Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm still here...

I just have no internet. I just moved house again so bear with me and we'll be back on track as soon as I can wire myself in again.

A Painter.

Friday, April 06, 2007

God only knows...

Yesterday my girlfriend Gemma survived a very nasty car crash. Her little car and its rainbow stickers no longer exist, but miraculously she only has cuts, bruises and "minor women's whiplash". I'm not going to go too gooey but it was one of those events that makes you truly grateful for what you have. I don't know what I'd do without her and I'm eternally thankful to whichever universal force was responsible for sparing her, be it God, Allah, gravity or even Ford.

For me, there's only one song suitable for moments such as these.

The Beach Boys - 'God Only Knows'
Buy 'Pet Sounds'

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jarvis Cocker

Back in 1995 I was far too busy listening to Green Day and Foo Fighters to attempt to understand the likes of Pulp. Where were the big riffs and pounding drums? Why did they not sound American? I'd go as far as to say I hated them, from the moment I first heard Common People. But i suppose it was like my musical equivalent of a first homosexual crush. There was something there that I really liked but I didn't understand, and didn't want to like, so I hated it.

Eventually I grew up and realised I was missing out on something by being so narrow-minded. I soon understood that Jarvis' lyrics were some of the best I'd ever heard and his charisma and charm would long outshine many of his Britpop contemporaries.

Pitchfork recently interviewed Cocker here, and I suppose that's what has sparked my renewed interest. I'm not too sure about the interviewer but Jarvis says some really interesting stuff, especially about whether music still matters. A theme which he explores more fully in this article (with help from folks like Nick Cave, journalist Paul Morley and er...Beth Orton) from when he was asked to guest edit the Observer's music supplement.

Here's a video of Pulp's Glastonbury '95 zeitgeist performance that is mentioned in the Pitchfork interview.

And here's a less common selection from 'Different Class' of the same year (I love the 'Thriller'-esque spoken breakdown in the middle).

Pulp - 'I Spy'
Buy it

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pancake Mountain

Whilst 'eStalking' Deerhoof on YouTube I came came across this bizarre clip of the band playing with a load of little kids and weird dressed up characters dancing around them. I had to find out where the hell it came from.

Turns out it's from a this amazing cable access programme from Washington DC called Pancake Mountain. It seems to be a kids programme started by a bunch of music fans that every week has indie bands performing and interacting with the show's characters and audience. Amazing idea. It's had tons of famous/indie-famous people on it including The Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, The Flaming Lips, Shonen Knife, and Henry Rollins (pictured above rehearsing his lines with a puppet sheep for their big argument scene). Here's a little introduction to the show.

Unfortunately I don't think any satellite channels show it over here yet but you can buy DVDs from their store.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cheval de Frise

Many of my blogs are beginning to start in quite a similar fashion. I hear some band I know nothing about, get over-excited and post stuff with little or no information on the musicians involved. Well guess what, I've done it again.

I have a small excuse, they're french and don't appear to have much written about them in english. Cheval de Frise are a duo from Bordeaux comprising of Thomas Bonvalet on nylon string acoustic guitar (albeit amplified) and Vincent Beysselance on drums. It's essentially a kind of math rock but don't let that put you off. Whereas similarly designed bands like Hella can lack harmony and emotion, relying on fireworks to impress; Cheval de Frise bring in elements of classical and jazz tonality from a heavily french palette. They seem to be born from a very different pool of aesthetics than that of their art-punk contemporaries. There are even Spanish folk/classical guitar influences in there that remind me of guys like Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos.

Below is a slightly subdued example of their music.

Cheval de Frise - 'I'
Buy it

Check out the drumming at the end of this clip (but please watch it all!):