30 March 2010

quarterly best-of releases - 2010, Q1

so I've decided to post a quarterly review of the best and the worst releases and gigs so I remember what rocked my world at the time and uh, what didn't.

best albums released
  • Delphic - 'Acolyte' - pure electronic poetry. dying to see them live so I can faint whilst James Cook sings to me.
  • 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.
worst / most disappointing albums released
  • Vampire Weekend - 'Contra' - when I first heard 'Horchata' in October, I was v. ambivalent. then 'Cousins' premiered in December and I was like, YES, bring it on! I think I got myself worked up far too much and when I finally got the new album thought to myself, ok, got some good choones on there but...disappointing. I'm seeing them for the first time on Saturday, maybe they'll change my mind.
  • Hot Chip - 'One Life Stand' - the album is good in parts but what the heck is going on in the middle, guys?!?!?
best single released
  • 'Hold On'/'On Board' - Friendly Fires / Holy Ghost! - it's weird / embarrassing as a fan to admit that a cover Friendly Fires did of someone else's song is better than their last single (last summer's 'Kiss of Life'). but no matter, this and the Holy Ghost! cover are wicked.
worst / most disappointing single released
  • 'Telephone' - Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce - I've tried my best to stomach Gaga for the sake of my many friends who like her. but she's just not my kind of thing and I'm not really sure why everyone says "she's a great musician". uh, she is? maybe I've got different requirements? I'm not even bothering to look up WHEN the single is being released b/c everyone's talking about the video but assume it's already released or soon will be. now, maybe I'm a prude but the video itself makes me sick. the jail scenes basically set the womens' liberation movement back 40 years. for once I agree with Donny Osmond. and why oh why did Beyonce sign up for this, she doesn't need the exposure!
best gig
  • the xx at 6th and I Synagogue (review forthcoming on PopWreckoning) - house of worship + band set to be worshipped plus a fantastic light show. awesome. this was really hard to choose, as I've seen some great gigs already in 2010.
worst / most disappointing gig
  • Editors at 9:30 Club - gig reviews at PopWreckoning and There Goes the Fear - I don't have a beef with the band b/c I thought the performance was fine. but I do have a beef with a fan that claims I ran into her that night. I didn't write about it here at the time b/c I was really pissed off but she claimed I shoved her. me, shoving anyone? take a look at my 5'2" frame, I'm not going to get too far shoving people bigger than myself. I had asked two girls next to me if I could get in and snap ONE photo of Ed Lay (their drummer) and could I switch spots with them for one song and she wouldn't let me. I had shown up very early so I already had a spot in the front, it wasn't like I had scooted up later, in which case I would have expected vitriol in my direction. in general, the only reason I don't like the 9:30 Club is this: for whatever reason, that venue attracts more "fans" that think they're entitled to be complete meanies to everyone else present.
other recommendations
  • if you like Owl City, try Darwin Deez.
  • if you like the Drums, try the Postelles.
  • if you like Laura Marling, try her tourmate Alessi's Ark.

24 March 2010

Parklife Festival, Manchester. it has nothing to do with Blur. really!

the good about this:
  • it's in Manchester. come on, everyone loves Manchester! if you're a music fan anyway.
  • it costs £25. cheap!
  • it's being sponsored by the Warehouse Project (aka the people who put on the best dance nights in Manchester) and many more local venue peeps.
  • it's going to be THE dance party to end all dance parties.
  • Friendly Fires are headlining. (if you've learned anything from reading my blog, you know I am quite keen on them. 'keen' would be putting it lightly, haha.)

the bad:
  • why is it so bloody expensive to travel to England right now???
  • the advert makes it look like Wayne Rooney, Diana Ross, Madonna, and a llama will be performing.
  • Jack Savidge will not be happy when he sees that they put him in a pink coat. (in the original photo, it's taupe. don't ask me how I know this.)

Read more from Harderbloggerfaster.

what difference does it (a year) make?

I can scarcely believe that today, the 24th of March 2010, is exactly one year to the day when I first saw three boys from St. Albans live for the first time. (actually, four boys if you include Rob Lee, but I'm talking about the holy trinity of Friendly Fires - Edd Gibson, Ed Macfarlane, and Jack Savidge - said v. tongue in cheek! - in D.C.)

little did I know that life as I knew it was going to change forever, as I would see them 4 more times over the next 9 months, in three different cities (four if you count Brooklyn separate from Manhattan, plus Nottingham in England and Boston). not one of them in D.C. my bank book changed as well (and the band know this too...I am sure they are fully aware of how difficult they've made my life and how much they owe me a show in D.C. ASAP, haha!)

they made me love dance music again. they made me want to dance again, or rather Ed Macfarlane did, with his seriously wicked dance moves on the stage and sometimes IN the crowd. they made me get excited about music again, because I hadn't been for a v., v. long time.

I met and talked with them at different times in different places, at one point interviewing the Edwards in Nottingham on their tour bus, which had to have been one of the most surreal moments of my life. it was the first "real" interview I did after becoming a blogging journo, and I was nervous as hell b/c, well, I was in England for starters! and being a fan, it was nerve-wracking enough to be asked by their tour manager to "go on up" onto their bus. then I narrowly missed running into the back of Ed Macfarlane as I came up the stairs.

for sure he was not expecting me, wearing a v. Magnum P.I.-esque red Hawaiian shirt and very tight white trousers, looking the epitome of cool. (I kick myself often that I do not have a photo of this cool cat outfit.) before Edd Gibson showed up, there were a few tense, silent moments until we started talking about food and alcohol (isn't that what they say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!) and then everything was ok b/c I'd been sussed as a worthy journo. (since then I've been validated in a similar way by many musicians I've interviewed and trust me, it feels great when people in the business respect you for what you're doing.)

sitting on that bus with them, two out of three members of my most favourite band of the moment, in my most favourite country in the world...I was on cloud nine. and I got to see them perform a couple hours later too. I nearly had to pinch myself that the blessed day in Nottingham, 24 May 2009, actually happened.

it's been weird, watching them getting more praise and accolades (which they totally deserve) but at the same time I feel a bit sad b/c for a while, they were my little secret, the band that I loved with all my heart in secret b/c no one here had any idea who THEY were...and now they've gotten enough cred around the world that anyone who is anybody in the business know who they are. and you know what? that's just fab.

but even if years from now they are some huge massive band that plays stadiums and shows up on network telly all the time, I can still look back and say, yes, I was there when they first came to Washington. I experienced that! even if they don't remember playing that little town of D.C., I'll always remember that night.


in honour of the occasion, I'm dusting off the second live review I ever did for PopWreckoning and some others I found to take you back to the blessed day where every single person present agreed that they had usurped the faux headlining crown from atop White Lies's proverbial head and took it for their own. enjoy.

my PopWreckoning review - somehow I managed to veil my sudden defection from the dark Londoners to the carnival dance inducing blokes from St. Albans in this.

personal thoughts posted on this very blog shortly after my world had been rocked by them.

Brightest Young Things review - this is by a local, D.C.-based blog and has the immortal line 'I was lost, deep in thought, scratching my head trying to figure out how I was going to justify to myself, friends and family, the fact that I had a bit of a man-crush on this small, british, seemingly-coked up singer of lead melodies'. I think the comment 'fun as shit' is more uncouth than I would write, but I have to agree with the sentiment!

Everybody Taste review - loving that a lover of the Soft Pack's would admit so readily to be drawn in by a dance-punk band.

DCist review - view this mostly for the pictures by Francis Chung, which are absolutely lovely. you can see my camera in the fifth photo (it's a small square one) but not me actually b/c of the angle (boo).

actually, there is only one piece of Friendly Fires media that I'm aware of being in, and that's this crazy, crazy video from their performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on 13 August 2009 (aka 'the video where the drunk girl mauls the English singer'). Ed Mac jumps down from the stage during 'Paris' and for a couple moments you can see me before the crowd swallows me up and pins me to the stage (definitely not my finest hour!) to my knowledge, it's the last time he's jumped into a crowd and I don't think he'll ever do it again, because no venue would be able to guarantee that after jumping in, he would emerge unscathed with arms, legs, and clothing intact (!)

23 March 2010

flowers that you planted in the backyard (I'm on a roll tonight)

I'm in a giddy mood b/c tomorrow is a big anniversary for me and you will read all about it soon. but in the meantime, I want you to check out one of my absolute favourite songs ever.

Sinead O'Connor recently did a spare acoustic version of 'Nothing Compares 2 U' on Jonathan Ross and it was amazing. I still prefer the original. it made me cry then and it makes me cry to this day. EMI wants to be difficult and not let me embed the video, so I'm putting in a live version from 2008 in Antwerp instead. oddly, the lead singer of Live appears to be intro'ing Sinead. weird!

tomorrow, I imagine some tears will fall so here you go...

oops, I almost forgot. 'I Can Talk'!

previous post is as good as any to post this lovely tune from the Two Door Cinema Club crew.

I'd like to wish the boys good luck as they head on over to our country next month, playing with Phoenix on the French band's tour before they head out on their first headlining tour of North America. bloody fantastic.

Twitter world is *not* the real world.

the more time I spend on Twitter, the more I'm convinced people think it works like the real world. it does, but in a worse way than the real world does. and I think that's possible. people need validation and their egos stroked in real life, but it seems like on Twitter the desire to be liked, in the case of some of the more difficult cases, the desire to hear the sycophantic cries of your followers, is magnified to ridiculous proportions.

I've regarded Twitter as a useful tool b/c it's like Facebook and AOL IM rolled into one. (if anyone like me is still around out there that remembers what AOL IM was.) you can use it to tell people what you're doing, and if you're into music, what music turns you on and what you're listening to at the moment.

this afternoon I made a factual (so what I considered a completely unincendiary) statement about the absence of Steve Lamacq from 6music this week. a good majority of my followers don't listen to 6music as much as I do (or even listen to it at all) so I was stating the fact that Andrew Collins was subbing for him while he is in Brooklyn on quasi holiday, quasi work trip, and with Collins in for Lammo, the show isn't the same. Lammo is an indie music cheerleader of sorts, whereas Collins is a comedian (I recall him going to Edinburgh Fringe quite a lot?) / lit chap these days. it's like comparing apples to oranges. the show is bound to be different when you've got a different presenter.

Radcliffe/Maconie suffers a similar fate when one of them is out and the other must present solo, and the Mark Radcliffe fans love it when Stu is away, b/c he plays more indie-ish (?) stuff from what I can gather? and the Stuart Maconie fans like me are chomping at the bit when Mark is away, b/c Stu gets away with playing more Northern soul, and he tends to flirt with his female guests and generally be adorable (haha).

"one of the things is not like the other" is something we learned from Sesame Street, right?

somehow Mister Collins took my comment of "I miss Lammo. no offence to @CollingsA but drivetime isn't the same (:" as a personal slight. had I said, "Collins, you suck!" or "Andrew Collins should never be allowed to host drivetime, evah!" I could see he would have a decent argument for being upset. to a certain degree. in any event, he thought I was dissing him.

what's even loonier about the whole thing is that Collins must have been looking up his @replies to have found my Tweet in the first place. I'm sure Mister Big UK Media doesn't follow an inconsequential person like me, so that's the only way he could have found it. my guess is that it must have been a really slow night in London and with nothing to do, he went fishing for compliments through his @replies or possibly (and quite masochistly?) was looking for complaints into his second day of subbing for Lammo.

unfortunately, he found the Tweet and decided it was grounds for (minor) war. he said something to me that I regarded as a bit of a threat, saying I shouldn't say things on Twitter I wouldn't say to his face. ok, so you tell me, what part of "I miss Lammo. no offence to @CollingsA but drivetime isn't the same (:" is hateful? I don't see it. I'm not an arsekisser *and* I'm a fan and friend of Lammo's so the last thing I'm going to say to any of his substitute presenters is "you're so wonderful, I love it when Lammo is away and you can fill in for him!" b/c I don't think that.

apparently, I was supposed to be sensitive to the fact that Andrew Collins might misconstrue a statement of fact as a dig at him. and oh yeah, he said I needed to learn Twitter etiquette and not use his Twitter handle in my Tweets so he won't read them and get upset. ummm...WTH?

I ended up deleting the Tweets because I just don't have time to deal with any rabid Collins fans coming after me with a pitchfork. some of my followers who also follow him have told me they read the exchange and either laughed and/or shook their heads at what happened.

the man has 10,000+ followers. if he feels the need to go after an innocent comment someone made stating a preference for a favourite presenter on a threatened radio station, that's pretty stupid.

a couple weeks back I wasn't allowed to have an opinion. now I'm not allowed to state facts. Twitter just keeps getting more interesting. (ha!)

FYI this whole thing ended up confirming what I already knew: I prefer Lammo above all others :)

(oh yeah, and I *still* think that Foals track sounds like Doves.)

edit 24 Mar 2010, 9:30 AM: he's still going on about Twitter etiquette. is there such a thing? this is pretty weird. it's like having the Emily Post of Twitter come back at you and tell you you've made a social gaffe.

dunno, I suppose I should be grateful that he slightly backpedaled on his previous vitriolic Tweets to me.

@theprintedword Not offence at comment, offence at etiquette failure re: using someone's Twitter name when you needn't have done

he wanted to make the point that any Tweet containing his name should be praise and nothing else? dunno. if you're expecting Twitter to deliver only compliments to your desktop / mobile phone / electronic gadget of your choice, I think you're missing the point of Twitter completely. it's a great equalizer b/c anyone with access to the internet can post whatever's on their mind, whenever they want. I wonder what his thoughts are on all the recent "comments" made about Director-General Thompson.

21 March 2010

mig stor nyheder!

(run the title through an English to Danish online translator and you get...my big news!)

I'm feeling v. orange lately, because...I am going to Roskilde this year! out of several hundred applicants I was chosen, along with six other enthusiastic young bloggers, to get an insider's view of Northern Europe's biggest, baddest music festival. it's a little daunting being the only non-Scandinavian to join the party, but 'you can never make an omelet without breaking eggs, every cook will tell you that', right?

you can read the festival blog entries from me and my compatriots here. and please comment, I'd love to hear from you.


also related to Roskilde:

last week the festival folks were teasing the punters that 2 major British acts were to be announced for the bill. seeing that I was not asked to be the bearer of good news, I knew the bands weren't any that I currently love a lot. given the clues ('what band likes to perform underwater?'), I thought maybe Keane was to be the big act named. no such luck.

the final announcement came and it turned out the two bands were Kasabian and Wild Beasts. I don't know much about either but TBH I'm a bit perturbed b/c I listen to a LOT of British music and what are the odds that they would pick up two bands I know absolutely nothing about?

disappointed yes, but it's an excuse to go into seeing them with no previous ideas about them. I was going to see Wild Beasts last month at the Black Cat but couldn't b/c I was poorly, so it's good I get to see them sometime this year and not have to pay for it myself.

also, it should be noted that Kasabian is apparently a gigantic deal to the Scandinavians, most of whom applauded this announcement loudly and proudly. this should be interesting to see from a sociological standpoint, since I won't actually going out of my head watching the band as a superfan or anything.


in the meantime, I have been nursing a v., v. bad case of missing my dear blighty, to the point of tears at some points :/ it's ridiculous how much plane tickets cost. I got to London and Nottingham (coach up and back down) last May for less than $550 R/T. now the tickets are upwards of $1000 just for the plane ticket!!! I'm scheming for some kind of blighty trip this year but not sure how feasible this is going to be, it's going to be tough on the wallet.

for new readers who have come to my blog via the link on the Roskilde Festival Web site, a quick explanation:

for no obvious reason besides the love I have for many, many English (and British) bands, England feels like home to me, although I was born, raised, and have lived all my life in America. I get emotional just thinking about the country because I have many friends there - some in bands, some not - and feel a kinship to its people that I don't feel when I'm home (for real). it's not just a place for me to holiday, it's a deep connection within my heart that I can't explain. I actually cried on the plane ride home last time, that's how much I love the place.

I blighty, I you v. v. much.

18 March 2010

this week's Roundtable (19/03)

Thursday sees Andrew Collins, Sean Adams from Drowned In Sound and Frankie Francis (Frankie and the Heartstrings) join Roundtable

1. James - 'Crazy' - it's all right. I remember first hearing about James and getting confused that James had something to do with Blur (b/c of Alex James). you could forgive me for the ignorance, this was pre-internet and pre-MySpace.

2. the Crookes - 'Bloodshot Days' - ok, TBH, I'm getting bored of all these bands plundering the '60s sound. and Sean nailed it - it sounds retro.

3. Racehorses - 'Pony' - WTF? definitely no...

4. Ten Bears - 'Braces' - having seen Hockey last night, this band sounds like a poor man's Hockey. which is strange b/c they sound English.

5. Pearl and the Puppets - 'Because I Do' - awww :) and I do like this band.

6. the Fall - 'Bury! Parts 1 and 2' - the winner - I've never been a huge Mark E. Smith fan. er...does that make me a bad indie kid? or maybe you have to be from Manchester to "get" it. then again, I get Everything Everything and Delphic...haha I love how Sean is like me and thinks the Fall is one of those bands you should get into eventually, like, before you die.

7. Laura Marling's latest album 'I Speak Because I Can' including 'Darkness Descends' - as I mentioned in a post on There Goes the Fear blog earlier this week, it's hard for me to love women's voices. it's v. country, almost too country / folky for my liking.

not in Austin. so listening to songs that make me cry.

even if you knock the whole 'American Idol' premise, you have to admit Kelly Clarkson 1) has a good set of pipes and 2) more talent AND more ethics that unfortunately a lot of artists who are more popular than she is.

the first time I heard this was my usual morning brekkie habit of flipping through MTV, MTV2, VH1, MTV Hits, VH1 Classic, and Fuse. (yeah, my poor remote control has to flip quickly through music I don't like.) the lyrics might mean a thing to you but they sure do touch me.

it's about saying goodbye to a finished relationship. it does a better job with the sentiment as does similarly-themed Friendly Fires song 'Lovesick' (which I absolutely love but for different reasons). the problem with that one, it's almost a bit flippant b/c the dance beats are so hot that you can't really take the lyrics seriously unless you've been thinking about them a lot (and we've already established that I have)...

Remember all the things we wanted
Now all our memories they're haunted
We were always meant to say goodbye

Even with our fists held high
It never would've worked out right
We were never meant for do or die

I didn't want us to burn out
I didn't come here to hold you, now I can't stop

I want you to know that it doesn't matter
Where we take this road someone's gotta go
And I want you to know you couldn't have loved me better
But I want you to move on so I'm already gone

Looking at you makes it harder
But I know that you'll find another
That doesn't always make you want to cry

Started with a perfect kiss then we could feel the poison set in
Perfect couldn't keep this love alive
You know that I love you so, I love you enough to let you go

I want you to know that it doesn't matter
Where we take this road someone's gotta go
And I want you to know you couldn't have loved me better
But I want you to move on so I'm already gone

I'm already gone, already gone
You can't make it feel right when you know that it's wrong
I'm already gone, already gone
There's no moving on so I'm already gone

Already gone, already gone, already gone
Already gone, already gone, already gone, yeah

Remember all the things we wanted
Now all our memories they're haunted
We were always meant to say goodbye

I want you to know that it doesn't matter
Where we take this road someone's gotta go
And I want you to know you couldn't have loved me better
But I want you to move on so I'm already gone

I'm already gone, already gone
You can't make it feel right when you know that it's wrong
I'm already gone, already gone
There's no moving on so I'm already gone

and wow, what a voice. when her voice goes up on 'and I want you to know / you couldn't have loved me better' - OMG. I wish I could sing like that! (it'd never happen. I'm an alto.)

if you're not blubbering yet after watching the video THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.

Roundtable is on later. that'll make me feel better!

12 March 2010

Lammo the consummate reviewer / dance dance dance!

happy Friday!

if you have not Lammo's blog yet, do yourself a favour and go over there now. if you were ever skeptical on Steve Lamacq's credentials for the 'indie rock oracle' crown, be skeptical no more.

in particular, read the 6music and NME Awards posts. they're quite enlightening and might even make you shed a tear as they did for me.

have I said enough how much I *adore* that man? :D


my exciting news will likely be posted early next week, once we've worked out some bugs. stay tuned my lovelies. just thinking about my summer is making me as happy as Ed Mac enjoying himself at the Bowery Ballroom a year ago this month (photo below courtesy of the fine people over at Gigwise).

shake it baby!

11 March 2010

this week's Roundtable (11/03)

Lammo welcomes Huw Stephens, Peter Hook and Jarvis Cocker into the studio for Roundtable.

1. MGMT - 'Flash Delirium' - I was never a massive fan of the NYC stoners but I really liked 'Time to Pretend' and 'Kids' so this is a bit of a disappointment. it's a little wigged out Beatles. it's a little too late '60s psychedelic for my liking.

2. Hallo Darling - 'Dreaming' - the winner (how is that possible???) - twee as hell. it's ok.

3. the Radio Dept. - 'Heaven's on Fire' - now THIS is what I thought the new MGMT would sound like! ahahaha

4. Kate Nash - 'Do Wah Doo' - why does everyone hate this woman so much? it's just POP. it's fine. I like it.

5. Keane feat. K'Naan - 'Stop for a Minute' - we actually reviewed this on TGTF. I like it! I really like it! I didn't think the r&b groove would work with Keane but it does.

6. Bonobo - 'Eyes Down' - it's a shame this came after the Keane track b/c it doesn't hold a candle to the previous one.

7. Goldheart Assembly's new album including 'The Last Decade' and 'So Long St. Christopher' - like it, thanks for the recommendation as always my dear Lammo!

10 March 2010

I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say.

this was one of those songs that I absolutely loved back in the day of heady (English) new wave. when everyone else was going gaga over OMD's 'If You Leave' (a good song I'll admit) I thought the sentiment in 'The Promise' by When in Rome was far better.

it breaks my heart b/c it's a song about someone's who is always around, your best mate if you will. this is the same person who's hoping you'll actually discover that he/she is perfect for you and has always been there all along. that person would do anything for you. and yet...you don't see it.

makes me weep every time. b/c I've been in that situation far too many times.

If you need a friend,
don't look to a stranger,
You know in the end,
I'll always be there.

And when you're in doubt,
and when you're in danger,
Take a look all around,
and I'll be there.

I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you'll wait around a while, I'll make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you I will.

When your day is through,
and so is your temper,
You know what to do,
I'm gonna always be there.

Sometimes if I shout,
it's not what's intended.
These words just come out,
with no gripe to bear.

I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you'll wait around a while, I'll make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you...

I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
And if I had to walk the world, I'd make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you I will.

I gotta tell ya, I need to tell ya, I gotta tell ya, I gotta tell yaaaa ...

I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say. (I promise)
I know they don't sound the way I planned them to be. (I promise)
But if you'll wait around a while, I'll make you fall for me,
I promise, I promise you...

06 March 2010

how massive is too massive (for D.C.)?

(I originally started this post on 20/12 but have finally gotten around to posting it.)

it's hard to tell with Friendly Fires as to when they are joking. I thought Ed Mac was joking when he said to me in Nottingham that their next video would be filmed in Ibiza. at the time, "Kiss of Life" was another 2 months away from being released and none of us outside the Friendly Fires camp had heard anything about any new single. but then the video came out and my jaw dropped. Ibiza. I'd been told before anyone else. of course, at the time, I had no idea...but never mind that. you couldn't get me off that cloud at the time of the discovery...and even today I still feel special! ::grin::

I don't know if Edd and Ed Mac were joking when they told me during my interview with them in Nottingham that they didn't want to return to D.C. but I worry about it for a v. good reason that I'm sure exists in the back of their minds.

it's a long story, but here's the somewhat shortish version: Dulles Airport (IAD) customs (or possibly Virgin Atlantic?) lost their/Jack's drum kit when they arrived for their first headlining tour of North America in March directly before their gig at the Black Cat, PopWreckoning review here. they ended up using White Lies' drum kit, which at first struck me as v. odd but this was later explained to me rather clearly. I remember this v. well, b/c Ed Mac and I swapped MySpace msgs over this. we talked about D.C., I found out how old he was (just a boy!), he called me "madame" (the first time in my life I'd ever been called that term of respect that so much was I surprised by this that I nearly keeled over from the politeness, heh!), etc. and at the time, I was just starting out as a blogger, so I was bowled over by the attention and this obvs endeared the band to me.

while I'd love to see them again of course, I'm not sure whether it's actually going to be feasible. if they become like other big-name acts that skip over Washington and play somewhere else, I'll probably have to pass, unless I have a really good reason to be at that "somewhere else." they've grown by leaps and bounds and if their second album does well, their star will no doubt skyrocket. I can't quantitate it but I'm sure through my own word of mouth, telling people how good they are live, AND all the posts I've written about them have certainly gotten their name out (along with everyone else's coverage like Niall Doherty's FLY MAGAZINE and such of course).

I'm starting to feel like Cathy from the Cavern circa Liverpool 1962, when the Cavern devotees started to realise the Beatles weren't ever going to come back to play for them at the Cavern again. they'd just become too massive. it's a tough call. you want your friends to have success, but you don't want them to become so massive that they totally forget what they were like when they were starting out, and they forget you too. I'm totally not begrudging them anything, b/c they've worked so hard - to the point of exhaustion/illness a couple different times in Jack's case, poor fella! - but yeah, having seen a band through the beginning, from their hard slog to win over White Lies's fans at the Black Cat (and myself having to convince girls outside the club that yeah, you should stop smoking your fags and get in there to see Friendly Fires before your White Lies come onstage), so yeah, I feel like they're my boys.

silly? quite possibly yes.

05 March 2010

music reviewers are allowed to have opinions. full stop.

ok, so a big part of what I do in my spare time is review music. the keys to being a good reviewer are:

1) having an opinion in the first place. meaning being a wishy-washy waffler does not do you any good.

2) being passionate about music. it's pointless not to feel strongly one way or another in this business, b/c the whole point of music reviewing is to offer your opinion to other people who want to know about a release. seriously, what would the music world be like, if we all liked the same kind of music? I think we all agree it would be v. boring indeed.

there are plenty of reviewers I respect that I've disagreed with one time or another. it's called personal preference. do I hate Stuart Maconie for loving Florence and the Machine, even though I can barely tolerate her? or him steadfastly insisting that he's played Friendly Fires on Radcliffe/Maconie? (I highly doubt they have, because I am a regular listener.) no. disagreements happen. if it wasn't for criticism, bands wouldn't get better, would they?

I follow actor/DJ/music lover Mathew Horne (@mfhorne) on Twitter. he's a funny guy. also pretty nice, judging by the fact that he'll actually respond to fans' queries. we have similar music tastes (we both like We Were Promised Jetpacks, the Joy Formidable, Friendly Fires, and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, just for example), and we're about the same age as well, so it's nice to "talk" to someone like that.

as I stated on Twitter this evening, I am not a fan of the new Foals single, 'Spanish Sahara' - it was one of 7 items reviewed on Roundtable last night. not only is the title an anachronism (the Sahara Desert is NOT in Spain, or even the Continent, so poor UK geography teachers have an uphill battle), I just don't like it, the melody reminds me of 'Jetstream' by Doves, a far superior track. that's my opinion and I offered it, just like the people on Lammo's Roundtable do each week. Mat Horne likes it:

Fuckadoodledo the new Foals single is compelling. Welcome back boys @foals

I decided to post my own opinion, not even in response directly to him OR insulting him or Foals. it was just an opinion.

unlike @mfhorne, I'm thoroughly unimpressed by Foals' newest single. sounds like Doves. I think they'll have to find new playmates soon

however, I was not expecting this exchange:

@theprintedword it does not sound like fucking Doves!
(calm down man, no need to swear. or throw a temper tantrum.)

@mfhorne can we agree to disagree, please? if it makes you feel any better, I didn't like the new Doves song either.

after a bit of reflection, I decided to post this, to prevent any Twitter flaming from the Foals-loving faction of Mat's fanbase:

oh dear, I didn't mean to start a war about this new Foals single. forget I mentioned it...

to which Mr. Horne replied:

@theprintedword thank the lord for that

I still have no cotton pickin' idea what that last Tweet means. frankly, I'm annoyed by the whole thing. interestingly, a friend of a friend had a similar incident with Mat last week, in which Mat dogged him as well. seriously, WTF? yes, I get you're an actor and you're famous, unlike the rest of us. but geez, I don't care who you are, temper tantrums are for 2 year olds.

I really doubt my opinion about a single matters to that many people. it's not like I'm Steve Lamacq. anything he says practically makes or breaks a band in the UK. unless Mat knows something I don't...! Foals have been around for a long while and have mates in high places so to speak (that was my intention mentioning 'playmates' of theirs I'm aware of that might be confused about the direction they've decided to go, away from 'Cassius' for one), so it's highly unlikely my one slag-off on them is going to do anything to their reputation.

in any event, it was a low blow. and as I stated yesterday on Twitter, I doubt Sean Adams of Drowned in Sound ever gets challenged and slagged off in public like I did.

04 March 2010

this week's Roundtable (04/03)

On Round Table this Thursday, Steve will be disecting the week's releases with guests Scroobius Pip, James Endeacott and Jim Bob

1. the Futureheads - 'Heartbeat Song' - I really like this! 'I still want to sing with you!' AWWWW!.

2. Doves - 'Andalucia' - despite the exotic title, there is nothing terribly exotic about this. not feeling it like 'Kingdom of Rust'. and they're doing a 'best of' album. ::groan::

3. Primary 1 feat. Nina Persson (Cardigans / A-Camp) - 'The Blues' - with the synth action, I imagine this will grow on me, but in the meantime, the synth plinks are rather annoying and jarring against the nice vocals.

4. Foals - 'Spanish Sahara' - uhhh...what happened to Foals? zzz...funny, this actually sounds like Doves! come on now, the tune is awfully similar to 'Jetstream', isn't it?

and that's my opinion. I'm allowed to have one, y'know. ::stares down a certain actor who threw a temper tantrum at me yesterday::

5. Plan B - 'She Said' - I like this. throwback, yes, but nice! cool vid too. (and no, my glowing remarks have nothing to do with Paul Epworth...hahaha)

6. Smashing Pumpkins - 'A Stitch in Time' - I think it's time for Billy Corgan to retire. really. like Foals earlier...snoozefest.

7. Gorillaz's latest 'Plastic Trees' including 'Melancholy Hill' - I'm not going to go into detail on why I'm not wowed by this effort, as everyone and their grandmother in the blogosphere has already reviewed this album. Damon Albarn, forget Murdoch. Blur reunion, please!

03 March 2010

last week's Roundtable (25/02)

Thursday is Roundtable day. Join Lammo as he welcomes Felix White from the Maccabees, Radio 1's Bethan Elfyn and Bella Union Records boss and former Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde into the studio to talk about the latest musical releases.

1. We Are Scientists - 'Rules Don't Stop' - loving it. so glad they are back. FYI they are back to their 3-piece, guitar/bass/drums configuration per their 'official' debut 'With Love and Squalor'. can't wait for 'Barbara' to be released.

2. Eliza Doolittle - 'Skinny Genes' - it starts up somewhat Nancy Sinatra 'Boots are Made for Walking'. totally unoriginal moniker BTW, it's almost as bad as Holly Golightly. man, this whistling is going to get *really* annoying this summer.

3. Titus Andronicus - 'Four Score and Seven (Part 2)' - funny, there's a song by the Delta Spirit that reminds me of this vibe. not wowed by this as I expected per their previous songs.

4. Stornoway - 'I Saw You Blink' - this has a v. Drums vibe, which is funny b/c the Drums were also reviewed on this edition of Roundtable. I'd even argue this actually sounds better than 'I Feel Stupid'.

5. Cypress Hill feat. Tom ? - 'Rise Up' - not my type of music. movin' on...

6. the Drums - 'Best Friend' - eh, it's ok. I can see why people are annoyed with them, haha!

7. Groove Armada's new album 'Black Light' including 'I Won't Kneel' and 'Paper Romance' - I feel terrible saying it but I think 'Paper Romance' is the best track on this album.