Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Best of 09 So Far...

The Whitest Boy Alive - Rules

I'm a complete, unashamed Erlend Oye fanboy, so of course I was going to love this. The first album was good, but lacked something. I was never sure what. There was just something that stopped me from being all "WOW, THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER" which usually signals a great album. But this time, BAM, Erlend's back. Obviously he's never going to top the seminal DJ Kicks mix, but I'd put Rules up there with the first Kings of Convenience album. His voice is still pretty weak, but it adds to the appeal. Well, for me anyway. But surely all skinny boys who wear glasses like him? He's sort of like us, but cooler. I think. You tell me.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Man, remember the hype surrounding the release of MPP when it felt like Animal Collective were going to be the biggest band on the planet? There was even a feature on them in The Sun! Someone sent me a link to the album on Christmas day. Dedication to the max. I'd heard 'My Girls' before the album leaked and had fallen completely head over heels with it. The album dropped and whilst My Girls is still the standout, the whole thing (pretty much) is incredible. The first day I got back to London after the Christmas holidays, I met a friend for a drink. We got completely, and in my case shamefully, pissed up and went back to mine and listened to My Girls on full blast in my kitchen at least ten times. Then did the same in my room. Pretty much the best night ever. Hearing it at After Skool on Valentines Day made me scream. Quite a lot. Apparently...

Anyway, are there 3 more joyful minutes in music than the second half of 'Brother Sport'? I wish I could replicate it in text

Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care

When I think about Junior Boys I just end up wondering why they aren't a massive commerically successful group. They basically mix Timbaland at his best with sorta wimpy indie boy vocals. God, that sounds awful. I imagine that's the route The Kooks will be going down soon. Ughh. But yeah, Junior Boys have totally nailed the sound Hot Chip are going for when Hot Chip are overtly soulful. This album probably isn't as great as Last Exit but y'know, not many albums are. Still, it's an awesome album. Slap it on late at night with a lover and boom, you're in. Possibly. Actually, can someone try this? If if works let me know.

Other than 'So Bored' by Wavves, I can't think of any other singles that've blown me away. I've recently re-discovered the minimal pop joy of 'Farrah' by Action Biker. That's well worth a listen.

What have YOU been enjoying? I don't care if its from 2009 or 1939. Just let me know.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Footsteps on the Dancefloor.

When I'm feeling less than great, which I am at the moment, I, like many others, use it as an excuse to be self-pitying and sit around listening to sad music. Unlike your typical 'indie kid', I don't turn to The Smiths* or Belle and Sebastian or whatever. No, I usually turn to melancholy dance music.

During the long post-GCSEs summer I feel in love with two things: the Swedish singer Jens Lekman and Microhouse. The latter is a variation on classic house music that replaces the optimistic vocals and pounding pianos with cut up voices and snippets of sad melodies. I was introduced to this stuff through Erlend Oye's still incredible DJ Kicks mix album. Since then, I've harboured a love for dance music that doesn't mindlessly celebrate the joys of going out clubbing.

I was talking to a friend the other day about the mornings after nights before. He used a word that fitted in exactly with how I felt about them: remorse. I can have an amazing night out, the right people are there, the music's good blah blah blah, but when I get home, and the night's over, I'm usually hit by an empty feeling. I sometimes wonder if this feeling is experienced by most people. I dunno.

So, yeah, melancholy music on dancefloors is brilliant. Arguably my favourite song in this genre is Chic's majestic 'I Want Your Love'. Chic were an amazing band and even the more upbeat classics like 'Good Times' seem, to me at least, to have a hint of sadness underlying them. 'I Want Your Love' is their most obviously 'sad' hit record. The title says it all. I want to look at some of the lyrics that make it work so well:

I think of you and I
Dream of you all the
What am I gonna do ?

Now, on paper these look trite, just a bit rubbish. But it's the conviction that our narrator sings them with that makes them work. That and the fact that no solution is offered. The question just leads to the chorus ('I want your love/I want your love/I want your love/I want your...love). No answers. Then around three minutes in, the strings come in, then the horns, then the chicken scratch guitar, then the bells toll and the song fades out. In my head it goes on forever and ever. If there actually was a heaven, and there was a nightclub there, this is what would close the night. Every time.

Other songs worth mentioning include Womack and Womack's minor key classic 'Teardrops' (I couldn't really ignore a song with the lyrics 'Footsteps on the dancefloor/remind me baby of you/teardrops in my eyes/next time I'll be true') and Jurgen Paape's timeless microhouse classic 'So Wiet Wie Noch Nie'. Sadly, I can't find a link to the 'proper' version of the song where the vocal is sampled from some dusty old German record, so you'll have to put up with the re-recorded version which isn't as good.

The dancefloor isn't always a depressing place. But it's nice to be reminded that even in sweaty, strobe lit night clubs, people can feel sad.

*Let's be honest: The Smiths aren't actually depressing at all, 'I Know It's Over' aside, and even then it feels weird being a bit down whilst listening to it when Morrissey starts wailing about his mother. Too Oedipal.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Oh, hi.

So I've given in and decided, like every other 'creative' (well, sort of creative. I do English with Creative Writing, rather than English and Creative Writing) in London, I've decided to start a slightly self-indulgent blog that barely anyone will read.

I've been living in London for the last six months now, and it's pretty much been the best six months of my life as it's mainly consisted of drinking cans of cheap alcohol and occasionally doing an essay. I've not explored London as much as I hoped to, as I spend most of my time stuck in SE14, due to a combo of not being motivated enough to use my days off wisely and always losing my bank card in clubs. But yeah, it's been pretty brilliant so far.

I've aluded to my creative writing stuff, and eventually I'll get round to posting snippets of it, as I don't think you need to read 2500 words of well written, but pretty shallow, prose about failed relationships and other teenage concerns that makes up my wannabe Raymond Carver portfolio. I should think about trying to emulate other writers really.

Anyway, I'll use this blog for about two weeks, post about films I like in entries that don't really get further than "WOW, THIS FILM IS INCREDIBLE AND VAGUELY OBSCURE, GO AND WATCH IT", and look back on it and cringe. But y'know, that's life, buddy. That's life.