Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Notes from End of the Road 2009 #1: David Thomas Broughton

David Thomas Broughton = Malcolm Middleton gone completely fucking mental.

David Thomas Broughton = Sprinting back and forth over the line that seperates “disturbing” and “hilarious”

David Thomas Broughton = never going to be Paolo Nutini and not just because he has a song that features a refrain of “Is it balls”

David Thomas Broughton appears, to the naked eye, to be a mild mannered acoustic singer/songwriter. Oh and he’s got a looper pedal, how nice, he’ll probably use that to build up some super complex guitar parts. Oh wow, his voice is a bit interesting isn’t it? Wh… What did he just sing? Well this is all just noise now! It was a song a second ago I swear. Oh and now he’s got a drummer and a double bass player and it’s still just noise and hey, woah, now it’s a new song! And now he’s sung the chorus of a Florence and the Machine song over another section of noise. And now another song. Now he’s peeling a banana. Now he’s eating it. Now he’s throwing his shoes across the stage. Now he’s got four kids on playing drums in a totally unrhythmic way. Now he’s put the banana peel on his head.

And all the while he is singing about death, about relationships breaking down, about deciding to commit suicide by drowning.

Now he’s flicking Vs at the audience and saying “Now you can go and see some real music” then SPRINTING off stage.

David Thomas Broughton = baffling

David Thomas Broughton = better live than on record

David Thomas Broughton = an actual, honest-to-god, straight up genius.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Love, Barely

Being A List of Bands, Songs, Artists and Albums (Real and Fictional) Referenced in the "Barely" Chapter of Daniel Handler's Excellent Novel "Adverbs"
  1. The Clientele
  2. “I Am Here” by The Unsuspecting Motorists
  3. Katydids
  4. “Andrea Says” by Waltzing Pneumonia
  5. Give Up the Ghost by Fallen Airlines
  6. “I Wasn’t Meant To Live My Life Alone (with Vince Gill)” by Tammy Wynette
  7. “Where Were You When They Crucified Our Lord (with The Carter Family)” by Johnny Cash
  8. “My Way” by Frank Sinatra
  9. Salad Forks
  10. Tish Brothers
  11. Phil Spector
  12. The Spinanes
  13. “A compilation from Don’t You Love Me Records”
  14. Brad Wooly
  15. Burt Bacharach
  16. Ruins In the Country
  17. The Asking Prices
  18. The Stone Roses
  19. Perfect Teeth (possibly by Unrest)
  20. Ev’rything’s Coming Up Dusty by Dusty Springfield
  21. Bob Dylan
  22. Barrelhopper
  23. Elvis Costello
  24. “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” by The Beatles
  25. “I’ve Been Wrong Before” by Dusty Springfield
  26. “How Good Are You” by The Magpies
  27. Prince
  28. “Manic Monday” by The Bangles
  29. “Gota Whole Lota Shakin’ Going On” by The Bangles and Prince
  30. How Can You Believe by The Cottontails
  31. “Girl Hurricane” by The Cottontails (sample lyric: It was dark all day and getting darker all the time/I was sitting in a rocking chair, drinking gin and lime”)
  32. Nick Drake
  33. “Talk Show Host” by Radiohead
  34. (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan by Dntel (with Ben Gibbard)
  35. Sandinista! by The Clash
  36. “Somebody Got Murdered” by The Clash
  37. Katydids
  38. The Marvelettes

A) And this is all in 19 pages. I love this chapter so much in part because of how the charachter’s lives are so accuratley soaked in music.

B) Here’s a Spotify playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/sleepssundays/playlist/1ppJDsmdqK14kE5vYZ5Yru

C) You can work out which of the above aren’t real with a few quick Googles. Some notes though - “Talk Show Host” is not named (neither are Radiohead) but a lyric is quoted and it is suggested that they didn’t want their name included, but you can’t trust that Daniel Handler. He could well be joking. “The Dream of Evan and Chan” is referenced earlier in the book without mentioning the title. Magpies are a recurring theme. The Bangles and Prince are (obviously) both real but the collaborative cover is fictional.

D) Daniel Handler wrote a wonderful short story in the liner notes of the album In Our Bedroom After the War by the band Stars (featuring the excellently titled “Life 2: The Unhappy Ending”) which I really aught to type up sometimes. [Use this paragraph to work out what is what in The List]

E) I love fictional music.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Bring Out the Real Fun #2: Curse Songs of Great Beauty

(In which our hero continues to have a worryingly personal relationship with a comic book about music and magic)

Let's call it a review. This blog post is a review of "Phonogram: The Singles Club" Issue 2, which is entitled "Wine and Bed and More and Again". It is written by Kieron "Amazin" Gillen with art by Jamie "Awesome" McKelvie and colouring by Matthew "Brilliant" Wilson. If you recall, the first issue was about dancing. This one's about memory. It's about one pretty indie boy's fight with a pop song which throws him, against his will, into the memory of a dead relationship. There, now, go read it. Spoilers follow, see.

On account of how Phonogram is my favourite comic book series ever (note: Scott Pilgrim comes so close that arguing the point between the two is stupid. They're both the best thing ever, at the same time. It's a qauntum-awesome thing), I got up early on Thursday (the 30th) to go find me a copy in the wastelands of Birmingham. My usual friendly independent comics place didn't have it so I ended up in Forbidden Planet (EVERYBODY MAKE A DISSAPROVING NOISE RIGHT NOW. THANK YOU) and then went to read it in Starbucks (EVERYBODY MAKE A etc. etc. I had a light mocha frappacino thing, it was "well good") with a pre-prepared mp3 player playlist of Sad Danceable Pop, because I sort of knew what I was getting into here. Sort of.

By the time I finished reading, the cute indie couples who had been sat outside the window directly in front of me had all dissapeared. I think I may actually have immediatley reread it. I don't know. More so than the first issue, "Wine and Bed and More..." will emotionally beat the shit out of you if you love music. As is right and just. It centers on the idea of "curse songs" which shouldn't need explaining. Either you're already going "Ah, yeah" or after reading it you'd go "Well OF COURSE" or you're thinking "That's silly, it's just pop music" and if you're the third type of person you can fuck right off. Our heros cursed song in question is the CSS track which the title quotes, "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above" which, unfortunatley for dear Marc, is A Hit. A sizeable one, borderline inavoidable in indie clubs which is of course where the action takes place. There are three different levels of story for most of the issue - The Present (the timeframe of the previous issue, Christmas Eve), Marc's Head (featuring a mental spectre of The Girl who joins him on his journey) and The Past (where Marc is forced by The Song). Present Marc hears the song and in Marc's Head, Head Marc and Head Girl (she's nameless) venture into The Past. It's a bit like a really depressing MST3K episode except not that depressing because The Girl is really funny ("You are Emperor of Whine. Are you MCR fan now? Tell me Marc, what was your favourite time you ever cry?" seems the most qoutable line, other than a callback joke to the first series. I fuckin' love intertextuality)

Anyay [We should perhaps note that I came back to this review over a week later to write this second bit] it's a great, great issue and what makes it even better is if you then reread the first issue there is one page of it that will now have an emotional impact a good five times greater than it did the first time. We also get some hints at elements of the situation we still don't know about. Next issue is, I think, The Emily Aster One. I'm quite excited about this.

It also got me thinking about my curse songs - Oh if I must: Songs that you pretty much cannot hear without being forced into some painful memory. I was discussing this idea with a friend recently and she named a few of hers which she just cannot listen to. I put forward one of my own, or at least, I thought I had. In retrospect, I was lying, because I actually CAN hear Chicago by Sufjan Stevens without thinking about the time I listened to it for two hours on repeat after a uniquely unpleasant break up. Sometimes I recall that, sometimes I don't and just love the hell out of the song. I do, however, have a curse band. Well. No, I heard their most recent single a few weeks back and it didn't do anything to me but everything they released up to a certain point is Cursed and I'm not telling you any more than that because, as Gillen says when discussing his own in the backmatter of the comic - "That would give you power over me. That would be bad."

Luckily for me I rarely encounter them in public, but did recently have the misfortune to hear one of the Most Definitely Cursed songs in a pub. I don't think my companions noticed me wincing for 3 minutes. I'm just glad none of mine are indie dance club staples.

(God, why did this take so long? By this point said comic has probably sold out in your local emporium of sequential art narratives, but if not go and buy it already. Do feel free to discuss your own Curse Song experiences in the comments, it seems they stop working after a certain length of time so maybe one day (a few series of Phonogram down the line) we can come back to mine)

[Oh and the title is a reference to a really good Clem Snide song. Out.]

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

What happened here?

Essays and university and being in a band all got in the way.

Tomorrow: Some writing about a comic. Maybe a gig. Maybe some stuff about the band I am in.

"Lord knows I've been trying" - Your Blues, Destroyer

Sunday, 26 April 2009

APAD #26: On Returning Home To What Was Previously A Barren Wasteland To Find It Has Become A Verdant Paradise

It's not unlike the feeling you would experience
if after several years of solitude,
having accepted and fully grasped the ramifications
of being ugly and unloveable,
a highly desirable member of the opposite sex
casually wandered into your cave and declared you to be "cute"
and then exitsed, leaving you feeling a desperate need to vomit.

[End. DEADLINEPANICSHORTONE. Written whilst listening to Johnny Foreigner]

Saturday, 25 April 2009

APAD #25: Young Cryptology

The poetboy keeps passing her notes.
"Your eyes are Marxist children,
Dressed in rags the colour of patience,
playing amongst the ruins of a bakery"
"I want you to deflate my apathy,
and digest my indifference,
and step on my intolerance"
"Skin is the least perfect tool
but yours comes closest to fulfilling it's purpose"

She looks at the ceiling,
wishing there was a God she could have a quick workd with.

(Extract - T: "Seriously?" God: "I blame the parents")

She turns the last note over and writes in perfect cursive:
"I'm more than willing to fuck you, Gerald
But no more of this nonsense, yeah?

Gerald is, after all, somewhat attractive
(in a slightly sickly educational-film way)
And how else is a girl going to pass time in a town like this?
Sex and chess, she declares silently, sex and chess.

She passes the note back to him
(And wonders about "data bleed"
as it moves between the hands of teenage cattle)

Gerald's eyebrows rise up as his hands clutch the folded paper,
his fingers explore it's contours for a moment
(After all, She folded this paper)
His eyes close and he appears to mumble something
(He is, he will later claim, singing along with the Halelujah chorus in his head)
then reads it and runs out of the classroom crying and screaming something about

T sighs and applies more eyeshadow.
The rest of the class
(AS European History, with a heavy World War 1 focus and a heavy Frace/Italy bias)
is staring and one should always look one's best for one's public.
After a silence that Mr Johnston should really have broken
were he not lost in thought -

(Extract: "Of course it was. You haven't told the kids the wrong date have you? You haven't, you really haven't. That won't happen again. It won't. It mustn't. Shit I think I gave them the wrong date. If I admit it they'll rise up and destroy me, if I don't admit it there's a chance one of them might notice and that always ends badly but... At least I have some hope this way. Oh god I can't wait to be dead.")

-T adresses the people:
"What did I do?"
(Her "I" lasts what seems like a long, long time)

[End. Not really sure, but I think I like T here. She may join forces or do battle with the Young Poet today. This started as a Young Poet number, actually, with him screaming at a girlfriend for writing incomprehensible verse about their relationship, but the whole thing was a bit meanspirited and blunt. So, um, instead you get aimless... this. Written whilst listening to: My Own Face Inside the Trees by The Clientele and Capo (South of Caspian) by Ganger. Though I imagine that T listens to a lot of Ladytron (the band, not the song) and Peaches. Five more of these to go then. I think at least one probably should be a Young Poet poem. I'll see if I can come up with anything for him. Oh, I am DEAD certain I've stolen "I can't wait to be dead" from somewhere but can't work out where.]

Friday, 24 April 2009

APAD #24: Gloss

I want nothing more than to rest the head
of my finger upon your cushion lips,
to lay there as we watch daytime sitcom reruns on TV

Neither of us laughing,
Neither of us minding that

And my finger so comfortable
that there is no way in hell it's getting up to change the channel.

[End. Short because I suddenly realised I had one minute until the deadline. Britains, go see "In the Loop". I laughed so much it hurt. GOODNIGHT]

Songs Every Indie Club Should Play Once A Week By Law Until I Get Tired Of Dancing To Them Which Would Probably Never Happen


Salt, Pepa and Spinderella by Johnny Foreigner

3.1901 by Phoenix (Free mp3 from the band's site)


An LCD Soundsystem song, of your choosing.

Do this, and I'll forgive all the boring ladrock. (Although really, if I were in a position to dictate global indie club playrules, I'd ban Rage Against the Machine and Pendulum. Seriously, guys, stop that) And then less enforced but wildly appreciated: M83, Spoon, Metric, Kenickie, Cut Copy, Art Brut and THOMAS TANTRUM.

Wouldn't all this make the world a better place? Yes it would.
[This post broke my blog about 8 times. Video embedding got scaled back a lot to save the post]

Thursday, 23 April 2009

APAD #23: Life and How to Relive It

I like to think we write a new manifesto
Every time we leave the house
Every time we ditch work to play in snow
Every time we declared "Fuck tomorrow morning"
Every time we decided to do a second encore

- but really, all we ever did
was reiterate the rules of reverie and abandon
that we'd learned from midbudget movies
(So they could afford to have your favourite band's
dumbest song soundtrack the emotional climax,
But not so they couldn't afford not to desperately appeal
to my one man demographic)

Susan doesn't care for my philosophy.
"Why give a shit about being 'original' so long as you're having fun?"
I would wonder about this,
but a smile like that is near impossible to disagree with.
If she never takes up any dangerous philosophies,
we're all fucked.

[End. Written whilst listening to The Microphones and The Weakerthans. Title in reference to the not-as-good-as-it's-title (but then, could it possibly be?) R.E.M. song "Life and How to Live It"]

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

APAD #22: She Said She Needed A Murderer

We off roaded until we couldn't see a single thing
except fields and fields and fields and fields.
The sky here is so painfully empty and colourless -
We are the Europe of American art student fantasy.

We'd packed putty inside the seats,
coated everything in gasoline
and were told the remote would work from several miles away
(as if we wouldn't want to witness this).

So we open the doors (it sounds like a gun being loaded,
I'd preffer something less pertinent)
And take a few steps back, then a few more.
The cold, cold spring air grips our skin
and instructs us to hug each other.
So we do.

You ask (with your eyes) if this is really going to work and by way of reply
I hit the litte red cliche.

The roof blows open
and suddenly the sky is flooded
(just for a second)
and we are so so warm,
if we'd had our eyes closed
we would almost believe we were home
(as if we wouldn't want to witness it).

You turn to me as if to say:
"This is the most beautiful thing any man has ever done for me"
Except what you actually say is:
"How are we going to get home?"

[End. You're on your own with this one. I think it's my favourite of these so far but don't let that colour your judgement. Written whilst listening to: Girl Talk.]

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

APAD #21: Infinity, One Night Only

There seems to be a shop on every corner
Selling trackers and rockets
And an open freezer waiting
For a teenage girl -
(You wish she was tagged and easy to follow)
And when you look to the skies
and see another smoke trail,
You wonder how anyone could possibly be alseep.

There seems to be a bar on every corner
Full of boys with bass guitars,
A teenage girl waiting
For something to fall in love
to or with
You wish someone would sing your song
And make you feel warm inside
And when you get a little breathless
When the music we love
starts to test us
You wonder how anyone could not
want to scream (and scream joyfully)

A club on one particular corner
Full of kids with half spilled drinks,
An open floor lit up and waiting
For us to hit our targets.
Wish they'd play something you know
Make it easier to move
And then they do

And it's seismic and it's satsifying
And it's such a good feeling.
We lock eyes and we both wonder
How could anyone not be dancing

[End. Totally cheated, this is rewrite/reedit of a poem I wrote months ago. I'm sorry. I've got absolutely nothing right now. I've failed you, NaPoWriMo. Maybe tomorrow. On the other hand this is (for entirely personal reasons I suspect rather than anything to do with the quality of the poem) one of my favourite things that I've written, so. Bleh.]

Monday, 20 April 2009

APAD #20: One Worries About These Things

I no longer have bad dreams
about giant spiders
dead children
and nuclear armaggedon.

Instead I have nightmares
where I have gone mad
and am halucinating all of the above.*

But mainly?
Mainly I have bad dreams
where I cannot work out the plural form of
And resultingly have to rewrite large sections of poetry
with only 15 mintues to go before my self imposed
NaPoWriMo midnight deadline.

*Full disclosure:
I was also halucinating giant statues of Disney charachters
And fast food items.
But that doesn't sound scary, horrible or cliched
does it?

[End. One can only hope that tomorrow something interesting will happen for me to poem about. Alternatively, maybe I'll grow an imagination.]

Sunday, 19 April 2009

APAD #19: The Sound of No Strings Swelling

Your heart keeps beating at the same speed it always has,
The rain falls as fast and as heavy as it ever did.
There's a vile little popping sound as your lips part
And an even worse wet whack when they re-engage.

No strings swell, no soft focus, no camera spin.
You let your eyes open and look up
at the triangular window, high above the door
hoping for the moon but all you see is grey
so you close them again.
And keep kissing and keep wishing
you could stop thinking about the phrase "bacteria transfer".

Hollywood has lied to us again:
Slow mo never kicks in when you need it.

[End. Written whilst listening to Saint Etienne.]

Saturday, 18 April 2009

APAD#18: Some Silent Prophet Taking Comfort

When everyone I know and/or love is dead and/or gone
At least I will never have to wait outside Topshop again
Cursing the disgusting young beauties in my head
Whilst a sister or friend buys shoes.

When everyone I know and/or love is dead and/or gone
At least I will be able to stop pretending I tolerated
The bastards they hung out with when I wasn't there
The funerals will be spectacular, I assure you.
No one will walk away unscathed.
Except me: Still cussing inaudibly,
Some silent prophet, taking comfort where I can
Now that everyone I know and/or love is dead and/or gone.

[End. Written whilst listening to Destroyer's Watercolours Into the Ocean. Written in a single 4 minute burst except for the first two lines which I drafted in my head about eight hours ago. Not edited.]

Friday, 17 April 2009

APAD #17: Things That Need Naming #23

The feeling where you are:

(watching/listening to/reading/seeing)
art that you are certain you enjoyed
(loved/adored/lived for/took as your personal Bible)
just a few years ago when you were basically* the same person you are now
And finding, much to your horror
That you no longer like it all that much.

It's disorientating, is what it is.
*And you and I know both know that THAT
is total bullshit.

[End. First person to guess which film I should never have rewatched wins something.]