26 November 2010

from one fellow MC to another...

it's my birthday, so I can post whatever I want! and I will STILL stick to the Delphic Friday amusement theme, b/c as you know, I am a v. thoughtful person. even on my birthday. aren't you lucky.

one of the two sometimes tragically overlooked (read: by fans / media / etc.) members of Delphic is guitarist Matt Cocksedge, who, judging from my interview with the man in Boston in September for PopWreckoning, is perfectly fine with the spotlight NOT being on him at all. when I was transcribing our little chat (ok, not really little...it went on for about an hour. because I'm such a good interviewer and he is such a good interviewee!), I realised that we had the same initials, MC, and I thought, what a neat coincidence.

we also both wear glasses and have 'suffered' for it so I feel like we are rather kindred spirits in this regard. in these two short but funny videos from former NME editor and now editor for Stunt James McMahon, enter the world of Monsieur Cocksedge for a few fleeting, far too short moments. I promise, he has a smile that could melt an iceberg.

I have no idea when Matt's birthday is...but whenever it is my dear friend and glasses compatriot, I hope you have a wonderful one. and certainly wonderful holidays coming up :)

23 November 2010

why album reviews should never go up to 10

so on Monday Pitchfork posted their review of Kanye West's latest album, 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. and gave it a 10.0. I hadn't known about the posting until my PR friend S Tweeted about it, basically saying WTF?!?!? Clash Music followed suit almost, giving the album a 9/10 and the comment of "this is not just West’s best album, it’s a keen contender for the most ambitious LP in hip-hop history. West side story!" ummm...

let's go back to the Pitchfork review for a moment. IMO you can't give an album a 10. that would be assuming an album had achieved the sonic equivalent to Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10s in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics. in other words - it doesn't happen. personally, I don't think it's possible to write, record and produce a perfect album. there's always something. and what's that something? we're human.

there are several albums released this year that I absolutely love but I wouldn't be so easy giving out 10s to any of them. there's no doubt this album is going to top the charts for a long time, even without all these "accolades" (if you can even call them that) from online reviewers. but as a reviewer myself, I just have to shake my head in disbelief. you have to wonder what was going through the minds of the Pitchfork editors when they allowed a 10 for an album review to get through. I tell my writers that they're not allowed to give 10s to albums, for this one reason: perfect albums do not exist.

it wasn't until yesterday when the Guardian's Dorian Lynskey cut through all the crap and told it how it is, asking the important question, "have critics confused size, ambition and bluster for a genuinely brilliant record?" the best paragraph from the piece:

It's not even a creative breakthrough. West's already done contradiction on The College Dropout, triumphalism on Late Registration, celebrity angst (and unexpected sampling) on Graduation, and moping on 808s & Heartbreak. Now he's just doing them all at once, louder. And the creeping sense that he's had nothing new to say since 2005 becomes undeniable when, at the end of an album about West's adventures in celebrityland, he has to turn to a 1970 spoken-word piece by Gil Scott-Heron for some big-picture gravitas.

it is also obvious if you just look at the length of the Kanye piece that the author is a gusher. if you look at their review for Everything Everything's 'Man Alive', an album universally critically acclaimed in the UK yet Pitchfork gave them a 3.8 (highway robbery if there was ever a case), the Kanye piece is over twice its length. music reviewing will always be subjective. but please, keep the gushing to yourself.

19 November 2010

Friday amusement doubleheader - wow!

this has never happened that I've been so inundated with videos for Friday Amusement (trust me). but I just got sent two more Berlin videos, so how can I not share? much better quality and whole versions of 'Halcyon' and 'Red Lights'.

thumbs way up to the girl in front with the red lipstick. she's grooving the way you're supposed to at Delphic shows!

ExploreMusic interview / Electronic Beats festival appearance

normally I post one video for the Friday Amusement feature, but I got sent a link last night to something v. recent that I've tacked on to my original post.

1. why does Rick Boardman want to quit remixing? b/c this host says Kings of Leon want to do a remix album (gag me!)

I feel bad for the interviewer. he obviously loves the band but is so nervous he's stumbling over what he wants to say and is saying some really cringe-worthy things! poor guy. props to "evangelising" Delphic for months before the album came out stateside in June. sounds familiar...

2. 'Red Lights' was not my favourite track on 'Acolyte' when I first started listening to the album, probably because the vocal line is pretty hohum. (in fact, it consists of 4 notes on the E string, and when I told James Cook that I had sussed this bass line all by myself (rather proudly I might add), he made fun of me that it was so easy (joking of course).

check out this video from Berlin's Electronic Beats festival, where Delphic performed on 4th November alongside Phil Oakey's Human League. it's a bit pixelated but the sound is amazing. after hearing from so many dance bands how great Berlin is for dance music, I can't imagine a better place for a dance band to play.

18 November 2010

this week's Roundtable (18/11)

Lammo welcomes Ash's Tim Wheeler, Goldheart Assembly's John Herbert and punk rock editor Eugene Butcher

1. White Lies - 'Bigger Than Us' - I wasn't sure whether I'd welcome White Lies back to the fold...but I am loving, loving this new single. bring on 'Ritual'!

2. The Go! Team - 'Tornado' - oh god, WTH is this??? awful, awful.

3. Adele - 'Rolling Into the Deep' - channelling Aretha now, are you Adele? or possibly Laura Marling. ugh. no. next.

4. Anr - 'Stay Kids' - ok. piano's a bit repetitive...ethereal male vocals usually not my thing.

5. Phosphorescent - 'I Don't Care If It's Cursing' - slide guitar. oh blah. why does everyone want to be American country folk these days? ploddy - good description.

6. British Sea Power - 'Living Is So Easy' - the winner - have BSP always had synths, space-agey synths. this sounds...strange. like Robert Smith is trying to sing in the future.

7. Caitlin Rose's album including 'For the Rabbits' - it's ok. I don't really like womens' voices, and it's not terrible, but it's so young sounding, I could imagine it could get really annoying after a while.

16 November 2010

why I have a serious dislike of Glee

this is pretty sickening. (paraphrased from this Rolling Stone online article published in October, it shows how Fox's Glee, with the help of the digital age, have allowed a television show to surpass one of pop's greatest acts)

With six new entries on this week's Hot 100, thanks to their Britney Spears-themed episode, Glee has toppled the Beatles' four-decade-old record for most singles placed on the chart. The cast has registered 75 total singles total, surpassing the Fab Four's 71, the BBC reports. Only Elvis Presley (108 singles) and James Brown (91) have scored more. But even those two icons might see their records fall by the end of Glee's second season: the show's Michael Jackson episode will reportedly air after Super Bowl XLV.

I am all for young people embracing music and getting excited about music, because when I was in school, anyone involved with music was in chorus (like I was) or played in band, and it was most definitely not a cool thing to be associated with either. however, substandard versions of classics - the Lady of Soul Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' and the legend that should never be touched 'Tonight' from West Side Story, just two examples - should not see the light of day. pretty soon we're going to have sprogs growing up thinking 'Don't Stop Believin' was from a Glee episode and not penned by Steve Perry. these are the same kinds of kids from the previous generation who thought 'Last Kiss' was by Pearl Jam and not Wayne Cochran.

someone once asked me, "you like music. so I figured you must like Glee!" ummm...no. I've seen snippets of the show b/c some of my friends are fans...and even though I tried to find merits, I'm definitely not a fan. how is this show a hit? like many "kids" oriented shows, the characters are superficial and have no depth. maybe that's the secret - like Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, etc. it's all kid-focused brainwashing.

oh, and I have another reason to dislike it. I think I got ignored in a chat with a longtime friend tonight b/c she went off to watch it!

13 November 2010

Two Door Cinema Club on Jools Holland

catch this performance of 'What You Know', my favourite song by my favourite Irish boys Two Door Cinema Club from last night's Jools Holland.

guitars can talk!

12 November 2010

chewing gum and looking bored

title says it all. still, interesting to watch nevertheless.

06 November 2010

DC9, DC9, DC9...

(that was to the tune of "number 9, number 9, number 9" repeated in the Beatles' 'Revolution 9')

it's exactly 3 weeks after a death occurred outside the DC9 nightclub in Washington. I'm calling it a 'death' b/c what happened is all speculation, there are conflicting reports on what happened and I'm certainly not calling a homicide like NME has. (I was so angry at NME I even Tweeted at them "get your facts straight, they've been charged with aggravated assault. and Blood Red Shoes were never scheduled to play there, they were scheduled to play at the Red Palace on the other side of town. we don't need sensationalist reporting like this, it's not helping the DC music scene." or something that effect. I've forgotten the exact wording now.)

just like most people I will never know why a drunk man was pronounced dead at a DC hospital early Friday morning the 15th of October but I do know that my gigging life, along with other music enthusiasts has undoubtedly changed forever.

directly after the death occurred, people who are NOT gig-goers at DC9 were quick to judgment, wrongly assuming that the DC9 staff being charged by DC police for second-degree murder of this man were a bunch of burly bouncers. there was never a need for bouncers at DC9. I never, ever felt threatened by the crowd there. really, it was the only club in town that I knew that going there, it was small enough and played host to shows where people actually went to see the bands and not just hang out and drink as hipsters, trying to pretend they knew something about the acts booked (which invariably describes 40-80% of clubgoers in other venues, depending on which venue you're speaking of). the shows that I've seen there have been some of the best in my life:
  1. Phenomenal Handclap Band (August 2009); also interviewed Daniel and Sean of the band; Liberation Dance Party (LDP)
  2. the xx (15 November 2009): the first ever appearance of the London trio in DC
  3. VV Brown (19 February 2010); before she played, I heard Delphic's 'Halcyon' on the dance floor for the first time in DC; LDP
  4. Villagers - solo Conor J. O'Brien show (22 June 2010), during which I was complimented for listening to Steve Lamacq
  5. Biffy Clyro (15 September 2010): Biffy Clyro's first ever headlining show in America
  6. the Postelles (18 September 2010); interviewed the band in the backstage area
  7. Casiokids (1 October 2010); met Fredrik after the show and chatted about Roskilde, and Ketil Tweeted/reposted the dickens out of my TGTF review, which is thought was very sweet! LDP
  8. Delphic (8 October 2010): probably the last dance night DC9 will ever put on, it has personal significance to me for many reasons, the biggest being it was the night I introduced so many of my local friends (and my cousin and her friends) to Delphic's sound; LDP
there are of course many shows that I passed on that I wish I hadn't. the list is too long to put here but many of the bands have now gone on to play much larger places. The Hundred in the Hands played DC9's LDP long before I even knew who they were...I would have loved to see them then. and yes, LDP will be missed b/c Bill Spieler always made sure there was plenty of NEW British music coming through the PA. the only place in town, really.

I don't want to take sides b/c I wasn't there when the drama unfolded. but I am happy to report today that all charges were dropped against the five charged, but Spieler has resigned from his co-ownership of DC9 and other clubs in the area, and the other 4 have been let go from DC9 employment.

TBH I don't know if the club will ever reopen. it's a sad chapter in the DC music scene. now we move forward to whatever is DC9's future...but we shall never forget its past.

05 November 2010

04 November 2010

this week's Roundtable (04/11)

I apologise profusely for not reviewing last week's (28/10) Roundtable. I've been so snowed by my writing commitments for 4 different music sites (and basically being the only writer for TGTF) that when I was listening to the first 20 minutes, I was so turned off by what I heard I just switched it off and put on a CD. I'll try not to do to skip a review again. I know you all are just chomping at the bit to read my thoughts on a Thursday evening ;) but I may miss next week as I've got 4 gigs in 6 days and I'm a little scared TBH b/c of them, only one of them (La Roux) is a real favourite of mine, so it might be difficult to do so much writing on the others.

today's guests on Roundtable: Skin from Skunk Anansie, journalist Max Rushden and editor of Billboard Mark Sutherland

1. Frank Turner - 'I Still Believe' - not as good as some of Frank's earlier singles, like 'The Road'. TBH I'm not sure how much longer he can go on...?

2. Goldheart Assembly - 'Last Decade' - I absolutely love this band. so much better than Fleet Foxes! 'Wolves and Thieves' is a gorgeous record.

3. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - 'Conscience Killer' - good kick in the arse type of song. nice.

4. Gruff Rhys - 'Shark Ridden Waters' - tied for winning track - too many lyrics. it's just a stream of lyrics. thumbs down.

5. Crystal Castles feat. Robert Smith - 'Not in Love' - tied for winning track - it's actually listenable, compared to most CC tracks.

6. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - 'Round and Round' - lyrically, it's got a Cure (how ironic) / Beach House vibe. it's ok.

7. Bryan Ferry's new album 'Olympia' (I reviewed it for TGTF here) - one of my favourite singers. pretty good album.