Friday, December 31, 2004

The hidden gem of 2004 - Pinback

OK, so I'd heard the odd track at work and was intrigued, but hearing Pinback played regularly on WOXY.COM was the clincher. I've just bought their new album Summer in Abaddon and it's even better than I imagined. Fans of melodic indie rock such as Death Cab For Cutie and Elliott Smith (well, Pinback are on Touch & Go....figures) should beg, borrow and steal to get their mitts on this gem. Super-fantastique.

Since this'll be the last post for 2004, I hope you all have a Rock'N'Roll New Year's Eve...I'm out like Jerry Orbach (RIP)

More blog gems for y'all

Two music related blogs that I stumbled upon this week while under the influence of whiskey and leftover Christmas cake...

Brooklyn Vegan is mostly music related, but includes links on media, vegan resources, and pets (my favourite!). Definitely worth a click.

Petals Plucked has a neat Top Ten list for 2004 containing all kinds of Major Leaguer approved artists, plus, in an original twist, chunks of relevant indie lyrics at the end of each post. Also worth a click or two.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Major Leaguer Top 10 Albums of 2004

Right. So after 363 days, these are the LPs that have been stuck in my hi-fi the longest. Any notable omissions? If so, have your say below....OK, let's count 'em down....

10. No Cities Left – The Dears
Yes, this year’s finest Britpop album came from a bunch of Canadians led by vocalist, writer, multi-instrumentalist, and, ahem, ‘director’ Murray A. Lightburn. Once you get past the sound-a-like qualities of Lightburn’s voice (is he Albarn or Morrissey? You decide!), and the Stephen Street style production, what you’re left with is an album of lush melancholia fit for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Although there’s no denying The Second Part, with ‘smoke/broke/smokes’ rhyming is truly, utterly, awful. Now, hand me my Gitanes…

9. The Futureheads – The Futureheads‘Hey guys, lets pay homage to Kate Bush by covering her in a Jam-styleee!’, ‘Yeah!’ Well, it probably didn’t pan out like that, but with Hounds Of Love, Sunderland’s The Futureheads had the cover version of the year by a long, long way (and if you like that, you’d be mad not to track down their remix of The Streets Fit But You Know It). Like Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads debut was a joy from start to finish, and another reason why British rock music in 2004 was near-unstoppable.

8. Happiness In Magazines – Graham Coxon
Right, so while Damon Albarn’s still stuck in his bongos and marimba phase, we can get back to why Blur were so exciting: Graham Coxon. Happiness In Magazines is Coxon’s strongest solo set to date, packed full of memorable tunes, stellar riffage and two of the best singles of the year, if not any year (Freakin’ Out, Bittersweet Bundle Of Misery). Oh, and has anyone noticed Graham’s vocals have gotten better?

7. Now Here Is Nowhere – Secret Machines
Like Led Zeppelin and Rush in a head colliding in a head on car crash, with Neil Young first to the scene, Texas trio Secret Machines were the discovery of 2004. Brothers Benjamin and Brandon Curtis and Josh Garza proved that power-prog was definitely not just for the likes of The Mars Volta, as Now Here Is Nowhere’s krautrock stylings and blistering psychedelic wigouts made the Machines a must-see live show. Your move Messer’s Bixler and Rodriguez.

6. Destroy Rock & Roll – Mylo
In a year where the ‘death’ of dance music was widely reported by broadsheets across the UK, it seemed that no-one had told Myles MacInnes about the funeral. With a magpie like approach to melody (‘Bette Davis Eyes’ anyone?), MacInnes set his phasers to ‘fun’, his tongue firmly in cheek on In My Arms, and the title track. His trump-card though was Drop The Pressure, a beast which was in the box of every self-respecting DJ, and thanks to its filtered vocal got everyone in the land dancing to the word ‘motherfucker’ whether they knew it or not. Sheer class.

5. From A Basement On A Hill – Elliott Smith
It’s no use looking for clues and answers on Smith’s posthumous release because that would be missing the point. Try this: here’s a fitting farewell to an artist who wasn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, his bittersweet songs capable of connecting to troubled souls the world over. From A Basement captures Smith at his rawest, and despite being littered with references to drugs (Kings Crossing, A Distorted Reality…), death (Last Hour, Let’s Get Lost) and depression (Pretty (Ugly Before)), it again shows Smith was an extremely under-rated lyricist. He’ll be missed.

4. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
Scooping every music prize under the sun (except the always odd American Shortlist gong), Franz Ferdinand were everywhere in 2004. By the end of it, they were understandably in fisticuffs having spent the previous twelve months in each others pockets, whether on a mammoth world tour promoting their stellar debut, or trying to take home their mountain of trophies from every award show. Intelligent, danceable rock and roll the likes of which haven't been heard in a decade, Franz Ferdinand were pretty darn special.

3. Antics – Interpol
Just like 2002’s Turn On The Bright Lights, Antics was again a slow-burner. However, once it got through to you, the New York groups’ second album was a thing of dark beauty. Take You On A Cruise’s majesty grows with repeated listening, Not Even Jail hits the headphones like a sledgehammer, while in Slow Hands the band had a song indie kids the land over could pogo to. So, ‘difficult’ second album sorted then.

2. Madvillainy - Madvillain
In a pairing to wet the pants of every underground hip-hop head, producer Madlib teamed up with rapper MF Doom for a blunted beat-fest. Slick rhymes about sneakers, rhinestone cowboys, groupie love, and of course rollin’ a few proved that Doom was truly an MC’s MC, while Madlib continued to show why he’s the king of the boards (check Shopping Bags on De La Soul’s Grind Date for further proof). A stone-cold classic.

1. A Ghost Is Born – Wilco
If this is the music Jeff Tweedy makes on painkillers, Ryan Adams might want to consider changing doctors. Following on from 2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost Is Born showed Tweedy was finally making music on his own terms, with Jim O’Rourke again at the helm. Earlier Wilco fans welcomed tracks such as Hummingbird and Theologians as glimpses into the bands past. More importantly though, it was the Can-inspired Spiders (Kidsmoke), and the buzzing Less Than You Think that provided a view of Wilco’s future. Stunning.

Friday, December 24, 2004

As indie as they come - Pitchfork's 50 Albums of 2004

OK, this is the list that geeks like me wait for each year....uber-rock site Pitchfork are usually spot on with their picks, although I think the absence of Wilco in their top 50 is a criminal offence in some states...

On a non-musical note, I'm going to take a break for a few days to wind down and have far too much whiskey and good cheer (whatever that is). So, thanks to the peeps that keep reading my musings and clicking on the links provided. Have a fine Chrismukkah and I'll catch you in a few days....oh, and make sure the Low Christmas EP is on heavy rotation on your stereo (failing that, the Phil Spector X-Mas album)....

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The first 5 LPs I ever heard...Number 2...

2. Cream - Disraeli Gears

Another record which had a confusing trippy cover, Disraeli Gears was the first album which I would leave on the stereo for weeks on end. There was a giddy thrill from hearing the initial crackle when the needle hit Side A, and a fevered anticipation whilst waiting for it to begin. Then - BANG! - Strange Brew hits the speakers, one of best opening tracks of an album that I've ever heard, with Clapton's blues vocals only marginally behind his raging guitar solo halfway through.

Indded, apart from Cockney album closer Mother's Lament, the rest of the album is flawless. Sunshine Of Your Love, the band's biggest hit, still sounds as fresh today as when I first heard it aged 13, and I'm sure people who were that age in 1967 would probably agree. My favourite track of Disraeli Gears, and of Cream's short career, comes at the start of Side B with the psychedelic Tales Of Brave Ulysses. Ginger Baker's driving drum work sets the scene as Clapton sings of fallen Greek heroes, while at the same time setting the template for every wah-wah porn soundtrack to follow.

The band's blues heritage was not forgotten either even though they were touted as being an 'electric super-group'. Both Jack Bruce and Clapton were avid bluesmen, with Clapton learning his trade under John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and prior to that The Yardbirds (who were later, after several lineup changes, to evolve into Led Zeppelin only three years after Clapton's departure), and throughout the album show their debt to the delta musicians of the 20s and 30s. The band though were constantly progressing, merging free-jazz, rock and blues to create a style all of their own. It's little wonder then that due to each group member's quest for musical inspiration from fields a far, they were to only last for four albums before splitting.

Only a few weeks ago, I purchased Universal's 'deluxe' reissue of the album, and although the extra tracks and studio sessions are of interest to the casual listener, it's the 11 tracks that make up Disraeli Gears that's all you need to hear. Psychedelic bliss in under 35 minutes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The first 5 LPs I ever heard...Number 1...

NB: Those who know me will know that although I don't necessarily listen to these records all day, every day, hearing them for the first time did have a major effect on who I am, and what I do today. Also, these albums weren't the first 5 I ever heard, as I'd heard quite a few prior to the ones I'm about to recall (John Farnham, you have quite a few crimes against music to answer for). In a sense, they were a springboard to discovering as much music as I possibly could. Sure, other people have come along and played records too me that have also had a similar effect, and for that I'm grateful. However, it's when I got handed down the family turntable and a large stack of LPs that it really all began. If it's anyone's fault, it's my father's..... so, let's begin...

1. The Beatles - Revolver
It was the sleeve that grabbed me at first, although I wasn't particularly excited about it at first. No, Klaus Voorman's design for this 1966 LP puzzled me initially with his cut-and-paste school collage feel. Later on though, after learning more about the band and watching countless hours of documentary footage of them, it finally made sense. The bizarre drawings coupled together with the early photos of 'Beatles Go Wild In Paradise' were an odd match, but this was the sign of a band who were leaving their past behind, and speeding off into the future whether the rest of the world were ready or not.

Musically, the album still manages to grab me each time I hear it. The rough and ready beginning, with George Harrison's '1, 2, 3' intro, is the least polished part of the what is otherwise a brilliantly produced album. George Martin had already shown flashes of inspiration on previous Beatles work, most notably the double speed solo on Rubber Soul's 'In My Life'. Revolver though was where John, Paul, George and Ringo started to take control.

John - The psychedelic delight that is Tomorrow Never Knows, a song which The Chemical Brothers have built an entire career trying to emulate.

Paul - Eleanor Rigby, a song that paints a beautiful, mournful, picture that is arguably McCartney's songwriting peak.

George - The Indian fascination continues with Love You To, and Harrison's contempt throughout Taxman shows that Lennon wasn't the only Beatle with disdain for authority.

Ringo - Despite the fact that Yellow Submarine is my least favourite track on the album, it's the one I'll no doubt play to my future children first.

One day, when recounting how he lost a great deal of his vinyl collection at a party in the 70s, my father said that Revolver was the only Beatles album the theiving masses left behind. Fools.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Onion AV Club picks 2004's tasty musical treats

The Onion AV Club, the informative and factual offshoot of satirical site The Onion, always sums up the best albums of the calendar year in style, choosing to side-step a big old chunky list and instead let the site's writers speak for themselves. If either site isn't on your browser's Favourites list (or Favorites if you live in the States....I've seen Spellbound too y'know...), better add them now.

Meanwhile, the inaugural Major Leaguer Top Ten Album list of the year will be on this lil' old site next week..... is your breath baited? Yeah, thought not.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Finally - a decent, nay brilliant, Internet radio station...

After years of searching for a decent Internet radio station that not only plays decent rock music, but also is streamed at a quick, clear speed (100k FYI), my quest might be over. Step forward 97X WOXY.COM, formerly 97.7 WOXY FM, broadcasting live around the globe from Oxford, Ohio in the US of A. Check this out for a quality one hour sample of their playlist from the wee hours of an American Sunday morning. Go on, buy a t-shirt here and support this gem.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Stylus Magazine - Top 5 Labels of 2004

Sorting the wheat from the chaff, here's Stylus Magazine's view of the year's top labels. WARNING - this list may contain indie and folk stlyings....

Friday, December 17, 2004

More shameless plugging - Milkbar Nick

OK....twice in 24 hours...I've really got to stop plugging mates, but this nice electro-house mix from the king, Milkbar Nick, really is super-fantastique. Check it out here....Ray Parker Jr - he should be resurrected from obscurity and be placed on the judging panel for Pop Idol, if only to increase the 'super cool' factor of such a lame show. Don't you agree?

Best of 2004 - Drowned In Sound style

So, continuing with the rundown of 2004, here's some shameless plugging for the site that occasionally publishes my ramblings in the form of 'reviews'. Oh, and the DIS kids know how to throw a mean party too...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Most slept on album of 2004?

Well, I don't know how this happened, but everyone seemed to miss Annie's excellent album Anniemal. Sheer classy pop, with Richard X and Royksopp behind the boards. So, what happened? Poor promotion? Pushed back release dates? Soft launch? Strange, as 679 recordings hyped her in the first six months of 2004, then probably decided to spend all their budget on pushing The Streets for a Mercury prize he was never going to get (I say probably as it's just my guess). Shame....f**king shame....

There's another single from the Anniemal coming out in December, perhaps in preparation for a 'hard' launch in January (this is what happened to Phoenix's Alphabetical earlier in the year. Didn't work though as it just wasn't as good as previous album United). I'm hoping this is the case, as quality pop like this is needed to put overhyped shit like Girls Aloud in perspective.

Oh, 679? Your site's pants too.

It's December, so bring on the 'Best of Lists' already!

And we start with the ever enjoyable Pop Matters and their Best of 2004 album list. The usual supects are there of course, but the number two selection was certainly a surprise. More listage in the coming days....

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Say sorry to a cow today...or they'll come and milk ya!

On a non-music tip, say sorry to our moo cow friends. Tipping cows...shame on you!

And I know I can't live without my radio...

After being back home in Australia for a week now, I'm beginning to see the differences between the musical landscapes in Britain and Oz. Sure, the tunes heard during Saturday night's outing in Wagga Wagga (where country is king) were to be expected. When you a working farmer or land owner out in the country then songs about 'utes and sheilas' are to be expected. Although I'm sure they don't listen to as much Dolly Parton since she decided to go bluegrass years ago.
However, what I was pleased to hear was the amount of hip-hop played on the country's 'youff' radio station, Triple J. When I left Australia three years ago, the J's (as the station's affectionately known as) was starting to lessen it's American output and concentrate on increasing the amount of airtime given to Australian artists. A noble move indeed, especially in a time of downloading, label mergers and store closures. In the last week I've heard some good music by the likes of Missy Higgins, Youth Group, Dallas Crane and Clare Bowditch. Also, I've heard new songs from great bands such as Eskimo Joe, Art Of Fighting and Machine Translations that don't get any exposure whatsoever in the UK, and unfortunately, apart from Art Of Fighting, probably never will.

But the thing that's impressed me most is the amount of Australian hip-hop being played. Now, being a Canberra lad and all, I was quite pleased to see the Koolism lads pick up an ARIA recently as they fully deserve the praise given to them. Hearing artist such as Downsyde, Hilltop Hoods, The Herd (you didn't think I'd forget them did you Calico?) and Scribe (well, it's NZ hip-hop, but in the grand tradition of claiming Kiwi artists as our own...kidding!) shows that there's a flourishing scene down here.

UK hip-hop and Aussie hip-hop are certainly differnt beasties though, with the Oz scene more light-hearted and less street inclined. Now, that's not to be seen as a bad thing, or a good thing, just simply, as Mr Don Henley once laid down, the way it is. You can easily compare artists like Klashnekoff to Downsyde, but that would be missing the point. Different backgrounds, different experiences, different vibe. Both artists though are making top-class music and rhymes that shouldn't be slept on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

All the Rock that's fit to print

No Rock & Roll Fun, my second new favourite website! Rock bitchiness in full effect. Say no more really...

All the Pop that's fit to print

Pop Justice, my new favourite website! Pop bitchiness...don'tcha just luv it?

Painting the town red in....Wagga Wagga?

So instead of going to the coast with the rest of Canberra, Saturday night was spent in the go-getting, bustling, always buzzing town of....Wagga Wagga. Crazy! A pub crawl with old compadres Nick, Don and Tim was just the tonic and after finding our pub accomodation for the night (25 dollars/10 quid a head), we headed down to the bar to get a schooner of quality beer and find ourself some honeys. Or something like that. The night continued at a heady pace, with pub after pub full of Wagga's finest ('Hey Shazza, get me a middy will ya? Cheers luv. Yeah, so where was I? Oh, yeah, anyway, we were havin' a root when all of a sudden...' You get the picture) and a soundtrack we could really get our freak on too (INXS, Barnesy, Cold Chisel, Powderfinger...sweet as mate!).

Highlight of the night was when a barman collecting glasses in one of Wagga's finest pub beer gardens slipped off a table he was leaning on, falling straight onto the concrete paving. Ow! The look on the poor guy's face wasn't pretty, and I imagine he possibly fractured his leg or hip immediately on impact. Suddenly out of nowhere a quick thinking punter, who had seen the odd episode of ER and fancied himself a bit of a George Clooney type, decided not to just attend to the bloke's needs, but drag the barman up off the ground and carry him to bar inside as quick as possible. Hang on, now I know I'm not a doctor, but aren't you supposed to leave the injured person where they are (keeping them as still as possible) and get someone to call an ambulance? Oh dear.

After facing the horrors of a burnt kebab, we headed back to our Motel 6 style accomodation and crashed for the night on our stained maitresses. Classy.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Yee ha! Country Mike's back!

I 'heart' Sandbox Automatic because they've got Country Mike back in on vinyl. Double score!

Well, if it isn't a crazed Pantera fan....great...

Getting back in to the swing of things back home. Ace meal at Debacle last night, with pancetta and potato pizzas! V scrummy indeed. Wild strawberry cheesecake at Della Piazza afterwards (wild strawberry = good, blueberry = bad) to top things off. The best result though was finally getting ten hours sleep to kill off the last remaining traces of jetlag. Score!

Since i've gotten back to Australia I've missed out on this calamity from the states. We'll miss ya Dimebag...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Oh, and I'm another year older.....dammit...but then so's Larry Bird!

Apparently it all goes downhill from 25. Say it ain't so! But hey, guess who I share my b'day with? Go Celtics....

Support your local Indie record store today!

So.....finally got back to Australia for two months R'N"R (either Rock'N'Roll or Rest'N'Relaxation...still undecided!). Jetlag is still in full affect, and I've felt as if I've slept for four nights in the space of two days. Walking around hometown today was certainly weird too. My old favourite record store bit the dust a few months ago, so unlike Empire Records, it is now no more. Where it once stood is now a 'chain-discount music retailer', and it's certainly another sign that independent records stores are fighting an uphill battle to stay alive.

So, if anyone's reading this, I have a small favour to ask. This weekend, or weekday, bypass your chain record store/mega-outlet and visit your local indie. Listen to some records, pick up some flyers, chat to the staff (or not) and most importantly buy something. Keep local music stores alive, so smaller bands get the chance to be heard. Do it now! OK...getting off my! Oh, and although I work for one of the 'corporate' record stores, I spent more of my cash at indies then I do at my workplace. How else am I gonna pick up second-hand records and rare Stones Throw singles? How? Yup....

In fact it reminds me of the famous piece The Onion had a few years ago entitled 37 Record Store Clerks Feared Dead In Yo La Tengo COncert Disaster - "We're trying our best to rescue these clerks, but, realistically, there's not a lot of hope," said emergency worker Len Guzman, standing outside the 40 Watt Club, where the tragedy occurred. "These people are simply not in the physical condition to survive this sort of trauma. It's just a twisted mass of black-frame glasses and ironic Girl Scouts T-shirts in there." Funny 'cause it's true. If you want the full story, it's in The Onion annual from 2003, otherwise you can subscribe to the archives here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Damn! And I was about to get broadband too!

Right...where were we? Another lenghty absence so let's check the highlight reel.

Saturday - Posted a few more DIS reviews, cleaned house, went to Brixton to watch...THE ROOTS! Fantastic and easily one of the best gigs of the year (and one of the best Hip Hop gigs I've ever been at). ?uestlove on fire all night. Martin Luther's sweet solo spot. Hub's pounding bass sol spot. Hell, everyone's solo spot! Seamless playing with songs merging into each other all night, riffs and motiffs introduced, taken away, then brought back again. Great vibe too....

Sunday -
Well, knew it would happen. Both Blackthought and ?uestlove came into work although I only clocked BT (missed Amir....damn!)....

Monday - ain't missed much...

Tuesday - Had a gorgeous veggie moussaka made by my ex-flatmate's fiance. Finished that off with a few glasses of merlot...mmmmm. Slept alright for the first time in a week.

Wednesday - ain't missed much....

Up to speed? Cool. Went into 55DSL after work today and the stereo was playing Gangstarr's 'Ownerz'....quality album. Forgotten how good an album that is. Hell, even make's Fat Joe sound good! Have to purchaaaase it before jetting home (perfect flight music...'Skillz' is where it's at)

Oh....looks like they're clamping down on KaZaA users back home too. Check the title link...

Friday, November 26, 2004

250 issues of sonic debauchery...

Splitting headache at the moment. Probably due to lack of sleep, stressful day and arriving home three hours after I left work. Secret Machines and De La Soul to keep me company on the way (check out Ghostface on 'He Comes'...quality Toney).

The new Wire Tapper double CD is fantastic, especially the new Fall track.

Packing life in to boxes for the next week. This will be my 13th move in the space of almost 25 years. Not bad going really...just over one every two years.

Roots tomorrow. Illadelph in full effect (oooh yeah...)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Hood - Four Tet meets Anticon

Door bell rang this afternoon, rudely interupting my afternoon nap. Turns out it was a dodgy leather sofa salesman doing some 'door-to-door' trade. 'You want leather sofa? Half-price?' Haven't slammed the door as quick since the regular mormon visits in my last flat. Come to think of it, the mormons weren't as pushy....

Heard the new Hood EP today.....nice....

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Check these guys out, especially 'Hollywood Bowl'

So.....where was I?

Interpol were blinding. One of the year's best gigs. Bloc Party were quite good. Silent League out of place. Annoyed Secret Machines weren't going to play. Oh well. Decided not to 'ave it large' as they say, and instead bypassed Camden drinking sessions to go home and sleep...

Wrote up review of previous night's gig. Went to work at 5.oopm for mad U2 launch that night. Crazed fans the lot of them. Drank a bit of free beer on the way home at 3.00am....fell asleep on nightbus (as usual)

Gig review got flaming from annoyed Bloc Party fans (surprising? no). Saw Fleeing New York at Marquee after work.....fantastic, esp the cute bass player (she sings like PJ, rocks like Joan Jett. Really, what's not to love?). More free beer....turning into an alchoholic...hic...hic

Nothin much...more flaming on Interpol review (f**k off NME kids)

Long day...little caffeine made matters worse....have to start packing up house now to prepare for leaving the flat. Australia in 10 days.....warm summer sun, swimming, beer, chilling, walking the's all good..Big Day Out tix confirmed. Le Tigre and JSBX...rrrrrrock!

Oh dear. Cranberries on stereo at net cafe. Saw them a year ago as a laugh as myself and ex-gf had free tix from work. Dolores is a twat. Aqualung supported. All v twee really....

Saturday, November 20, 2004

New Years with Tenacious D!

Lazy day today.....Breakfast while watching School of Rock. Not as good the second time, but still a.o.k. MTV documentary about Jack Black was very funny though. Checked the Tenacious D website and they're playing a New Years show in Melbourne when I'm over in Australia.....ace...

Wrote a Drowned In Sound piece, started making my x-mas mixtapes....pure gold....

Interpol/Secret Machines tonight.....I think it could get messy!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bright Eyes...burning like fire...

Saw Mr Conor O at ULU last night. Fan-fucking-tastic.....when he's not sozzed, he's much more focused (obviously), and just him and a guitar works well. ULU bar still shit though...missed first two songs as I was desperate for a beer and had already been in queue for 20 mins. Dammit...

Pizza Express tonight...bechemal sauce on dough is rather tasty...who'da thunk it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

C is for Cookie

Funniest track of the year....MF Doom just keeps on keepin on. First 'Madvillainary', then 'Mm Food'. Going to have to update my albums of the year list methinks....

Conor Oberst 2morrow....feel the pain.

Oh, thanks to California soft porn 90210, Death Cab have gone major. Yup. Shooooould have put that 50 quid bet in....damn.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

RIP ODB....Shimmy Shimmy Ya

Goddamn....first Peel, now Ol' Dirt McGirt. As one of my workmates said to me today, 'he was like an Old Dirty Father to me' (still, wasn't exactly surprising the way it happened).

I`m no joker! Play me as a joker
Be on you like a house on fire! Smoke ya!
Crews be actin like they gangs, anyway
Be like, "Warriors! Come out and playiyay!"
Burn me, I get into shit, I let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, but that was only gonorrhea

RIP Cyrus/Big Baby Jesus/Dirt McGirt/Ol' Dirty Bastard

It's enought to make an indie boy dance...I said dance, not shuffle

The University of Liverpool are advertising on Friendster. Must be their 'getting down with the kids' ad policy. Righty-ho....

Warp have signed their first indie band, Maximo Park. Single out 22 Nov. Quite nifty, with echoes of Futureheads and Franz, but with a higher danceability qoutient (yup, that's the only time I'll ever use the word 'qoutient' here. Honest). Warp? Yup, that Warp.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Picked up the new Bright Eyes singles today. 'Take It Easy (Love Nothing)' is ace, surely his most ....wait for it kids...commercial (meaning hit!) offering yet outside of Desperacidos, while 'Lua' is a mellower sad-yet sweet typical Conor joint. The B-sides are cool too. 'Burn Rubber' (back o' Take It Easy') has a crunching drive to it, backed by banjos, while 'Well Whiskey' sounds like an Uncle Tupelo out-take. If I had to go for one, it'd be Take It Easy/Burn Rubber double header. Get behind the wheel, stay in front of the storm.

A good day all round really. Soup for lunch. Hair chopped. Promos galore from DIS. Found nice shirt at Box Fresh. Laughed out loud while reading new Vice on bus home and made complete fool of myself. Happy days....oh, Mercury Rev playing new songs on Jools tonight. Ker-ching!

Conor Oberst is taking over the world....

Getting locks shorn today in Covent Garden (yep, Fairy). Drowned in Sound hook-up afterwards, with some 2nd hand clothes shopping in between. Need more t-shirts...don't we all?

In unrelated news got free tix for 8-ball gig at Elbow room in Islington (no, not everybody's fav heavyweight rapper....every album cover is him sitting on a car...poor car) . Cheap booze, new bands, all good. Kentish town on Sat for Mark's bro's gig. Interpol next week. Roots week after. Shoot, a bit busy really...... better pick up the Bright Eyes singles today as well. Help lil' Conor out. The Willy Mason album is rather swell too. Check him out below... (without the dash, it's a good ol' hardcore porn site! Bet the emo kids get nightmares if they type it in wrong!)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Care Bears be frontin....

Bears with gangsta style...word.

I want one that says 'I'm Rick James bitch!'


Trivia tidbit: 'A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours' is the only Smiths song not to feature a single guitar note.

You are Strangeways, Here We Come, The Smiths'
final studio album. It has an apparent theme of
death and ending, and contains the songs A Rush
and a Push and the Land is Ours, Paint a Vulgar
Picture, Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody
Loved Me, and I Won't Share You

What Smiths album are you?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Umm...they're Like Mogwai, but not?

Damn! Got the new copy of Comes With A Smile mag today and 'twas listening to the free CD with it when....bang! Like a 'shot to the heart' (and no, you're not to blame), I think I've got a new favourite band. They're called 65daysofstatic and they do an alty-Mogwai-gutar-noodly-electro thang that stopped me cold. Had to play the track again once it finished (called 'Massive Star At The End Of Its Burning Cycle').....they're playing London in Jan, but I'll be in Australia then....oh fuckstix.

Just read the David Cross interview in the aforementioned mag Arrested Devlopment tonight on BBC 2 at 10pm (and next weeks episode immediately after on BBC 4) I've got a new favourite band, a new favourite show...shawnuff good!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Simmons vs Simins

Majorleaguer is today brought to you by the word....Moog.

Was walking home last night and suddenly the word Moog popped into my head, and it reminded me of the ill-fated, yet equally ill Grand Royal magazine. Y'know, the one run by the Beasties label that only lasted about 4 issues (and I think the gap between issue 1 &2 was well over a year). Try and snatch 'em all if you can, especially the Moog tribute issue, and Mike D's mullet trip to LA. One of my favourite aritcles was the interview between Def Jam head honcho Russell Simmons and his near-namesake, JSBX drumming god Russell Simins. Pure gold.

I've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh....

Monday, November 08, 2004

Spear Britney

So...update time.

Dears last night at ICA. Twas good, but some songs don't need to be buried in walls of feedback, shouting and sonics. Murray Lightburn was kinda cool, and def not the megalomaniac I envisioned him to be. And enough said about two female keyboardists in minis and high boots ok? I bet there's Fleetwood Mac stories in that band....

Support bands were so so...

..New Rhodes...well, we don't need another Television.

...Pure Reason Revolution...not bad, and any MBV style band is always worth a listen. Although one of the guitarists looked like he had turned up for the non-existent Kings of Leon auditions the ICA was holding that night

...Hann Premium. Arrr...if that swarvy brew were a beer, I would marry thee....arrrr...

Next morning. Awoke with little sleep. Raging headache, not enough coffee. Britney Spears and U2 on stereo all day ('Hey Edge, wanna make Beautiful Day Mk II?' 'Um, all right. Anything to get you in a studio instead of hanging with the Dalai Lama'). Slave 4 U still class all the way. Had many a discussion on the future of Brit re: trailer trash lifestyle. It's all down hill from here kids.....whee.........

Couldn't buy the Bright Eyes singles as I had no money. Sniff....apparently the new albums are themed. First one's about a boy who moves from the city to the country, the second is about the reverse. WARNING! WARNING! Concept catastrophe at 18oo HOURS! Ah Connor....bless him.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you...don't you? Don't you?

Ah....Carly Simon overhead in the net cafe. Ah....poor Warren. Still love Bulworth though. Halfway between pubs at the moment. Leaving drinks for one of the guys at work. Bless his lil' socks. He's going off to travel the world with his girlfriend and stopping off in Rio along the way (tres cool).

....Oh it's Ebony and Ivory overhead....crimes against music #427 - Paul McCartney really should have known better (add to that Girl Is Mine and Say Say Say with Jacko, and of course that bloody Frog Chorus). Stevie, Stevie....well, I guess you can make excuses for the poor bloke. But Macca, sheesh....

Tomorrow brings more work, then The Dears gig at ICA, which I'm giving up on Ani DiFranco tix to go see....yeah, one day I'll regret it...second thoughts, nah...songs about ex's, politics and hugging. Dears it is.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Hey...Americans aren't all that bad!

This just made my day. Absolutely priceless. About the only time this site's gonna get political as well. That is, until Busted play the next Tory party conference (Scary stuff. Bet McFly will try to get cabinet positions if Blair loses next year).

Fancy a cup of tea guvner?

Tom's blog is quite handy really. I like mine Earl Grey with a smidge of milk (the really creamy Gold stuff)....ahhhhh.

All the leaves are brown

Had a swell walk along Green Lanes today via a few parks. Pavement and Secret Machines on the walkman, falling leaves around me. Ahhh....

Seeing The Dears on Sunday night at the ICA. Borrowed a few of their earlier records from a mate this week and you can definitely tell Blur influenced them heavily...their website is text only though, which is a tad disappointing. Don't let it put you off 'em though. Gorgeous!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

This is for covering 'Heroes' on the Godzilla OST...POW!

OK....was walking home from the chippy last night when I saw a car heading my way with only one headlight on. Then I remembered in my depraved state that 'One Headlight' was the name of that shite song from Jakob Dylan's band, The Wallflowers. That made me think...hmmm...funny how talent can sometimes skip a generation...

Monday, November 01, 2004

A tribute to Destiny's Child, Rather Good style

Yeah, I know. An oldie but a goodie. In honour of the three gals invading my workplace, strutting their stuff, and then getting writer's cramp after two hours, here's a classic from the home of rockin' kittens - If you're also wondering where that annoying/charming Maestro ad comes from, yup, it's from the RatherGood stable too. Joel Veitch is the fiend responsible so check out the link below for more info on his wizardy. Bird marriages, really...,13274,1229854,00.html

Sunday, October 31, 2004

So baby

All the freaks will be at my workplace on Monday as Jay-Z's girlfriend and her two pals will be doing an instore signing. Oh crap....expect crazed tourists to push down the doors for a quick glimpse at the three of em'....

Mos Def's 'personal UK manager' came in last week and asked me how the album was selling. I told him that, honestly, it's not really being promoted at all with absolutely no street press coverage (I actually should have just said that the record was shit, but there's honest and then there's honest) and maybe Mos should do an in-store next year. He thought it was a good idea, but insisted the real pusher would be a 'holographic cover that will blow people's minds'...honestly....

Mos Def used to be cool y'know. Now he just wants to act in crappy Hollywood films. The shame...

Drumroll.....The albums of the year so far are...

In no particular order -

Murs - 3:16
Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere
Interpol - Antics
Elliott Smith - From A Basement On The Hill
Wilco - A Ghost Is Born
The Roots - The Tipping Point
Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll
Bjork - Medulla
The Dears - No Cities Left
De La Soul - The Grind Date
Madvillain - Madvillainy
The Go Team - Thunder, Lightning , Strike
Nick Cave - Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre Of The Orpheus
Kanye West - The College Dropout
John Legend -Lifted
Tom Waits - Real Gone
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
Air - Talkie Walkie
PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her

No re-issues on this list. That's for another day... (probably Tuesday)

So, what does this say about music in 2004? Well, for one, there's been very few dance albums that have really grabbed me. Probably the best of them was Mylo's effort, and even then he seemed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes by disguising his theft of riffs from Kim Carnes and Prince with infectious basslines and retro squishy bleeps. There have been a lot of good soul albums out, however as like last year most get slept on (eg. Anthony Hamilton last year, Van Hunt this year). Heaps of great undergound hip hop, especially from the Lex and Def Jux camps. As for good old 'indie rock 'n' roll' (to quote 2004's most over-rated band, The Killers) there's been no real must have records. A bit sick of Franz Ferdinand now, but I'm glad that it's them winning Mercury prizes and not bands like Keane. Care to comment?

Hey ho...let's go!, I've succumbed to the world of blogs. Knew it would happen eventually so here's hoping I stick with it unlike every other thang I've started, then turned my back on. Model planes? Check. Playing french horn? Check (yeah, strange huh. Not one for cool instruments, oh no. Had to choose the naff one. Funnily enough, years later my teacher got kicked out of school for getting to close to one of his female students. Scary man...and he smelt of cigarettes and coffee, which when you're 12 isn't exactly inspiring). Writing a novel? Actually, that's just on the back burner really.

Anyway, this lil blog should keep my hand in the ol' writing game. Used to edit the Canberra portal of Australia's largest dance music website, , and while it was a cool time, moving to London was supposed to ensure I'd take the next step up in my journo career. Well, yes and no. Made contacts, yep. Continued writing, no. Well, that's changing from now. At the moment I'm working in quite a large music store in the heart of London, and bringing it down from within. Fools....however, writing is what I want to do while I'm here so I'd better get back to it.

So...visit whenever you can...I won't bite. Well, just a nibble. (hey, while you're at it, go see Nashie's blog. Thanks Nash...ya big geezer you! ). Most posts will be of a musical kinda orientation, but we'll see whatever else comes up.

Oh, by the way, the title is of course a Pavement reference. Go on, do yerself a favour and check out the 'Crooked Rain Croooked Rain' re-issue that comes out on Monday 1st Nov (why, that's tomorrow!), 2nd Nov stateside. 2 discs of Pavementy goodness....besides, Pitchfork gave it 10/10 so how bad can it be?