Sunday, 29 November 2009

Shuffle Sunday - 29/11/09

Who cares about U2. Here's some of the best acts I've seen at Glastonbury that were on somewhere other than the Pyramid Stage.

Shuffle Sunday - 29/11/09

1. Rufus Wainwright: Art Teacher (Other Stage)
2. Willy Mason: Oxygen (John Peel Stage)
3. Super Fury Animals - Golden Retriever (Other Stage)
4. Elbow - Ground for Divorce (Other Stage)
5. Hot Chip - Ready for the Floor (John Peel Stage)
6. Orbital - Belfast (NME Stage)
7. Primal Scream - Higher than the Sun (NME Stage)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Why we need to stop worrying about the headliners and just get on an enjoy Glastonbury

So U2 have been announced as one of the headliners for Glastonbury. Hands went up in the air across the country: some were in ‘hurrah I love U2’; while others were in ‘Mamma mia, this was supposed to be the festival of a lifetime!’

I have to admit at first I was one of the later. Andy Williams, U2…this didn’t sound like the amazing line up I was hoping for. But then I had to shake myself by the shoulders and give myself a hysterical slap around the face. “Glastonbury isn’t just about the headliners,” I shouted. “There’s so much more to it than that!” Then I had to stop because my work colleagues were looking at me funny.

When I’m at Glastonbury I barely set foot in front of the Pyramid stage. I don’t like it for a number of reasons: I think you find more interesting bands on some of the smaller stages; the field is too big and sprawling; and the toilets are always by far the worst.

Last time I was at Glastonbury I abandoned my friends by the Pyramid stage and went off in search of something a little different. I ended up at The Park and while I was there I went to a café and had some delicious carrot cake, watched some break dancers, contemplated climbing the tower (and then remembered my vertigo) and finally sat down in the sunshine and enjoyed an afternoon of fine music. While roasting myself under the old ultra-violet I saw Laura Marling, The Mystery Jets and Caribou.

So let’s remember, when Mr Eavis promises a festival to remember you know he will deliver just that. It may not be your all time favourite band headlining, but go off into the corners of the festival and wonders will await you.

Five things to do when U2 are on:

  1. Go to the John Peel Stage and check out some new bands
  2. Go to Trash City, pick you jaw up off the floor and then party the night away
  3. Go up to the stone circle, light a fire and sing songs with your new found friends until the sun comes up
  4. Lose your mind in Shangri-La, and then find it again next day in the Green Fields
  5. Go to the Greenpeace field, have a warm shower and a nice cup of tea and find out about some of their many important campaigns.

Do you have a favourite moment away from the Pyramid stage? Share with us your recommendations on how to have fun without being bothered by a strange old Irish man in sunglasses.

This week I bought tickets for Grizzly Bear, The Pyjama Men, The XX and Camden Crawl. Roll on spring time, I love you already!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Shuffle Sunday - 22/11/09

Continuing the theme from my last post, here's some recommended tunes. Happy listening...

Shuffle Sunday - 22/11/09

Tracks listings
1. Laura Marling - (Interlude) Crawled out of the Sea
2. Moldy Peaches - Anyone Else but You
3. Laura Marling - My Manic and I
4. Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man
5. Foals - French Open
6. Neon Neon - Michael Douglas
7. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream

Friday, 20 November 2009

Is your music collection in cardiac arrest?

A friend suggested I write a blog for people like her that might be…let’s say…a bit out of touch. This sounded like a good idea so I asked her when was the last time she bought any music. She replied: “Ohhh, I’m not sure…maybe sometime in the 80s.” Time to fire up the defibrillator and resuscitate those music collections.

I’ve not bought any music since the beginning of the noughties...
Ok, don’t panic - you’ve missed a decade of fantastic music but you can still catch up. Chances are if you were buying music in the late 90s/early noughties you might have been a little bit caught up with the likes of Blur, Pulp and Oasis. Some of those bands are still knocking about, but let’s not dwell on the past. The noughties has been one of the best decades for indie music. There’s so much to choose from, such as Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand and Artic Monkeys. But if you really want to give your music library a shot of adrenalin then maybe try something a little more daring, such as The Foals. Their crazy syncopated rhythms and big horn section have brought a fresh injection into the indie scene, which by the end of the decade has became dominated by what I’ve termed Shouty Boy Bands.

If you’re feeling a bit old for indie music then there is further good news. With the re-emergence of folk music, young people are now old people too. They’re calling it anti-folk as it doesn’t have the earnestness of the 60s scene. Have a listen to the beautiful lyrics of Mercury nominated, Laura Marling; Moldy Peaches, who dominated the Juno soundtrack; or Mumford & Sons who bring together both folk and bluegrass.

I’ve not bought any music since the 90s…
Ok, it’s time to put the glow stick down and move away from Manchester. If you really can’t bear to leave the past behind then New Rave might be just what you’re looking for. Big acts include Klaxons, who step too far into previously mentioned Shouty Boy Band category for my tastes. Alternatively there’s Brazlian band Cansei de Ser Sexy who as well as writing brilliantly titled tunes like Music is my hot, hot sex, have a lead singer with a splendid collection of all in one lycra body suits.

I’ve not bought any music since the 80s…
Although your music collection is in a life threatening condition, you can still be saved. Fortunately for you we’re having something of an 80s revival, with bands like Neon Neon using a range of retro synths to recreate an authentic 80s electro pop sound. My personal favourites though are Australian synth kings, Empire of the Sun. They produce an amazing soundscape of beats and bleeps and you can almost smell the Sydney surf when you listen to them.

I’ve not bought any music since the 70s…
Don’t call the hospital, call the morgue.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Shuffle Sunday - 15/11/09

There's no particular theme to this week's Shuffle Sunday - just a few tunes that are getting a thorough workout on my ipod. I must give credit to The Guardian Music Weekly Podcast, as many of these song come from their Singles Club (without which my iTunes library would be a musical desert!).

Ok, enough words, let's play some music...

Shuffle Sunday - 15/11/09

Tracks listings:
1. Matias Aguayo - Rollerskate
2. Monsters of Folk - Dear God (sincerely M.O.F)
3. The XX - Crystallised
4. Julian Casablancas - Tourist
5. Karen O and the Kids - Capsize
6. White Lies - Death (Chase & Status remix)

(After last week's massive failings by Spotify I've moved over to using iMix to showcase the tunes. However let me know if you think Spotify is better, you don't care, or you just wish I'd shut up and go away.)

Friday, 13 November 2009

Why aren't there any freedom songs from Tooting?

This week Severin told me about a documentary idea he had around apartheid and the links to music. It got me thinking about the controversial mixture of music and politics. Severin believes that if musicians have a stage then they should use it to spread an important message, a viewpoint shared by Bono. However others feel that the two worlds don’t and shouldn’t mix. Obviously these are cold-hearted people untouched by songs like If that were me by Mel C (my favourite line being: I couldn’t live without my phone/but you don’t even have a home) or the powerful War Song by Boy George.

Personally I would say that I’m not that big a fan of political songs, which is strange considering I used to be resident in the socialist republic of Tooting (maybe that's why the revolution failed?). Am I right in my political dissent or do I just need a better education?

After much brain ache I came up with these few....

Marvin Gaye - What’s Happening Brother?

From the What’s Going On album, which marked a new direction in Marvin Gaye’s song writing. Marvin Gaye was one of the first artists I got into when I moved away from pop into more serious music in my teenage years. Always a socially conscious youth I found his later work was far superior. This was always one of my favourites.

Bob Dylan – Times they are a changin’
Ok, so it’s a bit obvious, but it was the first tune I ever learnt to play on the guitar, and still the only one I can play with a modicum of decency. Dylan has always resisted the title ‘voice of a generation’ but of course he was and still continues to be. I thought he was a bit of a cock for this – if he doesn’t like being admired and respected then maybe he should have become a traffic warden rather than a musician.

The Specials – Ghost Town
Although I can’t listen to this tune now without thinking of that episode of Father Ted, it’s still one of my favourites. The tune was written in response to Thatcher’s policies, which the band thought would increase unemployment.

The Clash – Bank Robber
I’ve always been a fan of a song with a story, which is why I love this one. Behind the story however is a tale of social deprivation and the drudgery of a working class life.

The Streets - The Irony of it All
Maybe not the strongest tune on the album, and a bit naïve in its political messaging, but compared to his contemporaries, at least Michael Skinner was trying to say something interesting. Makes a change to Lilly Allen whose idea of politics is to shout ‘fuck off’ to the people she doesn’t like. Hmmm, that’s going to change the world Lilly!

This week I have been trying to get Severin to broaden his musical horizons and failing miserably.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Anything I can do You Tube can do better

With the hopelessness of Spotify to have anything vaguely decent on the dance music front, I went in search of other sources. You Tube came to my rescue with not only the full version of Eyen but an amazing video to go with it. Although it shatters my intergalatic image I thought it was worth sharing none-the-less.

DJ Rolando's Jaguar is also in there, but it's awful. Seems the master is better at making music than he is making videos. Watch it at your peril!

Shuffle Sunday

It appears that someone has stolen several hours or even days out of my week. One minute it was Monday and then the next it was Friday, and I can barely remember anything in the middle. If someone has found those missing hours can you please let me know as I had so much I wanted to do with them.

Due to this shortness of time, today's blog will be short and sweet. It's a Sunday Shuffle dedicated to my dearest Severin who was complaining the other day of not enough good instrumental tracks for the latest show he's working on. I do like to try and infiltrate the BBC with my music, and the rare occassion one of my choices makes the final cut it does give me a very cheap thrill (as opposed to the very expenses thrills I give others). So if you hear any of the following popping up in a BBC documentary then you know the Mistress has been at work.

Shuffle Sunday - 08/11/09

Track listings:

1. The XX - Intro
Enough's been said about The XX recently without me boring you further with my dull opinion. All you need to know is that I love 'em.

2. Boards of Canada - Roygbiv
I love the way this starts really dark and scary. Then you hear the amazing piano line and children's voices, and it feels like such a relief. Phew! Everything is going to be alright after all. Simply beautiful!

3. Plaid - Eyen (not available)
Sadly this wasn't available on Spotify, but do check it out because it is an extraordinary track. I could easily imagine it in Dr Who or Star Trek when the hero reaches an intergalatic garden of Eden full of lazers, spaceships and sexy girls in silver mini skirts. Without wanting to sound like Mr Job's advertising agency, it is available on iTunes.

4. Noah and the Whale - Instrumental Part 1
From the latest album comes another great builder with the full force of an orchestra behind it. Quite unlike their usual minimalist folk approach it is a welcome and refreshing change.

5. Supergrass - Coffee in the Pot
It's plain sillyness but I love it. Just try listening to it without tapping your feet...go on, just try!

6. DJ Rolando - Jaguar (not available)
Seems Spotfiy isn't so great on the dance front. I was disappointed to find the ommission from their database of this this early noughties dance music classic. Amazing beats and beeps from the Underground Resistance camp, and then there's the strings...oh the strings!

So these are some of my faourites. If you think there is something essential that I'm missing though, do let me know.