30 June 2010

quarterly best-of releases, 2010, Q2

I'm writing this in advance, because come 30 June, I will be steadying myself for day 1 on the grounds of Roskilde!

best albums released
  • the Futureheads- 'the Chaos' - I wasn't completely sold on this until I saw them live at the Black Cat. WOW.
  • Two Door Cinema Club - 'Tourist History' - pop tour de force. I'm seeing them at least once this spring, if not twice. 'nuff said.
  • Broken Bells - 'Broken Bells' - Dangermouse (Brian Burton) and James Mercer of the Shins have put together a psychedelic, trippy pop record that I absolutely adore.
  • Villagers - 'Becoming a Jackal' - Conor J. O'Brien's folk project
worst / most disappointing albums released
  • Keane - 'Nighttrain EP' - I had such high hopes when their collaboration with K'Naan, 'Stop for a Minute', arrived on the scene. what a disappoint to hear a bunch of mismatched tracks through haphazardly together.
  • Hot Chip - 'One Life Stand' - the album is good in parts but what the heck is going on in the middle, guys?!?!?
best singles released
  • 'Heartbeat Song' - Futureheads - wonderful, just wonderful. pop love song of the summer.
  • 'Dreaming of Another World' - Mystery Jets - technically this isn't released until July. but it's already on radio and it's breathtaking.
worst / most disappointing single released
  • 'Flashover' - Klaxons - I'm sorry, but WTH is this?!? not impressed. (for more on this, read Roundtable 20/05 entry)
best gig
  • Futureheads at Black Cat, 4 June. wow, what a powerhouse live. Jaff Craig deserves mad props for giving the poor blogger (me) a setlist IN THE MIDDLE of a set. and Barry Hyde DMed me with 'we're gonna knock your socks off. B x' indeed, they did. probably the most fun I've had at a gig since Nottingham 24 May seeing Patrick Wolf, Ladyhawke, and Friendly Fires.
worst / most disappointing gig
  • Hot Chip at the 9:30 Club - I just wasn't feeling it. I also did not appreciate getting bumped on purpose by this tall Indian dude next to me b/c I was there covering it and having to take notes, and he didn't like it. was I bothering him? NO. I thought I had written about it on here but basically there came a point where I was near tears - I was, as usual, by myself - and I thought I might get crushed and die in the body melee that was 'Over and Over'. I got out of the club, gasping for air. that was the first time I ever have been to a gig and actually feared for my life. I never want to be in a situation like that ever again.
other recommendations
  • if you like Fleet Foxes, try Goldheart Assembly.
  • if you like MGMT, try Broken Bells.
  • if you like Editors, try the National. (I don't really dig either.)

26 June 2010

Roskilde schedule

tentative plans:

Thursday 01 July
1800 Welcome (Orange)
1800 Paramore (Arena) - catch end of their set

2015 LCD Soundsystem (Cosmopol) - possible interview beforehand?

2200 Gorillaz (Orange)
2230 Wild Beasts (Pavilion)- catch part of their set if bored with Gorillaz

Friday 02 July
1200 Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Odeon) - if I can make it to the festival site that early

1400 Delphic interview - media area

1600 Florence and the Machine (Odeon) - if I'm feeling like a star. probably not, b/c I want to get to Pavilion early

1700 Delphic (Pavilion)
1800 Casiokids (Odeon) - probably miss part of this b/c I'll stay for Delphic's entire set

1930 Alice in Chains (Orange)
2100 Biffy Clyro (Arena)
2230 Them Crooked Vultures (Orange)

0100 Japandroids (Pavilion)
0100 Nephew (Orange)

Saturday 03 July
1430 Asteroids Galaxy Tour (Odeon)

1700 Vampire Weekend (Arena) - possible interview beforehand?

1900 Bad Lieutenant (Arena) - possible interview beforehand?
2000 Prins Thomas (Cosmopol) - not looking likely :/

2130 Pendulum (Arena) - skip if queueing for Muse
2230 Muse (Orange)

0100 The Prodigy (Orange)
0100 Titus Andronicus (Pavilion)

0245 Moderat (Cosmopol)

Sunday 04 July
1500 Dulsori (Odeon)

1600 Local Natives (Pavilion)

1700 the Kissaway Trail (Odeon)
1700 Jack Johnson (Orange)

1900 Miike Snow (Odeon) - will probably leave early to catch second half of Kasabian's set
1930 Kasabian (Orange)

2100 the Temper Trap (Odeon) - already seen them but they would be good to see again, but likely will have to queue for Prince
2200 Prince (Orange)

25 June 2010

Parklife Festival

thanks to a heads-up from fellow fan Piran in Manchester, here's a clip of Friendly Fires playing 'Lovesick' at Manchester's inaugural Parklife Festival on 12 June. judging from this, they're in fine form. what tubbiness?

24 June 2010

Roskilde, I am ready for you. bring it on!

forecast for Friday calls for rain. this sucks, b/c that's the day I interview (and watch) Delphic.

I'm ready, I've got my wellies (sans jeans, b/c I was told they'd never dry if I wore them when it rained).

I will be SO SO SO RELIEVED to get out of Washington. it is currently over 38C+ during the daytime, and going to a place where 20C is the average will be FABULOUS!

18 June 2010

IOW, Rockness, and more from Snowbombing Festival

I won't even try to pretend. I am really frustrated. it is really really frustrating when a band you like is playing all these festivals in a whole 'nother country and you can't see ANY of the footage but I have to HEAR people saying "they were good." I know they were good. DUH. and they played the new songs. NEW SONGS. and I can't see or hear ANY of it! ::grumble::

the closest I've been to experiencing something live is a v. short interview they did with Annie Mac last last Friday at Rockness. Ed Mac didn't want to say much b/c he said he didn't want to interrupt the ravers so not much was said at all before they introduced a minimix for Annie (phooey!)

here is an 'interview' the Rockness people did with Ed Mac a week before they appeared on the Friday of the festival at Inverness. pretty silly. it was however useful for linking up to this nice video from Reading 2009 that I've never seen before:

and here is a this NME article about their appearance at Isle of Wight last Sunday. boggles my mind why Ed Mac would dedicate 'Kiss of Life' to all the Pink fans...heh. also that bit of "Enjoy the rest of your day," declared the frontman ahead of set closer 'Paris, "but remember us!' n'awwww, bless.

it just so happened that on the same page there was an interview from Mayrhofen (Snowbombing) in April, so I thought I'd link to it. the promoter mock disses the Friendly Fires set and says Ed Mac is an obvious star b/c his shirt is soaked through with sweat, and Edd Gibson being hilarious as usual. big worry: it sounds like this album is far, far away from being completed, let alone released. I guess this is why XL did not bother to put their name on their release list of 2010. disappointed.

Jay-Z and Beyonce to guest star on 'Paris'? fact or fiction? hehehe...Gibson, you're such a kidder.

I can't figure out how to embed the video - or rather I tried to copy and paste the embed code from NME but I don't think it's working. so click here.

17 June 2010

this week's Roundtable (17/06)

Join Lammo as he welcomes Scott from Scottish rockers Frightened Rabbit, David Quantick and Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde into the studio to chat about some interesting new releases.

1. The United Nations of Sound - dunno the name - zzzzz. I've never been a massive fan of Richard Ashcroft, even when the Verve were at their peak.

2. Zola Jesus - 'Night' - I'm not a fan of Bat for Lashes-y female atmospheric pop (and Scott agreed with me - win!). for a woman's voice to work for me, the melody is key (which is why Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac and Romy Madley-Croft / the xx are great in my book). this just sounds like swirling dervish ughness.

3. the Arcade Fire - 'We Used to Wait' - this band is one of those that I have friends who are absolute foaming at the mouth fanatic types. I still don't get it. it's all right but not earth-shattering.

4. Dangermouse / Sparklehouse - 'Little Girl' - the winner - this is interesting having heard the James Mercer (the Shins, Broken Bells with Dangermouse) collab live last week, I have high hopes for 'Dark Night of the Soul'.

5. M.I.A. - xxxo - I like the vibe on this. too bad that she's getting the reputation for being a bad ass after giving away a Times' reporter's mobile number after 'being misquoted'.

6. Fanfarlo - 'Fire Escape' - ohhhhh Fanfarlo!!! (sorry while I have a fangirl moment.) this is a band I've saw live without any idea of how they were in performance and they blew me away. I want them to do well. I might start crying in a moment...

7. Kele Okereke's debut album 'The Boxer' including tracks like 'Walk Tall' - I think 'Tenderoni' is still the best track. I really need to hear the whole album to make a better judgment tho.

14 June 2010

it must be the vuvuzelas...

my head hurts! (many thanks to Gigwise's Day 1 of Rockness photo coverage).

I imagine this is during 'Photobooth', when Ed Mac hits his head with his microphone. it must be painful, b/c *I* got hit in the head with his microphone cord a couple times at le poisson rouge last summer, and that's not even METAL.

13 June 2010

World Cup fever

warning: not a music post. a football / World Cup post!

years ago, when I was a wee little sprog, I really enjoyed watching (American) football. I would sit on my dad's knee as he drank a Michelob and watch our beloved Redskins play. the Dallas Cowboys were our sworn enemy (but it was never fully explained to me why. if you lived in the DC area you were supposed to hate the Cowboys and anyone sorry enough to root for them).

nowadays I don't follow any of our local teams, except for my alma mater (University of Maryland) and their NCAA basketball team come March Madness.

England Premier League footy and the big kahuna of them all, the World Cup, are entirely different. there is something so wonderful about English footy. I think it has to do with regional pride, because where you are born in England determines which team is your team for life. I know my dear friend Matt Abbott, Wakefield born and bred, will always be a Leeds United lifer, as Steve Lamacq will always be a Colchester United lifer. it's a badge of honour, it's a badge of solidarity. you may move away from your hometown, but you keep the loyalty. I don't feel that kind of loyalty here in America, for any sporting team. maybe the crazy Yankee and Red Sox fans may beg to differ, but at least in the DC area, except maybe somewhat for the Redskins (who have done so poorly the last couple of years) there isn't any team that EVERYONE in town roots for.

I am unfortunately on the fence between two teams. I used to only have one team, Liverpool Football Club, featuring captain and perpetual hot stuff Steven Gerrard. Peter Crouch, all 6' 7" of him, used to be on the LFC squad too, until he got traded to Portsmouth FC and then eventually to Tottenham Hotspurs. several friends of mine also root for Tottenham, so this was all v. strange and ironic to me.

anyway, to make a long story short, I root for two clubs in England, which is not really allowed. it's like Macca saying he supports both Liverpool and Everton (a super big no-no b/c they're warring teams in the same town) but he says he supports Everton b/c it was his dad's team. aw.

yesterday I hung out with some friends for the England/USA match at an English pub downtown that surprisingly was not as rammed as I expected. as I was cutting into my fish and chips I had my head down for like 2 seconds and I missed Gerrard's goal before the 4-minute mark. talk about epic fail. he'll just have to score again in some other match so I can make up for it. I was wearing my Gerrard kit and it got plenty of attention. I got mock-heckled at the corner book shop by a clerk who's a fan of AC Milan. (AC Milan beat Liverpool in a an UEFA semifinal sometime in the near past, I forget which one b/c I tried to erase it from my memory. so I'm not sure WHY he was upset, even jokingly so. his team beat ours. geez!)

the next match is England vs. Algeria on Friday afternoon. I'm hoping the ladies who normally watch 'One Life to Live' on the DirecTV in the basement of our office at most lunchtimes will let us watch ESPN! here's to hoping...

12 June 2010

'Running Away' - first peek (Friendly Fires supporting Muse in Milan)

I wanted to wait until AFTER the TGTF entry posted on this one...

yesterday I got lucky through some Tweet searches (I just knew there had to be more film of new Friendly Fires songs) and eureka! someone at the Muse concert on 8 June at San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, taped another new one, called 'Running Away'. I am really appreciative of this person, esp as it's obvious he's a fan of both bands (whereas you can tell everyone else is just standing on the football field, looking bored). it must have been hella scary for the guys to play this one b/c not only is it the biggest crowd they'd ever played to, but also doubtful that there were too many of their fans present.

the sound is worse than the one I posted yesterday (probably b/c it's in a huge place like San Siro AND there are a lot of people talking b/c they're Muse fans, not FFires fans, and they're bored) but I can hear the shimmery guitar, the beats are '70s disco era, and Ed Mac is attempting falsetto ala 'Photobooth'. these discoveries have definitely perked up my weekend!

11 June 2010

'True Love' - first peek (Selector Festival)

here is something wonderful for a Friday. thanks to a nice fan at the Selector Festival in Poland last week, we have a first peek at one of the new Friendly Fires tracks, live. it's called 'True Love'. the sound quality's not so great - you can hear a good rhythm, and the chorus sounds like 'I want to be...your true love'.

but...awesome video quality: it's pretty much crystal clear. nice to see Ed Mac is still pumping his fists with gusto. and they kept the brass section! that makes me REALLY happy.

first festi of the year

by the time this entry posts, Friendly Fires will be probably getting ready somewhere in Inverness for their Friday slot at Rockness. however, the first festival they played in 2010 was actually Snowbombing in Mayerhofen, Austria. despite the location, somehow the entrepreneurial spirit of Britain won out, as someone figured out a flight/coach scheme that transported many Britons to the snowy(ish) location. watch from about 1 minute in for a brief interview. the look on Edd's face when the interviewer (female I might add) calls them 'the very gorgeous' is priceless. also 'annoying the locals' ranks high on the 'bless' factor.

10 June 2010

this week's Roundtable (10/06)

Will Rees from Mystery Jets, A&R whiz James Endeacott and Robin Ince join Lammo on this week's Roundtable

1. Major Lazer / La Roux - 'Lazerproof' - this has to be one of the weirdest collaborations I've heard. (then again, my ears have not feasted on the FFires mystery collaboration promised in this update. so who knows).

I feel bad for Elly Jackson. as of late, she/her mgmt have been canceling dates left and right and understandably, the fans are upset and taking it out on her. while it can't be easy to schedule and plan for a tour, it does get people mad when you're cancelling a ton of dates with no real good reason. or for 'promotional reasons' (b/c don't the mgmt know that a cockamamie reason like that causes fans to hiss and chase you around with pitchforks?)

2. Janelle Monae / Big Boi - 'Tightrope' - I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. I prefer VV Brown.

3. Tired Pony - 'Dead American Writers' - oh no, the twangy guitar in faux country rock. not to mention this band has to have one of the weirdest line-ups ever (according to Wikipedia):

Gary Lightbody, Richard Colburn, Iain Archer, Jacknife Lee, Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Troy Stewart

4. Tokyo Police Club - 'Wait Up (Boots of Danger)' - it's all right. I dunno, I guess this is sort of like the Strokes? everyone's gasping over the Strokes (err...the Venison's) no-so-secret one-off gig last night in London, and I'm like...meh. it don't move me. sorry.

haha, I think me and Will are on the same exact wavelength. we've disliked the same albums on tonight's show!

5. Mark Ronson's new one, which is the winner ironically! - I missed this. from what it sounds like, Will didn't like. hence I doubt I would have.

6. Shout for England - 'Shout' - there is really no reason to bring out several memorable songs from memory to try and make a England World Cup song. oh noooo!

7. the Drums' debut album including 'Me and the Moon' - I'm on the fence about the Drums. all their songs kind of sound the same, but everyone thinks they're the bee's knees. man, this moon song is annoying as heck!

08 June 2010

big fish in a small pond

it's amazing who I've met through music. and I'm talking about before my days as a blogger.

last night I hung at the Broken Bells / Morning Benders with C, who I've known for 8 years (her estimate, based on the a-ha fan party she hosted at the Harrington years ago when our mutual friend S was in town from S. Carolina). she brought along her friend K, who I've never met (or never met officially, as apparently she was at the Keane gig we all went to at DAR last year - PW review). it's just fun hanging with friends at gigs b/c so frequently I'm by myself 'on the clock'.

James Mercer (and well, the whole band) was fabulous last night. funnily, as we waited in the queue outside before doors, Dangermouse (aka Brian Burton) came out of the club to go into their bus, amidst cheers. James Mercer came out later, accosted by this woman I recognise at gigs but don't like b/c she's always smoking and somehow I'm always downwind from her (yick). she wanted to get his autograph 'for her son' on her ticket. I don't know if anyone told her before she went in that the 9:30 Club takes everyone's tickets at the door. a bit later James and Brian got off the bus and into this white van, presumably to get some dinner yummies. ah, the rock star life.

05 June 2010

sucker for sentimentality

I saw this on VH1 a long while ago. normally I regard anything by Colbie Caillat as pure rubbish (the duet of 'Lucky' with Jason Mraz the one exception). yet this one hit me in the gut.

as you can imagine, 'I Never Told You' is a song about regret. oddly, no one in the video suffers from this fate.

04 June 2010

Moshi Moshi days - "Paris" then and now

it's summer! b/c Friendly Fires is a summer type band IMO, I'm going to treat you to not just one, not just two, not three, but FOUR videos on this Friday.

Moshi Moshi is a v. small, independent record label in London. despite its relatively small size, it's nurtured some of the most popular bands out there today. check out a smattering of their artists (starred are the ones I've seen live)...

Au Revoir Simone
Bloc Party
the Drums
Florence and the Machine*
Friendly Fires*
Hot Chip*
Hot Club de Paris*
Late of the Pier
Lykke Li*
Kate Nash
the Rakes (RIP)
Slow Club
the Very Best*

(read more about them on Wikipedia)

now that I think about it looking at the list above, it makes a lot of sense why Friendly Fires supported Lykke Li on her first North American tour. the first video below, the first promo they filmed for 'Paris', was directed by Price James and is from their Moshi Moshi days, before Richard Russell found them and signed them to XL. the one features, rather oddly, guitarist Edd Gibson playing drums. he told me last year he was very uncomfortable playing them but Ed Mac insisted it was b/c their was one boring guitar line throughout the whole song and he (Gibson) would have looked stupid standing there holding his axe. Edd countered this by saying even so, he would have still have felt more comfortable holding his guitar. ha!

this is also an interesting piece of history b/c there isn't a huge amount of media of back in the day when Edd didn't have much of a beard and Ed Mac's hair was long and out of control. even though it's kind of kitschy, I still prefer this one over the over stylised one XL had them record, which I have also included below. what's I find really silly about the XL one is that the video has nothing to do with the song whatsoever. at least the Price James one had stars! in the third video, a behind the scenes look at the filming of the XL version, you can just feel the discomfort in all having to do all this choreography. (you know what, I haven't watched this behind the scenes thingy in ages. and now that I've seen it again, I wish I hadn't b/c I now have a lump in my throat. long story.)

the fourth video has nothing to do with promos - I've included it b/c some people have not yet seen the band live. there's the Jools Holland videos that are quite good, but I just found this 'Paris' one from 2007 a couple days ago and wanted to share. you know, get everyone in the mood for summer and everything, b/c last summer Ed Mac wanted everyone to be having picnics and be drinking fishbowl-sized margaritas. so just spreading the joy.

03 June 2010

this week's Roundtable (03/06)

from the @lamacqshow Twitter: Roundtable tonight is with @marksutherlanduk @misterwallace and Tom Ravenscroft

1. Mystery Jets - 'Dreaming of Another World' - pop perfection. I am so stoked for their album 'Serotonin' to be released 05 July. it's gonna be epic.

2. !!! (chk chk chk) - AM/FM - this sounds like a fun track for the summer. possibly better than 'Drunk Girls' LCD Soundsystem.

3. Kate Nash - 'Kiss That Girl' - the winner - I guess I have a different perspective on Kate Nash than most Britons (who thinks she's an noisome idiot). to me she sounds like Duffy sold out with worse lyrics, or like Supremes-era Diana Ross came back white (the instrumentation is so v. throwback, and VV Brown does this so much better). but it's not horrible. this one is all right, and you know it'll get tons of airplay.

4. Gang of Four - 'You Don't Have to Be Mad' - this is ok, it's indie rock. and it's not terribly exciting.

5. Kanye West - 'Power' - oh no. I thought he was gone. :P blech. what is this, tribal-hop?

6. Bombay Bicycle Club - 'Ivy and Gold' - I like the spareness of this. funny that it's taken so long for them to release it, they could have headed off Mumford and Sons and Fanfarlo.

7. the Bluetones new album 'A New Athens' - it's all right. Britpop in its old form is back...? I don't remember their singer sounding so much like Brian Molko (Placebo)? talk about nasal. LOLZ

02 June 2010

my cup has been Phill-eth

so it's been a couple weeks now since I got back from my last holiday-cum-journo trip, and you're probably wondering "she's a spaz, why hasn't she written about her Philadelphia trip yet?"

the truth is, during and immediately after the trip I was experiencing some conflicting emotions, the worst being those that crossed my mind when I tripped on (and hurt myself pretty badly) on uneven pavement literally seconds before being where I needed to be for Two Door Cinema Club's gig at Johnny Brenda's. at that point, I couldn't turn around. what would have been the point of all that travelling if I couldn't see them? I was wearing skinny jeans so I couldn't ice my knee, but I was able to buy a bottle of water and ice my elbow and that seemed to help. the show was wonderful and Sam and Kev of TDCC were super nice (Alex was under the weather and disappeared swiftly after the set), as was their tour manager (who recognised me from touring with another one of his charges, Jack Penate, as I'd interviewed Jack in DC last autumn).

but to prevent any more damage, immediately after the show I took a cab back to my temporary lodgings, iced my knee as much as I could, and waited for the morning when I had to go to hospital to get this stupid thing attended to. the bad thing was I had to completely cancel all my plans on Day 2 - all the really touristy things like the Liberty Bell and the Rocky steps. even worse, I had to cancel on my mate Eddie Argos and his gf Dyan Valdez (aka their side project Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now) and I felt terrible, like I'd let him/them down.

worse, I became petrified of what would happen at Roskilde. I mean, the bad condition of a Philly sidewalk was the sole cause of this accident. but at Roskilde I'm going to be surrounded by rowdy drunks, and I will get pushed and I will get shoved.

anyway...temporary crisis is over. I'm not eager to get back to Philly. or maybe better put, I'm not eager to go back by MYSELF. anyone not involved in the medical, service, or hospitality industries (my nice b&b owner who drove me around town to get the treatment I needed), everyone that I met was for some reason unnecessarily rude, and no one stops for pedestrians. (I thought DC was bad but Philly is far, far worse.) my brother said to me (over the phone while I was wailing, tears streaming down my cheeks I might add), "it's Philly, didn't you know?" no, I didn't know.

conclusion: I want to go back to England ASAP for a gig, festival, whatever is doable. dunno how realistic that is though. I've got several friends who are going over this year, and I am deathly, deathly jealous. I've actually cried over how much I miss the place. I'm trying to organise an England/USA pub lunch with friends here, knowing I'll be the only one who will not be rooting for the USA (oops).