Sunday, 28 February 2010

Shuffle Sunday - I ♥ Gruff Rhys

This week's Shufle Sunday is dedicated to y favourite Welshman Gruff Rhys, for no other reason than I think they man is a legend and genius (and under-rated one at that). I've provided a few tracks that I love in some of his many guises. It was a tough choice though - there are so many classics. If you have a favourite Gruff tune then why not share it with me.

Shuffle Sunday - 28/01/10

1. Golden Retriever, Phantom Power, Super Fury Animals
2. Juxtapose With You, Rings Around the World, Super Fury Animals
3. Michael Douglas, Stainless Steel, Neon Neon
4. Cream Dream, Temporary Please, Simian Mobile Disco
5. Sweat Shop, Stainless Steel, Neon Neon

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Albums That Shaped My Life: U.F.Orb by The Orb

Welcome to a new feature called Albums That Shaped My Life. Each week I aim to feature an album that has change my musical perceptions or set me on a different life course. Some maybe new, but most will be old. All will be classics that have been much loved by me and maybe some of you too.

The first album to kick off this series is U.F.Orb by The Orb. Released in 1992 from the warped minds of the self -proclaimed Dr Alex Patterson and Kris Weston this album rocked my world like never before. I was only 18 when it came out and still trying to forumulate my musical tastes. I was living in Essex and the only electronic music I knew was happy hardcore, which dominated the east coast music scene at the time. Based on what I'd heard so far I decided all dance music was shit and I was going to stay a rock chic (a lightweight riot grrl) for the forseeable future.

But then I heard Steve Lamaq playing Blue Room on the Radio 1's Evening Session. The ambient sounds and soft but funky beats immediately got my toes tapping. I knew I wanted more. I went out and bought the album and played it on loop. I loved the fact it could be comedy, dancey and spacey all at the same time. And of course I was majorily into smoking weed at the time and it was the perfect soundtrack for that.

Listening back to it now I think it still holds up. The 7 minute intros might be a bit self indulgent (a fashion that has gladly gone the way of the ra-ra skirt) but the beats and sounds are just as fresh today as they were then. They also have an amazing range of dynamics, looping sounds in and out of each other, back and forth that makes you feel brilliantly dizzy. And despite its ambient tag it really works as a main dancefloor act, which I found that year at Brixton Academy when I realised there was more to life than just moshing.

The Orb was my gateway into a whole range of other acts, many of which will be profiled here at a later date. These other artists also had a big impact on me, but The Orb as probably there first. And for that I will always be grateful.

U.F.Orb was released in March 1992 on Big Life

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Shuffle Sunday - 21/02/10

A selection of my favourit tunes at the moment, headed up by Gil Scott Heron. His latest album is a pure delight. Go out and buy it now!

Shuffle Sunday - 21/02/10

Track listings

Gil Scott-Heron - New York is Killing Me
Yeasayer - Ambling Amp
Local Natives - Airplanes
Gil Scott-Heron - Me and the Devil

Also highly recommended this week is the Mathew Dear remix of VCR by the XX. Check it out here.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

My Life in Techno

In 1991 someone gave me the Prodigy album. I had previously dismissed them as ‘toy town’ rave and tossed them aside. However as I drove to college one day I fumbled around for some music to listen to and accidentally grabbed said album. With a shrug I popped the cassette into my stereo and everything changed: my inner techno was born.

By 1997 I was so obsessed with techno that with the exception of the odd bit of Pulp or Divine Comedy, I was listening to nothing else. My weekends were spent throwing shapes on some sweaty, nitrate filled dance floor, and while other girl’s consoled themselves after a bad break up with a box of chocolates and a rom-com, I would go out and buy myself a Detroit Techno box set. Myself and my similar techno-obsessed girlfriend even earned ourselves the title of Techno Witches (not original meant as a compliment but none-the-less we took it as one).

It took me about ten years to come out of my techno coma. It started with a bit of tech-house, which gradually developed into deep French house. Before I knew it I was horrifying myself by buying folk music! What had become of the techno queen?

As I make my inevitable trudge towards middle age my techno days seem well behind me. However I still get a little twinge when I hear people say ‘I can’t stand techno’. I find it particularly strange when people into metal or punk say it as there are so many similar elements. After all, many of the old techno DJs were ex-punks.

I’m convinced these people don’t really hate techno, they just haven’t been listening to the right stuff. Therefore I have created a special techno compilation and urge any techno haters to give it a listen before writing off the whole genre.

One of the originals but still one of the best. Although the sounds are quite retro it still holds up as a really solid track.

Joey Beltram: Energy Flash
Energy Flash turned up on an ‘influences’ album by the Super Fury Animals, which I think illustrates the depth of its appeal. Another classic that oozes with amazing sounds.

Underworld: Rez
They were playing Rez as I walked into last year’s Bestival and I remember getting a little tingle run down my spine. Come on, try saying you don’t like techno now. Don’t lie, I know you have your hands in the air!

Dave Clarke: Southside
Now I know you’re going to say this is more house than techno, and admittedly it is one of Dave Clarke’s more gentle moments, but there is still a lot of techno edge to it. Always one of my favourites, and so much fun to mix with that it was a permanent feature in my DJ sets.

Jeff Mills: Bells
The Orbit anthem I’ve grown to love as much as hate. It is an amazing tune but the Morely massives insistence on having it played every Saturday night did get a bit tiring. This version brings a breath of fresh air back to it though. It is strange yet truly wonderful. I love those trombones (and that’s a sentence I never thought I would use in relation to a Jeff Mills track).

DJ Rolando: Jaguar
Underground Resistance in my eyes were the masters of techno. They proved it didn’t have to be fast four-to-the-floor. Techno could have melody and rhythm too. I want to cry every time I hear this track. Beautiful!

Felix Da Housecat: Cosmic Pop
This isn’t really techno admittedly, but if we have Detroit it only seemed fair to have Chicago too. Probably one of my favourite Chicago producers was Green Velvet but I couldn’t find any MP3s of his stuff. And beside Felxi Da Housecat is bags of fun and is more than deserving in taking the final song any anyone’s techno set.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Shuffle Sunday - A Valentines Special

Love is in the air, and even I, the Mistress, can sometimes be romantic...especailly when it comes to music. So today I've had a little help from Cupid to develop a special Valentine's mix of my favourite love songs.

5 Songs About Love.

Track listsings

1. Moldy Peaches - Anyone Else But You
2. Rufus Wainwright - The Art Teacher
3. Flaming Lips - Do You Realise?
4. The Hours - Love You More
5. Divine Comedy - In Pursuit of Happiness

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Field Day first batch of artists announced

Field Day, London's one-day festival for new music, has just announced it's first batch of artists, and it's looking pretty hot. In the list are Caribou, Gold Panda and Chilly Gonzales.

My plans to go to this festival have often been thwarted at the last minute, however I hear it's pretty good. If the rest of the acts announced are as strong as this then I think it's going to have to jump to the top of my priority list.

Meanwhile Camden Crawl organisers are making regular promises on Twitter to start announcing their line up. It may be minus two outside but I can still smell summer in the air.

If Cameron's bagged Radiohead, who will Brown go for?

In 1997 Labour swooped in to power and everyone cheered and saw only birds singing and pixies dancing over rainbows. Everyone that is, except me.

Although I hate the Tories, and my heart sinks at the thought of them winning the next election, I’ve never voted for Labour. The reason being is that while most people were distracted by the pixies I couldn’t shake that horrible tune out of my head. Yes, go on, think back…remember now? I’m referring to their campaign anthem - D:Ream’s Things Can Only Get Better. How could I vote for a party with such terrible music tastes?

Of course Cameron has tried to make himself ‘down with the kids’ by citing his love of The Smiths and Radiohead. He even went as far to claim that Thom Yorke played a tune at his request at a recent gig, a claim that Yorke hotly denied.

So as the election draws near it begs the question: what will the music accompanying this year’s party campaigns be? I have some suggestions of my own, but maybe you can think of more.

Radiohead’s Creep does spring to mind, but since Davo is also such a Smith’s fan maybe he should pick something from their back catalogue. My suggestion is Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.

Well many may suggest Can’t Stand Me Now by The Libertines, or I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better (when you’re gone) by The Byrds. However a more sensible suggestion might be The Rolling Stones’ Try a Little Harder.

Liberal Democrats
Well, let’s face it, they’re only going to get in on a wing and a prayer. My suggestion is that they go for the sympathy vote and so could try Remember Me, by Blue Boy.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sunday Shuffle - It's a Folk Thing

I'm still not coming across that much music at the moment that is sending my heart a flutter. The new Yeasayer album is out tomorrow so may that will rectify things. In the meantime I've picked out some of my favourite folk tunes - past and present - to soothe you into your Sunday evening. In my eyes you can't beat a bit of folk although, as is the case with things that become fashionable, there is a lot of dross out there at the moment. I think these are some of the better ones.

Sunday Shuffle - 07/02/10

Track listings:

Noah and the Whale - Stranger
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
Willy Mason - Gotta Keep Walking
Neil Young - Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Bob Dylan - I want You
Laura Marling - My Manic and I
Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Friday, 5 February 2010

It Might Get Loud: two hours of my life I'll never get back

I saw Severin the other day.

Him: Do you want to watch a film?
Me: Sure, what do you want to see?
Him: There’s this movie with Jack White blah, blah, blah, blah
Me: Yeah sure. I love Jack White

I should have listened a bit better to what he was saying. If I had I might have saved myself two hours of utter boredom.

It Might Get Loud features Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White discussing all things guitars. It’s not necessarily a bad movie, it’s just got quite a specific audience. If you want to know everything about The Edge’s effects pedals or Jimmy Page’s fret boards then you’ll probably love it. The rest of us might just want to stick Seven Nation Army on our headphones and turn the volume right up.

Having said that there are some classic moments: from Jack White’s mini-me (complete with bowler hat and bow tie) being encouraged to jump up and down on the guitar he used in the White Stripes; to Jimmy Page playing along with The Edge to a U2 song and Jimmy Page persistently asking: “Are you playing that right? Surely it should be a D instead?” Only Jimmy Page could tell a member of U2 that they were playing their own tune wrong!

The film also sees The Edge admit that their music is only two notes and one hefty old effects peddle, a joke that Bill Bailey makes about them (83.50). The Edge seemed a bit out of place next to the likes of Page. Successful he maybe, but he’s hardly up there with the legends.

Well make you mind up for yourself. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 80% so I’m probably wrong anyway.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Shuffle Sunday - remixes special

A day later than advertised due to Blogger outage last night, here is the lastest Sunday Suffle, which is a remix special (although I think technically some of them really are covers rather than remixes). The inspiration for this came from Sterogum, who posted an amazing version of Hot Chip's Boy from School by Grizzly Bear. You can hear that here.

Other remixes come to your from Spotify: Shuffle Sunday - 31/01/09

Tracking Listings

1. Passion Pitt - Kingdom Come (Artwork remix)
2. The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition (Caged Baby remix)
3. Florence and the Machine - Raise it Up (Jamie T remix)
4. White Lies - Death (Chase & Status remix)
5. Florence and the Machine - You've Got the Love (Jamie XX re-working)

Messing with classic tracks is always dangerous business. Some may think that about some of these (especially Sweet Disposition, but stay with it as it gets better towards the middle of the track). But I reckon sometimes there's more than one way to skin a cat. I quite like hearing the influence of another artist on a track just to see how else it can be done.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.