I think every blog ever started has good intentions to carry on, but when you actually realise no one is ever going to read it it gets boring and you just feel as though you're talking to yourself. That's what I feel is now going to happen here.
This very moment though I am going to leave, watch some Neighbours, have some lunch and then go listen to some Wooden Shjips followed by The Mountain Goats.
So, the last blog mentioned the amazing Wooden Shjips (www.myspace.com/woodenshjips)at the end. At that point I had been thinking for the past six months or so that they were amazing, but having picked up the album the other day I'm not so sure. It's good, but rather repetitive with the ideas. Feel slightly let down by that. What a shame. Fingers crossed for the Sub Pop 7" being good - comes out in less than a week, look out for it.
Next album I have high hopes for is 'Decorated' by Harris Newman (www.myspace.com/harrisnewman). He's recorded with a bunch of Constellation Records bands from what I understand, and this album sounds like it's going to appear somewhere around the Voice of the Seven Woods, Davy Graham, Sir Richard Bishop kind of material. 'Anamnesis' sounds especially beautiful.
Ooh, also out soon, vinyl box set from Mark Kozelek of live albums 'White Christmas' and 'Little Drummer Boy'. Going to be excited when that arrives. 300 on white vinyl, 1000 on black. Really want the Acid Mothers Temple/Je Suis France split as well but don't want to spend more money on postage than the record costs. Only 350 copies though. ARGH! No doubt all will be gone soon.
One last thing, if you're an Andrew Jackson Jihad fan, I don't highly recommend the album. Pick up a copy of the split with Ghost Mice or something because the album is slightly dodgy. Don't understand why they decided to countrify the tracks, lost their edge by doing that.
Having noticed that the 'Sojourner' box set from Magnolia Electric Co (fantastic release by the way) was now fetching large(ish) prices on ebay I did a little investigating. Turns out that Secretly Canadian are sold out of their stock currently but will be getting some more in from ones that haven't sold at the distros and from the band themselves when they get back off tour. Quite a surprise that they've managed to sell out so soon. I know it was a limited release, but it wasn't the cheapest release and really expected it to be in stock for quite a while longer.
Anyway, that's now the good news. Having done a little more looking around, it seems as though they're going to be re-releasing the ever-expensive 'Protection spells' and 'The ghost' tour CDs from Songs: Ohia. They're going to be limited to just 500 copies - 100 already having been taken on tour and sold - and I have no idea when they'll be released. But if you know S:O and these CDs, the originals have gone for up to $200 on ebay, so this is a very welcomed re-release.
Still got to go down to the Royal Mail parcel collection place and pick up that Harris Newman record and I'm pretty sure that my copy of Faust's self-titled LP is going to be there as well, which will both make for fantastic listening.
In other news, the Red Sox got to the World Series last night. Although I'm more of a Cubs fan and felt awkward last night hoping the Sox went through, I am glad. Should make for a good World Series. Noticed last night that some Japanese guy emailed in the show and asked why it was called the World Series when no other countries were invited. The answer given by the commentators was lame, they should've been honest and said that most Americans at the time the event was created had no idea that there were other countries.
Anyway, it was good to see the Red Sox go through, and even better to see that channel 5 have prioritised the baseball over their stupid phone-in quiz shows and will be showing all the games. That does mean that it's going to be a week of late nights as each show starts off at roughly 1am... At least that's some consistency, been thrown around from 12:30 to 2am starts all season, always missed the start.
Cubs next year! They really should have done better this post-season though.
Oh, and the heating's buggered. Despite having a plumber round to fix it last week, it doesn't seem to turn on. Great timing!
EDIT: Just remembered, rumour is that a new Owls album is going to arrive at some point! Wish I knew what had happened to Victor and the apparent re-appearance with Noyes, but hopefully this Owls record - and Make Believe too - can delay the disappointment for a while longer.
Haven't been around for the past two weeks, been trying to get some stuff done and just been distracted or unable to get on at other times. But when I have managed to get on the internet over the past few weeks I've transfered everything from cd-tracker to the damned rateyourmusic, which resulted in a couple of days suffering from RSI in my left hand from ctrl+c and ctrl+v. Anyway, it's now finished - http://rateyourmusic.com/~disconcerted Somewhere 100 pieces have gone missing in the transfer - obviously the attention wained at points - which has annoyed me, but I've mostly put it down to rather needless doubles, triples and just generally too many copies of the same releases (*cough*Texas is the Reason*cough*).
In the two weeks the Red Sox won the World Series, rather unsurprisingly, and now we're stuck with two days worth of American Football a week (Sunday & Monday). Not going to watch both because it's rather pointless, probably won't even watch one a week other than if I need to laugh at 1am - Mike is a legend (only UK viewers would understand). We did have that UK NFL game though, which I caught the very beginning of when they played 'The immigrant song' as the entrance music. That gave me a good chuckle, but then I remembered that good sport was on, Liverpool v Arsenal, so quickly flicked back over. Then last weekend it was Man Utd v Arsenal, so more enjoyment was to be had.
The commentators have been talking about the recent influx of American sports on our turf and saying that proper football games need to go over the the states during season time to play some matches and try and sell the great game over there. Why!? Why do we honestly need to? As it's the most popular sport in the world do we really need another market and even more commercialisation in the game? The only US club that seems any good from the games I've watched is Chicago, and that'll do. It's my favourite city in the States - despite never having been - and so there's probably a bit of bias in that opinion.
(Come on the Cubs 2008!)
This page seems to be messing up my computer at the moment, so that will be all.
So frustrated. Today I read that those Songs: Ohia re-releases have already gone! Despite signing up to the Secretly Canadian mailing list for these (although I think I was already on the list so I probably took myself off it) I didn't receive any update and I missed them. None available anywhere! ARGH!
Ended up going and spending the money on an album series though which is probably a better way to spend my money - because I've got the digital copies of the S:O stuff - and gets me 11 CDs limited to 6 copies each (well, 106 but these are alternative covers). Makes me feel much better about my day. More Starving Weirdos, Ilyas Ahmed, Tom Carter, Gregg Kowalski. Bit of a lot to spend in one go but anything for those guys. Also laid hands on 'While my guitar violently bleeds' by Sir Richard Bishop this week, which was a tad disappointing, as was the Acid Mothers Guru Guru release, but that picked up. And finally the new Davy Graham album arrived! It's taken all of 18 months since paying for it, but worth the wait. There's a new Letting Up Despite Great Faults track around at the moment as well, go over to their myspace and check it out, pretty good.
Ooh, one last thing, any Brit that happens to read this, watch Channel 4 tonight at about midnight (can't remember the exact time), 'Zatoichi' is on. Fantastic re-make.
Looking forward to the England game later this week as well, finally have a chance of getting through. If they don't their wages should be taken away from them for a month because it has been a relatively easy group. Unlucky to Scotland as well, deserved more but did well. Still, shame
Recap on past album mentions:
Harris Newman's 'Decorated' is a good album. However, it's broken up rather strangely and doesn't flow so well as 'Dark was the night' did and has a few of the same tracks.
Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno / Je Suis France. the AMT half of the 12" is excellent, probably the best I've heard from them, and as it's limited to just 350 copies I'd highly recommend trying to get ahold of a copy before they're all gone. Je Suis France don't float my boat so much, but maybe it's having to compete with AMT on the other side... It just felt rather fragmented and not quite fully realised.
I still haven't done any kind of end of year list for 2007 and I really have no clue what I'd mark as the best of the year. The majority of things picked up were rather average, but here's a bit of a recollection in alphabetical order. Further down will be some releases worth looking out for in 2008.
Actually, I will take back my words on saying last year was average as those are all excellent releases. Just trickier to find the good than in 2006 when they seemed to be flying in from all over the shop. A nice selection there. Lots of stuff that is great in the background, but also some madness - mainly the appearance of the Dev/Null album (finally - was introduced to his stuff about 5/6 years ago now and this is what I believe to be the debut album!).
Now, for 2008. Well we're already one and a half months in, and there have been quite a few releases worth checking out, like the amazing 12-string acoustic guitar, lute and samples collaboration between James Blackshaw and Jozef Van Wissem entitled Brethren of the Free Spirit and the quiet hype of Laura Marling's beautiful folk/pop album and the semi-autobiographical poetic piece from Aidan Moffat (formally of Arab Strap) which tells of his sexual past - funny disc, the written intro is something you'll laugh out loud reading - but there is surely more to come? Ooooh yes. A label to keep your eye on if you're into slightly warped indie folk and a bit of noise is Reverb Worship run by a nice fella called Roger. He tells me of Wooden Spoon, Stone Baby and Kawabata Makoto (of Acid Mothers Temple) releases to come in the near future. All three of his releases so far (Keijo, Sand Snowman and Vapaa) have been top draw and limited to less than 100 copies each; its a bit of a scramble.
There are a lot more, but linking so often was taking it out of me so I narrowed it down to ones that I'd highly recommend. Definitely up for taking some recommendations as well so please throw them my way. Word is a new Boduf Songs album is in the works as well, so I'm leaving the top spot open until the end of the year just incase Mat gets it finished in the next 10 months.
First off, here's a little maths question that you have to try and do in your head, no writing down or using a calculator (answer down the bottom). It is reasonably hard though so skip if you like...
Take 48 - divide by 8 - times by itself - x6 - divide by 3 - 25% of that - add 8 - x7 - add 1 - double it
So, apparently starting next week there is a growing plan to boycott ebay over increasing rates, but is there really much point? After the week all the boycotting sellers will be back on there because no other auction site has anywhere near the amount of visitors ebay gets. However, why are ebay raising their cuts? Is it just because they can or is it because they're greedy? You already lose a large chunk of the sale amount and then another lot if you get sent the money via paypal (whom I believe will also take a bit more of your money). Seems unfair to me, but I guess if you waste your millions on something like Skype you're going to need to get money from somewhere else.
Something else brought to my attention this week was this on The Guardian's website. It was written by the son of the travel editor over at The Guardian and is about something thousands of Britons do each year - student travel. He's obviously a bit of a rich kid, and the 'Skins' reference is either some form of lame viral marketing or actually trying to boast about writing a couple - from what I understand, literally - of lines for the show. Anyway, if you are reading this, do click the link and read the comments. The actual article is pretty poor, especially for something destined for The Guardian website, but the comments are a tad mental.
Also, recommend me some places that you have been on your travels. I do one day want to go and explore the world a bit more and am always looking for things to do. Come across some really strange and beautiful things/places like Cheung Chau's Bun Festival in China, then have to get hammered on Shōchū in rural Japan, go off-road segwaying in the States (although it does look relatively tame) and then head to Wharaiki beach in New Zealand. Whilst in NZ, would have to dare myself to go bungee jumping, or on the fly-by-wire, or maybe the shotover jet or river sledging, but most likely all plus more. There's also that odd ghost town place in Thailand (or around those parts) with the strange pod buildings that I'd love to see, and I'd love to take a train from Europe to China on the Trans-Siberian Express. Looked at the prices of hiring cars and its a rip off unless you're 25, and train passes are seemingly quite expensive too, so don't really know the best solution. Will have to ask around or hope someone comes across this entry and has some ideas.
A man waterboards himself. I don't know who this man is, but it is clearly torture. I'm glad the UN came to the same conclusion and I really hope that people get put on trial for performing it on people. It doesn't even provide accurate results as people are going to end up saying what you want them to say, as with most forms of torture, just so it stops. Of all torture methods, the best method is definitely water dripping onto the forehead whilst the person is strapped down tight on a table. Always thought you could make a great music video out of that. Something that maybe Aphex Twin or Squarepusher could get away with.
Oh, and back on the music side of things, the Natural Snow Buildings album ('Laurie Bird') seemingly sold out within about 10 hours on Friday. Insane. There is now a really cool 3 DVD set releasedhere featuring Birchville Cat Motel, Charalambides and Tarentel though. Think it says there are only 25 copies of it available but not certain.
One last thing, that United/Arsenal game was excellent. Loved seeing Arsenal lose by four goals... again. Great to see Park getting a full game as well. Definitely my favourite Man Utd player, although Anderson has looked really good in every game he's played so far this season, found it odd that its taken the pundits this long to speak out about how good he seems to be - although his performance today was exception. Ah, and before I forget, the answer to the maths question is 366.
Before starting properly (this blog goes on for a while) I feel the need to point out Dronevolk. It's basically a movie about four bands in Belgium involved in the wierdfolk scene. English subtitled trailer here. The DVD should be out some point next month. Maybe not to everyone's preference but hopefully someone reading this will like it.
Jackson C. Frank has been a musical obsession of mine for a good few years now, and even in the past four or five years I've been enjoying his music I've noticed a huge (long deserved) leap in his fanbase. People that have and are covering his music are generally people that I respect, but its amazing to see the sudden surge. Here are some I've come across. Firstly the early few...
Nick Drake Bert Jansch Paul Simon Sandy Denny John Renbourn Tom Paxton Dave Cousins Fairport Convention I don't think I'd be wrong in saying Al Stewart as well, but can't remember.
Then there was The Counting Crows.
Now in the past couple of years there seems to have been a bit of a resurgence of interest in his music. This was possibly since Vincent Gallo included him on his 'Brown Bunny' soundtrack, maybe because of him appearing at the end of Daft Punk's 'Electroma' film, or maybe its because the 'Tanworth-in-Arden' demos by Nick Drake were released on a recent box set. But then again, maybe people have begun to see sense and have found an appreciation for his amazing music. In a few cases I'm sure the musicians have just come across him, much like myself, but no doubt the upcoming flurry (well, two - that I've noticed) of covers have some link to the Nick Drake re-issues.
Simon Joyner included a cover of 'The Visit' on his covers box set 'To Almost No One' and Novi Split had a cover of 'Blues Run The Game' on his myspace page a good six months back. Coming up though Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists) has done a cover of 'Blues Runs the Game' that will be included on the vinyl version of 'Sings Live!' and Malcolm Middleton has covered 'Just Like Anything' for his 'Sleight of Heart' release.
Part of me loves this and wishes Jackson were still alive to see it, and it means that my 7" of 'Blues run the game' may actually go up in value - not that I'd ever be willing to part with it - but the other part of me wishes he remains relatively anonymous. There's no family that royalties will go to (to my knownledge at least - his child died very young and I don't believe he was married when he died), only than the record label, and its always nice to have a band or musician that you can have to yourself, isn't it?
Well, I put his music to you now so that you may admire him instead of the musician covering it.
He was a shy, modest man about his music, but listen to that voice and the beautiful guitar. Amazing. I don't know how regularly he played live, but unfortunately barely any footage has appeared, only in a BBC4 folk documentary, and even then it was about a 20 second clip.
Ok, some other stuff. Don't know what though...
Ah, ok, this DNA database proposal. Been driving me insane lately. How can people seriously be saying, "you shouldn't mind if you don't have anything to hide"? Are these people sheep or drones? Really can't work out which. We're an innocent until proven guilty society, not one where you have to prove your inncence before you're even informed of a crime. Also, what's to stop, say, a hairdresser from taking a few select hairs after a shift and then planting them on someone they've attacked? Or maybe someone taking a cigarette bud and leaving it close to a murder? Nothing is full proof, and apparently there have already been 1,500 mistakes made using the database with only 4.5million people on it, so multiply that figure by about 15 and surely it becomes rather useless?
Every solution created and used in this country with crime in mind is not preventative, its for retribution. Granted you can't stop all crime from occurring, but why do our civil liberties have to be taken away from us?
Got to feel sorry for Prince Harry for the recent media coverage. Got to give a lot of respect to him though, not many people in his position in this day and age would do the same.
Why have people only just turned on their thoughts on Hillary Clinton? I said somewhere recently that I couldn't imagine anyone worse for US President, and that was a bit of an exaggeration, but still, out of the people left in the race(s) I do think she would be the worst option. She's so annoying.
An interesting story arrived on yahoo this morning about someone getting a four year sentence for texting whilst driving (read here). Ok, she hit a cyclist who subsequently died, but if you read it you will have read that the cyclist jumped a red light. Now I'm all for people not getting hit by cars and the roads actually being safe, but was the car driver actually more in the wrong than the cyclist? Had the cyclist survived the driver probably wouldn't have received such a lengthy sentence, but if that was the case I would bet my money on the driver receiving higher punishment, which I don't think should be the case. Understanding traffic lights is the most basic part of being a road user yet constantly you see people on bikes flouting the law and jumping them. If they really want less people to be hurt from cycling accidents, tell them how to use the roads sensibly, otherwise I do feel that they sometimes deserve to be hit.
Is there really going to be an 'Arrested Development' movie? I would love another series - although I do like the way the third ended - but a movie? Would it work?
Oh, and whilst on the subject of tv, who on earth at Channel 4 bought the rights to 'The Big Bang Theory'?! Quite possibly the worst programme I've ever watched.
'Prison Break' also had a poor ending. Would the alarms going off in a museum not mean some kind of lockdown rather than everyone having to be evacuated?
'Neighbours', I once again urge you to kill off Ringo. This (with the anorexia or whatever it is) is the third or fourth opportunity to do it, take it. Its a crap programme though, don't know why I still watch it. Even more annoying now its gone to Channel 5, although the channel as a whole is improving.
Word is BBC want to get the rights to the Champions League soon. That would be excellent, but please don't make Mark Lawrenson commentate it. He comes across a lot better in the studio rather than negative and sarcastic comments for 90 minutes.
Been trying to put together a few songs again lately, still useless at lyrical content and rarely feel satisfied, but I'm slowly taking the view of having some kind of structure to the music and then semi-improvising lyrics over the top. For example, one piece I just haven't managed to get to a state where I'm happy with it. The guitar is good enough, based on a basic Bm to G progression but then expanding and elaborating, but then I'm happy with the lyrics to the end of the first line, "there once was a little man, he was my son" (sounds a bit lame from just that line I know), but then expanding and going in all directions from selling him to the Queen to allowing him to be killed by kidnappers - happy ending songs are dull. Then there's one about a Priest being falsely accused of using one of his Sunday schoolers as a catamite. Got four lines for that one and half a solo.
Just can't seem to get a grip with lyrics unless they're off the top of my head. When I sit down and think, 'I've got to write this' I can't do it. Then when I improvise something good I can't remember it. Logically recording the improvisations to tape would be the sensible thing to do, but no doubt when I play them back I wouldn't be as happy with it as I was when playing it.
Anyway, rambling on, and seeing as no one will have got this far its rather pointless continuing.
Today in the post a surprise letter came from (of all places) ebay. In it they said I'm a star, showed me some love, and then handed me ten smackeroonies. That's £10 (or $20 - yeah, I saw that we'd got to £1>$2 again last night).
Initial thoughts were to spend it on pre-ordering Grand Theft Auto and cut the price down from £40 to £30, but does anyone have any other ideas of what it could be good for? It's only spendable on ebay, but you can buy anything off ebay. Don't really want to buy music with it because that's what I do with 90% of the money I have.
Hope they send me money again next year. Let's make this a regular thing Ebay
Slowly making my way through the piles and have to get through it all before April arrives with the Retribution Gospel Choir, Sun Kil Moon, Colin Meloy, Camille and no doubt some other things that I've yet to wake up to.
========================= With the government once again going on about their stupid ID card scheme, I must leave the link to no2id again.
========================= Check out the Sound release from Visionaire (#53), looks AMAZING! If you can afford £150 for it, buy me a copy too. And whilst you're at it, check out Peter Callesen's work. These two are my favourites...
Thought this might be worth doing every now and then, a song to learn. Going to start off with Big Blood's 'The Grove (is hotter than an ocean's oven when the rays of light do boil)' from last year's 'The Grove'. Fantastic song and relatively simple.
Standard tuning |-----0-0-0------------------------------ |-0-4-------4-0---0-0-0------------------ |---------------3-------3-0---0-0-0------ |---------------------------4-------1-2-- |---------------------------------------- |----------------------------------------
Then literally the chords are just Am and Em from what I can tell. After the intro it goes into Am - Em a couple of times and then the verses are just Em. A good strumming pattern for it is d, d, x, u, x, u. d = down x = mute (on a lead-in down strum) u = up
Turn the song up loud and bash along on your acoustic, sounds great.
Might do a couple more of these in time. Great songs to learn in 5 minutes.