Sunday, April 20, 2008

an intermission

Recently, I've been busier than I think I have ever been in my life. I mentioned the other day how my life has been a whirlwind of working, work travelling and studying, with socialising and, of course, music listening squeezing in there in small intervals. As such, my time hasn't been spent finding music to write to you about, and as much as I would love to write something special about some recent discoveries, I haven't listened to them enough to give these special bands the words and time they deserve. So perhaps you'll receive that entry in the next couple of days, before I embark on my journey to the other side of the world.

In saying that, there are two things I'd like to write to you about:

1. Tyler Brûlé
In late 2006, I developed an infatuation with Canadian-born journalist, editor, columnist, entrepreneur and man-about-the-world Tyler Brûlé. He produced a series for the BBC called "Counter Culture", which explored aspects of consumerism within different societies throughout the world. Just yesterday, I bought my first copy of his magazine, Monocle, which openly targets the well-heeled travellers and business types of the world. Clearly, the intellectual wank points are high here, but he just has such charisma and appeal, and, most of all, he's on the mark with his thoughts on design, research and media. If you are exactly like Tyler and aren't gay, please marry me now. Here is a video of him at a design conference in Germany:

2. Travels and mix CDs
As I prepare for my first big holiday in five years, I have been thinking about how songs can influence various moments in one's life. I still have a copy of the mix CD I made for my wonderful friend Lina before I went last time, and it defined the three weeks I spent in Scandinavia and London. Since then, I can't listen to songs such as Broadcast's "The Book Lovers", Ride's "Vapour Trail", or The Raveonettes' "Attack of the Ghost Riders" without thinking of this trip, which is such a good memory to have. Similarly, when I hear Clinic's "Walking With Thee", I automatically think about sitting around a campsite at Roskilde with a bunch of Danes and Swedes, not understanding a single word they are saying.

I haven't made such a CD this time around, but I am sure that, over the few weeks I am away, certain songs will come to define this period. What they are, I don't think I will be able to say until a few months from now at the very least.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


There's nice bands out there, there's some super nice bands, and there's Horowitz. Yes, Skatterbrain has raved about them for months, and now it's my turn to indulge in some of the best DIY pop songs around. Even though I have had all of no time during the past week to do anything apart from pretty much work, study, travel, eat and sleep, I've certainly made plenty of time to fill my ears with their super super album "Frosty Cat Songs".

Here are five reasons why I think Horowitz are great:

1. The song titles: "It's Better To Eat Twinkies With Yr Friends Than to Eat Broccoli Alone" (so true), "Popkids of the World Unite" (even moreso), etc. - I love bands with wonderful song titles and creative lyrics, and these songs are no exception.

2. The songs themselves: Full of dancing melodies, English vocals and lyrics about dancing to Yeovil Junction and Talulah Gosh. They make my late afternoon train rides all the more enjoyable.

3. The artwork: Look at all that cute DIY artwork! It's like they tore pages out of the best kept zines of the world and made it their own. Plus, any artwork with kittens is instantly endearing.

4. The band: A nicer bunch you're unlikely to ever meet.

5. The shows: They're so nice, they're even playing a show in London while I'm travelling. Yay! Come along to the Zipper/Horowitz show on May 3rd and have a wonderful dancing time with me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

the lodger - new single, video + album!

This is a novelty for me - at home, on a Wednesday morning, instead of being at work. So, as I wait for my colleagues to pick me up so we can visit a flavoured milk factory (yes, I am serious), I have an opportunity to indulge myself in new sounds from The Lodger!

Their new single "The Good Old Days" will be released by Slumberland on May 2nd, and the video for it is an orange fizzy funk delight. Watch this and dare to tell me they aren't the most crushworthy boys ever:

Then, on May 19th, you can acquaint yourself with their new album "Life Is Sweet", which is sure to make everyone dance their pants off. As for live shows - well, they're playing a bucketload around the UK and Europe, conveniently when I am in town. They're touring Germany with the Long Blondes! I'm hoping to be at the following shows:

- April 24th at Blow Up in London
- May 7th at the Atomic Cafe in Munich

Say hi to me if you'll be at these shows - I'll be the girl stealing secret glances and dancing away like a tourist up the front.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Italy has been responsible for objects of great beauty for centuries, but recently my expectations have been exceeded - the new Fiat 500, enviable Miu Miu outfits and Marni bags have all taken my fancy of late, and now I'm falling for some fine Italian pop songs. While the first three may be only objects of desire at this stage (although I am awfully tempted to trade little Coldplay for a creamy Bambino), I can enjoy the delightful pop songs by the following bands until my little heart beams with sunshine.

I'm not quite sure what to make of Fitness Forever, but I know the two songs on their Myspace page are made of the same pop stardust that's sprinkled all over Sweden. Twin boy-girl vocals, hints of keyboards, violins, handclaps and horns, and melodies to charm even the stoniest heart. By the sounds of it, their debut album should be released later this year, which I'll certainly have to add to my gym bunny playlist. Full credit goes to This Is Pop Music for this recommendation.

Hailing from Bologna, Federico and Margot are Tiger Tiger!, who make the type of fun, punky, shambolic pop songs very much in the style of Eux Autres. There's so much going on in these songs - one minute I'm hearing drums that sound like they're being played on cardboard boxes and proclaimations of "i don't give a fuck", and the next I'm being serenaded by cute keyboards and sweetheart vocals. Super! You can buy their record "11pm" from MyHoney Records.

Lastly, another MyHoney band - Le Man Avec Les Lunettes. Having previously confessed to having zero French language skills, the old faithful online translator assures me this translates as "The Man With The Glasses". Oh look, there's the charming Ale with some very nice spectacles. There's some great tunes to complement the fine eyewear - buzzy pop songs with synth touches, sadder songs with an empty bar feel, and even a Christmas song. They are playing shows around Scandinavia and Germany in June - lucky them!

Now, all I need to do is find myself some pistachio gelati and a Lambretta, and I will be set.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

the long blondes - "couples"

As you may have guessed, I like the Long Blondes. A Lot. So nothing pleases me more than listening to their new album, "Couples", and falling in love with a whole new bunch of songs. It's officially released on Monday, but for now, you can stream "Couples" from So far I'm up to track two, 'Guilt', and all I want to do is don some sparkly lurex socks and peep-toe patent heels and find myself a dancefloor. So good, so good!

Friday, April 4, 2008

april favourites

Another Friday night, another night of watching Midsomer Murders and writing blogs. Yay! I'd like to share some recent favourites of mine with you.

You Shall Know Our Discography
features all manner of obscure, underground, weird and wonderful records from the pre-millennium indie world. I did a search for the Cannanes and came across a post on "A Love Affair With Nature", then came across another post about the Boyracer record I bought in New Zealand. It will be really interesting to have a listen to more of these posts!

The Finest Kiss writes the type of intelligent, informative live reviews I could but dream of conjuring up. Recent reviews include Ladybird and The Ruby Suns, both of which I saw earlier this year and, accordingly, wrote amateur reviews for. Read the reviews on The Finest Kiss instead to ascertain just how I felt on these evenings.

The Indietracks festival will be held over the weekend of 26-27 July 2008 at the Midland Railway in Derbyshire, England. If I was a millionaire heiress without a care in the world, I would be dancing away at this event, but sadly I must leave this to all the other lucky souls out there. But just so I know what I'm missing out on, I'll be reading the Indietracks blog for the latest updates and interviews with bands. If you are lucky enough to be going, make sure you see The Zebras!!

Another podcast for you: Hey Hey Honeypop! doesn't just have the cutest name around, but some of the best pop playlists going around. I love themed mixes, and the last one, on love, was delightful, covering all aspect of the subject. Pop songs really do solve everything, especially with affairs of the heart.

My mailbox has been busy recently - I finally bought a copy of the Summer Cats/Eux Autres split 7", featuring the cutest artwork around, as well as Pants Yell!'s "'83 in '07" 7". It's terrible that it's taken me so long to buy these, but now they're safe in my paws, I don't want to let them go. In fact, I'm pawing for more.

Soon to arrive in my mailbox: the Je Suis Animal album (at last!!), and the Manhattan Love Suicides' "Clusterfuck" 7". Suffice to say, this record addiction ain't slowing down any time soon.

The Shuffle function really is a godsend when I can't be bothered deciding what I want to listen to on my journey to and from work, playing many a' track I've nary listened to. Recent Shuffle highlights included The Rondelles, who were one of my favourite bands around '02/'03, when I was going through a big K Records phase, as well as lots of Denim and Tiger Trap.

One track in particular has really caught my ear of late - 'Just Me And You' by Jane Birkin, off 1975's "Lolita Go Home".

What a beautiful woman! Oh to have one of her namesake handbags. I haven't heard too many of her solo albums, but I love what I have heard. She's just so intriguing, and when she sings her French songs in her plum, breathy English accent, it makes me wish I spoke French even more.

panda riot

Every few months, I seem to go through phases where I just want to listen to shoegaze all day long - pull out my Ride albums and early Lush singles and dance around my room with my head buried in my arms. It's always modern bands that trigger this resurgence - a couple of months ago, The Depreciation Guild took my fancy, and now Panda Riot, from Chicago, are fulfilling my shoegaze desires.

Panda Riot are two boys, a girl and a drum machine, making the type of fuzzy buzzy dream pop that suggests many night has been spent listening to My Bloody Valentine. It's got some wonderful pop sensibilities behind that glorious fuzz, too, reminding me of the likes of Rocketship - 'Flowers At Night' switches between a pretty girl melody and droney guitars seamlessly. It's all so soaring, yet so delicate at the same time. Meanwhile, when a band has a song called 'Art School Girls of Doom', it's hard not to be intrigued.

You can buy their latest record, "She Dares All Things", from Tonevendor!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

live: v festival

My, it's been a few days. Between working, dining, studying, highway driving and being overall very exhausted, it's been a busy busy week. But, I have finally found some time to write a mediocre blog about the mediocre festival that was the Gold Coast V Festival last Sunday.

Why was it mediocre? A few reasons:

1. Mud. Everywhere. It had bucketed down the day before, and while some parts of the festival were firm underfoot, most of the place was a cesspit of stinky sludgy mud. Urgh! Okay, so I've never been to Glastonbury, so I probably don't know what mud is, but this was quite unpleasant.

2. The schedule. The timetable changed up until the day itself, and despite the fact we had three different timetables printed out, none of the bands appeared to run to any of them. Most bands came on 20-30 minutes late, or played at completely different times. As a consequence, I missed seeing The Tough Alliance, which I was very, very disappointed about.

3. The people. Why is it that festivals attract such awful people? Horrible meatheads who take their shirts off and rub their sweaty mansweat on all and sundry, jailbait girls in teeny tiny shorts and, oh, fashionistas posing like no other. Awful! I'm not sure if everyone can access it, but I have posted up some photos on my Facebook page. It was far more entertaining to take obnoxious pictures of the festival crowd than watching bands that didn't appear at their scheduled times.

Despite the disappointments, there were some highlights:

- Seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain was incredible - sure, they've aged 20 years since 'Psychocandy' was released, and the sound was cleaner than I expected, but they were still wonderful. Hearing 'Head On', 'Sidewalking', 'Some Candy Talking', 'Happy When It Rains' et al. was just an incredible sensation, and I can but envy those who saw them play 15 years ago.

- Watching Duran Duran was such fun, mainly because it was a rare opportunity to dance like a fool in a paddock, listening to all their 80s hits. And yes, even though they are quite tragic these days, hearing 'Girls on Film' will make even the stoniest dancer shake it. Simon Le Bon also has that certain charisma about him.

- Even though I thought The Tough Alliance were supposed to play, CSS were great fun, too, and extremely sassy. The two guitarists - one a Peaches lookalike, the other a bored looking girl who just played on - made my night. Again, they're songs are fun and the crowd lapped it up.

Depending on the line up, I don't think I will go back again next year. It's sad, because I used to love music festivals when I was a teenager, but now people are just awful! Side shows for sure.