Friday, 4 December 2009
I should try for the balance.
image: flickr via we heart it
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Here are three of the songs that the film guides you through.
Friday, 25 September 2009
I'll come back later tomorrow and add my new york, new york playlist (edit: soon, soon. I have not forgotten that I said I'd come back to this).
Sunday, 13 September 2009
You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
I've been thinking about writing this for a few days, but I've just picked up the phone instead. I always have to ring, or text, or contact my mum the minute I feel I want to tell her something. She always picks up her phone. Always. I am literally terrified of the day that she won't be able to. When I don't have someone to reassure me that I've got the right temperature for lasagne, or to have her listen to my outpourings of negative energy, or to hear her tell me the truth, or to hear her say "chin up, young person." I don't know where a part of me will go when she does.
I'm the independent, free-spirited one in our little trio and yet my mum can hear the tears or happiness in my voice within a beat. She lets me stand as my own complete person, but her hands are always hovering just underneath my elbows. This used to suffocate me and I used to scream about it; now that I need it, I understand just why it's there. I love every single shadow, laugh, bump, bruise, colour, smile and story she has. And she's helping me piece mine together. Mum, you know how much I love you.
Plus, without you I'd have no Otis and no Beatles.
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Thursday, 21 May 2009
...for fear of repeating someone else's sentiments but the song has been circling around my head, throat and heart for so many days that I almost feel I have to, just so that I can let some other songs in. This song has long been my favourite Broken Social Scene track, but for a good while they were a band I knew nothing about aside from seeing the covers of their albums frequently on 'Top 100 Albums of 200X' lists. A friend burnt me a copy of one of their albums, and I still didn't get it. Then, in 2006, I saw them live; my heart fell out of my mouth and as the evening progressed it found its way back into my chest. This song got stuck to the inside of my skin from that point on. Along with my completely healthy love for all things Kevin Drew.
Leslie Feist's redux of it aches in a similar way because her vocals and instrumentation seem to pull you into the late night until you're saturated in the smoky, lust of the whole thing. Late night passions, with closed eyes. Sigh.
Feist - Lovers Spit (Redux)
p.s for more wonderful words and musical things, visit here : the blisslist :
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Where did this rule book come from that liking one sub-genre of music makes you infinitely cooler than another sub-genre lover? I get the music snobbery part, hell, I'm as guilty as the next person but does liking such a wide range of things somehow dilute your character? Are you spread thinly over toast, rather than scooped out and slapped on? I wrote my dissertation on how your personality affects the music you buy and it was the highest grade I got for my entire degree. I think the fact I quoted Jeff Buckley, Van Morisson and Rob Gordon (well, Nick Hornby if we're getting pedantic) helped.
I have bands and artists that I love and they could not be further from one another in sound, tempo or philosophy. Otis Redding does not sound like Biffy Clyro. Sufjan Stevens does not sound like Hendrix.
I've got an image in my head now of one of those heavy-coated, street-vendors who have a tendency to fling open one side of their jacket to reveal pockets overflowing with watches, trinkets, treasures and old handkerchiefs. Gulp. Is that what my music collection looks like? Let me try to qualify what I mean.. you know the quizzes you can take in magazines where they ask you to tick various coloured boxes to decide your relationship/career/fashion/supposed pet choice? You end up ticking 5 red boxes, 4 yellow, 3 yellow and 3 blue. At the end of the day, this is someone else holding up a definition of you with the boxes they've created but I do think my music collection is made up of blocks of colour. Shades, tones and textures that all somehow fit together like a Rubik cube.
Sufjan sits down with Buckley, Bird and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.
Otis can share space with Franklin, Cooke and Brown.
Biffy Clyro live with Pearl Jam, Pumpkins and Jimmy Eat World.
Hendrix bonds with Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B. King and Buddy Guy.
and... Paramore, Panic At The Disco and Kelly Clarkson can all hang out together in perfect harmony.
I'm not ashamed of a single piece of music I own, or like, or shouldn't like. From my perspective, at least, they all thread together because they're mine. I can see that I lean towards the more acoustic, earnest, lyric based stuff but there is always space for the balls-out guitar solos, the bar-jumping, throat-screeching vocals, the thumping back-beats, the undefined electronica, the twang of Americana and the all out pop-power of the universally accepted.
I like cool stuff, and I also like really uncool stuff too. I don't care, all I do care about is that I can complete a Rubik cube. Therefore, I am cool regardless of what you think of my musical taste.
Monday, 13 April 2009
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Thursday, 26 March 2009
What does that sentence acually mean?
Count on you for what? To not run, to not judge, to stand back or jump into action, to let me figure it all out, to listen, talk or neither?
Is this the definition of friendship, in the sense that if you can answer yes to the question you're a definite, full-bodied friend? Really?
Want to talk about this a bit more and about the alphabet. But! I have things to learn and dinners to cook and singing of Pearl Jam to do.
Also, I cannot stop listening to this song today. The Notwist are brilliant - find them and love them.
Friday, 13 March 2009
So much of my music taste shifts backwards and forwards and around and under.
I can remember having a conversation with my uncle about not really listening to much Bob Dylan but raving about Bob Marley, Tom Baxter, Jeff Buckley... he said to me "How on earth can you justify liking these artists if you don't listen to Bob Dylan? You can't possibly know what a songwriter is."
It stuck to me. I spent ages trying to figure out if he was right. I don't think he's right.
Everything I listen to has an influence - an influence from the past or the now or a vision of the future. I didn't buy a Led Zeppelin album when I was 9 years old. I'm nowhere near that 'cool' nor did I even have enough money to do any such thing. In 1989 I think I owned Starlight Express and a Belinda Carlisle album on cassette and had worn out all three of my Wham tapes. I didn't own a Nirvana t-shirt, nor did I even listen to a single Nirvana track until I was at least 14 at which time I was also in love with Robbie Williams. I collected Blues cds from a Blues magazine that my dad bought, but I think I listened to about 10 of them.
Music was always there, but it wasn't there big until I knew a little more about my own tastes.
My first gig wasn't Faith No More at the Astoria, or Eric Clapton at The Royal Albert Hall. It was a Take That concert and I was 10 years old. I believe I screamed quite a lot, my Mum took me and she had ear-plugs in for the whole duration. I then started to go to gigs with friends, my first being a trip to Wembley to see the Stereophonics where we spent the whole journey home dreaming about being in a band and making up band names. I have no 'cool' claims to fame. I did not sit on my dad's shoulders at Van Morrison gig, I didn't seek out music with the curiousity I do now until I was 17 years old. I bought a lot of cds, I overplayed 'Pocketful Of Kryptonite' and some really bad R'n'B. I listened to everything, I made radio mixtapes and cut pictures out of 'Smash Hits' and stuck them to cassette cases with purple UHU glue (not Pritt Stick).
Anyway, am going totally off point. I'm constantly discovering old and new music. I meet some older music after all members of the band are dead, I will never ever see them live or have access to the original vinyl. I meet some music that I should really have known about earlier but for some reason... don't. I didn't know about Cream before I knew who Eric Clapton was. I couldn't name the members of Pink Floyd when I was 15. I had no idea who Buffalo Springfield were. Joni Mitchell? Who? You get the picture.
I've come late to the party with lots of my artists and I've wrestled with what that means. I feel disappointed with myself when someone brings an album to my attention that I should own, why? Musical guilt. Ha, that's a good one. I think I'm just aware of the shallowness of coming to these acclaimed/celebrated/niche artists after all their successes or failures or early beginnings. You can take a shortcut via their 'Greatest Hits'. I'm not a 'Greatest Hits' person. It feels like I've cheated the evolution a bit, almost like opening a jar of jam - it's been passed round, and loosened by everyone else, so when it gets to you it's just a case of lifting the lid. Is there anything wrong with this? Is there something wonderfully right about it too?
On the flip-side, for every new thing I'm exposed to I get to re-trace the steps of influence or even become introduced to more. Through Ben Harper, I got Bob Dylan and G.Love. Through Jeff Buckley, I got Nina Simone. Through Counting Crows, I got Van Morrison.
I've never had so much fun playing catch-up in my life.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
source: le love, as always. thank you.
Monday, 2 March 2009
There's a post on a webzine (shit word) I follow about the 15 albums 'Important To You'. It got me thinking about snapshots, or rather it got my commitment-phobic self thinking about snapshots. I can give a list of albums that are important to me now, but I can't narrow it down to a 15 all-time list. How do I know that there won't be a #5 that I haven't come across yet? Or a #11 I'll be bored of in a few years? Then surely, they wouldn't be on the list in the first place if they could so easily be usurped.
How about I remove the 'The'? Just 15 albums that are important to me.
Aaah, that's better.
In no order:
Otis Redding - The Definitive Collection & every album that came before.
I borrowed (stole) this album from my mum about 12 years ago and it's the most worn cd I own. I've given it first-aid a few times, and it still works. I'd listen to this album in my room, lying with my head hanging over the edge of the bed watching myself sing the words in the mirror.
Counting Crows - August & Everything After.
This was the first album I loved listening to as a whole. I was just 14 and listened to it for a whole week, non-stop, on my discman. I used 8 pairs of batteries and I never skipped a track. There are memories I have of falling asleep to this on the cdplayer by my head whenever I stayed at my friend Sasha's house.
Ben Harper - Welcome To The Cruel World.
My senses got opened up when I first started listening to Ben Harper, it was in 2002. I was playing catch-up because I'd heard 'Live From Mars' first and that made me backtrack to the orignals. His mucic made me start to feel again, I could hear it... feel it... taste the dust. I've got two Ben Harper songs dedicated to me, too.
Jeff Buckley - Grace & Live at Sin-e.
Jeff gets two, because they overlap and because he is lots of important. I didn't know he had died when I bought my own copy of 'Grace' - in 2001 - and I cried, openly, in the middle of the record store when I read the liner notes of the Deluxe edition. Live at Sin-e saved my soul at university. His music just puts me in a different place, a different time, a different head-space. There are certain lines, in certain songs, that just stick themselves to me.
Nizlopi - Half Of These Songs Are About You.
This album, plus the songs born from their live gigs, had such an impact on what I wanted for myself. I think it had something to do with the proximity of them, and the feeling you got standing in a room with their music. They helped me remember why I sat on a plane and flew to Brazil.
Damien Rice - O.
Urgh, heartbreak and beauty all at once. This album seemed to connect across all the people I was friends with - from school, from uni, from gigs - and it came along at a time when I could understand it.
No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom.
This album made me want to be in a band, made me want to cut off all my hair and dye it blonde, made me want to sing at the top of my lungs into a shampoo bottle. I will always love 'Spiderwebs' and 'Sunday Morning'.
Pearl Jam - 10.
I used to sing to this with my head turned upside down, drying my hair. The fact my chin was drawn into my chest made me sound a bit more like Eddie Vedder, or at least that's what I thought. I'd initially liked them to impress a family friend, Aimee, but my love-affair has outlasted such fickle tendancies. This band introduced me to Dave Matthews, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden... the list is endless and full.
John Mayer - Room For Squares/Heavier Things/Any Given Thursday.
Ha. JM gets 3 on his bill, and I'll just keep adding. He's all compass points. He made me dig out all my dad's old records. He made me look for different pieces within music I'd been listening to for a long time. He makes me write better.
Biffy Clyro - Blackened Sky
This album set me on fire. I will sing so many of the songs on this album until my throat burns. This band, mixed with friends, is an experience to behold.
William Fitzsimmons - Until When We Are Ghosts.
The new love of my ears, I can't get enough of the voice, the words, the guitar. This man is in a mould unto himself and I'm so glad I've found him. I feel lucky to have him.
Jason Mraz - Waiting For My Rocket To Come and other MP3's.
I've never fully got into the produced versions of the songs that first found their way into my cd collection. I listened to clusters of Napster-sourced MP3's of live recordings and just tumbled into Mraz's head. It's all about them words. Over numbers, unencumbered words.
Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love.
Hendrix extended my vocabulary of music. He makes me think I wasn't born in the right decade, and makes me want to be able to know all the technical terms you use when talking about tone. He's made me discover the 1970's from a 1999 standpoint. I have him to thank for Van Morrison, The Police, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, BB King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn and on, and on.
Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American.
This album has memories escaping from the seams, I'd bought this before hearing Clarity & Static Prevails in an HMV in Bristol having spent 20 minutes talking to a sales-assistant (who I'm pretty sure I fell in love with there and then) about the Smashing Pumpkins. This has summer dreams and travelling buses written all over it, along with Futures.
Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place.
Changed the way I heard instruments, listened to instruments, heard words in unravel in instruments. Owing in part to a huge love for Sigur Ros, Aereogramme, Mono, Godspeed You Black Emperor. They all came along at the same time for me, in the middle of my second year of University. They kept me sane, over and over and over.
Deftones - White Pony.
Hundred Reasons - Ideas Above Our Station.
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream.
Ben Folds Five - Whatever And Ever Amen.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See A Darkness.
Coldplay - Parachutes.
Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism.
Derek & The Dominos - Layla.
Fiona Apple - When The Pawn...
Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours.
Muse - Origin Of Symmetry.
Radiohead - The Bends.
Rufus Wainwright - Poses.
Ryan Adams - Gold.
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow.
Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan....
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman.
post-script: I'm aware that this list misses out lots and lots of my musical influnces and possibly the influences that lead me to picking them in the first place. It's hard to pick an entire album that moved you - I've got bundles of songs, but there are some albums that just changed the path I was on, or showed me others.
Friday, 16 January 2009
Sorry 'bout the shakes at the beginning.
Listening to this song makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The lyric 'have I found you, flightless bird?' has lodged itself under my skin and keeps on repeating. Why? I know why, and it's the beauty of interpretation. I've taken from that lyric what I needed to, and gave my own inner monologue an outward voice. Over the past eight years, I've always written down lyrics or passages or quotes that refused to let me go, for whatever reason. I've got books, and books of them cluttering up the drawer space in my little room.
This will be the first enty of 2009.
Two things have got me here, one is X-Factor and the other is this http://www.indie1031.fm/
Alexandra Burke's version of Hallelujah was Number One at Christmas, Jeff Buckley was Number Two. Now, this can be looked at two ways - it could be that people simply wanted the definitive edition of the song as introduced by Burke, which my less cynic-fuelled side can see in perhaps 0.2% of cases. The truth is that the music consuming public (forgive me for the generalisation) showed all it's colours. Distinct. Not blurred.
I don't want to use the word 'revolution' because it's far too premature and throwaway, besides
I'm reluctant to believe there will be a revolution that bursts at its seams - I think what we're experiencing now is the product of years of undercurrents but something that will continue without any loss of pace, tenacity or importance for the rest of my music consuming life. My business degree was not completely wasted on me, as I recognise the various types of music consumer and the needs inherent to each. I quite enjoy being able to at least read the other side of it whilst sitting firmly in my chair on my side of the divide. Balance, understanding, all that good shit.
Music is consumed. Consumption and its methods and mediums adapt over time. Music adapts.
You don't argue with people about how they listen to music, in all its forms. We can fight till our teeth itch about dwindling physical sales, about the liner notes, about how it used to be. I'm not advocating that people don't fight against it, I'm just not sure how much resistance is there to meet the fight. Record companies want to make money by whichever means possible. That's a fact, money drives it and turns it around and makes it stick. No fighting there.
But... and here's where the two don't meet.... the industry is only as good as the music coming out of it. Perhaps what we're seeing now is the result of a decade (if not more) of poor development, greed, more poor development and yeah, more greed? And sadly, a numbness of consumer.
In the music industry, a record label can be a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion, and enforcement of copyright protection of sound recordings and music videos; conducts A&R; and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers.
Lots of elements there, huh? I'm not differentiating between majors, independents, sub-labels or any other 'type' of label the industry creates. The loosest definition in my eyes would be that a record company should be a distributor, a supporter, a management matrix. It's exploitative by it's very nature, but what seems to have happened is that the divide has become so wide that it takes an almighty run-up to get you safely to the other side. The run-up involves money, or a favour, or a famous daddy, or luck and occasionally talent.
My rub with record companies lies in the lack of artist development, and subtle ignorance of the men with the money. There are so many artists who should have their music made available and that's exactly what's been happening. That is the ongoing nature of the revolution. People are consuming music that they find, not the music that's been made for them. The Internet is picking up the pieces the record labels are missing, they're holding up the distribution arm of the deal. Music is being made that people want to listen to, and not be pummelled by. Artists have stopped trying to get a record deal, they've stop manipulating their decisions to reflect the expectations of others. They're making music for themselves and just keeping their fingers crossed instead.
And that's what makes it so fucking brilliant.
This will always win.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
And this, is my favourite song of all time.
Cigarettes & Coffee
It's early in the morning, about a quarter till three
I'm sitting here talking with my baby, over cigarettes and coffee.
And to tell you that, darling, I've been so satisfied
Honey, since I met you, baby since I met you.
All the places that I've been around, and all the good looking girls I've met
They just don't seem to fit in, knowing this particularly sad, yeah.
But it seemed so natural, darling, that you and I are here
Just talking over cigarettes and drinking coffee.
And oh, my heart cries out, love at last I've found you,
And honey won't you let me, just build my whole life around
And while I complete, I complete my whole life would be, yeah
If you would take things under consideration, And walk down this aisle with me
And I would love it, yeah
People I say it's so early in the morning, it's a quarter till three
We're sitting here talking, over cigarettes and drinking coffee, now.
And I'll like to show you, well, I've known nothing but good old joy
Since I met you, darling, honey, since I've met you, baby.
I would love to have another drink of coffee, now
And please, darling, help me smoke this one more cigarette, now
I don't want no cream and sugar, cause I've got you, now darling
But just let me enjoy, help me to enjoy this good time that we'll have,
Baby it's so early, so early in the morning
So early, so early in the morning
And I've got you, and you've got me
And we'll have each other
And we don't, we don't want nothing but joy, y'all
Nothing but joy...
There's some debate over the lyrics, but I think sometimes you just hear what you want to hear.
I've kept one of them in, 'knowing this particular sad', and altered 'walk down this aisle (hour?)' to what I think he's singing.
Every time this song comes on, I know exactly where I'm supposed to be. I'm right there.