Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
1. Great song.
2. Peter Wolf looks very cool in the video.
3. At 2′ 08″ he does a great drawing of a car on the blackboard.
4. J. Geils Band had a member with the best nickname ever.
I like this. (The music, not the YouTube clip.)
Something strange happens about one minute and 25 seconds into the video of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. One of Justin’s mates’ plain black cap turns, for a few frames, into a Los Angeles Kings cap. Curious.
Long time readers, all two of you, may remember that I once cobbled together an mp3 with all of the songs off Pet Sounds playing simultaneously. This is what it sounds like. My friend Delme and I were emailing today and the topic came up and, him being a particularly big fan of heavy metal, it got me thinking. So I did the same thing with all of the songs off Slayer’s Reign in Blood, which you can listen to here.
You are welcome.
Last night I went to see Primal Scream. I’m not a massive fan in general. I loved their third record, liked their second record, and liked parts of their fourth, fifth and sixth records. Not bothered listening to any of their albums since then. But between 1990 and 1992, I loved them. I’ve seen them five times before. First time was around the time Higher Than the Sun came out in the summer of 1991 at the Marcus Garvey Centre, Nottingham. They were supported by The Orb and Andrew Weatherall. It was a magnificent night. Saw them in a big arena (can’t remember which one) with The Orb again. I also saw them at Rock City, Nottingham around the time of Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Saw them at the Hummingbird in Birmingham. Not sure when that was. And I saw them at Victoria Park in Mile End at some point in the late nineties, ’97 maybe.
And last night, I saw them for a sixth time. I was quite excited when I first heard that it was gonna be a “Screamadelica” concert, especially knowing that it was the night before my birthday. Yay. The venue was this big circus-shaped place called Centro De Espectáculos Premier. I guess it holds around 3,000 people. It looked like on any other night, it’d be full of men in suits, wide collars, and a crap-ton of hair gel; kinda like a provincial British night club.
The song I heard when some friends and I walked in was Jesus on the Payroll by Thrashing Doves. A fine tune. It was kinda nice to walk into a venue knowing that I’d be listening to a 20 year old album being played by a band, and hearing contemporaneous music straight away. There was definitely a nice timewarp element for my brain. Danny Rampling was DJing, and it was one of those DJ sets where every new song was like, “fucking hell, I’ve not heard this for aaaaaages!” Stuff like What Time is Love? by The KLF, Love is Contagious by Taja Sevelle, and the absolutely fantastic Driving Away From Home by It’s Immaterial. God, I love that song.
I’d not drank alcohol for three weeks because of my dumb headaches. It’s a slightly depressing thing to note about yourself that you tend to get miserable without drink for just three weeks. Most of that misery, though, is because of the headaches, but still, the fact that I couldn’t drink didn’t help. It really does make me realise that I should never ever allow myself to become an alcoholic. Obviously it’s a horrible thing to be an alcoholic, but for me, I just don’t want to ever have to stop drinking. I enjoy it too much. First drink I had was water. Then I took a tentative sip of a friend’s beer, waited ten minutes: no headache signs. Fuck it. Got myself a beer. Then another. And I was like a thirsty man in a desert all night. Beer, for lack of a better word, is good.
The DJ played Sympathy for the Devil, and then the band came on. Kind of a bold choice to come on after such a good song. As they came on stage, I looked at my watch (one of those habits one picks up, seeing how long a band plays for) and it was ten seconds to midnight, and a few seconds into my birthday they started playing Movin’ On Up. I’m not much of a dancer in general. And when I’ve been at places where dancing occurs in Mexico, people dance all fancy, moving their feet and hips and stuff. Coming from that British shuffly school of dancing, that’s tough to get to grips with. But last night, the shuffles kicked in, and I’m fairly sure I was doing exactly as I was doing twenty years ago. Every now and again, there’d be one of those really clear moments where you are aware of something. This was what I loved twenty years ago. And the birthday made that even clearer. Twenty years ago, I’d have scoffed at someone going to see a band playing twenty-year-old music. But things change, your mind isn’t as certain, and, well, I want to see Primal Scream play a record that reminds me of being young. Most of the people in the crowd seemed to be too young to have been around twenty years ago, but there were some. (And, incidentally, I’m fairly sure there were a smattering of Brits there, too. There’s something about British faces: they’re easy to spot in a crowd of non-Brits.
Like most places in the world, there’s an indoor smoking ban in Mexico. Not really enforced last night, though. Apologies to the non-smokers out there (although, the rabid *cough-cough-cough* type of non-smokers can fuck off), but I broke the rules. Smoking and drinking are fun when watching a band. And, really, sticking to the rules when no-one else is sticking to the rules is pointless. Plus, y’know, it was my birthday. Another thing that enhanced my evening was the green lasers that they had in the venue. Maybe it’s because of the night club experiences I had in my early twenties, but to me, the pinnacle of night club visual entertainment will always be a shitload of dry ice and those lines of green laser beams in the air. Damn, I love that stuff.
The band didn’t really stick to the tracklisting of Screamadelica like other bands tend to do when they play an album live. They skipped around a little. This was the set list (and somebody in the crowd put some clips of the show up on YouTube, so should you be interested I’m fairly sure you know how to access those clips):
Movin’ On Up
Slip Inside This House
Don’t Fight It, Feel It
I’m Comin’ Down
Higher Than the Sun (both the regular and dub versions)
Come Together (another clip of the end of the song)
The last three songs sounded fantastic. I especially liked Come Together because it started out like the album version, then went into the original 12″ more singing-y version; a version that when I used to DJ at a night club in Lincoln in 1991-2, I used to play as the last song every night. The band played Country Girl, Jailbird, and Rocks for the encore. The only slight disappointment was not hearing anything off of Vanishing Point in the encore, but that’s a minor quibble.
After the band finished, something else reminded me of that first time seeing the band. Back then, Primal Scream hadn’t really been doing “dancey” music for that long. A lot of the people at the show were skinny jeans, black hair indie kids who buggered off once the band had finished, missing out completely on the wonders of Andrew Weatherall. Last night was kinda similar. I have no idea who the DJ was after the band, but he was playing some great music. I kept on dancing, a wee bit drunk, but doing the Lincolnshire shuffle in my own little world, as the people all around dispersed. I could’ve kept on shuffling for a while, but it was a wee bit sad seeing such an empty dancefloor. Again, a minor quibble, but a wee bit more of a quibble than my previous quibble. I like the word “quibble.”
The exact opposite of a quibble was the prices of the t-shirts. 20 pesos. Twenty pesos. That’s 99.3 British pence. Less than a quid. That’s €1.15. US$1.57. CAN$1.57. For an official t-shirt at a concert. You know this already, but concert merch is a rip-off. Unless you live in México. (Although, my flatmate’s boyfriend said that the 20 peso price is incredibly unusual, and normally it’s more in line with regular concert t-shirt prices.) But I bought one, the Screamadelica t-shirt, the red one. I had one of those back in the day and wore it to its death. This new one has “méxico 11″ on it too. There was a time when my whole wardrobe was band t-shirts. Now, though, the only one I own is this one. Hopefully, I’ll be shuffling around, drinking Coronas, and buying a Screamadelica t-shirt at a concert somewhere in the world in 2031, too.
(And I know what you’re thinking: on the venue’s logo above the stage in the photo at the top of this post, the M in Premier is the wrong way around. I know. It was bugging me all night.)
I hesitate to call this an infographic, because it’s not really very info-y or graphic-y. It will make no sense whatsoever if you are not familiar with the Kraftwerk song, Numbers.
Bigger version here: http://www.flipflopflyin.com/kraftwerk/nummern.html
It amuses me that the Google advert that I got over this YouTube clip of Kraftwerk playing Pocket Calculator is for “Chocolate Kit Kat.” It just seems perfect in so many ways.
My friend Steve alerted me to this. Stevie Nicks just singing while she’s getting her make-up done. Amazing stuff.
Yesterday, I was listening to an old episode of This American Life. It was the podcast episode that popped into my iTunes a few weeks ago. It was a re-broadcast of episode 402 that was on the radio (and I assume, on the podcast) in March 2010. Yes, Craig? So what? Sat in my rented room in Mexico City, sat here in t-shirt and shorts with the balcony door open because it’s hot, as soon as the story began, I was back in Berlin. Music, I kinda understand taking you back to a different time. I really can’t listen to certain records without thinking of certain places, certain people. I am, obviously, not alone in this.* But I’m surprised that I can remember very specifically what I was doing when I listened to that episode last year in Berlin. I was walking around, specifically looking for things I could take photographs of for a collage I was planning to put in the book. (I did use photos from that day, and you can see the result in “Flip Flop Fly Ball,” published July 5th, available for pre-order from the usual places.) It was weird to hear sentences spoken by the various story-telling people, that I really really associated strongly with specific bits of streets that I walked that day. Maybe I should’ve marked out the route on Google Maps or something, but I didn’t really want to double-up the remembrances. So here’s a few of the photos I took that day, walking around cold, grey, Berlin last April (yep, it’s a March episode, but I listened to it in April, because I tend to go through phases with This American Life: I’ll let about five or six build up, then demolish them all within a few days).
And a complete coincidences: it’s a year today since I left Berlin. That second brief stint in Berlin was a strange period. But, really, no point in examining that now, cos the roots of that tree spread under many, many paving slabs of my life that I don’t fully understand myself.
* I recently downloaded the Mighty Lemon Drops album, World Without End. I’ve not listened to that album for over twenty years. I saw their name somewhere on the Internet, remembered the record, wondered if it sounded as good as I remember it, tap tap tap, downloaded. And, I still like it. It sounds of its time, but damn, eighties indie music was fucking good.** But, more than anything, it reminded me of something I’d forgotten about: that I’d borrowed it from a girl I briefly saw back them. I’d borrowed her cassette. And by remembering that, I remembered lots of other things I’d not thought about for a very long time. Meeting that girl in Ritzy night club in Lincoln. Dancing to Erasure. This was back during the ridiculous Acid House panic that meant smiley t-shirts were banned in Ritzy. And, really, we never called it Ritzy; it was always Ritzy’s. Just like the night club where I later DJ-ed for two years was actually called Vienna, but we all called it Vienna’s.
** I imagine my elders may feel the same about other eras, and my youngers will, in time, feel the same about their eras, but it really, really annoys me when the eighties are dismissed as a shit music decade. People point and giggle at over-produced pop music, at slick comeback albums by older Live Aid artists, and with a flick of the ironic-username dismiss a whole decade. Well, fuck you. That was my decade. I grew up in the eighties, that’s where music became special for me, and a lot of it was fucking awesome. Just look at this list. It’s from Pitchfork, a site I’m not a massive fan of in particular, but it’s a pretty good reason why my eighties can’t be dismissed so quickly. This is what they chose as the top ten albums of the eighties: Closer, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Rain Dogs, Surfer Rosa, The Queen is Dead, Murmur, Doolittle, Paul’s Boutique, Remain in Light, Daydream Nation. There really is nothing you can fault in that list. Would exactly be my top ten, but everything on there is pretty magic. Here’s the link to their top hundred.
Anyway, blah blah blah, here’s some Mighty Lemon Drops to clunkily finish up this post, rather than thinking of some sort of conclusion.
Nothing better. Absolutely my favourite Christmas song. I was 14 when it came out, which probably explains why it’s my favourite.
Merry Christmas, y’all.
After having a wee moan yesterday about the UK Christmas Number One being hijacked by a TV karaoke show, then last year by wacky students, I figured I should actually bother to look how true that is. So I went and looked at the top five singles for the Christmas week since 1970, the year I was born. Basically, what we see is the 1970s and 80s had a decent proportion of Christmassy songs floating around. I’ve disqualified blatantly sentimental stuff or novelty records that may have had Christmas-themed videos, but weren’t actually Christmas songs. That includes “Stay Another Day” by East 17 which, while a fantastic song, is not a Christmas song. Tacking some bells on to a song, and having a snowy video doesn’t make it a Christmas song.
I made a wee audio intro for my talk at Centro art school yesterday. It goes a little something like this.
Pet Sounds. The Beach Boys’ 1966 album. You all know what most people think of this record, and as someone who’s website takes its name from the lyrics of a Beach Boys song, I’m sure you can guess how I feel about the record. I was lying in bed trying to sleep last night, and got to wondering if I could find cover versions of each of the album’s songs on YouTube. Well, of course I could. It’s YouTube. So, embedded for your enjoyment, Pet Sounds as covered by YouTubers. (I picked them at random if there were several versions of the same song. I’m making no comment about the quality of the cover version, either pro or anti. They are, though, all interesting in their own way.)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice by Burro1231
You Still Believe in Me by simonbarget
That’s Not Me by jimfusco
Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder) by troubleclef
I’m Waiting for the Day by JDrevolver66
Let’s Go Away for Awhile by mandobanjoguitar
Sloop John B by bubtulip48
God Only Knows by alpet07
I Know There’s an Answer by posturex1
Here Today by michaelthorner
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times by ChrisDodgen
Pet Sounds by kobifox
Caroline, No by podonline66
And for the extra track completists out there:
Hang On to Your Ego by sydbarrett5
I’ve been feeling a bit lifeless for the past month or so. Mostly I’ve been preparing paintings for Back to the Future IV, my forthcoming exhibition in Düsseldorf. I’ve not really been enjoying the work, or life for that matter. But the clouds are looking like they might be parting. I’ve been doing some stuff on the Flip Flop Fly Ball site, and that’s cleared my mind a bit. I did a painting I actually like yesterday, too. And last night, about 1am, I had an idea. It’s the first time in a very very long time I’ve had an idea that has made me get out of bed to start working on it. I did that until 5am, and when I woke at 11.30am, I started on it straight away. It’s finished now. So with apologies to Massive Attack and Google, here’s a recreation of the Unfinished Sympathy video made with Google Street View. It’s about 15MB, so it might take a while to load.
Update 29 Jan: A few people have emailed and mentioned a couple of things I should address. First, every possible screengrab from Google Street View has been used. There are no missing frames, and that’s why some images stay on screen for ten or more seconds. If there were more possible images, I’d have used them.
Second, I could have made it shorter, made the screengrabs a bit more animate-y. I pondered it, but felt that the idea to match up as best as possible with what you see on Google Street View dictated having it full length. Plus, I really enjoy just staring at seemingly boring streets. And I kind of like the idea of leaving it up to you to envisage where Shara Nelson would be on the street.