Ever heard/watched a Powhatan-Irish-German-American Republican man who sounds like a woman sing half in German, half in English? Well, maybe you have I'm not quite sure how well known he is to be honest. But if you haven't, here's your lucky day.
Here's my favourite song (i.e. the only one I know):
Discovered a bit of YouTube gold through a friend and had to share. I'd never heard of Sébastien Tellier, but upon research I found he's a French singer-songwriter who did Eurovision in 2008 (a brave mistake perhaps as France only came 19th) and once collaborated with Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (the half of Daft Punk with the, er, interesting name). Guy-Manuel produced his third album, 'Sexuality'. Tellier went in a new direction and called it "intellectual R&B".
Sébastien is clearly an arse man (like many male frogs) which is reflected in the video for 'Look'. I like the audio but I like the visuals much more. One could say it simply consists of a woman shitting diamonds, but I promise it's much more tasteful than that.
WARNING: There may be some ranting in the following post.
When I read that Klaxons were releasing a second album I thought "hmm I must check that out" because I rather liked their debut (although I don't know if I'd still like it now, I was 13 at the time of its release, everyone was listening to it and I wasn't very mature in my music taste). Well don't bother. They've released a video of their new single 'Echoes' and if that's anything to go by, 'Surfing The Void' is going to be shit. Apparently Polydor told them to re-record bits because it was "too experimental for release". It's not experimental in the slightest, so either they recorded the whole thing again or their label do not have a clue what they're talking about. Or both. It's dull dull dull. The video is stupid for a start. To begin with I thought "Alright they're doing that half-whispering, half-talking thing again. That's okay". Then I started to get bored and the whole I'm-such-a-liberal-free-thinker-I'm-wearing-clothes-that-don't-really-match thing was grating on me. I was wondering if they were going to claim they're on their gap yahs and that they'd been on the lash the night before and had made vomcanoes. With little chunklets. (It's set in Egypt). Anyway it's basically a load of guys all standing triumphantly as if they were God-given gifts, wind blowing through their hair, occasionally shouting "eeeechoes [something about otherworlds]". Then there's the song. Stupendously banal, vapid, uninspiring to the max. And that's all I have to say.
Anyway now you can see/hear for yourself. If you must.
Just read up on her and apparently she's Sylvia Young's granddaughter. Wow. I used to be on Sylvia Young's Agency for acting but I didn't get that many auditions and didn't get the roles most of the time. I think I was a bit shit. Also when I was about 11 to.. well to now I was/am very moody and none of them liked me much. I wasn't stage school-ey and enthusiastic, I wanted to be in depressing dark films not McDonalds adverts. Oh well. I gave it up completely when I did my last job, a voice over for a film set in France. However afterwards they said they wouldn't hire me again or something because I looked so bored and glum.
Anyway, I was casually shopping in Oxford Street with my two best mates and we went to Topshop. I then saw a crowd gather around a little weeny stage and spotted a sign informing us Eliza Doolittle was going to perform. Like right there and then. Coincimental. It was rather hard to take pics as I got there last minute but I did my best.
Eliza and her guitarist
I enjoyed her hit, Skinny Genes, whilst perusing the Topshop rails. When that ended she played a medley that sounded, well, quite crap really. She's got a nice voice but the song was generic and boring. One of my mates then informed me she was singing a Justin Bieber song (mashed up with something else I couldn't put my finger on) and at that point I bought everything I was carrying and left. Why would she feel the need to resort to covering Bieber? Or has she simply got no taste? Anyway it pissed me off.
I adore Belle & Sebastian and even more so in the summer. They produce the most perfect summer tunes. If you don't know their stuff, the indie pop septet could be described as a combination of The Smiths and The Shins, with a dash of Nick Drake and a droplet of Fleet Foxes. I discovered them when I became obsessed with Teachers, a channel 4 comedy series that started in 2001 and ended in 2004. The series has one of the best soundtracks I've come across (the other programme being Shameless, in which you can enjoy all the best Madchester music). It's still on 4oD if you're interested in watching the four series. To get to the point, the ending theme of Teachers is 'The Boy With The Arab Strap', the title track of their most successful album. The song also featured in 500 days of summer.
Here is their performance of it on Jools Holland:
Two Belle & Sebastian songs also appeared on the soundtrack of Juno (which is stunning).
HEALTH are described by Wikipedia as "an American noise rock band from Los Angeles, California." and that description really doesn't seem very appealing, to me anyway. Fortunately they are much more than that. I previously knew them only as a band who sort of collaborated with CC, calling it 'Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH - Crimewave'. Which is a brilliant song -
Anyway, my mate Ned who is very knowledgeable about music, instructed me to listen to 'We Are Water' by HEALTH. It's from their 2009 album 'Get Color'. The daring video that accompanies the song is absolute beautiful artistic genius. I love every bit of it.
It reminds me of one of my favourite Oscar Wilde quotes that has always stuck with me: "A woman dancing with her bare feet in the blood of a man she has craved for and slain". It's from his play Salomé.
In preparation for the end of my exams, this coming Thursday (4 days to go), I have been making a playlist of songs about school and mostly what a waste of time it is. Another ploy to avoid revision. Also, I like to play it very loudly when getting ready to go attend yet another GCSE. It's not very long at the moment but I'll keep adding to it. There's quite a mix of songs, from hard rock to pop, from punk to indie. Some are silly tracks (like 'Fuck School' by The Replacements), others are beautiful and touching (namely 'At Seventeen' by Janis Ian). It includes obvious choices like 'School's Out' and 'Another Brick In The Wall' as well as Belle & Sebastian songs.
If you do have Spotify you can check it out here (and subscribe to the playlist if you like, I won't stop you). If you don't have Spotify, you're uncool and it's official.
NB: the playlist does not include High School Musical.
Just found this song by watching the Topshop make-up tutorials which all feature 'Play Together' by Chew Lips. Chew Lips are quite 80s and Crystal Castles-esque in terms of the dominating too-cool-for-school-young-a-tad-lesbian-looking front woman and the rest of the band being camera shy men always wearing dark glasses and hoodies. They sort of sound like The Ting Tings.
And they're touring right this moment, meaning they're going to Glasto, iTunes, etc etc.
I recently watched Bagdad Café for the first time, although I've had it on doovdé for years I've never got around to watching it, and although it's a tad aburrido in the middle it's a very good film. The story's nice and the acting's good; however the main attraction is the soundtrack which basically consists of one song that is repeated quite a few times through out the film. Jevetta Steele, a gospel singer, sings the Oscar-nominated song "Calling You". It's beautiful.
'Something in Construction' are a label that represent 69CORP, Akira The Don, Christiansilva, Damn Arms, Kid Casanova, Lazarus, Lonely Dear, Other Passengers and The Silent League. They've released a compilation album called 'Better Pop Music' with 19 new (and at times exclusive) indie/electro/pop songs that are great and what's more is it's completely and utterly FREE! Here's the NME article with a link to the free download.
The track listing: Please Don't Leave - Fear Of Tigers 1901 Memory Tapes Remix - Phoenix Graphics Remodel Edit - Memory Tapes Molly's Vertigo - Acrylics Someday - Ceremony Cannibal Queen - Miniature Tigers Dying/Trying - New Moods Feel It All Around - Washed Out Foreign Thoughts - There Will Be Fireworks GBG Belongs To Us - Air France Generator 2nd Floor - Freelance Whales Journal of Ardency - Class Actress Surfin' - Memory Cassette Forest City - Fitness Club Fiasco To The Forest - The Forest & The Trees When Stars Attack - The Silent League Kiss Me Again - Jessica Lea Mayfield Drinking Again - Rest Odessa - Caribou
My favourite tracks are 'Forest City', 'Journal Of Ardency' and 'Graphics Remodel Edit'.
As I'm sure you've noticed, all the artists in the title are French female singers. Being a half-French female myself, I love listening to these women pour their hearts out. They sound like they're dying of their crippling emotions whilst simultaneously pouting and maintaining their patronising arrogant air (I can say this as I'm half-French remember).
Camille is more commonly known as the frontwoman of Nouvelle Vague, the french indie band most famous for their successful cover albums, 'Nouvelle Vague' and 'Bande à Part' (the albums include songs from the Smiths, the Buzzcocks, Echo & the Bunnymen and Joy Division). Two years before this however she was a solo artist, releasing her debut in 2002. Not my favourite though. 2005 was when my favourite album of hers was released, called 'Le Fil', a concept album that went gold. The reason for this name, which translates as The Thread, is that a quiet drone plays consistently through out - the eccentric Camille says this is 'her note'. Here is a song from her 2008 release named 'Music Hole' and here is one where she uses her voice in interesting ways (which is also a theme in 'Le Fil'). She's quite unique I think.
The beautiful stylish Françoise Hardy
Hardy rather reminds me of Marianne Faithfull. Two stunning '60s style icons. They're about the same age now, 63 and 66, and still looking amazing.
Embedded is Françoise's short and sweet song 'Mon Amie La Rose':
A younger Carla Bruni
The equally bewitching Carla Bruni, now France's First Lady, is still bloody cool, and attractive. She's had all kinds of relationships, including one with a Prime Minister and a President, and is quoted to have said that she is easily "bored with monogamy". A former model and still a singer-songwriter, she has recently been cast in a Woody Allen film to top it all. Carla's 'Quelqu'un m'a dit' is her most well-liked husky voiced chanson:
This Parisian needs no introduction. I admire her most of all, so much in fact that her song 'Les Mots D'Amour' is one of my Desert Island Discs. It's definitely not one of her most well-known.
M.I.A.'s new music video 'Born Free' is worth a watch. It was removed from YouTube because, in NME's words "it features nudity, graphic violence and a plot where ginger adolescents are rounded up into an armour-protected van, driven to the country and either shot or made to run through a minefield". Controversial stuff.
It has come under a lot of criticism as far as I have read, claiming that the video is too "shocking" (according to Anna Pickard) and "gratuitously violent" (as written in this article). Well in my opinion, and I hate to be so blunt, they are boring farts.
It's beautifully shot and nearly 9 minutes long. I like M.I.A., the video, her music and her points of view. At least she's not dull and pretentious (*cough* Lady Gaga).
A couple of months ago, I discovered two music videos that really stuck out in my mind. I rooted out some information, i.e. did some googling, and found that both were directed by the same man. This man is named Matthew Lessner. He's an American filmmaker who has also written and directed a short film, which has very good reviews, starring Michael Cera (the Superbad and Arrested Development guy).
Anyhow, I won't let you wait any longer. Here are the two videos:
The first is the video for 'Stillness Is The Move' by Dirty Projectors, an "experimental rock band" (this is according to Wikipedia.. I wouldn't really call it rock). Amber Coffman (the frontwoman) has a unique and powerful voice, rather like Florence Welch's or even Bjork's. The eccentric looks of the women are likable, there are no boring-to-look-at-blondes; their clothes and make-up are alluring. The landscape is magnificent, almost fictional. The location is Mount Equinox, in Vermont. For me purity is a word that comes to mind when watching the video.
This is 'Surprise Hotel' by Fool's Gold, a Californian band with 11 members. I love the vibrant colours, the lively joyful elderly, the singing in Hebrew and the obvious African influence. I find the Western-African mix rather unusual. There's also some Brazilian stuff going on there I think, as there's either a snare or a caixa and shakers (these are Samba instruments - I played repinique mostly when I was in a Samba band called Rhythms Of Resistance. I started when I was 10 years old. Here's a picture of me I just found playing agogo on a march. I'm half everyone's size). Anyway, the video is so atmospheric, it makes me will for summer to come sooner and to go traveling.
The Drums, the indie-pop band from New York, are the band of the month. Everyone's talking about them. People who are worth talking to are anyway. 'I Felt Stupid' and 'Let's Go Surfing' are simply lovely. Catchy and innocent. And summery! Again! More! Bring on the summer tunes! So far they've only released the EP Summertime in 2009. Although that's understandable considering The Drums have only existed since 2008. I am waiting in anticipation for their self-titled debut album coming out in June. For me, they are reminiscent of Jan & Dean (particularly the above picture). The rock 'n' roll duo were popular in the early '60s and are an early example of the surf music craze. Their most famous song is 'Surf City' (It appeared on the Brice de Nice soundtrack, which is also the reason I know about them. The film, about a silly wannabe surfer, is a French classic in my opinion - although apparently that's not universally thought as it has a 4.7/10 rating on IMDb).
I leave you with the fact that both Morrissey and Johnny Marr have been spotted at their gigs. Oh yes. They must be good.
I really love 'Zebra' by Beach House. I like 'Silver Soul' and 'The Arrangement' too, but not as much as 'Zebra'. It really really reminds me of something, although I don't know what. I must have heard it on an advert... I just can't remember where I recognise it. But I like the nostalgic feeling I have whenever I listen to it. Inexplicable I must say. It's hypnotic, dreamy, warm, makes me think of the word 'lull' and the image of a sunset. Curious.
Let me recap simply... In 1999, Blur entered into a hiatus: Damon was busy creating Gorillaz, Graham went solo and Alex collaborated with people like Marianne Faithfull. Impressive stuff. I'm sure Dave was very busy doing something drummer-ish too... In 2002 they agreed to record another album in Morrocco, except Graham Coxon had a few probs and left. In 2003 therefore they recorded Think Tank without Coxon, which changed their sound (less pop, more electro and simpler riffs due to Damon having to play guitar). They took another break, then in 2009 they got together again (including Coxon) to do a number of gigs. I went to one in Rough Trade East (the big one off Brick Lane), it was brilliant. Unfortunately I didn't go to Glastonbury last year, apparently they were epic.
On Saturday they released their first single for 7 years, 1000 copies of the limited edition 7" for Record Store Day. As you can imagine I am very very annoyed I didn't go to Record Store Day because they are now selling for £200 on eBay. They have also made the mp3 download free on their website however, which is nice of them. Although I've noticed it isn't the full song - it's cut off about a minute earlier than it usually ends.
Another lovely sunny song. I like the way it seems like he's singing about the day on which he recorded the song (''Porridge done, I take my kid to school''). I guess he did write it on April the 1st because it's called 'Fool's Day' and he sings 'Called out by the sun on the first day of April'. I guess that's obvious and I'm being slightly dim. Anyway, it's spontaneous and honest and I like.
I'm on a roll guys, anything to avoid quadratic and reciprocal graphs!
Kate Nash's second album, My Best Friend Is You, came out Monday (on the 19th of May). Her debut, Made of Bricks, was totally addictive in my opinion, although many people thought it cool not to like her. Well I did like her. I've seen her live twice, once at Glastonbury and once, with my mate Georgia, in Rough Trade West (the really little one on Talbot Road). She was great both times. 'Foundations' has been her most popular song so far, reaching #2 in the charts 3 years ago.
My favourite songs on this new one are 'Kiss That Grrrl', 'I've Got a Secret' and, the single, 'Do-Wah-Doo' which entered the charts at #15. I really like most of them though, it is definitely one of those albums you can sit down and listen to all the way through.
Is she the new Kate Nash or Lily Allen? I think so.
Although I have made a couple of people listen to my favourite track of hers and so far the answer has been *shrug* "s'alright". I realise this isn't a good sign. I therefore am posting it up on here to see other reactions.
'Skinny Genes' is a fun summery tune, not that I'm a big fan of 21st century fun summery tunes, but I'm liking this one. Very catchy. Here's the vid:
I'm not too keen on the video to be honest, her face is rather annoying and I don't like the way it's obvious she's miming... but I like her clothes. Especially that gold and black dress.
Well I haven't posted anything for over a year now - how lazy of me... Parties to attend, exams to pass, you know.
The 19th of April 2010 was graced with the release of the album Swim by Caribou. The story is that he had never learned to swim until a year ago when his wife got him lessons for Christmas. He soon became obsessed, swimming everyday, and titled Caribou's next release 'Swim'. Caribou is a Canadian - don't hold it against him - electronica person. His actual name is Daniel Snaith but he likes to go by the name Caribou (previously it was Manitoba but a so-called musician, a punk-rock New Yorker named Richard Manitoba, had threatened to sue him... Americans!). He is frequently compared to Four Tet who is also a 30-something year old electro with a moniker (he too, coincidentally, has just released a fab album named 'There Is Love In You'). I didn't get around to buying it yesterday (actually, embarrassingly, I thought the album was going to be released today so imagine my dismay when I saw that it had been out for a whole 24 hours before I purchased it - very uncool). Where was I? Oh yes so I bought the album off iTunes, obviously Amazon is slightly cheaper but I forgot for a split second, all this revision seems to be making me somewhat slightly dazed. It's great. It's more of the same from the previous album Andorra, which was fantastic. The best tracks on Andorra were 'Melody Day' and 'She's The One'. This album has some added Hot Chip-ness about it - particularly 'Odessa', the opening track. 'Sun' is similar yet different. The only lyric is the word 'sun' which is repeated over and over throughout the song. It's quite psychedelic. I like.