29 October 2009

this week's Roundtable (29/10)

This week sees Luke Haines and Gideon Coe on Roundtable (not sure where Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood went) and Tom Ravenscroft (John Peel's son) who's never been on Roundtable before, and included a discussion of side projects

1. Them Crooked Vultures - "New Fang" - I rather like this. harder edge. sure better than that "Wheels" piffle Foo Fighters is trying to peddle.

2. Fyfe Dangerfield - "When You Walk in the Room" - plinky plonky music. not grabbing me. apparently it's a solo effort?

3. Chew Lips - "Slick" - synthtastic. like it. free track. looking forward to their debut album coming out early next year.

4. Richard Hawley - the winner - "Open Up Your Door" - Richard can do no wrong in my book, he always manages a lovely lilting song. he's high up on my "you slay me" list.

5. Field Music - "Measure" - it starts promising, v. bluesy. then it turns into something CCR/Eagles-ish that I don't really like...rather schizophrenic as Tom said.

6. Ellie Goulding - "Under the Sheets" - I heard this the other day on Radio1. not impressed.

7. Brett Anderson (ex-Suede)'s latest solo album "Slow Attack" including "The Swans" and "Julian's Eyes" - the nasal delivery of "The Hunted" did not move me when he was interviewed yesterday by Richard Bacon (pinch hitting for Cerys Matthews, who has been sitting in for Nemone while she's been on maternity leave). it's too dreary.

22 October 2009

this week's Roundtable (22/10) / Jarvis is a new 6music presenter

even though I feel like I've been run over by a bus and if I could, would crawl into bed, duvet over my head, I will not let *4* weeks go by without a Roundtable assessment. my readers, you see what great pains I take for you?

special Electric Proms edition live from the Roundhouse featuring Florence Welch, Romeo from The Magic Numbers, and Jarvis Cocker

1. LCD Soundsystem - "Bye Bye Bayou" (Alan Vega cover) - James Murphy is back. let's get back on the dancefloor, peeps...wooo!

2. Frank Turner - "Poetry of the Deed" - I really like Frank. I am still annoyed that the closest he has played is Baltimore. and he was recently in Washington, but I don't really count that b/c he was going through the airport (presumably Washington Dulles, where Friendly Fires were separated from their drum kit earlier this year). this isn't as jaunty as I remember his other songs being, but good nevertheless. "life is too short / to live without poetry" - yes!

3. the Drums - "I Felt Stupid" - it's with some dubiosity (is that a word?) that yet again, BBC Radio has discovered and tipped an American band before us Americans even heard of them. oh dear, the chorus is annoying as hell. and I had so much hope for them with "Let's Go Surfing". hahaha Jarvis was disappointed in the song after hearing the title.

I should prolly note here I'm not a big fan of Flo (partly due to a diva-like dissing I heard her give another band last winter, before either of them were "a big deal"). but every other word coming out of her mouth is "like" and she sounds really ditzy. and she is listening to some greatest hits of the Eurythmics. ::snore::

4. Mumford and Sons - "Winter Winter" (I think?) - oddly, I am starting to like these mates of Noah and the Whale than the Whale themselves and I feel terrible for it. ukelele jangling and Marcus Mumford's voice not wholly unlike Charlie Fink and I'm all confused. then there's a trumpet, which reminds me of Fanfarlo...I think? and possibly an accordion?

5. oops. missed this one. must not have been great, b/c it wasn't taking me away from watching this video of Eddie Argos of Art Brut defeating Craig Finn of the Hold Steady at sumo wrestling.

6. something Zola (they must be Italian b/c NME was blowing up all over the place today about it) - "Lies" - Jarvis called the sound "guitars trying to do the big fuzzy thing" (lololol).

7. the winner - Julian Casablancas's solo album including "Out of the Blue" and "" - at first listen...man, these songs sound stupid and uninspired. I am ambivalent about the Strokes (take 'em or leave 'em) so it's nothing related to my previous bias for his band.

OMG Jarvis Cocker will be having his own weekly programme with 6music next year? 15.30 to 17.30 on Sundays. ACES! his first order of business, announcing "a bangin' track from Leonard Cohen". ROFL

19 October 2009

thank you, Mr. Eddie Argos / defo not a groupie!

my paternal grandfather passed on when I was very young in the month of October (and on Halloween no less). in the month of October for the last 9 years I've either somehow been ill, incapacitated (unable to walk due to an injury), undergoing chemo, or hospitalised during some time of the month. so October has always a source of apprehension for me.

this year (actually several days ago) I suffered a minor setback with a knee injury that needed IV treatment. (long story, but this China doll may actually be made out of china.) most of my friends online knew about this and were on the whole quiet about it. this could just be Social Networking fatigue, with Facebook, Twitter, and god knows what else is eating up their time. I was more worried about not being able to hobble down 14th Street too well for my interview time with Eddie Argos of Art Brut. I, like everyone else, have my "issues" (but mine are medical related, seem to come up at the most annoying of times and, are always 1,000x more frustrating than everyone else's) but when it comes to music, I want people to focus on me as the music appreciator, journo, and interviewer.

I did not know I would be in for a nice surprise.

his manager went to go get him from the backstage and he soon appeared. Eddie Argos is a very tall man. it's kind of funny that he is so into comics, b/c given his size, he is larger than life and could easily *be* a superhero. the first thing he asked was, "how is your knee?" I was really taken aback by his concern for my well-being. here is a guy who only knows me by my Twitter name pretty much - and maybe he heard my real name in passing last night before his manager went and got him.

so he had me at "how is your knee?" not v. rock 'n' roll but I am grateful for his concern. I don't think too many rock stars would react the same way. my nerves went away immediately and we had a nice chat about comics and the new Art Brut album. I'm trying to figure out how to convert the .wav of the interview to a smaller .mp3 for the blog and as soon as I do, it'll be online at TGTF.


if I'm being totally honest, the last couple of weeks have been a fun yet strange (sometimes frustrating) journey through the world of music journo-ing. I've cheered on friends when they've played at local venues. I've interviewed some great people in the business and been told to keep doing what I'm doing and keep up the good work, because it will lead somewhere someday. and then I've seen/heard some things that made me gulp and wonder if I'm cut out for this b/c not all that glitters...

I've had to explain to several close friends (girls) what I've been doing and been called a "groupie" for it. I'm not sure how I got through those social situations without having a barney with them and yelling, "get it into your thick skull that I'm not a groupie, I'm a journo!" when it happened, I took the high road by leaving the party, rolling down the windows of my car, putting on a CD made by a trio of guys from a town north of London - you know which ones I'm talking about - and singing along to their songs at the top of my lungs all the way home.

I'm not a feminist in the traditional sense, so you won't be getting a tirade from me on the oppressed female in the workplace or whatever else feminists like to talk about. what I will say is that so far, I guess I have been lucky that only a couple times did I feel uncomfortable about being a woman journo in the company of men in power in the business, because as I'm sure you probably know, many of the PRs and managers in the music world are men. some of them I'm sure feel a bit dubious when I approach them for the purposes of blogging. which I understand is a knee-jerk reaction b/c yes, I give that some women get into this line of work to have an "in" with their favourite bands. but...to be fair, there are fangirls and fanboys. fandoms don't have gender lines.

I just want people to take me seriously. two from the aforementioned trio of guys from a town north of London appeared slightly standoffish at the beginning of my interview with them 5 months ago but quickly melted when they realised I'd done my homework and knew much about them, so much that I could ask them intelligent questions. I think bands appreciate anyone, guy or girl, who takes the time to really think about what to ask them instead of asking them the same generic questions that newspapers and magazines would ask. and that's what I have always endeavoured to do since I started doing this months ago.

anyhoo, this related back to Eddie Argos b/c he reminded me that rock stars - well, the normal ones anyway - are just like you and me. and on the whole, they will be nice to you because you're doing them a favour - promoting them, and they're doing you a favour - for your career. win-win. what not so nice things have happened to me or I've heard/seen lately, those are just blips on the radar. and at the end of the day, what I'm doing is for the love of music. and I can't forget that. thank you Eddie Argos for making me see the light. I salute you.


oh, and should you be interested (and you should if you know what's good for you!), I've scheduled the Art Brut gig review piece to post tomorrow at 14.00 GMT at TGTF. catch it possums!

17 October 2009

fly-by-night pubs update

I am chilling with some Bibio ("Ambivalence Avenue") while I post this terrible excuse for a blog entry: a list of everything I've posted to PW and TGTF in the last couple of weeks (not including mp3 of the day and video of the moment features, b/c you should really visit There Goes the Fear daily for those.

I am supposed to meet and interview Eddie Argos of Art Brut tomorrow night. I'm anxious. I'm not as well versed on Art Brut (or comics, his favourite subject as of late) as I should be, so this makes me nervous. he's a free spirit. and anyone knows me I'm pretty much "by the book". I hope he calls me "sweetheart" and those nerves evaporate away. Eddie has started a tour diary on his blog and I hope Washington gets a mention, and not because of a "silly Oriental girl with glasses I met and knew nothing about me or my band". fingers crossed.

I was remiss in not posting on Friday - it was Steve Lamacq's birthday. happy HAPPY Lammo! I hope it was great. (that he was on holiday all week, I take as a v. good sign.)

and here are the links:

Pains of Being Pure at Heart with Cymbals Eat Guitars and the Depreciation Guild @ Black Cat

Bajofondo with the Phenomenal Handclap Band @ 9:30 Club (btw it should be noted that Sean Marquand gave me a huge grin and waved when he saw me. holla.)

Airborne Toxic Event with Red Cortez and the Henry Clay People @ 9:30 Club

interview with Marc Beatty and Eamon Hamilton of Brakes:
part 1 - here
part 2 - here

Fat Cat tour featuring We Were Promised Jetpacks, Brakes, and the Twilight Sad

interview with Charlotte Hatherley (whose PR liked my album review)

13 October 2009

somebody put on the Brakes! please!

christ, I haven't posted here in a really long time, it feels like. I've just gotten back from a trip to Cali and I feel like I haven't stopped moving since the middle of September when I had seen 4 gigs in 8 days. and I haven't gotten much sleep either!

I am still not done transcribing my interview with Marc Beatty and Eamon Hamilton of Brakes from the 5th of October. major accomplishment getting through about 2/3rds of the way through tonight. I just saw the Airborne Toxic Event at the 9:30 Club last night (the write-up to go live tomorrow at 2 PM GMT at TGTF), and last week I had the Fat Cat tour (including Brakes, We Were Promised Jetpacks and the Twilight Sad) and Bajofondo (electro tango group that was surprisingly v. good and v. dancey!) with the Phenomenal Handclap Band gig write-ups to worry about, so yeah, I've been a bit pressed for time!

but...before I sound like I'm whinging, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm supposed to be interviewing Eddie Argos of Art Brut on Sunday night but after I've got the interview with him and the gig write-up knocked out, I will be taking a break until the start of November. so yeah, you'll hear more from me soon enough :)

in the meantime, watch "Kiss of Life" and the whole Friendly Fires le poisson rouge gig taped by the nice people at Baeblemusic. trust me, it's lush.

02 October 2009

Sept rehash and Oct look forward

1. no Roundtable assessment for 01/10 (yesterday), sorry. as usual, I have an excuse...

I went to 5 gigs this month. it's actually not that big of a feat, given that 4 of them were in a span of 8 days and I just had the fifth Wednesday night. I haven't a lot of time, so I'll link to these two areas of PW and TGTF and you can have a look:

http://popwreckoning.com/category/local-scene/washington-dc-local-scene/ - I've written most of these articles. the most recent gig reviews:

  • Perez Hilton Presents Tour (Ladyhawke, Ida Maria, Frankmusik, Semi Precious Weapons) - 12 Sept - 9:30 Club
  • Jack Penate / Miike Snow - 18 Sept - Rock n Roll Hotel
  • School of Seven Bells / Phantogram / Dub Pixel - 27 Sept - Rock n Roll Hotel
http://www.theregoesthefear.com/author/mary/ - these are all written by me. most recent postings, including gig reviews:

  • Perez Hilton Presents Tour (Ladyhawke, Ida Maria, Frankmusik, Semi Precious Weapons) - 12 Sept - 9:30 Club
  • Appomattox - 16 Sept - Red and Black Bar
  • inteview with Appomattox - 16 Sept
  • Jack Penate / Miike Snow - 18 Sept - Rock n Roll Hotel
  • interview with Jack Penate - 18 Sept
  • the Horrors / Crocodiles / Casper Bangs - 19 Sept - Black Cat

1.5. Appomattox and Jack Penate were a complete joy to interview. Jack says I should move to London. he says so, so I should, right? haha. he also wanted me to say hello to the Horrors the next night, but I couldn't stomach hanging around any longer after their show than necessary. I'll give any music a try but they're just not my thing.

2. The review for 30 Sept's Pains of Being Pure at Heart / the Depreciation Guild / Cymbals Eat Guitars gig at the Black Cat has been submitted but not posted, so keep an eye on PopWreckoning should you be interested. I was told that the "feature" option is currently broken on the PW site, which sucks b/c I really wanted to post it as a feature. why? I do believe the Pains... are my new favourite live band. you'll read more when the gig review comes out, but yeah, I had a taster of what they were like live in Nottingham but could not see them clearly, nor could I witness a full set of theirs.

I appreciate sincerity in rock stars b/c once they attain a certain level of fame and status, they all seem to become wankers and idiots and don't remember the little people. Kip Berman remembers everyone, shaking hands with and engaging in convos with so many people at the show Wed night that I thought he must have known everyone there. at one point he talked to this young girl (who had shouted "Kip!" to get his attention when he was tuning his Jaguar) and we were laughing at something he'd said about uni days and then looked at me, saying "what? it's true!" and then flashed a smile. I almost died. sorry, but I'm vulnerable to any singer/songwriter who's actually nice. then after the show, I went to buy a copy of their new EP, "Higher Than the Stars", and talked a bit to Peggy Wang, their keyboardist. so sweet, we hugged, she thanked me for dancing during their set. WHY other people weren't, dunno. the pure sweetness of the lyrics with the washy shoegaze guitars - GORGEOUS. thanks to the great wonder that is KEXP in Seattle, you can watch "Higher Than the Stars" live at the now-famous Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon.

GET THE NEW EP. it's fab. for more info on them and the EP, read this article from the D.C. area Express Night Out that funnily enough mentions Mike Joyce.

3. I am interviewing Brakes (Eamon et al.) next week. The Brighton band, not the Philly one. I'm really nervous about this one. I've never met them before obviously, but more so, I was asked specifically for this interview. I'm not sure if my reputation precedes me or what, so this should be interesting nevertheless. I will be armed with some new knowledge bestowed to me by my best Dutch friend...

4. for my belated birthday present to myself, I've bought my ticket to the last date of the Winter NYLON Music Tour in Boston on 4 December. the ticket should winging its way towards my mailbox any day now, as I got a notice earlier this week that it was shipped. going to see if I can interview Friendly Fires for TGTF, because it'd be brill to have a "what a year it was for you guys!" kind of piece on them. have to sort my plane tickets and a hotel room but this is pretty much a go...and it's going to be one wild week b/c...

5. the day I fly home from Boston, I will be seeing the Big Pink at the Black Cat, on 5 December. if the FF interview does not pan out, I'll see about interviewing the boys of the BP instead.

have a fab October!

01 October 2009

your name in lights

quick update from me. a while back I was alerted that I had become famous. sort of. I was blogged about by a Northern Virginia band. read on:

You're bored listening to your re-rere-remastered of the complete collection of the Beatles !? Helloooho, we're on 2009 now ! Just check out Mary Chang's blog and see what's the dynamic Britpop scene has to offer nowadays.

I've been to couple of very good shows that past month: Bat for Lashes at the 9:30 club, and Phenomenal Hand Clap Band at the DC9. I did not know these bands beforehand, I just went there on the advise of a friend of my very best friend (draw your own conclusions). Her name (of the friend of my friend, to make things clear, if this can be): Mary. It came out that Mary devoted herself to Britpop: she knows and follows an impressive amount of bands, she goes to most of the gigs in DC, even traveling to festivals, in the US or even in the UK ! Not only she is passionate, but she also knows how to share that passion by being a writer on popwreckoning.com. I really enjoy reading her articles and thanks to her I discovered new bands that I'm listening to now. So I thought that deserved couple of lines here, and I'm sure that many of the Starryville fans, or just music lovers, would enjoy reading Mary's articles and advises as well. Enjoy !

from this page on the Starryville blog