Archive for the 'The Indelicates' Category


Decadence, Doomed Youth, and Digital Rights: An Interview with Simon Indelicate

As promised, here is my email interview with Simon Indelicate. As expected, he gives thought-provoking, articulate answers – enough to stimulate many further intellectual debates. He did The Indelicates’ b(r)and proud.

Remember to go over to The Indelicates’ Corporate Records, pay for the privilege of listening to their music, and then if you’re so inclined, participate in their Versions Project, which you can find out more about at their website.

CTRR: This latest album is full of references to decadence, especially that of the 20s and 30s, musically and lyrically. What draws you to the ostentatious display of privilege for songwriting material?

SI: I think it’s fear. The defining feature of the 20s and 30s was really the way that they ended – with thuggish racists taking over whole countries and leading the world to the edge of destruction. Being a floaty intellectual in Weimar Berlin didn’t help at all, being young and drink-sodden didn’t help, reading academic theory didn’t help, romanticism did help but it helped the wrong side – in short, people like me doing things like I do, were utterly ineffectual in halting the advance of the worst thing that ever happened in the world. I find that scary and interesting.

Now I don’t want to say that any of this is fair or accurate – but when you’re at an upper middle class, libdem-voting party in Brighton and someone starts talking about ‘Jewish Power’ being a tangible force in global politics that needs to be challenged or when you see pop singers romanticising their nationality in near wagnerian terms or you see a parade of artificially kooky women neglecting the real world in favour of a silly pseudo-feminine dreamscape made of tits – you think about Unity Mitford and Sally Bowles and those liberal Germans who found Hitler such a fascinating dinner party guest and those German kids who found him boring and irrelevant and you start to wonder…

CTRR: Are there similarities between today’s “doomed youth” and “the young and the damned” of the early 20th century? Are they different? Discuss.

SI: I seem to have got ahead of you there. hmmm. Obviously, calling a song about methadone pretty tosspots in Hoxton ‘anthem for doomed youth’ is heavily irony laden and sarcastic – but this whole album is a more personal thing (when we use ‘I’ on this one, we generally do mean ourselves) and that song is a self-indictment as much as anything else: It’s all very well feeling hard done by because you can’t legitimately rebel against a broadly functioning society without a plausible radical alternative – but, hey, you could be having your cock shot off in Ypres, so cheer up…

I never do though – the lack of legitimacy makes it worse. winking smiley face.

There is a point to be made about the difference between today’s counterculture and it’s antecedents – it’s very easy to drop out now (and as easy to drop back in again with barely a blip on the CV) but you can’t really be Lenny Bruce without being prosecuted for obscenity, you can’t be Allen Ginsberg if bumming is legal, you can’t be Rosa Luxembourg and live. So I don’t trust the revolutionary heroes of the oxbridge dominated presses – there’s never been any risk in it. I suspect that the best minds of our generation are largely unheard behind the cacophony of careerism and networking.

CTRR: Your lyrics and music are socially engaged and espouse critical thinking, but at the same time there’s a strong vein of the romantic and anthemic. Are they both equally necessary for you?

SI: I would hope that we’ve never done romantic without undermining it in some way – it shouldn’t be forgotten that swooning entails a loss of consciousness. But yes, we have to admit to indulging in it a bit – you can’t really help it with music, it just sort of happens.

CTRR: You’ve written songs about specific people like Unity Mitford, Jeff Buckley, Pete Doherty, and now Patty Hearst. What attracts you to a particular public figure when writing a song? Are they generally exemplary of specific issues or did you choose these people for more of their idiosyncratic qualities?

SI: More often than not, songs will develop from a specific thought rather than from a broad set of intents; so, with Jeff Buckley, I was watching some 100 best songwriters of the 90s ever programme and listening to some pundit explain exactly what would have happened if he hadn’t died and it all seemed to have veered into the realm of hokum and soothsaying, because he was good at singing, Jeff Buckley, but ‘what if’ scenarios are reason’s wanks and no one’s more than just a person… hence song. You start narrow and aim broad.

the Patty Hearst one is a little different because it’s really not about her to any great extent. For one thing, it’s factually inaccurate, the SLA never ran guns to savages – that was this bloke in Brighton who I vaguely knew and who used to take guns to Papua New Guinea and then come back to the anarchist club to soak up praise for, essentially, being an arms dealer. It’s a song about a number of specific people like that – of whom Hearst is, as you say, an exemplar.

It is fascinating, the Patty Hearst thing though, especially when you consider that the terrorists we get nowadays are generally from prosperous backgrounds. There’s something about that bored, monied drawl coming out of a tape recorder to attack the ‘fascist insect’ and justify bank robberies. It’s so cool, so appealing and yet there was that innocent woman who got killed…

CTRR: This latest album features a wider palette of musical genres. Did the lyrics influence which genres you used?

SI: sort of. I mean, things like Roses and Be Afraid of Your Parents are about as close as we come to outright pastiche. but a lot of how the album sounds is down to having a long time to record it and being able to ponce about in a studio trying things out and recording ourselves goosestepping down corridors to use as percussion. Most of the arrangement was done on the fly and I think that, as much as anything, is why the genre shifts so much. The first record was done in a big hurry with a bunch of songs that we’d been playing live for two years. This time we had no idea what album we were going to make until we made it.

CTRR: You’ve decided to release a music video for each track on Songs for Swinging Lovers. Would you consider this a branding strategy to augment your already impressive “multidisciplinary” approach to selling music?

SI: The thing about music is that there’s loads of it. It is an abundant resource. The things that music does – provide an atmospheric backdrop, support dancing with rhythm and produce emotions unrelated to the immediate circumstances – are also abundantly available. There are billions of people in the world and millions of them can make music – the idea that any of them are special is pretty hard to support. And yet music continues to have a a market value. This clearly cannot be derived from its intrinsic quality as taste is variable and there are clearly others who can supply the same basic service as the highest valued music. The fact has to be then, that music acquires value from something tangential to itself: in other words, you’re not buying the music, you’re buying the fame. The fame is the whole of the work. Everything every band does is branding- I think you can do good things in that medium. So videos, books, economics lessons in interviews – we’re all about that now – if the brand is the art, then we want to make the best brand we can and we are proud to offer our range of Indelicates Lifestyle Enhancement Products.

I’m partly joking, of course, but I was reading an article the other day suggesting that the corresponding obligation to the right of digital freedom is to produce as much data as you can yourself. People should have free access to data but should feel a duty to contribute original data themselves – I like that idea. Lots of videos feels right.

CTRR: You have been very articulate about your opinions on the shift in the music industry, as well as on opposing the Digital Economy Bill (something I, too, am very much in opposition to, and I watch the proceedings of ACTA with equal frustration). Is this paradoxical conflict between information as capital and information’s immateriality down to a basic issue of incorrect metaphors and language? A way for money-hungry industry/government types to warp reality back into a past state that can’t be applied to current remediations?

SI: Yes, I think you’re right to an extent, there’s a real problem of maps being mistaken for territory in all this – information isn’t capital, it’s an abundant commodity that can be capitalised in the right context: when things get stuck in established categories they can very quickly become obscure. But also, I think, there is a real change in the economic realities that underpin the transfer of digitally encoded information – everything about it that was limited by profit-generating scarcity has become abundant and the only truly scarce resources left for the recording industry to exploit are nostalgia and sentimentality – hence all the handwringing about ‘record store day’ and all other processes that commodify and fetishise what really just amounts to shopping.

The whole business of copy and digital rights will have to be rethought by people who understand it.

CTRR: When I was taking my MA, I had an epiphany (rather belated, perhaps) about the necessity of rhetoric to to help us function in the face of too much information and not enough expertise. In the current climate of “universal” information access and an explosion of DIY art to be made immediately available to a global audience, how important are rhetoric and effective filters?

SI: I don’t have much time for expertise – it tends to be a distorting factor in the weighing up of information, there are no worse arguments than those which take the form ‘this expert says this, so there’ – especially now, in music, where the ability to hear the thing being described is so immediate. In many ways, those who know most about music are the least qualified to predict what a particular individual will enjoy listening to; a film reviewer who attends 5 press screenings a week and doesn’t read children’s books, for example, is entirely unqualified to tell a harry potter fan whether they’ll like the deathly hallows film. In that sense at least, I think people are quite capable of filtering the information themselves, finding particular bloggers who tend to agree with them, listening to albums that artists they like recommend… Expertise comes collaboratively from interaction not from any authority.

Rhetoric though, yes, I think I see what you mean – the assembling of thoughts into memorable phrases can clarify things as people go about the business of filtering their own data. I don’t think it creates opinion, but it probably helps to give it a form that makes it easier to share.

CTRR: Has the Internet merely exposed how much the average person values art?

SI: I think it has exposed the disparity between value and price. I wouldn’t want to live without Paradise Lost – as such, I value it highly, but I’ve never paid more than about £2.50 for a copy of it – that doesn’t necessarily mean I value it any less, just that value is expressed in broader terms than money.

CTRR: Would you ever plan a larger North American tour (including Canada, of course)?

SI: We’ve been planning one forever (we called the first album American Demo, after all) but cost is a massive issue and the benefits of being free from a record company do have to be set against the lack of tour support. If you or anyone reading knows a booking agent in the states who wants to book a viable tour for us – please feel free to send them stuff and ask them for us – it’s only the money that’s keeping us away :)

Anthem For Doomed Youth – The Indelicates


A Valuable Other to Everyone: The Indelicates’ Songs For Swinging Lovers

I had to come out of hiatus for this. Look at that album cover. How could I deny those puppy eyes and broken necks? Then there was the press release, which read:

Songs For Swinging Lovers is a stunning, diverse and intellectually complex record that marries the band’s trademark lyrical precision and songwriting skill with a broad palette of musical styles and influences. The strains of country, Weimar cabaret, holy bible-era manics, belle epoque cafe music, Muder (sic) Ballads-era Nick cave, 90s indie and 70s sleaze can all be heard in the arrangements.

My pulse actually turned to alka seltzer in my veins after reading that. It’s been over two years of admiring The Indelicates for their unpretentious intellect, their poetry, their leitmotifs, their dedication to critical thinking and dark humour. Now I can add new media warriors to their laudable qualities. I’m not overly passionate about most causes, but the one that I have been perhaps the most vocal about (well, my typing has been pretty deafening) is the paradigm-rattling effect of new media, especially on the music industry and the copyright vs privacy debate. I’ve been blathering on for years about the flaws in the music industry, about the McLuhanesque impact of the MP3 file, and about copyright laws in a digital world and the outdated metaphorical language that they are built upon. Here’s a band of artists that has taken a similar stance and used similar arguments to achieve something much more than a semi-academic blog rant. Instead, they have birthed Corporate Records and a praiseworthy sophomore album. As I’ve stated before, they are truly multidisciplinary in their branding and artistic endeavours; with their understanding of the direction the music industry is heading, The Indelicates should give lectures to the disappointingly backwards artists like those involved in the redundant FAC (I say disappointing because I was shocked at some of the artists on their list).

I first noticed Simon and Julia over two years ago while scanning through pages and pages of artists at the SXSW website; several months later, their debut album American Demo became the runner-up in my Top 40 Albums of 2008. Songs For Swinging Lovers is a much more varied affair in terms of genre; they actually fulfill the promises of their press release (no mean feat when so many bands fail to deliver on even the first of their claims). While this record may not be as immediately accessible as their first, it is very obviously both its sequel and equal and still teeming with more adept social criticism, including further incisive commentary on feminism, youth, the music industry, celebrity, fascism, hypocrisy, and narrow-mindedness. There is the same calibre of intelligent (often brutal) candour as that of Luke Haines, something that the majority of their cohort are missing and something that most are too afraid to touch. And while The Indelicates’ sleeves are draped in impressive influences (musical and otherwise), they twist them into something as original as art can ever be without being created in a vacuum, taking in history and apt social observations to complicate clichés and debunk everyday myths.

Pounding away as the first of two Weimar cabaret songs (a style preceded by the Indelicates’ Christmas treat of Zuhalterballade), Europe is a satire of decadence and privilege. The self-aware seediness to be found in continental salons of the early 20th century can be just as easily applied to the farcical display of more recent moneyed classes, and its undignified grasping is articulated perfectly through Julia’s vocal strength and unrestrained operatics. This is followed by the most Manics-inflected of the tracks, Your Money, which swells from a sweet piano melody into an electric guitar anthem bristling like a sea of broken flag standards. Simon spits a furious stream of brilliant lyrics, including a fantastic 1984 reference (“Do it to Julia”) that plays on his partner’s name as much as it does on the narrator’s self-conscious musings on hypocrisy and the sick dominance of money in the world of art. In yet another song about an ostensibly “brainwashed” historical figure (see the brilliant Unity Mitford on American Demo), The Indelicates serenade Patty Hearst with We Love You, Tania. It’s a loungey number with a staggering yet rousing feel, unsteady on its feet like someone who drank a pint glass full of yeasty honesty. It features the rather profound line, “When you’re other to everyone, you’re a valuable girl.”

Pushing on with their earlier themes of diseased celebrity culture, which yearns for damaged people, and parasitic media (see also New Art for the People, We Hate the Kids, Waiting for Pete Doherty to Die), they address one such hapless character in Ill. They chant:

Your sickness is your shibboleth
Your sex is your sickness
And you’ve got time, you’ve got time to lose
Because you’ll never take enough of those pills,
You know you’re too clever to be mentally ill,
You’ll never fashion your damaged soul
Because you’re too clever to lose control

The next track, Flesh, makes mine crawl a little, a testament to the combination of the astute lyrics and the interplay of Julia’s sweetly vacant vocals with Simon’s predatory background vocals, “oh, flesh.” The muted trumpet sounds filthy as Julia sings about the seemingly acceptable malleability of females and further feminist failings: “Hey doc can you take my skin and melt it into plastic/Beauty isn’t truth it’s just youth, it’s adaptive and it’s elastic.” Vocals then pass off to Simon for Savages, a tinkly ballad that turns into a soaring synthy anthem by its end, is a brilliant revel in the vindication of outsider-dom. With a wonderful tie-in with the album cover, the chorus goes, “the world has no need of the songs that we sang/We are savages and we’ll hang, hang, hang.” Savages also has one of my favourite lines of the record: “we are Greeks in the age of Rome/With no right to criticise the happily dull to Grecian eyes.” There’s fight and survival in the apparent surrender; any golden age is just a gilded cage.

I suppose it says something about my character that the macabre murder ballad, Roses, doesn’t disturb me as much as Flesh. In true Nick Cave style, Roses is mesmerizing and miasmic as it sways slowly through the savouring of a homicide – punctured lungs, sawed-off limbs and all – while also mocking the vampiric. The chorus, which gently croons “Do you bleed diamonds/do you bleed rubies/do you bleed roses?,” is enchanting and sinister to me in the same way Windmills of Your Mind and Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) are. The pace picks up again with Sympathy for the Devil; rather than a cocky rebel sneer, it’s a knees-up Irish drinking song told by a much more believable Beelzebub than Jagger’s. As he recounts his journey out of Heaven, he plays Pied Piper to an unnamed lover, who is to meet him at the border in the morning. We learn that even the Devil is dissatisfied with this world. This is also the first track to be made into a music video – the rest of the album’s songs will eventually follow. The second Weimar-themed song, Be Afraid of Your Parents, continues with the dramatics reminiscent of Brecht/Weill compositions as it lambastes fascism and its attractive rhetoric, including the dangerous dialectic to be found in scapegoating. Simon takes over vocals as he namechecks Derrida and Foucault and the distance from humanity that academic theory provides. The sentiment in the track’s title is one that permeates The Indelicates’ body of work; keep your mind sharp and keep questioning precedents and “truths.” Julia and Simon keep you off balance by embedding layer after layer of latent meaning and then shifting them about, shaking you out of passive consumption.

The musical tone of the record becomes lighter with the jaunty Jerusalem, a satire of the stillborn revolution in today’s young people, who think “it seems rebellious to vote Conservative now.” It also serves as a parody of the English patriotic song of the same title and perhaps a stab at Labour Party idealism. The clueless subjects of this track “excel at drama and formal debating,” but care to know nothing of reality and take pseudo-political postures instead. The final track on the album proper, Anthem for Doomed Youth, is a delicate song that skips along in a lackadaisical fashion and ends in heavenly choruses provided by Julia; it also emphasizes many of the points already made in Jerusalem. Simon reiterates the futility of youth-based subcultures and the lack of something worth fighting for or against, singing “there’s nobody left in the West these days/wronged enough to be a punk” and “we are miners no more/never torn by a war/neither starving, nor struggling, nor incredibly poor.” There’s also an excellent snarl of “the three-inch bruise at the crook of your arm/that in the right light looks like Jesus,” which may or may not be a parody of a line in The Killers’ When You Were Young. The two bonus tracks currently available on the Corporate Records’ site are I Don’t Care If It’s True and an acoustic version of Savages; the former is a proud refusal to join in anymore with latin accents while the latter is a fragile rendition with hints of the shambolic sighs found in American Demo‘s Better To Know.

The album is available for download from here, where you can choose what you pay. Come June, I know I will be buying a physical copy of the album and any book or foodstuff that can be added on to it. I have never been disappointed with their challenging art. They continue to dissect societal ills with a surgeon’s precision and a cabaret MC’s panache. Songs For Swinging Lovers confirms The Indelicates’ paradox of condemning idealism and evading the romantic notion of promising revolution or escape while simultaneously giving people something exhilarating to rally behind, a whetstone for senses dulled on complacency. Oddly enough, they encapsulate a different semantic plane of We Love You, Tania; they are definitely other to most bands, and thus, so valuable. We need a band like this even if the masses ignore them and their witty words just hang, hang, hang. I’ll gladly go to the gallows with The Indelicates.

My brief sojourn back in the blogosphere will last for one more post as I conduct my Indelicates interview.

Ill – The Indelicates

Savages – The Indelicates


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


My Top 40 Albums of 2008: Numbers 8 Through 1

And so we’ve reached the end of this year’s journey through my top albums. Before we get into the top eight, I’ll try to sum up which albums released in the last few months of 2008. September brought offerings from Jenny Lewis, Mercury Rev, People in Planes, Butch Walker, No and the Maybes, Glasvegas, Santogold, Jon Ryman, Metallica, Chairlift, Kings of Leon, and a sophomore record from former Suede frontman, Brett Anderson. There were also a few that have already made this countdown, including TV on the Radio, Ladyhawke, and Okkervil River.

October’s albums were jam-packed with records from Empire of the Sun, Department of Eagles, The Sea and Cake, Eugene McGuinness, Of Montreal, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, Euros Childs, Bloc Party (the physical version), Los Campesinos!, and AC/DC with their long-awaited return. There were also a couple of disappointments from The Cure and Cold War Kids. Snow Patrol demonstrated that they couldn’t compete with Chasing Cars while Oasis produced another unneccessary album. And there were several antlered mammals afoot with releases from Deerhoof, Deerhunter, and The Dears. Again, there were several released in October that you’ve already seen in this series, namely, from Simon Bookish, Maps of Norway, Polarkreis 18, and Twig.

November saw records from We Are Standard, Glass Candy, Razorlight, Threatmantics, Max Tundra, Thieves Like Us, Kanye West, and The Killers. Of course November was also the momentous occasion of Guns ‘n Roses’ Chinese Democracy. I apologize, but as the year wound down, I didn’t note any albums released in December except for an inexplicably successful comeback from Britney Spears.

To recap, the countdown thus far is:

40. The Penguin League – Antarctica Takes All!
39. This Gift – Sons & Daughters
38. Apocalypso – The Presets
37. Sea From Shore – School of Language
36. The Colour of Snow – Polarkreis 18
35. L’anthologie des 3 perchoirs – Duchess Says
34. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today – David Byrne and Brian Eno
33. For Emma Forever – Bon Iver
32. Seventh Tree – Goldfrapp
31. Die Off Songbird – Maps of Norway
30. Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair
29. The Devil, You + Me – The Notwist
28. The Jade Motel – Zeigeist
27. The Stand-Ins – Okkervil River
26. Evolutionary Sunset Call – stanleylucasrevolution
25. Oracular Spectacular – MGMT
24. Life After Ridge – Twig
23. V – Van She
22. Cut the World – Moscow Olympics
21. O My Heart – Mother Mother
20. Hold On Now Youngster – Los Campesinos!
19. Dear Science – TV on the Radio
18. Saturdays = Youth – M83
17. Aurora – The Deer Tracks
16. We Just Are – The Japanese Popstars
15. Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
14. Do You Like Rock Music? – British Sea Power
13. Limbo, Panto – Wild Beasts
12. Surreal Auteur – Allegories
11. Everything/Everything – Simon Bookish
10. Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke
9. Velocifero – Ladytron

Drumroll please…

8. Lust Lust Lust – The Raveonettes

The Danish duo are on fire this year with both this brilliant album released at the start of the year and then four outstanding EPs spread throughout the rest of 2008. Kicking off with the distorted, brain-shredding wall of sound and dirge-like guitars in Aly, Walk With Me, Lust Lust Lust is a triumph from beginning to end, and after so many successful releases, it is even more of a victory. The reverb effects applied to their dissonant, clanging guitars produce some haunting, slightly Western film-tinged soundscapes; songs like Aly, Walk With Me, Lust, and Expelled From Love give you the feeling of trekking through a wind-sculpted desert of volcanic ash during a peach-hued sunset. These darker songs share space with peppier, sweeter songs like Dead Sound, Blush, You Want the Candy and Blitzed. This record achieves a perfect balance between JAMC/Sonic Youth fuzzy noise and chirpy melody. Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo have every right to sound aloof and cooler-than-thou – they are the kids with black lollipops in their mouths at the prom.

Aly, Walk With Me – The Raveonettes

Dead Sound – The Raveonettes

7. A Certain Feeling – Bodies of Water

This Californian band was so impressive live when I saw them early this year in Toronto that I bought their debut album, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, on the spot. Then they released their sophomore album this summer and I continued to be enthralled with their rich harmonies and inventive song structures. The epic album opener Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey still plays my vertebrae like a xylophone, and the choral gusto of Under the Pines that strips the breath from my lungs. Throughout the album, there’s a fragility juxtaposed to a straining intensity and a keening mourning abutting an unbridled celebration. Styles are hard to pin down in this record as they swirl and eddy around your knees, threatening to drag you under and stir you into the sand. It’s a baptism worth experiencing.

Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey – Bodies of Water

Water Here – Bodies of Water

6. The Midnight Organ Flight – Frightened Rabbit

This sophomore effort from Scottish band Frightened Rabbit is a continuation of their brand of painful, almost self-flagellating, honesty over shambolic folk and taut, whip-snap percussion. Singer, Scott Hutchison, sings in a ragged, broken wail that can sometimes remind me of Conor Oberst and sometimes of Gary Lightbody back when he was in Polar Bear not Snow Patrol. They may have grown more accessible, but they are no less stingingly accusatory or violently truthful. Like the modern leper in the album opener, the band sounds like it’s going down kicking and screaming against a senseless world full of heartbreak and internal conflict. But like a slight brightening at the edge of the horizon during a thunderstorm, The Midnight Organ Flight tempers the gloom and harsh proclamations of the human condition with a sliver of salvation in the gloaming.

The Modern Leper – Frightened Rabbit

Keep Yourself Warm – Frightened Rabbit

5. In Ghost Colours – Cut Copy

And so the last of the Modular artists on this countdown makes their appearance. When I first heard So Haunted, the first song released prior to the album, I wasn’t convinced that Cut Copy was heading in a direction I could follow them into. I had been so immersed in their first album, Bright Like Neon Love, and its cooler, airy genre of electro, that it took awhile for me to adjust to the higher energy, brighter style. Now I’ve come to the conclusion that In Ghost Colours is actually an unexpected, but massive leap forward in the Cut Copy sound. I would even go so far as to elevate them to the same innate feel for melodic dance music as that of New Order in the 80s. There’s a shimmer and twinkle to the album that ranges from the twee sprays of baby’s breath of Feel the Love, Unforgettable Season, and Midnight Runner to the pumping, technicolour electro-disco of Out There On the Ice, Lights & Music, Hearts on Fire, Far Away, and Nobody Lost, Nobody Found. At least two thirds of the album have been or should have been hit singles, and I never tire of listening to it. It’s like listening to a rainbow so dazzling that you hope you never find the pot of gold.

Feel the Love – Cut Copy

Far Away – Cut Copy

4. Intimacy – Bloc Party

While all their Brit Invasion of 2004 contemporaries have either produced disappointing second and third albums or faded away all together, Bloc Party has forged onwards with a respectable second album, and this year, a genius third. Their Gang of Fouresque minimalist post-punk has exploded into a razor-sharp hybrid of stark, crisp guitars and electronic acrobatics with interludes of vulnerable candor. The album begins with the brain-searing volley of Ares, Mercury, and Halo as the band wields their guitars like machine guns before dipping into the delicate melancholy of Biko, Signs and Zepherus. The bonus tracks, Letter to My Son and Your Visits Are Getting Shorter, included on the physical copy of the album that released well after the digital copy are equally gorgeous; in the latter track, the overlapping samples of Kele Okereke’s voice emulate a scattered and conflicted stream of consciousness perfectly. And of course, Okereke’s lyrics over the whole album are as beautifully poetic and insightful as always, creating deft allegories and intelligent commentary on human behaviour and relationships; the words are sung with such urgent passion that you can feel the desperate searching of another’s eyes, the aching need of the mouths depicted in the album’s cover art, and the turmoil over recoiling from closeness with another.

Mercury – Bloc Party

Biko – Bloc Party

3. Skeletal Lamping – Of Montreal

It would have been difficult to top Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer?, but Kevin Barnes manages at the very least to equal it in boundless imagination and myriad stylistic turns. If anything, Skeletal Lamping is labyrinthine in its construction as it blazes through glam, funk, psychedelia, twee rock, and electro, often all in one track. This unpredictable mixture was deliberate as Barnes created the most experimental and ambitious album of his career and attempted to flit through musical and lyrical ideas which seem to last about thirty seconds each. The genius comes in the composition because despite the seemingly capricious insanity, the album hangs together as a coherent, intricate whole without disintegrating into self-indulgent proggy wanking. You also get the feeling that Barnes isn’t taking himself so seriously and is there to entertain, a flair that extends to his famously flamboyant live shows and his alter ego, the black she-male, Georgie Fruit. Barnes has the ability to innovate and the panache of the legends he channels on this record, including David Bowie and Prince, but he takes these attributes and stretches them into the farthest reaches of his psyche and libido, daring to tread beyond his heroes.

Nonpareil of Favor – Of Montreal

Beware Our Nubile Miscreants – Of Montreal

2. American Demo – The Indelicates

This highly literate, arch English duo have gotten nowhere near the amount of attention they should have from music fans and critics. This debut album made me believe in brilliantly witty lyrics again, and what’s more, the music lives up to the words with its melodic sensibilities and propensity for gushingly expansive anthems. I like artists who make me think about things from a different angle, and The Indelicates do that more than the majority of new bands I’ve come across in the past few years. Their lyrics are definitely on par with anything Morrissey or Luke Haines created, and they make American Demo a piece of zeitgeist literature, a document of a mass media fatigue and disgust at a bloated, meaningless popular culture. They lambaste everything within reach, including feminism, sacred cow idols like Jeff Buckley, the rotting music industry, and youth itself. Perhaps the most surprising and startling track is Unity Mitford, an extraordinary song from the point of view of Mitford and her sympathetic love for Hitler – the concept and the lines “the indescribable beauty/Of a million hands raised to salute you/Like poppies lean when winds caress them/Cut flowers pressed to solemn duty” are enough to forgive the Gallagheresque guitar solo. Unity Mitford is a far cry from the trendy use of communism and fascism mocked in the song Sixteen while stand-out track New Art For the People, which acts as the theme for the album, is a bittersweet epic of a pathetic couple with all the romance of tragedy drained from them. These anthems make you believe in ideas like you did when you were young – they’re like an adrenaline shot in the heart. I get chills every time I listen to the song Heroin and its rushing merge into We Hate the Kids, the culmination of a generation frustrated by promises of inspiration in art, but which rather ironically provides the inspiration it violently mourns.

Unity Mitford – The Indelicates

We Hate the Kids – The Indelicates

1. Vanilla Swingers – Vanilla Swingers

Many months ago I stated that this album was my frontrunner for album of the year, and lo and behold, Vanilla Swingers managed to fight off all the other bands snapping at their heels. This self-titled debut is a concept album about two people who fall in love in the present, run away to the past (specifically, the 1980s), lose each other on their return to the present and then meet again in the future. It’s a fluid work of art that takes John Gray’s philosophical book Straw Dogs, which denies the progress myth of the human race, and weaves it into a narrative that defies progress by its convoluted, non-linear use of time. The London duo, comprised of Miles Jackson and Anne Gilpin, spin their tale over a backdrop of bittersweet, hushed melodies, which showcase the interplay between their diaphanous vocals and the intelligent beauty of their lyrics. This album makes me think about the innate human capacity to tell stories and to create myths in order to understand the world and humans themselves. Without our stories we are nothing. And these myths include one of the most perpetuated ones alongside progress: romantic love.

Vanilla Swingers deconstructs and plays with this myth as history erodes it from all sides and dimensions. At the same time, this album makes me understand why we cling to the myth of romantic love: romantic love provides us with an escape from reality, but in its bittersweet tragedies, it also gives us just as much pleasure from pain and heartbreak. Songs like I’ll Stay Next to You and Back to the Present are romantic precisely because they present the transience of love and speak to our fetishization of the fleeting. The music complements the theme elegantly as it flows like quicksilver in an hourglass and period details of the 80s creep in with bubbles of electro and washes of Pet Shop Boys synths. In the world of this album, there is no golden past, there is no improved future, and there is no true escape from the present. But human salvation and self-preservation comes in the form of storytelling. In the track Goodbye Lennon, which is set to the sound of a heartbeat and a ticking clock, a graceful fusion of different measures of time, the following lyrics appear: “I didn’t find myself back there/But I lost myself in you/And it felt so…/It doesn’t have to end this way/Cos you can always start again/It’s just a possible world.” And that is how Vanilla Swingers transcends the rest of the albums this year; Vanilla Swingers have shown how humans can make an ellipsis pregnant with meaning and how our survival is bound up in the creation of possible worlds.

I’ll Stay Next To You – Vanilla Swingers

The Hive – Vanilla Swingers

The honourable mention for this final installment is Brett Anderson’s Wilderness, a rather welcome surprise after what he has produced post-Suede. While I didn’t find too much exciting about his debut solo album and his not-so-impressive reunion with Bernard Butler as The Tears, Wilderness is an acoustic guitar-led, intimate album that made me believe that there is some talent left in Anderson after all. There is an almost dark medieval tone to the record as Anderson sheds his former self-assured preening for an unguarded glimpse of his exquisite fraility.

Funeral Mantra – Brett Anderson

And so ends the countdown and a crazy year of New Kids on the Block reunions (an event that I was convinced was a practical joke for months) and of RIAA reassessments; of Chinese Democracy and of threats to Blogger MP3 blog democracy; of Russell Brand’s fall from grace and of Noel Gallagher’s tumble into the monitors at the Toronto Virgin Festival. Thank you for coming along for the ride down my rather bumpy lane of musical memories. This weekend brings the final part of my weekly mix round-up, and as an extra special gift for the end of 2008, there will be a New Year’s Eve mix waiting for you on Tuesday.


New Art For the People: The Indelicates’ American Demo

I just received my copy of The Indelicates’ debut album, American Demo, in the mail (it was released in the UK on April 14), and I’m hugely impressed. I wrote about them earlier in my SXSW post, and I shall continue to rave about them. This English duo manages to combine elements from many of my favourite bands and artists – the satirical observations of Pulp, the voices of Luke Haines and Kate Bush, the melodies of The Auteurs. The two Indelicates (a moniker they each use as a surname), Simon and Julia, met at a Poetry Slam, hence, their lyrics are some of the best ones I’ve ever heard – they often take you by surprise and dwell in the shadows cast by the sunny music. And for someone who did their Honours BA in English Literature, lyrics are often a huge issue for me. Others have already appropriately compared The Indelicates with The Auteurs and Art Brut, but I would say that they go beyond wit for its own sake and make political statements about the state of the world today. At the same time, their politics feel like they’re wrapped up in a big pink bow of narrative. Personal losses and disappointments extend to a universal malaise, frustration and apathy.

The first two Indelicates tracks I ever heard were the contagious tongue-in-cheek ode to youth, Sixteen, and the up-tempo but bittersweet, Julia, We Don’t Live in the ’60’s, and both are included on this album. American Demo begins with New Art For the People Theme, a sweet orchestral piece led by a violin, which is an instrumental re-working of the later track, New Art for the People, a deliciously depressing dialogue between Simon and Julia about fighting for art’s sake in a fatuous environment and failing – in many ways, with its sense of broken dreams and misguided hopes, it feels like an updated version of Fairytale of New York. With a similar theme of disillusionment and loss, The Last Significant Statement to Be Made in Rock ‘n Roll, a song with driving guitars and Simon on lead vocals, sounds like The Auteurs meets Springsteen’s Born to Run. It also includes fantastic lyrics like “Once, in a corridor in Memphis/Was a singer took a breath/And wrote the birth of the teenager/Now we come to write his death,” which is one of the best lines about Elvis that I’ve come across. Our Daughters Will Never Be Free is a playful breakneck number complete with handclaps and Julia taking over breathless lead vocals while the lyrics lambast feminism and its many failures. Stars sounds like a tinkling music box as Julia sweetly croons, “I’m in love with the boy next door/He treats me like a filthy whore/I give him everything he wants for nothing in return.” Unsettling and twee at the same time…kind of like a song in a Tim Burton stop-motion animation.

One of my favourite tracks is …If Jeff Buckley Had Lived, a song that goes against the typical music fan’s reaction to his untimely death – rather than pity the waste of such talent and wonder how genius Buckley could have been if he had lived, The Indelicates predict that Buckley would have fallen flat by never being able to live up to his brilliant first and only album, and without his death, he wouldn’t have become the mythological figure he is now. The music itself in this song is beautifully melancholy and expansive with a pulsing rhythm, light piano, and gently whining guitars. Another song that I find fascinating is America, a stately tune with frenetic guitar arpeggios and a rather provocative take on America, taking the conservative stance and deriding England with its “weak-chinned snarls and red guitars.” The track Heroin once again reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with its passionate overwrought guitars and raspy vocals, and even though I don’t really like Springsteen, I enjoy it – perhaps because The Indelicates have hit upon an alchemical mixture of American bombast and English irony.

I’m going to include a couple of tracks from the album and then one particularly fabulous demo song, Waiting for Pete Doherty to Die, that was available for free download on their Web site. They say everything in this song that I would want to say about the state of the media, music industry and pretentious fans, and they do it much more eloquently than I could. In many ways, it’s a companion piece to the song We Hate the Kids on American Demo, a song which states: “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 fucking guitar/Oh yeah, we mean it/We hate the kids/Useless children genuflecting/To the idols who exploit them.” Despite the cynicism, The Indelicates do, indeed, make intelligent new art for the people. And I’m thankful for it.

New Art For the People – The Indelicates

…If Jeff Buckley Had Lived – The Indelicates

Waiting For Pete Doherty to Die – The Indelicates


Wish I Was There: South by Southwest 2008

South by Southwest, or SXSW as it is more conveniently known to those typing it out, the music fan’s fantasy that occurs annually in Texas, just kicked off a couple of days ago. Operating since 1987, SXSW is an internationally-recognized media showcase, which tends to be most renowned for its musical portion. Members of the music industry, music journalists, and hardcore music fans descend upon Austin, Texas for an intense few days of running between as many venues as possible to suss out who the next big thing is in the music world. Of course, I, like most of the world, barring about 10 000 people, cannot be there to attend. Instead, I stew bitterly at my keyboard amidst thesis bibliographies and semiotics textbooks.

This year several bands and artists that I’m either already familiar with or enamoured with are participating in SXSW. These include the likes of Black Moth Super Rainbow, British Sea Power, Cut Copy, Chromeo, Crystal Castles, Digitalism, The Dykeenies, The Fashion, Frightened Rabbit, The Hourly Radio, Los Campesinos!, MGMT, MSTRKRFT, Jim Noir, People in Planes, Thieves Like Us, The Ting Tings, Tokyo Police Club, The Raveonettes, Shy Child, Simian Mobile Disco, Sons and Daughters, Switches, These New Puritans, The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, The Whip, and from my hometown, The Weakerthans. There are also several big name acts lined up this year, including The Slits (a fact I had to read a few times to believe), R.E.M., Perry Farrell, and Billy Bragg, who will be performing both on his own and with a group of artists billed as Body of War. Rather than re-hash my opinions about artists I already know and/or love, I figured I would try to discover some new bands worthy of a listen – all from the comfort and/or confinement of my apartment. In this way, I shall simulate the experience of SXSW for all of us who are not there.

And so I painstakingly went through the list of registered artists for this year’s showcase…

Bodies of Water: This band from California caught my eye because I realized that they’re going to be the opening band for Sons and Daughters in Toronto in a couple of weeks (at least that’s what my ticket says). They sound a bit like Sons and Daughters used to sound in the Love the Cup days – a bit folky, a bit rock, a soulful female lead vocalist. Although, Bodies of Water also sound a bit like a choir even though there are only four members. They also sound a bit like organized chaos in an Arcade Fire sort of way. The song they included for sampling I Guess I’ll Forget the Sound, I Guess, I Guess is as rambling as its title, and in the process, wanders in a number of interesting directions only to come back to a rousing chorus backed by brass instruments. On their MySpace page, you can download their haunting cover of R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts. And anyone who cites The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in their list of influences is bound to get my attention.


The Black Ghosts: Apparently, London-based The Black Ghosts are a new project from Simon Lord (ex-Simian, vocalist on Simian vs Justice’s “We Are Your Friends”) and Theo Keating (Touche, ex-Wiseguys). I was bound to like a project that included someone out of Simian, and anyone who likes Simian Mobile Disco, Digitalism, or Justice would like The Black Ghosts. The Black Ghosts differ from these bands in their fey, electropop vocals and less of a focus on fuzzed out, dirty beats. Their sample track, Any Way You Choose to Give It, is representative of the music I’ve heard by them thus far – catchy electropop.


Deluka: From Birmingham, England, this dance-rock four-piece reminds me of New Young Pony Club and Dragonette – in other words, like a sleazy, but detached female vocalist over top electronic beats and fast guitars. I quite like their song Ike and Tina, a song obviously about an abusive relationship, which can be heard on their MySpace page.


Descartes a Kant: This band from Mexico caught my eye by including two 18th-century philosophers in their band name (because I’m getting more and more pretentious). The more I delved into this band, the more I’m glad I found them. Their influences range from Mike Patton to Regina Spektor to Dresden Dolls to Danny Elfman. The song they included for sampling, My Sweetest Headache Waltz, sounds exactly as the title dictates – Sandrushka Petrova’s vocals veer from sweet and childlike to Daisy Chainsaw-like screams and squeals as the song spins around your head. Their music is a cacophony of influences and genres where screaming vocals can flow in and out of Gershwin-like piano strains and rhythms are never stable. Descartes a Kant feels like a child’s nightmare. Or like a music box that will open up and eat you. Or like a circus that will appear in the dead of night and steal you. Their MySpace profile has an injured, but adorable rabbit on it, which only made me love them more. I highly recommend this band.


The Indelicates: From Brighton, The Indelicates are a male/female duo with influences including Luke Haines, The Jam, and Bruce Springsteen, and they apparently sound like “Kate Bush in a Weimar era nightclub or Queen fronted by two Morrisseys.” The male vocals are definitely reminiscent of Luke Haines and the female vocals are pretty close to Kate Bush’s. Supposedly, Art Brut’s Eddie Argos described The Indelicates as “Luke Haines and the E-Street Band.” Any way you look at it, aside from the Springsteen, The Indelicates sound like they’re very much in line with my musical tastes. However, I can see how the expansive “Born to Run” guitars on several of the Indelicates’ tracks could generate that sort of comparison. The Indelicates are intelligent and quirky, and I think I’m in love with them.


Fionn O’Lochlainn: Endorsed by Billy Bragg, Fionn O’Lochlainn has shades of Jeff Buckley in his voice and his songs are laced with a keening emotion. O’Lochlainn uses a mandola, which I just learned is not necessarily a mandolin, but close to one. The sample song, Zone, is a tight rock song with country flourishes (very likely because of that mandola), and I quite like it despite my general aversion to country. Of course being endorsed by Billy Bragg means you have some sort of political presence, and O’Lochlainn’s MySpace page is littered with political quotes and socially-conscious blogs (I particularly like the blog featuring an article about Facebook). If you like Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, or Billy Bragg, I would definitely recommend Fionn O’Lochlainn.


The Russian Futurists: Hailing from Toronto, The Russian Futurists are one of those bands with an intellectual name and intelligent lyrics to match. This particular band also has a great indie-pop sensibility with catchy melodies. The syncopated chimes of Let’s Get Ready to Crumble are fantastically twee while intelligent, poetic lyrics soar along. They’re like a more electronic version of Belle & Sebastian with bits of psychedelia stringing it all together.


The People’s Revolutionary Choir: Jim Reid-approved band, The People’s Revolutionary Choir, reflects the muffled, shoegazey vocals of The Jesus and Mary Chain, but with a background more akin to The La’s. They’re psychedelic like early Pink Floyd and sound like early Rolling Stones, so naturally, they also have some Primal Scream in them. They end their Band Description on MySpace with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Endearing.


…And so we come to the end of our little tour of SXSW 2008. There were a couple of bands that I had hoped would be good based upon their names or locations – Canadian band, Birds of Wales, turned out to have trite lyrics bordering on adolescent cliches that overshadowed the fact they had Wales in their name, and as much as I wanted to support a band called The Voom Blooms from Loughborough (bizarrely, I feel as though I have ties to Loughborough after living in the next town over for more than a month, and it also has a music store with one of the best names ever: The Left-Legged Pineapple), but they were just like all those other boring guitar bands and would definitely take my credibility down a few notches. So much for Loughborough.

I can dream that one day I will get to go to SXSW, but knowing me, I’ll end up spending all the money I save on a trip overseas before I ever make it to Texas. And even if I did make it there, I have a feeling I would be paralyzed in the middle of some street in Austin, not knowing where I should go next. And, eventually, my head would explode. Skull shards everywhere.

SXSW Web site:
BBC Introducing Showcase:

I Guess I’ll Forget the Sound, I Guess, I Guess – Bodies of Water

Any Way You Choose to Give It- The Black Ghosts

Sleep is Impossible – Deluka

My Sweetest Headache Waltz – Descartes a Kant

Julia, We Don’t Live in the 60’s – The Indelicates

Zone – Fionn O’Lochlainn

Let’s Get Ready to Crumble – The Russian Futurists

Do You Feel Like I Do? – The People’s Revolutionary Choir

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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