Thursday, 27 September 2007

Jack Penate @ The Astoria, 26/09/07


Jack Penate put on a more than adequate set at the London's Astoria, but approximately half the crowd seemed to think they were at some kind of death-metal-football-hooligan-mud-wrestling fight extravaganza. It was the first time my parents had let me go to a gig on a schoolnight, and there weren't a lot of people my age there - for once me & my friends were actually the youngest people in the venue. There were about 3 seperate moshpit incidents that turned into fights, one leading Jack Penate to stop playing and lecture the crowd about how there was no need and it's not what his music is about.
The songs were really good, but there is something about Jack Penate that I find inherently annoying. It might be his Tony Blair-esque voice, or his slightly too rounded face, but that man incites levels of annoyance in me that I usually would reserve for people who are actually annoying. During slow number My Yvonne a female vocalist appeared onstage to do some additional vocals - at first I thought it looked like Adele, but my mate Harry swears she was wearing one of those gold name necklaces that said Julia. The main set ended with Torn On The Platform, but the encore included Learning Lines, a cover of one of those songs you sort of know of but can't remember the name of, and the excellent Second, Minute Or Hour.

DOWNLOAD: Jack Penate - Made Of Codes

There were two support bands, first folk-rockers Johnny Flynn who played a set that was reasonably pleasant to listen to, but not exactly danceable. The lead singer swapped guitars 3 times, and every time there was a smaller guitar. For the last song he got a banjo out, which almost ruined my whole evening. Please do not question my hatred of banjos - I will not go into details, but I do not like banjos. At all.
The second band were terrible. When I saw the poster, I thought 'Yay, Wild Beasts are playing.' Then I remembered that I had never heard of Wild Beasts, and that the band I was thinking of was in fact Foals, and Wild Beasts I had never heard of. The bass and lead guitarists both came on wearing turtleneck jumpers, and the singer did this cringe-enducing dancing that seemed to be based on copying the style of an angry pigeon.
The opening songs skirted the boundaries of good taste, but a few tracks in the whining falsettos became too much to take and several empty beercans started flying, along with a few ones that seemed to be mostly full. I didn't throw anything, but this was for the simple reason that I have the most inadequate throw of anyone I know, with about the same throwing skills as a newborn baby; I didn't want to embarass myself. It is a pity the band didn't feel the same way. Dressed up like a fourpiece Simon & Garfunkel both having bad hair days, I am considering starting a petition to make Wild Beasts illegal.

In other news, WOO YAY St Albans won the online monopoly board vote by a ridiculous margin. Getting more than twice the number of votes than the second place Exeter, locals voted a total of 104,107 times. Arguably St Albans only won because we are the most internet and Myspace obsessed town in the UK, but it does also show that people in St Albans love it so much that to us it's worth staying at home, making up addresses such as *keyboard smash* @ *keyboard smash* .com a million times a day for 3 weeks. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a certain boardgame to beat my brother at.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

The MOBO Awards and an extra-special Amy Winehouse mini-essay

It has become a tradition that every year me and my mum stay in and watch the MOBO awards. To be honest a lot of the music really is incredibly low-quality rubbish - in fact that is not true, all of the music by Ne-Yo is incredibly low-quality rubbish. But what makes the MOBOs great is the awfully rehearsed banter between the co-hosts and seeing Sunita wearing the same dress she wore performing 'He's Gotta Be So Macho' on Top Of The Pops.
Here's a full list of the award winners:

Best UK Female - Amy Winehouse
Best UK Male - Dizzee Rascal
Best International Act - Rihanna
Best Song - Ne-Yo 'Because Of You'
Best UK Newcomer - N Dubz
Best Video - Kanye West 'Stronger'
Best Hip Hop - Kanye West
Best R&B - Ne-Yo
Best Reggae - Sean Kingston
Best Gospel - G-Force
Best DJ - Tim Westwood
Best Jazz - Soweto Kinch
Best African Act - 2face Idibia

Last night on national television Tim Westwood surpassed himself in being a complete moronic fool. He won the MOBO award for Best DJ, as voted for by users of irritating socila network Bebo. The average age of Bebo users must be about 13, and considering that the other nominees (George Kay, Jigs, Rampage, Ras Kwame, Ronnie Herel, Semtex, Shortee Blitz, Steve Sutherland and Trevor Nelson) nobody had heard of, the award should have been called DJ Most 13-Year-Olds Have Heard Of. As Westwood is announced winner, the whole O2 Arena is booing, and his acceptance speech consists of "Yeah innit this is my third MOBO I'm still the best fuckin DJ in the UK and if you don't like that you can fuck off!". I am not going to bother with some kind of witty retort about this.

And despite the fact that Amy Winehouse was nominated for just about every award she was elegible for, she only got one - Best UK Female. Her acceptance speech consisted of "Fankyou. Err... 'Ello, fankyou. Fankyouuu!" and then some wild gesturing. Her live set was coherent, the tune was adhered to but she seemed to be struggling to remember the words. It just seems sad watching the best singer of this millenium drink her way to oblivion. Thing of any of the 'greats' in soul music, and not one of them wrote songs as good as her, if they wrote at all. Amy is unique, the flaky alcoholic with the broken heart, combined with the 'live fast die young' attitude of a punk - and the sad thing is that like so many before her, she probably will die young. Which is just horrible really, if you think how much potential there is for an old lady Amy Winehouse.

Oh and Heat Magazine, LEAVE AMY ALONE SHE'S A HUMAN BEING. Seriously though, the constant barrage of 'Amy Winehouse is dying of not having enough body fat' is becoming annoying. She used to be more curvy but has lost some weight. It's because apparently she used to get through about forty quid of weed every week, and since quitting she no longer has constant munchies and now goes to the gym about four times a week. Which means she is now a bit on the skinny side. The end.

Here's some tracks from her first album, Frank. Way back when she wasn't what could be described as a 'strangely sexy transexual pirate hooker'.

DOWNLOAD: Amy Winehouse - Fuck Me pumps
DOWNLOAD: Amy Winehouse - Take The Box
DOWNLOAD: Amy Winehouse - Help Yourself

Friday, 21 September 2007


Hadouken! @ ULU, 8th June

OMG YAY Hadouken have a new track - It's called Love Sweat and Tears. They've lso announced a second mixtape to be released on the 12th of November. From what I've heard, this is going to be released in the format of a USB memory stick, which to be honest seems like the most ridiculous musical format ever thought up. It's NOT their album, apparently, titled 'Not Here To Please You' it's got a load of material already doing the rounds as well as some new stuff. Tracklisting as follows:

Leap Of Faith
Love, Sweat & Beer
Dance Lesson
You Can't Be That
Liquid Lives (Noisia Remix)
Tuning In (H! Rerub)
Bloc Party Vs Hadouken! Remix
Plan B Vs Hadouken! Remix
Bolt Action 5 Vs Hadouken! Remix

The as-of-yet untitled album won't be out til early next year. I'll eat my glowsticks if isn't a mercury nominee. The UK tour starts next friday with support alternating between Shut Your Eyes and The Ghost Frequency, and Late Of The Pier and The Whip.

DOWNLOAD: Hadouken! - Love, Sweat And Beer

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Does It Offend You, Yeah? w/ We Smoke Fags + AutoKratz @ Bedford Esquires, 15/09/07

I saw Does It Offend You, Yeah? supporting Hadouken in June, and they were awesome to the point of almost upstaging the headline act. Now on their own UK Headline tour, I saw them in Bedford on Saturday and they did not disappoint. With their own brand of electro-punk they totally rocked the tiny venue that is the Esquires, they actually brought the roof down.
Unfortunately, the bouncers were clearly not in a good mood for some reason, and I was thrown out of the venue twice. Somebody had thought it might be nice to hang a million glowsticks from the ceiling, and understandably perhaps, everyone was trying to reach up and grab them. So when some of the more enterprising people decided to jump on each others shoulders to pull a few glowsticks down, an evil evil bouncer decided to send us out. The scum. It was OK in the end, because after taking off my glasses and hat, and changing shirts with a friend, I managed to sneak back in.
As well as this, there were two "dancing-related injuries" over the course of the evening. One of them was my mate Kalyan, who (the poor, poor bastard) managed to dislocate his shoulder someway through the first song of the first act, and was ambulanced off to hospital.

We Smoke Fags

But anyway, onto the music. The first act was 'electro skunk rock' three-piece, We Smoke Fags. Quite what their name can mean in a literal sense since the smoking ban is dubious - I, for one, did not see them smoking any fags. Despite the injuries sustained by the crowd, they put on a solid set, kicking things off with the excellent 'Eastenders', and finishing off with their amazing, singalong-even-though-you-don't-know-the-words stomper, Lust Puppet.

DOWNLOAD: We Smoke Fags - Eastenders
DOWNLOAD: We Smoke Fags - Lust Puppet

autoKratz @ Bedford Esquires

After an interval during which they turned all the lights on and I spent most of hiding from the security in a corner, wonky electro outfit autoKratz stepped in. All their songs were reeallly long, and a bit repetitive, but they were kinda fun. To be honest, the music sounded more like it was more suited to some kind of drug-fuelled illegal rave in the centre of Berlin, and the crowd weren't all that keen, but they kept the momentum going for a half-hour set.

DOWNLOAD: autoKratz - ReaKtor
Does It Offend You, Yeah @ Bedford Esquires

At about 9.45, Does It offend You, Yeah? took the stage. They were completely wicked-awesome. Even the song that I thought was boring in mp3 format (Doomed Now) was good. I saw all the songs, except the final reprise of 'We Are Rockstars', because the prick recognised me from earlier and decided to chuck me out again.

DOWNLOAD: Does It Offend You, Yeah? - We Are Rockstars (Kissy Sell Out Remix)
DOWNLOAD: Does It offend You, Yeah? - Battle Royale

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Partyshank & Frankmusik @ New Cross Inn

Product Placement
Partyshank make crazy 'toystep' music by somehow wiring together hundreds of brightly-coloured childrens' toy instruments to create something that sounds like it was made by Crystal Castles, if Crystal Castles were cartoon characters from Japan.
Frankmusik makes emotive powerpop layered over neon synths and 808 drumbeats. As well as having a voice more haunting than ex-Simian and now Black Ghosts vocalist James Ford, he also has the most amazing haircut ever to be banned from most schools. Frankmusik is the male Robyn, if Robyn was a man wearing huge white glasses.
Saturday saw an all ages all-dayer with both performing awesome live sets in the tiny venue that is the New Cross Inn, with support from insane shout-rap outfit Puppy Bucket & Donny Choonara, and a fourpiece of 15 year olds who seem to have a lot of potential and were really nice.
PuppyBucket @ New Cross Inn
I'm not going to post any mp3s of Puppy Bucket & Donny Choonara, because I have heard them and they are really badly recorded, lacklustre and sound rubbish. To the contrary, their live set was actually really fun and full of raw energy. Me & my small group of friends were the only ones dancing, but it was still pretty amusante.
Lethal Concept @ New Cross Inn
Next up were Lethal Concept, the aforementioned teenagers who've only got round to writing three songs, so spent most of their set covering other people's song, but made up for it with this infectious enthusiasm for performance. I think they'd payed all their friends to come to the show, or maybe they are just REALLY FAMOUS without me knowing, but the tiny dancehall erupted from the very first track. A young Enter Shikari in the making, perhaps. (Me saying that is nothing to do with the fact they played two Enter Shikari songs.)
Frankmusik @ New Cross Inn
Next up was Frankmusik, whose set we nearly missed all of, but from what I saw looked pretty awesome. For some reason everyone got the urge to stand on things at somepoint during the show, and I was no exception. Until the barmaid very kindly asked me to stop dancing all over the bar. Which was fair enough really.
Partyshank @ New Cross Inn
Partyshank finally took the stage, one of them dressed in the obligatory hotdog costume, and the crowd was mental. I managed to lose both my shoes but made the decision to keep dancing and ignore the increasing pain in my feet and focus on the 'music'. The absolute highlight was when FrankMusik took the stage and there was some kind of crazy collaboration which should be a band in its own right, and they should call it PartyFrank. There was murder going on in the moshpit, and to be honest I was amazed that such a violent atmosphere could accumulate in such a tiny venue. Peace and Love clearly has no place in New Cross.

DOWNLOAD: Partyshank - Gary
DOWNLOAD: Frankmusik - Made Her Smile
LISTEN: Frankmusik - 3 Little Words (Partyshank Remix)@ The Partyshank Remixes Page

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Regina Spektor @ Royal Festival Hall, 07/09/07

Regina Spektor, Royal Festival Hall
Friday night was without doubt the most moving live performance I have ever seen. Despite the fact we were in a row so far back in a venue so huge that I for one could barely even see Regina, it was an awesome evening. Right from the second track of the show, I went into a sort of trance or something; and was nearly in tears for the whole night. Switching between piano, guitar and simply tapping the microphone in time to the beat, Ms Spektor's performance was electric.
Regina is amazingly talented, and seems to never stop writing new songs - she has literally got hundreds of them. The Regina Spektor discography is like a huge iceberg: I've got 30 of her songs in my mp3 library, (all of which I know pretty well) and this is loads more than any other band - yet I still only recognised about half of the tracks she had to offer. Personally, the highlight of the set was the unreleased 'Baby Jesus', a song that showcases Regina's amazing vocal range, as well as her superhuman piano skills.
All I need now is another Spektor album!
DOWNLOAD: Regina Spektor - Musicbox

Thursday, 6 September 2007

TRACKS: Now vs One Year Ago

Ok, this is probably a bit of a silly idea, but I've set my music library to organise by Date Created and I'm having a look at a few songs that I was ... like actually well into one year ago. Back then I had a bit of a Lily Allen obsession - I am sorry, please forgive me. Since then I have matured somewhat, and realised that 'lyrics by Lily Allen, music by Lily Allen and "insert name of songwriter/producer/person with a hint of musical skill here" ' means that all Lily had to was write some kind of stilted poetry and then be in the same room as someone who worked out a half-decent tune to go with it. Which doesn't mean you can't listen to her songs, and that they are therefore 'bad music', it just feels like a slight betrayal after she started her MySpace career by marketing herself as some kind of music-literate indie songwriter who is from the ghetto or something, when in fact she is nothing more than Britney Spears with a C in GCSE English.
Despite the fact Lily is a bitchy self-obsessed fool, you gotta love her, and some of her tunes really are more than listenable, and often quite danceable. There's been loads of remixes, but this one, renamed 'Crack Whore', by the South Rakkas Crew (I have never heard of them before or since either) is my favourite.
DOWNLOAD: Lily Allen: Crack Whore (South Rakkas Crack Whore Riddim Remix)
Whereas now, it's all about the Britney Spears, who, as far as I know, has no GCSEs to speak of - possibly because the American system of education hands out no such qualification. (Their loss). A few years ago, I was shocked when I saw someone who I had previously thought of as an intelligent, well-rounded individual, liked Toxic. I was thinking something along the lines of 'OMG YOU CAN'T LIKE THAT SHE DINNT EVEN WRITE THAT AND SHE'S LIKE A POP STAR NOT EVEN A REAL MUSIC PERSON BUT A 'POP' STAR OMG RAARGH'. How wrong I was. As far as I can see, it is perfectly acceptable to like crap music if it is listenable and good - I don't have to credit Britney with any real talent. Actually, that's not fair - she is a good singer, but only a small tiny amount of the finished product is down to her input. Nobody will remember this song in ten years, but for now I am quite happy to play this at full volume and try to gargle the word 'more' at the lowest possible pitch imaginable, until my voice does that weird popping noise like I'm that woman from The Grudge.
DOWNLOAD: Britney Spears - Gimme More
And here's a few tracks I am well into at the moment.
DOWNLOAD: Bedtime For Toys - White Fur Coat
DOWNLOAD: Ghost Frequency - Money On The Fire
DOWNLOAD: Afrikan Boy - Lidl

Monday, 3 September 2007


Hearts Revolution, the New York Electrothrash duo have a wonderful video for their new song CYOA (short for Choose Your Own Adventure). I am a sucker for freeze-frame animation - for further viewing see the intro to my short-lived summer band of last year Mystery Meat - but freeze-frame animation in some darkened cityspape with floating neon signs thrown in is something else. This band are awesome - they sell records in a pimped-out ice cream truck!

Download: Hearts Revolution - CYOA

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Riverclub Demos 1 and 2

The Riverclub are a five-piece unsigned band from hastings. They combine powerful guitar riffing with gently layered synths to create pure guitar pop perfection, with a hint of electronica thrown in. The songs are fast-paced and fun, particularly if you're sitting on the back of a bus, sharing headphones with a friend and miming the lyrics with 'emotional' faces and a few 'meaningful' hand gestures thrown in for good measure. The Riverclub are touring with Tonight Is Goodbye later this month, and released a (now sold-out) EP earlier this year.
DOWNLOAD: Riverclub - Demo 1
DOWNLOAD: Riverclub - Demo 2

Saturday, 1 September 2007


I cannot download anything, I cannot save anything, I cannot even access email attachments. I got firefox about three months ago, but unless this sorts itself out soon then the love affair is officially over. Why is it so evil?