Thursday, 28 May 2009

The times, dear reader, they are a changin'.

Kinda busy sorting through a few things the last few weeks (hellishly disorganised iTunes library on the macbook, oppressive backlog of blog tunes, a possible spot writing for another blog, working through options for the future of SFTWM, deciding what to do with my 4kg of wagyu, etc.).

However, plans have changed on the Leipzig trip as I'm now no longer able to go (long story there that I'd rather not get into here).

On the upside, I've got a bunch of stuff building up as draft posts that I plan to drip feed out over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, hunt down the following for guaranteed improvement to your contentment:

Cormac McCarthy's book Child of God

Ted & Francis' self-titled EP

The Field's album Yesterday & Today

Grauzone's album Die Sunrise Tapes

The Disco Balearica mix that Aeroplane put together for Mixmag

Cash to get into Shazam's first NZ show at Mighty Mighty tomorrow night (tomorrow being Friday night)

More on the way. I promise.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Ok, here's the plan

1. Save money for return flights to Frankfurt

2. Sort myself a ticket to Melt Festival

3. Work out how I'm going to get from Frankfurt to Leipzig

4. Work out how I'm going to get from Leipzig to Ferropolis

5. Work out where I'm going to stay in Ferropolis / Leipzig

6. Sort out meeting up with various of the womenfolk whilst in the neighbourhood

7. Prepare letter of resignation should work decide they don't want me to take leave after all

8. Hope like hell I haven't spent too much before the trip

9. Hope like hell I remember to catch my flights

10. Give this man a bearhug

11. Have the time of my life

12. Stumble home

13. Hope like hell I didn't cause an international incident

14. Wonder what to do with the rest of my life

15. Remember I need to be in Singapore in October

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

I wish I was a polar bear

Grauzone's Eisbaer.

My first experience of this song was to find it nestled between the Erol Alkan remix of Justice's Waters of Nazareth and Riot In Belgium's The Acid Never Lies on Cut Copy's Fabriclive mix. The cross-mixing in this part of the mix is especially great and the tracks either side likewise amazing, so it came as quite a surprise to find out that Eisbaer is a relic of the early 80s. Amazing.

The reason for digging this all up is that I heard in an interview with Ted & Francis on FBi Radio that the inspiration for their song I Wish I Was A Polar Bear was Francis' mother translating Grauzone's Eisbaer pretty much word for word for them. Nice. Can't say I've noticed much in the way of similarity, but that's ok. I like both songs enough to let it slide.

The interview with FBi radio is definitely worth grabbing for the pre-mix chatter and the 23 minute mix of predominately Ted & Francis tracks. The timing is quite good with this Friday seeing the Australian release (and I'm assuming with that the New Zealand release) of Ted & Francis' self-titled EP.

They released a promo trailer for it not so long ago, featuring some of the songs on the 4-track EP.

I love the first song Livings Lost and the second one Think About Enough. The last song in the promo is Erlend, which has previously done the rounds of the blogosphere and felt the blog love. The one song from the EP that isn't in the promo? I Wish I Was a Polar Bear.

Why did no-one tell me about this?

St Vincent's Actor Out Of Work from her album Actor.

The blogs were gushing about St Vincent last year but I pretty much wrote it off as hype for some achingly indie act that everyone says they enjoy because you're not cool if you don't say you like them. I mean just check out this press photo of her.

The weird stare. The taut face. That jawline! It all screams indie folk of the kind that leaves everyone splurging on over-priced tickets only to spend most of the gig nattering away by the bar about how great it is to be there.

Ranting aside, I'm really enjoying her latest album, Actor. It is very surprising with tenderness, pop and intriguing touches throughout. Her voice kinda throws you into thinking the song will go one way when the music itself takes you in another altogether enjoyable direction.

I'd put it in a similar vein to The Invisible, but you shouldn't take that to mean they sound the same. The similarity comes more from being surprisingly good at being... well, surprising good.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

5 minutes and 15 seconds

I was talking with Paul just earlier about how young Shazam seems and we got onto how the same thing was being said about Surkin back in 2006 (he says like 2006 was another era entirely). That brings me to the video above. It's a promo for the release party Ed Banger organised for Justice's Waters Of Nazareth EP and Surkin appears around the 5:15 mark, dropping Justice's Let There Be Light.

Now, I ask you... how old does he look to you? 13? 14? 15?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Yes, I wish it could always be this good

The Future Will Come is the second album by DFA's The Juan Maclean and it is an album I can't stop enjoying.

Up top is the video for the song One Day. Now, One Day isn't the first track from the album to be released as a single, but I think it was the first that was released around the album (the brilliant Happy House and subsequent remixes predate the album by quite a while). I don't know that I'd even go so far as to say One Day is the best track on the album.

Comparisons have been drawn with The Human League and I guess I can see why with the whole he sings-she sings aesthetic, but the comparison seems fairly thin to me. The Future Will Come is a nu-retro disco album of the fine DFA tradition. The songs are by and large fairly solid and rather enjoyable, despite what Faisal thinks about Happy House.

I guess what I'm arguing is that you should understand that while you're enjoying the song, the album itself is actually a little better and definitely worth the effort of tracking down at your nearest or most convenient music retailer.

I saw The Juan Maclean when they opened for Cut Copy last year and was left sufficiently smitten so as to be unable to claim to be the most impartial of listeners.

Hard to bear

The Gossip have been working on their follow-up album to the more well-known Standing In The Way Of Control, and the first song to whet our appetite is their song Heavy Cross. Other bands have pursued a path of evolving their sound with the changing times and the growing popularity of dance beats. This isn't something you can say about The Gossip after listening to Heavy Cross.

The Gossip have decided to stick to their knitting and continue along the rough indie rock path they've previously followed, and good on them for doing so. For me, the song is a clear hit when so many of the more-recent offerings of others have been misses (Fist Of God anyone?). Portishead's long-awaited third album, Third, was an instance where an act stuck to their knitting and produced something that ranked in most people's Top 10 lists of last year. On the basis of Heavy Cross, the same could inevitably be said of Music For Men when it comes out June 22nd.

To get your hands on mp3s of the original and the Fred Falke remix, head here. The remix is typical Fred Falke with disco rhythms filling in the sparseness of the original and his signature bass guitar underlaying the whole track. It's good, but for different reasons to why the original is good. Try his remix of U2's Magnificent as a basis for comparison and you'll likely reach the same conclusion. Well, except that the new U2 album is kinda lame to start with.

Vision of a past not my own

If I was at Coachella this year, I would have no doubt experienced this in person. I wasn't. So here's a minor consolation.

"Are You The One?" was the standout track for me from their first album Beams and the Van She Tech remix of the same song was arguably my favourite remix until recently.

The Presets have done something evil and filthy and right with this song, and I like it. I like it a lot. With news that Van She are giving their album V the Night Versions treatment, one can only hope that Modular might think to do the same with a formal release of a redone Apocalypso. While we're on this bandwagon we may as well add Cut Copy's In Ghost Colours to the wishlist.

Feel free to check out other clips of their Coachella set here. It's time I had me some fun with meat.

Friday, 8 May 2009


... nah!

Warring starships beat talking robots any day.

It had to be said.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

G.I. Joe for adults?

I can't face the prospect of the G.I. Joe film after seeing this, so was quite glad to find my childhood nostalgia nourished by other means. Warren Ellis was asked to write a nine-episode micro-series that did new and different things with the G.I. Joe franchise and the results were screened by Adult Swim not so long ago.

By "new and different" I mean things taking a darker turn. Duke seems to be perpetually pissed off, Snake Eyes has his silence explained, a number of Joes are killed off without much aplomb, and some of them show a disturbing enjoyment from killing off groups of vipers. If you thought that was jarring for a Saturday morning childhood staple, try having this all wrapped up in an anime style reminiscent of the 80s original.

These episodes make me wish I'd taken better care of my G.I. Joes.

Snake Eyes FTW.

The enjoyably inappropriate euphemism

The Big Sleep is both a euphemism for death as well as my new favourite book. Crime noir has a classic formula with popular cliches riddled throughout. The world-weary PI that abides by a code only he understands, the femme fatale that is both alluring and dangerous, the bent cops, the straight crims, its all there.

Raymond Chandler's first novel with private investigator Phillip Marlowe as the protagonist, The Big Sleep tells the story of a man hired to do a simple job for a family for whom simplicity does not come easily.

What perhaps sets this book apart from the rest of the airport fiction you might otherwise pick up before boarding a long-haul flight in cattle class is, put simply, the writing. This may have been written in the 30s but it still reads like it could be about events that occurred only recently. You do have to excuse the occasionally hokey phrase, but I gladly stand behind calling the writing rather timeless.

The plot unfolds in a way where you know something doesn't seem quite right and you're left with the feeling that there must be more to the story. Indeed, as I was reading the book and found the initial puzzle swiftly being solved, I kept looking at all the pages yet to be read and openly wondered what more there was to discover. I can't recall the last book I could say such things.

If you're looking for something to fill a gap, I can't recommend more highly The Big Sleep. Thanks to Penguin Modern Classics you should be able to pick it up at a decent bookstore near you for the princely sum of NZ$13.

I've since picked up Chandler's second "Phillip Marlowe mystery" and shall provide a review in due course.

In the meantime, would you be a darling and get me one of those deck chairs?

12 shades of win

Star Trek came out tonight so I figured I'd see it with Te Papa. I really enjoyed it. Really.

I should probably start by getting the bad bits out of the way first. The interior of the Enterprise looks too tacky in a Lost In Space kinda way (which is never good), Chekhov's accent is just terrible (I wanted to strangle the little fucker), the enemy ship is just impossibly huge and quite plainly stupid in every respect, and the Romulans lacked the cunning and superior air of the Romulans on the TV series and later Star Trek: TNG films (I'm thinking Nemesis).

Now for the good bits. It ticked along at a good pace, never found itself dwelling too long on any particular aspect, the in-jokes were there and obvious but far from belaboured, the Federation ships looked great (point defense systems = wow), Karl Urban is a great Bones, a noticeable absence of the gratuitous romance that too often plagues these kinds of films, the new twist to the retcon was kinda convenient but very nicely handled for the new franchise.

All in all, I really liked it and was left wondering during dinner afterwards (we went to Hede to satisfy my unusual craving for karaage and gyoza) when would be a good time to see it once more. Surely that is a good thing. Surely.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Best. Movie. Ever.

JCVD + Bolo Yeung + late 80s slo-mo montage-o-rama = amazing television


Catch it on C4 now!

Ascension : complete

iPod : check

iPhone : check

Macbook : check

My ascension to the iClan is now complete.