like everyone else!
and I am really excited about this b/c as A&R for XL, he is probably the one who signed Friendly Fires, Jack Penate, Adele, etc. to their label. in other words, he's a god in my and my friends' world.
he's going to be on 6music in about 40 minutes. I am twittering away in excitement. I wonder what he sounds like. I have no idea what part of Britain he's from.
am I weird?
17 September 2009
1. new Flaming Lips song - missed this while my BBC iPlayer crapped out and had to reboot. rats.
2. Joy Formidable - the winner - "Greyhound in the Slips" - not getting it. the lyrics would sound better sung by a man IMO. I like their older stuff better.
3. Snoop Dogg - "That's Tha Homie" - oh dear, I've never been a fan of Snoop. so I'll leave it at that.
4. Devendra Banhart - "Baby" - this has already been added to 6music's playlist, so not sure how good a review of the song now would be, b/c it's going to get plenty of airplay. I have of course heard of this band's name but I had it in my mind that it had to be the name of the frontwoman. (oops.) um...passable but kind of annoying.
5. the Raveonettes - "Bang!" - you know, this is so '60s throwback, I like it a lot. I have been relistening to the Libertines a lot lately and this is the sort of sound that makes me reminisce about them.
6. Everything Everything - "My Keys, Your Boyfriend" - like this! thank you Gwilym Gold of Golden Silvers for tipping me off to them! they've been compared to Phoenix and ABC. what do y'all think?
7. tracks from Muse's "the Resistance" album including "Undisclosed Desires" and "Mk Ultra" - for the record, I don't fancy Matt Bellamy. at all. he's got this weird, whiny way of singing sometimes and yeah, his nose reminds me a bit of the Count from Sesame Street. but I am having a rethink about all of this after hearing "Undisclosed Desires". the beats are even a bit r&b to cater to the Beyonce/Kanye fan set. WOO-OOF. you can't help think salacious thoughts and you KNOW it's been purposely written that way for that exact reason. it's like wanting Friendly Fires to give you the "Kiss of Life". "I want to satisfy my undisclosed desires"? yes please! ♥
16 September 2009
I always seem to fall ill at the worst times. in May, I was sick as a dog with a cold and felt like death warmed over days before I was scheduled to board my flight to England for the Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham. at the time I was freaking out b/c 1) I was not about to miss Patrick Wolf, Ladyhawke, Skint and Demoralised, or Friendly Fires performing at Dot to Dot and 2) I was not going to wimp out on interviews with either Skint and Demoralised or Friendly Fires already previously painstakingly scheduled through the appropriate channels.
as you know, I did make it, and rather mysteriously, my cold was only a memory as soon as I reached blighty's shores. I still maintain to this day that hugs from English musician types have some kind of magical power :)
last night I had a cup of water on the nightstand b/c I had an itchy throat and coughed all night. I woke this morning completely froggy and tried two v. hot cups of Earl Grey tea with heaping spoons of honey to try and loosen the ickiness down the hatch. I am currently sucking on a disgusting Robitussin cough drop but the menthol action seems to be helping.
tonight is the start of a 3 gigs in 4 nights series:
16 Sept - Appomattox with Low Red Land - Red and Black Bar
18 Sept - Jack Penate and Miike Snow - Rock n Roll Hotel
19 Sept - the Horrors with Crocodile and Casper Bangs - Black Cat - I think...
I also need an voice b/c I'm interviewing Appomattox tonight and Jack Penate on Friday. oh illness gods, please be kind!
14 September 2009
every Sunday afternoon 6music has a 2-hour slot called "Month of Sundays" in which a band/act/singer/etc. is given complete control over what they want to play. the Kaiser Chiefs were given a whole month earlier this year to do just that, which means they had to fill 8 hours up with the music they like and show all of Britain what turns them on musically.
this month, 6music has decided to give the collective radio reins over to Mercury Prize nominees for their "Month of Mercurys" feature. 6 September was the Horrors' show (insert your Libertines-related joke here), and yesterday 13 September it was Friendly Fires' turn. as always, you have 7 days from the initial broadcast to listen to these BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer. the Horrors' set has already been closed out but you can still listen to FF's set this week until 20 September, when La Roux steps up to the plate.
in case you're a sped and can't manage to catch the shows, I will be providing the lists of selections here (thank you 6music):
the Horrors's selections
Apple — Buffalo Billycan
The Barrier — Spot The Lights
Caleb — Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad
Dave Davies — Creeping Jean
eLi — Never Mind
Fire — Fathers Name Was Dad
Lavender Grove — Lavender Grove
The Hill — Sylvie
The Idle Race — Imposters Of Lifes Magazine
John's Children — Desdemona
The Kinks — Lazy Old Sun
The Lovin' — All You'Ve Got
Martells — Time To Say Goodnight
The Nashville Teens — Last Minute
Orange Machine — Cr Crippens Waiting Room
Paul St. John — Flying Saucers Have Landed
Paul St. John — Spaceship Lover
The Pretty Things — Bracelets Of Fingers
The QPR Supporters — Supporters Support Us
Rhubarb Rhubarb — Moneylender
The Smoke — Sydney Gill
Tintern Abbey — Vacuum Cleaner
Unit — Would You Believe What I Say
The Virgin Sleep — Love
Ways and Means — Breaking Up A Dream
Excelsior Spring — It
The Yardbirds — Happening Ten Years Time Ago
The Zombies — Time Of The Season - aren't they from St. Albans? nice segue. ::grin::
Friendly Fires's selections
Nas — It Ain’t Hard To Tell
Electric Light Orchestra — Turn To Stone - funnily enough, I heard this on the way to work this morning and thought "Edd Gibson!"
Major Lazer — Pon The Floor
Empire of the Sun — We Are The People
Barrabás — High Light (Todd Terje Rekutt)
Deerhunter — Agrophobia
Was (Not Was) — Tell Me That I’m Dreaming
The xx — Basic Space - FF confirmed the xx will be touring with them on the NYLON Winter tour. nice how NYLON themselves have not bothered to post this important information! should I go to Boston? should I?
Bibio — Ambivalence Avenue
The Fall — Dr Buck’s Letter
Kylie Minogue — Slow
Jack Peñate — Tonight’s Today
Black Disco — Chains (Anonstop Edit) - note: Black Disco is the label, Ed Macfarlane has no idea who the artist is
D'Angelo — Greatdayinthemornin’/Booty
Motor City Drum — Raw Cuts #5
Tortoise — Crest
Jürgen Paape — Ofterschwang
House of House — Rushing To Paradise (Walking These Streets)
Holy Ghost! — Hold On
Joy Orbison— Hyph Mngo - note: it wasn't Roy Orbison! the site is WRONG!
Olivia Newton-John — Love Song - v. amused that Ed Macfarlane used his favourite word to describe music - "lush" - for this one
11 September 2009
1. "Ghouls" - I've resigned myself to the fact that whatever happens, you're gonna think it's my fault, always.
2. "Let's See It" - I say the truth, whether you choose to believe it or not.
3. "After Hours" - with you, the night is young and I don't want it to end.
4. "Lethal Enforcer" - tell me, I really need to know: are you love with me or not?
5. "Impatience" - have patience, grasshopper - good things come to those who wait. so shut your piehole. sorry, but you're really trying *my* patience.
6. "Tonight" - sit, stay, and have a drink with me...and we'll see what happens.
7. "Spoken For" - self-explanatory. but for those who still don't geddit: I like you, and I know you like me, but that's as far as it can go, because we're both "spoken for".
8. "Altered Beast" - I'm like a moth to a flame - helpless.
9. "Chick Lit" - I know your type; you're bad, bad news.
Astralwerks has disabled the embedding of the video, so you'll have to watch it over here.
10. "Dinosaurs" - I'm confused about this one - I thought maybe it was an existentialist rant...anyone?
11. "That's What Counts" - we made a mistake and now I'm smitten. how about we give it a real try?
10 September 2009
Thursday sees Josie Long on Thursday's Roundtable with our very own Shaun Keaveny and Brad from the Nextmen
1. Biffy Clyro - "The Captain" - how is it possible this is from the same band that brought out that noisome "That Golden Rule"? this is much, much more sincere.
2. Groove Armada - "Warsaw" - on the fence. not insanely great, not insanely bad either. not grabbing me, for sure.
3. Kill It All - "Heaven Never Seemed So Close" - the winner - down and dirty Southern Amer. rock sounding like a lot of stuff coming out right now. meh.
4. General Fiasco - "We Are the Foolish" - disclaimer: I really want this band to succeed, and they're mates of a mate of mine, which makes them...er...not much but I do really want them to succeed! I'd rather listen to Owen Strathern than Alex Turner any day - dunno, I feel more passion in his voice than Alex's. I hope they get out of N. Ireland and over here to tour soon.
5. Los Campesinos! - "The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future" - I'm really amused this band is British and not Latino. D.C. apparently really loves them, but I don't much about them at all. I guess I need to read up on them...
6. Air - "Sing Sung Sang" - ?!?!?!? WTH is this? I like lite rock but...bleh! it's like they've been standing still.
7. the Big Pink's new album "A Brief History of Love" including "At War with the Sun" and "Tonight" - I'm still in a bit of disbelief that they are coming to D.C. in December (a little over a week after my birthday). I am so v. excited I might burst. to be honest, I like "Dominos" and "Velvet" better than these tracks. but I get the chance to see them live and decide if they're great performed right in front of me. ALL RIGHT!
08 September 2009
TGTF review here
she made a very short, sweet speech upon acceptance. afterwards she expressed her desire for world domination - to own her own record label by next year this time. oh, and to work with Kings of Leon. (that came out of left field...)
neither Friendly Fires nor La Roux won (they were my other picks)...but they did turn excellent performances, all of them (except for Glasvegas, whose singer James Allan has been mysteriously AWOL since the weekend).
personal hats off to FF's Jack Savidge, who I think REALLY needs a holiday from all of this. somehow he convinced the doctor at hospital to discharge him after being admitted just yesterday for a fever and a strange purple rash on his leg that his bandmates made fun of but I hope it's nothing serious (er...like a bleeding disorder or something...)
06 September 2009
so if you fancy having an early peek at what's there so far and possibly what's to come, hop on over.
03 September 2009
1. Weezer - "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" - Weezer is one of those bands I never got into, though apparently hordes of American teens like them. I don't if their fanbase aged with them or not b/c I don't think any of my friends still listen to them, but they always try to go for the fresh, teeny sound. that said - not my bag at all. they co-headlined the Virgin Free Fest at Merriweather last weekend - was I there? no. but I can see how some people like their sound.
2. Echo and the Bunnymen - "I Think I Need It Too" - I can't be the only one who is weirded out by all these "old" rock stars coming back into the fold. (er...Ian Brown's "Stellify"???) this falls into the "ooh what's that? oh...weird" category. nothing wrong with it, just not terribly inspiring. someone in the chatroom said it sounded like Neil Diamond. that's a terrible insult to Neil!
3. Lisa Hannigan - oops, missed the title... - Irish country/folk 2009 Merc nominee. this feels like well trod-on folky ground. am I missing something? if she wins the Mercury gong, it'll be one terrible upset indeed!
4. AFI - "Medicate" - hahaha Simon asked if they were American. is that enough for a Englishman to hate a band?
5. Wild Beasts - "All the King's Men" - man, that's an annoying as hell voice. wiggy wiggy fake falsetto. I don't mind male falsetto, it just has to be done properly.
6. oh shoot, my computer did one of those "Microsoft Explorer now needs to close" stupid actions so I missed this.
the winner - 7. the Cribs' new Ignore the Ignorant album including "We Share the Same Skies" and "Victim of Mass Production" - I dunno if I'm alone in this, but as a girl, when I listen to a guy singing, I want that voice to be enjoyable to my ears, not harsh and jarring. that Jarman voice is just jarring to me. I got used to "Cheat on Me", but when I first heard it I *hated* it. I will own up that Johnny Marr's involvement with the band got me interested them.
The Radio2 Choice
Stuart Maconie looks back at the 1993 Mercury Award winning album, Suede by Suede. Stuart and Brett Anderson didn't always see eye to eye in the Brit pop era, we find out why in the Mercury Winners Show.
I do like a bit of Suede (not as much as my loveliest friend in South Carolina - !) but it wasn't so much about reminiscing about Stuart calling Suede a "Britpop" band as much as his comment about Steve Lamacq (the voice of reason" at the NME - hee!) and his opinions on the Mercury Prize nominees (and his four picks with a red asterisk*): [listen to the mp3]
Kasabian - "I quite like Kasabian, they seem to be the more intelligent version of Oasis a lot of the time"
*Bat for Lashes - "'Two Suns' - pleasant enough...can't really say it sets me alight, but is a very very good bet to win, as is *Florence and the Machine's 'Lungs'"
Friendly Fires - ..."'Friendly Fires', which I absolutely love" - I ♥ Stuart Maconie, but you already knew that :) if they win, Stuart and Ed Mac should so go clothes-shopping together.
*La Roux - "I quite like her"
the Horrors - "I thought they were completely gimmicky...I have not gone nuts about them as some people have"
*Glasvegas - "absolutely brilliant album and would be more than a worthy winner" (ugh. I'll forgive you Stu for the nice FF comment.)
Led Bib - "brilliant new schronky jazz that we would feature on the Freak Zone - not a chance"
Lisa Hannigan, Speech Debelle, Sweet Billy Pilgrim - "not much of a chance"
the Invisible - "they are v., v. cool in the Hoxton / Fin / Hot Chip way"
02 September 2009
I still can't believe it's a week away. it seems like yesterday I was writing up an article for PopWreckoning about the 2009 nods.
who I want to win (in no particular order):
La Roux - long live electropop! yummy electronoise you can eat up with a spoon. she's a young London chick singer with opinions of her own. (wow, what a concept!) "this time baby, I'll be bulletproof" is my new mantra.
Friendly Fires - well, duh. but seriously, the three of them are some of the hardest-working people in the business. and somehow they've managed to keep their egos in check and are still nice guys. if I'm being honest, I'm afraid that if they do win, I'll never see them again. I hope they turn out like Maximo Park and are willing to play stadiums and small clubs so we who knew them "before they was" still get to see them on a stage smaller than those requiring a Jumbotron.
Speech Debelle - her sound has grown on me. if the acts above have to lose to anybody, I'd rather it be her winning the gong than anyone else. oh what was that act last year that I really liked that Stuart Maconie turned me on to...shoot...the girl rapper from New York...shoot...it'll come to me eventually.
who is probably going to win (again, in no particular order):
Florence and the Machine - the bookies' favourite. and she's pretty/cute too, so she's got that going for her.
Glasvegas - I never jumped on this particular bandwagon of Alan McGee's. could it be that I'm still sore that he basically dropped Dirty Pretty Things for Glasvegas? possibly. but honestly, I've listened to their music...it's a yawn. er..."Geraldine"? please.
Bat for Lashes - I saw her last month and was disappointed. I know she has her avid fans, but I just couldn't get into her performance...too theatrical for me and not enough musical substance...
the Horrors - they're ok. maybe they'll pick up the gong as a sleeper act.
Kasabian - if they win, I think the nation will groan collectively. no hype, no excitement.
for more stuff about this year's nominees, have a read of this previous entry.
I know where I'll be come 8 September at 20.00. in front of the compy, listening to Lammo's broadcast on 6music, waiting with baited breath for the winner(s) to be announced.
01 September 2009
in fact, I am only mentioning b/c my mum brought it up today. ABC decided to repeat the episode last night (less than a week later, WTF?) and her being a night owl, she caught the tail-end of the show while channel surfing.
mum: why was the singer fiddling with knobs at the end of the song? ::starts bad imitation of Ed Mac turning knobs on his Moog:: there were these weird screechy sounds, terrible.
me: he plays a synth. that's what synth players do. synths have all these knobs and buttons that you can save sounds with.
mum: ::shakes head:: strange! he should have been singing at the end.
me: ::shakes head and turns away::
she'll never get them I'm afraid. like every other musical act that's ever caught my attention.
sigh. one of these days Ed will just have to come over to play my keyboards and show her exactly how it's done.
my other comments were posted last Friday here, on There Goes the Fear.
"Kiss of Life"
"Jump in the Pool"
oh yes! last but certainly not least up for discussion today...I made friends with a girl from the NW of England last week on Twitter. as a fellow Friendly Fires fan, I felt it were my duty to 1) tell her that they were going to do an in-store in Manchester, just up the road from where she lived and 2) convince her that she *must* go, because she hadn't seen them perform live, ever, and that they were wonderful people.
she had to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a train to Manc, but she did it...got there and got her wristband, even though both of us were worried by the ominous message she got from an HMV worker a couple days ago: "there's high demand for this event...people will be camping out the night before..."
as I expected, the lads put on a brilliant show for the punters and were charming for the autograph queue, even if the guards were pushing fans along to speed things up and no one really got to stop and talk with them. I got a lovely email from her earlier this evening before she went to bed, she said it had been the best day of her life and she thanked me for convincing her to go. she's going to post the photos she took tomorrow. I can't wait to see them, b/c I was and am truly excited for her.
I love it. another Friendly Fires gig convert!
Jack stopped to talk to me after the Brooklyn show - he recognised me from the previous night at LPR - and I explained to him I'd brought my friend from Kansas City to the New York show, so in addition to Washington D.C. being represented, so was the Midwest.
he said with an appreciative grin, "wow, all these towns converging on New York City..." yep. just doing my job, spreading the FF gospel...