Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Summer shows nowhere near me

3 that i will discuss briefly:

1) Benicassim line up was announced. I am a bit distressed - Underworld is playing. Some other good acts on the line up but all I need is Rick and Karl to make me happy. Just go to the site and wish you lived in Barcelona.

2) Lollapalooza line up was announced. I am also distressed but for different reasons. I bought tickets for this as they were 35 bucks. There are bands I want to see (The Dandy Warhols, The Arcade Fire, The Pixies [I am supposed to say that - they were very good in December but I don't think I NEED to see them again]), but coming a day after Benicassim really took the wind out of the sails on this one for me. The weekend in Chicago is still tempting though.

3) Somerset House shows were announced. This is a very cool venue in London that has an overpriced ice skating rink in the winter. Underworld played two shows there a couple years back and Goldfrapp's DVD, Wonderful Electric, was shot there. I would like to check it out sometime, and this year, Queens of the Stone Age and Super Furry Animals are on consecutive nights on July 7 and 8, respectively (not to mention Doves on the 6th). Damn.

Monday, April 25, 2005

It's All Gone Pete Tong

A movie about the decadent island of Ibiza - yes, I was certainly curious, so a Sunday afternoon was spent flicking out. It's All Gone Pete Tong is about an Arsenal supporting, busted grill sporting (like all limeys), cocaine hoovering, English DJ named Frankie Wilde living the good life in Ibiza. "Going Pete Tong" does not mean playing MOR house for millions of weblisteners every week on the Essential Selection but rather cockney for things going wrong (cockney slang is generally based on rhymes). Things go very wrong for Frankie when he loses his hearing, his chav wife and their clearly fathered by a man of another ethnicity son, while simultaneously descending into a charlie-induced mania. After months of Howard Hughes level of madness, Frankie pulls it together, learns how to read lips from a foxy Spaniard, improbably learns to both DJ and produce music by sight and feeeeeeling rhythms (when he puts his feet on a subwoofer), and ultimately returns to the apex of the nightclubbing world.

It was both better than that I expected and a little disappointing. There was a lot more to the movie than the pure gimmick of seeing Ibiza on screen. As someone who has experienced the world's largest club (Privilege) and it's most debauched night, Manumission (pricey as hell but an impressive hyperbolic fete – Mike and Claire Manumission [and not that's not their real name I don't think], the couple behind the party, clearly employ pyrotechnics without the Great White/RI disaster as a frame of reference), that was plenty entertaining to see on the screen. Wilde's demise is very grizzly and seeing phlegm pour out of his nose serves very well as a deterrent for planning a several month period of acting out all of the characters in Fleetwood Mac, Rumors era. That said, there were some Tony Montana-level moments of cocaine ingesting which always provides entertainment. I have to say that rooting for a jackass drugged out DJ to pull it together is not often the case, by the end of the film, there is something a little bit endearing about Frankie, which makes the film work as more than a send up of nightclub culture. Other notable strength: while the mockumentary aesthetic that the film employs is only done half-assed, hearing Paul van Dyk and Tiesto deliver a couple of lines about the genius of Frankie Wilde was quality. PVD is wise to let others sing on his records – everyone's favorite Berlin Wall jumping trance selector has a nasal-y voice.

My beef: while it goes further than a pure gimmick film by developing a nice redemptive story behind Frankie, the film had an amateur quality with a couple of elements. The dialog was most certainly not written by Robert Towne (ask any film student about the script to Chinatown and they will repeat the mantra about the brilliance of the screenplay that was hammered home in class). The clumsiness of the lines are exacerbated by the annoying delivery of the character of Frankie's American manager, Max (a doppelganger for Larry Flynt). The actor who played him, according to IMDB, has done most of his work in England, so as I suspected, it was a bad American accent based on the worst of American stereotypes. It's not that it sounded un-American, but it was so over the top, it wasn't believable. I am sure when Mr. Wilmot does his American accent at parties, it goes off like gangbusters.

A low brow comedy in which you can see the seams on the film can still be quality, and Pete Tong pulls that off. There is little sophistication in the cinema of it, but there are plenty of ideas within the movie to make it worth seeing – if you are a hedonistic anglophile.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Billy Corgan

Because government employees (besides me) are inept, I have a busy week ahead of me. But for the Smashing Pumpkins fans among you, I wanted to quickly share this.

Some artists' blog are better than others according to Pitchfork. I am not sure if this is a blog per se, but Billy Corgan has a new website and on it he has a section called confessions. He very candidly discusses relations within the band (particularly around the time of Jimmy Chamberlin's temporary departure), his own patterns of sex and drug use, and other very juicy and revealing details. Check it out when you have a little time to put into it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Erol Alkan Mix News

A while back I reported on Erol Alkan's upcoming mix CD. Two discs, one called A Bugged Out Mix by Erol Alkan, and the other disc being A Bugged In Selection With Erol Alkan. The release date is going to be April 25 in Europe. According to CD Universe, it may actually get a US release in May. Here is an E-card dedicated to the album with a funky disco-rockin' groove playing on it. Woo Hoo!

The tracklistings are on the E-card and it looks good! On Bugged Out..., the big news is the inclusion of his edit of Josh Wink's "Higher State of Consciousness" with The Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers" (this song goes off spectacularly when dropped in a sweaty club), some Soulwax and some Goldfrapp. On Bugged In.., there is a "remix" of Spacemen 3's "Big City," an Ulrich Schnauss remix of Justin Robertson's "Love Movement," a Nirvana song called "Rainbow Chaser" (I am sure someone knows where that is from), M83's "Birds," and some Clinic. If I was a betting man (which Texas Hold 'Em is turning me into), I would predict this is one of the bigger releases of the year for the MMM soundsystem. Erol became a member of the selector pantheon while I lived in England in the fall of 2003. Unfortunately he doesn't come to the US much - he would be a killer at the Tribeca Grand on a Saturday night now that the Fixed party is picking up steam.

EDIT: You can sample the tracks on there too and the Spacemen 3 is sounds very cool - I don't know the original but I imagine this is a bit more rawkish than it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Half of the Dandy Warhols (Courtney and Brent) @ Rothko

While it is sometimes a love/hate thing with Dandy Warhols for me, the truth is that they didn't lie when they said "Dandy's rule, ok." Too much excellent music. When I heard that Brent and Courtney would be playing a show at Rothko tonight to celebrate the release of DiG! on DVD, well, it was hard to say no. Free show and free Heineken too (I had received an email indicating a Heineken open bar but I got no link to it), well that just sealed the deal.

Peephole and I got there in time to see Hopewell. They were good I guess. I dunno, the more music I hear the less I can digest - I can't really handle hearing music live that I don't know at the moment. I think it might be another sign I am getting old. Their sound was big and anthemic but their lead singer, who apparently is a one time member of Mercury Rev, sounds quite a bit like Mercury Rev's lead singer, Jonathan Donohue.

Brent and Courtney played next. They started with a cover of something old but no idea what. Only played "We Used to be Friends" and "You Were the Last High" of their own, then two Beatles songs "8 Days a Week" and "All My Loving," then appropriately closed with covers of two Brian Jonestown Masscare songs which I think (but I am not certain by any means) were, "Stars" and "Fucker" (someone correct me if they know otherwise). It was just the two guys with acoustic guitars - impressed to see Brent come out from behind the kit and play the guitar (and even offer a couple of understated harmonies too). Probably because they were acoustic songs in part, but Courtney breathed songs rather than sang them - I am not sure if chanteur is commonly used to describe a male singer, but it seemed appropriate tonight. Peephole has a friend that was hit on by Courtney once and got his number at a bar - tonight she reiterated that her friend was a fool.

I have to note a couple of things. First, a bad thing: the crowd was horrible. Yes, this was a record release party at a crappy venue so I wasn't expecting much, but two guys are on stage with acoustic guitars and a good chunk of the crowd talked their way through the show. I am convcinced that the 7th layer of hell will be full of "industry" people. The upside of a "concert" full of indifferent label people and Spin Magazine interns was that it was very easy to get up to the stage. Second, a great thing: I talked to Brent after the show and this is how it transpired:

MMM: Brent, the first song you played, was it a new song?
Brent: I don't remember dude (Peephole later said it was an old song, but didn't remember what).
MMM: Are you guys touring this summer for the new album?
Brent: Dude, I hope so, but I'll be honest, I don't even know what I am doing tomorrow, but if I could I would go on the road tomorrow.
MMM: Any chance you guys will go back to Benicassim?
Brent: That place was amazing - Courtney and I still have our wristbands from it (he shows us his wristband - we also saw Courtney's later on).

So there you have it, another member of a great band that has played Benicassim has confessed an undying love for the great festival (here is another one).

In the end, after paying for subway transportation and one beer after the open bar ended to see half of the Dandy Warhols play a few acoustic numbers was very good value.

The Men Machines

Brooklyn Vegan recently reported, after presumably dilligently checking the Kraftwerk site for a while, that they had scheduled a US tour with a June 1st date at the Hammerstein Ballroom. That show goes on sale at 11 on Friday the 15th (so don't be at the post office sending out your tax returns then).

I saw them in Benicassim last summer. I won't gush about the festival but I'll quickly gush about their show - it's crazy! 4 50something German men standing motionlessly in a row in front of laptops while an oversized sharp as shit LCD sceen behind them displays some cool visuals, man. Sure it's a silly and highly conceptual bordering on pretenious - but it's really awesome and only old Teutonics who have been doing it for 30 years could get away with it. They focused heavily on the Tour de France Soundtrack and plenty of big hits thrown in as well ("Trans Europe Express," "The Man Machine," "The Robots"). All you suckas can fight for your floor seats, I will be (hopefully) on the 1st mezzanine because this is a show for sitting - though these days more and more shows are feeling like that for me (why would you want to stand during a Chemical Brothers concert?)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Meet the Mets

Peephole and I were in the nation's capital for the weekend for ony of my HS friend's wedding. It was at the Westin Embassy Row just off Dupont Circle and it was extremely tasteful - as easy as it usually is to laugh at the cringeworthy moments of a matrimonial ceremony, this one had none. We stayed at the swank boutique Hotel Rouge - can't beat finding a leopard print terry cloth robe in the closet.

Hopefully, today I will continue the trend of attending events that are not cringeworthy. I am going to opening day for
Los Mets against the 9 Astros of Houston. Frauds usually has more to share with the public about Los Mets (I internalize my suffering) but I feel about as good as anyone could with a 1 and 5 team. They have not looked as bad as a team with only one with so far.

As a reward for me attending opening day, I offer you two versions of the seminal 1986 hit "Let's Go Mets" It's quite the genre bending cut, but ultimately sounds something like Rodney Dangerfield's cover of "Twist and Shout" in Back to School (shame it wasn't the Basement Jaxx track "Jump n Shout")

Here is the
original mix and the "dance mix" from the 12 inch. The dance mix is essentially a double lengh version of to the original except for an Alkian-like flourish during the breakdown at about the 3 and a half minute mark.

And if you want to learn more about the brilliant Shelly Palmer, the producer behind "Let's Go Mets" - check it out
here.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Some shows/spring cleaning of sorts

I have seen a few shows in the last week, Graham Coxon (at the Bowery Ballroom on Friday April 1), LCD Soundsystem (at the same on April 2), and The Fiery Furnaces (at NorthSix last night). As this is a journal and I need to make a better effort to keep it updated on what I have been up to.

1) Graham Coxon: I know nothing of his solo work. I went in expecting not a whole lot and because of that I was pleseantly surprised for a good chunk of it. He was a great guitarist in Blur and he still is. The Blur guitar sound is very distinctive and he still makes that sound so to see that was rather enjoyable. I enjoyed most of the the songs (and he packed a ton in - 20some in 80 minutes or so). My biggest beef was that several of the songs (and I believe they were new, unreleased ones) had that plain and boring English punk sound that The Libertines and The Babyshambles seem live and die by. I liked The Libertines alright (and even met Blur's bratty frontman Damon Albarn at their show at the Bowery Ballroom a while back - hey Damon, you bastard, why didn't you play "Oily Water" at Field Day? I am sure if Noel Gallagher had promised me a song before a show, Oasis would haev played it) but got a bit tired of the sound quickly, and Pete Doherty's imbecility even faster. I had read somewhere that Coxon had been playing with Doherty's Babyshambles or something. I dunno - he should write more melodic songs, unoriginal new punk songs coming from a veteran musician in his mid 30s is kinda sad. Peephole's write up of the show is here.

2) LCD Soundsystem - if you were interested in this show, I am sure you have read about it elsewhere. What more can I say that wasn't said by One Louder or Peephole? Well, all I can say about it is that each time I have seen them (3 now), they have become a performing unit and now they are truly a band. Murphy's dry wit on stage is great. I see One Louder's point about the details of the sound getting a little lost in the energy they play with (though I don't think there is much of a difference), but I personally think they are striking a very nice balance between achieving the well produced album sound and playing an ass kicking live show. Talk about energy, there was a hipster mosh pit during "Movement!" I though "On Repeat" was much better live. Having "Losing My Edge" and "Yeah" in the last three songs of the night is just unfair - these two songs are so good (and so much better than pretty much anything) and to nail them at the end of a show is a perfect finale (I do agree with comments on OL post that the cover of a Siouxsie and the Banshees songs shouldn't have separated the two songs). No encore needed.

3) The Fiery Furnaces - again, Peephole and OL have more interesting things to say than I do. I agree with pretty much everything Peephole said. Unlike LCD, the Furnaces, in my usually humble opinion, need to be more faithful to the nuances of the album to be impressive. Their whimsical side gets lost in the mix and their very sped up live pacing. Eleanor's vocals need to be louder and clearer too as they are such an integral component and last night the only lyric I clearly heard was "I lost my dog..." I didn't love them live the first time I saw them (opening for Wilco), and I didn't walk out of last night yearning to see them again. Their almost too schtick oriented live - though I preferred the schtick first time when they played the extended medley more. Their drummer annoyed me less last night but I think he is a bit of a gimmick drummer and should just play the damn drums and not act like he is in dire need of ritalin. I like Blueberry Boat and their recently released EP, but I am less sold on the live experience. And I agree that a weeknight show that ends at 12:45 is nucking futs. Quickly worth noting from the night was the goofy singer for Dios Malos. These guys were ok but part of why the show went so late was that this band was SO SLOOOOW removing their gear from the stage (and getting it ready between songs). One would think they were high they moved at such a snail's pace - and then they confirmed it when the Ricky (from Better off Dead) lookalike said during a mic break ("we got stopped 4 times driving across county, 3 times I was high, and the cops screwed around with our equipment that's why it's taking long to set it up"). Either that, or you smoked a massive joint in the desolate part of Williamsburg and you can't tell one of your 12 string acoustic guitars from the other (an opener with two acoustic guitars on stage - do they think they are Radiohead?).

Finally: I did a double take when I saw two posts from Peephole in one day...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Lollapalooza 2005 - featuring Satellite Party

So the extra special, pretty, and very cheap souvenir tickets for Lollapalooza 2005 went on sale today and sold out in 80 minutes (oh yeah, they are doing Lollapalooza this year as a "destination festival" in Chicago the weekend of July 23 and 24). I got my pair because a) I shouldn't have trouble getting a little time off around then, b) a friend in the second city just got a new place that I am looking forward to crashing at, c) it was only 35 bucks (!) for the 2 day pass and they say 70 bands will be there - I am sure I will find a few to make it worthwhile, and d) the Cubs play the Giants at Wrigley Field on the following Monday night and I wanna see the formerly big headed Bonds. The rumored list (they do put an asterisk to indicate that it is a rumor) so far, according to semi-official Perry Farrell website aintnoright has: Billy Corgan, Pixies, Beck, Green Day, The Killers, Widespread Panic, Weezer, and The Kaiser Chiefs. I could live with seeing a few of those bands for certain.

Another band that may be making an appearance, also according to aintnoright, is the Satellite Party - this is Perry's new band, featuring (gulp) Nuno Bettencourt - Portugal's gift to hair metal (Extreme's guitarist). Aintnoright suggests they will play and that wouldn't surprise. I dunno - this one is over my head. Perry does weird things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I would much rather see a Porno for Pyros reunion (an incredibly underrated band).

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Choon of the Moment: Slowdive "Slowdive"

For the most part, I have not made the Choons available on here - a variety of reasons behind that including that most were not already on line (and I am lazy), plus I am generally a bit dubious of distributing music on the net (but you can read plenty about all of that here - I don't necessarily agree with any opinions expressed there, but the comments on that page are entertaining).

Well, I am experimenting this week with providing a song for download and I am changing the title of this section to moment because I tend to get called out for not updating it enough and I deserve that. So now it is the Choon of the Moment (it might actually be weekly though now).

Slowdive is another band from the early 90s shoegazing scene. I can't tell you a whole lot that you won't be able to find out for yourself here so I won't provide a whole lot of background. I believe a couple of the members, including both singers Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead, went on to form Mojave 3 subsequently, and Rachel Goswell has gone solo, and both of those projects have gotten remixed by Ulrich Schnauss. Musically, they are closer to My Bloody Valentine than Ride - plenty of walls of guitarish sounds comingling with breathy male and female vocals where the emphasis is on the voice as an amorphous instrument. It's very, very chill music.

This track, "Slowdive" (yes, one of those odd scenarios where the band name is the same as a song name - any others come to mind?) is a sublime song. Makes me want to just lie down. When "shoegazers" get that balance of ethereal beauty (and they are always going for that) undefined sounds and melodies just right, it hits you in the sweet spot and "Slowdive" did that for me.

You can get "Slowdive" here. If the track is no longer downloading, drop a comment and I will attempt to fix it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I would just like to ask Mr. Cobain a few questions - it won't take long

Well, apparently BBC is not as hip to what is going on in the world as we would hope...
(if you are a Yahoo news reader, you probably have seen this)

Graham Coxon + LCD Soundsystem + Headman + Ride = a potentially tiring weekend

I am going to at least a couple of shows this weekend. First, Graham Coxon, former dour guitarist of Blur, is playing solo at the Bowery Ballroom tonight. "Coffee and TV" is a great song (one of the few Blur tracks he sings), so if that is any indication, it should be a fun night, but I am going in with low expectations - Peephole is the impetus behind me going. The 22-20s are opening and all I know about them is Jason "Poppy" Pierce - leader of beloved Spiritualized - remixed a song of theirs, so they must be doing something sort of right. Will try to get there in time for them.

Saturday night could be big: LCD Soundsystem at the Bowery (I'll be there all weekend). LCD live is an excellent show, and my previous experiences with them was before I knew the album. The late half of the night might be at the Tribeca Grand Hotel where Headman is spinning. I know a few tracks (including a quality remix of Annie's "Chewing Gum") - at the moment I don't have much to say about it other than it's funky and off-kilter. My brain is a little slow this morning.

Finally, just learned that Mark Gardener of Ride is playing the Shout party at Bar 13 on Sunday night. I am a late convert to the blissful shoegaze of Ride - though you can read a little about them here. He apparently does play some Ride stuff live during his solo shows. If I am feeling up to it, to see him for free would be worth it.