Song of the Day #38

Hot Chip – How Do You Do

From Hot Chip’s new album ‘In Our Heads’, this is the second track and it’s AMAZING. I think I’ve listened to it about twenty times in the last twelve hour period, and it’s still not boring. Which is great. I can’t wait to dance to it in Berlin’s Columbia Halle in November. That will make two viewing of this London band in Berlin – which is either really stupid or really cool. I’m happy either way because they’re cracking.

Song of the Day – What you used to listen to

Suede – We Are the Pigs

An absolute belter of a choon that is one of Suede’s musical highlights! I’m not a massive fan of Suede but the ones I do like I like a very great deal. I believe this one is from 1994 which was a very exciting time for music, with the impending decline of Nirvana, the height of the height for the Manics (and subsequent dive the next year), the inclusion of acid house (why the hell was that ever invented), and so many drugs you didn’t even need to drink. To add to that great confusing mess of culture, I give you Suede.

Song of the Day!

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Heard It Through The Grapevine

I’m enjoying doing these quite a lot at the moment it would seem. Today’s treat comes in the form of what’s deemed a “landmark Motown” tune, there’s a great many covers, but this version I was put onto by Joe McKenzie. Years ago. In third year. Marvin Gaye seems to hold the record for “most popular” version but it’s also been done by Gladys and her Pips and the Robinson who Smokes. This is my favourite version, I think this band is highly underrated. Alas the video isn’t the best quality, I mainly wanted it for the footage. Go find it on Spotify!

Song of the Day #80s Special 2

Modern Talking – Brother Louie

This song was on one of dad’s singles tapes that he made years ago, and for some reason we used to like him speeding it up and dancing to it. We were young. Plus it was a treat as it would ruin the tape to play it fast too much. Anyway, I found a 7 inch of this in a Berlin flea market last year (and I secretly love how immense that sounds – it’s not pretentious because I openly admit it’s cool) and it turns out that Modern Talking are essentially a German Wham!, so what’s not to like? Enjoy the culture kids.

Ps. Apologise for any of these “adverts” they keep putting at the start of youtube things – I haven’t been on the net in a while and they seemed to have changed everything. Bastards.


Later with Jools Holland – 27th September 2011

I was less apathetic about this week’s edition than last, and there was more to yell at the television and pay attention to, which was nice.

I couldn't bring myself to put a picture of them in

First off was Kasabian. These chaps have done some reasonable things in the past and I think I prize them higher than most other indie-landfill, but I still don’t find it amazing. Plus that guitarist really needs a haircut (you know the one I mean, he looks like a cross between Noel Fielding and Elgar. Two people who I think have never been crossed before). The lyrics really are shocking, a child could do better, especially in the chorus of ‘Velociraptor’. I was wondering if the lyrics were supposed to be representing something, but I don’t think they’re that insightful. That said, it’s not bad. Not their best but not bad.

Wilko Johnson – oh hello creepy-looking man who needs some hair to stop him looking like a singing skull.. I was very impressed with this though, especially given the fact he’s nearly 70 and I’ve always thought, whenever I’ve seen him billed on events listings that it would be tragically bad. It was pretty Dr Feelgood-esque (as you’d imagine), and he had two Blockheads with him (all coming from Essex I think). Classic but good, and he was “with it” in interview too, advertising the support band on tour with them. And he seemed to care about what he was doing. Which is nice.

James Morrison – oh my god oh my god no! This was so hideous I nearly threw up. The man and the guitar slot doesn’t even play his own guitar? I feel I’ve been short-changed. In these situations I’d at least like to be able to say “on the plus side, he can sing,” but his voice was so excruciatingly modern it was painful. It’s almost as painful for me as it’s to be for him. He, as a musician, was described as “supermarket soul” by Benchlad, a phrase which works in many ways – essentially he is as dull as shopping in the supermarket, but also his CDs mainly will be bought by middle aged mums when they see it in the charts in the supermarket. How very depressing. He’s so whiney and boring I actually had to mute it the second time round.

Wretch 32 feat. Josh Kumra – what the hell is this? If this is supposed to be fusion, they’ve failed. It’s awful. Like they’ve tried to do amazing layering in a traditional a cappella style but they just sound like they’re talking over each other. Whatever it is in the background it is NOT music. Why two drum kits? Really, what are all those people on stage doing? There’s some bird warbling to herself like a self-obsessed, possessed demon, reminiscent of The Exorcist crossed with Laura Marling. They have two male leads – decide on one! AND WHERE ARE MY VIOLINS? If you feature strings, put them on stage. There’s enough room. Get rid of the surplus. This was truly terrible.

Pajama Club – Turns out, the chap on drums (I think? It’s hard to tell) was first in Split Enz and then Crowded House? Did not know. However, all that (relatively) decent heritage didn’t make for a winning number this time. Maybe it’s just got progressively worse over the years for Neil Finn, I don’t know. This was very much a lot of nothing though, like they’d tried to usher in some modern electro parts but failed on the minimalist front. I was bored.

Fatoumata Diawara – I wonder how many times Jools had to practise that name.. Anyway, this bird was from Mali, and aside from Wilko Johnson, she was the best thing on this week. She clearly came in at the last minute to fill the man a guitar slot (equal ops on Jools it would seem) that James Morrison cried all over, and it was rather good. She sang in what I presume was her native language, which I much preferred than her singing in English (I think I like trad elements in my music?), and gently plucked her guitar whilst singing. She looked so bloody happy too! Awesome vocals, I’m glad this was here to save the show.

Being Vegetarian

Not that I usually talk about anything other than music or films or television, but this one will do. This is a current topic!

This whole vegetarian thing is quite popular isn’t it? And annoying. My situation is slightly different from the other herbivores as instead of choosing not to eat meat, I was brought up not eating it. As a result, most of it is completely alien and quite grim to me. I don’t even know how to cook most of it. The meat aisle in Sainsburys both fascinates and sickens me as I have no idea what the majority is. It’s all so frighteningly red.. Generally speaking, I’m mainly put off because I’m so very squeamish, but also because it makes me feel sick – physically that is – both during the consumption of it and for a few days after. I heard a great phrase for this – a “carnover”. Like a hangover, just for meat. I suspect you only experience this is you don’t generally go in for fleisch, but it’s still a good phrase. I’ve tried, I’ve really bloody tried because I feel like there’s a whole world out there that I’m missing out on. There are some things I refuse to eat – to even try – because they’re FAR too cute (bastard lamb-eating people!), but aside from the squeamish thing, the feeling sick and the cute factor, most of it just tastes horrid anyway. Still, I do wish I had the option.

The options are there in their plenty for the non-meat eater. You don’t even have to go in for the meat substitutes, and I think there are some vegetarians who would even deem this as cheating – because you’re not trying to find new food, it’s just food replacement. But who can resist the vegetarian sausage?! It’s one of the best inventions ever, it really is. Not the Quorn ones, but the Linda McCartney’s and the Cauldron ones – I think so. Quorn do win at fake chicken and mince though. It also depends on how “hardcore” you want to be – I currently live with two people (men, no less) who even check their beer ingredients to make sure there’s no animal involved – but then my mother (who instigated vegetarianism) (I mean for me, not the world, that would be severely impressive) eats Parmesan cheese and smokey bacon crisps. And fish actually. It all depends on why you’re being vegetarian. I hate it when people assume you’re doing it for moral reasons and then tell you you’re an idiot because it’s instinct to eat meat and we’re going against nature. That may be true but you surely shouldn’t judge so readily.

But similarly, the vegetarians shouldn’t assume it’ll be an easy ride. If you’ve chosen to limit your options, you’ve got to accept there will be less to eat. Someone I know is not only lactose intolerant but also gluten – this isn’t even her choice but it makes for a very expensive and awkward supermarket venture. I feel much worse for her than myself as it’s not like I’ll die if I eat animals (what an odd sentence). But there’s no one to blame in the previous situation – it’s much easier to get on board of you’ve made the choice yourself. Not that I entirely did but I’m choosing to avoid it as much as I can.

I’m always impressed at the lengths the people I know will go to to cater for me whenever they’re cooking. Benchlad’s mum always makes an extra dish for me, or makes everything vegetarian (which makes me feel guilty), or if she hasn’t had time she’ll apologise profusely. And my friend Ana did similar whenever she cooked. It makes me feel guilty because I know it’s more awkward for them, but they all seem fine doing it.. Nice but strange.

That said, it can be immensely frustrating whenever it gets to you. Whenever you go out to eat is usually the worse time. Glastonbury is not a problem, those hippie weirdos are usually vegetarian anyway, but restaurants can be quite depressing. We went to the Curry Festival in Leeds last weekend and I think there was only one all-vegetarian stall. Which was very nice of them, but we got samosas from another stand and I completely didn’t think about the contents, until some mushy, grey-looking meat substances was looking back at me after consuming the initial pastry. Such a shame as they were homemade and everything.

But really, it’s like any extreme. Don’t throw it in someone’s face and don’t expect everyone to get on board. It’s not that normal (although being quite common), but it can be immense if you do it right. Having sympathetic friends can help too.


Song Of The Day #23.

Holy Fuck – Stay Lit

Also dubbed “an elaboration of the word “fuck”, this band has an unusual but amusing name. That aside, they make good music. Here is an excellent example. This band, from Canada, are also, aside from being electronica, called experimental rock, post-rock and industrial. Which is quite a mix. But I’m pretty sure they all cross over at one point or another. I believe we saw them twice at Glastonbury this year, and BenchLad was quite surprised that I liked them. Which saddens me as it must seem to him like I have incredibly dull taste. Anyway, for your enjoyment is ‘Stay Lit’ from their 2010 album ‘Latin’. Note the way the whole thing builds up subtly to an outstanding crescendo and eventual finish, without having to be too noisy and without having to ruin it. This piece is marvellous.