31 July 2010

willpower needed. inquire within.

it is taking all the willpower I have in my body NOT to click on bus fares to Philly and back for a show in October. it'd only cost $2! but...but...

I thought I had convinced myself that my trip to Philly and Boston for Delphic and the Temper Trap twice in 4 days the last week of September outweighed the chance to go to Austin City Limits and Texas the following week instead (where I had planned to see Two Door Cinema Club in Houston, where two of my aunts live, and also see them and a bunch of other bands like Muse at Zilker Park playing at ACL).

the only reason I had contemplated going out to Texas in the first place was b/c the FRIGGIN FIRST TIME TDCC plays a headlining gig in my town (in one of my fave venues in DC no less, the Cat!), I won't be IN town! ::grumble:: no, I will be on a plane to California for my day job.

I have since weighed this in my mind, the good angel arguing that I've already seen them twice this year - opening for Phoenix at DAR and headlining Philly's Johnny Brenda's - that I shouldn't be greedy.


the more I listen to 'What You Know', the more I am determined to see Sam and Kev let loose on their guitars like nobody's business, b/c I know how they play, and they are good.

the problem: Philly is the closest date and it's the week before the D.C. date, but it's a Thursday, which would necessitate either taking off at most 2 days (Thursday and Friday) or at the least 1/2 a day Thursday, rushing up for the show, then booking it back by bus so I'm at work bright and early the next day with no sleep. (the latter doesn't sound v. good but hey, it could work.)

the venue doesn't sound all that great - a church. I saw the xx at 6th and I Synagogue in March. it was ok, but that was the xx. their music is kind of chill. TDCC? not so much.

I should also note I am typing this with next to no voice - I have some sort of cold/lurgy thing - and sick people should not be allowed to daydream.


30 July 2010

before they was...

since I've already embarrassed Friendly Fires with 'before they was' videos, why not Delphic? TBH these aren't really embarrassing, these were from 2 years and 1 year ago respectively, and they've been soldiering on with the same line-up...so they shouldn't be embarrassed. I mean, I wouldn't be. they just have a lot less facial hair. chalk that up to all the touring and their razors not being able to keep up!

I would also like to direct you to this page (ignore that it's a Fred Perry page, lol) that has high-quality versions of two songs by Snowfight in the City Centre, Delphic's 'old' band that featured a different lead singer (not James Cook). 'No Light Left' is the song you get a bit of in the second video. oddly, they sound more Keane to me than Coldplay. and the guitars are amazing - good work James and Matt! I was expecting something really terrible the way they describe the band now but TBH it sounds a hell lot better than the dribble that passes for rock coming out of America these days.

29 July 2010

this week's Roundtable (29/07)

Thursday is Roundtable day. Join Lammo as he welcomes Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls, Will Gregory of Goldfrapp and Mat Horne to the studio to discuss some interesting new releases.

1. Manic Street Preachers - 'Just the End of Love' - the winner, just barely with 24 points - this is weird. it sounds power poppy. were the Manics always this power poppy? not rocking my world.

2. Robert Plant - 'Angel Dance' - I have always been wary of anything Percy has done since Led Zeppelin. but actually, I think his voice has been reined in somewhat on this track and it's not half bad. oddly, it sounds like 'Black Country Woman' and stuff of the 'Physical Graffiti' era.

BTW Dee Dee, it's useful when you have your own opinions instead of taking someone else's. for example, my own Tweet that got read out over the air:

theprintedword @lamacqshow I was expecting something terrible. but this reminds me of 'Black Country Woman'/Physical Graffiti era. #roundtable

3. Roots Manuva meets Wrong Tom - 'Jah Warriors' - I dunno why people listen to stuff like this. awful. I find it even funnier talking to white people and them going, 'yeah yeah, I lo-ove reggae!' you do? would never have thunk it LOL

4. !!! - 'The Most Certain Sure' - snooze. let's move on, shall we? I've become quite jaded as of late re: dance music...I like disco as much as the next reasonable person but let's have something new, pretty please?

5. missed the act and title of this but doesn't sound like I missed much.

6. Dansette Junior - 'Paranoid' - I've started to become very critical of electroacts now because I think, if Delphic can do what they do at such a high level, everyone else should aspire to do the same. this is ok but a dime a dozen, really.

7. La Roux side project compilation thingy - v. interesting to see La Roux cover the Stones' 'Under My Thumb'. no surprise to see Heaven 17 on the compilation either :)

28 July 2010

the worlds of Morrissey and Delphic collide

...well, not literally as such, but a very interesting read nonetheless from the fine folks over at Gigwise. the title of the piece is 'Electronic Blood, Indie Heart'. anyone who knows Morrissey knows he had a single out in 2006 called 'English Blood, Irish Heart' as a nod to his Irish heritage but upbringing in England. for a long time I have thought about this phrase and considered I am best described as 'Chinese Blood, English Heart' even though I have not been raised physically in blighty, I reckon I think just like the English.

article is completely credited to Gigwise / David Renshaw, 17 January 2010.

James Cook on dance music, Glastonbury and the future...

If there are two words in conjunction that should strike fear into our hearts it should be ‘indie’ and ‘dance’. Often suffixed with their dreaded friend ‘crossover’, the words are spoken by those all out of ideas for album number three or members of guitar bands who discovered pills and New Order and thinking they can do better. Invariably they can’t and even in 2010 more and more groups crop up trying to marry two utterly disparate worlds together.

To the casual listener Manchester’s highly tipped trio Delphic could well fall directly into this ill fated category. Lead singer James Cook disagrees however and explains why Indie/Dance bands so often fall short, “I think that the reason bands who try to marry elements of guitar music and dance music together fail is that they don’t come from an electronic background. If you come from an indie side and just plonk a few beats or a synth into a song then you’re just going to be an indie band with that on top.”

Spending their youth listening to the likes of Orbital and The Chemical Brothers (Delphic refused to sign with any label that couldn’t get Tom Rowlands to work with them) gifted the band their dancefloor roots. Working with their musical hero didn’t quite work out though and their debut album ‘Acolyte’ is self produced by the band alongisde techno legend Ewan Pearson. Recorded between Manchester and Berlin Cook uses words such as “euphoric” and “soul” to describe the album as well as saying that there is a streak of “melancholy” running throughout the songs, particularly the lyrics, that juxtaposes the electronic rushes created by his bandmates. When speaking to Cook what is striking about him is the clear determination and ambition which Delphic posses. Before the band had even formed they packed themselves up and went to stay in the Lake District together in a cottage so rural “We were chopping our own wood for the log-fire”.

In front of those freshly whittled flames however is where the embryonic stages of Delphic were formed. “We just sat down and talked about music and what we believe in. So we mapped out where we want to go musically, where we want to go lyrically and how we saw ourselves being displayed. We kind of just got into each others heads and what came out of those discussions was that we all wanted the same thing.”

Discussing everything from musical influences to artwork the three of them mapped a path for Delphic that has seen them already achieve much of what they set out to. Being one of the most highly tipped bands in the recent glut of polls and lists Cook is aware that both great success and the metaphorical cow pat of failure could await his band, “It’s terrifying to be honest. All we wanted to do when this started was write songs, at heart we are song writers but we’re an ambitious band. We know that to get where we want to be at the end of the day then we’re going to have to be on TV, play on huge stages and other generally scary things”.

Cook agrees that releasing the album in the first few weeks of the year helps diffuse some of the hype surrounding the band. “We’re in a good position to not be writing the record now with all that is being written about us. I don’t want to mention any names but in the last couple of years there’s been a couple of artists who haven’t had an album written or recorded and the pressure from being hyped and the expectations of a great album have got to them. Where we’re lucky is that we finished the record in full last November so we knew from then that we could rest and not worry.”

The next step on from being a new band is to become established and recognisable, something which Delphic have clearly being pondering. “This is one of the scariest things about being in a new band. When does the initial interest dwindle?”. Showing flashes of the clinical but not cynical planning Cook reveals that he doesn’t want the band to rest and is already writing for “Either an EP later in the year or a stand alone single” stating that the most important thing to Delphic is “Remaining creatively active.”

Talk turns to what 2010 holds in store for Delphic and it’s the Summer months that are particularly exciting Cook. “I grew up going to Glastonbury and we didn’t get to play there last year so I really really want to play there this year.” Aside from festivals, which Cook sees as key to “Establishing yourself as a band rather than just being talked up by the media”, Delphic are also keen to embrace their love of dance music further by getting their album remixed by more of their heroes. “Paul Walters did a really minimal version of ‘Counterpoint’ for us and then Riton just did a great remix of ‘Doubt’ for us too.” Cook says he’d “Be lying” if he said he didn’t want a big name like Soulwax or Simian Mobile Disco to work on a Delphic track, “You know you’ve been embraced by the dance world when someone like that wants to work on your music.”

A band indebted to the past but with all eyes locked on the future Delphic are the first breakout stars of 2010. You’d be foolish to bet against them getting all of the acceptance they crave and much more.

26 July 2010

I wish I had guy hands.

I found a better photo of my bass. it's too massive to post here so if you're interested, walk this way. it's got 5 strings, which is really annoying because I keep accidentally hitting the lowest (extra 5th) string when I'm trying to hit the E string. worse, being a girl, I already have small hands to begin with, and very short fingers, so it's hard to get my fingers around the neck to hold down the frets I need to. I wish I had my brother's hands - I wish I had guy hands, frankly. it'd make this a lot easier!

I know it's completely wrong technique but I've been holding down the E string, and sometimes the 1st to 3rd frets further up the neck with my thumb while plucking with my right hand. I don't know how else to do it, because my arms are short as it is and there's no way I can extend my left arm far enough AND wrap my left hand around the neck to reach those notes. my fourth finger won't cooperate and curl the way I want it to, so it'll knock the third string when I'm trying to hold down the fourth.

yesterday a storm knocked out power here for 10 hours so from 3 in the afternoon to 8 at night until the sun started to set there was nothing for me to do except cue my Sansa and practise bass. I have no idea how Kev Baird of Two Door Cinema Club does his slides but the bass line for 'Something Good Can Work' is a lot easier than I thought it would be! I was expecting something impossible but it's actually intuitive once you look at the tab.

I've been trying to find tabs for their other songs and having difficulty so if you know where I can get bass tabs for their other songs, let me know. I tried working with an 'Undercover Martyn' tab that was good for some parts but not so great on the others.

the quick finger progression of 'Submission' from the D to the E string is proving more difficult. will have to keep working on it!

sorry with the whinging but I can't help but imagine this is never a problem for a boy because they've got bigger hands. most boys I know also have spidery, longer fingers that makes playing stringed instruments so much easier too. ::sigh::

off to see Chromeo for the first time and Holy Ghost! for the second time at the world-famous 9:30 tonight!

23 July 2010

Delphic interviews at Montreaux Jazz Festival, Oxegen

despite my promise to myself that this was NOT going to happen, it did. resistance was futile. yeah, I'm kinda fangirling over Delphic. I mean, how can you not? just really genuine people making genuine music that suits them, not the music industry.

James and Rick get interviewed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, where they were playing a Kitsune-themed gig with Chew Lips. includes appreciation for the 'terrifying' lead singer of Chew Lips, Tigs (including some blushworthy comments) and the Bee Gees (who I did not know were originally from Chorlton. you learn something new everyday).

there are also some amusing photos up on James of Chew Lips' Tumbler over here. in one of them, Matt looks like he's eating his towel. idiot girls as the one described on the post ruin it for the rest of us. OI, not all of us want to jump onstage and maul the musicians.

and here is another interview Matt and Rick did at an Irish radio station around the time of Oxegen. good lord Rick, is there anyone you don't get into a fight with? heh. watch and listen and you'll understand. and probably be as amused as I was. Kev Baird of Two Door Cinema Club is the nicest bloke, I can't understand why he'd get into a barney with Rick Boardman...??? boys will be boys I guess...

hell, while we're on the subject of Two Door Cinema Club, I might as well link you to their interview at Oxegen as well. aren't I nice? and wow, Alex Trimble makes an appearance. (sometimes hard to find him after a gig)

22 July 2010

this week's Roundtable (22/07)

Thursday is Roundtable day. Join Lammo as he welcomes Lewis from Chapel Club and Elizabeth Morris from Allo Darlin and Eddie Argos into the studio to discuss some of the newest music releases.

1. Biffy Clyro - 'God and Satan' - this seems v. un-Biffy to me, like Poison's 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn'. interesting.

2. Freelance Whales - 'Hannah' - I've seen these guys before - getting a lot of press. ones to watch definitely. banjos ahoy!

3. Brandon Flowers - 'Crossfire' - initially I was sceptical. then I listened to it a couple times before doing an In the Post article over at TGTF. it's really breathtaking. and not a huge stretch from Killers material.

if you're a purist, DO NOT watch the video for this song, you will be disappointed, confused and shake your head.

I don't know why everyone is panning this so badly. at least it's not some regurgitated hip hop mess.

4. Surfer Blood - 'Floating Vibes' - the winner - I reiterate previous qualms about sunny guitar pop - Local Natives et al. - why does everyone want to sound like the Beach Boys? how about doing something new for a change?

5. Philip Selway (Radiohead drummer going solo) - 'By Some Miracle' - something about this singer's voice intriguing. and the spareness of the accompaniment.

6. Amanda Palmer - 'Idioteque' (Radiohead cover) - ummmm not a fan...

7. debut from Richard Ashcroft's new project United Nations of Sound - sceptical after reading about it on TGTF. weirdly, some of these songs have an Oasis vibe. zzz...

will I ever get to the Warehouse Project? / why I love Manchester

if you aren't in the know, the Manchester Warehouse Project is this rave/dance night that is put on throughout the autumn in what I've been told is a disused car park under the Manchester Piccadilly train station. now I've BEEN to that train station before, well prior to be told this, but I had no idea anything of the sort was going on deep in the bowels of a major Northern transportation hub.

I have special ties to Manchester. not just who I know there, but it was the first place in England I ever set foot in when I first visited the country 4 years ago (not counting a stop-over at Heathrow). I remember taking the train from the airport into Manchester Piccadilly and looking out the window at the council houses that I only knew from episodes of British telly that made it onto public telly here and wanting to cry with joy because I couldn't believe that I was actually in the country that I held so dear. I also saw Morrissey play there 3 times on that trip and did the requisite Smiths sightseeing.

I haven't been back to Manchester since then. it's not from lack of desire. I miss the North. it's just that things never fell into place like they did in 2006.

last year I really wanted to go to see the Friendly Fires curated night that featured themselves playing live, the Field, Michael Mayer, and a whole slew of other dance luminaries. it was on 14 November, which was a Friday, but considering I couldn't get ANYONE to go with me, a late night rave by myself didn't seem like a good idea.

yesterday Delphic was being coy, saying they had a big hometown gig announcement to make today. uhhhh what would be bigger for a dance band than to play the Warehouse Project? I guessed right. only problem: it's the day before Halloween, this year. my wallet hasn't recovered from Denmark and at the end of September I shall be travelling to see them in Philadelphia and Boston opening for the Temper Trap, so I'll already be several hundred in the hole from that. so quite sadly, looks like I'll be missing it. nice-looking line-up though. it's oh so tempting...

Saturday 30th October
Delphic Present Acolyte
Delphic [ Live ]
The Whip [ Live ]
Fenech Soler [ Live ]
Jamaica [ Live ]
Rob da Bank
Optimo Espacio
Jamie xx
Foals [ DJ Set ]
Now Wave DJs
£17.50 advance : 21:00 — 04:00

for more information, visit WHP's Web site.

this is a really old photo of James - he doesn't even play this bass anymore.


good news. I think I have the bass lines for 'Doubt' and 'This Momentary' down pat. I knew 'Submission' was going to be a struggle, and it still is, b/c I'm trying to pick out the rhythm still, but I've got the notes down, which is half the battle.

21 July 2010

Mercury Prize disappointment

I've had some more time to think about this whole Mercury Prize nomination thing and have come to the following conclusions:
  • Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club were glaring, glaring omissions.
  • I also expected Marina and the Diamonds and Jack Penate to receive nominations.
  • Mumford and Sons OR Laura Marling should have been nominated, not both. as cited by this Clash article, it's a little weird that dating front people should both be in the running.
  • Had I the choice to ditch one of the above two folkies, I would have swapped them with Fanfarlo.
  • the xx being nominated was a given. however, considering how massive they already are, they don't need to win. let's see album #2 first. I can't believe I'm saying this b/c 6 months ago I was a massive supporter of theirs but but I'm actually bored of them now.
  • Villagers / Conor O'Brien for the win!
Come out of the woodwork and comment!


bass guitar 1, yours truly 0

I've been keeping an eye on my fingers to make sure I don't start bleeding from all the bass guitar practise. last night I got an hour in before I had to force myself to go to sleep.

note to bassist newbies: 'Submission' by Delphic is hard work. now I know why it's such a shimmery masterpiece on record. it must have been a beast to write and record. 'Counterpoint' and 'Doubt' are a lot simpler, and there isn't a lot of moving around on the neck.

the next chance I get I'll have to ask my bassist friends what to do when your fingers can't reach the strings. I know you're not supposed to use your thumb from the top side of the neck to press on the frets and you're supposed to go from the bottom side up on the neck. but try as I might, my index finger on my left hand can't reach anything so I'm either stuck with the third and fourth fingers (my pinky can't hold down anything) and yeah, was a little frustrated last night.

I have to wonder what other short-fingered people do when they're playing guitar. it can't be a bass guitar-only problem.


this morning I noticed there was a line across one of my fingers of my right hand (the one I'm using for plucking the strings, since I'm right-handed) like someone took a razor to it. I know I didn't do it (I'm not one for self-mutilation). thankfully, I'm not bleeding (not good for someone like me) but it looked terrible. and yes, I'm scared, because it's my first bass playing-related injury.

now I've got a plaster on it. (yes, it's really attractive. not.) I suppose I could practise with a pick, even though Matt Whipple of Cymbals Eat Guitars advised against it, citing if I really wanted to learn the notes, I really need to work without a pick first.


the bottom line is I'm trying to see if I've even got a shot at playing the bass in the long-term, because it's pointless to get an amp if my fingers aren't going to take the abuse. so I'll keep working on this...I really appreciate Matt and Chris Cain of We Are Scientists's support as well. it makes me feel less alone in this new endeavour.

19 July 2010

the confusing world of record labels

I'm really embarrassed. I think I've royally confused which English bands are on which labels - or rather who puts out their records where.

I think it all started when Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club went on the road together last October in the UK. they were on a Kitsune Maison bill. so I thought this meant they were both signed to Kitsune (true) and their albums were being released on Kitsune in the UK (I thought this was true but I believe it is actually false).

Delphic has their own imprint, Chimeric, with Polydor. Chimeric is the imprint on all of Delphic's releases. (this explains my confusion over how come 'Acolyte' was Chimeric 3 - like, how is it possible that Polydor only has 2 other releases??? well, it turns out the 'This Momentary'/'Counterpoint' EP was Chimeric 1, and the 'Doubt' EP was Chimeric 2.) Polydor is one of many labels under the Universal Music Group umbrella. Kitsune signed them for French distribution. They were signed to Dangerbird Records in America, oddly (in my mind) later than when Two Door Cinema Club got their American deal.

Two Door Cinema Club has a simpler story. they were signed to Kitsune, and from what I can tell, Kitsune releases their albums in European markets including the UK. they signed to Glassnote Records, the US home of Kele, Mumford and Sons, the Temper Trap, and Phoenix.

confusing enough for you?

16 July 2010

Radio1 rewind: Delphic in the Live Lounge

I hadn't considered that Delphic had been invited into the Radio1 Live Lounge until Rick Boardman mentioned it to me in passing. I also had no idea what the deal was about the covers until he told me that the bands who get invited have to choose from a small list of options for the obligatory cover,.and this probably explains why everyone for a while was doing Kings of Leon's 'Use Somebody'. as a joke, they decided to do Cheryl Cole's '3 Words', because Rick wanted to do the feminine higher singing parts with James doing the lead vocals. we had a good laugh about this but after hearing it TBH I think the results are stunning.

I am also including their live version of 'Halcyon' from the same session and the original '3 Words' if you want to compare their cover to the original.

15 July 2010

this week's Roundtable (15/07)

back in the swing of things after hols in Denmark and Lammo's hols from 6music last week...

Thursday is Roundtable day. Join Lammo as he welcomes comedian Ed Byrne, from Frankie FrancisFrankie And The Heartstrings and Kurran from Kurran And The Wolfnotes into the studio to chat about some interesting new releases.

1. Interpol - 'Barricades' - this is yet another band that many friends of mine are into but I never got into...so this is judging by first impression. ok, the voice of this singer isn't so great. I do know that they recently lost a guitarist and they aren't playing in DC. right. I want to say that I heard Friendly Fires supported them years ago but where, I'm not sure.

2. Best Coast - 'Boyfriend' - this band has been touted everywhere. oh dear. why does everyone sound like this retro faff now? Local Natives, Surfer Blood, the Drums, etc... ugh...

3. Get Cape Wear Cape Fly - 'Collapsing Cities' - this is a band that I avoided purely on the perceived whimsy of their name. maybe I made a mistake. top tune - v. catchy.

4. Skunk Anansie - 'My Ugly Boy' - uhhh...kinda like the Black Crowes? 'off the boat' Frankie, what?

5. the Count and Sinden feat. Mystery Jets - 'After Dark' - sometimes I don't get these 'featuring' tracks. it doesn't sound like Mystery Jets, so I'm not sure what they were doing in this, was Blaine Harrison providing vocals? whatever it is, it has a tropicana attitude like Jack Penate's.

6. the Jim Jones Revue - 'High Horse' - the winner - I dunno, but this doesn't seem new to me. it's kind of got a Brian Setzer / Stray Cats vibe.

7. Bombay Bicycle Club's album 'Flaws' including 'Rinse Me Down' and 'Leaving Blues' - when I reviewed 'Ivy and Gold' for TGTF a while back, I was surprised by this acoustic offering b/c when you think of Bombay Bicycle you're expecting something with more teeth. nice guitars on this 'Rinse Me Down', but there are so many folkie type bands out there right now, this may get lost in the mire.

14 July 2010

it's about bloody time.

like Rick Boardman I starting playing piano when I was very young.

unlike Rick Boardman I gave it up in my teens for a multitude of reasons - too much schoolwork, I was ill, etc. and so while I can still read sheet music, I don't 'play' anymore per se.

dunno why but tonight I decided to take a look at my brother's bass guitar that had been abandoned in our basement a couple years ago when he moved. TBH it looks like a boy's bass - it's jet black. and according to some research I did tonight on the internet, it's a bass guitar designed for metal. (haha.) which is why it has 5 strings and not 4 like I'm used to seeing most bass players play.

in any event, I was able to tune it thanks to the internet - actually, the only string amiss was the thickest one, the one that only metal bassists use. the other ones were properly tuned. (go bro!)

minor hilarity ensued when I realised I did not know how to put the guitar strap on, and then remembered there were bolts at either end to attach the strap to the bass. then there was some trouble getting my head through the strap and wondering why my head was in the wrong place. some trial and error and - I admit this - referring to this photo below from Roskilde - finally got the strap situated on the correct shoulder (the left).

thanks to a friend who sent me some instrumental tracks, I was trying my hand at learning James Cook's parts for Delphic's 'Doubt'. someone had tabbed it online so I was noodling around with the bass and I think I got it.

maybe I will be able to actually start playing along with my favourite songs come Christmastime. wish me luck!

skeezy Metro increases

I don't normally go off on rants and raves about things NOT related to bands, so humour me for a moment.

I am going to see We Are Scientists this Friday with a mate. Chris Cain is looking forward to seeing me and covering the gig so this is better than the average gig.

Metro, the DC area beleaguered transit system that has been suffering from all sorts of accidents and deaths in the last year or so, recently raised prices. I don't ride Metro all that much except for concerts, so this is gig-related. so I wanted to see how much it'd cost to travel downtown, b/c said friend and I may be having dinner first, in which case I need to head down earlier.

ok, I'm not too perturbed by an increase of $2 or so by leaving during the rush hour (thus paying the peak travel rate) if we're having dinner early.

what perturbs me more: starting 1st of August, any travel between midnight and 3 AM (closing) on Friday and Saturday nights will be charged at peak rates.

the other night when I saw Holy Ghost! on a Saturday night at U Street Music Hall, I paid $2.45 each way (the max usually for off peak and weekends), $4.90. this was already up from $2.35 each way, but I can deal with a $0.20 increase.

with these new rules, if I can't get on a train before midnight, I'll be paying $2.45 into the city and $5.o0 (the max for peak travel) or $7.45.

Friday night shows are even worse because you are charged parking until after 3 AM early Saturday morning, when the stations 'close'. $7.45 plus parking of $4.75 (or so I am guessing b/c that's how much parking USED to cost...the price has mysteriously disappeared from the Parking fee page) so that's $12.20. with those rates, it's cheaper to drive downtown and pay $10 at a monitored lot.

the whole point of mass transit is to get cars out of the city. with fare increases, more people will drive, traffic will get worse, and people's nerves will be frazzled. even worse, they're shooting themselves in the foot. people from outside the city aren't going to want to go into if the fares go this far up. this is going to affect how much restaurants and clubs take in on the weekends.

I'm definitely going to reconsider my evening activities. I don't get paid for my review writing and these costs add up. before it was desirable to have Friday and Saturday night gigs to cover but counter intuitively, now that prices have gone up for Metro it's better wallet-wise to catch a show on a weeknight.

12 July 2010

ooh, it's Neil Hannon!

don't ask me why but a couple weeks ago I suddenly decided that of all the big fish in the musical sea I wanted to interview, I wanted to interview Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy. my ex-bf from years ago introduced me to his music (along with Morrissey) and my life wouldn't be complete with him. Neil Hannon, not my ex of course. first is the video for his recent single, 'At the Indie Disco'.

I also include my favourite Divine Comedy song of all time (at least it's been this way for about 8 years), 'Everybody Knows (Except You)'. it could have become the cheesiest pop song written of all time, but for some reason, its fragility and humourous lyrics makes it one of my favourite songs, ever. I was hung up over it the first time I heard it b/c that was right when I was in love for the first time, and everything in life was perfect (nearly, except that I was ill). so I'm just putting it out there that if anyone wants to win me over, serenade me with something by Neil Hannon. chances are I'll be putty in your hands.

09 July 2010

meet Delphic - the new Friday amusement band

I have decided to change the focus of my Friday amusements feature b/c...well...I've moved on. to Delphic. I had the pleasure of talking to Rick Boardman, their keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist at Roskilde (interview forthcoming) and also met James Cook (lead singer/bassist) and they were just lovely, lovely chaps. I can't get over it. they're three shy, unassuming blokes who haven't realised that the album they made, 'Acolyte', is amazing as it is.

before you read my interview, have a gander at this BBC interview when they came in #3 on the Sound of 2010 poll earlier this year.

Manchester trio Delphic, who mix indie guitars and euphoric electronica, have come third on the BBC's Sound of 2010 music list.

The list, compiled using tips from 165 critics, bloggers and broadcasters, aims to highlight the most exciting emerging artists. We are revealing one artist from the top five every day until Friday, when the winner will be announced.

When you ask Delphic about who they are, they prefer to tell you who they are not.

They are not, they say, a bog standard indie band of the sort that was in plentiful supply when they formed in 2007. They are not one of the many electro acts that, they feel, caused dance music to lose its soul. And they are definitely not one of those groups still desperately clinging to the Madchester glory days.

They are, they hope, the antidote to all of those things.

They are the sound of New Order embracing ambient techno, or Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant spending too much time at raves.

Their hypnotic songs are driven by pulsating beats and frontman James Cook's infectious hooks and their motto is: "The guitar is dead, long live the guitar."

"We wanted to be the anti-Liam Gallaghers," explains the band's Rick Boardman. Although - like the Oasis brothers - they have been known to have punch-ups, mainly as a result of sharing a flat as well as a tour bus.

If I opened the front door of the Delphic flat, what would I find?

Rick Boardman: It's very orderly and very organised. We're quite neat and tidy and like to be organised in the way we write. But it would be chaotic in a different kind of way.

I think we've got 15 synthesisers or keyboards in the flat. You go in the corridor, take the first right and there's a piano, a harmonium and an old organ. Two of which we've nicked. One from the back of a church and one from a flat over the road.

You nicked something from a church?

No, no, it was outside - it was just kind of being thrown away. It was this old tatty harmonium, like a pump organ. It wasn't being used so we thought we'd have it.

Then you go upstairs and we've got a little studio full of synthesisers. It's organised chaos.

Do you often have rows?

Oh yeah - nightmare rows. I gave James a black eye last year. We're not usually a violent bunch but it got to the point where I just had to punch him in the face.

What was it about?

He'd kill me if I said. We fight quite a lot. But I think creative things can be born out of huge disagreements, with all the tension and release. You're constantly pushing each other. That's what happens when you're so close. We spend every day together on tour and then we come home and live together.

What's your first musical memory?

This is going to sound really cool, as if I've made it up, and the rest of the band hate me for this, but I have very cool parents. My first musical memory was getting a little Casio keyboard and playing 'The Model' by Kraftwerk on it. That was the first thing I learnt.

What came first - were you indie kids who went to a rave or ravers who picked up guitars?

We all started out as indie kids when we were a lot younger. We used to listen to Doves and Radiohead but we also used to listen to the Chemical Brothers.

'Manchester was in danger of drowning under its heritage - we wanted to help it look forward and were sick of the Madchester stereotypes'
Rick Boardman

How do you know each other?

We'd all been in boring trad indie bands, not really getting anywhere. And then one night we got talking in this bar and were saying: "Aren't you just tired of all this sub-Oasis mush? Let's do something about it." We all realised we were into the same kind of music.

We thought, if we want to write something new and exciting, we've got to throw ourselves into an uncomfortable situation. So within a day or two, we all went off to a cottage in the Lake District, took a few instruments and went and wrote half the debut album.

Is it hard to do something new in indie or dance these days?

Every kind of new movement has been some sort of rebellion, or been defined by some new invention in technology. So where do you go?

It is quite scary, but there are so many different genres and styles out there that you can get really interesting things from combining things that haven't been done before.

Who are your three musical heroes?

They're all people who've had big careers and made albums. It may be a reaction to the iPod generation but we wanted to make an album where people have to sit down and listen to it for 50 minutes, so track eight makes sense being track eight.

So people like David Bowie - there's always a strong concept behind every one of his records and there's always a development. Bjork, and then I don't know whether to choose Kraftwerk or Radiohead.

How much does Manchester influence your music?

We're very proud of Manchester but we were inspired by what we didn't like in Manchester, and that was Manchester refusing to move on. We felt it was in danger of drowning under its heritage. We wanted to help it look forward and were sick of the Madchester stereotypes.

Our album's got this euphoria mixed with a real Manchester melancholy, and I think that's something that does run through quite a lot of bands, from Joy Division to The Smiths and Elbow. There's always this post-industrial sadness. I guess everyone's just waiting for the sun to come out.

Delphic were speaking to the BBC News music reporter Ian Youngs.

click here for the accompanying BBC video b/c I can't embed it (sowwy).

02 July 2010

eating noodles with a bib in Japan

I like this video for the sheer innocence of it. it was filmed during their first American campaign in 2008, touring with Lykke Li (skipping DC, boo) and then to the West Coast and on to Japan. the noodle-eating and 'Baby It's You' parts are the best!