Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Well, I told Carl I was going to write something about Chumbabwamba but - let's face it - I'm never going to top this. All I can offer him in return is the smattering of random Half Man Half Biscuit MP3s that I was able to find via The Hype Machine.

Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus

Quintessential! Evidently, Fred Titmus was a cricketer.

I Hate Nerys Hughes (From the Heart)
Can't really agree with the sentiments expressed here. Who didn't love The District Nurse? Seems to be some kind of (attempted) metal pastiche. As featured on the NME's legendary C86 compilation.

Dickie Davis Eyes
Again, a (failed) genre pastiche (this time, prog) which expresses sentiments I can't agree with ("Mention The Lord of the Rings just once more/And I'll more than likely kill you" etc.) in a way that I find entirely amusing. Is that the theme from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy they go into at one point?

Apparently, Half Man Half Biscuit are still going in some form or another. They even have a website, where you can buy their music. The site also informs us that, a couple of years ago, HMHB put out an album called Achtung Bono - reason enough to love them forever, surely.

Wonder which sports celebrities Nigel Blackwell is singing about nowadays. Can I put in a vote in for a song about this year's anti-heroic Tour de France loser Cadel Evans? I mean, look at this:

And then there's this:

Apparently, "dog" means "foot" in Australia.

Surprising how sad I was to see this year's Tour end. Still, at least Cadel didn't win.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

And this time I mean by me, too. Prob'ly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You Like Me!
Extremely heartening review of the new connect_icut LP, by Chris Sharp, in the latest issue of The Wire. Thanks to Scott Mapsadaisical for the scan.

My advice? Renew your subscription to The Wire. Then order They Showed Me the Secret Beaches at one of these fine outlets:

Scratch (Canada)

Scratch (US)

Rough Trade (UK)

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Tolerate Novelty Rock
Not sure why. But it's a fact I had to face when admitting to Carl Impostume that I'd just spent ten quid on a vinyl copy of Half Man Half Biscuit's Back in the DHSS. I knew he'd understand. He's a Jonathan Richman fan.

The example of Richman is probably instructive. The real appeal of Jonathan is - I've always assumed - the man's utter sincerity. There seems to be some link between undeniably sincere songwriting and no-holds-barred novelty rock. Or at least, there seems to be a place where the former crosses into the latter. That would explain Current 93, then.

The Moldy Peaches are another good case in point. Sometimes it's the most stupid lines in their ludicrous "songs" that are the most touching. I honestly get quite choked up when I hear Kimya Dawson sing: "Without 40 ounces of social skills/I'm just an ass in the crack of humanity/I'm just a huge manatee." Its true!

But Half Man Half Biscuit? Surely there's no excuse for that! The explanation I gave Carl at the time was "pure nostalgia". Well, as a smartypants blogger, I should be able to excuse my nostalgia by resorting to the good ol' H word, right?

Actually, there is something (vaguely) defacto hauntological about hearing Nigel Blackwell trauling through the dregs of 80s popular culture. Of course, at the time, he was just flicking bogies at the contemporary world as it appeared to him. But his (literally) pathetic songs have taken on a new poignancy now that most of the celebs who irked him so much are no longer famous.

The wow-and-flutter of the production probably helps. I got into HMHB as a young teen, via a third-or-fourth generation cassette of their first two albums. It's surprising to hear some of those songs again on a near-mint vinyl pressing and realize that the tape was actually a fairly decent reproduction of a really really crappy sound.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Erm... except I'm probably going to miss it because we're moving on Tuesday and several days of chaos and exhaustion are anticipated. But you should go. If you're in town, like.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

UK readers take note: those fine people at Rough Trade think the new connect_icut album is "very good" and they're inviting you to purchase it here for ten quid .

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fell Walking!
High wind plus condenser mic equals nature's own harsh noise (as we have previously noted).

Monday, July 07, 2008

Keith: an Italian Greyhound.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Argh! (Part Twenty-Seven Billion)
Remind me again why I should give a shit about this year's Tour de France. While the string of scandals over the last couple of years may have helped to clean up the sport of cycling in the long run, it's almost certainly claimed some innocent victims along the way (I maintain that Landis and Rasmussen are both 100% innocent... prob'ly).

What's worse, the cull has basically removed all of the most talented and entertaining cyclists from the Tour. And some of my personal favourite characters have been kicked out under utterly ludicrous circumstances.

Animal lover Levi Leipheimer made the disastrous move of joining the [deleted: well-chosen and objectively justifiable pejorative term] Astana team, which was subsequently banned from the race. Worst of all, pretty-boy record collector Tom Boonen just tested positive for non-performance-enhancing cocaine. Come on! The guy has a yellow Lamborghini!!
Obviously, he takes cocaine!!!

[Deleted: Witty and accurate appraisal of remaining race favourites.]

God alone knows what's really going on behind the scenes in the highly-political, big money world of professional cycling. All I know is that it's the loyal fans who lose out. Not sure I'll even bother following the race this year, to be honest.
There are some pretty exciting musical artists coming to Vancouver over the next couple of months - and I'm not just referring to the thrilling prospect of connect_icut taking the "stage" at Blim, 8pm sharp this Friday.

First of all, the mighty kode9 will be playing at Richards, Monday night. Sadly, I won't be making it along to this particular show. The ad says "curfew late" and jet-lag currently has me nodding off at about three in the afternoon. This may be the third time that avant-dubstep's undisputed kingpin has played Vancouver and I haven't managed to see him once. Shameful, really.

Second, Japanese post-metal monsters Boris are returning to our fair city. Last time they played here, it was at the monumentally stinky Brickyard. They made it well worth spending a couple of hours glued to that venue's immobilizingly sticky floor. This time they'll be playing at the 50% less stinky-and-sticky Richards on Richards, July 30th.

Finally, there's a Bedroom Community Records double bill of Nico Muhly and Sam Amidon at the Media Club on August 16th. What a prodigiously talented and highly successful contemporary composer like Muhly is doing appearing at a tiny Vancouver rock club with shitty sightlines is a bit of a mystery but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth, eh? This one, at least, should not be missed under any circumstances. Might actually be over the old jet-lag by then.
Show Update
A small addendum to this post: the doors for the show will be at 7 and I will actually be playing at 8. Don't be late!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Strobe Lighting Will be Used During Tonight's Performance
My Bloody Valentine live at the Manchester Apollo on June 29th, 2008:quite simply the most profound musical experience I've ever had. My feelings about this whole affair are still a bit too intense for me to express with mere words. For now, I'll have to fall back on low-fidelity documentary evidence.

The following videos were taken by Krissie, on her humble photo camera. Obviously, clips of this sort could never hope to capture the full grandeur of such a momentous event. Still, we both felt that the recordings turned out pretty well (you can hear the vocals and everything!)

Kris didn't shoot the famous "apocalypse" section of "You Made Me Realise" (which, on this occasion, lasted almost half an hour) for fear that the sheer volume of noise would utterly destroy her camera's little condenser mic. Heck, it utterly destroyed me!

"When You Sleep"

"(When You Wake) You're Still in a Dream"


connect_icut: Some Reminders
The new connect_icut LP - They Showed Me the Secret Beaches - is out now on CSAF Records. You can listen to a song here. You can purchase the LP in person at (among other places) Zulu Records in Vancouver and Rough Trade East in London. You can purchase the LP mail order via Scratch here (if you live in Canada) or here (if you live anywhere else).

As you can probably see from the image above, I'll be playing at Blim in Vancouver this Friday. Blim is at 17th and Main, the show is at 8pm and I'm on first. This should be a particularly interesting show as I probably won't have time to do any practices for it. See you there. Cheers.