03 May 2012

I am really bad about not posting to this thing.

all I can say is that b/c I write so much for TGTF and This is Fake DIY, it's becoming increasingly less desirable to write about music on here, even about Lammo's Thursday Roundtable. although I regularly tune in without fail, I just want to listen to the tracks and let them sink in that said, I have some exciting things happening very soon:
  • I am attending both the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City as an official delegate
  • TGTF will have a stage at Sound City that will feature the Temper Trap, Clock Opera and Dear Prudence on Friday 18 May and
  • hell yeah, I'm finally having another holiday in England, although I'll really only have 5 days to myself (3 in London, though I'm planning a day trip to Cambridge, and 1 each in Brighton and in Liverpool, but those are really to get to the towns and check out the lay of the land before the festivals).
why don't I put a video up here today, one that you wouldn't expect? I wish people would stop banging on about how awful One Direction. I'm pleased that Duran Duran, not them, were chosen for the Olympics opening ceremony. that said, for what they are, and for the nice message of this song - girls, you are beautiful the way you are - I think they're a heck of a lot better than any misogynistic, foul-mouthed rapper. this is a pop song not trying to be anything else but a pop song. deal with it.'

18 February 2012

when lighting is not a blogger's best friend

I generally do not use this blog as a place to rant but reading my TGTF email gave me pause today, from a commenter named "Paul" in regards to my recent DC9 Slow Club live review:

"Mary- turn off you [sic] flash. It's rude."

I've had a look through all the photos I took that night. Of the 94 photos I took of all three bands, 5 were with flash. This comment is particularly annoying to me because I was not being annoying and using flash for every photo. What was the problem then? I can tell you the problem. DC9, due to its size, isn't large enough for professional lighting rigs. I can usually get away with no flash at the 9:30 Club (look at this Erasure live review as an example) because the lighting onstage is enough to light up the bands on stage.

I realize flash is annoying not only to the artists but also to the fans. If I didn't, I would have used flash on every photo. Did I? No. When possible, I try to use whatever lighting is available, and try to make up for it with the exposure settings on my camera. The provided lighting ALWAYS makes a photo look better compared to one with flash. I'm no expert but I've gotten some good shots over the years that I'm proud of, so I would consider myself a functional gig photographer. Provided I get to the gig early enough to be up front.

That said, I would like to point out something about the way I blog, and how blogging is done in general. There are three types of people who cover live gigs:
  • people who contribute only writing to blogs, so when they cover live gigs, they only provide a write-up
  • people who only take photos and don't do any write-up (general professional photographers, some of whom actually get paid by print or online publications)
  • people who take photos and do a write-up (very rare' some are like me and aren't using fancy SLRs, and even more rare, the folks with fancy SLRs that do awesome write-ups: not common at all)
I give as an example the photos taken by a photographer of a DC-based blog at the same show. Her photos are better than mine: that should be expected as she's a photographer and has a way fancier camera. I'm not. Peter, if you think I used my flash too much, you should bring your complaint up with her also. She also used flash but for *every* photo. I should know. Half the time she was either in front of me or near me and I tried desperately to look away from her when possible because her flash was going off. I'm not even counting any of the other fans who were there, taking photos with flash also. It happens.

I don't really care if someone doesn't like my photos. Feel free to rip on them all you want; I take photos at gigs not because I have to, it's because I like to and it's for the promotion of bands. That's what each of the three types of contributors above are trying to do.

The reason why there are better and better bands coming to DC as the years go on? It's a direct result of what we bloggers do. Have a problem with what I'm doing? Come and see me about it. But I doubt you would, would you?

12 January 2012

day 12 - a song from a band you hate

Nickelback - 'How You Remind Me'

Hate's a strong word. For severe distaste, I think that trophy goes to Nickelback, who the Detroit public have put petitions out to stop them from playing at this year's Super Bowl. (People from Detroit know their music. It's the birthplace of Motown, for god's sakes.)

I'd be ok with the guitars on this song except that the lyrics are dumb ("this is how you remind me" - uh, we've been reminded of your silly little song b/c American radio stations can't seem to get enough of it - *groan*). Stupid hair - sorry, long hair on rockers was done yonks ago better first by Robert Plant and then Sebastian Bach.

this week's Roundtable (12/1)

Stephen Bass (Moshi Moshi), Jim Bob of Carter USM (again?!?) and comedian Holly Walsh join Lammo

1. Mark Stuart featuring Primal Scream - 'Autonomia' - ehhhh...not my thing.

2. Friends - 'Friend Crush' - second place (third place not announced) - not as good as 'I'm His Girl'. too slow, a bit boring. and borderline annoying. that nasal vocal, yecchhh.

3. Dodgy - 'What Became of You' - when did overechoed vocals become the rule? ugh. the guitar work is admirable but not much else is sticking out to me.

4. 'allo Darlin - 'Capricornia' - what is odd is that the first time I heard this (before now) this was great. now it's cloying. I guess it overstayed its welcome.

5. Goldfrapp - 'Melancholy Sky' - there's always been something about Goldfrapp that has been a bit off to me.

6. Maz Totterdell - Roundtable winner - 'Counting My Fingers' - it has a good pop feel and I can tell we're going to hear plenty of this in 2012. blargh :( expect it to be accompanied by an excessively cute girl riding her bicycle through the countryside. what I don't like is that's she's doing what Katie Sutherland / Pearl and the Puppets did 2 years ago and encroaching her turf.

7. Howler album 'America Give Up' - there is something wonky / throwback about their sound. it's fine but I want to laugh when I hear them, which can't be a good thing.

Delphic new year wishes from the recording studio

not sure what is going on in this wicked weird new Delphic video taken in a Hackney recording studio. but here is a quick run-down:

  • Matt is still fiddling with his pedal effects (though sadly he is not shown playing his gorgeous new guitar, procured presumably in early 2011 b/c it made its first live appearance at the Spotify live gig in London in April)
  • James has pushed Rick out of the way and has commandeered the piano (make of that what you will)
  • Rick is still singing those angelic/girly backing vocals, though this time in the studio, he's gone one step further, deciding to use jazz hands (ha!)
  • the messages on the screen at the end read "WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR: NEW SONGS SOON / THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE..."

...so we're reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, guys. I was disappointingly thwarted in my best attempts at sneaking an early listen of the new material (to which I got the exasperated response "my girlfriend has only heard 2 of the songs!) and sitting in on a session. but I have been promised a master when it is available. my fears and concerns for the new album have been communicated...hit me with your best shot, guys.

11 January 2012

day 11 - a song from your favorite band

This is probably the worst question you can give a music editor. How can I choose? It's like choosing your favourite child.

To make this easier on myself, I've decided a favourite song ('Nowhere Man') from the first band I really loved - the Beatles. The harmonies on this are, simply put, perfect.

day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep

'N Sync - '(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You'

Easily one of the cheesiest songs recorded, ever.

It's not that I don't like this song. I actually used it to help me sleep many nights in college when I was so anxious about classes the next day. And besides, come on, really. Who *didn't* love JC Chasez's voice? (Justin Timberlake? Who's he?)

day 09 - a song that you can dance to

catch-up is the name of the game, yikes!

Two Door Cinema Club - 'What You Know'

The video makes it easy. There's a girl pounding her fists in drums covered in glitter. What more could you need? The backbeat is in your face. Just brilliant to dance to. I danced so hard to Two Door the last time I saw them, my calves hurt so bad for 3 days afterward. Not kidding.

It's funny thinking about Two Door and Delphic, my 2010 bands, b/c they are so different. While Delphic feels to me "intellectual", Two Door is more "in your face, no frills". I love them both, for entirely different reasons.

08 January 2012

day 08 - a song you know all the words to

Dido - 'White Flag'

I think this is probably the best song ever written about being in love with someone and having the pain of keeping that person in your life. You know full well that you will run into him again, and you have to pretend you are fine with being "just friends" and have to look like you're going on with your life but inside you are crying. And you can't say anything, because he's with someone else. Having to take the high road, pretending you don't care, never hurt so much.

The best part is the bridge, when Dido sings and her voice goes up with "and you will think...that I've moved on" - heartbreaking.

and when we meet, I'm sure we will
all that was there, will be there still
I'll let it pass, and hold my tongue
and you will think that I've moved on

The interesting bit about this video that I really like is it shows both the man (played by actor David Boreanaz) and the woman as strong, successful people, instead of the woman being just completely desperate and inconsolably sad. This gives me hope.

The part that I find kind of painful is the part at the end when she's looking at the wall of her flat and she's still got photos of her ex on the wall. She sings like she is trying to be strong but inside she is still in in love with him.

07 January 2012

day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event

Leona Lewis - 'Bleeding Love'

Last month I sang 'Bleeding Love' in the recording booth at the British Music Experience, a museum inside the O2 in London. I sang my heart out, with all the pain and regret I have been holding for the last year and a half pouring out of my body, thinking no-one was watching me. After I was done and took off my headphones, there was a group of schoolkids gathered and they cheered. If they only knew. I have been naturally drawn to songs about bleeding and bleeding hearts, as I have been dealing with the strange, often confounding side effects of a bleeding disorder. So when I say I'm "bleeding", I'm bleeding in two very different ways.

The American version of the video (below) is much MUCH better than the UK one, which doesn't make a whole load of sense to me and is visually boring.

06 January 2012

day 06 - a song that reminds of you of somewhere

Casiokids - 'Finn Bikkjen!'

This is the ultimate party song for the ultimate party in Northern Europe - Roskilde. I'm hoping one day to get back there b/c the vibe was amazing and I saw some pretty amazing performances there. all my Casiokids coverage for TGTF is here.

Casiokids have got a great new album out already in the U.S. (I've had it for nearly 3 months, beat that!) but the UK has to wait until the 23rd of January. Review coming up on TGTF soon.

05 January 2012

this week's Roundtable (5/1)

guests tonight are Leonie Cooper, Tom Williams (of the Boat) and Eugene Butcher (it's not on the Web site so I've no idea ;)

1. Air - 'Seven Stars' - I accidentally thought this was David Bowie, with all the Bowie coverage this week (his 65th birthday's Sunday), it was that weird. and I didn't like it. funny Leonie said it sounded like Beach House, b/c I can't stand Beach House...

2. Devin - 'You're Mine' - Roundtable winner - I like this punky sound, very Ramones/Libertines-esque. sounds more New Joisie than Brooklyn. it's just one bloke?!?

3. the xx - 'Open Eyes' demo - I like this even more minimalistic yet more lovey sound from the xx. read more here.

4. 'allo Darlin' - 'Capricornia' - second place - I am loving this. so what if they're twee?!?

5. Radiohead - 'Staircase' - I don't like Radiohead. and again, I'm left wondering, "what am I missing that everyone else is hearing?" I find this bland, boring and not worth another listen.

6. the Skints - 'Ratatatat' - third place - oh god, what is this? like r&b but with a creepy, Halloween-type vibe. is that intentional? then there's a woman singing fast like Janelle Monae and a random bloke shouting like Flava Flav. no thanks.

7. the Maccabees' new (third) album 'Give into the Wild' - I've never been a huge fan of the Maccabees, and these teaser clips tell me why. yes, they've got the "infectious" sound down pat but will I remember the songs tomorrow? probably not. and 'Pelican' has to be one of the most annoying songs I've ever heard (single review here, halfway decent but nonsensical video here).

day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone

The Divine Comedy - 'Everybody Knows (Except You)'

This reminds me of my first time I fell in love. Offering up the Divine Comedy was one method of wooing by my first boyfriend. Worked too. Like a charm. I still love Neil Hannon, I think he's written some amazing songs and is criminally underrated.

It also reminds me of the last time I fell in love. The most painful way you can be in love is when you're so in love and you can't tell that other person how much you love him. Everyone else around you knows because you're walking around with stars in your eyes and you can't stop talking about him. But still...he has no idea.

So note to potential suitors: yes. The way to my heart? Woo me with the music you love and feel passionate about. Because chances are I will feel just as passionate as you are after you introduce it to me.

04 January 2012

day 04 - a song that makes you sad

Everclear - Wonderful

This sums up that time in your life when you realize Santa Claus doesn't exist and although your parents have protected you, there will be people in your life that will hurt you. Again and again. For me it hasn't been so much the people that hurt me, it's all the medical things that I have no control over that have changed my dreams, forced me to take up a new direction, altered my course forever.

I think my parents took my illness worse than I did. But all the while, they tried to make me feel like one day it will all work out. I haven't gotten there yet and songs like this make me cry. I get upset because there are people moaning and whinging on how bad they think their lives are and blah-de-blah and I'm sorry, you haven't lived with a chronic illness all your life. I've had some great moments but there have been moments where I went to sleep in a hospital bed, wondering whether I'd wake up.

for those of you whinging about how bad your job is or how you don't have enough money, try living MY life. or walk in the shoes of someone else who has suffered in one way or another that you haven't. There is always *someone* worse off than yourself. That includes me too. Try your best to hold on to what's good in your life. Even if it's a small victory.

03 January 2012

day 03 - a song that makes you happy

Delphic - 'Halcyon'

this is actually not my favourite song on Delphic's debut 'Acolyte' (that honour goes to 'Submission'.) no, I chose this one because I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking, these guys are not half bad. Matt Cocksedge's guitar solo is what sealed the deal for me: this band had seemed to get the marriage of good rock and good dance together perfectly. a couple weeks later I would see the promo video at DC9, shortly before VV Brown performed for us. the video was breathtaking: the right amount of mystery and intrigue had me hooked.

months later I would see this band perform it live in all its glory at Roskilde. it's all very surreal that I can now count these fellows not just as heroes but actual mates. I have such a crazy yet amazing life.

day 02 - your least favourite song

3rd day of January and I'm already late. whoops. so I have to play catch-up...

Hoobastank - 'The Reason'

music people remember songs that were playing at seminal moments of their lives. I will always remember Darwin Deez's 'Constellations' playing before a band that meant so much to me went on in Washington. I remember this song because I was lost in an unfamiliar part of town, trying to find the hospital where my dad had been taken too, very poorly. it comes on occasionally on the one "rock" station in DC and I immediately switch it off. I'm 24 again and I'm about to suffer one of the most traumatic losses in my life.

plus, come on. idiotic promo video. to go with an idiotic song. "the reason is you"???

01 January 2012

day 01 - your favourite song

Wilson Phillips - 'Hold On'

it would be impossible to choose my favourite song. so I'm going with the first song I really took apart - examined the lyrics, broke down the harmonies - and I still remember to this day. it's definitely one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

and those are some kick-arse harmonies. word.