Monthly Archives: February 2009

New (MF) DOOM tracks – ‘Cellz’ and ‘That’s That’

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MF Doom – or, simply, DOOM, as he now demands to be called – has a new album out on the 24th of March, titled Born Like This. 2008 was a bit of a flat year for Hip Hop, baring one or two class albums it was more miss than hit. As a consequence this news is more than welcome so early in 2009. The album also features some guest appearances from Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and a couple of posthumous producing credits for J-Dilla.

So prepare yourself for some serious hype on the blogs and lots of underground/stoner Hip Hop fans (including myself) to get very excited over the next few weeks. A considerable smattering of the sixteen tracks on the album are available ‘out there’; Ballskinz is on his Myspace; That’s That is on Pitchfork; Cellz and Lightworks are below…

MP3: Cellz – DOOM

MP3: Lightworks – DOOM

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Kanye releases interesting new video. Drops new video

So here’s the new video for what was presumably going to be the next single from 808s & Heartbreak, the middling Welcome to Heartbreak.

Until Chairlift dropped their video for the middling Evident Utensil a week beforehand…

I don’t see why he needs to drop it. It’s not as if he’s been bashful about aping other artists work in the past, not that that’s the case here, I presume it’s just an unlucky coincidence in this case, but everyone remembers this outburst over Touch the Sky losing out to Justice vs Simian’s We Are Your Friends video at the E.M.As don’t they?

So the director of the Justice vs Simian video and the similarly acclaimed D.A.N.C.E video:

Ends up being acquired by Kanye to produce a strikingly similar pop art/graffiti stylee video for the Good Life.

So I doubt Kanye not using this video is anything to do with his morals, probably just another hissy fit.

I never knew that I was innovating visual art when my computer froze and caused pixels to blur all over the place either.

MP3: Kanye West – Welcome to Heartbreak
MP3: Kanye West – Good Life

Vivian Girls @ Camden Proud Galleries 14.02.09

misspeakedit

Upon hurriedly leaving the achingly hip Proud Galleries in Camden, I felt I had learnt two important lessons for the future:

Never underestimate how long a venue will be willing to keep you waiting, especially if there’s a bar.

Never underestimate the ability of a band to overrun their half an hour set; even when they only have twenty-one minutes of released material.

There’s always the potential dilemma of arriving at a gig too early – as there is in leaving it to late – but the problem seemed especially tricky in this case as I was on my own and it was Valentine’s day. So arriving at the venue at 8pm and realising the support act, South African funk rockers Desmond and the Tutus, wouldn’t be on for another two hours wasn’t the best of starts to my replacement for expressing my undying love to that special someone or sipping champagne and eating strawberries with them. But after two hours of awkward waiting, drinking and even more awkward chatter with strangers the show began, I quite enjoyed it.

As their name would suggest, Desmond and the tutus don’t take themselves too seriously, but that’s not to say that they’re a joke outfit. Their music is eminently infectious and danceable, perhaps not the best qualities to have when you’re supporting the uncompromisingly lo-fi and eminently undanceable Vivian Girls, but it was a welcome distraction from drinking and chatting to other romantic fuck-ups on Valentine’s Day. After all, listening to the nihilistic ‘I Believe in Nothing’ might have been a bit much to stomach in my mental state without a little sweetener beforehand.

After semi-successfully getting a small crowd that was militantly in presence to see the latest Pitchfork buzz band, and no one else, to perform the ludicrous ‘Robot’ dance maneuver, (Outstretch your right arm and wave it about floppily and do robotic, staccato movements with your left arm, whilst forming a claw with your left hand and you’re probably doing it right) the tutus left, confident in the knowledge that they had performed admirably in front of a less than receptive crowd.

After another half an hour of awkward chatter and drinking, a noticeably larger crowd returned to see the main event. The Vivian Girls had already unceremoniously taken to the stage before their 11 pm start time, apparently undaunted by their lack of material to fill a half an hour set even if they took to the stage 8 minutes late, they casually set up and tuned up before the house music faded and they began.

Normally I’d give a detailed song by song breakdown of the set, point out what worked, what didn’t, what were the high points, what song choices worked etc etc, but it all seems rather pointless when talking about a Vivian Girls gig. If you are interested, they played all their stuff off the album and some stuff that isn’t. They played at least one song twice, although it’s impossible to tell sometimes thanks to their no-fi sound and venue’s shaky sound quality when it came to vocals – something quite crippling when you consider how slight the vocals are on the record anyway. They made some awkward, but endearing, between song chatter that completely killed the whole apathetic, disaffected thing they’ve got going on in their look and music; giggly and girly chatter about Valentine’s day, Weed and Amsterdam does not gel with the whole punk thing, but maybe that’s the point, they’re so punk that they don’t care about looking cool and therefore they’re cool for not caring about looking cool (Bonus points for recognising the Simpsons reference).

The one thing that I can say about their performance that comes to mind (and rings in the ear) is that is was very loud. Which was beneficial for their shoegazy, punk sound they’ve got going on. Live, they’re a band that you feel and experience as much as you listen to. Where the album can sound muddy and incomprehensibly dense at times, it shines when performed loud. The guitar shimmers and rings, enveloping everything in a bubble of sound, which it does on the record, sometimes to its detriment on less beefy sound systems. But live ‘Kickball Katy”s bassplaying really punctures through and provides melody and drive to songs that often feel like they lack it on record. They don’t do anything massively different to the songs, but they bang them out loud at relentless pace, which makes all the difference. If you really want to experience their music, like most bands with a shoegaze/phil spector influence you really need to see them live.

They’re also a lot of fun to watch, listening to the record in the context of all hyperbolic praise it has received you can often feel like you’re listening to a practical joke. You can almost imagine the three girls sneering at you from behind the record, laughing at your naivety for buying their amateurish attempts at rock music. But watching them fly through their set at a song a minute (sometimes literally), intently playing their respective instruments, enthusiastically moving about the stage and engaging in bubbly chatter with the audience, you realise that they are just having fun and are, most probably, entirely earnest about what they do.

In conclusion, the fact that I stayed till the end of their set, and therefore risking being stranded in Camden for the night, is the best compliment I can play the show.

Check them out if you can and enjoy my romantically themed selection from their limited discography.

MP3: Second Date – Vivian Girls

New Bat for Lashes ‘Glass’

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It’s available for streamage at Pitchfork, here.

I thought it sounded a little familiar, turns out she first premiered when she supported Radiohead last Summer. So I heard it seven months ago at this show…

(Well the day before, same place though)

Sounds promising, if the rest of the album is as ambitiously grandiose, which, with Scott Walker featuring and a faintly ridiculous but somewhat exciting ‘dual persona’ concept, it probably will be, she could be onto another superb album.

Two Suns is due April 6th

MP3: Bat for Lashes – Horse and I

Lil’ Wayne tries Rock music…

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There’s been plenty of talk about this lately and I’m not exactly ‘breaking’ this song, but this video is very…’funny’.

I’m not one to judge too quickly, after all Lil’ Wayne’s 2008 effort, Tha Carter III was very good. This isn’t really the radical departure I was expecting though, I mean, it’s just Linkin Park rap rock isn’t it? Replace the chugging guitars with a 4/4 beat and a sample and some spaced out synths and it probably wouldn’t be that dissimilar to anything he’s done before.

And his ‘finger tapping’ solo/attempt at playing/mime, what’s that all about? Bizarre.

MP3: Lil’ Wayne – A Milli