For the love of men and music

Friday, April 18, 2008

Glitter For Gold

Being touted as the next big thing to watch out for ages by those in the know (you know them; they wear skinny jeans, have fashion beards those trendy 80s plastic glasses), Santogold finally delivers her self-titled album. Pushed back a few months from January to April, the album has been hyped to levels reminiscent of the whole Lily Allen launch with huge dollops of NME-esque street cred attached.

Sifting through the hype, I finally got round to listening to the album last night, and it’s actually quite good. Playing with a whole host of influences, (electro, indie rock, two-tone, 80s pop, reggaeton, dub) – this is an album from artist who likes her music (unsurprising given her A&R background). Vocally, Santogold switches around from sounding a bit like Gwen Stefanni, M.I.A. and at times (to my ears) Amy Winehouse (maybe just when she goes aaahoooo ?)

The standout track on the album is the opener, L.E.S. Artistes that maintains that fine balance between being a pop song that has the ability to retain its cool. Other tracks worth looking out for are; You’ll Find A Way (the second single I believe) which sound like something No Doubt would have done if they were still together, the Pretenders-esque I’m A Lady, and a song that makes me think of Amy Winehouse on heroin (oops): My Superman. Oh - and we love the seagull noises on the opening of Creator although compared to M.I.A., I’m not as taken by Santogold’s ragga takes.


As an aside, she also wrote Ashlee Simpson’s latest (and much to my embarrassment a song I like) single; Outta My Head.

MP3: Santogold – I’m A Lady
MP3: Santogold – My Superman
MP3: Ashlee Simpson – Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New English Song

As someone who doesn’t tend to listen to the words of most songs (touch my body, umbrella-ella-ay-ay etc – hardly Shakespeare) and instead is seduced by the melody and beat of most music, it was quite refreshing to come across Love, Ire & Song, the sophmore album from Frank Turner (aka the former Million Dead frontman).



Continuing a path laid by the likes of Billy Bragg and The Levellers, Frank sings an engaging mix folk, power pop (think Lemonheads) and social commentary (without sounding half as dull or righteous as I have just made that sound).

I love the dry sense of humour that runs through most of the songs (and no-one’s really clear about Tommy’s job description, but it’s pretty clear he’s vital to the whole damn operation – on ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’ or she’s not as pretty as she thinks she is – just picture her after she’s had kids – I bet she sits at home and listens to The Smiths – on ‘Reasons To Be An Idiot’ – a song inspired by a friend’s ex who was “essentially a pillock”) and the personal tales that form the core of the album (‘IKPBHGF’ namechecks friends, ‘To Take You Home’ is about a girl who dumped Frank by the time recording was over, and the beautiful ‘Long Live The Queen’ is about a a friend of Frank’s who died of cancer).

On top of that Frank has a great way with words (and I'm enough of a nerd to find the title 'Imperfect Tense' funny).

An album filled in equal measure with optimimism, frustration and great song writing - or in other words; Love, Ire & Song - certainly one of my favourite releases of the year.

MP3: Frank Turner - I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
MP3: Frank Turner - Photosynthesis
MP3: Frank Turner - Long Live The Queen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dark Kisses

For those days when the Pippettes are too darn chirpy, and what you really want to do is wallow, The Chapin Sisters might be just what the doctor ordered. The Chapin Sisters are three sisters from New York whose blend of traditional folk, lush three part harmonies and indie rock moodiness first came to light on their self titled EPs, and can now be heard on their first full length album: Lake Bottom LP.

While the sound is gentle folk and the vocal harmonies are exquisite (sometimes you can’t replicate the merging of voices from one family by even the most talented singers), the lyrics tell a melancholy story; with titles such as ‘Kill Me Now’ and lyrics such “scrub at my skin, till it’s so raw I might break through’. This mix of the beautiful and the depressed and sarcastic makes for engaging listening.

MP3: The Chapin Sisters – Kill Me Now
MP3: The Chapin Sisters – Wash Away
MP3: The Chapin Sisters – Toxic (from EP)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Flying Solo

This weekend I attended my first ever Hag Night (a cross between a stag party and a hen night) for a friend of mine who is a few weeks away from his civil partnership.

Unsurprisingly, the feelings of frustration about life surfaced – given that we are about the same age and most of the other folks at the event were women, I couldn’t help but feel a bit inadequate with my life and the lack of a relationship, marriage or children.

Whilst I can live with the lack of the last two, the lack of a relationship is something that grates – partly because of the void, but more importantly because of the negative feelings it generates. I dislike the idea that I have these recieved concepts in my head that equate value or relative worthiness with being in a relationship.

I’ve often struggled with singledom – not because I have some sort of comfort zone in relationships (far from it – I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in one) – but because some years ago, I decided to embrace the statement that some people are destined to live their life single. Intellectually I have seized that idea, but emotionally, I haven’t found the natural balance to find comfort in it.

So, the question that I’m trying to answer how do you accept your singledom and embrace it, rather than see it as something to be filled?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Resurrection

A few months later than expected, I thought it was about time I came back to the blog. I’ve been meaning to post for ages, but what with work and illness, I have’t really managed to find the time. Thank God (literally) for Easter holidays.

First up is Kemal Dogulu who I came across (I’ll try and hold the pun back) when surfing round youtube for Hande Yener videos. Hande Yener is from what I can gather, the Kylie Minogue of Turkish pop (think, quirky electro pop and a big gay following) and I loved her 2007 album; Nasıl Delirdim. A couple of taster tracks posted below.

Whilst nothing turned up from Hande, it turns out that she has written some new music (and sung part of the vocals) for her brother in law to be Kemal Dogulu. Bir Yerde (Somewhere) is a cracking electro-pop track which has been getting heavy rotation (do MP3s rotate?) on my player over the past few weeks. It doesn’t hurt that Kemal is incredibly hot (well to me) – and I don’t believe for a second he’s interested in Hande in the video (except perhaps to drag her off to the bar to cruise boys).



MP3: Kemal DoguluBir Yerde (Somewhere)
MP3: Hande YenerKibir (Yanmam Lazim)
MP3: Hande Yener – Romeo

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Little Time

For those of you still visiting this blog (thank you) - you'll probably have noticed that it hasn't been updated for a few months - I'm afraid, things have been very manic at work, and I don't have a lot of time on my hands.

Don't delete the link just yet - I will be posting sporadically over the next few months and will return with vengeance in the new year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bacon

Today saw the closure of perhaps the most profilic of torrent sites; Oink, in a raid that saw its admin arrested and servers taken into police custody.

For those who belonged to the site, it was perhaps the closest thing to a music lover’s paradise – a community based upon a real love of music, not the den of criminals intent on destroying record companies as the subsequent press releases seem to have painted it.

The legalities of file sharing aside, the thing that gets me, is that the reaction to file sharing is short sighted at best and flawed at worst. If people want to see the future, then you only have to look at Madonna - regardless of what you think of her, she has always been a shrewd business woman, and with her latest move to Live Nation, she has shown that the business model for performers also needs to change with the times.

Rather than trying to stop people getting music for free, record companies should be looking to earn money through musicians doing what they do best - performing - as opposed to flying round the world doing publicity in order to sell CDs.

With the rise of myspace; sites like Oink are instrumental in building a new artist - if it wasn't for early release of materials on sites like Oink, which in turn gave non-professional music bloggers something to write about, artists like Lily Allen would never have got the hype behind them.

It does feel like the powers that be are focussing on winning a war they have long lost rather than reshaping the landscape.