26 February 2009

this week's Roundtable

with Cerys Matthews (ex-Catatonia, sometimes BBC radio and telly presenter) and Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks, plus some Jamie lad from NME

1. Depeche Mode - "Wrong" - hrm. I don't know if this will be a grower, but it seems pretty benign to me. in a bad way. I am reminded by both BBC radio and local radio that DM has put out some totally awesome songs - "Enjoy the Silence," "Everybody Counts," "Personal Jesus". so it's tough to compare...

2. Bat for Lashes - "Daniel" - I always think it's a bad idea to name your song after a song that already has a life of its own for another artist. (think Reg Dwight.) the voice sounds La Roux but the swirly production sounds like Ladytron. seeing that this '80s synthy revival is now a reality, bands are going to have to go that extra mile for me to be interested in them, or else they're all going to sound alike.

3. the winner - Art Brut - "Alcoholics Unanimous" - I don't see the point of screaming your head off with music that doesn't match. my ears are being assaulted. don't. like. I'll move on.

4. Plushgun - "Just Impolite" - the lyrics work for this tune - Johnny Cash is name-checked in a noncountry song - a plus!

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Zero" - I was in the middle of lunch, and obvs, this did not make an impression.

6. White Belt and Yellow Tag - "You're Not Invincible" - as Pete said, this is an echoey mess, "the bathroom from hell".

7. U2 - snips of "Get On Your Boots" and "No Line On the Horizon" (title track) among others, "Breathe" and "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" in whole - ok, so I finally figured out a couple days ago why I don't like GOYB. it sounds eerily too much like "Vertigo" (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb). sorry to say but I think U2's past it. "Breathe" uses the words "cockatoo" and "juju man" to comedic effect IMO and I don't think that was their point. their last great song was "Beautiful Day". hahaha Cerys said she thinks they've plundered everyone else's albums since 2004 to try and reinvent themselves and I have to agree.

Carl and Pete love at the NME awards

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat were reunited by means of the annual event that is known as the NME Awards last night. nice array of pics and misc coverage are available here and here.

It's also nice to see a good amount of people also slag off the Jonas Brothers. I'm soooo very sick of them...

Here's a list of last night's NME award winners from 6Music:

BEST BRITISH BAND supported by Shockwaves
Bloc Party
Last Shadow Puppets

BEST INTERNATIONAL BAND supported by 4music
Kings Of Leon
The Killers
Vampire Weekend
Crystal Castles

Laura Marling
Lightspeed Champion
Peter Doherty

BEST NEW BAND supported by Bench
Vampire Weekend
Late Of The Pier
White Lies

BEST LIVE BAND supported by Red Stripe
The Killers
Kings Of Leon

BEST ALBUM supported by HMV
Kings Of Leon - ‘Only By The Night’
The Killers - ‘Day & Age’
Glasvegas - ‘Glasvegas’
Oasis - ‘Dig Out Your Soul’
Bloc Party - ‘Intimacy’

BEST TRACK supported by NME Radio
Vampire Weekend - ‘A-Punk’
The Last shadow Puppets - ‘The Age Of The Understatement’
Kings Of Leon - ‘Sex On Fire’
The Ting Tings - ‘That's Not My Name’
MGMT - ‘Time To Pretend’

BEST VIDEO supported by NME TV
Late Of The Pier – ‘Heartbeat’
The Last Shadow Puppets - ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’
Radiohead - ‘House Of Cards’
Vampire Weekend - ‘A-Punk’
Oasis - ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’

T in the Park
Isle Of Wight Festival
Reading And Leeds Festival
V Festival

The Mighty Boosh
Gavin & Stacey
Never Mind The Buzzcocks
The IT Crowd

Bloc Party - ‘Mercury’
Dizzee Rascal - ‘Dance Wiv Me’
Crystal Castles - ‘Courtship Dating’
Friendly Fires - ‘Paris’
Late Of The Pier - ‘Bathroom Gurgle’

Foo Fighters - ‘Live At Wembley Stadium’
The Rolling Stones - ‘Shine A Light’
Kaiser Chiefs - ‘Live At Elland Road’
Arctic Monkeys - ‘At The Apollo’
Muse – ‘HAARP’

Noel Gallagher / Oasis
Little Boots
Lightspeed Champion

London 02 Arena
London Astoria
Glasgow Barrowland
London 02 Brixton Academy
Manchester Apollo

We Are Scientists – ‘Brian Thrust Mastery’
Muse – ‘HAARP’
The Cure – ‘4:13 Dream’
Guillemots – ‘Red’
The Killers – ‘Day & Age’

Brandon Flowers
Noel Gallagher
Barack Obama
Noel Fielding
Alex Turner

Amy Winehouse
George W Bush
Peter Doherty
John McCain
Gordon Brown

Brandon Flowers
Noel Fielding
Alexa Chung
Alex Turner
Noel Gallagher

Amy Winehouse
Peter Doherty
Katy Perry
Brandon Flowers
Johnny Borrell

Jonas Brothers - ‘A Little Bit Longer’
Coldplay - ‘Viva La Vida’
Britney Spears – ‘Circus’
Scouting For Girls - ‘Scouting For Girls’
Razorlight - ‘Slipway Fires’

Tokio Hotel
Jonas Brothers
Scouting for Girls
Fall Out Boy

Carl BarĂ¢t
Keith Murray
Matt Bellamy
Peter Doherty
Miles Kane

Hayley Williams
Kate Jackson
Alison Mosshart
Lykke Li
Stephanie Dosen

Last FM

random tidbit of the day: I just about died laughing when Stuart Maconie reported this on Monday night's programme - the pressings of the CD of Faryl Smith, a castoff from Britain's Got Talent, was discovered to be *not* to be her angelic own but the voice of the cantankerous Mark E. Smith and the Fall's 2008 album Imperial Wax Solvent.

Needless to say, Universal chiefs weren’t best pleased.

My spy tells me: “They had ordered hundreds of copies and they were staggered by what was on it. They have had severe words with the pressing plant.”

this begs the question, was the mistake in mixing up "Faryl" with "the Fall"? or perhaps mistaking one Smith for another? these photos side by side are hilarious.

19 February 2009

the promising Soft Pack / this week's Roundtable

The Soft Pack performed on Marc Riley's show last night (I can't be the only one who is grooving to the California band's single, "Nightlife"). Rob Hughes was standing in for an absent Marc and I asked him to ask TSP about what they call the "NME tour" they are doing when they come back to America next month - no, I did not ask for humour, I just wanted to know were they really on an NME tour extension? they didn't answer me but they *did* play three songs - "Extinction," "On My Time," and "Parasites", all of which can be listened to on their MySpace.


Thursday's Roundtable sees Jon McClure from Mongrel join the Music Week's Matt Everett and Fierce Panda's Simon Williams

1. The Enemy - "No Time for Tears" - another hearkening back to the '80s? even for that, not a fan.

2. Jack Penate - "Tonight's Today" - dunno why but the chorus reminds me too much of the arm swaying tendency of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana." it may grow on me but right now that repeating refrain is really annoying. I am still annoyed by the repetition of Wintersleep's "Oblivion" (even though they played the Hub earlier this week). a chatroom participant called it "indie tropicana" which brought Lammo and the other guests laughter.

3. Chew Lips - "Solo" - I am amused - and appreciative - for all these dancey-type songs coming out. I think it was Ladyhawke's "My Delirium" last year that got my ears pricked for tunes that tap Atari-era electronic sounds. a chatroom participant said it sounds like she was just playing the Legend of Zelda. quite. my thoughts exactly!

4. the Noisettes - "Don't Upset the Rhythm" - now I'm confused about this outfit. I *loved* "Wild Young Hearts." I hear this song and think, oh no, oh no no no no - they're sounding like everyone else now! but that's just me...

5. the winner - Titus Andronicus - "My Time Outside the Womb" - I was excited when I saw they were coming to D.C. on 19 April, especially since this is days after the tax man cometh. then I realised, darn, I won't be in town! (this happened last October too, when the Wedding Present decided to visit the area.) but back to the song - not impressed. it's a let-down after their first single.

6. Calvin Harris - "I'm Not Alone" - I heard this earlier and am still not impressed. in the middle, the song does a schizo leap, b/c it decides it should be synth pop.

7. Morrissey's new album "Years of Refusal" (out this week in the U.S. and the UK) - clips of "Paris," "Black Cloud," "That's How People Grow Up," and "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" - and "Something is Squeezing My Skull" and "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" in full - Lammo said Morrissey is starting to be like the Ramones - how you'll know exactly what his next record will sound like. (discuss!)

for my part, I have to say "Paris," "That's How People Grow Up," and "One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell" sound a lot better live than on the recording. glad that my "date" with the Mozzer is less than 5 weeks away :)

Grammys vs. Brits - who's got the gong (not the clap)?

I don't follow award shows anymore. there was a time when I was younger that I used to watch all of them, even the Country Music Awards (now known as the "CMAs") b/c my grandma was a big fan of Randy Travis. but over the years, it became obvious that the people who were chosen to win any award - at least in the U.S. - weren't any bands or singers that I liked.

so it was was interesting to hear about the Grammys this year that British artists swamped the nominations and indeed, ended up picking up most of the major category trophies. while I am happy to see that the Brits were well represented, I'm ambivalent to all the accolades being given to Coldplay - a band that I liked at the beginning before they got way too big and now feels so incredibly commercial.

so much that I was glad to see Elbow beat them for a Brit last night.

I was also happy to see that the British like Duffy despite Adele being the only one who gets any credit for this white British girl invasion.

what follows are the list of winners from the Brits last night and from the Grammys earlier this month.


From 6Music, the full list of this year's BRIT nominees and winners (in bold):

British Album:
Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Duffy - Rockferry
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
Radiohead - In Rainbows
The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing

British Group:
Girls Aloud
Take That

British Single:
Adele - Chasing Pavements
Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris and Chrome - Dance Wiv Me
Duffy - Mercy Estelle ft Kanye West - American Boy
Girls Aloud - The Promise
Leona Lewis - Better in Time
Scouting for Girls - Heartbeat
The X Factor Finalists - Hero

British Male Solo Artist:
Ian Brown
James Morrison
Paul Weller
The Streets
Will Young

British Female Solo Artist:
Beth Rowley

British Breakthrough Act:
The Last Shadow Puppets
Scouting For Girls
The Ting Tings

British Live Act :
Iron Maiden
Scouting For Girls
The Verve

International Album:
AC / DC - Black Ice
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
The Killers - Day & Age
Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

International Group:
Fleet Foxes
The Killers
Kings of Leon

International Male Solo Artist:
Neil Diamond
Kanye West
Seasick Steve

International Female Solo Artist:
Gabriella Cilmi
Katy Perry

Critics' Choice Award winner:
Florence & The Machine

Producer of the Year:
Bernard Butler

the list of Grammy winners is too long to list here, so go here if you are interested.

12 February 2009

Moz on Radio 2 Live last night / this week's Roundtable

I am not sure what to make of the Morrissey gig at the BBC Radio Theatre last night (available on the Rad/Mac page for the next 6 days). all the tracks seemed laboured.

I *did* highly enjoy "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?"


Thursday's Roundtable sees Radio 1's Bethan Elfyn join journalist Leonie Cooper in reviewing some new releases
(FYI Simon Raymonde of Bella Union Records (and ex-Cocteau Twins) was added at the last minute.)

1. Pet Shop Boys - "Love Etcetera" - dunno but this sounds old and tired to me. what do you think?

2. Peter Bjorn and John - "Nothing to Worry About" - just on principle, I should be against this b/c Kanye West is singing this band's praises. I agree with Leonie's assessment that the song sounds very Lykke Li, but Lykke Li does it better.

3. Spinnerette - "Ghetto Love" - the singer sounds like Chrissie Hynde, or maybe the vocalist for the Waitresses - neither of which are a compliment.

4. Hockey - "Too Fake" - perhaps I am jaded, but this sounds like other stuff that's out. their synth play remind me of Passion Pit, who they are touring with in England. hear this track and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

5. the winner - a tune by Maccabees - this reminds me of the new wave of shoegazing that is currently being led by White Lies.

6. Lady Sovereign - "So Human" - I am generally not a fan of rap or hip-hop but I like this one. it's got a nice melody and dancey backbeat - stolen from the Cure's "Close to Me". maybe that's why I dig it more than I should...anyhoo, you'd see me grooving to this at the disco.

7. Airborne Toxic Event (album of the week) - "Does This Mean You're Moving On?" - "so dumb, so dumb, so dumb, so dumb"...??? this does not make me optimistic about the gig of theirs I am going to next month. :/ Steve also played "Something New" which begins like a '60s song that I cannot think the title of right now...have a listen and tell me what it is, please! I have also read on the net it sounds like Jam's "A Town Called Malice." I don't agree. when I think of that song, I think of the crazy dancing scene in "Billy Elliott" when Jamie Bell is tip-tapping his way through his little town.

random tip of the day: this is of no consequence, but I am really digging Royksopp's "Happy Up Here" more than I should. this is evidenced by my brain thinking it really wants me to start doing jazz hands or rollerskate every time the song cues up on the radio.

11 February 2009

the greatest misuse of popular music - in adverts (1)

what is says on the tin: the advertising world has taken some of the most iconic songs of rock 'n' roll and degraded them...to background music to sell product or a brand.

these posts will seek to identify some of the most offending misuses of these songs and in some cases (when I feel the need to rant), why the offence.

old offences
"Come and Get It" - Badfinger and "Like a Rock" - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band - forget now, but they were used here to sell American cars in the '80s.

"Who Can It Be Now?" - Men at Work - a couple Halloweens ago it was used to advertise Kmart's selection of Halloween costumes. yeah, it was funny the first couple of times, but then when you realise what the song is about, it has nothing to do with little sprogs dressed up in their H'day togs.

"Call Me" - Blondie - yes, it has been used for mobile phone adverts. ::inward groan::

more recent
"More Than This" - Roxy Music - some insurance company. I take terrible offence for this song being used for this purpose.

"Hello Goodbye" - Beatles - terrible, terrible use of a great Fabs song for Target. puh-lease.

"Let's Dance" - Chris Montez - oh dear, it's being used for a JC Penney commercial.

"A Horse with No Name" - America - is being used to sell Vera Wang homewares at Kohl's. sorry, but how far away is chic stuff by the wedding dress guru from a bunch of hippies?


b/c Madison Avenue has no shame, I imagine this will be a regular column in this blog, so watch this space.

07 February 2009

coming round the corner on a scooter

sorry I have not posted since last week's Roundtable (on 29.01). I hope to post about it soon - I was listening to it when it was on but did not have a chance to do anything with it. my brain has been elsewhere: I had to move offices (which despite only moving down the hall required too much of my precious grey cells to figure out how to get all my stuff into a room 1/2 of the size of my now-former office) and I have been working on and therefore worrying about my taxes. it's extra complicated b/c I changed jobs last year and stuff has moved all over the place. (you Yanks out there can commisserate on this yearly groanworthy task we are required to do.)

quick note: in lieu of my review of 05.02's Roundtable songs, have a listen to the National Anthem (about 1 hr 57 into Thursday's show) 'cos it was my pick. it was nice to have "Time of the Season" played for me when one of the Zombies himself, Colin Blunstone, was one of Lammo's guest on Roundtable. I had to do a Joey-like "whoa!" under my breath as the song played.

also, I did not see Passion Pit as planned on 03.02. the show sold out 2 weeks ahead of the gig and when I wrote the club, I got a response of "there won't be any more tickets for this gig, on the day of the show or ever." however, on 02.02 I saw on their schedule that they'd moved the gig up to the main stage and now had 3 times more tickets available than ever before. that just reeks of greediness to me! am I upset that the Airborne Toxic Event show I am going to on 12 March has also moved up to the main stage? yes. can I do anything about it? unfortunately no.