Monday, 31 May 2010
To say I was a little excited about this gig would be a hell of an understatement. I was bouncing off the walls just thinking that I was going to see the legendary post-punkers The Raincoats, but first on were Trash Kit.
Now I know Trash Kit have a lot of fans, though it seemed to be just a meagre 20 or so in the barely full Scala that night, and I do like some of their songs, their energy and their general approach to music but they NEED to learn a new chord. Not a lot, start slow, but at least one that will stop the opening to every song, and they had a lot, sounding alike.
Their single Cadets is an example of when Trash Kit get it right. The off kilter guitar riff and battle cry vocals make well dressed alternative kids want to move their skinny limbs to.
Now to The Raincoats who, thanks to ATP, played their first influential album 'The Raincoats' in full. You would think that knowing which songs would be played next would ruin the evening but it didn't. If anything it made the night that much more exciting. Since everyone there were fans or super fans the atmosphere was electric. If you've never been in a room full of people singing along to The Raincoats powerful cover of The Kinks Lola then you haven't lived.
Even though it has been 30 years since the release of their first album it hasn't aged a bit. The songs bounce and flow like they always did and The Raincoats themselves are just as good as they ever were. 'No Side to Fall In' sounded amazing and 'No Looking' was so good they played it twice. This was definitely one of the best gigs I've been to this year. If you're one of the few who haven't been influenced by The Raincoats then take the time to get to know them, it'll be worth it.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
We were promised M.I.A's version of the now infamous New York Times article and instead we've been treated to a new song about M.I.A number one enemy, Lynn Hirschberg.
Posted on NEET recordings 'I'm A Singer', or 'Haters' depending on the source, attacks Hirschberg with lyrics such as "Why the hell would a journalist be thick as shit, because lies equal power equals politics"
M.I.A also posted extracts from the interview transcripts which explain a bit more.
Listen to the full recording at neetrecordings.com/blog
Saturday, 29 May 2010
I got offered a freebie through work to see Class Actress. Since I had heard a little about them before I decided to head down to The Lexington to check them out.
Class Actress is a the one woman project of New Yorker Elizabeth Harper who makes harsh, synth laden disco tunes circa 1970s New York.
The Lexington is another one of those pubs who on first glance look too small to fit a whole alternative night in there but they can and with plenty of room to spare unfortunately but I'll talk about that later.
First I have to admit to something. This gig was so long ago, well not that long ago but I'm forgetful, that I completely forgot who the support act was. She was a extremely perky Japanese singer with cute songs and an obsession with British comedy. If anyone went to the gig and remembered who she was please get in touch.
Anyway to the part of the gig I can fully recall. Oh yes I couldn't forget Class Actress opening to about 20 people in a room that could hold about 150. I felt so sorry for her but she carried on regardless. The room did fill up but slowly. It was like people were afraid of the stage and inched their way forward, checking that the coast was clear.
Elizabeth took cues from her favourite female performers and took command of the stage which is a hard thing to do when it was just her and a guy on synths.
'Journal of Ardency' is without a doubt her best song. It has an amazing beat and has the effect that all good songs do to you and that is to sound like a well established song.
I really enjoyed Class Actress although personally for me there is only so long I can listen to electronic music before I remember it was made by computers and then it just sounds cold and I can't get over it. It was a great gig and I thought Class Actress were a great band but there is only so much I can take when there's more than one synth involved.
Friday, 28 May 2010
You've probably already read, what I believed to be, the unflattering profile of hipster favourite M.I.A by New York Times writer Lynn Hirschberg. I was so incensed by the article that I started writing a response but it got quite long so here it is. This is my opinion of the real reason the writer dislikes M.I.A. You can love it, you can hate it but let me know what you think:
Anyone who takes this criminally biased piece as the word of God really is the 'naive' one or they probably never cared about M.I.A as an artist in the first place which is one of the biggest problems an artist faces when they get big. What people used to love her for they now attack her for.
First of all M.I.A creates genre-bending, culture-crossing, political music that is not just for hipsters to dance to (trust me I love her and have never donned a day-glo jumpsuit in my life). The writer picking fault on her for sampling a Clash song was just ridiculous (ps. I love the Clash but it was a sample from their terrible last album and M.I.A improved that song 100%). M.I.A is a rapper, not a pop star as some kept calling her, and rappers sample. Actually every artist samples at one time or another. Music can acknowledge what has come before them and sampling does that effectively. M.I.A writes her own lyrics and composes her music which is more than you can say about Lady Gaga who, as subversive as she tries to be within the confines of mainstream society, still has an army of help to make those catchy tunes.
On the subject of her politics she talks about the plight of the Tamils because if she doesn't who else will. You complain that she is one-sided but one-sided compared to whom. There is no one else to tell the Western world what is going on. M.I.A uses her platform as an influential artist to tell people what's going on. Obviously there are a variety of sides to the story and people know that when she makes her statements. You're really putting down her fans if you believe that they take M.I.A's word on everything.
Ms Hirschberg I really wonder why you are so against M.I.A's political views. You said she was one-sided but everyone is, including politicians, it is up to us to take that information and look into it. You called her contradictory for fighting for the Tamils and living in a rich neighbourhood in LA. Ok, she is a contradiction but so am I, so are you in fact so is everyone who fights for the rights of those with less than them so this can't be the real reason you dislike her. M.I.A may make bold statements but it’s better than singing about flowers and sunshine or whatever Miley Cyrus and her ilk go on about.
I think you and I know the real reason that she so get under your skin Ms Hirschberg is because she so bucks the model of what a celebrity, artist, popstar, whatever you want to call her should be. She speaks out about things we should all care about instead of remaining in this useless apathetic state we are in now. I guess Ms Hirschberg would prefer to remain apathetic; shooting the messenger because she knows the message will make her challenge her own privilege.
M.I.A may not be an intellectual, she has never claimed to be, but she is intelligent and strong. A self educated woman, like many of us had to be, she got where she is now on her own talent, confidence and intelligence. It seems that the writer is threatened by this display as she would again have to question her own privilege. This explains the disgusting character assassination that takes place in this article.
Essentially what I am saying is that you don’t like what M.I.A is saying is because it’s coming from her mouth, the mouth of a Sri Lankan, working class, self-educated woman. Anyone could make a bold statement, discuss a controversial topic or not be able to explain the complexities of a war in one sentence but they are not being attacked, M.I.A is. She is talking about a kind of inconvenient truth, to coin a phrase from Al Gore. I can’t count the amount of times friends try to impress me with their knowledge of racial and world issues but when I try to inform them about the same issues I am seen as ‘controversial’ and ‘radical’.
I am also, like M.I.A was, a young girl from an ethnic minority and low income family who has big dreams and few people, except my parents, telling me I can succeed. Ms Hirschberg does not understand how hard it is to keep that drive to succeed when everyone around thinks you’re crazy for thinking that. This is the main reason I love M.I.A, she doesn’t follow the rules, ignores those who tell her no and represents her community in areas where they are rarely represented.
By the time I am M.I.A’s age I hope to have challenged as many people, offended, influenced, shocked and educated as many people as she has. No matter how hard you try and keep us down we will get back up and make you listen, rip off those rose-coloured glasses of yours and make you see the reality of the world we live in. M.I.A keep doing what you’re doing girl and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and we’ll see how many people we piss off/educate on our way.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
Since we've all been whipped into a political frenzy what with this election that's been going on I thought I would put together a mixtape of some powerful protest songs.
Let's face it, we'll need them pretty soon.
1. New Kicks- Le Tigre
2.Viva La Persistence- Kimya Dawson
3. Pull Up The People- M.I.A
4. Trophy Wife- Partyline
5. Combat Rock- Sleater-Kinney
6. Keep On Livin'- Le Tigre
7. People Have The Power- Patti Smith
8. Fuck Or Kill- Peaches
9. I Wanna Know What Love Is- Julie Ruin
10. Standing In The Way Of Control- Gossip
11. Her Jazz- Huggy Bear
12. Systematic Death- Crass
13. The Gap (Between The Rich And The Poor)- You Say Party! We Say Die!
14. Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival Cover)- Sleater-Kinney
14. Declare Independence- Bjork
Sunday, 9 May 2010
"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo.
Our favourite B has a new video out and I think she may have taken some inspiration from a certain decade.
Yes Beyonce, or B.B Homemaker as she is now known, plays the unloved 50s housewife, lost in a bottle of gin and cursing her husband for mistreating her.
There is an interesting analysis of the video on Feministing that puts across the theory that by playing a role that is usually filled by middle class white woman Beyonce is twisting that stereotype. They explain it much better than I ever could.
The thing I love most about the video is the how made up she is. At times it looks almost drag queenish. She goes from beautiful to ugly in the blink of an eye. It reminds of PJ Harvey during the To Bring You My Love era where she took pride in showcasing the unseen parts of female sexuality and beauty.
By focusing on the extreme, the beautiful and also the grotesque an artist can subvert the whole concept of beauty and what it means.
Saturday, 8 May 2010
Birds Eye View are always good to us girls and after their amazing festival earlier this year they have organised a discussion on women in music.
As part of their Sounds and Silents at Kings Place season Birds Eye View have invited Kate Nash, Speech Debelle, Mira Carlix and others to debate the issues for women in the male dominiated industry.
Chaired by Miranda Sawyer, top experts discuss gender gap in the music industry.
Only 7% of directors and 12% of screenwriters are female. We are aware that gender imbalance also exists amongst women taking the creative lead in the music industry. Already the leading organisation to celebrate women's achievements in film, Birds Eye View is committed to developing and supporting women across the arts. Journalist and Broadcaster Miranda Sawyer chairs this hot discussion presented by Birds Eye View to explore the gender gap in music.
Come and join the conversation.
Women Make Music: Female Music Creators and the Gender Gap
24th May 2010
Click here to purchase tickets
Another month, another mouth-watering track for me and you to obsess over.
This month's main obsession could be many tracks. I've just started to get into Ellie Goulding, Rye Rye's brilliance never seems to fail and of course there's the new Beyonce track.
I decided that the song I've been listening to the most is 'Look Me In The Eye Sister' by Groove Armada featuring the delightful Jessica Larrabee of She Keeps Bees fame.
This song has been doing the rounds on the radio, it's played at least 6 times a day on 6music, but I never tire of it.
Jessica really makes this track with her gutsy, bluesy vocals put to full use. Sometimes I think you can forget about small bands like She Keeps Bees but whenever you hear them again you remember exactly why you first liked them and find like five new reasons to like them again.
Though I love this song, I do hate that random girl they bring in to mime to the song when they perform live. Her gurning and over the top performance ruins the entire mood of the song and it is also very, very obvious that she is miming. I don't know if they did that on purpose but either way it's awful.
But the song is not awful, the song is absolute perfection.