Archive for the 'Britpop' Category

The Drums – Me and the Moon

Take your pick. the Smiths? the Ocean Blue? the Cure? Anything else for the late ’80s/early ’90s? Regardless, for those that like music from that period, I’m just happy that people still make music that could have come from that period.

I saw these guys a few months ago, and they weren’t really on my radar much before that. They played a double bill with Surfer Blood. They opened the 7:00 pm show and headlined the 10:00 pm show. Due to two distinct groups of friends, and the fact that a ticket to early show got me into the late show, I stayed through both (I also saw New Pornographers earlier in the day as part of my lunch break, making it a five set day)[PP adds- I worry about Seitz- he is a MACHINE]. Everyone I was with bought tickets for Surfer Blood. Everyone I was with walked away loving the Drums.

There’s an Apples in Stereo song called “She’s Telling Lies”. The Pitchfork review said that song didn’t so much rip off a Beach Boys song as much as it ripped off their whole catalog. I feel that way about the Drums vis a vis the late ’80/early ’90s Britpop scene. That said I love this album and the EP that preceded it. I chose this song a) because there’s a video and b) because I think it best exemplifies their affinity for that period. Enjoy.

[PP adds- I am afraid to listen to this song because I will love it instantly or my soul will recoil from the shameless pilfering of my treasured anglophilia]

The Blue Aeroplanes – You Are Loved

Alright, so it has been a while since anyone has posted anything here, so I’m stepping up to the plate.

This is either from my first concert ever, or my first club show ever. Probably the latter, but we’re talking about something that happened 20 years ago, so things get a bit blurry. I saw these guys at the Roxy on Sunset, the only show I’ve ever seen there. In fact, I’ve seen more shows in Chicago this year than I saw in my 25 years in Los Angeles.

That said, these guys put on a great show. They opened for the Jazz Butcher, which is one of those guys/bands that I rarely listened to, but my brother loved.

It might not jump out at you right away, but think Art Brut. Gerard Langley does that “I’m singing without actually singing” thing, in which the lead vocalists just kind of says the words.

In any case, the opening 20 seconds of actual music was about the best 20 seconds of music I had heard when I was a junior in high school. Enjoy the Blue Aeroplanes:

Death to Los Campesinos! – Los Campesinos!

These guys had a fair amount of P-fork buzz around their first album, and they’ve got endorsements from such luminaries as Gruff Rhys [Super Furry Animals]. I downloaded the first album a while ago, fell in love with “Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats”, but took my time getting into the rest of the first album Hold On Now, Youngster. Well, I’m now into it. I really like the upbeat tempo of everything, and I like the juxtaposition of the softly accented female vocals (Aleksandra Campesinos!) and the harder accent of the male vocals (Tom Campesinos!). And yeah, they’re the type of band where everyone changes their last name so that it’s the same as the band.

They may get a little too sugary after a while, but they have some really good stuff, and they strike as the type of band that will be really good live. I’ll find out when they come to Chicago in February. I get the impression they’re the type of band that PP will pan.

Also, what is it about Wales that makes them produce an inordinate number of good bands relative to the size of the country? The Alarm, Super Furry Animals, Catatonia, Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics when they didn’t suck…

That’s Not My Name-The Ting Tings

Never has such a seemingly annoying ditty have so much going on underneath the hood. I started paying attention at about 1:45. After about 2:45 you just have to give in. I’m sorry. Those are the breaks. Anything else would be last wordism.


How these guys could ever be huge under any circumstances has always been odd to me. well, the english and their dance rock. Their NME created arch-nemeses Jesus Jones to me had the more interesting production and an album packed with alt radio ready dance tracks, while EMF had ????? and Profit!. For both EMF and Jesus Jones, I liked the second singles better than the first smashes. This was EMFs second single (only hit 18) after “Unbelievable” went to number 1. An early 90’s fave for the grandparents in the audience.

Tired of Waiting-The Kinks

Kind of like the polite flipside of the Stones “Satisfaction”. Kinks songs are popping up the last few years all over commershes and stuff, but I don’t sweat it, I hope they are making bank. Totally classic.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Mono)-The Beatles

John Lennon is of course great, but when he doesn’t mutlitrack himself or have some effects, sometimes he can sound a little nasally, or at least nasally in a way I never remembered him to sound on the CD version of “Lucy in the Sky…” from Sgt. Peppers. My memories were from playing my parents’ orginal vinly copy, and the CD sounds different. I never realized this was because the mixes are different- the mono mix on the record is a totally different mix (beyond its monophinic nature). Cue up your CD and listen and then compare with this:

Much better.

Kathleen has a Song of the Day coming up, when I get my act together.

Bonus “She Said She Said”

Someone pointed out the drumming on this track to me as being amazing. Now I am addicted to it.

Black Magic-Jarvis Cocker

Listen, sometimes somebody just craps out a song with a killer sample that does so well in the retro sense that you could almost convince yourself the person was actually covering a different, similar song to the one actually being sampled. I give you the retro glam of limony misanthrope Jarvis Cocker’s “Black Magic,” sampling “Crimson and Clover.” Over and over. A!

Jarvis Cocker – Black Magic – Live @ Astoria


[via FoxyTunes / Jarvis Cocker]

Senses Working Overtime-XTC

This is one of those songs where I cannot wait for the chorus. I listen and think that maybe the song is not as good as I remembered in the beginning. But then the chorus etc. comes around and I realize how awesome it is. It is always hard to post about XTC because the XTC whackos come out of the woodwork ranting about Mel Schachter. They just cannot be rational about XTC. They get crazy and must be dealt with by horse tranquilizers.

I Am The Resurrection-Stone Roses

For Ann Emu.

Your tongue is far too long
I dont like the way it sucks and slurps upon my every word

Dont waste your words I dont need anything from you
I dont care where youve been or what you plan to do

I am the resurrection and I am the light
I couldnt ever bring myself to hate you as Id like

I am the resurrection and I am the light
I couldnt ever bring myself to hate you as Id like

This gist is that you’d need to be the big J to deal with her ridiculousness.

Silent Sigh-Badly Drawn Boy

Possibly a song that could strike one as infinitely sad, or mysteriously romantic, or perhaps overwrought. From the About a Boy soundtrack, Damon Gough seems to channel a 70s-ish Lennon with a splash of white soul. Sometimes the song sounds vulnerable, other times too smooth. Of course, no that I think about the little ducky, I find it infinitely sad, even if it comes across as Beck’s Debra (on Qualuudes) if you hate the breathy intro. Anyway, the heart of the duck’s soul gets eaten out, and I am saddened.

In a Room-Dodgy

We continue our Britpop phase with some lads that I heard occasionally on Rock Over London. First off, don’t appear in your own vid if:

A) Horatio Sans is your drummer.

B) Your song is the harmless, catchy, bright “In A Room” and you have a tatoo that can only conflict with the totally untoughness of the song that really should be played by the English version of overachiving teenaged Hansons.

C) You look like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Gavmo slipped me this song and I do love it in the way that I love all sorts of Britpop.

Sale of the Century/Inbetweener-Sleeper

From what I remember, “Sale…” was from Sleeper’s second album The It Girl, and they never got any cred. Jsutine from Elastica was the genius, Louise from Sleeper was either too mean or somehow derivative (not true, she was great, the sexist press could only imagine one wry, talented popstar). These criticisms all seemed to miss the point. It was Britpop, and Sleeper played smart, cutting, witty Britpop. “Sale…” is a great, great pop song- compare its almost sly earnestness with what I remember as Sleeper’s first single “Inbetweener,” possibly the meanest non-Morrissey song sang with a smiling face ever.

Sale of the Century-Sleeper



The epitome of Britpop. If you have any affinity for Britpop whatsoever, you are now pogoing around your cubicle contemplating smoking a fag and eating some marmite. The annoying talky talky is somehow completely erased by the strum-dibbety-dum PARKLIFE. Too bad the DJ hosed fulsome on his karaoke. The Smiths “Panic” was not unreasonably requested during the course of the evening.

Dark Therapy-Echobelly

This song was already my favorite Echobelly song, from their X-album “On”- second? third? Seitz and I have had this discussion, but I forget. Less jaunty, more spacey, wall of soundish, and it’s about getting hypnotherapy so she could bring herself to eat meat again. I’m totally gonna sick that guy on Pop Ren. “Hey, Pop, he’s gonna make you think you’re a chicken” Pop: “COOL!” Pinko: “heh, heh, give him the full meat treatment, Mysterio!” Anyhoo, the video is actually also amazing, and perfectly matches the theme of the song. This is our recap to Seitz video week. I hope you enjoy it. Seriously, this one is really good.

Tomorrow/November Spawned a Monster-Morrissey (Videos)

Here we have the point we started to make last month. Morrissey as disingenuous, genius, chamelonesque cipher to the extreme. The first video is from what we’ll call it middle period-solo, the second single from Your Arsenal, “Tomorrow”. Here he plays his Mr. 50s, slightly sinister, thuggy vibe, yet still sinuous and feline but the song is of course the first person desperate quest for human contact even if emotionally deceitful. So here the song is the one you sadly and pathetically sing along with in your head, as if he is giving voice to your feelings, but his appearance in the video is “disinterested Manc fashion plate”. I think this is a great song, primarily because of the driving yet wandering guitar and the classic Ronson production- he glams it up a little.

And here we have perhaps one of his more sensitive and damning tracks, “November Spawned a Monster”, which I have on early singles comp Bona Drag (which I consider the Morrissey high point- try to argue) about a troubled and sickly girl- he clearly sounds as if he has a soul and the song is spot on. An absolute gem, but he’s singing about someone else, as if he empathizes with their situation, which he must to some extent, as he gets the feelinds just right. But the video is a classic- of Beavis and Butthead. What the hell is he doing here? He’s f***ing with his audience. Mr. Celibate chooses his most sensitive song, one where he leaves his usual fake first person mantle by the wayside and unleashes a broadside at self-centered pity, to play with his audience by traipsing around the desert in stereotypical Teh Gay dancing. Is he turning the song into an analogy about homosexuality, is he daring people to make assertions? He’s humping a rock. He is 100% calculatedly screwing with you. I swear to God, one day Mr. PETA’s gonna eat a burger in a video. A juicy bacon burger. I just don’t trust the guy, and I love him, I really do. He is a pop mastermind, and a true celebrity oddity.

Morrissey-November Spawned a Monster

Losing Haringey-The Clientele

The Clientele’s latest opus, Strange Geometry, is possibly the best CD of 2005, or at least amongst the top 5. PP and I have already gushed endlessly over its crowning jewel, Since K Got Over Me, but there are plenty of other gems in this album.

Losing Haringey grabs you instantly as you realize that this is hardly a song, but a story. The narrative is told in speaking voice over a beautiful Clientele soundscape, punctuated periodically with a wordless la-la chorus. The background music alone is phenomenal, but the star of this song is the story. I can’t think of many other bands that have done the combination of speaking and music quite so well, and when I do think of them, they’re usually terrific tracks. The Clientele might be onto a great trend – I would love to listen to more songs arranged like this. The freedom from a lyrical chorus and the greater volume of words makes this a very appealing forum for new prose.

The full lyric is included below. It tells of a poor young man wandering the streets until he find himself sitting on a bench where he realizes that he is sitting in a family photograph from 1982. The details recalled and the feelings that are evoked are quite powerful. The way the narrative is told and the background music synergize to create a very thick feeling of sadness and nostalgia – typical of stories of innocence lost. It’s impossible not to remember that same feeling of 1982-ness along with the song and the same sadness of those days being gone. [ED- lyrics more accurate now]

Those days there was a kind of feeling of pushing out of the front door, into the pale exhaust fume park by broad water pond where the grubby road eventually leads to ENfield. Turkish supermarkets after chicken restaurants after spare part shop, everything in my life felt like it was coming to a mysterious close.
I could hardly walk to the end of the street without feeling there was no way to go except back. The dates I had that summer HAD COME to nothing, my job was a dead end and the rENT check was killing me a little more each month. It seemed unlikely that anything could hold much longer. The only question left to ask was what would happen after everything familiar collapsed, but for now the sun was stretched between me and that moment. It was ferociously hot and the equality air quality became so bad that by the evening the noise of nearby trains stuttered in and fix and storksin fits and starts, distorted through the shifting end. As I lay in my room I can hear my neighbors discussing the World kempCup and opening beers in their gardens on the other side someone was singing an Arabic prayer through the thin wall I had no money for the pub so I decided to go for a walk. I found myself wandering aimlessly to the west past the terrace of chicken and bombkebab shops and long dreadslaundrettes near the tube station. I crossed the street and headed into virgin territory, I had never been this way before grabble Dutch houses alternative with square 60s offices and the white pavements UNDulated with cracks and litter. I walked in wall because there was nothing else for me to do and by the breeze the light began to fade. The mouth of an avenue led me to the verge of a long greasy A road that rose up in the far distance with symmetrical terraces falling steeply down and up again from a distant railway station. There were 4 benches to my right intersperced with those strange bushes that grow in the area. These blossoms are so pale yellow they seem translucent almost spectral and suddenly tired, I sat down. I held my head in my hands, feeling like shit but a sudden breeze escaped from the terraces and for a moment I lost my thoughts and its unexpected glooms. I looked up and I realized I was sitting in a photograph. I remember clearly this photograph was taken by my mother in 1982 outside our front garden in Hampshire, it was slightly underexposed I was still sitting in the bench but the colors and the plains of the road and the horizon had become the photo but I looked hard and I could see the lines of the window ledge in the original photograph were now composed by a tree branch and the silhouetted edge of a grass birge??, the sheens the flash on the window was replicated by gunfire smoke drifting infinitessimally slowly from behind the fence my sisters face had been dimly visible behind the window and yes there were pale stars far off to the west that traced out the lines of a toddlers eyes and mouth. When I look back at this there’s nothing to grasp, no starting point, I was inside an underexposed photo from 1982 but I was also sitting on a bench in Haringey, strangest of all was the feeling of 1982, dizzy illogical as if none of the intervening disasters and wrong turns had happened yet. I felt guilty and inconsolably sad. I felt the instinctive tug back, to school; the memory of shopping malls, cooking, driving in my mothers car, all gone, gone forever. I just sat there for awhile, I was so tired that I didn’t bother trying to work out what was going on. I was happy just to sit in the photo while it was lasted which wasn’t long anyway. The light faded, the wind caught the smoke, the stars dimmed under the glare of the streetlamps. I got up and walked away from the squat little benches and an oncoming gang of kids. A bus was rumbling to my rescue down that hill with a great big fire Alexandra palace on its front and I realized I did want a drink after all

Run-Snow Patrol

Here’s the truth. Snow Patrol is not all that great a band. They are too eager to work in Coldplay sound and sentimentality and the lead singer’s voice doesn’t make it near that orbital. Their big selling album Final Straw is fine. But like a 7/10 fine. Yet somehow, out of that comes this f*cking unbelievable song, Run.

Run sounds like what would happen if Grandaddy did an Elbow cover (interestingly, the song was featured on the Jason Lytle mix CD, Below the Radio. It is broad and sweeping. It leaves you feeling vulnerable, sad, and teary. I think the key is the repetitive nature of the instrumentation and the slow build up to a pretty decent emotional climax. Having heard these guys in concert, this is the song that makes me actually feel the music. I can listen to this song indefinitely and feel that tiny uneasy feeling in my stomach every time.