August 30, 2007

Now That, I Do Like…

Filed under: music, reviews, authors, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 1:08 pm

Once again Phoenix Phil has selected some prime cuts for me to chew on. Where’s me Gaviscon? That reminds me, I must write to Gaviscon and pitch my advert where I rewrite the Jimmy Webb song ‘Galveston’ as an indigestion jingle…

Kate Nash - Foundations
You know the bit in Alan Partridge where he says to the hotel receptionist “Don’t sing! It sounds baaad!” and the joke is, is that she has a very pretty voice. Well, that Partridge quote went through my head whilst I watched this promo video, except it was no joke. Now, I have a certain fondness for the Estuary Accent, seeing as I grew up in Saaf East Inglund, (innit). But it doesn’t make for a good singing voice. Give me the received pronunciation of Black Box Recorder’s Sarah Nixey any day. Mmmmm.

Not only does the voice grate, but she can’t pull a Bob Dylan and write decent lyrics to distract us from her Vicky Pollard vocal stylings. For example: “Every time we fight I know it’s not right [m’kay?], bla bla [lost interest], I know I should forget but I can’t. [m’kay?]” And that’s the chorus (such as it is). Not exactly deep or revelatory stuff. No wonder men run a mile when girls want to talk about feelings - since it is basically an interrogation about a subject discussed at a meeting you were never invited to.

And the video? I can only conclude that the director hated the song as much as me, and made the video as literal as possible, so that viewers can mute the sound and still get the gist. In the song she sings about sucking lemons and so in the video she’s… “SUCKING LEMONS”. In the song she sings about fighting, and so in the video she’s… “WEARING BOXING GLOVES BECAUSE BOXING IS FIGHTING AND FIGHTING’S BAD [m’kay?]”

I think the only good thing I can say about her is that unlike most other would-be celebrities, she looks “achievable”.

Jack Penate - Torn On The Platform
Is this guy trying to be James Blunt? No, he’s changed his mind and now he wants to be in Madness. Oh, no, wait, he’s just got really into The Libertines. A glorious melting pot of styles, this is not.

He’s ‘Torn On The Platform’, but I don’t know why. Due to the half-arsed rhyme in the title, he tries to make up for it later in the song by rhyming… THE SAME WORD. “Lies lies lies” “Down down down”. Well wouldn’t you know?! “Lies” rhymes with “lies”. Wow. Someone buy this man some quality hip hop, and maybe some Dr Seuss books just in case. I look forward to his second album called “The Cat In The Flat” or some such.

The video is almost clever, with Mr Penate being a little cut out theatre man, but it keeps cutting back to the tubby lazybones’ basement band practice. “Hey guys, let’s combine Dido, UB40, and Arctic Monkeys!”

Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver
Finally, a band I’ve heard of. Shame the song sucks. Bad Interpol. Go and stand in the corner and write a chorus for next time.

The video seems like it’s going to be a little bit conceptual, seeing as the camera just pulls back to reveal more of the scene…
Ooh, she looks nice.
Is that Sting on the phone? No.
Why is that waiter guy running?
Nope, she’s not as fit as I was expecting.
Waiter guy’s still running, he’s shouting I think.
That girl’s crossing the road, bet she gets run over.
Yep. The end.

All I want to know is how did the waiter in the background know the girl was going to get run over? He appeared to be warning the girl well before she stepped in front of that bus…

Finally, if you’re going to do a pun as a song title, it’s best to either (a) make it a proper pun with a meaning, or (b) have the meaning in the song. Neither of which are present here. The song might as well have been called ‘Droidian Slip’ or ‘Town’s Syndrome’.

Now, I DO “like”…
Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong
I like this because it is a small mercy that this track clocks in at about two and a half minutes. And also because some kids might mistakenly download ‘Ping Pong’ by Stereolab instead, which is great.

From what I can tell, this is not a song actually about ping pong, rather, ‘ping pong’ is in the title and they sing the line “This is just a song about ping pong”. Well, it’s marginally better than ‘This is a song about sing song’ I guess.

At first I thought this was a novelty single. Maybe the band had read ‘The Manual’ but the skipped (the best) chapters about ‘The Golden Rules’. “Maybe they’re ‘The Indie Aqua’” I thought to myself… But judging by the video they’re quite young, and from the general ineptitude of pretty much every single musical aspect of the song, I can only conclude that it’s some school project that’s caught the zeitgeist.

It’s the sort of thing that the club kids will obviously lap up, what with its stupid hook, and the slow down - stop -start - GO! bit at the end. But remember, it wasn’t so long ago that we all thought ‘Danger! High Voltage’ was the bees knees, and who listens to it now?

August 16, 2007

POP-ART Weekender 2 Exclusive Preview! with PhoeniX PhiL

Filed under: music, PhoeniX Phil — pxpl @ 4:48 pm

Yes! Yes! we all know that it’s the “must attend event of the summer” but just who is playing? Let me enlighten you a little more….

FRIDAY 13th JULY (7pm - 2am)

Pocus Whiteface

Who they? I believe the term “The Young Kings of Maths Rock” has been used to describe these men who like to scream and strike guitar chords at precise angels. I know a lot about pop music but always get a bit out of my depth with the clever, classy post-rock stuff, all I know is that Pocus Whiteface have cracking songs that have loads of great shouting bits in them and the fact that they have the best song titles in the business. Clearly the best band that SST or Sub Pop never signed.

Sounds a bit like: Well, the Pocus have their own unique blend on such things but if you’re a fan of the likes of Shellac and Fugazi, then you’ll love Pocus Whiteface.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “A Beach, a Flag, a Doctrine” is the one with the AMAZING and strangely touching Lego video. Also look out for “But It’s Home / This Room Spins” which has just been released on sexy black vinyl 7inch. Mmmm lovely.

Ten Foot Nun

Ten Foot Nun last year


Who they? TFN have built a steadily increasing cult following at successive PopArt events with their special own brand of what they call “spazz rock”. Their recently released conceptual mini album”‘Nightmare At The Shoe Museum’ was described by www.subba-cultcha.com as “a diverse and diverting hyper-surreal mini-album from potential pied pipers - lock up your children!…” TFN are a tour-de-force live and as far removed from “industry indie rock” as humanly possibly. Thank the stars. TFN! TFN! TFN!
Sounds a bit like: Frank Zapper leading The Wildhearts into battle during one of Willy Wonka’s nightmares.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: The Mars Volta jazz-rock meets Cheap Trick power-pop rush of “Last Night I Dreamed I Saw Your Band”





SATURDAY 14th JULY (3pm - 2am)

And What Will Be Left Of Them?

Who they? Worchester’s finest sons (and daughter). A blaze of “woo woo’s”, punk energy, indie disco, shouty boy vs. girl vocals, big… BIG choruses and a room full of drunk punters’ howling “awwwwwwwwwwwwwww-BLOT!” in approval.

Sounds a bit like: bis, B-52’s

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “L’amour violent” (which featured on our “PopArt is 1″ cd), “4 Years To Be An Artist”, “Come With Me”




The Indelicates

Who they? “Stadium Hate rock” reads their biog. The Indelicates are based around the singing and the songwriting of Simon (Guitarist) and Julia (piano)

Sounds a bit like: www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk compared them to Black Box Recorder and Billy Bragg. In the same interview Julia described her influences as “The Divine Comedy, German Expressionism, Imagist Poetry, The Shangri-las, lots of classical music, Mugglecast and Alan Moore” and Simon described his as “Carter USM growing up, Luke Haines growing bitter and all manner of others along the way. Writer-wise I like Swift, Milton, Pound, lots of old poetry from the sixteenth century and Joss Whedon”. Imagine all that stirred up in a pot plus add a few drops of the bands own private experiences and you’d get the pop broth that is The Indelicates.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “Julia , We Don’t Live In The ’60s” which was included on our limited edition “PopArt is 1″ cd … AND NOW a splendid single in it’s own right (released July 2nd).


Bicycle Thieves

The Bicycle Thieves at last year's bash

Who they?

JS Rafaeli (already a local name due to his ex-bands Angels Fight The City and Go Rimbaud) opened the Sunday of last years weekender with his new band “The Bicycle Thieves”. They soon eased away the crowds hangovers with their sweepingly gorgeous songs that envoke memories of love (both lost and found) in tear stained cities

Sounds a bit like: Velvet Underground at their most hushed loveliness. Or early era Belle & Sebastian if they lived on the wrong side of the tracks.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “You Talk So Eloquently About Love” …instantly catchy, instantly beautiful. A live performance of the song from the first ever weekender appeared on the “Pop Art is 1″ cd.



Swimsuit Issue

Who they? In their own words “proper indie, like indie used to be” …and by that they’re talking about the good old days of singles recorded in garages, blurred pictures instead of videos on the Chart Show’s Indie Chart. Already a PopArt institution Swimsuit Issue - (jude - bass, ruaidhri - vocals and guitar, steve - drums) have recently been joined by new girl, lucy on vocals and guitar.

Sounds a bit like: Some bands wear their influences on their sleeves… and some bands go a step further name themselves after a song by their influence…. and thus Swimsuit Issue clearly do like a bit of Sonic Youth (luckily the melodic stuff) plus they throw in some sweet MBV and shoe-gazing influences and thus… you’ve got one hell of a band. Another delicious factor to this band is that they seem keen to evolve. Recent gigs have seen moving further into occasional displays of hazy… yet driven pop craft reminiscent of .. dare I say it, Patti Smith (I’m thinking “Dancing Barefoot”). I cant wait for their Saturday evening set.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “The Capital”… I would say “Patience, Silence” but I don’t think that they do that one anymore.



SUNDAY 15th JULY (3pm - 11pm)

The Laurel Collective

The Laurel Collective at  last year's Weekender

Who they? For my money, the best live band in the country. Last year, The Laurel Collective stole the show with their Saturday tea time slot at the first Weekender. Now they’re back to rightfully headline the Sunday night. Expect it to be “a moment”.

Sounds a bit like: …something completely unique. The Laurels seem to take their influences from pretty much every genre of music there is but luckily side-step being “eclectic” and somehow manage to blend it all into their own heavenly pop songs.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: Crikey! where to start… “International Love Affair”, “Luger”, “Hercules”… all of them are “should be massive pop hits”… but expect the peerless “Cruel Thing” to make the whole room go crazy.



The Outside Royalty

Who they? All the way from the United States, The Outside Royalty first caught my ears when I chanced upon their myspace back in December. Since then I’ve been hoping that they’d play PopArt and KA-BOOM! here we are.

Sounds a bit like: Some wise soul once described them as “David Bowie meets The Arcade Fire”… I’d also suggest the dish has been seasoned with a subtle hint of Urge Overkill.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “Falling (part two)” has been a favourite with the PopArt DJ’s all year.



The School

Who they? Formed by Liz (of cult indie heroes The Loves) less then a year a ago, The School have impressively managed to win fans and hold their own in a series of shows supporting Saturday Looks Good To Me. The PopArt dj’s have been big fans of their MySpace tracks since day one and are extremely happy to have them play at this years Weekender.

Sounds a bit like: Some of their songs have a 60’s Lucky Soul / Pipettes thing going on but The School also have unveiled in their live shows some sweet hazy Beatle-esque numbers. In conclusion, I would confidently use the word “Poptastic” to describe their sound.

The “Oooh I know that one” song: “All I Want To Do” has been spun for young lovers at many PopArt events.




Also playing:

On Friday evening, we have the unique songcraft of MJ Hibbett and also PopArt favourites Gamages Model Train Club. Saturday sees a duo of indiepop favourites hit the PopArt stage: Gresham Flyers and Pocketbooks (both famously having appeared on last years ace HDiF comp “Kids At The Club”). Oh god, prepare for devastation, Zebedy Rays are BACK at PopArt! Roundabout City kick off the proceedings on Sunday, where they are joined by PopArt Idol winners Mlini, La Band Extrordinaire, Sexual Hot Bitches and The Spells.


For ticket details and more go to www.popartlondon.co.uk

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