Archive for March, 2009


Complacency You Can Dance To: Pet Shop Boys’ Yes


[T]hey have always managed to mirror the zeitgeist while retaining their cultural independence.

The above excerpt is taken from Michael Bracewell’s book, When Surface Was Depth, and it is a reference to Pet Shop Boys. Last week, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe released their tenth studio album, the Xenomania-produced Yes, and I’m convinced that the above statement still holds true. In fact, I’m nodding my head emphatically. There is a chronic self-awareness to what Pet Shop Boys do and it’s paired with off-hand social commentary neatly packed into pithy couplets. In his earlier book England is Mine, Bracewell aptly places Pet Shop Boys into English history:

By way of their sexuality, their political conscience, their urbane romanticism and their wit, the young Auden and Noël Coward with his pre-war cocktail of wit and emotional intensity […] are rehearsing much of the melancholy, humour and satire that the Pet Shop Boys were to bring to their own brand of ‘pop rush’ disco music in the 1980s.

Tennant and Lowe may have indeed always been so rooted in timeless style, but so ahead of themselves and their contemporaries in terms of popular culture, that they never seem to go out of fashion. And in this latest effort, they continue to probe the themes that have always set them apart – isolation, paranoia, infidelity, social mores and surveillence – with cool insouciance and dry humour.

The album kicks off with one of the best songs of the record, and the first single, Love etc., a catchy piece of satire on greed, success and fame. With its saucy mincing beat, Tennant’s idiosyncratically detached vocals, a meaty chanting chorus, and lines like “too much of anything is never enough,” this track continues to sidle into the recesses of my brain as it did when I first heard part of it performed at the Brits. That beautiful last bit of the chorus in which Tennant softly adds “But it helps” is quintessentially Pet Shop Boys and completes a dancefloor anthem in which love is just another branding strategy. The following track, All Over the World, which was also excerpted at the Brits, uses a fantastic Tchaikovsky sample as its opening juggernaut, and the pop wizardy continues throughout. As with most Pet Shop Boys songs, it cycles through dramatic theatrics, triumph, defeat, detachment and arch remarks while a giant heartbeat of bass accents the symphonic squiggles over top. The relationship between Pet Shop Boys music and their lyrics and vocal delivery is like surface tension on a tidal wave. Taking the mood into wistful, escapist fantasy and low-key, dreamy synthpop, Beautiful People fits into the Pet Shop Boys’ oeuvre perfectly; its opening line “City life just leaves me weak” hints at that very bourgeois desire for something beyond the bourgeois, where the beautiful elite become coveted props. Even the last few seconds are genius as aristocratic violins give way to a lonely, earthy harmonica.

For four of Yes‘s tracks, Johnny Marr plays guitar and returns the favour owed to Pet Shop Boys for their contributions to his Electronic project with Bernard Sumner; however, for Did You See Me Coming?, Marr’s guitarwork is at its most prominent and unmistakable as it opens the song before the melody bursts into a glorious explosion of synth ecstasy. It’s a sunny holiday of a track as it documents the first thrills of infatuation, and it could have easily been cheesy and horrible in different hands. The exhibitionist twinkle and sparkle winds down to a shimmery reverb for Vulnerable, yet another feat of melancholic wit. With lyrics like “it’s not easy surviving in the public eye,” it keeps you wondering whether it’s all just a brilliant double bluff. Even as the music erradiates outward in broad haloes of sound, it still feels guarded and introspective; the song’s core is a fetus-tight nucleus around which glass-like pings and precise beats revolve in a controlled orbit. The next track, More Than a Dream, follows with sad-eyed disco, and Tennant’s normally wispy vocals become positively frothy. At the lyric “driving through the night,” the song shifts into soaring pop odyssey and the melodies are sweet enough to induce heart palpitations.

Becoming more overtly political (rather than dissecting personal politics), the next track, Building a Wall, takes on Cold War attitudes and the bizarre sense of exposure, fear and loss when these strong divides in ideology break down. Against a backdrop of blissful synths, Tennant sings lines like “I’m building a fine wall not so much to keep you out, but more to keep me in” and “there’s nowhere to defect to anymore.” Lonely melancholy reappears on King of Rome, which is a slower, bongo-inflected song that displays a narrator full of tragic regret and delicious wishing, including “I long for your inscrutable, pale face.” The delicate surges of atmospheric electro are like cloud shadows traveling over varied landscape, bulging and tapering with the contours of the Earth’s surface. As showy as chorus girls kicking you the face, pumping electronic loops and a brash brass section introduces Pandemonium. Its lyrics match the jubilant bombast of the music with “Is this a riot or are you just pleased to see me?” and Tennant narrates a witty story of a partnership that represents extreme opposites; the wreckless, freewheeling bashing of the music expresses the apparent lack of control the narrator has over his/her lover and seems to point out how this entity disrupts and offends a polite, English respectability and restraint, a theme that crops up more than once in the Pet Shop Boys’ repertoire. Like an inexperienced rider on a galloping, runaway horse, the narrator quite tactfully says, “When you think about it, it’s quite an achievement that, after all, I still love you.”

The Way It Used to Be returns to a moodier tone of longing and regret – this time for youth – as an unrelenting rain of electro patters down. Three minutes in, there’s an amazing part, where Tennant’s cool, detachment dissolves into a rougher, sneering attitude as he rocks the lyrics: “I was there, caught on Tenth Avenue/You elsewhere with Culver City blues/Then and there I knew that I’d lost you.” The album concludes with Legacy, a finale suitable for an old-time musical with an intro of timpani and orchestral flourish. However, in contrast, there are pulses of spacey synthesizers and repetition of the line “You’ll get over it” to create a sense of the self-hypnosis of bourgeois existence with its immunity to the mediated outside world and its dependence on the very mobiles and computers that enslave. The juxtaposition of this musical style and the lyrical content is once again very Pet Shop Boys; it satirizes by emulating the aesthetic anesthesia that dominates most people’s lives. This theme of compliance yet paranoia in relation to endless surveillence also appears on a Love etc. b-side, We’re All Criminals Now, where they take on CCTV to a lulling, gentle beat. It’s complacency you can dance to.

So it seems that it continues to be a production with Pet Shop Boys. Their aloof, breezy pop confectionery belies a finely planned social statement. With seemingly elusive artifice, they keep erecting false walls and presenting ambiguous one word offerings. Except the walls have mirrors on them and the power of a one word sentence lies in its deceptive simplicity.

Love etc. – Pet Shop Boys

Pandemonium – Pet Shop Boys

We’re All Criminals Now – Pet Shop Boys


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #59

Here’s the first weekly mix at this new home. To run with themes of renewal, why not have a spring mix? It’s definitely not feeling like spring where I am (especially after the ridiculous snowstorm that raged for a few days this past week), but I can dream of rainier, greener days ahead. For some reason, spring usually puts me in a twee frame of mind, which you’ll discover as you work your way through this compilation.

It starts off with a blossoming energy before eventually tapering off into the crackling static and serenity of a particularly wonderful thunderstorm. This one’s called The Tulips Are Too Excitable.

Run Into Flowers – M83

The Divides of March – Soundpool

Ouais – Stuck in the Sound

Country – Empire of the Sun

April Fools – Rufus Wainwright

Lisztomania – Phoenix

Language of Flowers – Pale Saints

Got Apprehension – The Close Lobsters

April and May – Eggstone

The Fallen Aristocracy – Northern Portrait

Printemps – Coeur de pirate

Frames on the Wall – We Swim You Jump

The Centre of My Little World – Another Sunny Day

Spring Came, Rain Fell – Club 8

Semi-Babe – Pop Levi

When You Walk, It Makes No Sound – Matt Kanelos

Maps – Peter Broderick

Hide and Seek (DVW Spring Remix) – Imogen Heap

In the Flowers – Animal Collective

Before the Storm – The Deer Tracks

Rain – Paniyolo


…Is New Again


…and let’s return to business as usual.

Journey to New Hope – A-ux

A New Way of Life – The Sound

New Days, New Ways – Twins


Manics Announce Release For New Album and Tour

Well, the Manics have finally come out of Rockfield studio and officially announced the release date and details of their next album, Journal For Plague Lovers. They will be releasing the 13-track LP featuring Richey’s unused lyrics on May 18, and it will apparently be available on CD, deluxe double CD, vinyl and download. In keeping with the effort to recall their masterpiece, The Holy Bible, Journal For Plague Lovers features cover art from Jenny Saville. Reading track names like Jackie Collins Existential Question Time, Me and Stephen Hawking, Pretension/Repulsion, and Virginia State Epileptic Colony has gotten me very excited, indeed. Although it still remains to be seen whether the music will do the words justice. Or even if the words live up to the memory. I can’t wait to find out, though.

In honour of the album’s release, the Manics are doing a small tour of the UK (at least considerably smaller than they did for Send Away The Tigers) as follows:

Mon 25th – Barrowlands, Glasgow
Tue 26th – Venue Cymru Arena, Llandudno
Thu 28th – Camden Roundhouse, London
Fri 29th – Camden Roundhouse, London
Sat 30th – Camden Roundhouse, London

Mon 1st – Civic Hall, Wolverhampton
Tue 2nd – Dome, Brighton
Thu 4th – Olympia, Dublin
Sat 6th – Ulster Hall, Belfast

Motown Junk (Johnny Boy Anniversary Mix) – Manic Street Preachers

Die in the Summertime (Demo) – Manic Street Preachers


They Finally Got Me: My First DMCA Takedown Notice

Well, after 15 months of no hassle, I’ve received my first DMCA takedown notice from Blogger. Of course, the offending post has already been taken down by Blogger, so it’s more of a notice to tell you it’s gone rather than a notice to tell you to take it down. The post that was deleted was a weekly mix from last August, long dead links and all. Even more bizarrely, this mix featured only cover versions and many of them were by artists that I’ve featured several times over. I know this because I took precautions several months ago and saved all of my previous posts to a Word document. At this point, all of these details aren’t even important. The real issue is one that I’ve talked about ad nauseum before. It’s frustrating because my own arguments and those of other intelligent people don’t have any effect. It’s the same reason I felt frustrated when I went to see RiP: A Remixer’s Manifesto yesterday.

The Brett Gaylor documentary was fantastic, but it essentially said everything I’ve already been thinking and discussing with others for the past few years. According to the film, the Remixer’s Manifesto is thus:

1. Culture always builds on the past.
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.

There were some really brilliant juxtapositions in the film as Gaylor demonstrates his points (one of my favourites was how he traces the use and/or evolution of a traditional folk/blues song/hook, The Last Time, through The Rolling Stones, The Verve and ultimately to its use by Girl Talk – the point being only The Rolling Stones did the suing within this process despite the fact they weren’t the original authors either). In the end, the process of the film is more important than its end product (Eno, anyone?), and the style of the documentary itself proves its point about remixing art and culture to provoke new ideas and enjoyment; without building on the past, progress is stifled and stagnant. Gaylor draws the battle lines clearly: you’re either on the Copy Right or the Copy Left, you’re either stuck in the past or looking to the future. He even put up his raw footage online to allow others to participate in an open source way. Oddly enough, Stanford law professor, Lawrence Lessig said things in the documentary that I wrote in that older post nearly verbatim, most particularly in the area of not being able to create in a vacuum and in his using the example of citations in essays and books. But neither of us owns the “right” to those thoughts.

With the advent of the Internet, the public domain has grown infinitely and beyond the conservative, stunted thinking of those in power. Trying to lock people up and shut them down will continue to be a futile exercise. I know I’m not doing anything wrong, yet having my own “intellectual property” deleted without my permission is legally sound because Google, a $31 billion company, owns Blogger, my current blog host. Talk about media control and strangle holds. How do you google Google? It’s the philosophical question of the Noughties. What kind of information are you going to get about the company when they’re the primary method for your search?

Here’s the notice I received today:

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the record companies it represents, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.

The IFPI is a trade association that represents over 1,400 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings (the “IFPI Represented Companies”).

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. See for more information about the DMCA, and see for the process that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Blogger can reinstate these posts upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification, see Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please let us know.

The Blogger Team

My favourite bit is the part “regardless of its merits.”

I refuse to be intimidated (in many ways, what Blogger is doing is like someone breaking into your apartment and stealing your possessions – and it’s not even like I’m keeping my door locked, so to speak), and I’m not going to sit back and let them slowly dismantle my free speech in the “public” domain. So, CTRR is moving house as soon as possible. I don’t care how much work it will be to get this blog back up on my own and on my own terms. Bear with me while I plant my flag in the Copy Left. I’ll keep you posted.

Don’t Stop – Girl Talk

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #58

I wanna dance with somebody. I’m dancing for my life. Everybody dance now. Everybody cut footloose.

This one’s called What a Feeling.

Testcard Girl – White Rose Movement

Bonne Nouvelle – Birdy Nam Nam

Teknoir – Kindle

The Melting Moon – VHS or Beta

25 Seconds (Gary Numan and Ade Fenton Remix) – Mandy Kane

This Rhythm – Filthy Dukes

State of Alert – Radio 4

The Magnificent Romeo – 2 Many DJs

Ares (Villains Remix) – Bloc Party

20th Century Boy (Hoshina Anniversary Remix) – T.Rex


Into the Galaxy – Midnight Juggernauts

I’m Not Alone – Calvin Harris

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

Boy (Extended Mix) – Book of Love

The DJ’s Got a Gun (IAMX Remix) – Robots in Disguise

Turn It On – Ladytron

I Want Nothing – The Black Ghosts

Phantom Pt 2 (Soulwax Remix) – Justice

Extraball – Yuksek


Still Not There: 2009 SXSW

As last year, I will not be able to attend the music lover’s paradise, South by Southwest, and will have to explore the roster of artists from the swivel chair in front of my laptop (if I spin around fast enough every so often, I can attempt to simulate the dizziness brought on by wanting to see so many bands at once). Once again, there are many bands and artists that I already know about and love performing in Austin, including Echo & the Bunnymen, Camera Obscura, The Blue Aeroplanes, Wild Beasts, Mother Mother, Calvin Harris, Bishi, Booka Shade, Boys Noize, Chairlift, The Guggenheim Grotto, Ladyhawke, Okkervil River, MSTRKRFT, New York Dolls, Slow Club, Peter, Bjorn and John, Radio 4, Descartes a Kant, Future of the Left, HEARTSREVOLUTION, Max Tundra, Peter Murphy, Titus Andronicus, Voxtrot, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Peter Broderick, The Duke Spirit, Fight Like Apes, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Shout Out Out Out Out, We Have Band, Primal Scream, Ra Ra Riot, The Twelves, We Should Be Dead, Asobi Seksu, Cut Off Your Hands, and Au Revoir Simone; however, I would rather explore some bands that I’m not familiar with and pass them on to you. After all, among my choices last year were The Indelicates and Bodies of Water, two bands that made it into my Top 40 Albums of 2008. Let’s try to find some fantastic ones again, shall we? (As intriguing as they are, we are going to steer clear of Futomoto Satisfaction, a Japanese, all-female trombone band in bikinis – I’m sure you’ll understand.)

Kamikaze Queens: Punk. Cabaret. Berlin. How could this band not attract my attention? For those of us who enjoy a spot of dark cabaret like Dresden Dolls, Nina Hagen and Lou Reed’s aptly titled album Berlin, but also like the scrappy flavour of New York Dolls and The Ramones, Kamikaze Queens are a perfect fit.


Voluptuous Panic – Kamikaze Queens

M.A.N.D.Y.: Also, from Berlin, electronic duo, M.A.N.D.Y. caught my ears. On the same Get Physical label as their friends Booka Shade, they produce clean, staccato soundscapes with a cool elegance and have produced tight, minimalistic remixes for the likes of Sugababes, Tiefschwarz, Roxy Music and The Knife and a compilation for Fabric. I hope that they soon release a debut of their own.


I Feel Space – Lindstrom (M.A.N.D.Y. Remix)

Parenthetical Girls: Portland, Oregon’s Parenthetical Girls are one of those experimental, but accessible, chamber pop bands that I can’t help but fall in love with. Having released their debut record three years ago, they have now released their sophomore effort, Entanglements, and they remind me of artists like Simon Bookish, who employ classical compositional theory to create a quirky, intellectually-satisfying pop music. They describe Entanglements as an “orchestral song cycle of grand sonic ambition […] an eleven-song, linear narrative of ascendancy, adolescent sexuality, quantum mechanics, consent, and other moral ambiguities – all set to an elaborately orchestrated olio of Modern Classical and timeworn, traditional American pop forms.” Any band who can inspire the use of “olio” is the band for me.


A Song For Ellie Greenwich – Parenthetical Girls

The Week That Was: If you thought that the description from Parenthetical Girls was impressive, take a look at this one from The Week That Was, the musical side project from Peter Brewis, the brother of School of Language’s David Brewis: “The songs are the evidence in this particular mystery and the victims, perpetrators and onlookers raise questions with concerns familiar to us all. How do we deal with the fragments of information we receive through the television, radio, the internet? How do we balance the distrust we feel for mass media with our dependence on it? How does this relationship influence our hopes and actions in our real lives? And finally, what would happen if we decided not to deal with it anymore and switched off the information flow by throwing away our TVs, radios and newspapers? The anger, confusion and sorrow details the week of Peter’s own enforced switch off.” What’s even more brilliant is that the music effectively carries the narrative and lives up to the philisophical musings. All of this just proves that the Brewis brothers are just as powerful on their own as they are together.


Learn to Learn – The Week That Was

Efterklang: This Danish “folktronica” band lives up to their fanciful name, which rings like magic in my ears (it actually means “remembrance” or “reverberation” in Danish); their music, too, lingers long after you’ve listened to it. There’s something Sufjan Stevens-like about their sound, but there’s also that ethereal Scandinavian influence blowing like wind chimes through it. Playful, atmospheric, and whimsical, Efterklang can shift from mincing glockenspiel to fuzzy, muted brass and turn their beautiful fantasy world upside down and inside out with infinite permutations. Flying too close to the clouds must sound like Efterklang.


Mirador – Efterklang

School of Seven Bells: Comprised of Benjamin Curtis of Secret Machines and identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, formerly of On! Air! Library!, School of Seven Bells is a dreamy, pulsing affair. The twins’ vocals are mesmerizing and the musical backdrop is built from a skittering, fluid energy that breaks itself apart only to reassemble into self-healed tears of mercury. Drawing influences from various styles, including Eastern and Afrobeat flavours, School of Seven Bells is ranging through a musical palette with a true artist’s abandon, producing astounding results.


Half Asleep – School of Seven Bells

SXSW Web site:


A Post-Mortem on Patrick Wolf’s Dead Meat: Music Video For Vulture

I happened to be strolling through MySpace rounds today and ended up on Patrick Wolf’s MySpace. The latest profile photo was Wolf in what appears to be S&M gear, and his forthcoming single, Vulture, the first to be released from his upcoming album, was on the player. Okay, I admit I don’t have time to keep tabs on every musician in a consistent fashion, so I didn’t realize until today that Wolf’s forthcoming album, Battle, is now split into two companion discs called The Bachelor and The Conqueror, respectively, with the former releasing this June and the latter dropping next year. I should probably keep up with these things since I’ve become an investor in the album (Wolf’s team have found a way for non-UK residents to invest via Tribe Wolf InterNational [TWIN] – see here for details).

The S&M gear in the photograph was soon made clear to me as I read one of the blog posts, which read:

The video for Patrick Wolf’s new single ‘Vulture’ will be shown as a late night exclusive on MySpace UK this Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th March, 9pm-4am.

Deemed too provocative for even late night TV, MySpace are promoting the video as an exclusive post watershed in the late night hours, due to its graphic content.

Filmed in black & white, photographic style, it shows an enraptured, semi naked Patrick writhing in a full S&M, bondage outfit. The controversial scenes are intercut with those of Patrick as the leather clad ‘Vulture’ and as an unmasked icon. Inspired by experiences Patrick gained and suffered on the American leg of the 2007 ‘Magic Position’ tour, the video perfectly depicts these experiences, which Patrick describes as ‘getting involved in some dodgy satanic sex games and exploring the many dark sides of Los Angeles.’

I duly waited until the time came to watch it, and I’ve embedded it above. I’m sure CTRR readers are mature enough to handle it at any time of the day. Especially since I find absolutely nothing shocking about it. This either says that I’m hugely desensitized to bondage gear and/or sexual fetishes, which may very well be true. Or this says that the hype building up the video was merely hype and a brilliant PR tactic to get people to watch it. After all, how can watershed time restrictions work online? This is not to say that the video wasn’t creatively conceived and beautifully shot – the black and white photography and dramatic lighting produce a video worthy of any of Wolf’s best. Wolf, who directed the video himself, has managed to incorporate an old-time glamour and German Expressionist style that is highly watchable. It’s just no more shocking than the uncensored Girls on Film video from Duran Duran or Richey Edwards and Nicky Wire rolling all over each other while wearing g-strings in the video for Love’s Sweet Exile.

The single itself points to yet another direction for Wolf, especially in light of the cheerful, gypsy energy of his last album, but it still makes sense within the context of his entire body of work. There were songs on his debut Lycanthropy that were much more graphic than Vulture and its connotations, and several of them employed esoteric noise and electronic elements to provide a shadowy side to the songs’ narratives; The Childcatcher still gives me chills. And even his sophomore album, Wind in the Wires, had Tristan, a stomping electro beast that remains one of my favourites in the repertoire.

Wolf’s strengths have always been connected to his ability to tell fantastic stories through eclectic sounds and his ever-evolving image. As I stated before, Wolf manages to balance between a fairytale-like innocence and a dangerous eroticism; he is a gambolling sprite one moment and a violent satyr the next. Perhaps the most startling thing about Vulture is how it wrenches us away from the mythical, escapist worlds that Wolf has built over the past few years and plunges us into a gritty reality, which, while no more disturbing than some of Wolf’s fantasy scenarios, can be initially unsettling. Unlike previous compositions, Vulture is unrelenting in its modernity – there are no pastoral movements, gypsy reels or folk elements. It is all drum machines, squeals and electronic beeps and blips, but at the same time, Wolf’s distinctive voice adds a sense of magic and mystery, and the brilliant vulture imagery carries this story and the music video. If anything, there’s less darkness here than a camp sensibility – Wolf plays the part to the hilt in the video.

No matter which direction Patrick Wolf chooses to head in, you can rest assured it will be fresh and uncompromising. No matter the role, Wolf is his own master.

Vulture is released as a download and on 7″ vinyl on April 20.

The Childcatcher – Patrick Wolf

The Tower – Patrick Wolf


The Jester is Always the One Running the Show: The New Royal Family’s Triple B-Side

I stumbled across London-based, self-proclaimed “crap novelty punk” band The New Royal Family through the incestuous web of MySpace – it could have been through the Luxembourg page or The Melting Ice Caps or…I can’t completely remember. At any rate, I’m glad I found them because they are punk in all its provocative and fancy dress glory; they retain that original spirit of punk that was provocative for provocation’s sake and too difficult for irony to pin down and flatten. Featuring a revolving line-up of former members of bands like Gay Dad, The Boyfriends, Linus and Luxembourg (not to mention someone who used to drum for The Monochrome Set), the New Royal Family is now releasing a triple b-side to follow up their sold-out limited edition 7″ Anyone Fancy a Chocolate Digestive?, and it continues the line of raucous, ludicrous (ludiraucous?) songs. There’s a bit of the Art Brut spirit about them, and their jesting veneer, like all jesting veneers, covers the cleverness beneath.

This triple b-side (or at least the disc I have – the discs come with different, random track orders) kicks off with Scotland The Brave, a song that borrows heavily from The Damned’s New Rose and early Adam and the Ants while David Barnett’s sneering vocals deliver a slew of nonsensical, vaguely Scottish-related lyrics, including the line “Bonny Scotland where’s your kilts?.” The next track, That Girl Has Got It, starts off deceptively gentle and slow before launching into an appropriately speedier frenzy while the innuendo escalates – “That girl has got it in her hand/What’s she going to do now?” to “That girl has got it in her mouth/What’s she going to do now?.” The disc concludes with The New Royal Family Rules Okay, which bops about in a Ramonesesque fashion and is my favourite track of the three. The chorus says “Rules are unspoken/Rules are meant to be broken,” a lyric that sums up The New Royal Family quite nicely.

You can download the triple-track single for free here, but only for a limited time. And if you want them as a VERY limited CD single in a random variety of sleeves and running orders along with a free badge, you can purchase one for just £2 – email to find out how. Above all, The New Royal Family are fun and they do as they please. I’d pick them over Elizabeth and her glorified welfare family any day.

New Royal Family MySpace:

The New Royal Family Rules Okay – The New Royal Family

Anyone Fancy a Chocolate Digestive? – The New Royal Family


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #57

As I did last year, I will attempt an Irish mix in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. The issue is that I usually find that I don’t have too much Irish music in my collection. And then I have to pad it with someone like Van Morrison, someone that I never listen to. Nonetheless, I feel like I managed to cobble together a pretty decent mix this year. It ranges from the old (Virgin Prunes, The Pogues, The Stars of Heaven, Whipping Boy) to the new (The Japanese Popstars, Fight Like Apes, The Guggenheim Grotto, Halves, One Day International) to somewhere in between (Ash, The Frank and Walters, JJ72). JJ72’s frontman, Mark Greaney, even makes a second appearance with his new band Concerto For Constantine.

This one’s called Emerald Audiophile.

B.C.T.T. – The Japanese Popstars

Twenty Tens – Virgin Prunes

Wasps – Concerto For Constantine

Kung Fu – Ash

Jake Summers – Fight Like Apes

Forget Romance, Let’s Dance – We Should Be Dead

The Sunnyside of the Street – The Pogues

After All – The Frank and Walters

What Else Could You Do? – The Stars of Heaven

Fee Da Da Dee – The Guggenheim Grotto

Blinded – Whipping Boy

Pride (In the Name of Love) – U2

Glimmer – JJ72

Blown A Wish – My Bloody Valentine

Kansas (Yellow Brick Road Mix) – The Hedge Schools

Little Death – One Day International

Lille – Lisa Hannigan

A Bear in the Hermitage – Sunken Foal

Medals – Halves

Hands Swollen With Grace – Dakota Suite

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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