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

Goddamn, You’re Looking Old

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Something to thank a friend for…

My interest in David Bowie’s music comes solely from one of my friends and from no one else. Neither of my parents particularly liked him when they were younger so it’s not like I inherited a load of records from them; instead, the simple fact that one of my good friends considers him a god was enough for me to investigate. Thanks to him, I found someone who has, for the last year or so, been a consistent favourite of mine.

Of course, when you’re my age, earning just about enough to cover your ‘weekend expenses’ and little else, you certainly do not go out and buy a band’s whole discography from the nearest HMV. In reality, I’ve been getting a record every once in a while and it was only last weekend that I got myself a copy of ‘Aladdin Sane’. If you happen to have noticed my Last.fm stats for last week, you may have noticed that I really like it.

What I like just as much as the album itself is my reason for buying it. Just like being pushed towards Bowie’s music by the simple curiosity brought about by a friend, the only reason I wanted to hunt down the album was that it was featured quite regularly on ‘Control’, the film I watched a couple of weeks ago. These little coincidences and outside factors that result in me finding something new I love really excite me – for some stupid reason – and that’s the only reason I mentioned it. It just shows why it’s always good to buy something on a whim from time to time.

Musical Relaxation

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Chilling out to the sound of some great music…

Despite what you may have inferred from the post title, there’s to be no ‘new music’ talked about here; I’m just finding a way to unwind at the end of what has been an extremely stressful week. Yes, I am sure there have been many, many people worse off than myself this week but I am still so relieved for it to finally be Friday evening. As a way of unwinding and shedding all thoughts of coursework, essays, foreign novels and university interviews, I decided to spend the majority of my evening just listening to music.

I enjoy nothing more at the end of a tiresome day than to come home, crank my stereo volume up and listen to some great music. Whilst doing this, I spent a little while downloading new music from various blogs, some of which I’ll probably talk about over the coming week, some of which I’ll quickly be deleting from my computer. It is something I do not do nearly enough of; given the number of great songs I’ve found today, I have begun to realise what I miss when not constantly scouring the Internet for new tunes.

In addition to some new stuff, I’ve been playing my iTunes library on shuffle. This is another thing I don’t do very often as I mostly just listen to my albums from start to finish, then move onto another one. Some benefit did come of this, though, as I flicked across to The Good, The Bad & The Queen, the final track of the album of the same name. It appears that this is one of those select songs that brings back a lot of fond memories. It was last Winter when I first came to hear about Damon Albarn’s new project and I spent many cold evenings listening to this 7 minute epic, embedding it in my mind as a track strongly associated with Winter. The wonderful nostalgic feeling I got from hearing that song has made me want to dig back into my library a little further, dragging out some of those songs that will always have a special place in my heart.

Wow. 386 words to say what, exactly? I don’t know, but it felt good.

Didn’t See This One Coming

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The only time I’ll ever mention these two ghastly words…

After the ‘pay what you want’ release of Radiohead’s new album a month ago, I think we all new that before long there would be other major bands jumping on board to make themselves seem ‘cutting edge’. Still, I didn’t actually think it’d be this soon.

Yes, for the purposes of this post I’ll have to mention the words ‘Cliff’ and ‘Richard’ in one sentence. The reason for this is, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the news that Cliff Richard will release his new album on the Internet, allowing fans to ‘control’ the album’s price. I put particular emphasis on the word control because it must be noted that ol’ Cliff doesn’t appear to have the balls that Radiohead had. You see, rather than allowing download customers to choose any price they want, his record is being sold in a very similar fashion to the way things are sold on those crappy shopping channels. Quite appropriate, really, as the CDs sold on those channels are generally 35 CD box-sets of ‘country classics’ of similar quality to Cliff’s albums.

Another fantastic point made on this blog is that Cliff Richard’s main fan base are probably still not capable of using the Internet. Rather than making the godly singer seem all hip and cool, this move just appears to have humiliated him in front of the world’s media.

Whatever people think of the move, I shall be very interested to see if there is “sufficient demand” to bring the album’s price down to £3.99, as is proposed. If there isn’t, it may just add to the old man’s embarrassment!

Control

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A post written to the sound of fireworks…

At this very moment, I’m having a short break from some reading that I’m desperately trying to get done. The book has to be finished for Wednesday. Anyway, to fill this little gap, and before I head off to bed to do my final leg of reading for the evening, I’ll talk a little about a film I went to see over the weekend with my friends.

When there’s a large group of you, it’s always going to be a bit of a struggle to get everyone else to see the film you want to see. It appeared that on Saturday, we were split into three camps; those wanting to see the new Ian Curtis film, ‘Control’, those wanting to see ‘Stardust’ and those who just couldn’t care less. Personally, I was all in favour of ‘Control’. After convincing the ‘Stardust’ party that their film was too childish (which I based solely on the fact that it’s a PG), we ended up going to see my choice.

I thought the film was brilliant. True, it was never going to be an uplifting experience but considering the subject matter, I was surprised at the number of times I found myself laughing – and let me assure you that is not due to a sick sense of humour. Also, a lot of the laughs came from the band’s manager, who had an extremely blunt way of dealing with people. That aside, though, it was, for the most part, a fantastic film. Being shot in black and white worked brilliantly, too; although I’m sure one of my friends would say otherwise. So, if you’ve not already seen it, get down to the cinema to see ‘Control’ as soon as possible.

Well, It’s now about time that I got back to doing some reading. I can’t see myself getting to sleep all that easily tonight either, as it’s now just after half past eleven at night and the fireworks are only just starting to stop going off. As for the parties, though, they’re still roaring. Ah well, I do love the smell on bonfire night! Weird, eh?

I Found ‘Em!

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A few Bloc Party tracks from the Electric Proms…

This is simply a continuation of yesterday’s post and so I’m going to keep it short.

If you actually read what I wrote yesterday, you’ll remember that I said I was having trouble finding some of the BBC Electric Proms performances on Youtube. Well, as it soon turned out, To Die By Your Side had gone one better and already posted five MP3s from the fantastic Bloc Party concert for us to download. I just thought, in case you’ve not already been over there, that it might be wise to get downloading before they disappear.

Of course, I myself wasn’t completely happy with just having 5, mainly because my favourite track from the performance, Song For Clay (Disappear Here), was missing from the set. So, I set myself the task this morning of ripping all 13 tracks, making up my own ‘BBC Electric Proms’ album. The BBC website told me that there were 14 songs played – the 14th being Kreuzberg – but try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to find that last track. Anyway, apart from that, I’ve now got a complete set and can post below two additional picks from Bloc Party’s set for you to listen to.

First of all, there’s the epic performance of Song For Clay (Disappear Here), followed shortly by a live version of Flux, Bloc Party’s new single due out in November. Flux, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a very different style to Bloc Party’s first two albums and it should be interesting to find out whether their entire third album is going to be like this or whether its just an experiment. Whatever it is, if you’ve already got the much-circulated radio rip you will notice that the live version sounds very different to the original. See what you think.

Song for Clay (Live at the BBC Electric Proms) – Bloc Party (Feat. The Exmoor Singers)

Flux (Live at the BBC Electric Proms) – Bloc Party