21 May 2009

this week's Roundtable

Thursday's Roundtable sees Steve welcome the NME's Jamie Hodgeson, Ritzy from The Joy Formidable and Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine)

1. Ash - "Return of White Rabbit" - interesting...it's v. repetitive and could get on your nerves.

2. the Big Pink - "Stop the World" - v. different than their last single. it's a little too Nirvana-y for my tastes.

3. Julian Plenti - "Fun That We Have" - what an odd song. what freaked me was that it sounded like someone I used to know.

4. Miike Snow - "Burial" - does it sound like the Guillemots as someone in the chat room suggested? dunno, maybe if it was winter and it was snowing, I'd feel differently...but not ringing my bells.

5. Animal Collective - "Summertime Clothes" - ironic that I hear about this Maryland band through the BBC and not a LOCAL radio station? they just had a sold out show here in D.C. on 11 May.

6. Chew Lips - missed the title b/c I was in the loo - heh, funny that Florence doesn't like this b/c I thought it SOUNDED like her!

7. the winner - tracks from Jarvis Cocker's new album, "Further Complications" - I like the title track, but not a big fan of the first single, "Angela." it's well-trod on territory. but the punters seem to like it - and in today's record market, that's what counts.


reminder: no Roundtable review on 28 May (next week). after regaling with friends and good music at Dot to Dot in Nottingham, I plan to be planted firmly in a nice London Town restaurant this time next week, eat plenty of good curry, and drink too many halves of Stella. have a good week folks!

a Keane observer / cameras at gigs

I saw Keane - Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, and Richard Hughes - at Constitution Hall this past Tuesday. read all about it on my PopWreckoning review. really fine form. Tom Chaplin sings and prances effortlessly across a stage. however, I wonder how long his voice will hold out with the kind of workout Tim's songs give it. think how great Robert Plant was back in Led Zeppelin's heyday. and look at him now. just sayin'. so if you want to hear Keane live, do it - soon.

my absolute favourite of the night - no surprise - was the gorgeous "Perfect Symmetry." I think that was the single best song that came out in 2008, hands down. biggest surprise? "Playing Along" done solo and acoustically by Tom. I guess he liked our side of the stage b/c he spent a lot of time with us!

I am really impressed with the Helio Sequence. if you like the Lilac Time or like a little electronic sound in your pop/rock, definitely have a listen. and any band that covers the Beatles's "Tomorrow Never Knows" gets Brownie points in my book. big fan of their last album.

Mat Kearney - meh. I guess b/c I've been spoiled with other singer/songwriters, he just seemed very MOR. not really my thing. I kept looking at my watch, wondering when he would get off the stage and Keane would show up.


I'm curious what your opinions are on whether cameras, with or without flash, should be allowed at gigs. I think in a big arena type atmosphere as where I was on Tuesday, a thousand flashing cameras does detract from the live experience. it was nice to be at a gig where I didn't have to worry about setting a shot and could actually enjoy the entire sound and visual experience without having to be behind a lens. it was kinda annoying also to have these arms in front of me holding mobile phones or cameras of every description, blocking my view constantly. I saw some of the pics the girl in front of me took on her phone - they sucked (must have been the camera phone), and she was in fourth row. do you really need 100 blurry photos of the stage?

however, at smaller more intimate gigs, I think cameras are ok, provided that a person isn't flashing their cameras every 5 seconds. I'm careful not to do this and if possible, try not to photograph someone if they're looking in my direction, b/c it sucks when you get blinded by a camera flash.

that said, I take photos with flash b/c I know I'm not professional enough to be able to do it without. I know it's annoying from the band's perspective, but considering how I'm cognisant of NOT pestering them too much with the photos, I'm being thoughtful. I take photos to promote bands, not to wallpaper my bedroom, or to show them off to friends. free PR, right?

16 May 2009

no Roundtable review for 14.05 / research for my night job / an interesting turn of events re: the recession

sorry folks but due to illness, there won't be a review of the tunes analysed by Lammo and his panel from 14 May. you can instead hear a bit of get well soon wishes from Steve to me in the first 1/2 hour of Thursday's programme.


for my "other" gig in life with Popwreckoning, I have been soaking up as much as I can about the artistes playing Dot to Dot in preparation for my trip in less than a week. SQUEE. in particular, I listened to Radio1's Big Weekend transmissions from last weekend and radio programmes featuring Friendly Fires, including a Rob da Bank and Friends show (see previous post) and a live DJ set Ed Macfarlane and Jack Savidge did with the Queens of Noize on 6music earlier tonight. here's the setlist for the entire programme - some great tunes in the first 1/2 hour (La Roux, eeee!) , then some interesting selections from Ed and Jack.

May Remix Round Up
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero (Erol Alkan Remix)
Passion Pit - The Reeling (Calvin Harris Remix)
Phoenix - Lisztomania (Yuksek Remix)
La Roux - Bulletproof (Zinc Remix)
Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van (A1 Bassline Remix)
Telepathe - Chrome's On It (The Shoes Remix)

Queens' Classic Dance Moment
Bizzare Inc - Playing With Knives

Friendly Fires - Jump In The Pool (Thin White Duke Remix)

Friendly Fires In The Mix
Rufus Wainwright - Tiergarten (Supermayer Remix)
Worst Case Scenario - Hot Beef
Akeke Ifu - Mirror Dance
Daniele Papini - Church Of Nonsense
Cajmere - Say You Will
Marshall Jefferson - Mushroooms (Justin Martin remix)
Liquid Liquid - Optimo (Optimo remix)
Reboot - Vandon
Thomas Barford and Fredski - Swan Lake

Gossip - Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)
Official Secrets Act - Bloodsport (Filthy Dukes Remix)

By Royal Appointment
Florence And The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) (Leo Zero Remix) 6 MIX EXCLUSIVE

End Of The Night Party Banger
Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers


because of the global recession, less bands are able to travel all over the U.S. I'm not talking just international acts. stateside ones too! it's as if they have to pick one coast or the other. arguably, there's a bigger concentration of venues on the East Coast (as compared to the West), from as far up as Boston, all the way down to Charlotte - or even down to New Orleans or Orlando.

an even more interesting phenomenon I've noticed is bands from Europe are either starting or finishing their tours in D.C. maybe b/c it's cheaper to fly into or out of Washington Dulles? I certainly fly out of IAD to LHR every time I go to London...

three examples:

White Lies / Friendly Fires (NME Presents tour) - started tour at the Black Cat on 24 March
Noah and the Whale - finished their N.A. tour in D.C. at the Black Cat on 2 May
Peter Bjorn and John - finished their N.A. tour in D.C. at the 9:30 Club on 2 May

my impression? I love it when D.C. is the start or an end of a tour. it makes an impression on a band. D.C. - and a D.C. audience - is either the first or last thing they're gonna see on a tour while visiting our country.

and of course, I offer my services as tour guide and chauffeur for whatever you British bands need :)

08 May 2009

upcoming BBC Radio programmes of note

if you're not at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend in Swindon for the next 2 days like many of the bands I'm digging right now, don't fret. there's still good music programmes to be had from the comfort of your own home...

as usual, BBC radio programmes are available for 7 days after original broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.

David Byrne special on Music Week (Sunday 10 May 13.00 London time, 8.00 East Coast time)

Geordie band Maximo Park and reformed ska legendary band Madness join Dermot O'Leary on Saturday 9 May 15.00-18.00 BDT (10.00 to 13.00 Eastern)

in honour of Billy Joel's 60th birthday, the second half of a show about his life at 22.00 (18.00) on Saturday night

ah yes, and belated birthday wishes to Rob Lee (aka Wax Stag), touring bassist/percussionist with Friendly Fires. (this was discerned from Jack Savidge's Twitter, and I know missed Jack's birthday sometime the 2nd or 3rd week of April, sorry about that dude :)


edit 16.05: in the wee hours of the morning of Monday 11 May, the Rob da Bank and Friends programme of Radio1 had Friendly Fires on (my latest English band obsession) with their A-Z chosen tracks. catch it if you can here. if not, here's the tracks they chose:

A. Adonis – ‘No Way Back’ (Trax)
B. Boredoms – ‘Heart’ (Warners Japan)
C. Chic – ‘I Want Your Love’ (Atlantic)
D. George Kranz – ‘Din daa daa’ (Hot Productions)
E. ESG – ‘Dance’
F. Friendly Fires – ‘Jump In The Pool (Thin White Duke remix)’ (XL)
G. Gza – ‘4th Chamber’ (Geffen)
H. Hot Chocolate – ‘Heaven’s In The Back Seat of My Cadillac’ (EMI) - one of FF's fave pregig pump-up tunes
I. Inner City – ‘Big Fun’ (Virgin)
J. Junior Boys – ‘Under The Sun’ (KIN)
K. Kanye West – ‘Paranoid’ (Roc-a-Fella) - apparently Kanye is a fan?
L. Friendly Fires – ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’ (Lykke Li cover)
M. Matthew Dear – ‘Dog Days’ (Spectral Sound)
N. Nas – ‘It’s Ain’t Hard To Tell’ (Columbia)
O. O’Jays – ‘Put Our Hands Together’
P. Public Enemy – ‘Can I Get A Witness’ (Def Jam) - Chuck D and posse stormed FF's dressing room for a photo shoot at Coachella, to
Q. Q and Not U – ‘Line In The Sand’ (Dischord)
R. Kate Bush – ‘Running Up That Hill (Ashley Beedle re-edit)' - Edd thinks this is the ultimate karaoke song
S. Cerrone - ‘Supernature’
T. My Bloody Valentine – ‘To Here Knows When’ (Creation Records)
U. Burial – ‘Near Dark’ (Hyperdub) (album: 'Untrue')
V. Gang Gang Dance – ‘Vacuum’ (Social Registry)
W. Wax Stag – ‘Gold Gold’ (People In The Sky)
X. Mogwai – ‘Xmas Steps’ (Rock Action Records)
Y. Broken Social Scene – ‘time=cause’
Z. Zed Bias – ‘Neighbourhood’ (Locked On)

07 May 2009

Whale watching (photos first)

link to my Popwreckoning review

now, before I give my personal thoughts on the gig last Saturday, here are the photos from the Noah and the Whale gig (Anni Rossi and Ferraby Lionheart supporting) on 2 May 2009, the last night of NATW's 2-week tour.

to save some time, I've shoved them on here, and they might not fit in the view of the browser you're using, so just click on the pic and you'll get the full version. ok?

Anni Rossi

Ferraby Lionheart and touring bandmembers

Noah and the Whale

01 May 2009

this week's Roundtable

this week's report is late owing to your faithful writer being pulled in too many directions this week. needless to say, I am glad it is Friday and tomorrow is when I see Noah and the Whale. owing to a massive matter known to me as a painful and swollen foot (owww) I shall be patronising several D.C. taxis for the first time, ever.

Roundtable returned for another week, with Martin Fry from ABC, Billboard Magazine's Mark Sutherland and Little Boots

1. Jarvis Cocker - "Angela" - I didn't know this was Jarvis - haha! sorry man, not feeling it.

2. Florence And The Machine - "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" - I'm not a big fan of Florence, and this song is a little too balls-to-the-wall for me. everyone in the studio liked it, so who knows if my opinion means anything :)

3. La Roux - "Bulletproof" - I love Elly, so you can't expect a unbiased opinion on this. while it doesn't have the heavy dance immediacy of "Quicksand" or croony "In for the Kill," it still has little La Roux's stamp on it.

4. the winner - the Eels - "Fresh Blood" - this is down and dirty more than me or Victoria Little Boots likes it. I dunno, does this mean grunge is back? interesting...it sure paints a nice contrast with all the other retro sounding music coming out as of late.

5. Gossip - "Heavy Cross" - hmm. I'm ambivalent on this. I like the sound generally, but it's lumping in with everyone else that sounds like them right now.

6. Goldheart Assembly - "So Long Saint Christopher" - this has a very American AC likeability, so I was a little shocked that Lammo likes it. it's a little slow, but it reminds me of a rough Simon and Garfunkel. the twangy guitars help too. haha Mark Sutherland thinks it sounds like "A Whiter Shade of Pale." that's what I was thinking of!

7. Prince's new album - "Dance For Me" and "There'll Never Be (Another One Like Me)" in full - WTH is wrong with Prince's voice? it sounds like he swallowed a gallon of helium. christ! thank you Martin Fry for saying the last good thing he did was "Purple Rain."