Archive for February, 2009


Singularity or The Black Hit of Space #1: The Melting Ice Caps, Small Crew and The Indelicates

I realize that I’ve generally been in the habit of reviewing full albums (or at the very least a substantial amount of tracks from an artist) rather than just singles. There’s a good reason for that: I don’t like writing really short posts if I don’t have to. Not to mention it’s sometimes difficult to judge an artist by one or two songs. However, lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that some singles deserve a proper public airing, especially as they fill my inbox with aural euphoria, so I’m going to start a semi-regular series that showcases these singles independent of a full album review or in the absence of an album at all.

The Melting Ice Caps/The Soft Close-Ups – Like a Souvenir/Birthmark

I’ve posted about ex-Luxembourg vocalist David Shah’s more recent work with The Melting Ice Caps before, and here’s a bit more erudite brilliance with the free double a-side single shared with a duo project he’s part of, The Soft Close-Ups. Like a Souvenir, The Melting Ice Caps’ track, is a bittersweet ballad, which carefully treads the wire between the cynicism and sincerity mentioned in the lyrics; it is both wryly self-deprecating and painfully earnest, and features the genius lyric, “I was a card-carrying socialite/Til they made me carry a card.” It ends in a spoken recitation that includes the verse:

Am I really going to die of embarrassment like a good Englishman,
walk all of this long or short path alone?
Or will I explode in a vulgar but mercifully brief display
while you gawp on aghast from the ground?

Morrissey would be proud. The other side of the single is The Soft Close-Ups’ Birthmark, a jaunty guitar-based affair that showcases Shah’s sublime vibrato in a slightly different context than heard in either Luxembourg or The Melting Ice Caps – less lush chamber pop, more jangly Marr guitars provided by the other half of The Soft Close-Ups, Aug Stone (who is also a member of H Bird). Though, taking a listen to the rest of the tracks available on the MySpace reveals a variance of style, including the use of poppy synths and sparse acoustic guitars, but all feature erudite lyrics and delicate melodies. The site also includes one of the best band descriptions ever: “This band that is not one. This anti-project, stunted like binary with the ones removed. We could be zeroes, just for a day.”

Like a Souvenir – The Melting Ice Caps

Birthmark – The Soft Close-Ups

The Melting Ice Caps Web site:

Small Crew – Kamikaze Girls and It’s Not Too Late to Wait

Like The Melting Ice Caps’ did with older single Selfish Bachelor, enigmatic English combo, Small Crew, has previously released free downloads (double a-side Boxing Day/Getting Up) through God is in the TV’s Singles Club. Composed of Richard Adderley (The Boyfriends, New Royal Family) and Dan Edwards (The Lucas Group), Small Crew creates some truly beautiful shoegazey pop songs, and their latest single Kamikaze Girls/It’s Not Too Late to Wait, just released for free download on the Small Crew MySpace, is no exception. The first side, Kamikaze Girls, is a shimmery elegy for urban life that wavers between Spector and Suede with a captivating vocal interplay between Edwards and Adderley’s wife Annie. The flipside, It’s Not Too Late to Wait, is a gentle, minimal arrangement between piano and guitar that allows the tender vocal to glide sweetly over bitter advice.

Kamikaze Girls – Small Crew

It’s Not Too Late to Wait – Small Crew

The Indelicates – The Recession Song

As several of you will probably already know, I absolutely love The Indelicates. They’re literate, self-aware, satirical, and provocative, and they can write a cracker of a song. I was alerted by Rol ahead of the official band e-newsletter about their latest free single, the very topical (and very hilarious) The Recession Song. It features Mikey Art Brut, Keith Totp, and Nicky Biscuit, and you can watch the wonderfully appropriate video here. A breathless, shouty ode to troubling times, The Recession Song cheerleads our way through economic disaster with the chipper chants “No Career! No Hope! No Fun! No Fashion!” and “Go recession! Go, go, recession!”; only The Indelicates could treat this topic with such delicious…ahem…indelicacy. You can also buy the t-shirt featured above here, or alternatively, grab a Tesco bag and punch holes through it. I’m sure The Indelicates would approve.

The Recession Song – The Indelicates


IAMX’s Kingdom of Welcome Addiction Release Date and Tour

I usually don’t do announcements for upcoming albums this far in advance, but I make exceptions for the ones I’m really excited about. In this case, it’s IAMX’s forthcoming third album, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction. It will be released worldwide on May 19, but if you pre-order directly from IAMX’s shop, it will be shipped to you on May 6. Judging from the first free download track, Think of England, and from what I’ve gleaned through live YouTube videos, the tracks off the new album are just as fantastic as those off the first two albums – once I get my copy of the album, there will be a review.

I’ll also include the tour dates that have been announced so far (of course none remotely close to me, but c’est la vie):

01/03 GAGARIN 205 / Athens, Greece
10/03 CONRAD SOHM / Dornbirn, Austria
11/03 WEEKENDER CLUB / Innsbruck, Austria
12/03 POSTHOF / Linz, Austria
13/03 GASOMETER / Vienna, Austria
14/03 KIFF / Aarau, Switzerland
16/03 MAGNOLIA CLUB / Milan, Italy
18/03 BARRUMBA / Torino, Italy
19/03 LE GRILLEN / Colmar, France
21/03 AB BRUSSELS / Brussels, Belgium SOLD OUT
27/03 BELZIK FESTIVAL / Battice, Belgium
10/04 YENI MELEK / Istanbul, Turkey
14/04 ACADEMY 3 / Manchester, UK
15/04 STEREO / Glasgow, UK
16/04 CORPORATION / Sheffield, UK
18/04 TALKING HEADS / Southampton, UK
19/04 KOKO (14+) / London, UK
21/04 ROCKHAL / Luxembourg
22/04 LE LOCOMOTIVE / Paris, France
25/04 FESTSAAL KREUZBERG / Berlin, Germany
19/05 LOPPEN / Copenhagen, Denmark
20/05 JOHN DEE / Oslo, Norway
21/05 DEBASER / Stockholm, Sweden
22/05 NOSTURI / Helsinki, Finland
02/06 T.T THE BEAR’S / Boston, USA
04/06 BOWERY BALLROOM / New York City, USA
06/06 SUBTERRANEAN / Chicago, USA
09/06 SLIM’S / San Francisco, USA
12/06 EL REY THEATRE / Los Angeles, USA
21/06 BLACKFIELD FESTIVAL / Gelsenkirchen, Germany
17/07 JAROCIN FESTIVAL / Jarocin, Poland
26/07 BLACKCAVE FESTIVAL / Waregem, Belgium

Welcome addiction, indeed.

Your Joy is My Low – IAMX

Spit It Out (Live in Warsaw) – IAMX


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #54

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a cover versions mix (and I’ve felt a little harried this week with both the volunteering and freelance work), so here’s my rather lazy attempt. I would like to mention the War Child Heroes album since it’s being touted as “The Ultimate Covers Album.” As per usual, War Child is releasing an album with proceeds going to benefit children affected by war, but this year the idea was to get musical “heroes” to pick artists from the younger generation to cover a song from their back catalogue. I may not like all the tracks on the album, but there are some rather excellent ones, including TV on the Radio covering David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Scissor Sisters covering Roxy Music’s Do the Strand, Rufus Wainwright covering Brian Wilson’s Wonderful and Song For Children, Hot Chip covering Joy Division’s Transmission, and Peaches covering Iggy Pop’s Search and Destroy. You can find out how to order the UK version and how to pre-order the North American versions on the War Child MySpace.

This mix has got a fair bit of 80s covering going on, but it also includes Camera Obscura’s excellent version of the most famous ode to a spotlight and Devendra Banhart’s stripped-down re-working of Oasis (he actually makes it relatively palatable with his Marc Bolanesque bleat). This one’s called Re-Make/Re-Model.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody – David Byrne (Original: Whitney Houston)

Do the Strand – Scissor Sisters (Original: Roxy Music)

Wig Wam Bam – Gavin Friday (Original: Sweet)

Johnny and Mary – Placebo (Original: Robert Palmer)

Mama Told Me Not to Come – The Wolfgang Press (Original: Eric Burdon & the Animals)

West End Girls – We Have Band (Original: Pet Shop Boys)

Love Hangover – The Associates (Original: Diana Ross)

Relax – The Dandy Warhols (Original: Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

Only You – Freezepop (Original: Yazoo)

All Tomorrow’s Parties – Japan (Original: The Velvet Underground & Nico)

Jump – Aztec Camera (Original: Van Halen)

Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken? – Sandie Shaw (Original: Lloyd Cole and the Commotions)

Jolene – Strawberry Switchblade (Original: Dolly Parton)

Das Model – The Cardigans (Original: Kraftwerk)

Womanizer – Ladyhawke (Original: Britney Spears)

Party Fears Two – Heaven 17 (Original: The Associates)

Super Trooper – Camera Obscura (Original: ABBA)

Hoppipolla – We Are Scientists (Original: Sigur Ros)

Playground Love – Phoenix (Original: Air)

Don’t Look Back in Anger – Devendra Banhart (Original: Oasis)


My Debut Album

This comes from a meme that I read about on Rol’s blog, which I read pretty regularly. Through a few steps of random choices, you end up with what would be your band name, album title and album cover art. Rol’s turned out pretty decent and viable – mine…well, you can see for yourself above. Apparently, you’re looking at the debut album, entitled An Exceptionally Good Liar, by a new band, Ali Murad Davudi, named after an Iranian professor who is presumed the probable victim of state execution. I’d like to think it would be a highly political album. Although, there are many bands out there that would have been better off following this formula. Should you still want to participate, follow the directions below.

What would your own album look like if you were in a band? Follow the directions below and find out…

Here are the rules:

1 – Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random” or click
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 – Go to Quotations Page and select “random quotations”
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 – Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 – Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Here are a couple of semi-appropriate tracks (though not by Ali Murad Davudi). Feel free to let me know what your debut album would be.

Everything is Weird – Daisy Chainsaw

Formed a Band – Art Brut


Here’s to Many More of Dissent: Morrissey’s Years of Refusal

I wasn’t hugely fond of Morrissey’s last album, Ringleader of the Tormentors, nor was I terribly impressed by the That’s How People Grow Up single that released last year as part of the latest Greatest Hits package. To be fair, Morrissey is one of those artists who have been around so long that it gets more and more difficult to make a grand impression while retaining the originality that drew fans to you in the first place. Nonetheless I always look forward to a new release from Morrissey and his latest, Years of Refusal, is no exception. My initial listen of the record made me quite happy if only for the fact it sounded very different from the slow-moving Ringleader of the Tormentors – in fact, Years of Refusal puts the savage passion of earlier, more youthful times back into Morrissey’s repertoire.

Maybe it all comes down to which parts you love most about Morrissey; for me, it’s the acrid wit and apt descriptions of kicking out against a world you don’t fit into, and Years of Refusal bring those aspects back into the foreground with a vital rage and potency. Maybe my personality just gels better with this vituperative Morrissey than with a loved-up Morrissey (in some ways, I think Morrissey has always been there to make me feel better about my semi-autistic tendency to crave being alone). Now that I’ve had a few more listens of the latest record, I can temper some of my excitement with a little more perspective; I still greatly enjoy the album, but there are times when the lyrics aren’t as witty as they could be or as witty as they have been in the past, and when wit is one of your biggest strengths, it can get disappointing. There are also times when the boundless energy seems to overtake the vocals in a clumsier way; it’s kind of the same feel I got from Morrissey’s performance of This Charming Man on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross a week ago – the delicate, nuanced touch of Marr was discarded for a ragged, bolshy dynamic that ruined the song for me.

The album opens with a blinder called Something is Squeezing My Skull, which sets the crashing-snare-buzzsaw-guitar tone that dominates the record. It also features some of the best lyrics on Years of Refusal, including “The motion of taxis excites me/When you peel it back and bite me,” while resonating with my own feelings of skull-crushing stress and depression, being frantically opposed to being drugged out of existence for survival and for achieving the normalcy of others. I’m not quite as thrilled with the following two songs, Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed and Black Cloud, which tend to get a bit overblown musically and not very strong lyrically. The latter sounds a little Don’t Fear the Reaperish at the beginning and has uninspired lines like “I can woo you/I can amuse you/but there is nothing I can do to make you mine.”

However, the recently released single, I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, breaks through the of the previous two tracks and absolutely soars. It has a delicacy not found on most of the songs on this album and allows Moz’s voice to unfold in beautiful, mournful waves. This is followed by another strong track, All You Need is Me, which has, too, already released as a single, but as part of the Greatest Hits package last year – I, myself, hadn’t been aware of it until I heard it on this album. It expresses a similar self-assured sentiment to The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get, and it is definitely a stand-out track with a gritty, romping guitar sound and a vocal dripping with sarcastic sneers and an arch sense of self-importance, not to mention great lyrics like “You roll your eyes up to the skies/Mock horrified/But you’re still here/All you need is me” and “I was a small fat child in a welfare house/There was only one thing I ever dreamed about/and fate has just handed it to me.” A Latin influence with flamenco guitar and mariachi trumpets (perhaps due to Morrissey’s surreal mutual love affair with Mexico and Latinos) pervades the brisk When Last I Spoke to Carol. The narrative tells a story of a woman who gave up pretending and living, which ultimately are the same thing in this song. While the musical style can seem a bit jarring and bizarre in relation to the subject matter, it does exude a palpable air of anxious energy that emulates Carol’s edging around the narrow ledge of her life in abrupt, rehearsed steps.

I’m still fairly underwhelmed by That’s How People Grow Up, but the next two tracks make up for it and make the album for me. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell begins with scattershot drums and roiling guitars that counter Morrissey’s rich, smooth vocals perfectly. It is both sad and urgent in its depiction of mortality and passage of time. My absolutely favourite song on the album is It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore, which feels like the more dramatic companion piece to Unhappy Birthday from the Smiths’ days. It begins gently with small cymbal flourishes and a heartbeat of bass drum before exploding into dramatic chorus, showering the object of the vengeful sentiments in emotional shrapnel. The soft-loud-soft dynamics shiver through me, and when Morrissey reaches for those high notes, my heart crashes through my epiglottis; the intuitive shift in melody and tempo in the interlude with clarinets provides a musical respite, but continues the savagery verbally with the lyric “All of the gifts that they gave can’t compare in any way/To the love I am now giving to you/Right here, right now on the floor.” The unbridled vocal acrobatics that begin about a minute from the end are also refreshingly strange and un-Morrissey-like. On You Were Good In Your Time, Morrissey speaks to an unnamed washed-up idol with tenderness that blankets the subliminal abstract noise and muttering voices before the latter take over completely. One of the more disappointing, throwaway tracks is Sorry Doesn’t Help, which most seem to agree would have been better off languishing as a forgotten b-side, but the record concludes with I’m Okay By Myself, another one of my favourite compositions. It begins with the familiar Moz wit with the sardonic first line: “Could this be an arm around my waist?…Well, surely the hand contains a knife.” And with its driving guitars and desperate howls, this song closes the album in the same rollicking, self-affirming spirit that it opened with. No apologies for being “disturbing” and having a propensity for solitude.

Years of Refusal is a fantastic shot in the arm and reminds me that Morrissey can still create brilliant vitriol and fight with the energy he always had. Yes, I feel let down by some of the lyrics, but I’m not going to side with some of the recent criticism that claims this is a step backwards into some sort of adolescent petulance. These critics seem to assume that maturation equals mellowing out and resigning yourself to the pleasures and mentality of the status quo you rebelled against as a young person; that’s not how all people grow up. I want to keep fighting as I age, and I don’t think it’s immature to want to remain apart from society’s expectations. Like Johnny Rotten once said, “Anger is energy.” I suppose I feel that I can get orchestral love songs anywhere, but there are few that I can turn to for reassurance that I’m not alone in wanting to be alone. And I think Morrissey effectively answers those critics of this album by the lines in Something is Squeezing My Skull: “I know by now you think I should have straightened myself out/Thank you. Drop dead.”

All You Need Is Me – Morrissey

It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore – Morrissey


It’s Not Fair: Ticket Sales in an Online World

I was browsing around Ticketmaster Canada today as I’m wont to do on a fairly regular basis to see if by some miracle a band I want to see is actually coming to Winnipeg. Lo and behold, I discover that Bloc Party is coming in May. I immediately attempt to buy a ticket. (The blood is buzzing in my ears at this point as it usually does when I try to get tickets online.) Already in my heart, I’m fairly certain that I won’t get floor seats – it’s the Burton Cummings Theatre, a vaudevillean venue that generally sells out its floor in seconds. I still remember what one of my friends and I will forever call the “Franz Ferdinand Debacle”; despite both of us being on the Ticketmaster Web site at the same time trying to get tickets for the gig, which happened to be a double headliner with Death Cab For Cutie, we both got locked out of the site and all of the tickets were gone in a minute. We still largely blame overzealous Death Cab For Cutie fans and their pre-sale passwords for this. I maintain that this is not the only reason I hate Death Cab so much. Back to my current Bloc Party situation… Sadly, I am correct, and I resignedly settle for a seat in the first balcony. It’s Bloc Party – I need to go. I’m satisified enough just to be going at all, but when I look online for information about this concert announcement, I’m rankled by what I discover. The official announcement appears to have occurred on January 14, and there was a pre-sale password.

Now, I understand that the world of ticket-buying has irrevocably changed since the advent of online sales. I accept that. However, what I refuse to accept is the fact I have to have a coronary every time a decent band comes to this city. There shouldn’t be such a thing as some elite pre-sale that only those in-the-know have access to. I’m not cool enough to be in-the-know. Or the loop. I’m already a lot more obsessive and crazy than regular music fans when it comes to monitoring things like this, but I realize that it would be physically and mentally impossible for me to keep tabs on every band I love to see when they might decide to brave the trek to Winnipeg. Perhaps teenagers are more adept at this because they have more time and energy to devote to such pursuits, or because they don’t have hundreds of bands to worry about. At any rate, it’s inevitable that every time a band has a pre-sale, there will be either no good seats left or no seats at all. Winnipeg is generally pretty starved for good gigs, so when they come, there’s a rabid scramble.

I’m old enough to remember the times of pre-online ticket sales and pre-pre-sale ticket sales. When I was a teenager and barely twenty or so, I would dutifully line up outside ticket sellers and try for the best seats possible from the agent. This is how I procured third row tickets for David Bowie. I also remember being able to get tickets by phone. This is how I ended up on the floor for Muse (albeit after leaping over a couple rows of seating when the lights went out in order to evade security).

I would also like to point out that this isn’t a rant against ticket touts, which seems to be a growing problem all over the world (though, I’ve heard most about it in Britain) because I’m fairly certain the majority of people who bought up the good tickets for Bloc Party genuinely wanted to go. In the end, this is probably more of a rant against pre-sales and annoying venues. What I mean by annoying venues is the aspect of assigned seating. I am most happy at a venue that has no seating at all. To me the democratic way of concert-going is rush seating. That guarantees that you don’t have to have a grand mal trying to get tickets first, and it ensures that the more committed the fan, the better the position in relation to the stage. If you have the motivation to arrive at the venue’s doors an hour or four in advance, then you surely deserve a prime spot by the stage. I have operated this way many times – in fact, I’ve gotten used to this manner of doing things over the past couple of years. Perhaps that’s why I get so enraged at a place like Burton Cummings. Although, in the past, before this ticket frenzy nonsense, I recall being up against the stage at the Burt for The Arcade Fire and for Muse. But pre-sales have obviously changed that. I may never set foot on the floor of the Burton Cummings ever again.

Additionally, I seem to forget that most of the bands and artists I like are considered relatively obscure, thus when I’ve gone to their shows, I got to go to tiny venues that were automatically rush seating. This is why I wish bands would get out here before they get too big (this is how I managed to see The Killers with a couple hundred other people and nearly have Brandon Flowers step on my hand with his loafers). I can’t compete with the army of indie fans that can finagle their way to the best spots for shows. At least not online. When it comes to physically competing for spots at the stage, I have sharp elbows and a stealthy nature, and I can stand outside a venue for half a day in sub-zero weather easily. My only small consolation is that the people at the Burt seem to be adamant that the Bloc Party show will have strictly assigned seating; however, having been in this position several times at other shows, I have witnessed the tide of fans leaving their assigned floor seats to press the stage regardless of security or rules. And I will be trapped like an obese pigeon up in the first balcony.

I feel sorry for those people who aren’t techno-savvy and think they can actually purchase concert tickets by phone. Or by standing in line somewhere. Those days are long gone. My fear is that the days of online ticket purchases will soon be out of sight for me as well.

One Month Off – Bloc Party

Atonement – Bloc Party


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mixes #52 and #53

Because I missed last week’s mix, I’m giving you two today. The first, a Valentine’s/Anti-Valentine’s Day compilation, would have been more effective last week, but as I generally forget about the day in question (see last year’s post), it doesn’t really matter. The first half of it takes a positive look at love while the second half does the opposite, although some of the songs lie somewhere in between. The second mix’s theme is underdogs/outsiders/rebels in honour of the brand new provincial holiday here in Manitoba: Louis Riel Day. For those who don’t know who Riel was, he was a Métis leader who led two major rebellions on the Canadian prairies in the late 19th century – these events bookended his exile in the States – and who negotiated the terms for Manitoba becoming its own province. From what I remember from my Grade 11 Canadian History class, Riel was a controversial figure who was initially seen as a crazy traitor, but who is now regarded somewhat as a hero (I also clearly remember that rather disturbing Heritage Minute video of his hanging). So, in honour of Monsieur Riel, most get a long weekend this weekend. And I’ve created a compilation of music for those outsider figures, who may rebel, who may be underdogs, who may be considered misfits by regular society. For anyone who said to him/herself, “I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo, I don’t belong here.” For anyone who feels that he/she is on the outside of society looking in. For anyone who gets the same weird looks he/she did in high school.

This first mix is called Love Me, Leave Me.

Be Mine – 120 Days

Valentine – The Moths

The Lovecats – The Cure

Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations

Casanova’s Last Words – The Go-Betweens

Love You So What – Lloyd Cole

The Love Gang – The Raveonettes

Mansun’s Only Love Song – Mansun

Fall in Love With Me – Japan

V – The Soda Stream

My Funny Valentine – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Love Games – The Mighty Boosh

Love Turns to Hate – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

My Last Girlfriend – Snow Patrol

The State of Your Heart (Shit End of the Deal) – Apoptygma Bezerk

I Wanted Your Heart – Magazine

Kiss You Off – Scissor Sisters

Mass Romantic – The New Pornographers

Here Comes That Feeling – El Perro Del Mar

Anti-Valentine – The Very Sexuals

The Broken Paper-Hearts Club – Princess Niko

This one’s called I Hope Jarvis Cocker is Right.

Strange Ones – Supergrass

Casual/Glam – Nicky Wire

Bruise Pristine – Placebo

Mis-Shapes – Pulp

All the English Devils – Luke Haines

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

Just For a Second – Orlando

(Here’s One For You) Underdog – Bedroom Eyes

The Boy With the Thorn in His Side – The Smiths

Outsider – Chumbawamba

One With the Freaks – The Notwist

Susan’s Strange – The Psychedelic Furs

Less Than Human – The Chameleons

Black Sheep – Sneaker Pimps

We Are the Pigs – Suede

You and I Are a Gang of Losers – The Dears

Single – Luxembourg

Spectators of Suicide (Heavenly Version) – Manic Street Preachers

“Heroes” – David Bowie


A Bit Out of Sorts

Some of you may have noticed that I owe my readers approximately four posts and a weekly mix at this point. I’ve been AWOL for nearly two weeks now, and the only way I can explain it is that I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts lately. It could be the culmination of my ongoing unemployment, my general uncertainty about this blog, and my natural propensity for inexplicable bouts of this type. When I say uncertainty about this blog, I mean that I’m mulling over quality versus quantity issues.

Over the course of the last year I aimed for quality over quantity (fewer, but longer, detailed posts), and it seemed to work quite well. I’ve never really wanted to be a blogger that tries to pump out links to songs just so I can be among the first to post them and generate massive traffic. Lately, I’ve just felt more pressured than usual to keep delivering detailed commentary to the best of my ability. And I often just don’t feel up to the best of my ability, nor do I feel like I’m hitting my best a lot of the time. Sometimes I feel like I’ve run out of ways to describe music and that I’m merely repeating myself. The temptation to write a couple lines saying “These songs are really good and you should listen to them” and post links grew over the past couple of weeks. But I want to fight that feeling. It could also just be my lifelong struggle with writer’s block and with diary-writing of any sort (I’ve never been able to keep a journal for more than a few days…even on overseas trips).

I’ve also started to feel a little snowed under with the amount of music I want to listen to properly and can’t seem to commit my brain to. I want to listen to music with the same intensity as a fan, not always as a critic. I’m not a professional music critic, nor am I a music journalist, and it would do me good to keep that in mind. Critics don’t seem like happy people (just look at Paul Morley), and I get enough unhappy naturally without becoming one.

This isn’t a cry for pity or sympathy – it’s merely an explanation for my spotty showing these past couple of weeks. In the end, I think I needed the small break to recollect myself, and I needed to remind myself what this blog was supposed to be about in the firstplace: my love for music. That means I shouldn’t feel pressured to write about music I don’t feel anything for and perhaps it means I shouldn’t feel pressured to stick to any sort of rigid production schedule – if I have nothing to say for the week, I just shouldn’t post. I may lose readers in the end, but audience numbers shouldn’t be my goal. It might take some re-thinking and re-formatting how I write here, but I want to push through this gloomy ebb of self-esteem. And music will help me do that.

For now, I’m leaving you with two tracks that brought me back to the land of the posting: Butcher Boy’s Carve a Pattern and Camera Obscura’s My Maudlin Career. Both are uplifting songs from upcoming albums releasing in April. I look forward to hearing them and hopefully falling in love with music again.

Carve a Pattern – Butcher Boy

My Maudlin Career – Camera Obscura


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #51

It’s been at least four months since I received my Masters’s Degree and I’m still unemployed. Despite the fact I’ve sent out A LOT of resumés and cover letters. Including to places I don’t even really want to work at. I suppose it’s the common plight of an overeducated, underexperienced job-seeker, but I would have thought that the fact I’ve held a few jobs, including a couple at universities, and the fact I have a “practical” Creative Communications diploma from a vocational college would have made me a little more viable than the average holder of a BA or MA. One of the biggest things that irks me is that I haven’t even got one call for an interview. I suppose trying to find a career during a worldwide recession can be a bit of ill timing, but I’m starting to feel pariah-like.

The one thing that does keep me from cracking up completely is the fact I do $200/month freelance work and volunteer work for the Children’s Museum, so technically, I’m not utterly idle. I guess I feel a little squirrely because I’ve never been out of work for this long since I started working eight years ago. The feeling probably also stems from the work ethic of someone whose family was never terribly well-off and whose youth was filled with the family’s precarious finances. As for going back to retail (where I worked for five years – four of those years while at university), you can take those jobs and put them where the monkey put the nuts, so to speak. And I’m not brave nor artistically talented enough to go the starving artist route. All I can hope is that persistence will eventually pay off and that I’ll get a career that will help me pay back student loans. Then I can complain about having to go to work.

However, the constant unemployment of New Zealand’s fourth most popular digi-folk duo does cheer me up, especially the latest episode of the second series in which Jemaine decides to return to the world’s oldest profession and be a male prostitute (see above video). This incident then inspires a Roxanne-type ska number called You Don’t Have to Be a Prostitute. So, this week’s mix is about both employed and unemployed frustration and malaise, and the trappings of a capitalistic modern life. And the Queen song, which doesn’t quite fit, is self-explanatory. This one’s called Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.

We Are All Prostitutes – The Pop Group

Take This Job and Shove It – Dead Kennedys

Seventeen (I’m a Lazy Sod) – Sex Pistols

Working For the Yankee Dollar – The Skids

Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep) – The Rakes

Model Worker – Magazine

Welcome to the Working Week – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

Bright Future in Sales – Fountains of Wayne

Town Called Malice – The Jam

Career Opportunities – The Clash (Sandinista! version)

Frankly, Mr. Shankly – The Smiths

We Are All Bourgeois Now – McCarthy

Step Into My Office, Baby – Belle & Sebastian

I’m Going Slightly Mad – Queen

Businessman – Snog

Slave to the Wage – Placebo

Careful in Career – Simple Minds

I’m Not Working – Manic Street Preachers

Shangri-La – The Kinks

Ernold Same – Blur

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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave


So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun


Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head


Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away


Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners


Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away


You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender


I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding


You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black


Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side


Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb


Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape


Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning


My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it


Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love


We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's


Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south


Running on


As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different


LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can' the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell


Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are


You must let her go

She's not crying



Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times



Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone


Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't


So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need


The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest


Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know


No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids


Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome