Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mixtape mark II

Electronic mixtape, hosted here, originally intended for use on the BRS forum. Have a track-by-track that'll be less bitchy than the one about Half-baked Or Nothing.

  1. Robert Duncan - Chosen A slow building instrumental to start the CD with. Grows and grows to sound BIG and inspiring. Was actually taken from the score of the last ever Buffy episode.
  2. Go Home Productions - Rock In Black Toll bell opening, could only be one of two songs - Back in Black, or For Whom The Bell Tolls. But wait, Freddie Mercury? It's a mashup of (principally) Back In Black and We Will Rock You, but also includes Led Zep, Crowded House, Snoop Dogg...
  3. Ash - Envy A nice upbeat jump aroundy song - not one of their most obvious tracks but still great all the same. It's not a song I've heard in a good while until I came to start this CD, and thought "hmmm, that'll fit in well". This CD took me in interesting directions.
  4. Old 97's - Four Leaf Clover My Dad summed this up as "psychobilly country and western". A fast paced song, alternating with boy/girl vocals in a cheerful pop-punk style - why on earth would this be popular with me? Bonus points to those who manage to guess where I first heard it.
  5. Rilo Kiley - Breakin' Up A lovely bridge between the country song and the forthcoming ballads. Also the start of the melancholic break. Bizarrely this song always makes me smile, remembering the Islington Academy gig where Jenny sang several portions of this song to me (especially "here's to all the pretty girls you're gonna meet" with a nod towards Katy).
  6. Easyworld - Tonight If this song doesn't make you sad then you've got a heart of stone. Piano led ballad about missing somebody. I'll let the music do the talking.
  7. Aerosmith - You See Me Crying And the piano intro to this sounds a lot like a reprise of Tonight - another happy accident in track listing. The final track off Aerosmith's best album before they got clean, it's not a side of the band you'd expect, and a thousand times better than that other fucking ballad that they're known for.
  8. The Donnas - Revolver. Picking things up again now. Still not up to full speed, a nice acousticy ballad whose guitars creep up on you. Allison Robertson is one of the most underrated guitarists in my collection. This track creeps along stealithly like a fox before pouncing and taking off. Ok, my metaphors need work.
  9. William Shatner - Common People The first of two covers on the CD. The Shat turns his spoken word epics to Jarvis Cocker's classic, and it works so well. One of the best covers ever - he really gets the hang of the venom hidden so well in the original.
  10. The Dresden Dolls - Sing A boy/girl duo, but better than the white stripes. This song always makes me choke up and get all teary eyed. A slow burn of a song, building up - it's not surprising that it's the final song on the album it's originally from.
  11. Charlotte Hatherley - Bastardo And now, a contrast. Cheerful bubbly pop that always makes me smile, and was actually referenced in my Business Studies presentation about eBay that got me a first. Shame she ruined a promising career with a poor second album (*coughsubwayscough*)
  12. Garbage - Run Baby Run An obvious band for me to use, but not an obvious song. Another cheerful happy song (making amends for the Easyworld track) from the future CEO of Cyberdyne Systems. Lulls the listener into a false sense of security before...
  13. Rammstein - Du Hast INDUSTRIAL TANZ-METALL OVERLOAD. Really, who wouldn't like homophonic plays on words in a scary language growled by someone who, quite frankly, makes Pennywise the Clown look like Ronald McDonald? The sort of song to give my workmates nightmares.
  14. The Osmonds - Crazy Horses People laughed at me for including an Osmonds song. Hopefully they'll listen to this track and not only eat their words, but realise that it actually fits in well with the surrounding songs.
  15. Pink Floyd - Run Like Hell I always listen to this song on my mp3 player walking through Canterbury when it's crowded. Invariably I sing along, and spitting out the lines tends to give me plenty of space. Roger Waters sounds so evil taunting the crowd at the beginning.
  16. Los Campesinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives Rammstein to Los Camp via the Osmonds and Pink Floyd. I will admit by this point I was running out of effort and threw this in to see what effect it would have. It works well to perk up the listener after the winding down outro of Pink Floyd.
  17. Metallica - Turn The Page The second cover of the CD, a rocked up version of a Bob Seger hit. James Hetfield is a big country fan and does this track justice. I want to find an instrumental version of it and make up lyrics about Ellen Page instead.
  18. Duke Spirit - Red Weather One of the best closing tracks ever. So sleazy, it builds and builds. Live it's even more immense, especially with Toby playing his guitar like a machine gun (something I've tried to replicate when playing One by Metallica on Guitar Hero).
So, there it is. If you've made it this far, I thank you for listening. If you liked any bands and want to know more, let me know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grammar lesson

So, I'm standing outside Morrisons waiting for my family before dinner. As I'm a biker I've parked on the main concourse near the entrance, showing off my newly polished pride and joy.

Enter a low paid trolley boy.

"You can't park that there!"

"Yes I can."

This flummoxed him somewhat. "No you can't!"

"The evidence in front of you would suggest that you're wrong - I can park here, as there's no barrier prohibiting me from doing so. I think what you meant was 'you shouldn't park there'".

"Er...yeah."

"Well then I'd suggest two things. I suggest that in the future you use the correct grammar, and that you feed back to your superiors the lack of a motorcycle parking area. Now go."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Subways - All Or Nothing

Strangely for an album in this day and age, The Subways' second effort has yet to leak despite it being less than two weeks until the release date. The staff at Warner Brothers records were very proud of this fact, as apparently only certain magazines had been sent a promotional copy. This meant that the dozen or so fans at the exclusive fan preview (plus those sitting in the courtyard below due to open windows and it being played extremely loud) were one of the very first people to hear All Or Nothing. Thus, as far as I'm aware, this is the first online track by track review of the album (that wasn't from a band member).

  1. Girls and Boys. No doubt you will have already downloaded it from the website. A good intro to the song, nice contrasting vocals on the chorus but not what you want as an opening song on an album. Gets a tad repetitive after a while.
  2. Reading Festival Kalifornia. A very summery chorus but nothing new in the two years since it debuted. An absolutely cracking instrumental break undone by a pointless pause before Billy's yell (is such a thing wise given his vocal problems?).
  3. Alright. Like No Goodbyes from the first album, but its heavier scarier older brother. A lovely summer song that'll play well on the radio and draw the casual fans in, and also continuing an opening that's much heavier than you'd expect.
  4. Shake! Shake!. Another old new song (in that it's been around for two years). The bass intro that works so well live seems out of place on the album, but as soon as the song kicks in it's exactly like the live version - and for this band it's a compliment that the live energy's not been polished away.
  5. Move To Newlyn. This song has apparently been floating around since August 2005 (story here) and the opening will sound familiar to anybody who's got Young For Eternity (several of us jokingly started singing "Mary is my best friend..." along to the intro). That said it's a definite grower and a bit of an abrupt change in pace, moving to a very acoustic jaunty song from four heavier tracks. I can see it being released as a single after I Won't Let You Down and Shake Shake.
  6. All Or Nothing. This song is like fabric, in that I found it very difficult to have an opinion about it. I tried to force one through but by the end of the song I wasn't swayed either way. It's a very cheery song and Billy wears his 1990s Britpop influences on his sleeve with this track, and it has the potential to be a grower.
  7. I Won't Let You Down. Back on form. My notes for this simply read "if WB don't release this as a single they're fools and in the wrong business". The two contrasting vocal styles combine superbly in the chorus, it's an absolute monster of a song.
  8. Turnaround. Since hearing this live last May I've been curious as to how it'll sound on record. It's a treat for old-old-school Subways fans, those who have heard the early grungy demos as it's very similar - and being produced by Butch Vig it's very apt! A different style to everything else on the album but no worse for it. Contains the third bass solo on the record - a tradeoff, perhaps, for Charlotte not taking any lead vocals despite her voice improving?
  9. Obsession. The riff for this sounds scarily similar to Shake Shake and the song overall fits in with Alright and Kalifornia - it seems very light and summery, until you listen to the lyrics which are as dark as hell. Potentional to be a grower but left a fair number indifferent to it on first listen.
  10. Strawberry Blonde. From the moment the piano starts the intro you know it's not a normal Subways song. It's this album's Mary - Billy's ode to his current squeeze. Aurally similar to Wonderwall, bonus points are gained for mentioning Firefly (although probably not the TV show). Could possibly make a good single.
  11. Always Tomorrow. A very pacy, summery song that shows how much the band has grown in the intervening years. The fact that I can't remember much else about it doesn't bode well - like Obsession, another take-it-or-leave-it song.
  12. Lostboy. The opening sounds like Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) by Green Day, another 90s influenced track. It's a great song, very catchy and several people were humming it on the way to the pub afterwards. It's a bit of an abrupt end to the album, and I think this will polarise opinion as many people love the big buildup and climax of Somewhere on Young For Eternity. If you can realise that it's not supposed to be a Somewhere mk II you'll realise how good a song it is.
So, that's it. A complete track by track. I approached the album with an open mind and empty bladder, and from the first listen I'll give it 7.8 out of 10. I think that with repeated listens some tracks may grow on me. Due to a wealth of superb albums released this year already I don't think it'll make my top five - contrastingly, had it been released last year it would've made my top three for sure (leaving aside any personal disagreements with band members for both comments).

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Karma

Yesterday was not a good day. I left the house without mp3 player or PDA, and so consequently I spent a very boring two hours by the side of the A2 when my bike blew a hole in the engine. This means I need a new bike, and pretty much buggers up any fun for the next few months. When I finally got to work I found that the person who had agreed to buy my Isle of Wight festival tickets had backed out of the deal, and then I was informed that I was now under investigation for inappropriate call transfers.

Now, I'm a firm believer in karma. I believe that when good things happen, bad things will even them out (and vice versa). Given that all this had happened to me, I was owed a big favour by the universe.

So I gave it a helping hand and kicked a small child in the face.