Category Archives: Music

Dull, Indeed

I’m not one for absolutely hating bands. I usually accept that they’re just not to my taste and let them be but even I have my limits. The Twang, Hard-Fi and the Enemy are three examples of the bands that just push me too far. They’re an insult to the good word ‘music‘. I try my very best to avoid all contact with them and their music but sometimes it’s just forced upon us. So, what has provoked me to start moaning about them here? This. That’s what.

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Tom Clarke, the Enemy’s chief wailer, took it upon himself to slag off the Arctic Monkeys in a recent radio interview. Now, although I might be a little bit disappointed to hear it, I wouldn’t normally have a big problem with people expressing their dislike for the Arctic Monkeys. True, they are one of my favourite bands but I can’t expect everyone to like them as much as I do. But when it’s a man who made some of the last year’s worst music, I wholeheartedly object. Mr. Clarke commented, as you can read in the corresponding article, that the Arctic Monkeys’ second album, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, was “dull“. How does he justify this opinion? Well, he says “Certain aspects of their music on the second album and certain aspects of their personas in the press are just dull“. Point made, I think.

The truth is, this is just jealousy. We’ll see who wins all the awards, then, shall we? I think I know which band has the most left in them.

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Life and Music – Not Necessarily In That Order

Despite it not being what I’d normally listen to, I’ve been listening to Lupe Fiasco a lot these last few days. I suppose it can never do any harm to stray outside the general alternative rock barriers every once in a while. Thanks to such wonders as 50 Cent, I’m always extremely wary of rap/hip-hop music. Perhaps the only music from that generalised genre that I’ve listened to more than a few times in the last year is Kanye West. Anyway, my brother, who has considerably different taste to me, has put me onto Lupe Fiasco’s new album, ‘The Cool’ and consequently 2006’s ‘Food & Liquor’.

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In a strange kind of way, I sort of enjoy being years behind everyone else in picking up on a new album/artist. Which is fortunate, really, because it happens all the time. It’s almost like I’m remembering something that others have already moved on from and dismissed as “yesterday’s news“. Also, not being one to listen to the radio very often – and when I do its usually spoken word – I miss out on singles being overplayed and get to listen to them in the context of the album, as they were meant. You feel less familiar with it and everything just ‘works’ a lot better.

I’ve got an interview at UCL tomorrow so will be heading down to London for the day. I really do want to go there so am just hoping I don’t mess anything up. I just have to stay calm. Try not to think about it too much.

Like that’s going to happen.

A Post

Yep, unfortunately It is going to be another of those posts that contains random comments about my life and some music I’ve been listening to. As no one actually cares or reads what I’m saying, it may as well be that way. It turns out writing random thoughts out in a post like this is quite therapeutic.

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Its funny how things change, isn’t it? After hearing Men’s Needs I had ranked the Cribs alongside Hard-Fi as another appalling band, based purely on the fact that one of them really can’t sing – you know which one I mean. Anyway, after my brother got the album late last year I started listening to it, if only to recognise a few more of their songs when I saw them supporting Bloc Party. Anyway, it turns out a lot of the other songs on their third album, ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’, are quite awesome, addictive and, dare I say, I might even have got used to the ear-piercing wail on Men’s Needs. Personally, Our Bovine Public is my favourite off the album. It has to be one of the most catchy on there, at least. I think I’ll definitely have to invest in their previous two albums as soon as I can. I’ve been missing out.

Aside from sitting at home, listening to the Cribs’ album and reading a lot more than I ever have done before, there’s not been a hell of a lot else going on in my life at the moment. I wanted to go and see British Sea Power last night; my friends refused because they’d never heard of them. I wanted to buy tickets to see Foals in March; my friends refused, once again, because they’d never heard of them. I wanted to go and see Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, The Young Knives and Late of the Pier; Yep, you guessed it, they didn’t want to go. I tell you what, my friends need to get out more!

At present, I’m waiting to go back into college for the most useless and pointless subject ever to be known. That would be fucking Key Skills ICT; something I’ve been made to pickup because I don’t do the right combination of subjects. Basically, I don’t do Maths or an ICT-based subject. Despite getting A* at GCSE, I’m being forced to go back over a load of stuff that my 3 year old cousin could do. I don’t normally go but I have to show my face occasionally, which is what I’m going to do this afternoon. Anyway, that’s all for now.

 

You’re Second Best

Today could have been awful; another mind-numbingly boring day at work, with no one but the over-70s for company. Instead, it ended up being a bit better. Not loads better. Just a bit.

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Basically, that Foals track that I mentioned yesterday – Cassius – had been eluding me for too long, so late last night I got serious and went on the hunt. Eventually I found a copy and despite its slightly low sound quality, I’ve listened to it many, many times today. I really can’t wait for that damn album to be released.

 

What’s interesting is that this is the second version of this post I’ve written; the first, I realised was just a collection of things that I said in November. It seems a long break from blogging doesn’t work well for the smoothness between posts. Perhaps I should delete some of the older ones then I can quite happily repeat myself! Anyway, I was just going to refer to my hope that Foals aren’t another Air Traffic/Reverend and the Makers. I.e. something that didn’t live up to any hype at all. I’m fairly confident, though, that Foals are a million leagues above the latter two bands. They’ve just turned out to be quite….well, naff. So, basically, I’ve just been saying what millions of people already know; hype ain’t no good for a band.

 

Which is why the ones that creep up on you are usually a lot better. Recently, in the two-month break from posting, I’ve been loving the new Band of Horses album, ‘Cease to Begin’. I don’t listen to it several times a day like I do with other new albums for about a week. Instead, I’ve been putting this album on a couple of times a week for the last few months. It just keeps growing and growing on me. Which is good.

Although they’d already released what I’m told is a great debut album (I must get my hands on that), my uneducated mind had never heard of Band of Horses before. When I went into the record shop in Manchester the other month I was really fed up and bored of all my other music; I needed something new to listen to and something different. As I said on this blog that very evening, I bought it based solely on the shop’s recommendation. All I can say is thank God I was in that mood. It was a real find. Perhaps I should try it more often.

 

It’s Been A While…

Yeah, it certainly has been a while.

In fact, it’s nearly been two months since I wrote anything on here. The reason? I just couldn’t be bothered. Still, I’m not abandoning the whole thing just yet. I figured it’d be fun just to dip into on the odd occasion. Whenever it takes my fancy.

Not that I’m making excuses – I’m waaay past that now! – but a hell of a lot has happened in the last two-ish months. So where do I start? Well, firstly, I had an eventful christmas, along with millions of others around the world, which was quickly followed by a three week burst of revision for some Chemistry and History exams; perhaps there were a few less people doing that. But…I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

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Music —> I saw Kaiser Chiefs again; it seemed a bit lame, really, and wasn’t half as fun as when I saw them at the Apollo earlier in the year. Arctic Monkeys were fantastic but I didn’t quite get close enough to the front to get the most out of it. Also, Bloc Party now stand at joint 1st in my best gigs of all time – alongside Muse at Wembley. Adding to the pleasure of Bloc Party’s gig were the superb support acts; The Cribs were great fun (I almost forgot how awful that man’s voice is!) but they weren’t nearly as incredible as Foals. I’ve fallen in love with their music since that concert and am impatiently waiting for the release of ‘Antidotes’ in March. I’ve got a few crappy quality tracks to keep me going but am craving Cassius like nothing else right now. I need it so much and can’t even find a crummy radio rip to satisfy the need. It seems I’ll have to wait for March.

Elsewhere, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to read more; its going great so far. At this rate, I’ll have more than doubled the length of last year’s reading list. It seems the ‘Penguin Popular Classics’ that sell for £1.89 on Amazon are incredibly useful. I’ve got a nice big pile of luminous green books at the side of my bed just waiting to be read.

Something else that’s been consuming a lot more of my money is DVDs. I decided over christmas that I quite enjoy watching a good film before going to bed and so have proceeded to try and build a collection that could rival my CDs number. Of course, that’ll be expensive and will require a lot more time but I’m having fun with what I’ve got so far.

If I get my act together I might even post on here a bit more frequently. Now that exams are out the way. All that remains is to get into a half-decent university! I have an interview at UCL the week after next…..and it’s in french!! Ah well, that’s what I applied for, after all.

Finally.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the return of my relentless internet littering, look to the blogroll on the right; it’s their fault for not posting as often as they ought to. I’ve been deprived of good quality blogging recently and that’s what has turned me back towards my own.

The One’s That Disappoint

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 It’s happened again…

Unfortunately, very few things live up to their hype, and that includes bands you were convinced had become firm favourites. This even worse in the case when most of the hype has been your own doing and not just forced on you by the music media. Take Air Traffic, for example; last year, when all I’d heard of them was a couple of great fun singles, I was convinced they were going to blow me away with an incredibly addictive album, one that I’d still be listening to months down the line. Sadly, that’s not what they did. Long before the release of ‘Fractured Life’ I began to realise that Shooting Star signalled an extremely unwelcome Coldplay/Snow Patrol route that was not what I had originally expected of them.

 I should of expected it to happen again as it’s just unavoidable; no matter how selective you are in your musical tastes, every once in a while a disappointing album will sneak its way into your record collection. I’ll not go into too much detail but a couple of examples of this are Reverend and the Makers’ ‘The State of Things’ and ‘A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation’ by the Wombats. For one reason or another, I had high expectations of these albums and they both let me down.

Why? Well, that always depends on the album but I suspect for the Wombats it was a combination of the fact that I’d heard most of the songs before and that their super-happy songs can only be handled in small doses. After listening all the way through their album, I get the urge to go and listen to the most depressing and awful thing I can find. Conveniently, this would probably provide a use for ‘The State of Things’, or even the Chemical Brothers’ latest album. Alternatively, I could just listen to white noise.

Anyway, if I hadn’t been out and bought the Wombats’ album a couple of weeks ago, I’d never have had to write this post. At least I’ve written a post, though, as they’ve been a bit thin on the ground of late. I did intend this blog to be a bit more sporadic but never wanted to allow it to become a one-post-per-week job. Ah well, I’ll see what I can do.

I’d Kill For An Adventure

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The benefits of an expensive day out…

I spent the day out in Manchester today and it turned out to be a lot more expensive than I’d intended. Not only did it empty my wallet of all the cash I had with me, it has ‘ruined’ my evening; because let’s face it, there’s no way I’ll be getting any work done this evening. What the hell, let’s get on to the things that will be taking up my spare time this evening.

The only two things of interest that I bought were a single and an album; I can’t really see myself spending the evening looking at a new jumper! Anyway, the first thing, and the one I went in the shop for, was the 12″ single of Bloc Party’s new track, Flux. Imagine my horror, then, when I got it home this evening, set it spinning and found out that it was completely different to the Flux I’ve been listening to so much since I got that radio rip a few weeks ago. Thankfully, once I’d got into this unexpected ‘extended version’ I was once again in love with the song and I may even prefer it to the radio version. When listening to it in comparison with live version from their BBC Electric Proms gig, I noticed that the extended version (and the instrumental B-side that comes with it) sounds a lot more like it than the radio version.

Unfortunately, the 12″ version didn’t come with either of the two B-sides that are on the 7″ versions; I’ve been told that Emma Kate’s Accident and The Once and Future King are both very good tracks, so I’ll have to hunt them down elsewhere. What my super-cool, clear vinyl did come with, though, is the Burial remix of Where is Home?. I’ve only listened to it once, so can’t really pass judgement on it yet but it does sound pretty good; nothing like the original, that’s for sure. Anyway, as seen as you can probably get most versions of Flux within a few seconds of googling, it’s the remix that I’ll be posting below for your listening pleasure.

Next, upon the sole fact that it was highly recommended by the shop’s owner, I bought ‘Cease to Begin’ by Band of Horses. I’d never heard them before but there’s something quite exciting about spending £10 on an album you know nothing about and travelling home wondering whether you’ve just wasted your money. If I was a richer man, I’d take the risk a bit more often. However, I’m tired of writing now and must save my energy for that French essay that is sure to follow. I’ll save Band of Horses for when I’ve had chance to listen to the album a few times.

Until then, here’s that remix I promised. Enjoy!

Where Is Home? (Burial Remix)Bloc Party