Archive for March 2013
I never sleep well during a full moon. So if you add that to Tinnitus playing its wicked part in a lack of a peaceful nights sleep regardless of the lunar cycle, this week has been restless. At some point around 4am Wednesday morning I started trying to compile an Easter mixtape but all that kept popping into my head was songs from Jesus Christ Superstar and Blue’s All Rise (blame a catholic upbringing and drinking a lot of cider in a town that loved pop, tacky boy bands and R&B). Despite the fact that the mere mention of these songs runs the risk of creating unwanted earworms to anyone foolish enough to be reading I didn’t want to actually put you through hearing them.
Last night as I was sat sinking pints listening to my male colleagues talk golf and scrolling through my phone the Glastonbury line up was partly announced (I know there’s more to come because Thom Yorke in some guise wasn’t listed so I am still hopeful for John Grant and Yeah Yeah Yeahs in my wildest dreams). So instead of Easter this mixtape is based on those first knee jerk excitements as I glanced through the stages. I can smell the petrichor, sloe gin in hip flasks and the mud already.
- Phoenix – Girlfriend
- Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood
- Solange – Losing You
- Villagers – Becoming A Jackal
- Foals – Milk & Black Spiders
- The Rolling Stones -Ruby Tuesday
- Devendra Banhart – Can’t Help But Smiling
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Nobody’s Baby Now
- Nas – The Message
- The Horrors – Still Life
- Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
- Haim – Falling
- Local Natives – Breakers
- Rodriguez – Inner City Blues
- Peace – Bloodshake
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. David Bowie not only released a new video for the track The Stars (Are Out Tonight) this week but you can also stream his album The Next Day on iTunes for free up until it’s release date on March 12th. This video is beautifully shot and now my style inspiration for the rest of the year. Tilda Swinton looks stunning.
2. Typing the words “Johnny Marr released his first debut album this week” I immediately want to follow it up with “How has this only just happened?” Feels like we have been robbed somewhat, but Messenger was worth waiting for.
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs released Sacrilege to the world. Lo-fi and gritty with a choir you’d expect to turn up on a Primal Scream track. It definitely sounds less polished than the sounds of the last album It’s A Blitz. Perhaps Mosquito will be a return to their earlier tracks. No matter what I’ve adored every album so I am confident it will be one of my albums of the year.
4. Warm, simply beautiful and instantly lovable. Caitlin Rose’s album The Stand In will definitely make the albums of the year at the end of 2013. If I was going to tell you to buy one album from a week of busy releases it would be hers.
5. I have a huge soft spot for Theme Park after seeing them support Summer Camp at Efes Pool Hall in Dalston (what seems like an eternity ago). A band that bring drinking something boozy out of pineapples and exposed ankles to mind even when I’m freezing in heavy knit cardigans have my heart. Their self-titled debut album is out this week.