Sunday, 29 June 2008

More Music Related Rambling And A Pop Song.

A lot of people who write about music really don't have a fucking clue what they're on about, do they. I opened up the Guardian Guide to read this week's Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn, and thought I'd check out what gigs they're recommending, and got reminded that So So Modern are playing in Oxford. Sweeeeet. Then I read their description of So So Modern. "Electronic madness with occasional melodies from New Zealand. Like an Antipodean Hadouken!, only slightly better."
There are at least three things wrong with this. 1: So So Modern have plenty of melodies and tunes. I'm listening to them now, and I think, yes. Yes. Definite melodies. Quite a lot of them too. In no way is it an occasional occurrence. 2: So So Modern's music is not "madness" in any real way. It's actually pretty accessible. 3: So So Modern sound nothing like Hadouken!. The only similarity is that they have guitars and synths. It's a stupid comparison. It's like saying Common and Jay-Z sound the same because they both rap.
I could add a 4th point and say that So So Modern are not "slightly better" than Hadouken!, So So Modern are in fact pretty much INFINITELY better.
The cd I have of So So Modern is being kind of reissued tomorrow. I don't think the ep "Friendly Fires" was ever widely available over here apart from as a series of seven inches from the Transgressive website, but Transgressive are issuing them now on cd with another series So So Modern did called the "000" ep's, which I had never heard of before. That's 8 more tracks I don't have! It's gonna have to be bought.
Also, at work there is a little review of the Alphabeat album to go on display with it, which quite frankly takes the piss. I can't remember it now sadly, but I do remember that as part of it's description, it says they are "jazzy" and "trip-hop" as well as about 4 other genre-specific terms that simply do not apply to Alphabeat. Alphabeat make pretty straightforward pop songs. The review makes them sound like some sort of cross between The Mars Volta & early Massive Attack. Which they sure are not.

Some of the people writing music at the moment aren't any better though it has to be said. At work on Monday, the music seemed even more depressing than usual. A Nickelback song called "Photograph" with some tear-your-own-face-off-they're-that-terrible lyrics. I just read them and can't bring myself to put them up on here. If you want to know how bad they are, go here: :although I really don't recommend it.
However, it got even worse. Two songs by the Jonas Brothers in a row. And for the whole rest of the week coz it's been "Album Of The Week" at work so we've had to listen to it repeatedly as if we're prisoners of war being tortured or something. They sound like an American McFly. But worse. I'm not even going to look for their lyrics, find them yerself if you fancy making yer eyes bleed just gazing at the sheer terribleness of what someone thinks are good song lyrics.
This repeated exposure has lead me on more than one occasion to say out loud to myself, "Jesus, you really don't have to have any talent whatsoever to write a pop song anymore."

In an effort to prove this, I've written some pop song lyrics. Here they are. I've simply called it:


The first time I saw you I fell in love,
The second time I saw you I fell some more,
Third time around I fell in love even more,
And then I had to come running to your door.
I fell to my knees and told you that I love you,
You said you're sorry but you just weren't interested,
But I did not give up, no, I persisted,
And then eventually you told me you'd fallen too.

But now I'm worried,
Are you really in love with me?
Do you really,
Are you really in love with me?

Woah, what is the world coming to,
When I can't tell you how much I love you?
It's like we're riding in a car,
But the car lost control,
And now we're falling off the edge of a cliff.
Cliff was a good man,
And so was Hercules,
If they were here right now,
I'd take them for a drink,
And tell them how much I love you-oo-oo-oooh.

If I was Julius Caesar and you were Cleopatra,
Would you stay with me or run off with Anthony?
If I were a broken vase and you were my owner,
Would you glue me back together or just throw me away?

If you were an emotional cheesecake,
I would drizzle my love coulis on you,
Coz I think you're cool,
Even cooler than Steve McQueen in "Bullitt".
Bullet For My Valentine are a band,
You give me a funny feeling in my pituitary gland,
And my duodenum, Hey! Just for fun,
Why don't we go to the park and eat ice-cream?


Woah, aint it great to be alive?
Come over here and I'll give you a high-five,
Or a kiss. Missing you already,
Won't you come over and make my day?


Worrying thing is that if someone were to put that to a pop tune and have pretty young boys singing it, it would probably shift bucket-loads and I'd be a millionaire.

Morals, eh? They sure don't get you money.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Statesvision! (or, Yet Another Million Pound Idea Again! God I'm Full Of Them. I Must Be A Genius Or Something.)

American's love to adapt an idea, don't they. From adapting UK sitcoms for a US audience (e.g "The Office", "Queer As Folk"), to adapting Asian Cinema for a US audience (e.g "The Ring", "The Eye", "Dark Water") to adapting UK reality tv for a US audience ("Pop Idol" becomes "American Idol", "Dragon's Den" becomes "American Inventor"), the US love taking an idea, remaking it on at least 4 times the originals budget, and giving back out again. Well, I reckon there's one thing they've really missed out on, and all American production companies should seriously consider this as their next big idea.


Woah there Axl, Eurovision?! But this is America!

Exactly. THIS is my idea.


May need to work on a better name for it...

Just as the European countries have a contest to see who will represent them in Eurovision, each state would have their own "Song For Iowa" style contest. The winner would go through to the semi-finals where they would be voted down to a selection for the final. This could be done not as one big semi-final like Eurovision, but could be done in stages, with the states being separated into groups (e.g, 4 groups: north-west, north-east, south-west, south-east), and a certain number from each group would be voted into the final. Then the final would be just like Eurovision. A couple of hours of mostly questionable songs, followed by a couple of hours of getting the votes of each individual state, which would tally up to find the eventual winner.

Come on America. You would fucking love this shit, and you know it.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Come Back Great Eskimo Hoax!!! All Is Forgiven!!!!!

Certain things I dislike so much they actually inspire feelings of hatred in me. I hate the band Arcade Fire. Hate them. Every time I hear them, I feel like my soul is dying. I hate the tv shows "Skins" & "Sex & The City". Violently hate them. Wish they were physical human entities so i could scream in their faces about just how much I hate them, until they go blind from the sheer volume of anger levelled at them. Hate hate hate. I'm getting angry just thinking about them.
A lot of things I dislike, but a few things I hate quite this much. The latest is the band Alphabeat. I just used to dislike them, but after having to hear their album at work today, they are the latest addition to the metaphorical Axl's Most Hated list.
If any of you have had the good fortune to not have heard them yet, then you are very lucky indeed. There is a joke in the film "Wayne's World", where Wayne asks Cassandra where she learned English, to which she replies "College! .....And the Police Academy movies."Well, Alphabeat sound like they learned all their English AND musical skills from watching the film "High School Musical" over and over and over again.
It's music for children. If you like Alphabeat and are over the age of 14, then you are mentally retarded.
A while ago I said that Great Eskimo Hoax sounded like a school play, but worse. This was way too harsh, and a bit stupid. Basically what happened was I came up with the line and just wanted to use it, and just happened to not be blown away by Great Eskimo Hoax, so used that opportunity to use that line, coz y'know, I've got this blog and I'm like sooooooo a proper journo and whatever, not just an overgrown kid whose read too much Charlie Brooker, HELL no.
So, Great Eskimo Hoax, I formally apologise, because Alphabeat actually do sound like a school play, but worse. I would rather listen to GEH for all eternity than hear one Alphabeat song ever again in my whole life.
Seriously, have you ever been awake at 6 in the morning and watched Channel 5? They show that Hi-5 programme, basically an Australian Steps sing songs to kids. That's what every Alphabeat song sounds like. They sound like they were genetically engineered by The Disney Channel.
Alphabeat are not fun. Disco is fun. You know why? Coz it's good aswell. Alphabeat are not good because they are not fun.
So why are they popular? Well, I've noticed a trend in Classical music journalism. Bear with me here, my point will be made. The trend is the mentality that all music is good and if there is a problem with the music it is down to the performers and not the music itself. Therefore, I have personally found, you have classical cds that get good reviews simply because they are performed well, or even just enthusiastically, with feeling. Whereas when you actually listen to the cds themselves, they are actually not that great, because the music itself is, well, a bit boring really. I think this trend is reflected in the mainstream press too, and hold up The Kooks, Pigeon Detectives and Panic At The Disco as my main evidence. I would list more, but I can't think of them right now. Bands who write terrible songs, but play them passionately. This does not a good band make. Sure, it might pass them off live, but recorded material is often a whole other thing. I've seen bands who've been great live, but pretty poor on record/cd/mp3/whatever, because their songs and material simply aren't that great. Music journalists seem to me to be getting a bit lazy and assuming that music is good because it is music, and it is the performance of a band that makes them good, forgetting that crafted music itself can be bad.
And Alphabeat are bad. Very very bad. They deserve to be sent to bed without their dinner. And no tele for a week. No, it's no good crying Alphabeat, you have been naughty and you must be punished. Now get out of my sight.
Great Eskimo Hoax can have seconds. And I'll take them out for ice cream afterwards.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


I completely had no idea what to write about, so 'Caela said I should write about turtles. Now, I know nothing about turtles, but I looked up turtles on Google, went to a site, and found out they can't breathe underwater. This surprised me, as I had always assumed they could. It surprised 'Caela too, tho' she then said it stands to reason, due the fact they don't have gills or anything like that. So turtles can't breathe underwater. Turns out they simply hold their breath for large ammounts of time. The longest I can ever remember holding my breath for is 50 seconds. I can't remember what it was, but there was this book I had which got you to do various things or something. I don't knoow, all I can remember is that there was a bit where it told you to write in how long you could hold your breath for. I was on a journey somewhere with my mum, and she timed me. 50 seconds. Not really very good, but I've never tried to beat it. I don't like holding my breath for any longer than I have to. My asthma gives me involuntary periods of not being able to breath, as far as I'm concerned I don't want to do something which is forced upon me in the most stressful way. Like, if someone put a gun to my head every now and then saying "Wank now, or I'm gonna fucking kill you.", I don't think I would ever have a wank of my own accord ever again. Well, actually that's probably a bad example, I probably would coz, well, it's wanking, but maybe if it was a delicious cake or something, "Eat this cake now or you're fucking dead, you cunt.", maybe I wouldn't be able to eat that cake again. Just that specific type of cake obviously, I doubt, I could be put off ALL cakes. Unless the gunman alternated cakes, a different one each time, that might put me off ever eating any cake of my own free will. But then how would you explain yourself at parties? "Yeah sorry Dave, I can't eat your cake due to the ongoing trauma of this guy who finds me, kidnapps me, puts a gun to my head and forces me to eat cake every now and then." No-one would believe that! I'd have to pretend I was diabetic or something. Sometimes I've pretended to not enjoy playing sports to cover up the embarassment of having an asthma attack. Seriously, last time I played football, I lasted about 3 minutes, before I had to stop playing coz I couldn't breathe anymore. Actually, that was the penultimate time I played football. The last time I played football, I made sure I was in goal so that that wouldn't happen again. I wonder if turtles get asthma? If a turtle did get asthma, how would it combat it? I've never heard of an animal getting asthma, although there is a record label called Asthmatic Kitty, who put out Sufjan Stevens albums, although most of his stuff is available over here thru a UK label too. Sufjan Stevens confuses me. Mostly, because I just don't get why he's so revered. I've got "Michigan" and "Enjoy Your Rabbit", which are quite good, have a couple of really good songs each I seem to remember, but the album everyone went apeshit over was "Illinoise", which I thought was painfully boring and unbearably twee. The creaming of pants continued with "Avalanche", which might as well have just been the sound of Sufjan yawning for an hour or so, although that would probably have been more interesting, especially if he'd been yawning into Patel Pretal's equipment. They'ld have probably made it sound like an hour long cuddle. Someone should bring Sufjan Stevens over to Oxford and hook him up with PP before he's had a chance to get over his jetlag. They'ld produce something awesome I bet. 62 minutes of warm yawning, he could name that one after a U.S. state that he finds boring, but very pretty. Seriously, if he's actually going to record an album for each state before he dies, he's gonna have to pull his fucking finger out. He is moving somewhat at a turtles pace. Turtle vs tortoise. Who would win that race? Maybe they'ld get so involved in a rivalry that neither would notice the hare slipping by on the inside lane. "Yes, I finally beat that damn trtoise!" he'd say, before someone pointed out to him that he wasn't actually part of this race, so it doesn't matter. I always wondered what happened after the story of the tortoise and the hare cut off. Did the hare learn the error of his ways? Or did he just storm around sulking and bullying the smaller animals? Someone needs to write a sequel to the tortoise and the hare story.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Roy Hargrove - "Ear Food"

4th June 2008 - Today at work in the basement

Axl: - "Oooh, the new Roy Hargrove album's out. I liked his last one, I'll give this a listen."

Puts on CD. A couple of minutes pass.

Axl: - "Oh dear, I'm very sleepy. "

Axl falls asleep and dreams. He's on a conveyor belt, like the floor escalators they have in airports. Either side of him, men sit on clouds, clicking their fingers along to the music, watching Gerald Clayton playing a piano made of sponge cake. Then up pops Roy Hargrove at the end of the conveyor belt playing a trumpet that sprays out custard at an alarming rate. Custard fills the space. Axl, now up to his shoulders in custard, has his head jerked to one side by Justin Robinson, who proceeds to grate cheese into Axl's ear, then pulls out a saxophone made of cotton wool and bores Axl with a solo. Montez Coleman crafts an astronauts helmet out of marshmallow, puts it on Axl's head and drums on it while in the distance, Danton Boller has picked up an un-used cloud & is using it as a double bass. Roy Hargrove then comes back, pulls up the visor on Axl's helmet and plays his trumpet in Axl's face, drowning Axl in custard. Axl's drowning drowning in custard! He's drowning.........

Axl wakes up.

Axl: - "God, is this shit still playing? How much is left? 23 minutes?! Fuck that, I'm turning this off, it's terrible!"

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Black Kids @ The Zodiac, 2nd June 2008.

(I'm still not going to call it the Carling.)

It's been a while since I went to a gig on my own, but with 'Caela being too ill, I find myself in the Zodiac on my own for the first time in years. I'd forgotten what it was like, how the mind wanders. How the voices of the crowd morph into white noise. The album "Black Sunday" by Cypress Hill is playing, but all you can hear over the crowd are the beats, so it kind of sound like some kind of avant-garde concept album. Variations on a drone - the mass of anonymous voices remaining constant while a series of different and changing beats are put behind it to see how they affect and alter it.
This is the kind of thing you start thinking about when yer at a gig on yer own.
I started thinking about my drink quite a lot. How it was cheaper to buy a JD & Coke at ATP than it is here. Get that? It's cheaper to buy booze at a festival than it is at the Zodiac now. Ridiculous.
Also, when I came to DJ Derek 4 days previously, a JD & Coke was £3.30, whereas tonite it's £3.40, the same price it was when I bought one at the Hot Chip gig in February. Are Carling changing their prices for drinks depending on whether they're putting on a gig or a club night? Seems a bit cheeky to me.
And it seems to be tonight, that either Carling aren't selling 25ml measures of JD, or their syrup to soda ratio in their coke is heavily in syrups favour. Either way, £3.40 for a JD & Coke the size of a rat's foot spa should taste a hell of a lot more alcoholic than that one did.
There is one thing I'm enjoying about being on my own tonite tho'. For the first time I can remember, I'm on my own at a gig before the band starts, NOT getting depressed by all the hot women in the audience all either having boyfriends or being blatantly not interested in any attempt at pulling I could come up with. It must be because a) I'm not single: & b) My girlfriend doesn't live hundreds of miles away. It's strangely liberating being on yer own in a room with hot women and not giving a crap.
It's lucky for me too, coz one of the women in Black Kids is seriously hot. Tonite, she looks, dresses, and moves like Chaka Khan, reinvented as an indie sex kitten. If they had been playing at any gig I'd been to on my own before, I'd have probably fallen in love with her instantly. Not tonite tho', thankfully.
Thankfully because a) I have a girlfriend: & b) Black Kids are a pretty exciting prospect, and one I may not have been fully aware of had I been focusing on one particular band member and not on the band and the music as a whole.
Their dynamic is a little strange in that they have about 3 frontpeople - the afforementioned Chaka Khanesque woman on synth and vocals, a woman who tonite looks quite a lot like someone I know called Cecilia also on synth and vocals, and a man who looks and moves a little bit like a teenage Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on guitar and vocals. The other 2, drummer bloke and Bassist guy, just kind of stay at the back and get on with things while these 3 entertain us. Basically it's the "Dare" era Human League dynamic, but with more instruments and with less of an obvious sense of who holds the power in this band. Whereas Human League have (since "Dare" at least) seemed, quite obviously, to be a Phil Oakey autocracy, Black Kids seem to be a band of shared responsibility, a group of equals coming together to pursue a dream.
This shared responsibility probably goes someway to explaining their sound, a pooling together of ideas which sounds simultaneously like about 100 bands and yet you can't really put your finger on which ones. Part synth pop, part indie dance, part 80's guitar that's come from the same place as wherever VHS Or Beta got their influence from, part other styles you're not sure of in this context, this is why Black Kids are such an exciting prospect. They genuinely don't sound like what you expect or know, but at the same time sound familiar/recognisable enough that they have potentially a very wide ranging appeal. It will be very interesting to see what happens with this band of energetic youngsters. I can't wait to hear what the album sounds like, because live, they, well, they just rock basically. I know I use the word far too often, but they are totally awesome.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Prong Sayer.

Christianity is full of song and prayer, but I propose a religion of prong sayer, where every Sunday we congregate somewhere, bring out Leo Sayer, and poke him with a sharp iron rod for three hours. It's not that I don't like the guy, I just think it would be quite fun. A hell of a lot more fun and bearable than almost any Christian church service anyway, even if you are Leo Sayer.

Also, I had a dream that I went to a zoo, but instead of real animals, it was a zoo of living stuffed toy animals. Can someone make this dream a reality please? That would be amazing.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Another Million Pound Idea.

Mother's Milk Fudge.

Fudge made with breast milk.

Tell me you wouldn't fucking love that.

If Animals Don't Go To Heaven.....

.....does that mean heaven has it's own farming & livestock already, or is heaven like a vegan cafe? Coz' if it is, then I don't want to go. Send me down under to the eternal barbecue.

Is Hell Australia?

My mate Lee is in Australia, and he seems to be enjoying it.

Maybe I'll go to Australia when I die.