Monday, January 31, 2005

Hey Hey Hey Superstar! I love Japan...

Apologies for recent tardiness - I'm making up for it in a hotel in Tokyo on the way back to London. Just finished watching J-Pop show called Hey Hey Hey was bliss even though I didn't understand a single word of it. However, I now have glorious colours running through my head and probably won't be able to sleep at all tonight (every Japanese TV show seems to be both loud and colourful).

Big Day Out last week was the usual sunburnt festivas of music. Highlights were Le Tigre, Cut Copy and Kid Koala. 'Twas fun to see the Beasties, and I also caught a glimpse of a few choice Australian bands (although missed the two next big Aussie bands, Wolfmother and The Cops).

Album of the week? Cut Copy - mix 'tween Royksopp and New Order...yummy... Issue 1 this week as well, as if I hadn't mentioned it already.

More Majorleaguer in a few days time. Time to sleep 'n' fly...

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Barney's back...

The lads from New Order broke their silence this week about their new album 'Waiting For The Sirens To Call' which is out on March 28. I say lads as keyboardist Gillian Gilbert has taken a longer sabbatical than previously planned, and her place has been taken by touring guitarist Phil Cunningham.

Initial reports of 'Waiting...' are promising indeed, with tradmark hooks (no pun intended), silly lyrics and fantastic pogoing rock/dance songs aplenty. Looking forward to March already...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Band Weblogs

This site is still in it's infancy, but looks good so far, and is full of links to heaps of music-related blogs (both from musicians and writers). It also has a link to Dave Navarro's blog as well, reason enough to check Band Weblogs out. is starting to look good, and having just finished my first column (or at least the inital draft) for the site, I'm looking forward to seeing Issue One in all it's glory on Feb 2 (which is also Graham Nash's birthday!)

Splitsville: Ikara Colt have broken up after their set five-year period of existence, which was frankly five years too long, but I'm more sad about these guys. Oh, and these guys too. All together now, "We live in the Year 3000..."

Monday, January 17, 2005

Albums to look forward to in 2005 - January

It looks like being a good start to the music year with a few tasty treats coming this month. Here's what Major Leaguer is looking forward to hearing...


Mercury Rev - Secret Migration
Trail of Dead - Worlds Apart
Low - Great Destroyer
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsytem (James Murphy can do no wrong)Bright Eyes - Digital Ash/I'm Awake...
Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep
Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous (finally getting a UK release)

Not bad for what's traditionally a quiet month for music releases. Plus, the new Chemical Brothers album sounds promising. The tracks I've heard so far aren't too shabby, and Believe, featuring Kele from Bloc Party, is a sure fire club banger. So go spend some dough on at least one of these beauties, or in the case of Bright Eyes both of them, so you can stop listening to the crap records you were given by your folks for Christmas. I'll never listen to that Neil Diamond boxset if you paid me (except for Crunchy Granola - good lord!)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Q-Tip jumps ship (again)

So it looks like another Q-Tip album could be dead and buried. Kamaal the Abstract has just inked a contract with Mowtown, leaving Dreamworks only two years after he left Arista, the label who wouldn't release his self-titled album because it was 'not commercial enough' (or maybe because it was a bit too self indulgent and jazz-noodly). Q-Tip had finished his Dreamworks debut way back in late 2003, and there was even a February 2004 photo-shoot for the album's cover, but with his move to Mowtown it's unclear whether 'Open' will now be released. Oh, and still no word on a possible new album from the Tribe, which means Phife might have to finally get a 9-5 job. Kinda reminds me of that 'Adopt a Rapper' skit on Doggy Fizzle Televizzle....

Prefuse 73 and Ghostface!

Stacks of good news today from Pitchfork . New Prefuse 73 album should be interesting, especially with Ghostface and Broadcast lending a hand (Major Leaguer is always down with Pretty Toney, especially if he's spitting verbs with El-P....dyn-o-mite!).

Also for London readers, get your tickets now for the Secret Machines gig at Brixton Academy. The brown underpants are already on in anticipation. Hang on, these weren't brown when....crap. Excuse me for a moment...

Wuthering, Wuthering, Wuthering....

Whaddya know? Ms Bush made the select five nominees for the Brit Awards (sorry, Brits25) song of the past 25 years. So did Joy Division, Queen, Mr R. Williams, and the man I hoped wouldn't get through....sigh. OK, if you're inclined to vote in popularist awards such as this(where in even more absurd news Tom Waits and Brian Wilson get nods for Best International Male!) then click here for the Brits site. The second round of voting for Ms Bush and the rest takes place from Friday 21st January to Sunday 30th January. I'll forgive you if your mad props go to Ian Curtis instead, but just not Robbie or Will, OK? Thus endeth today's rant.

In other news, it appears to be an unwise move to blog about work. You have been warned....

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A teaser for

This was going to be part of my first column for However, I've decided to post it here and provide some fresher picks when Subter goes live from early February. Plus, it makes up for my lack of blogging for the last few days (hey, come on people, it's summer down here!). I'm not going to link any of them for the moment, so it's up to you guys to go find them (yeah, I'm sure you'll just Google them like everyone else). The Low album is pure gold, and real purrrty too.

Notes from the Underground picks for January 2005

Low – The Great Destroyer

For their first Sub Pop outing, the Minnesota trio enlist the services of producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev). While this move helps hone Low’s hidden pop talent (California for a career highlight anyone?), there remains a darker element that’s impossible to escape, yet too beautiful and fragile to ignore.

Perfect for: that long walk along a country road at 2:00AM under a bed of stars.

Mercury Rev – The Secret Migration

If you need a second hit of Dave Fridmann enhanced tunage, look no further than the latest set of psych-lullabies from the Rev. If you’re aware of the band's ouvre, then there’s nothing here you haven’t heard before. However, music this lovely is always worth a second helping.

Perfect for: watching the sunset with your imaginary friend.

Pinback - Summer in Abbadon

Evoking the sounds of Death Cab for Cutie, Elliott Smith, and heck, even Fugazi, Pinback release their most consistent effort to date. Although released in the second half of 2004, word of mouth has ensured it’ll no doubt be on the stereo of your local indie store for many months to come.

Perfect for: your next road trip, whenever that may be.

dEUS: The Ideal Crash

With a new set from Tom Barman’s band imminent, it’s time for a refresher course on the best Belgian group around. Swathed in a mix of strings and percussion that shift from menace to innocence in a heartbeat , 1999’s The Ideal Crash holds your attention in a vice-like-grip from the very first listen. The shift from dark to light on One Advice, Space, the giddy nature of Let’s See Who Goes Down First, and the heartbreak of The Magic Hour would be highlights on any decent rock album. With Instant Street though, dEUS really let fly, reaching rarely seen pop heights before entering a sonic tailspin and crashing in a blaze of glory.

Perfect for: enhancing that bout of turbulence during a long-haul flight.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Worlds Apart

Criminally ignored by their record company Interscope (Worlds Apart has been ready for release for quite a while, but wasn’t able to obtain a ‘slot’ during the lead-up to the music industry cash-cow that is Christmas), the follow up to Source Tags And Codes finally sees the light of day. Although not reaching the heights of previous Trail of Dead albums, with the band preferring to expand their repertoire of jaunty orchestral anthems, the rare occasions where they shoot from both barrels (such as Will You Smile Again For Me) are thrilling. Worth catching live as well, especially for their twin drumming assault and tag team switches between, and during, songs.

Perfect for: creating a worthy soundtrack whilst reading Hellboy and Preacher comics.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Kate Bush used to scare me...

Aaaah Kate! Posted by Hello

Hang on, I was five-years-old at the time. Yes, Kate's voice wasn't to my liking at that tender age. Instead, I was more interested in being Morten Harket from A-Ha. Remmeber the video for Take On Me? Yeah, it had everything. Comics, a seedy chippy, and to top it off Morten got the girl at the end...Oh, sorry.

Anyway, the fabulous Kate Bush apparently has a new album out this year (not to mention Andre 3000 wanting her to guest on the next Outkast album as well). She's so excited about it she decided to post details on one of her many adoring fansites here.

In other KB news, the irrelevant Brit Awards have decided to throw a party in their own honour by announcing the Best British Song in their 25 year history (oh well, had to get something to replace Best Dance category). One choice for every nausiating year of Brits, although each selection isn't necessarily the best track of that year. No Radiohead of course, just 'classic' tracks from Simply Red and Robbie. 'Wuthering Heights' is among the shortlist, but I doubt it'll be in with a shout. Still, it could be worse. Will Young could be nominated. Crap, spoke too soon...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The first 5 LPs I ever heard...Number 3...

3. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu

Sure, I could have said After The Goldrush because it was the first Neil Young album I listened too. Or the first CSN album because of the beauty of Wooden Ships. However, it's Deja Vu that I keep coming back too. It had been in the stack of LPs given to me by Dad for a couple of years, but I never really got around to listening to it.

In my final year of college, I was compiling songs for an American History project about the Vietnam war. I had decided to write some fictional letters from an American soldier, and to accompany these writings I made a tape of songs to be played whilst the letters were being read. As you can guess, the tape included artists such as Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Country Joe and the Fish, and Crosby Stills Nash and Young. This last choice was suggested by my father who simply said ' Listen to Almost Cut My Hair and Woodstock'. So I did, and he was right. Almost Cut My Hair, written by ex-Byrd David Crosby, shows how going against the wishes of 'the man' in the late 60s/early 70s simply meant letting your 'freak flag fly'. Crosby states that although it increased his 'paranoia, like looking into a mirror and seeing a police car', he wasn't scared of the conseqences.

But I'm not giving in an inch to fear
Cos I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone
While Woodstock was originally written by Joni Mitchell, and played in an accoustic fashion, CSNY transform it into an electric wonder, complete with lush inter-woven harmonies. I decided to use Mitchell's version for my project, but hearing CSNY's version was a minor revelation. The rest of the album contains songs murdered by television advertisments for teachers and real estate agents (Teach Your Children and Our House), a Neil Young career highlight (Country Girl) and a cameo from the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian (Deja Vu).

So, I guess American History was useful after all. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the project got an A+ too. Learning about history while making mixtapes. Strange, huh?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Goodbye 2004, Howdy 2005/ Live highlights of 2004

Morning kids. Hope y'all had a good New Year's Eve and the inevitable hangover isn't too bad. Right, back to the music...

To finish the 2004 wrap, let's look through the gig highlights of the last 12 months. These are the ticket stubs that remain in the Major Leaguer wallet:

1. Interpol @ The Forum - NY's finest light up a dark November night with a set that will forever be etched in this writer's memory.

2. Wilco @ The Astoria - Sure, the jam nature of Wilco's recent work may resemble the Grateful Dead, but the addition of Nels Cline has only made the Chicago band stronger. Jeff Tweedy continues to fly close to the sun, but his wings aren't melting yet.

3. Bright Eyes @ ULU - Conor wasn't drunk this time, and sans his Bright Eyes cohorts he seemed more focused than ever. A Dylan for the I-Pod generation.

4. Justin Timberlake @ Earls Court - Yes, Justin Timberlake. Fireworks, a cracking live band, and over-the-top choreography. Michael who?

5. The Roots @ Brixton Academy - Hip-Hop's premier live crew keep on truckin'. Black Thought continues to be the MC's MC, ?uestlove is still ?uestlove (with the 'fro to match his skills - massive), and the night was topped off by a stunning solo set from Roots super-sub Martin Luther. Illadelph's finest sure put on one hell of a show.

Unlucky losers....And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Fleeing New York, Jurassic 5, Melody Club and Sparks (who managed to perform both the entire Lil' Beethoven album and a cracking Greatest Hits set in one show).