30 June 2007

An Army of Her

Glasto kind of passed me by except for some late night telly. The Arctics were noisy and fun, the Who weren't half bad (Pete Townsend sure plays a mean riff), but what really got me was Bjork.

I'm not a huge fan, but I'm always interested to see what planet she's currently on. Last week she had this sound going on that rather obscurely reminded me of an instrumental on an old Elvis Costello album Spike called "Stalin Malone", all dissonant brass and warm tones underpinning her usual beats and odd stylings. It was amazing. And of course it looked wonderful, two rows of pixie women playing french horns and the like with stars on their brows and flags apparently flying from their dresses. Just the best thing I've seen in ages. Nice one BBC4.

Youtube has a few examples posted, here, here and here. Give it a whirl.

Mod chuffed to be back online!

27 June 2007

Flogging a dead corpse

I can't get excited by the recent Nick Drake release, Family Tree, which collects family recordings and includes several examples of his mother singing. When I first heard Nick Drake in the early 90s, there were the three albums and a fourth rounding up odd studio quality tracks and outtakes. That was really all you needed, and you could definitely make a case for only needing the three albums, each perfect in its own way. Pre-internet, it seemed enough.

But of course capitalism and the cult of youthful death will have their way. Since then his fame has grown exponentially, which is great for convincing people that Coldplay haven't made a single note of interesting music ever, but then so have the magazine articles, biographies, anthologies and craving for new material. The tragic poet who died without achieving fame and the legend of a finite oeuvre have become an overwhelming clamour. So we get some teenage doodles, a bad Bob Dylan cover and him playing the clarinet.

Nick Drake recorded three of the finest and most moving English folk albums and then died of an overdose of antidepressants. Just leave it at that.

Mod out.

PS In case anyone has no idea what I'm on about, buy Bryter Layer. Now.

04 June 2007

Corporate English

A friend of mine was sent this letter after complaining about a meal they'd had. One the one hand, it's admirable that a complaint should be answered when most companies of Wagamama's size could care less, but one has to ask, where were they when the punctuation was handed out? And is there some house style which bans the use of capital letters? They're obviously massive e.e. cummings fans.

Been making me chuckle all week. Mod out for random carriage return soup.

01 June 2007

Welcoming Summer with the Candylion

I've just bought some music for the first time all year. Which felt weird, I can tell you. Tom Waits and the Arctics do what they say on their tins and shout about strange fish meals and annoying people in clubs respectively. Both recommended.

But the album I think I'll be mostly playing in the sunshine this summer will be Gruff Rhys' Candylion, a typically idiosyncratic collection of ditties and gentle strums. Less ambitious than the Super Furry Animals' stuff with none of that scary techno noisiness, it's deliberately playful (the sleeve features 70s kids TV style instructions on how to make your own candylion... fluff!) and a totally ego-free experience. Refreshing and almost as catchy as Mwng. Download tracks using the Hype Machine here.

My only gripe is that I wish more than a handful of the tracks were in Welsh. For some reason that makes it doubly catchy.

Mod i maes, look you.