Sunday, July 30, 2006

"I am Jack's Complete Lack of Surprise."

Why am I always so distracted? Really, it's getting to me.

Surfing in class, watching Dave Chapelle when I'm supposed to work on my illustrations, and watching Fight Club when I'm supposed to be sleeping. Oh, and blogging when I'm supposed to be working on my Advertising project. Ugh.

I really need a girlfriend. To distract me further.

Anyways, here's (The) Cazals. I love this band. Unpretentious, they just refuse to precede their name with 'The', and they keep calling their music "Dandy Rock". What is that you say? Exactly. GQ coins it "streetfighting rock-and-roll". And London-based frontman, Phil Cazal makes cameos for Dior Homme on the catwalk in his free time. Martin Cazal used to work at Topman as a style advisor.

You'll never catch this band without their leather loafers, fedoras and guitars. Think GQ-meets-Brit-Mod. I'm so envious.

And it helps that they write brilliant songs also. Here's what they think about themselves: (Cazals) are on a mission to produce music that’s as timeless as it is honest. Listen to the band just once, you'll probably be convinced that you'd have wanted to hear this all your life. And yes, they threw those illegal 'Cazalaide' parties to buy new instruments, when Babyshambles fans thrashed their previous kit.

Meet your new heroes.

Cazals - "Beat Me To The Bone" (highly recommended)
Cazals - "Bounder & A Cad"
Cazals - "What of The Future" (Demo)
Cazals - "My Ex-Valentine" (Demo)
Cazals - "Poor Innocent Boys" (also highly recommended)
Cazals - "Comfortable Silence" (Demo)
Cazals - "New Boy In Town" (Demo)

They just put up free mp3s of their recent XFM session up on their site. Do check it out.

"Did anyone tell you we're a fashion band? Well, we're not. Fucking fashion." - Luca Cazal

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Poor, Poor Innocent Boys.

Deadlines looming. Sports Day looming. Heh, school's lovely innit?

And now I know how being pregnant feels like; after a dinner of kebabs and curry. Really, I can't sit up straight. Though the curry was lovely alright.

Okay, I apologise in the delay since the last post; have been so terribly busy. Anyways, here's today's featured band- Ratatat.

I read about them on fluo kids the other day, and (to be honest here) I only downloaded the tracks because his post featured a terribly cute girl. But hold the brickbats though, what's a boy to do when you see free tracks and a pretty girl and French? There you go.

Anyways, any band who's gonna name their new album "Classics", had better be worth the iPod space. The shivs aren't out yet, but so far, it sounds pretty good, from the tracks I've heard. Genre-hopping electronica. From sounding RJD2-ish on "Loud Pipes", to going all Beatles-esque on "Tropicana", they seem intent on making everyone buy their album.

MarathonPacks says:
their M.O. of combining heavily effected rock guitars with breakbeats made them seem on one hand like playful ironists---the musical equivalent of a Chuck Norris or Styx t-shirt.

But Ratatat has matured since, and they're not Chuck anymore. They've certainly tackled more genres on this time out, and the result? Classics.

Hitting the stores on 22 August, so watch out for that.

Highly Recommended:
Ratatat - Loud Pipes
(from fluo kids)
Ratatat - Wildcat (from fluo kids)
Ratatat - Tropicana

Oh, and here's a Cazals track that's on heavy rotation.
Cazals - Poor Innocent Boys (Super-duperly highly recommended)

Will probably return with Cazals tomorrow. By the way, The Libertines are thinking of getting back together. Didn't you know that already?


Friday, July 21, 2006

Specials: "You're Not Reagan, and I'm Not Gorbachev. So Don't Try Eh."

The past couple of days haven't been terribly good, but this probably makes up for it. Was up all night, yesterday watching Serge Gainsbourg's old videos, and I must say, in a time when The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson were all the rage on the radio, Gainsbourg's music was a breath of slick, sexy, modern fresh air. Well, not really fresh air, he would have probably smelt of alcohol and Gitanes cigarettes. Heh. A modern-day rennaissance man.

Enjoy the videos.

"Ballade de Melody Nelson"
One of my favourite Gainsbourg songs of all time. One of the cheesiest videos of all time. But still timelessly alluring. A duet with his muse/partner Jane Birkin.

"Comic Strip"
One of the less melancholic, and more upbeat songs of his repertoire, this was a video from his ye-ye pop period. A duet with this one-time girlfriend, Brigitte Bardot.

"L'Hôtel Particulier"
One of his most brilliant songs. Off the 1971 concept album
Histoire de Melody Nelson.

"Lola Rastaquouere"
His dalliance with reggae. He once (reportedly) riled Bob Marley by asking his wife, Rita Marley to sing erotic lyrics with him.

"Lemon Incest"
A duet with his daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg in 1984. Appearing shirt-less, with Charlotte (on a bed, no less), then 14, caused a sizeble uproar in Europe. But this song, as with the album, "Love On The Beat", was written by him as a gift to his daughter. One of the more brilliant songs off the album if you'd ask me; mystical, seductive and intoxicating.

This was his now-infamous appearance on the Michael Drücker show. Serge, not exactly a person to hide his feelings, tells a young Whitney Houston that he'd like to fuck her. On live national television. Heh. He was probably drunk alright.

I'm so gonna slot this in my daily conversations; "You're Not Reagan, and I'm Not Gorbachev. So Don't Try Eh."

All highly recommended:
Serge Gainsbourg - Sea, Sex and Sun
Serge Gainsbourg - Bonnie and Clyde
Serge Gainsbourg - L'Hotel particulier
Serge Gainsbourg - Aux armes etceatera
Charlotte & Serge Gainsbourg - Charlotte Forever
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Songs (off her new album 5:55)
Franz Ferdinand and Jane Birkin - A Song For Sorry Angel (a cover version, off the Gainsbourg tribute album, Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited)

Betcha didn't know that Jane B. was the inspiration behind Hermè's highly popular Birkin bag, eh Posh?

Au Revoir.

Monday, July 17, 2006

But Neither of Them Knew, Really.

Because I'm so clever/But clever ain't wise

Was at HMV the other day, and true to form, I left with a purchase. Picked up Carl B
arât's Dirty Pretty Things, while my brother bought the new Keane and The Beautiful South LPs. Not exactly my cup of tea, those two bands; never liked Keane's music. They seem to have a sort of contrived pretence about them, eh? But that's just my opinion anyways. And The Beautiful South? You're better off with the new Camera Obscura album, Let's Get Out of This Country (in stock at HMV Singapore).

Alright, what about Dirty Pretty Things? Think Shakespeare-meets Pulp and Morrissey. Not exactly the record I would expect from this ex-Libertine, but it's surprisingly good. None of the tracks particularly stand out, as DPT comes out firing. Acerbic one-liners, ambitious, angsty, yet refreshingly sprightly. This LP, Waterloo to Anywhere,
Barât takes his half of the Libertines sound, and turns it into a sterling record. The kind of music that makes you wanna kick up a clump of dirt, and still feel pleased with yourself. And though nothing on Waterloo can stand up against Babyshambles' "Fuck Forever", Waterloo delivers consistently, while there were glaring blemishes on Pete Doherty's record, Down in Albion.

Down In Albion, on the other hand, is the direct mirror of Up The Bracket. Like certain things in life, you either love it or hate it. Pitchfork gave Albion a 7.7, while I have read one-star reviews elsewhere. Shambolic, disparaging vocals, and the occasional off-key indulgence makes Albion a love-hate affair. Albion starts strongly with "Fuck Forever" (the second song on the album), only to fall flat on it's face with the later tracks, which seemed like poor attempts to scale the same heights of FF. There is some hope for Babyshambles' fans though, some of the more upbeat tracks (
"The 32 of December", "Killamangiro") are reminiscent of The Sex Pistols and The Clash. All in all, Down in Albion offers glimpses of Pete Doherty's immense vision in small doses and spurts. Albion is a broke and busted record. Totally sloppy, rocked out in total drunkeness, and utterly exasperating to listen to. However, it reeks of honesty and I find it extremely hard to put down.

In short, go buy both records. Waterloo to Anywhere is the perfect complement to Down In Albion.
Carl Barât's wit and intelligence against Pete Doherty's drunken poetry. Clean, smart Shakespearean prose against a total mess of an album. The Libertines. What a shame.

Dirty Pretty Things - "Gin and Milk"
Dirty Pretty Things - "You Fucking Love It"
Dirty Pretty Things - "Bang Bang You're Dead"

Babyshambles - "Fuck Forever"

Morrissey - "Let Me Kiss You"
The Libertines - "You're My Waterloo"
*edit* Franz Ferdinand - "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" (Re-Worked Version)(Yes, the one with the banjo.)

Oh, here's something I read at BBC Sport recently on the Zidane saga.
Jacques Segeula of advertising group Havas: "This (headbutting incident) isn't going to harm him. This childish gesture gives a more human image of the hero. It brings the icon closer to the people." Since when did violence endear icons to the masses? Tsk tsk.

"- If you don't mind."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"And Yes, This Is My Singing Voice."

And no, you don't want to hear it. I'm a terrible singer.

I've had a surprisingly good past-couple-of-days, despite the bloody Sword of (Art School) Damocles hanging over my head. And it's not the 'happy juice' talking. Heh.

There are a host of reasons for that, but it's mostly thanks to Materazzi, and that The Velvet Teen and The Posies are dropping by at Baybeats 2006. And yes, I'm also pretty psyched about my Photoshop project (inset).

It's gonna be aptly named "Room 44", and it's not for kids. It's a visual essay delving into the dreams, fantasy, the imagination of all that takes place behind closed doors. And lecturers, I'm not gonna change it.

Heh. Alright, stop thinking about bordellos for a second here.

The Posies and The Velvet Teen are slated to perform at Singapore's premier (and probably only notable) Indie/Alternative festival, Baybeats. I would have to say though, I am pretty suprised at the headliners. They finally got some good acts in. And I have to say, The Velvet Teen are really good.

Fans of Bands of Horses, dig in.

The new Velvet release will drop on the 25th of this month. Aptly called Cum Laude.

Baybeats '06 be taking place this weekend o'er at The Esplanade, Singapore.

The Posies - "I May Hate You Sometimes"
The Posies - "Feel"
The Posies - "I Am The Cosmos"

The Velvet Teen - "GymzKid"
The Velvet Teen "Everything Is In It's Right Place"
The Velvet Teen - "False Profits"
The Velvet Teen - "Naked Girl"
The Velvet Teen - "Radiapathy Girl"

Alright, I gotta go now. Will try to post some Spoon tomorrow. If I'm not killed by Art School already.

Au Revoir. Emmanuelle.

Friday, July 07, 2006

"The Boy In Green. Would You Please Shut Up?"

Don't call me boring, it's just 'cause I like you.

Alright, this is the first post in quite a bit, and I sincerely apologise for that. Have been trying to rush projects before the looming deadlines, and it has pretty much taken it's toll on me. I hate Thursdays.

Shledule has been absolutely tight, and lecturers have been hell. On Tuesdays, I get a feminine male lecturer who is uptight on just about anything, everything. On Wednesday, I get a female lecturer bordering on racist, and rather incidently, hates me. Well, not because of my skin colour, if that's what you're thinking. It's because I keep talking in her class. Usually I get away with these things, but on one unfortunate Wednesday, she paused about 4-5 times in a 2-hour lecture to reprimand me.

Okay, here's why I was flavour du jour on that day. Firstly, I was wearing green, in a room chock full of black and whites. Secondly, I was wearing my 'professor' spectacles (as my mum likes to call it) on that day. And thirdly, I was the only other person awake/not distracted with the lecture. So, you can probably equate this; a lecture presentation, littered with spelling errors, grammatical errors, and extreme-right wing views, and me paying attention, probably equates trouble. There wasn't a thing she said, that I couldn't laugh at. And my various jibes at the lecturer (to Sufian, who was sitting next to me), could be heard throughout the room, as everyone was bored into submission/slumberland. So she could hear every smart remark I said. Well, it's not my fault, I was only paying attention.

"The boy in green. Why are you laughing?"
"Your lecture is hilarious."
"No it isn't. If it were funny I would have laughed. Now keep quiet."

Well, lady. No good comedians laugh at their own jokes. But her rebuttal was a source of considerable mirth. Her lecture was funny alright. Not that she intended it with the spelling errors and all. And on Thursdays, I have a lecturer bordering on communist (and I don't mean the haircut).

Ah, c'est la vie.

Okay, hope I didn't bore you too much with the rant there. Here's today's featured band, Voxtrot. One of my favourite bands ever. And I reckon, the backbone of every indie playlist out there. Heh. It's really hard to encapsulate this band's sound in a paragraph, much less a blog post. But I'll try anyways; it comes as a cross between the old Stone Roses and (definately) Belle and Sebestian. And sometimes with a hint of melancholy thrown in. Think LEVY or Interpol. You'll love Voxtrot if you're a fan of The Mystery Jets, The Smiths, and (or) Pine Club.

The songs off the
Raised By Wolves EP/Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives EP sound like poetic rebuttals written on the back of a napkin, then rocked out in an empty basement. That's my take on it. Here's what Pitchfork thinks; "[I]t's okay for somebody to be into both Throbbing Gristle and Belle and Sebastian," Voxtrot's Ramesh Srivastava writes on his blog, "and I'm pretty sure that's a good thing." When Srivastava moved to Glasgow at the age of 19, he'd already written the tracks that would comprise the Raised By Wolves EP, songs with deft arrangments and charming melodies that evoke Belle & Sebastian, Morrissey, and the Lucksmiths, but with jagged, rumbling guitars remindful of early Cure and, sometimes, Joy Division. Srivastava immersed himself in Glasgow's nightclub scene, developing a particularly strong affinity for Optimo. The commingling of his jangle-pop roots and his newfound love of dance music is writ large in the Texas-based band's turbocharged twee.

Yes, that means good.

You can buy Voxtrot's EPs at their website. Because I'm pretty sure HMV doesn't have it. Or it would have been sitting on my CD rack right now. Oh, and you can read
Ramesh Srivastava's blog here.

All Highly Recommended:
Voxtrot - "Mothers, Sisters, Daughters and Wives"
Voxtrot - "The Start of Something"
Voxtrot - "The Warmest Part of the Winter"

I'll return tomorrow with either Ariel Pink or Spoon. Or maybe both.

See you tomorrow then.

Forza Italia!