Where Is The Love?

On the radio this morning they were interviewing people who were camped out waiting for the premiere of the new Harry Potter film.  Some of these people had been sleeping rough in Leicester Square for 2 nights, in the pouring rain, in potentially sub-zero temperatures.  When asked why they simply said “We really love Harry Potter”.  My initial reaction to this was “The poor fools!”, but then I started thinking and began to wonder if I was actually the sad one here.

You see, I cannot think of any thing in the world that I love enough that I would effectively become a homeless person for a couple of days in the middle of winter. What makes it even more amazing is when you consider these people are not doing this in order to be the first people to see the film or even get the new book, they are sleeping on the cold, hard, wet pavement in the vain hope that they might catch a glimpse of the stars of the film or, if they’re really lucky, get an autograph or picture with one of their idols.  I racked my brains to try and think of a film, actor, actress, director, singer, band or anything at all where I would go through the same thing and I came up blank.  And this made me a little bit sad. I feel like I am missing out somehow because I don’t have that sort of love in my life. Is my life devoid of passion?  Or is it just that I am sane and they are all crazy?

Posted by Si.

Published in: on 11/11/2010 at 9:40 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

Short but sweet

A comment below has led me to share the following.  To the less than casual interneter, none of these may be a revelation at all.  Even so, i reckon they are well worth a visit.

Here a few of my favourite short films :

The hole

Alive in Joburg by Neill Blomkamp

Alma by Rodrigo Blaas (warning : pretty creepy)

And, although possibly technically not a short film :

Smile around the face music video for a track by Four Tet

Enjoy! 🙂


Published in: on 06/11/2010 at 9:13 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Turn of the decade – Music of the 00’s

[Note : This is a few months old now, but definitely still accurate.]

The last decade was probably the most important decade for music for me. The 90’s were definitely my formative years, but for most of it i lacked both disposable income and the immense scope of discovery that the internet has given us. This decade, i had the money and the means to really stretch my musical legs. It took time to get the ball rolling, but once it did it caused a veritable avalanche of cd’s – a geniune hazard in my bedroom as Michelle will no doubt wearily testify.

It’s hard to encompass it all in a nice and easy way, especially as remembering just a years worth of musical discovery is hard, and some acts hit high points with specific albums only to never quite make good on their promise. So i’m going to cheat a bit.
Honourable mentions :

Vitalic, Justice, Soulwax/2 Many DJ’s : For doing their very best to stop dance music just becoming a farce of no-talent morons doing covers.

Poison the well : Only just got into this band this year with the absolutely awesome “The Tropic Rot” and have soon become a band that i’ve hunted down as many albums as possible for and have never been disappointed. Definitely my band of the last year.

Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Pixies, Iron Maiden : Four bands that have offered up some of my musical highlights in terms of live performances. Meeting Trent and the rest of the band was fantastic, as was seeing Faith No More and The Pixies – two bands who i never believed i would have a chance of seeing, and an afternoon of drinking at Twickenham followed by two hours of metal awesomeness just made Iron Maiden total amazing.

MP3 players : Let’s all be honest, they’ve changed the way that everyone listens to music forever. It might not all be for the best, i still fear MP3’s will kill the album, but in terms of being able to just buy specific songs and the ability to carry large chunks of your music collection around with you, they’ve done considerable good for music lovers everywhere.

One-hit wonders of the decade : (Five bands who hit a peak they never returned to)

5) The Rise – Signal to Noise : Just awesome hardcore/electronica cross-over. This band got me into Refused, which is never a bad thing, and is definitely an album that i can listen to in one sitting without ever looking for the skip button.
4) Mudvayne – LD50 : Just in the last decade – early 2000, but a fantastic album. Severely overlooked because of comparisons with Slipknot, this album’s got much more in terms of creativity and originality and should have been given a much better chance than it was.
3) At the drive-in – Relationship of Command : This may seem a little unfair, but this was their glorious swan song, and the only one of their albums released in this decade.
2) Bloc Party – Silent Alarm : Initially i resisted the charms of this band, but i don’t know why. A musical tour-de-force, brimming with great songs and fantastic double guitar riffing, all topped off with some truly great drumming.
1) Queens of the stone age – Songs for the deaf : Definitely the peak of the Queens’ career. A band at the height of it’s powers spawning some of best singles of the decade. With Dave Grohl blowing everyone away with his drumming, Mark Lanegan providing some great extra vocals, and before Nick Oliveri left and a big part of their edge went with him, this was the sound of a group of performers clicking like very few others ever do.

Bands of the decade : When trying to pick my best albums out i hit a big problem, i was often having to comapre two albums by the same artists and pick one over the other. In the end i noticed a pattern, certain bands kept just cropping up time and time again. I figured that rather than just trying to pick out specific albums, i will just take the easy road and pick out the bands that have, for various reasons, just made the last decade so musically memorable to me.

10) Lamb of God (Albums : Ashes of the wake, Sacrement, Wrath)

Fairly late to the table, but just brimming with metally goodness. A thorough-bred of riffery and growly vocals. I picked up Sacrement first, and over time found that i just loved listening to all of it. Ashes of the wake and Wrath followed on, and all are just a joy to listen to. One of many metal acts that i’ve listened to since it’s rebirth in my musical horizons, but definitely a notable high point.

9) Kings of Leon (Albums : Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak, Because of the times)

Before they really fell out of favour with me with their commercial album. (YUCK). These guys were the embodiement of modern rock’n’roll. They looked like freakish gonks and rocked like an avalanche. The first two albums are now sadly sold as “complete-ists” collections, but really were them at their very best.

8 ) yourcodenameis:milo (Albums : All roads to a fault, Ignoto, They came from the sun)

Just a great band with their own sound. Liked the fact that they tried out a few new ideas on each album and certainly knew how to rock more than their mainstream contemparies.

7) TV on the Radio (Albums : Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, Return to cookie mountain, Dear Science)

Fantastic vocals make the backbone of this group, a sort of barbershop quartet for the 21st century with each album improving on the previous in terms of ideas and creativity.

6) Les Savy Fav (Albums : Inches, Let’s Stay Friends)

A wide variety of styles and sounds packed into both of these albums along with some incredible songs definitely make them deserve a place in this top 10.

5) Yo La Tengo (Albums : And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, Summer Sun, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass)

Technically it’s a non-00’s album of theirs that should be here. For me, “I can hear the heart beating as one” is one of the best and most accomplished albums i’ve heard. Covering a wide variety of styles and genres with little effort but always sounding like it’s their speciciality whatever they are playing. They make beautiful music and were a band that definitely played a big part in broadening my musical horizons.

4) The Paper Chase (Albums : Someday This Could All Be Yours, Vol. 1, Now You Are One of Us, God Bless Your Black Heart, Hide the Kitchen Knives)

A horror band, best way to describe them, or certainly discomfort if not horror. Their lyrics are often creepy, lecherous or just eerie, with a mixture of guitars, strings, piano and samples to back it up. All chugging along as if they want to suggest that there’s something about to jump out from the shadows and grab you. Simply unique and in my mind unmissable.

3) Mastodon (Albums : Leviathan, Blood Mountain, Crack the Skye)

A massive metal monster of a band that have managed to make prog not such a dirty word any more. Great riffs, fantastic vocals, and awesome songs.

2) McLusky / Future of the left (Albums : My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful Than Yours, Mclusky Do Dallas, The Difference Between Me and You Is That I’m Not on Fire, Mcluskyism / Curses, Last night i saved her from vampires, Travels with myself and another)

A band i discovered when they first split up – fortunately they partially reformed as the more eclectic Future of the left – McLusky were clever, witty, yet fierce and have made me pick up more lyrics than many others bands due to sheer catchiness.

1) Reuben (Albums : Racecar is racecar backwards, Very Fast Very Dangerous, In cities we trust, We should have gone to University)

A band of the last decade in many ways. Forming near the beginning of the 00’s they sadly split up in ’09 but left a musical legacy worth cherishing. Many great albums with many great songs and little fear of being aggressive in a nerd-rage sort of way. A common, bittersweet theme to several songs of their being a struggling rock band made their untimely demise all the more heartbreaking.

Published in: on 29/03/2010 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Bob’s music of the year 2008

I don’t think this is going to be quite as rambly-rambly as previous efforts from myself. It’s been an odd old year musically. I’ve very much got back into metal again in a major way and definitely gig of the year was seeing Iron Maiden at Twickenham. A lot of the other bands were just background to drinking, but seeing the ‘den was a real killer experience.

This year my music buying has increased immensely again, but I’ve not been keeping a record of what I’ve got. In an odd way this helps, there are several albums that just spring to mind immediately and this list will cover the best, or at least most memorable, of them.

These 7 aren’t really in any particular order, they aren’t my very favourite albums though. Those 4 are at the bottom in ascending order…

Fortress by Protest The Hero : Insane prog/hardcore/metalcore/rock noodling. Like an epileptic Dragonforce. So much of this just sounds like nonsense on paper, but as a guy in a record shop said to me once when I bought another one of their albums “it doesn’t sound like it should work, but it really does”. Amen brother.

Precambrian by Ocean : This album will make you love Death Metal. Seriously. (As long as you already quite like metal anyway.) An album of two halves, the one half is very harsh and violent – but surprisingly varied, the other is almost serene with orchestras and acoustic tracks.

The Blackening by Machine Head : Never really got the appeal of this band, but this is something else. Like a souped up Vulgar Display-era Pantera, these guys truly metal hard. (Was going to say “rock hard” but it’s just not a hard enough descriptor.)

The way of the flesh by Gojira : Another album from these rather cerebral Gallic metallers. This one – unlike “From Mars to Sirius” which had an environmentalist theme – is all about death. In a thoughtful enough way.

Dystopia by Midnight Juggernauts : If ELO is a hypnotist whose bowtie spins round, Midnight Juggernauts is an evil hypnotist.

Oracular Spectacular by MGMT : Slightly bizarre Bowie-ish by way of electronica. Quite summery and light and bouncy and fun.

Sounds of silver by LCD Soundsystem : If not for “Get Innocuous” – as featured in GTA IV’s ad campaign – then for all the other excellent tracks. Perhaps even the self-deprecating “North American Scum” alone. Best line – “You might think we’re from England, but we’re not. We are North American Scum.”

These four are my definite faves :

4) You have no idea what you are getting yourself into by Does it offend you yeah?

Found it’s way into my car stereo only two weeks ago. And it’s lived both there and on my MP3 player since. More electro stuff (pop/rock/glitch/nu rave *ugh*) but awesomely done. Sometimes hard and crunchy, sometimes evoking memories of choice 80’s pop. Very good. I can easily listen to it all the way through over and over.

3) Dear Science by TV on the Radio

If just for “Halfway Home” and “Love Dog”. They continue their upwards descent and I believe every one of their albums has cropped up on a “music of the year” list of mine now. This one is no exception. They are not your normal pop band.

2) The chemistry of common life by ****ed up

Awesome, mind blowing hardcore. A bit of pop, some odd instruments, and some totally bum-ripping RAWK. The lead singer is Cookie monster with anger management issues. The riffs are excellent. Oh and there’s a rather odd religious theme on it. It’s not preachy and it’s not anti, it’s just some of the songs are about religious characters in non-judgemental ways a bit like…

1) Hlllyh by The Mae Shi

This album is awesomely odd. Or oddly awesome. Or both. Anyway it’s great. All of the songs clock in at no longer than 3 minutes long and most are 2 minutes. Except one that’s over 10 minutes. Like an electronic Blood Brothers or something else. A load of songs all with again an odd religious theme. It’s rare that I find myself repeating lyrics like “Open up their eyes and let them know I’m very close to them, and Nothing will be left behind, and They’ve got something to fear. God is very near.”

Posted by Bob

Published in: on 12/05/2009 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,