Friday, 29 January 2010

La Roux talks more crap

This week some poor unsuspecting blogger got thrown into the spotlight when careless comments she’d made on her blog were published, out of context, by the Daily Mail. In hindsight it’s fairly easy for me to say she was ‘careless’. I doubt she ever imagined that her blog would have been picked up by a national newspaper and used in this way. Who would?

The same can not be said of Elly Jackson from La Roux. She should know better. I mean, surely this is the first thing they teach you at pop school (isn’t it?). Despite this she seems to be making a bit of a habit of saying stupid things.

Her most famous gaff is probably the interview with The Quietus when she said that women who dress in ‘short skirts and tank tops’
“…wonder why they get beaten up, or having relationships with arsehole men. Because you attracted one, you twat.”
I’m not sure what galled me most about this comment. The sheer ignorance and misunderstanding of why domestic violence occurs, or the lack of sisterhood for victims of this horrendous crime. I wonder if Jackson also thinks the women who get stoned to death in Afganistan had it coming because they were ‘a bit slutty’?

Jackson is back again with comments that assert her ridiculousness. In an interview with 6 Music about her Brit nomination she gives an Lauren Cooper-esque type answer: Brits? Bovered? Do I look bovered?

Actually she didn’t say that, but it wasn’t far off. Her actual words, according to the BBC, were:

“You need to be involved in these things, if you weren’t you’d be annoyed and people would be like ‘You said you didn’t care’. Of course you care, but the thing is, as long as you’re happy with what you’ve done, that’s all that should matter. You shouldn’t need to have everything confirmed by an awards ceremony.”

Sorry? Run that by me again…did she just say she would be annoyed if she wasn’t nominated but she doesn’t care if she isn’t nominated? If Jackson wedges herself any further on that fence I fear for her future fertility.

This week someone told me I looked like a lady pirate, and I started making plans with a minor celebrity to take over the world

Thursday, 21 January 2010

You've got the love? Or maybe the wrong voice

The comments section on a recent Guardian blog discussing the use of certain tracks on adverts sadly descended into a bitch about Florence and the Machine (she being guilty of having licensed her music to a number of advertisers). I was surprised to see a number of people complain about how she ‘couldn’t sing’. Say what you will about dear Flo, she certainly has a hefty pair of lungs on her. I could only think that people were responding to her slightly jerky and coarse vocal style, which she herself said in a recent interview, would win her no prizes on X-Factor.

A number of people in the comments section talked in particular about a cover she did of Beyonce’s Halo. Intrigued I looked it up…and yeah, they were right. It is shocking. I wondered what possessed Florence to do this cover after already admitting her vocal style isn’t suited to that glossy pop style. Maybe it was an attempt to reach a new audience, or rock up the pop queen. Or maybe it was just a bit of a mistake…we do all make them. I once thought I could look good in a pair of tartan trousers.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Shuffle Sunday - 17/01/10

A New Year and some new(ish) tunes. I present to you, Frightened Rabbit, Swim Until You Can't See Land; Grizzly Bear, Southern Point; Marina and the Diamonds, Mowgli's Road (Gaggle cover); Gold Panda, Back Home; and finally Delphic, Clarion Call.

Shuffle Sunday - 17/01/10

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Manchester's Back!

I don’t normally go in for reviews of albums, mainly because I’m not organised or nerdy enough to get anything written in time for a new album coming out. By the time I get round to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) there are reviews all over the blogosphere and any addition by me would feel a bit redundant.

This is exactly what happened with Acolyte by Manchester band, Delphic, which came out on Monday. The difference this time being that I didn’t think any of the reviews entirely did the album justice. They weren’t negative, they just didn’t seem as moved by it as I am.

Delphic caught my eye in the BBC Sound of 2010 line up, but I wasn’t overwhelmed at first. However the new album far exceeded expectations. It is full of warmth and energy and seems to capture a spirit that seems to have been lost in the music scene in the last few years. As the synths coil around your ears you feel almost hypnotised. Then the beat kicks in and suddenly you’re transported back to the 90s in desperate search of a glow stick.

Delphic aren’t groundbreaking by any means. In fact they often sound a little bit like something you’ve heard before. What that something is though – New Orbital, Orbital, Hot Chip? – is never quite clear. They seem to have blended a range of influences into something new and exciting that in my eyes definitely seems fit to become the first big sound of the new decade.

So if you like indie a bit dancey, or your dance a bit indie, then definitely give this band a go. I guarantee you’ll be making shapes on the dancefloor by sundown.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Great Ticketmaster Swindle

Yesterday I received an email ‘congratulating’ me on taking out Missed Event Insurance . At first I thought it was a scam email, and laughed at the ‘attached document’ it wanted me to open. I was about to assign it to my deleted items when something caught my eye. The email address said:

A couple of days before I had bought some gig tickets from Ticketmaster. Maybe this was a genuine email after all. However I certainly didn’t remember asking for event insurance, and at over £5 for a £20 ticket it wasn’t exactly a bargain.

I decided to do a search on the issue and found a few others on the blogosphere similarly surprised to receive an email from Mondial. One blogger had apparently complained to Ticketmaster and received as response from them saying:

The scenario you described was quite alarming to us and I want you to know that I have looked into it. I can assure you that we do not automatically charge people for the insurance. This type of “opt out” marketing practice is not used on Ticketmaster’s website. Each ticket purchaser is given the option to purchase or not purchase insurance.

This blog was written over a year ago.

When I called up about it the girl on the phone said: “Yeah, this happens quite often “ with out any sense of irony. She did offer to refund the money, but warned me it would take 5-10 days to do so. It always makes me laugh that it takes them only a few days to take the money out of my account, but can take nearly two weeks to put it back.

Just wondering if anyone else has experienced the same problems? Please do share your thoughts or any responses you’ve had from Ticketmaster/Mondial.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Shuffle Sunday - 10/01/10

As I've only just come back from holiday so haven't had time to buy any new music. Instead I thought I would share a few of my favourite comedy songs. In celebration of today's fantastically digital looking date (100110) let's start off with Flight of the Conchords and The Human's are Dead.

Next the incredibly catchy, as well as utterly hilarious, Tim Minchin.

And then there's those lovely Boosh Boys....

Tip of the week: The Pyjama Men

I know this is supposed to be a music blog, but comedy is my second love, and I've just been to a real belter of a show.

The Pyjama Men are a comedy duo from Chicago who at the Soho Theatre last night delivered what can only really be described as an hour long sketch with a multiude of stories weaving in and out of each other. All characters were played by the PJ Men, otherwise known as Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez. A subtle but superb musical accompaniment was provided by Kevin Hume.

The story centres around a train journey where we meet a range of characters, from a couple of gay bandits to a little girl ghost. Stage props included two chairs, and the costumes...well they wore pyjamas. Despite this you always knew exactly what was going on down to their incredible talent for a wide range of accents, vocal inflections, and mime.

The comedy ranges from brilliant human observation to the damn right sureal. Due to popular demand they have just extended their stay at the Soho Theatre and I strongly recommend checking them out.

In the meantime I have left you with a little clip from their previous show in Sydney which should give you a taste of what's on offer.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow, ice and indie pop - it's a depressing start to 2010

Snowed into my suburban retreat and I'm worried I'm getting cabin fever. I've only an iPod for company and even that seems to be turning against me. It desperately crys out for fresh fodder but I'm at a loss to know what to feed it. I was hoping for some inspiration from the BBC Sound of 2010 list, but from the 15 bands on offer I'm struggling to find any I like.

Jump back 12 months and we were in a very different position. The sun was shining and the list from the Beeb positively sparkled with electro pop joy from Little Boots, Dan Black and Empire of the Sun. The year held such promise and it delivered with brilliant albums from Passion Pit and Mumford and Sons. Others, such as Florence and the Machine and Lady Gaga amazed with live shows .

Back in 2010 and I feel like I'm watching a sparkler fizzle out. From this year's BBC list only Gold Panda and Delphic stand out to me. The rest just sound like a rehash. From tedious indie folks like Two Door Cinema Club, to the 'ok but haven't we heard it before' types like Ellie Golding. It's a classic case of record labels thinking: 'Well this sold well last year so let's do a bit more of it.'

Am I alone in thinking 2010 looks like being a stinker? I'm hoping that the BBC list this year just missed the mark and there are some gems out there waiting to be discovered as soon as this damn ice thaws.

This week I was thinking how utterly ridiculous it is to be considering buying gig tickets for shows that aren't taking place until September