27 February 2010

On whom can you depend?


I can't get Surfer Blood's Swim out of my head. I love the shouty, echoing vocals which are great for singing along. I love the big and crunchy guitar hooks. This song is like a cotton-candy flavored shot of adrenaline. I hope the rest of the album is like this.

From the little I've read, Surfer Blood are from Florida and they have one album called Astro Coast. Otherwise, I don't know much about these guys (I can't find a main site), but you can stream more tunes here.

Surfer Blood > Swim

26 February 2010

I put a spell on you

This is a charity song I can sink my teeth into.

Released on March 8th 2010
Please pre-order the single by clicking here - http://bit.ly/bj2ieH. Or text SPELL (all in capitals) to 78789 (the text costs £1.50).

So moved by the plight of the people of Haiti, Shane and his long term girlfriend, writer Victoria Clarke made calls to friends and associates from which began the process of recording a track from which ALL proceeds go to Concern, a charity who have provided assistance to some of the poorest countries in the world including Haiti, even before the earthquake struck. Some of the stars on the record include - Nick Cave / Bobby Gillespie / Glen Matlock / Johnny Depp / Chrissie Hynde / Paloma Faith / Eliza Doolittle. 


25 February 2010

You're just a small light

I'm really enjoying the new Lali Puna album, Our Inventions. There's something about Valerie Trebeljahr's voice that's very soothing and comforting. Their electronic pop music is warm and inviting. I often feel like I can sink into a Lali Puna song and land softly. Or maybe like the song is a cloud and it floats me to someplace where the skies may be grey, with hopeful glimpses of blue. Their songs are like a heaven made up of 1s and 0s. Or something.

Stream more Lali Puna tracks here, check out their webpage here and buy music over here.

Lali Puna > Move On

Walk, don't run

I found this via Twitter a few days ago. A couple of cute, crocheted musicians who go by the name, U900. They have a myspxxx page here and there are a couple albums for sale that I've found, one of which looks to be a Ventures cover album. The vid below is the U900 version of The Ventures' Walk Don't Run. I kinda don't want to find out too much more about U900 and spoil the charm.

24 February 2010


Last Friday we went to the packed Kuudes Linja club in Helsinki and were treated to a fantastic show by Yona, a singer-songwriter (pictured) backed up by a chamber-folk ensemble of strings, piano, jazz percussion and the occasional trumpet. I ended up buying the group's CD, Pilvet Liikkuu, Minä En ("The Clouds Move, I Do Not," if I understand the title correctly) which has been in fairly regular rotation at home since. Here in "Syyssävelmä" ("Autumn Melody") Yona and co. are definitely engaged with Finland's grand tradition of melancholic ballroom music, but are doing something pretty fresh and contemporary too.

Yona - Syyssävelmä

23 February 2010

Japanese cinema

The publisher Intellect is currently offering a free download of The Directory of World Cinema: Japan, a shiny 298 page e-book on my favourite national film industry. While it's not short of ideas for the Netflix/Lovefilm/whatever rental queue in your life, the collection of reviews and essays "was never intended to be a conventional film guide, as the overall aim was to discuss Japanese cultural life and history as expressed through the medium of film," according to editor John Berra. I haven't read the book, but a skim this afternoon in my clunky .pdf reader looked pretty promising (and made me want to get an iPad).

Also of interest in the same generalist vein, but in old-fashioned print, is Donald Richie's A Hundred Years of Japanese Film. Richie's writing on Japan has been personally very influential on my own evolving views and tastes. His book on Ozu (my favourite director, from any country) is also one of the best things on my shelf. Or rather, in boxes in storage in a garage in California, but that's another story. My library will join me in Helsinki one day.

(Above: Yasujiro Ozu)

18 February 2010

The ocean wants me today

The video for "Scissor," from Liars' forthcoming Sisterworld, to be released 9 March. Anticipated muchly.

16 February 2010

I read bad poetry into your machine

Thought of this song, At My Most Beautiful, the other day. I still remember the first time I had heard it. We were at the Bridge School Benefit in 1998, I believe. it was at least a couple months before their album, Up, had dropped and REM were headling one of the nights that year when I saw them play this. It was love at first listen with this song, the sweetly touching lyrics and the Beach Boys style music came together perfectly. Sadly, this is one of the few REM tracks I like in the post Bill Berry era, but that's another discussion.

REM > At My Most Beautiful

14 February 2010

Just one time with a monkey wrench

In 1993, the Mario Brothers received the Jellyfish pop song treatment. If only all songs about video games were this cool, or good. A b-side from Jellyfish's New Mistake single, Ignorance Is Bliss is a lyrically straightforward tune concerning the characters from the game and sung from the perspective of Bowser, King of the Koopas. Musically, it's like the mad hatter of pop songs; stopping, starting, speeding up and seemingly about to whirl out of control and fly off the planet. Some parts of it also remind me of a stage play for some reason. It's all so Jellyfish, I don't think I could name another band who might be able to pull off a song like this these days. I love how it ends, when he says so casually and dismissively, "On second thought, I think I've made my point.", and the song waltzes and fades. Wonderful.

Jellyfish > Ignorance Is Bliss

11 February 2010

Last Exit To Nowhere

For all the movie nerds out there, make sure you stop over at Last Exit To Nowhere. LETN makes goodies (mostly t-shirts and hoodies) with the logos of fictional corporations and organizations from your favorite flicks. I recently picked up one of these Nostromo shirts from Alien.

Also, the LETN peeps have also posted some pretty cool iPhone wallpapers, which I've gathered up into one zip file for you. My favorite one is the HAL 9000 one, from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The other ones are the Tyrell Corporation (Blade Runner), Omni Consumer Products (Robocop), Weyland Yutani (Aliens), and Nakatomi Corporation (Die Hard). I'm not sure if they'll show up right on other phones, but it could be worth a shot. Download the wallpapers below, if you're so inclined.


10 February 2010

You've been acting awful tough lately

I came across this song a week or so ago, and I can't get it out of my head. It's I Am Not A Robot by Marina & The Diamonds. I like the synthy production, and Marina's vocals sorta remind me of my beloved Kate Bush. I also like the vocoder in the background, I wish it were a bit more prominent, considering the "robot" theme of the song. The video is pretty trippy, too. She looks weird covered in all that black tar or whatever it is. She has an EP out, called The Crown Jewels, and her album, The Family Jewels, drops in a couple weeks.

Stream more of Marina & The Diamonds over at the official site, and keep up with Marina on Twitter.

Marina & The Diamonds > I Am Not A Robot

03 February 2010

Songs of < 3 & < /3


Valentine's Day is coming. Some people love it, some people hate it. I don't really care for it myself, it's kinda of a prefab cash-grab "holiday", but that's just the way it goes. Just for fun, I wanted to see if I could put together a mix of love songs, but it didn't feel right without the darkness of heartbreak. I added even more songs and came out with these 32 tracks (yeah, I know it's long, it just happened that way). It's not definitive by any means, just stuff I happen to like. The songs are not evenly split, at least I don't think so because I didn't count. The subject matter was pretty easy, so I just tried to go for flow, and there might be some success in that respect. I'd say that most of these, I've been listening to forever. There are some newer tracks that I've taken to rather quickly, but it seems to be a decent mix of old and new.  

Some of these tracks really kill me. Badly Drawn Boy's Magic In The Air is so sweet and hopeful, like when you meet someone new and everything just clicks. Lamb's Gorecki is absolutely devastating, probably the best love song I've ever heard. This is the sound of falling in love. XTC's Your Dictionary has got to be the bitterest and most venomous breakup song ever written. Garbage's #1 Crush is pure stalker obsession. I love when Shirley Manson whispers menacingly, "I'd do time for you." Now THAT, my friends, is love. Joe Jackson's Happy Loving Couples never fails to crack me up. You can almost see him rolling his eyes, a knowing look on his face as he says, "You know what I mean... happy loving couples in matching lamb turtleneck sweaters, reading Ideal Homes magazine... yeah." Those assholes. Yeah, indeed, Mr. Jackson.

Check the tracklist while you're waiting for the download magic to happen (link at the bottom) and then drop this mix onto your mp3 player of choice.

01 February 2010

play me a song to set me free..

Winter took his turn where I live this past weekend, as a lumbering, giant of a storm blew snow and ice on every crease of the city.. Most of the city stayed in for the weekend, as this part of the country gives Winter his due when he passes, but I took my turn roaming the city centre on Saturday and let myself give in to the winsomeness of winter days.. Deep cold, that only the warmth of wine can melt.. Cold winds, that take your mind to all the places your friends live.. Deep darkness, that comes through the broken tree branches and makes you curl that much tighter in your bed, or around the one in your bed.. I always hide in my favourite songs this time of year, and also in memories of my favourite places.. So, here's a tune that brings both of these together for me.. The promise of mediterranean breezes wrapped around the solitude of glaswegian skies .. One of my favourite covers letting you know that spring isn't THAT far away after all.. x

Pertubazione - 'Portami via di qua sto male'