28 May 2010

Reading/Leeds rewind 2008

n'awwww vids like this make me go, "baby Friendly Fires!" hehehe

well, this Reading and Leeds appearance in 2008 was taped BEFORE they were famous. (and before I knew who they were.) Rob looks like a teenager, Edd has no beard, and Ed Mac is rocking the "too short trousers and no socks paired with spastic dancing" look. lucky for them, it looks like there's a bit of a breeze (check out the shirt collars).

and that shirt has been everywhere. need evidence?

have a nice holiday weekend, wherever you are!

27 May 2010

this week's Roundtable (27/05)

Kev Baird from Two Door Cinema Club, Edith Bowman and Keith Murray (We Are Scientists) join Roundtable

1. Tom Jones - 'Burning Hell' - I'm not sure what to make of this. this is the same guy can gave us 'Delilah' and 'What's New Pussycat?' um...wha? the thought of Tom Jones dancing to this onstage just gave me the giggles.

still, it's more believable than Pat Boone's 'Mister Nice Guy'.

'I like a curveball now and then. thanks Tom Jones.' - Keith Murray

2. Pull in Emergency - 'Everything is the Same' - s'alright.

3. Klaxons - 'Flashover' - the winner - someone tell me please, is this how Klaxons always sounded like? Matt Everitt of the Music Week on 6 commented at the time of the Mercury Prize last year, Friendly Fires never would have moved so many units of their debut album if Klaxons were around. I'm confused tho, this version of Klaxons sounds more Biffy than anything approaching dance music...huh?

4. Kula Shaker - 'Peter Pan RIP' - I guess the violins remind me of Patrick Wolf. weirdly, this has a '60s vibe to it, yet is a bit folky...dunno, I like it for it being unusual.

5. Arcade Fire - 'the Suburbs' - I've never been a huge fan of them - it's like the Decemberists, Dresden Dolls, and the Fall - I have friends who are massive fanatics of these acts but I never got on the bandwagon. it's fine but it's not mind-blowing. why exactly do people go crazy over this band? discuss.

6. Shaun Keaveny and Matt Everitt of 6music - football song - funny, had they not told me, I had no idea it was two 6music presenters! as Lammo said, 'we made a mistake not having a single English person on the panel' - LOLZ

7. the Divine Comedy's new album 'Bang Goes the Knighthood' including 'The Complete Banker' - I have an unusual but special relationship with Neil Hannon. my ex-bf was a big fan of him and DC, so of course I was inundated with mix CDs of their work. in particular, the song 'Everybody Knows (Except You)' really hit my heart hard. Hannon is an great, funny songwriter full of wit. and he's still going. and still valid. I mean, who still writes songs like 'Have You Ever Been in Love?' without it sounding trite?

one day I should like to sit down with the man, if only to buy him a cup of coffee or a pint as a thank you. boyfriends come and go but the music is always constant. you will always remember how a song made your feel at that moment in time.

21 May 2010

Sartre was right.

I'm v. tetchy today after having the day from hell, so it's no wonder I'm spouting Sartre today. so bear with me.

the famous last line of his play 'No Exit' was "hell is other people".

this has been analyzed and cross-examined for years and I haven't found a satisfactory explanation for this means.

somehow, despite all the crap in my life I have no control over, I have managed *not* to have a existentialist view on the world and mankind. today however tested my patience and made me wonder, maybe Sartre is right.

this video in particular sums up me being hurtful b/c this Fleetwood Mac show was during my Thanksgiving vacation my first year of uni. I thought about whether or not to go and decided not to b/c I had to study for midterms and write a final paper. turns out this was the last time the famous five member line-up (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, the divorced Christine and John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood) ever toured together. Stevie Nicks is one of my favourite female singers of all time, primary reasons being 1) she is an altogether nice person and 2) she proved you can be an alto AND make it in this business.

'Rumours' was such a landmark album b/c it was a crazy emotional piece of work. people were getting together, people were breaking up, and everyone was doing drugs. in other words, they had no business of being in any sort of relationship, let alone be in a band. but somehow 'Rumours' came out of all those broken dreams.

I dedicate the sentiment of 'Go Your Own Way' to anyone who I've ever tried to be friends with and I got the door slammed in my face in return. I don't have a mean bone in my body and I give people all that I have, but it's never enough. and oh, and isn't life a peach when you always get kicked when you're down? if you can't make the effort to be civil to me when I've helped you, then please, get out of the way.

PS La Roux gig on 25 July (rescheduled from the snowed out 10 February) has been moved to 27 July (a Tuesday) and to the late show slot (doors at 10). I'm probably going to have to sell my ticket. if I hadn't done some research on Ticketfly today I never would have known. thanks for making sure everyone who had a ticket knew about this, 9:30 Club.

so close, yet so far away.

I was reminded of the Mercury Prize heartbreak when I saw Laura Marling Sunday night, who lost in 2008. granted, Elbow won that year with 'The Seldom Seen Kid' (and I do love me some Elbow) so it wasn't a complete disaster. last year when Speech Debelle won, everyone was pretty much shocked I think, and it's sad, b/c even though I don't like Florence and the Machine much, her winning would have been more obvious and 'helpful' if you will in the grand scheme of things. b/c what has SD done since? she got mad at her label and quit them, and who knows where all those thousands of pounds went.

in FFires' case, they could probably have used the money to buy a new place to record in St. Albans so Ed Mac's parents wouldn't have to listen to all that banging. us fans joke that the Old Street studio they used to commit 'Kiss of Life' to disc was abandoned b/c he was scared of the rats. another friend of ours thinks a rat was the culprit breaking into his flat and delivering him smack, but that's another story altogether...

relive the night with this interview the Eds did with Absolute Radio sans a convalescing Jack who had just been released from hospital for some crazy infection in his leg. ohh Edd Gibson, always getting in there with compliments and making people smile! and Ed Mac cannot get over the fact he's getting served a hot meal at a table. ROFL

20 May 2010

this week's Roundtable (20/05)

Thursday is Roundtable day. Join Lammo as he welcomes former Delgado singer Emma Pollock into the studio to chat about her new album 'The Law of Large Numbers' and Rebecca from Slow Club in the studio discussing some new releases and to review some of this week's interesting new releases. plus Leonie Cooper (NME journo).

1. Muse - 'Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever)' - Twilight, barf. while it's not horrible, it's cheese cheese CHEESE. read my impression on TGTF.

2. Chief - 'Breaking Walls' - the winner - why is everyone trying to sound like Neil Young these days? there's only so much dream-y lyric I can take. what I find awful about the popularity of this sort of sound is it is enjoyable by all b/c it's so vague (lacking conviction) and IMO that's a sad state of music to be in.

3. oops, I missed the names - my saviour dance music. how odd that I'm going to see Mumford and Sons tonight...?

4. Mr Scruff - 'Pickled Spider' - wotta name. it's ok. groovy beat.

5. Scissor Sisters - 'Fire with Fire' - haha it started like one of Sarah McLachlan's! it still maintain Jake Shears sounds eerily like Freddie Mercury, it's a bit off putting.

6. the Wurzels - 'Ruby' (Kaiser Chiefs cover) - HAHAHAHAHA.

7. LCD Soundsystem's third and possibly final album 'This is Happening' - I reviewed this a while ago for TGTF when it first was available as a stream on their Web site. some great stuff, some ok. I'm looking forward to finally seeing James Murphy at Roskilde on 01 July.

19 May 2010

I've been quoted. surely a step up?

it was mostly Sam Halliday's quote not mine but it WAS from an interview I did with him (that his mum commented on!) on 10 May. but yeah, Brooklyn Vegan thought my interview was cool enough to be quoted. check it out.

it's been a while (since mid January when I saw We Are Scientists, gah!) since I've listed my reviews and such, so here's a list for you all who want to know the story so far:

  • Laura Marling (Pete Roe and Smoke Fairies supporting) - 16.05.10 - Iota, Arlington, VA - my This is Fake DIY review my TGTF review

  • Two Door Cinema Club (Million Young and Bad Veins supporting) - 13.05.10 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA - my This is Fake DIY review my PopWreckoning review interview with Sam Halliday of TDCC

  • Phoenix (Two Door Cinema Club supporting) - 26.04.10 - Constitution Hall, Washington, DC - my This is Fake DIY review my PopWreckoning review

  • Hot Chip (the xx supporting) - 24.04.10 - 9:30 Club, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review my There Goes the Fear review

  • the Temper Trap and Florence and the Machine (the Kissaway Trail supporting) - 06.04.10 - 9:30 Club, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review

  • Vampire Weekend (Abe Vigoda supporting) - 03.04.10 - Constitution Hall, Washington, DC - videos here

  • the xx (Nosaj Thing and jj supporting) - 28.03.10 - Sixth and I Synagogue, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review

  • Hockey (the Postelles supporting) - 17.03.10 - Rock 'n' Roll Hotel, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review

  • Cymbals Eat Guitars (Bear in Heaven and Freelance Whales supporting) - 06.03.10 - Rock 'n' Roll Hotel, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review my There Goes the Fear review

  • Muse (Silversun Pickups supporting) - 01.03.10 - Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA - my PopWreckoning review feature my photos on There Goes the Fear write-up

  • Editors (the Antlers and the Dig supporting) - 21.02.10 - 9:30 Club, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review my There Goes the Fear review my interview with Russell Leetch of Editors

  • Liberation Dance Party featuring VV Brown - 19.02.10 - DC9, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review my There Goes the Fear review

  • We Were Promised Jetpacks (Bad Veins and Typefighter supporting) - 13.02.10 - Rock 'n' Roll Hotel, Washington, DC - my PopWreckoning review my There Goes the Fear review
  • 14 May 2010

    half Brazilian samba dancer, half hardcore singer

    when you read this, I will be in Philly, recovering from the Two Door Cinema Club gig the night before at Johnny Brenda's. but I did not want to leave you hanging without a Friday amusement post so here it is, queued far in advance. (aren't I nice?)

    MTV Buzzworthy taped a Discover and Download video featuring Friendly Fires from I believe the fall of 2008 and you can watch it below. the Ed Mac dance sequences were filmed by my NYC friend Rachel, who was asked by MTV if they could use her video from the 24 March Black Cat show. so it's pretty cool that our gig was preserved in a MTV advert for the band. and my god, Gibson, Macfarlane and Savidge look soooo young.

    MTV describes them and their music as follows:

    Produced completely in their garage, Friendly Fires' self-titled debut is a burbling escapist fantasy. The sort of thing that inspires three grown Brits to undulate like samba dancers on a nightly basis.

    it was one of the first (and unfortunately, one of the very few) things I ever saw of them on American telly. and yeah, whoever was doing styling for the shoot needs to be given massive kudos b/c I fell in when I saw this on the big screen for the first time.

    the video was filmed during a photo shoot that produced some of the greatest shots I've ever seen of the band. I have my favourites (haha) but I rather like the drama of this one. mmm three pairs of cute English boys' eyes staring at you? yes please!

    happy Friday kiddos, speak soon.

    11 May 2010

    too cheesy not to share

    and complete with cheesy Italian lift music.

    LOLZ oh Two Door Cinema Club, never stop being adorable. Alex Trimble looks like he's Columbus and has just spotted land. poor Sam Halliday gets to push him around. (presumably Kev Baird is recording all of this.)

    edit 17/05: on second thought, it might be Kev pushing Alex around, because to my knowledge Sam hasn't had a beard. at least he hasn't photographed with one...ah clean-shaven men!

    09 May 2010

    start spreading the news...

    this was unnecessary torture I suppose (since I can't eat friggin' bagels anymore with my wheat allergy...THERE I'VE SAID IT!) but when I think of Philadelphia, I think of Philly cheesesteaks (which an acquaintance of mine s) and that oh so spreadable goodness that is Philadelphia cream cheese. I was a young child when the above advert aired in the '90s, my mouth drooling with the idea of dunking strawberries into the luscious, decadent, oh so fattening spread, because it was *very* uncommon for my mum to splurge on such frivolous things when I was young. see, this advert is an example that you don't need fancy graphics or animation for an advert to sell product - the stuff sold itself.

    I was having a discussion with my good friend C - whose birthday it is today as Britain is already into Monday 10 May, happy birthday my love - about cheesecakes and how New York cheesecakes are generally the end all. but surely, they all start with Philly cream cheese, don't they?

    all this Philly love is all because I only have 3 days left before I jump on the choo-choo to go north for Two Door Cinema Club at Johnny Brenda's (Thursday), followed by Eddie Argos as part of Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now! at North Star Bar (Friday). I expect major hugfests ::big grin::

    07 May 2010

    FFires in the dark

    sort of. I find it amusing that this is the Beach Break Festival, yet they're in the dark? you can make out rolled up shirt sleeves though...

    I-beetha baby. I still think it's weird that Brits pronounce 'Ibiza' as if it's a piece of beef.

    and before they were slagging off MGMT, they were slagging off Florence Welch:

    Ed Mac: she (Florence) needs to learn the lyrics to one of our songs before she starts singing it. and learn how the melody goes.
    Jack: or like learn a melody that remotely works.
    Ed: I liked it when she was just dancing on stage, in Bristol she didn't do much singing to be honest.
    Jack: I could take it or leave it to be honest...
    ::LOLZ all around::

    and Ed Mac, check your 'Kiss of Life' instrumental bridge with Foals 'With Swimming', you've already sort of worked with Foals already. (thank you C for pointing that out:)

    06 May 2010

    this week's Roundtable

    last week (29/04) I refused to listen to Roundtable b/c the 6music feed was splicey. the week before (22/04) Lammo wasn't hosting, so I was disinterested. sorry :)

    Thursday sees Laura Mary Carter from Blood Red Shoes join Luke Haines (ex-Auteurs) and Word Magazine's Andrew Harrison on Roundtable

    1. Morcheeba - I missed the title. but it was unmistakably Morcheeba. that should tell you if you'd like it.

    2. Interpol - 'Lights' - uhhh. not a fan. how it is possible that Friendly Fires opened for them, years ago?

    3. Delorean - 'Stay Close' - this Spanish outfit is getting a lot of love. they opened for Miike Snow in the States and they have a very smooth ravey vibe about them. they sound like another ban whose name escapes me at the mo but I could sing their song...er...Yeasayer maybe? anyway, expect big things from them.

    4. I Am Kloot - 'Lately' - ummm...this is not a good start for today's Roundtable. the beginning sounds like 'the Wonder Years' theme song - the Joe Cocker cover of the Beatles' 'A Little Help From My Friends'. ick.

    5. Eminem - 'I'm Not Afraid' - rap. ugh. nuff said.

    6. 6 Day Riot - 'All I Need' - this kind of girly sung music has been done before and better.

    7. Steve Mason's new album 'Boys Outside' including 'Understand My Heart' - interesting, this 'Heart' track sounds a bit Peter Gabriel. v. unlike 'Lost and Found'.

    03 May 2010

    playing with the big boys (part 2)

    so the deal is, you're usually only allowed to photograph during the first 3 songs of a set. it has been explained to me that this is when the band is least sweaty and gross, so the photos should come out the best.

    forget the fangirl in me that actually likes seeing sweat drip off a musician's body when he's given his all to the fans...no, that's not what they're looking for. actually, if you want to get technical, I was the one who was sweating bullets that night. I was so nervous that after I got back home, my stomach was hurting so bad b/c my whole body had been so tense and stiff trying to get photos while not bumping into other photographers that night, I needed Tylenol. I had no one to share stories "from the trenches" on the way back on the Metro. instead, I keep staring at the photo a nice fellow fan had snapped of me and the boys. when I say "the boys", I mean Two Door Cinema Club. (Phoenix was nowhere to be found, though funnily when I was waiting outside the hall before doors, I spied one of them carrying a bottle of detergent and a hamper of clean clothes back from the building and onto their tourbus. so if you were wondering, I guess DAR has laundry machines.)

    I'm still no pro photog, but the photos came out pretty good for a simple point and shoot camera if I do say so myself. here are most of them, but if you're interested in the write-ups, they are available at PW and This is Fake DIY.

    on This is Fake DIY
    on PopWreckoning

    Sam Halliday, lead guitar

    Alex Trimble, lead vocals and guitar, plus their touring drummer (?)

    Kev Baird, bass guitar. I feel absolutely horrible on how this looks. granted, when I trying to get a shot of him, he was all over the place and it was near impossible. couple that with my height and all these people trying to get into their seats during the first 3 songs when were allowed to take photos, I didn't have any great opportunities. I hope this is rectified when I see the band in 9 days (next week!) in Philadelphia.

    02 May 2010

    playing with the big boys (part 1)

    I've always wanted to be recognised for my writing ability. I never thought I'd ever be able to compete with with professional photographers and their professional cameras and lenses. attempting to shoot with the big guns at DAR Constitution Hall on Monday 26 April scared the heck out of me (b/c I had to wonder, am I good enough to be able to do this? and will I be laughed at by everyone else and their gigantic equipment?) and also excited me (b/c not just anyone gets to shoot at a place as big as DAR).

    I was lucky enough to be asked by a record label to cover the Phoenix / Two Door Cinema Club show at Constitution Hall. unfortunately, I was only able to get one ticket, so I would be by myself, so that made me a bit nervous well. a stroke of luck: I met some nice professional photogs including Dakota Fine, who took these great photos for local (DC) blog Brightest Young Things.

    my previous experience with photogs hasn't been great - a lot of them are men (and older) and probably give me the once-over than bands do when I meet them for the first time, things that go through their mind probably include, "what do you think you're doing, you're just some groupie, you're not really covering the event are you?" most of them pretend I don't exist (even though I've got a press pass like they do) and I think that's unnecessarily mean. I mean, really, the photos I take are never going to be any where the quality of a professional's. or so I thought.

    when I first started blogging, I did a search of online blogs to try to decide if I should go with a national or a regional/DC metro area blog. nothing comes close to BYT's scope and volume of posts, but they don't solely focus on music (and I definitely wanted to write for a music blog) and TBH some of the writing on there isn't that great. I mean, it's too short/MTV style for my liking, I tend to write at length so I had the feeling my writing wasn't going to work for their site. Dakota did ask me why I didn't want to write for them and I explained that my focus has always been writing and that the photography I do is only for illustrative purposes only and not trying to be super professional, and that the ones that I write for allow me the latitude to practise my "art". and just like I respected his photo-taking skills, he respected what I was there to do.

    here's a shot from his Flickr that he took on the night that I'm actually in. if you look to the center and right of the aisle, there are two guys with their massive professional cameras, kneeling down on the floor. but on the left is another figure kneeling and you can make out a light - that's the backlight of my Sony camera.

    I tingle just looking at b/c this night was basically one of many High Noons in my career. this was either going to make me (showing that I had the chops to take good photos under pressure in a big, famous venue) or break me (indicating I didn't have what it takes and I should pack up my toys and go home, permanently).

    so what happened? stay tuned for part 2...