Archive for the ‘Sunday Swoon’ Category
1. On the occasions I write about music I always scurry away from attempting album reviews. For the sole reason I never agree with the ones I read. Music is so personally emotive that the only thing I’d have to say is “go and listen to it yourself and make up your mind”. I’ve read some disappointing reviews of Mosquito, the latest album from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this week. For me their albums are always consistently creative and brilliant. Also, I shall now approach life with all the enthusiasm of a choir master. I also like Karen O’s love child of Willy Wonka and Elvis Presley look.
2. I’ve just finished Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The book behind Bladerunner. I am sure many of you will disagree with me, but I felt that the book was far richer than the film. But then I always do tend to prefer the original texts. Bookworm over film nerd.
3. We’ve all listened to this a dozen times by now? After numerous false starts, fan edits and sketchy Coachella videos. This is the official edit of Daft Punk’s new song Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodger. It has summer written all over it. Now to dream of a surprise Glastonbury appearance.
4. I opted for Place Beyond The Pines based solely on the fact I have ovaries and Ryan Gosling is in the film (thems the rules now). I knew nothing about the plot other than suspecting it was Drive on motorbikes. I was wrong. It is refreshing, surprising and had a soundtrack that spans every possible genre. Tip for the chaps reading this; Inside out t-shirts and bleach blonde hair is very S/S 13.
5. Perhaps lost amongst the Daft Punk hype the new track by Thundercat is worth your ear time as well. Heartbreaks + Setbacks. Pitchfork fawn over it in their review. They have said exactly what I would, but far more eloquently.
1. Polica live wasn’t quite what I was expecting but by singer Channy Leaneagh’s own admission she was finding herself ”out of sorts and nervous” at Shepherds Bush Empire this Thursday. But when I’m sat with a rum and coke next to amazing friends watching live music then I’m always going to be blissfully happy. Especially as Wandering Star means a great deal to my closest friend who was there with me. Also epic double drummers are always a treat to watch.
2. I read my first Ray Bradbury book this week and can feel a new obsession coming on. Something Wicked This Way Comes made me miss tube stops, read under the duvet and utterly fired my imagination. For any bookworm who has been as rubbish as I at discovering him treat yourself this weekend. His writing is poetry at times light and in love and at others dark and gothic.
3. Adam Buxton’s BUG is something I instinctively knew I would adore before ever getting the opportunity to see it. Tuesday at Leicester Square Odeon I laughed more in those three hours than the entire month. I’ve since realised that when people have asked what BUG is I can’t do it justice with my summaries. “So he reads YouTube comments out…” is met with strange looks as I elaborate. So just go, laugh and still be smiling about it days later. To quote one enthusiastic Bowie fan mentioned “He is the tasty egg of my breakfast glory”.
4. The BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere played all last week. I don’t listen to audiobooks and only ever listen to 6 Music so this initially felt slightly odd for my brain. But I was soon lost in London Below as an amazing cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okonedo, James McAvoy, Bernard Cribbins and Natalie Dormer to name a smattering). I’m not sure how long it will be on iPlayer for but turn off the lights and listen to it, Dirk Maggs has done a tremendous job and the music featured is stunning.
5. Finally Wilton’s Music Hall will get its own blog post at some point down the line as it is thoroughly deserving of its own limelight. I visited on Saturday for the historical tour and a quirky, borderline immersive, theatre production of The Great Gatsby followed after. This grand but crumbly music hall hidden away between Whitechapel and Shadwell epitomizes why London is such a great historical city, much like Dennis Severs’ house in Spitafields. I am booked in for a further two events so expect a fuller more detailed post soon.
It feels like an exceptionally busy week for music so I thought I’d post a midweek round-up today instead of on the not-so regular Sunday Swoon (by the weekend I predict witterings over Adam Buxton’s BUG, Polica and Wilton’s Music Hall).
1. Vampire Weekend popped up with two new songs this week, Diane Young and Step. A band always synonymous of festivals, the smell of damp grass and the taste of rum and coke for me. Happy to have them back. Both songs being streamed on their website.
2. Suede have released Bloodsports twenty years after their debut album, making me feel exceptionally old. Brett Anderson is still insisting on using words like semaphore, slither, gutters and aerosols in his lyrics but I will always adore this band and Bloodsports hasn’t failed me. It feels like typical Suede and that gets my seal of approval.
3. The internet went into meltdown hyper mode on Sunday evening when Beyoncé released snippets of two new songs Bow Down and I Been On. I am beyond words as I usually am over her, super fan. Just listen. Also this promo for her forthcoming Mrs. Carter tour makes me want to live in her idea of a royal court.
4. The debut album If You Leave from London trio Daughter is released this week. It makes me melancholy and calls regrets to mind. That’s the beauty of music, when an overwhelming emotion or memory arrives from nowhere even on the happiest of days.
1. Just to start this Sunday by making you all feel old, it’s been thirteen years since Sugababes released their debut album with the original line up we now see reunited as Mutya Keisha Siobhan (wondering how much of an argument it was over the order of their names appearing given reputations). With a lot a help from Dev Hynes this reworking of Kendrick Lamar’s Lay Down In Swimming Pools appeared this week.
2. I’m not entirely sure how David Bowie managed to keep this sudden album release hushed up for so long but credit to all involved for doing so in an age where rumours and album leaks are all too common place. As I type this news that The Next Day is number one in the charts have just popped up on my Twitter feed. It’s a great album, it will never be Space Oddity or the Labyrinth Soundtrack (what can I say, that was my era. And I never want to find out how much padding was down there when he played Jareth).
3. Helen and I had goosebumps throughout Jessie Ware’s entire set on Thursday night at Shepherds Bush Empire, and tears in our eyes at some points. One of my favourite albums of 2012 almost doesn’t do her justice live as her voice is so purely powerful and heartfelt. Taking In Water and Wildest Moments particularly emotive. When she was joined on stage by Goldsmith Vocal Ensemble for No To Love (mixed in with snippets of Madonna’s I Want You) I can’t recall a better live moment in recent history. Utterly brilliant, insanely talented and to all appearances a bloody lovely and unassuming personality.
4. I have a huge soft spot for the Jungle Book, it’s the first film I ever saw at the cinema with my Dad so the songs hold a special place in my heart. AlunaGeorge covered I Wanna Be Like You for Radio 1 this week along with new single Attracting Flies.
5. Not even David Bowie can eclipse John Grant this week. Genius second album with the same snide humor as Queen of Denmark but this time set to more beats. I would recommend buying Pale Green Ghosts over any album this week and it’s worth taking time to read this frank interview in The Guardian.
1. Immersive cinema has been on my to-do list since I first heard of Secret Cinema screening One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Next back in 2010. So thanks to Twitter (huge thanks to Drew) I unexpectedly found myself waiting outside East London’s Troxy on Sunday evening waiting to see Casablanca for the first time. Without any expectations I was completely wowed. I’m not sure I even blinked, I was too busy drinking up the experience. I think part of my delight was in the unexpected so I won’t blog in too much detail. Just to say I highly recommend it. Tickets for extra nights are still on sale from Future Cinema.
2. John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars is perhaps not one to read on public transport after the tears I shed on the underground this week. The books main characters are two teenagers suffering from Cancer. It is bleak, tragic, real. But above all these things the author manages to convey beauty amongst an ugly and unfair illness. That is what I came away with, it’s sad but beautiful. It’s rare that I read books for a second time, I can see myself picking this up again down the line.
3. All this year The Southbank Centre are putting on a series of events called The Rest Is Noise broaching a wide range of topics through a series of lectures, live music performances and film. We went along to Berlin in the 20′s and 30′s. Yes, I felt idiotic (especially when the middle-class shared in-jokes over classical music and I found my blank expression mirrored back at me when I turned to my friend Jo) but I find a ton of joy in learning and so can deal with the shame. For example, I learnt that it was cheaper to burn money than buy coal after the fall out from the first world war as Berlin’s economy suffered. That The Doors Alabama Song was actually composed by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht as part of an opera. Tickets for future events are still available. Go see what you can learn.
4. The second film that stole my heart this week is Celeste and Jesse Forever. From the opening scenes I thought it would be a typical American Rom Com but it’s far smarter with unexpected, witty and warm scenes. It also has a fantastic soundtrack. Starring Rashida Jones of Parks and Recreation fame and Andy Samberg. Don’t read too much about the plot beforehand!
5. My new favourite budget restaurant is Ariana II in Kilburn. Typically I discover it just as I start to plan a move to East London. That won’t stop me jumping on the train to come back time and time again. For five of us to eat on Friday it came to £13 a head. This included plates of the best hummus I have ever tasted, warm naan breads, panner salad, cubes of tandoori lamb, fried aubergine, baklava. You can BYOB to this restaurant which is what makes it such a bargain.
1. The extremely generous 6 Music put on another set of free gigs at Maida Vale Studios and I was lucky enough to be front row with Jo for Richard Hawley on Valentines day (unlucky with camera’s picking up geeky side profile whoops and clapping shots). I loved the acerbic wit and cynicism from Hawley as much as I enjoyed watching him perform. All his albums hold a special place in my heart and it was perfect to finally see him live in such an intimate setting. Photo’s from the session on my Flickr.
2. Everyone I know adored Silver Linings Playbook, so like the book snob I am I decided to read the original book by Matthew Quick first. It’s a beautiful read, full of charming flaws and beautiful intimate moments. I would highly recommend it. I watched the film shortly after finishing it. The credits should read “really loosely based on the book”. Even small but significant moments in the book were eradicated or changed for no reason I could grasp (like a song choice which has important narrative attached to it for example). I would advise anyone to read the original and ditch the film.
3. After stumbling into the John Peel tent during Glastonbury 2011 and being hypnotised by Darwin Deez live I have been itching to see him again. He was in my top 5 at Glastonbury that year, a unique performer. Last week at Heaven (to a remarkably young audience, or I’m getting terribly old) he immediately transported me back to a very happy place. Who doesn’t love insane but tightly choreographed dance routines littered through their gig!
4. Vic Reeves has an art exhibition at The Strand Gallery called Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves. And it is a ramble. At times bonkers and at other times classic seaside scenes. It shows there is more depth to him than what we grew up with on TV. The exhibition is free and worth a visit for inspiration and giggles.
5. On the day Foals third album Holy Fire was released I was lucky enough to be wedged in front of the tiny stage at Rough Trade East with friends to watch them perform live. The new songs sound gigantic live, like no room can contain them. It was also beautiful to hear Spanish Sahara at the end of the set. Adore this band deeply, and My Number has to rival any song as an “it’s over” anthem.
1. Another new track from Suede. It Starts And Ends With You makes me even more hopeful that Bloodsports will be an album harking back to one of my best bands on form. A reunion that gets my blessing. A rare thing.
2. This may be a betrayal to the fishing town I grew up in but the Mussel Men fed me the most amazing Mussels I have ever tasted in my entire life. A day later and I’m still thinking about them. They popped up at Brew 4 Two in Hackney this weekend to serve Mussels, Frites and Prosecco. I highly recommend stalking them via twitter or their website to make sure you book up.
3. I have just finished Capital by John Lanchester. One of those chunky books you find yourself flying through but can’t put your finger on why you’re itching to find out the ending. The characters are at times selfish, spoilt and self-absorbed but I found myself wanting to find out their fate in the tale of Pepys Road.
4. Album of the week goes to Local Natives with Hummingbird. Beautifully emotive, a mature progression from their debut offering and perfect for the evenings as it slowly gets lighter. Listen to it if you like Grizzly Bear during the Blue Hour.
5. Hauser & Wirth present Bruce Nauman’s mindfuck. Definitely worth visiting if you are passing through central London and don’t suffer from Epilepsy (his art works contain constant neon strobing). I love light installations and the main piece really is hypnotising.
1. If you’re looking for a warm, funny and intelligent film to go and see at the cinema then The Sessions is currently playing in UK. Based on the autobiography of poet Mark O’Brien, a man confined to an Iron Lung, who is determined to lose his virginity at the age of 38. He is helped by his priest, friends and a therapist. Starring Helen Hunt, William H Macy and John Hawkes.
2. Virgin Cure by Ami McKay is the tale of Moth, a girl born in the roughest slum in New York in 1871. When she is 12 her mother sells her to become a maid. From there her tale of survival begins. It’s a charming and tragic tale full of characters with both ugly and beautiful character traits.
3. AlunaGeorge features in the BBCs Sound of 2013 list. Disclosures track White Noise features this young duo and it’s stunning. I’ve played it every day this week.
4. It seems London’s stomach won’t slow down in its mission to fatten itself on burgers. Patty & Bun is the latest no reservations burger restaurant getting top reviews. On this occasion the praise is worth it. My ‘ARI GOLD’ Cheeseburger was the perfect patty, tangy red pickles in a brioche bun. Rosemary chips were salty and golden. The service was far superior to any other place I’ve visited recently, friendly staff clearly enjoying their jobs with huge smiles on their faces. Check out their website here.
I am settling into a new, very busy, job and haven’t found much time to blog of late. However, I woke up extra early to draft this. Mainly because of the two gigs I’ve been to this week, possibly the best I’ve been to all year.
1. The Foals return and I’ve had their track Inhaler on repeat an unhealthy amount of times this week. More dirt and bass than the wistful crisp beauty of tracks on Total Life Forever. February feels like a torturous amount of time to wait for the album. Yannis is genius. Can’t wait to see them at The Royal Albert Hall in 2013.
2. We stood utterly speechless, crammed shoulder to shoulder at XOYO on Monday night to watch Tom Krell (a.k.a How To Dress Well). My immediate reaction was “I bet Prince creams his pants listening to this album” and I stand by that. Live it is almost impossible to grasp how he hits those notes, my brain kept on nudging me to say “he’s actually doing that, that’s him”, this unassuming polite character. The atmosphere he creates is stunning. The crowd reaction to his a capella encore was like nothing I’ve ever heard before.
3. I am back working within walking distance of the best burritos in London, this makes me extremely happy. By far the most successful hangover cure I’ve stumbled over and frankly would pay good money for one right now for that reason. If you ever get a chance check out Daddy Donkey’s on Leather Lane Market.
4. My second gig of this week was Adam Bainbridge (a.k.a. Kindness) at Heaven. I blogged about it the moment I got home so if you missed that post you can read it here. It sums up all that seeing him live means to me, and his album will definitely end up in my top 5 this year.
5. The Rolling Stones have (sort of) arrived on Carnaby Street in London. Christmas Decorations made out of gold records glinting in the light to celebrate 50 years of the band. There’s also a little pop up shop opened perfect for Christmas stocking fillers. Items thankfully reasonably priced. One More Shot was released this week.
Derek Jarman teaches me a lesson, mothers ruin and some stunning music…
1. You can always rely on Jack White to come up with beautiful music videos (even if slightly dark and gothic in tone). For I’m Shakin’ we get double Jack in moody blues and blacks. I will never tire of the way he pronounces the word nervous in this track and the subtle colour flicks and changes (nail varnishes changing colours, gloopy blue tears to black) are a joy to spot.
2. As Derek Jarman slowly went blind during his battle against AIDS he wrote Chroma. His love letter to the colours he painted his life with. Yes it is sad, tragic and moving. But more than that it is a lesson to us all, a reminder that looking is not truly seeing. He has made me use my eyes again. “I wrote this book in the absence of time. If I have overlooked something you hold precious – write it in the margin…. I know that my colours are not yours”
3. Despite scrambling to sign up for The Gin Club in Soho’s Star at Night on the day it was announced it has taken me an age to make the pilgrimage to sup on mothers ruin. It was worth the wait and will be a new favourite haunt. Perfect Autumnal setting, cosy and candlelit.
4. Bat for Lashes released The Haunted Man this week. Regular readers here will know I adore her music and all that she stands for (on this instance not just ethereal beautiful music but for appearing in the buff, not a scrap of make up on the album cover). This album perfectly suits this time of year, soundtrack to my autumn.
5. I won’t say anything about Beasts of the Southern Wild other than to say it takes a lot to get me to a cinema so if I recommend a film then it’s usually meant a lot to me, and it’s likely that it’s made me cry. No spoilers. Just that it’s beautifully shot and reminds you of all we’re meant to find precious in life.