Thursday, May 31, 2007

THE GOSSIP – STANDING IN THE WAY OF CONTROL (BACK YARD RECORDINGS)


THE GOSSIP – STANDING IN THE WAY OF CONTROL (BACK YARD RECORDINGS)

This is the second of the two seven inches that accompany the 2007 UK release of Standing In The Way Of Control, a released highly assisted by it’s soundtrack usage in UK television series Skins.

I have to admit for a very long time I did not think The Gossip were the band that everyone seemed to think that they were, indeed rather than being the latest torch carriers of the Riot Grrrl crown I fully bought into the cynical train of thought that has Beth Ditto down as being the new Bonnie Tyler in her warble with something of a passing resemblance to Divine.

However, being a victim of daytime Radio One gradually overkill of Standing In The Way Of Control really rubbed off on me and every time those poorly recorded drums hit the radio airwaves the realisation that a Kill Rock Stars record was overwhelming mainstream radio became something of a small, verging on major, victory. Even more satisfying is the knowing nod that this record was recorded by Guy Picciotto of Fugazi and suddenly it feels like these are high times for the punk rock community (or at least those happy not to write The Gossip off as having sold out). From a personal perspective I would dare to even suggest that this record has the same kind of effect and impact that Smells Like Teen Spirit had – it all adds up to a genuine breakthrough for US underground rock for me, one I am very excited to be enjoying. Seriously at times for me it feels like some kind of another cultural phenomenon.

This seven inch contains the remix by the much missed (at least by me) Le Tigre and veers towards that land of eighties-esqe electroclash sound that seemed to be threatening to take over a couple of years. With a heightened bass sound, random keyboard score and amusing vocal echoes this is very much club time aimed at dolphins and seals. For me it does sap much of the power and energy from the song but it is all very well done and valuable in its own entity.

The b-side is a live version of Standing In The Way Of Control recorded at the 100 Club and another example/reminder of how bastardised the song can become when played live. Preferable to the efforts of the version on the a-side it illustrates at just how tight the band are in a live setting and how the whole show is run by the ringleader that is Beth Ditto, not least when she is seemingly egged on by the crowd to holler for all she is worth. When this is what’s heading the charts, is there any remaining requirement for rebellion? I blame you.

The Gossip
Kill Rock Stars
Back Yard Recordings

WOMAN – SILVER WOLF DOG (SEA RECORDS)


WOMAN – SILVER WOLF DOG (SEA RECORDS)

I understand that Woman hate being compared to Deerhoof which is quite a useful emotional gesture as they are not as good as them. Fortunately Woman are a fantastic band in their own right and happen to touch many of the exact right buttons with yours truly. In many ways it reminds of a loud guitar and maxed out version of Frank Chickens, a recent personal discovery of a great lost band from the eighties.

Sequel to the equally fantastic Das Hexer (which was in many ways the perfect album with seven songs clocking in at eleven minutes), Silver Wolf Dog tears in similar manner, this time running at six songs in eleven minutes. With a bizarre disco-esqe guitar sound accompanied by a polarised Japanese vocal of repetitive strains, Woman strikes a blow for endeavour. Lyrics are generally incoherent and hidden as the vocals are delivered in a manual loop of lunacy to match the short sharp bursts of calamity rock the band unleash behind it.

The album opens with the bubbly guitar sound of humping wah, starting proceedings in the correct manner and by the time “Beat Kids” takes the reigns the sound is akin to some kind of warped nursery rhyme of roughness. “Margarine Tree” is where the true pounding bounce rules supreme, seeing the album at its most energetic. The record closes with “Fever”, the true epic/opus of Woman, a track that almost takes up half the capacity of the release.

Words fail as to how much I enjoy, treasure and adore bands like this, brief but not curt, energetic but not obnoxious, childish but not ridiculous – on a good day this is exactly the soundtrack to my life. By executing the “less is more” tactic with the length of the release, the strategy is most definitely a success as I find myself baying for more music from Woman.

Thesaurus: merriment.

Woman

VARIOUS – CAN BUY ME LOVE 3 (DIGITAL VOMIT)


VARIOUS – CAN BUY ME LOVE 3 (DIGITAL VOMIT)

Tapping into the current Wrongmusic scene, this 27 track DIY compilation covers the spread across the board and consists of some truly inspiring dirty beats, enough truly sick gestures of sampling and sheer white noise that could well see anyone possessing and enjoying it, finding themselves locked into something heinous.

The line-up reads of established heroes, local legends and non-personas starring for just one night in the sickest Matthew Kelly style. Featuring an album opener by Junkshop Coyote (no, me neither) the initial sounds resemble Chewbacca “singing” with the KLF covering a Philip Glass song, in a suitably confusing and disorientating manner, which really sets the tone for the remainder.

Following is the first turn by one of the real “stars” of the compilation as the criminally underrated Scorpio Scorpio, direct from Australia, delivers a contribution that sadly seems more of a cut off, nowhere near representative of his frenetic live shows and general aura of danger. On the flipside, long time Ipswich hero Cats Against The Bomb supplies one of its strongest cuts to date, a cybernetic cover of “Pump It Up” that I am sure Elvis Costello will not be seeing a penny out of, a cover complete with a guitar sound Big Black would feel fitting. Not too many tracks afterwards his brother Big In Albania arrives with an electronic concoction of a bad Joy Division cover spliced with 2 Unlimited in a seemingly unabashed dig at “indie rock felching sessions”.

In the midst of so much squealing noise it comes down to the adrenalin thrash of Massive Hospitalisation to blow away the most cobwebs and sanction the most impressive appearance of the collection with its machine gun grind and casualty themed trilogy (and when I say theme I really mean Casualty theme).

The show continues with Mixomatosis sampling over immature sex noises, Rank Sinatra doing his warped distortion croon over a song I should recognise and the legendary V/Vm supplying something akin to a strip tease and/or helium fuelled Bond theme. And then the compilation ends with The Abs, a pointless and disposable Pogues-esqe drawl.

Just as people such as Digital Hardcore once predicted, this is the sound of DIY 2007, bedroom noise devoid of the overheads of such pains as recording studios and even instruments, cyberpunk is yet again very now. As the onslaught of cyber drum n bass becomes repetitive, does it serve a purpose?

Thesaurus moment: attainment.

Digital Vomit

RUP – RUP ON ZEBRA (ZEBRA TRAFFIC)


RUP – RUP ON ZEBRA (ZEBRA TRAFFIC)

I once played a variety of Rup tracks to a music publisher that looks like Danny Devito to the result of much ambivalence and disdain – had the guy liked them, that would have been the time to worry.

Shortening his name from originally Rup The Cunt and released on Brighton’s Zebra Traffic label, Rup is a genuinely talented wordsmith tapping into circa: now culture with his references in ways I have not previously seen or heard. There remains a real stigma about being a white boy rapper, and for the most part it is a very insincere form of “flattery” but when there is such substance to the whole package, it becomes a more than relevant entity in itself. This is the record Mike Skinner can only dream about accomplishing.

Rup’s debut record is more a compilation of cuts with various producers, many of which have previously seen the light of day as compilation appearances and singles. As a result a slight lack of coherence represents as a successfully diverse selection is served.

Early on subtle Jello Biafra samples on the first few cuts display where the record is coming from and a different kind of knowledge is executed, one very rarely expounded on a hip-hop release. Later when Rup describes himself as “heavy as The Melvins” there is much evidence of an indie/punk background being combined with DIY rap. Within one minute of the record Rup has told you that he “comes on rougher than wanking with sandpaper”, which is something I doubt you’ll hear any other rapper, either end of the spectrum saying. Upon hearing this proclamation the listener will either laugh or groan as it establishes the vibe and humour of proceedings and generally whether this CD is going to hated or loved.

The references and language within the delivery is of a context so wonderfully British, there is a true freshness in the mere reality of its sincerity and an aversion to just being a down streetwise wigger. With further lines such as “I drop lines like David James drops crosses” this is stuff only our generation should appreciation and decode. By the third track (“Timequake”) the composition and arrangements are to die for, switching from thumping bass driven numbers, to string samples, which as a track is subsequently followed by “Step” with tracking straight out of the John Carpenter sound book. When the record arrives at “King Cnut” (previously released as a twelve inch on Hear Today Records) there is little in the way to stop the momentum. The pace of the record reaches a pinnacle with “Rollin” and its truly sick bass loop. And before the album is quits there is still time for a return to Rup’s past with the telling and downbeat “Wilderness Kids” created with the masterful TM Juke (which previously featured on potent “Maps From The Wilderness” record by TM Juke).

Words fail me in my attempts to do justice to how stunning and refreshing this record sounds.

Thesaurus moment: charismatic.

Rup
Zebra Traffic

THE EMERGENCY – DOO-LANG DOO-LANG (SELF RELEASED)


THE EMERGENCY – DOO-LANG DOO-LANG (SELF RELEASED)

Worryingly the immediate strokes of this album present me with some of the cleanest (plainest) sounding guitar I have heard in a very long time combined with a “riff” that sounds as if it were lifted directly out of a Who songbook. And the attention from this is only taken away by the unintentionally piercing cymbal sound. I am sure the band themselves would be first to admit the production values leave a little (lot) to be desired.

I experience my own emergency as I listen to this record with a judgemental hat as I fail to find one single positive thing to say about it whilst being in full knowledge that a hell of a lot of time and effort has been squeezed into these sixteen songs.

As I stated at the beginning, contained within this record are some of the loudest sounding cymbals ever recorded and it really is an overwhelming aspect of a lot of the album (Albini drums these are not). By the end of the record I don’t know where the sound fits or where it is intended to fit – was it purposely recorded badly? With ideas lifted straight out of the indie pop book of songs, the tracks are delivered with competency but seldom do they rock or hook.

Opening with those “Who-esqe riffs”, the album kicks off in an upbeat manner but it is a positive manner akin to a pub or covers band. Gradually as the album moves on it begins to reach out and attempt to become a bit more expansive but with wayward recording and a vocal delivery that could make a person drown kittens, fairly decent stabs at tunes entering a field around Teenage Fanclub and/or Guided By Voices just become bogged down and disappointing. For some reason I thought they were Scottish and it is at this point that I realise they are not.

I’m really saddened to say that there truly is not much I find I can take from this record, a song called “Hey Whoopy Cat” only achieves the same kind of reaction from me that the Proclaimers attain while “Pictures On The Wall” feels painfully dated as it exists reminiscent of The Wonder Stuff. Ironically the song with the strongest hook is called “Get A Job” – good advice.

Thesaurus moment: unimaginative.

The Emergency

PISKIE SITS – THE SECRET SICKLINESS (WRATH RECORDS)


PISKIE SITS – THE SECRET SICKLINESS (WRATH RECORDS)

I always wondered sometimes if the “lo” in lo-fi to a large extent was also a short indicator for “low self esteem”, as my suspicions are raised with this record. Veering more towards the Trumans Water/Pavement noise side of lo-fi rather than the song based side of lo-fi, this is the kind of purposeful music that was all part of the “scene” at the turn of the century but seems less so on the agenda these days.

With their fake American accents and badly recorded drums, the Piskie Sits plunder through eleven tracks of heavily Pavement influenced ditties complete with leanings towards country rock tendencies without fully turning Americana. Likewise the backing “vocals” resemble the shrieks of a drunkard just released from the hole that morning. Plus points all. During proceedings I also find myself thinking of Magoo, the great lost Chemikal Underground band, and the much missed Ligament (before they mutated Hulk-like into Part Chimp). At times, with the way they hold their influences so heavily on their sleeves, more than once I think of the Brian Jonestown Massacre also.

The pick of the tracks here really is “Good To Eat” (great song titles all) which plays on the album at a point where it really begins to reach its stride, battling and winning the war over the poor production values as the songwriting prevails and the nuances touch my right nerve. “El Capo” is the track that has the hooks with the album having sailed the eye of the storm and by the time “Lotta Bad Things” arrives with its screaming killer chorus of intent and awkward tempo changes I am feeling an enormous sense of lo accomplishment.

As an album the record is somewhat all over the show, experiencing natural flaws, and the quality of the songs are spread across the board but there is enough personality and potent (in this music climate) to carry the effort further than most new efforts around that I am hearing currently.

I really thought the lo-fi thing was long over, this indicates a return to good times.

Thesaurus moment: sanguine.

Piskie Sits
Wrath Records

UNSANE – VISQUEEN (IPECAC RECORDINGS)


UNSANE – VISQUEEN (IPECAC RECORDINGS)

I think it is unlikely that there will be a nastier sounding record released in 2007 than Visqueen, the 6th album by New York’s Unsane. Featuring an album cover that features a dead body wrapped in cellophane and dumped in a New Jersey swamp (supposedly), it is a suitably blood splattered affair that keeps in line with both previous album covers and the sheer weight and sound of an Unsane record.

With a track record that includes deceased ex-band members (unlike the Dwarves), acceptance into the heart of the skate punk community and a support slot with Slayer amongst their achievements, Unsane are a band that have managed to hold onto their indie credibility whilst maintaining crossover respect and remaining a serious proposition being one of the original gnarly (and remaining) propositions to come from the AmpRep legacy (once almost a genre in itself).

Following up the, in my opinion, career best album “Blood Run” this is most definitely an Unsane album, a sound pretty unique to themselves that I cannot delude myself when I would have to make the admission that it is a record tough to distinguish from the remainder of the Unsane back catalogue. And this is perhaps what explains the lack of fanfare attached to this release.

Unsane circa now though I feel really finds them at the height of their powers. Better than ever the recorded sound captures their power than all their original indie albums combined. The pulsing intimidating rhythms have always been present but now more so than ever does it represent an emotion/soundtrack to what I would imagine the sensation of riding a New York subway at the height of intimidation and unease. And as ever Chris Spencer delivers his terrifying wail in the style of Noddy Holder distorted on a killing spree, busking a dustcart sound of a guitar in accompaniment. The jolt of energy and emotion I experience when listening to Unsane easily matches that of many, more respected noises in the general vicinity of The Jesus Lizard and other true American noise heroes, often far surpassing the fraudulent feeble latecomers to the scene.

Of the tracks on offer here the opener “Against The Grain” sets the tone perfectly with a menacing noir while the sound effect driven “East Broadway” bookends the album in a typically Unsane cinematically way. In between tracks with titles such as “Last Man Standing”, “Disdain” and “Only Pain” perfectly describe the horror on offer while “This Stops At The River” sees the record at its snarling best. This is a proposition that could produce depression, migraine and nausea out of the best of us.

Thesaurus moment: coercion.

Unsane

SATELLITE STATE – DEMO


SATELLITE STATE – DEMO

Here’s a demo from a new breed you generally expect the Myspace page came before the physical demo. I have to say initially listening to this three track disc I cannot tell/distinguish whether this is actually a solo work or a band. Upon closer investigation of the press release it is a band, probably from the Woking area as there is a local press quote on there from that area (further investigation sees it is actually Guildford).

Taking their name from a political term, these is something very well intentioned about these songs (and the band in general) but ultimately I can’t get away from the gut reaction that what I am listening to is something rather died in the wood, sounding worryingly like acts/bands I sense the Satellite State would spit on me for comparing them to.

The expansive guitar sound of the demo opener taps into something rather Thurston Moore in lofty and laidback mode (whether this is intentional is open for debate) it unfortunately it becomes a little trite like, dare I say, Travis when the vocals kick in, a combination of sounds which ultimately nod towards a sound I would compare to Snow Patrol.

Any band whose press release/point sheet quotes the Wikipedia entry to explain its meaning is one that should really suffer questioning with a raised eyebrow of the most judgemental of kind. Well I visited that webpage and I partly suspect the political mentality of this act is that they would have ideally preferred to calm themselves “Palestine” with one eye to subverting the mainstream with bland guitars. I just don’t understand!

Thesaurus moment: feigned.

Satellite State

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

THE PHARCYDE – RUNNIN’ (GO! BEAT/DELICIOUS VINYL)


THE PHARCYDE – RUNNIN’ (GO! BEAT/DELICIOUS VINYL)

If ever there was a song guaranteed to recall an amazing moment in time and serve to make a person feel young and fresh then it is the guilt trip of “Runnin’” by The Pharcyde.

I have to concede and admit that I had thought of this song for a couple of years until an episode of Entourage (“Return Of The King”) that played it over the closing credits and almost immediately with the opening bars my being felt lifted as I filled with positive nostalgia and goosebumps thinking about a bright time in my past when everything felt cool. Or so I tell myself through rose tinted glasses and distorted reminisces.

Despite my demeanour though there is no doubting or questioning the quality of this single. In its delivery it manages to evoke a rare commodity in hip hop: it is haunting. It plays on the senses and almost installs a sense of guilt and conscience in the listener. The word are warning in almost parental and passive way perfectly syncing with the underlying beats delivery the ideal pitch and tone in the process.

“Runnin’” illustrates the aural pallet of a troubled mind, serving as a refresher course and distraction from the meat of disparagement in mind. The subtle beats ultimately prevail as a summery flow offers a happy resolution that ends with a true dose of optimism.

Curiously released on Go! Beat in the UK meaning that it shared with label mates such as David Holmes and Portishead amongst the remix b-sides a real hidden gem appears in the form of an extended vocal version of “Drop”, perhaps one of the best known tunes in The Pharcyde cannon.

Originally appearing on the Labcabcalifornica album, a few years later the cut would also feature in the movie 8 Mile before (as I said above) most recently turning up on the closing credits of the “Return Of The King” episode of Entourage perfectly positioned at the end of a climatic scene serving as a timely reminder of the greatness of this song.

Thesaurus moment: abscond.

The Pharcyde
Go! Beat

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"Your blog is now so boring!!"

HEY!

You think every single day of your life is filled with exciting police car chases ending with precarious cliffs and then sailing your pirate boat over turbulent choppy waters is it??

LIFE GOT BORING DAYS THEN BLOG ALSO WILL HAVE BORING DAYS LA!!

Idiots.

I'd blog again when I got something interesting to write about.

Would also appreciate it if people who know where to buy garden swings let me know, wanna get one for the new place.

I WANT IT WHITE AND ENTWINED WITH GREEN VINES!!!



Chio!!

AH! I thought of something interesting to write about!!!

INSULTS THAT DON'T WORK!!!!!!

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??

Wanna throw insults at me to break me down? Perhaps, also stop me from blogging so that I can't lead the perfect life I am leading right now? To throw in a bonus, maybe also kill myself in the process?

NO, NOT GONNA WORK.

Besides the usual no-thinker insults like,

- I am fat
- I am boring
- I am ugly


recently there are also some new interesting insults I have received:



1) I stay in a HDB flat.

Errrrrrr....... And so I stay in a 3-room hdb flat cos my family is not rich. SO WHAT?

Honestly, if you think about it, so rich for WHAT? People will keep trying to borrow money from me lor!

I then don't want that sort of burden. I think it's way better to act poor. =D

LOL... It's so funny that people would tell me stuff like they stay in some shittyass private house and I am inferior to them.

Trying to justify your life now aren't you?

Why I wonder? Is it because you are ugly and lead a damn sad life? I won't trade a beautiful house for that. =)



2) Mike will dump me soon

Yes, he will definitely listen to you guys and dump me.

That is why he had forsaken everything that is familiar to him in the US, got a mass reduction in his expected US salary, and come to Singapore to live in our terrible weather.

;)



3) My neh nehs are very small.

NABEH NEH SMALL ALSO KENA!

BIG say I look like slut, SMALL then say I airport - I can never win lor.



Whatever, you guys. Comments disallowed, don't bother leaving any, they won't be approved.

Good day!!

VARIOUS – ALL APOLOGIES (UNIVERSAL JAPAN)



VARIOUS – ALL APOLOGIES (UNIVERSAL JAPAN)

In theory this is the dream ticket for me – Nirvana songs as covered by Japanese rock (J-rock) bands! In theory it is. I was not sure when specifically this compilation came (being an accidental Soulseek find) but the results are most definitely something interesting, if not exactly as desired. Fortunately as most Nirvana cover versions tend to be metalised abortions of classic songs, these versions actually appear to tap into spirit of the band. And dare I mention that I had never noticed before the sheer amount of words Kurt Cobain used beginning with the letters “L” and/or “R”, causing in these examples often several unintentional cultural quirks (eg “Lape Me” anybody?)

It all begins really well with a storming cover of “All Apologies” by Lunkhead, not too dissimilar to the original musically if I am honest but with bass sound several times more brooding than Krist Novoselic was ever allowed. The real early treat comes in the sheer enthusiasm of Mo’some Tonebender’s version of “Very Ape” in which they repeat another chorus adding another third to the song just because you sense they are enjoying playing so much. As mentioned above, the sting of “Rape Me” is taken out of the song as a lady sounding like Lydia Lunch in lounge mode in the guise of detroit7 inadvertently renames the song “Lape Me”.

The more experimental side of proceedings provide the most joys as HIGE’s demented attempt at “Scentless Apprentice” sounds akin to a countrified, delta blues Ween might call a cover version. Semi Shigure manage to whip “Molly’s Lips” into an even poppier state akin to the Lilys before B-Dash sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in a far too upbeat manner dragging it into Lemonheads and Mega City Four territory. And the less said about Yoshii Kazya turning “Polly” into “Porry” the better.

In a happy turn of events Miyavi ends the record with perhaps the best tribute of the batch as he chips in with a speedy, acoustic version of “Blew” in a pleasingly gruff and gravely manner.

Something of a strange concept but ultimately a very fun reality, this is key example and reminder of how much meaning and energy were in the songs of Kurt Cobain and just how many hidden gems there are tucked away on Soulseek (and other file sharing sites) that would otherwise go unheard by a genuinely appreciative and subtly baying enthusiastic audience.

Thesaurus moment: 楽しみ

CD Japan

Monday, May 28, 2007

POLARIS – MUSIC FROM THE ADVENTURE OF PETE AND PETE (THE MEZZOTINT LABEL)


POLARIS – MUSIC FROM THE ADVENTURE OF PETE AND PETE (THE MEZZOTINT LABEL)

Quite frankly I am ashamed and embarrassed by the fact that my old record label released a substandard album by another band called Polaris. We should have been sued.

One day I will write about how good the kids had it in the early nineties and how smart shows such as The Adventures Of Pete And Pete were ever allowed to exist in the first place. This was a show so ahead of the game that it was probably enjoyed more by knowing adults than the actual kids it was aimed towards.

The real Polaris of course was Mark Mulcahy’s baby. The band was actually pretty much Miracle Legion under a fresh alias missing a member/organ spewing out a beautiful collect of jangly guitar pop songs full of bubblegum joy many of which would pop up in the aforementioned TV show.

The most recognisable song is obviously the theme to the show called “Hey Sandy” which appears here in a longer form with addition verses. With it the song can only but conjure up one imagine: that of a band playing in a garden on the greenest of grass, on the brightest of summer days as a small dog runs around a sprinkler. In many ways this album is a celebration of the glory of suburbia crossed with the euphoria of the summer holidays.

Away from the TV show influencing a trend/theme onto proceedings the album with its constellation reference comes dedicated to “Astrochimp Ham and Spacedog Laika” has something of its own agenda in its apparent exploration of retro space race themes and the raygun gothic. In other words much like an old science fiction show from the black and white era this record is simple fun at the expense of nobody.

For anyone that watched The Adventures Of Pete And Pete back in the day many of these songs will be immediately recognisable not least for “She Is Staggering” which was often used in the closing credits and seemed aimed at and designed for Big Pete’s on/off girlfriend Ellen. It is a beautiful piece, a perfect example of a love song for naïve affection and failed consummation. The song drops in breezily but as it carries through and Mulcahy finds his crush questioned the track takes a subtle dark twist. This is the song writing equivalent of crying in resignation.

Elsewhere harmonicas drop in and out as the simple feel of the songs act perfectly suited for kids TV and a day away from worrying.

Later the record delivers “Summerbaby” which is a subdued version of the song that Little Pete once sang for almost an entire episode just so that he would not forget it. Great memories, I was around.

Stick around for the bonus at the end.

Can do!

Thesaurus moment: superior

Polaris

Sunday, May 27, 2007

JILL CUNNIFF – CITY BEACH (THE MILITIA GROUP)


JILL CUNNIFF – CITY BEACH (THE MILITIA GROUP)

I feel this summer our indie world is primed for something of a Grand Royal revival to counteract the grime, geekiness and general lack of fun that appears to be prevailing circa now. Money Mark has a new record out, Deerhoof fit the mold of exotic experiemental cool and a new Beastie Boys record itself is on its way along with an Ad-Rock produced Bad Brains record as a bonus. And to capture the summer breeze, Jill Cunniff is back from motherhood with her first solo record to accompany (and promote) a greatest hits compilation for Luscious Jackson (they had hits?). And by the end of the year, there may even be the threatened nursery rhyme/lullaby Luscious Jackson record itself.

It should come as no surprise that this record sounds very similar to the sparkly bright sounds that used to be Luscious Jackson. Also though, as I write this today the first solo efforts of Mutya Buena have also been unveiled and I have to say listening to those tracks and these, often the dynamics and general form of the songs are rather interchangeable even if the separate looks and personas appear to be from different planets.

The album flows into full swing with the lead promo track (which formerly would have been a first single but are now known as MP3 samples) “Lazy Girls”. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a track from the Luscious Jackson compilation (or their last album) itself as it glides smoothly. The pace sadly does not maintain as the songs flounder between slow tempo trip hop attempts onto funk lite pop songs and efforts that resemble both the best and worst (more so the latter) of female pop songs. The low point comes with “Future Call” and stomping cheesy guitars that sound straight out of an Atari ST being delivered by the cheesiest of one hit girl bands, a sound several light years from the band sound of Luscious Jackson.

Jill Cunniff still has the sweetest of voices and harmonies to die for but this album has neither the hooks nor the songs. Maybe by the end of the summer the potential breezy charm will have me captivated but for the moment I’m just not feeling it. I’m not really sure what audience this record is being aimed at and neither who is actually going to buy it. A real missed opportunity.

Thesaurus moment: unaccompanied.

Jill Cunniff
The Militia Group

THE HELLPHONES – THIS IS HOW (SHEER MUSIC)


THE HELLPHONES – THIS IS HOW (SHEER MUSIC)

In an alternative universal, lets say South Africa, here is a band that could possibly be seen in a similar light to The Hold Steady. This music is unabashed straight ahead rock by people with silly names who dress like The Hives. If there is any originality in this CD, I am determined to squeeze it out in an attempt to prove my very own self worth.

There is no lack in confidence in the delivery and you can most definitely imagine the vocalist, a chap by the sole name of “Fredriguez” (just like Pele) moving about a stage with a lot of gusto and charisma, something of an accomplishment for a person when they so resemble Justin Lee Collins. In these troubled times however of sexual diseases, such advances and ego are somewhat frowned upon where there is the merest of hints that the persona is being delivered without even the slightest hint of irony, such as with here. By three tracks in I’m confused, trying to work out what kind of Elvis Costello/Bruce Springsteen hybrid I am listening to.

Although I enjoy the artwork I don’t like the music. A short story: I currently work with a person that featured on Big Brother in South Africa and the sheer unphased confidence I experience from her I find worryingly echoes in what I hear here. That old chestnut and stereotype of hard rocking and bigotry is hinted at in such song titles as “Amsterdam Bang”, “Stealing The Feeling”, “Dirty Minds”, “Sick Leave” and “Shake It” all seemingly delivered without a shred of humour (yeah, that’ll tell ‘em Granddad).

With a name that suggests a direct line to blaspheme, a desired musical jihad might sensibly be angled in their direction as the music very much represents the kind that might be played through my telephone if a most hateful cleric put me on hold.

Thesaurus moment: gauche.

The Hellphones
Sheer Music

THESE NEW PURITANS – NOW! PLUVIAL EP (ANGULAR)


THESE NEW PURITANS – NOW! PLUVIAL EP (ANGULAR)

I discovered this band by accident last year as the sound of their Myspace page came ear bleedingly pounding up from downstairs in the publishing department of my workplace. My gut reaction was that this was the sound of The Jesus Lizard jamming and crashing into Einsturzende Neubauten, I had not heard a better band in five years. Apparently.

With further inspection of these true children of the Myspace age I found more delight in the fact that these kids hail from Southend in Essex (my heart my Essex) and their photo shots just made them look ugly, reminding me visually of My Bloody Valentine at their best/worst. This truly looked the perfect package. Whether long term parking will see such a buzz maintain is another question but for now I am happy to feast on what I think I have found, I have found like.

Correct me if I am wrong but this is their first venture into a proper release and obviously it is on the most defiant of formats: the seven inch single. I wish I could say releasing records on vinyl was the sure fire method of keeping your tracks off Soulseek but I have to admit before I had bought this single, I had downloaded the tracks as MP3s. Even today when I put this release into an Ebay search to see how much of an investment the record has become, all I find it a “DJ copy” – aka a plain CD of these three tracks.

And these are three tracks of a purposely awkward kind. Who can fault a band whose opening track is called “Elvis” and features distorted vocals Mark E. Smith would be impressed by. The bass led ritual is as dirty as middle class kids can afford to come, distorting the truth of their apparent dysfunction, there is a lot of solace to be taken from these times. “C16th” follows as a typically difficultly titled song tapping into the post-punk jerk sound that has maintained its hype over the past few years, the redeeming difference here being the way the drums manage to dictate proceedings. Track BB “En Papier” is the death defying song that originally captured my attention with it’s end of the world exploits as it plainly just sounds like kids being tortured and kicked to death by musical instruments in the most angular and disorientating fashion of recent memory whilst still remaining coherent. If this is the kind of intensity and inventiveness the band can maintain we have a major new band to admire.

Thesaurus moment: convincing.

These New Puritans
Angular Records

Saturday, May 26, 2007

SHONEN KNIFE – RIDING ON THE ROCKET (AUGUST RECORDS)


SHONEN KNIFE – RIDING ON THE ROCKET (AUGUST RECORDS)

Quite possibly the greatest song that the Ramones never wrote Osaka’s Shonen Knife will forever be one of the brightest shining bands ever in rock music history. Taking the best cues out of many music worlds from 60s girl pop through metal with a tinge of grunge fuzz and finishing off with Bowery CBGB punk this band always looked great and sounded fantastic. This is pop perfection.

Without doubt the rocket that Shonen Knife are riding is the one to Russia that Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy always talking about boarding but never quite got there. This is what charisma sounds like, a rare example in music of pure charm that easily eclipses any potential wrinkles that may exist in the delivery.

This was the song the band performed on The Word back in the day. When they appeared on screen it was like they were from a different planet instead of just a different country. What on earth was a band as cutely delicate as this doing on such a thuggish and moronic TV show? What they were doing was winning the day, not compromising, not changing just doing exactly what they wanted to in a manner that was all theirs and capturing the hearts of anybody sober enough to be sold.

No question this is a great single by a great band.

Thesaurus moment: affirming.

Shonen Knife
August Records

Friday, May 25, 2007

VARIOUS – FRITZ THE CAT & HEAVY TRAFFIC ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK RECORDINGS (FANTASY RECORDS)


VARIOUS – FRITZ THE CAT & HEAVY TRAFFIC ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK RECORDINGS (FANTASY RECORDS)

At the risk of fawning too much (and falling into commercial promotion) I really have made some exciting finds for just £5 in the extensive Fopp soundtracks section in recent months. I have to admit these days more and more I find myself buying DVDs instead of CDs and soundtracks instead of albums.

If anyone remembers the feature length cartoon Fritz The Cat, they will probably recall an over-reaching attempt at greatness, a narrative with many messages that unfortunately often fall wide of the mark rather than making their point. After watching the movie it comes as no surprise when you discover that R Crumb disowned the movie. At the same time however it is not a bad experience by any means, visually fun if not arresting and mildly informative if not educating. And it was always one of those movies to which there were amazing songs I wish I was able to own.

The backdrop of the movie is the political spectrum of sixties America where people were acting as if they had invented politic and protest but by the end of the period the savvy were becoming cynical while many were clinging onto the final threads of the lifestyle as the wise became resigned to having accomplished little change. As a result there is something of a beaten tone to the community which is heavily reflected in the sounds emitting from my stereo as this album plays. If you remember from the movie, Fritz The Cat was to some extent rallying against the heavy themes of the movie, being playful with his winning charade. In amongst the level headed themes around this score, often darting in is such a devilish influence/element. This was a truly great era for music.

The CD spreads over 27 tracks, 13 for Fritz The Cat and 14 for Heavy Traffic and if I’m honest I only stick around for the Fritz tunes. And in amongst the suave instrumentals of heavy Hammond organ that is the kind of music Bukowski would drink, some real heavyweights feature in the form of Bo Diddley and Billie Holiday chip in with cuts. Indeed Billie Holiday’s “Yesterdays” is the kind of song that could stop traffic, a track that thoroughly captures the pain of nostalgia and longing for the past. And juxtaposed next to that track comes righteous gospel celebrations from the Watson Sisters, quite probably an act that I will never hear a song by for the remainder of my days. The music generally is the kind that you would play poker too, genuine lounge than reminds me of output from such alt rock heroes as Golden and the Denison Kimball Trio. Indeed by the second you are faced by literal funk, utilising percussion in ways that Tortoise could only dream of, seldom does the xylophone being used as a lead instrument sound so good. For me, this is just the stuff of genuine greatness.

As the album slips onto the Heavy Traffic soundtrack there is a marked change in pace, not least represented by the reality that the first two tracks are variations on Scarborough Fair. Again the soundtrack is represented by some true heavyweights with Sergio Mendes, the Isley Brothers, Dave Brubek and Chuck Berry. Beyond an excruciatingly cringeworthy version of “Twist And Shout” by the Isley Brothers, a strange version of the ever reliable “Take Five” appears as the Heavy Traffic portion of the CD set provides its own worthy atmospherics.

There is nothing new nor necessarily cutting edge about this CD but it does serve as an example of a great hidden gem of a release that can be found in the most high street of stores with view to creating a perfect pseudo-boho ambience and a genuinely relaxing record.

Thesaurus moment: streetwise, urbane.

Fritz The Cat
Heavy Traffic
Fantasy Records

LOREN SCOTT – SECULAR ETHINCS (RAISING AGENT)


LOREN SCOTT – SECULAR ETHICS (RAISING AGENT)
With cheesy cover artwork, intended to shock and offend, and a cod political album title which both only serve to roll eyes and put a person off, before the CD is even slipped out of the packaging I find myself out of love with this release. And even when I get around to removing the disc, I find myself confronted in the inlay with the bare chest of Miss Scott I believe (complete with hefty tattoo on her arm). I can only ask myself, what have I been given to listen to? At this point, the only way I feel this record could be salvaged would be were Loren Scott a Muslim.

I brave listening to the CD to be confronted by subtle feedback and electronic beeps before a pulsing beat akin to an eighties moves the song forward until the more standard drum beat takes over and the expected lyrics sail in. There is a strange air of nonchalance coupled with trying too hard feel to this record. By track four the band (?) are singing how they “create a scene because I’ve never been seen”, something I find neither believable nor relieving. One song later and the band sound very similar to the current flavour of the month Ghosts so have perhaps tapped into something the music industry is currently buying into in its droves, if not those of us with something of a rebellious streak or musical taste buds for that matter. Likewise, imagine Richard Ashcroft if he were feminine sounding and The Verve actually could not play/write whilst leaning into Belle And Sebastian, perhaps this is something of a misleading description as it actually suggests something good.

The further I delve into the record, the more confused and disillusioned I find myself becoming. Gone are my judgements of the music as I return to the reality that this is a solo project and not a whole band’s efforts, more than ever do my efforts to find fruit and coherence feel pointless and futile. When I finally realise Loren Scott is just a butch female, Loren Scott ain’t Lauryn Hill, not that there is any suggestion she claims to be, just take that diss at face value. Having now squeezed out 300 words about this CD I decide I will never give it any thought ever again in the safe comfort zone of knowing that I don’t need to.

Thesaurus moment: Detritus.

Loren Scott

NUFFNANG!!

Advertorial

For those of you who thought I just wrote some gibberish as my title, well, you are horribly mistaken!

Nuffnang actually means Real Cool/Good in Jafaikan, in which I have no idea what Jafaikan is, so it is still kinda gibberish.

But good gibberish.

Thus begins the story of Nuffnang.com.sg.

Some months ago, my friend Ming gave me a call, saying he would like to treat me (+ Mike whom he also wants to meet) to a meal to discuss a business idea he has.

I was a bit jaded about people wanting to share "business ideas" with me, but Ming was very persistent and insisted on treating us at his (dad's) country club + picking us up so I didn't reject him... haha.

When we met up, he told me an idea that I actually thought of before: An agency for bloggers.

Well, KINDA like an agency you know... The idea is that to get all the bloggers together and sell their combined hits to advertisers - this way, even the small bloggers get a share of the advertising pie. :)

Xiaxue = 30,000 daily hits = Advertisers think it's too little for big scale advertising

Xiaxue + hundreds of bloggers with 200 daily hits = 100,000 daily = Advertisers pay


But there's so much involved in this, like how much each blogger should get, how you know how much hits a blogger gets anyway, and it's not even known if advertisers would be interested because this is not tried before, etc...

SO...

I thought Ming was just talking out of his ass, albeit in a very excited dreamy tone.

(Sorry la Ming, it did sound like a ridiculously grand plan what!)

Two months later, Nuffnang Malaysia, Asia's first blog advertising agency, was launched.



Hundreds of Malaysian bloggers rushed to sign up (1,700 so far), and Nuffnang was even the 4th most searched topic on technorati at one point!

(BTW Nuffnang is founded by Ming, who is Singaporean, and his friend Timothy, who is Malaysian, so the company is half M'sian and half S'porean.)

When Ming told me about me, I can't help but say "Wow...", because honestly, lots of people have smashing ideas, but how many of them do execute it?

And Ming, being resourceful as usual, actually had Nike Singapore as his first advertiser!!

Now, the top earning Malaysia blogger (Ahem Mr Sia!) is getting like RM1,000 per week, and the average small-time bloggers get like 20 buck per week too!!

BU HUI SHIOK???????

If I get 1,000 per week hor I will be damn rich can?! I'd be earning like, like, at least 6k a month????????

(I said at least - that's not to be saying I earn only 2k per month, idiots)

I KNOW ALL OF YOU WILL WANT TO BE MY FRIEND!!

Must start to pay taxes already! Buy car! Learn to drive first! Get platinum credit card! IPL armpits!!

Back to serious topic.

Ming's philosophy for the company is that it is not only getting money for bloggers (as well as earning a bit on the way la), it is also BY BLOGGERS FOR BLOGGERS.


Their little side aim is to forge a stronger community among the bloggers.

Although I despise a lot of the Malaysian bloggers who signed up, I must still say it's a good effort.


The hard-working Nuffnang team


250 Nuffnangers were invited to go watch Pirates of the Caribbean 3 in KL yesterday!! (BTW it's a bit slow, the movie. I watched it in Singapore yesterday with Mike)

Hiyah!

To cut the long story short, I've just got good news for you mediocre bloggers!! (I know, I am so deliciously arrogant)

No longer do you have to sigh and complain about how you can't earn from your meagre amount of hits!

As long as you have more than 20 unique hits a day, you can get a share of the pie too!!

Of course your share will not be as big as mine la teeheeheehee.

If you want to try signing up, there is even a chance of winning a PSP!



Shiok or not?

You can sign up here!

You guys can thank me later for the recommendation. =D

p/s: Yes I know that's two advertorials in a row. Although you are doing nothing but reading a blog you think might be updated with something interesting, you still feel like you have the right to tell me I am cheating you. Shut up, I'll be updating my NY pictures soon. Been fucking busy.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BLUR – SONG 2 (FOOD)


BLUR – SONG 2 (FOOD)

With “Song 2” I have always felt Blur managed to tap into the sound and vibe of Nirvana more than any of British band. In the way that Bush appeared to completely miss the point (blinded by dollar signs and pound notes) of the jagged pop sound of Cobain, here Coxon nailed it.

That said it is something of a travesty that this remains one of the most recognised songs in the Blur arsenal as in essence it is only really a plundering, direct track resembling more a burst of energy than an actual piece of songwriting.

What this song probably represents is a band in transition, in flux looking to mess with its audience, taking in casualties and scoring points along the way. To think this is the song that almost broke Blur in America by taking on sports bar connotations and the appearance of an alpha male macho jock persona.

In some ways it is a natural sequel to “Popscene” but for a band that has also produced songs such as “For Tomorrow” et al, for such a rapery burst of energy you would hope that the hedonism of the music be coupled with smart and intelligent lyrics such as displayed on “Charmless Man.”

This was the Blur equivalent of a bottle of alcopop. Wicked.

Thesaurus moment: bustle.

Blur
Food

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

MUDHONEY – YOU GOT IT (SUB POP)


MUDHONEY – YOU GOT IT (SUB POP)

The pace of the product was as much about the sound of grunge as anything but key to the success of being a good sounding grunge bad was to occupy a sneering, deep dark sense of comedy/humour and thrust it straight through the heart of proceedings.

With “You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face)” Mudhoney deliver a seemingly resentful message to the scene, the sound of the rejected oath plundering onto his next destination (victim) but not before drunkenly berating the rotten apple of his eye first. Mark Arm’s vocals tumble into proceedings with a guarded nonchalance.

In many ways this record is perfect. It is a keenly observed social critique of the people inhabiting their inner and outer surroundings and for such an early effort at this point for the band everyone is playing their part as if truly on fire. It also sounds as if it is being performed by a band that is drunk.

Turning over “Burn It Clean” witnesses the band on full cycle (psycho) spin but also operating at a leisurely pace before indulging in a classic Mudhoney wig out for the chorus established by Dan Peters’ simple but effective lump licks.

The Stooges only seldom got this good.

Thesaurus moment: misprize.

Mudhoney
Sub Pop

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

THE SMITHS – THIS CHARMING MAN (ROUGH TRADE)


THE SMITHS – THIS CHARMING MAN (ROUGH TRADE)

Possessing perhaps the greatest strange first line of a popular song ever (“punctured bicycle on a hillside”) the second single from The Smiths opens at a blistering pace, all coded for the cool kids in crappy clothing.

As with much of The Smiths catalogue it feels hard/difficult to imagine this song quite capturing the imagination of the music nation now as it did upon its release in 1983. From the perspective of a normal seeing set of eyes and ears The Smiths are just so strange a proposition to swallow and with this song of sexual exploration containing lines such as “bet he’ll make a man of me yet” it is difficult not to imagine a nation throwing up into a bucket in the process. Perhaps the eighties were more forward thinking than we give them credit for.

Thought of in some circles as the more sensitive antidote to the overproduced, over hyped alpha male Frankie Goes To Hollywood, The Smiths serve to “corrupt” the youth in a much more subtle and substantive manner. In Morrissey truly was a frontman that was unique and genuinely strange. Wearing his heart most visibly on his sleeve their songs were as unnerving as they were classic. Obviously they weren’t for everyone but for a person looking for a way to find something positive in a whole lot of negative and depression the seemingly inclusive words of Morrissey provided the ultimate in relief for anyone brave enough to invest.

At this point I should concede that it was absolutely years before I realised that Morrissey was homosexual but surely (surely!) I should have picked up a clue or two from “This Charming Man.” In such a case then just what was it I was hearing in the song for all those years? How was I able to swallow such a drippy (and even dreary) singing voice? Was it Marr’s guitar playing? I doubt it being a person raised on loud hulking grunge guitars.

I think what it was the hook in the chorus. That strange scream and the enforced dip in proceedings that somehow felt so natural. That and the line about not having “a stitch to wear.” You and me both Morrissey. It never even occurred to me that the charming man might be gay/homosexual, which was never my world. A jumped up country boy myself I was as naïve as this song perversely sounds.

It’s a beautiful world we live in.

Thesaurus moment: misconstrue.

The Smiths
Rough Trade

Monday, May 21, 2007

VINCENT GALLO – WHEN (WARP)


VINCENT GALLO – WHEN (WARP)

As a professional arsehole for a living I have long admired Vincent Gallo in his many roles and personas and I can only come to the conclusion that there is an underlying passion, energy and sincerity deep down that serves to accompany and enhance the talent he is not so modest about. Indeed I believe there are tribes in Africa that will expound the genius of his talent. OK, I made up that last part.

At time often sounding more like a confession than a music album, as crazy wave after crazy wave of looped instruments set out to service the contents of his mind and carpet his lyrical expressions, you can’t help but feel that this is Gallo’s idea fun, fun had at everybody else’s expense.

I cannot decide whether there is true grace and ingenuity to this record or if it is the modern day equivalent of that guy sat on the stairs during the party in Animal House crooning badly trying to impress ladies waiting for this generation’s John Belushi to grab his guitar and smash it against the wall.

Plainly high maintenance and an attention seeker when Gallo eventually gets around to opening his mouth the tone that comes from it sounds almost female. Hard female.

Listened to from one perspective this sounds like a loud of old self indulgence crap, especially the seemingly self pitying lyrical content aimed at stupid girls he appears to be hoping to coerce into fellatio.

Personally though I really admire and appreciate this album and most importantly I like it. Having been a huge fan of the Buffalo 66 soundtrack (and obviously the movie itself) when I bought this record on the day of release I pretty much knew just what I was getting it was only in what form and degree that was the unknown quantity. By track three (“My Beautiful Dog”) as things turn trip hop it becomes reassuringly apparent that Gallo is not the spent force that some might have you believe.

There is a place and purpose for this music and record but it is a very exclusive and personal place that requires a heavy dose of patience and the necessity to indulge the author.

Thesaurus moment: vainglory.

Vincent Gallo
Warp

Sunday, May 20, 2007

MY BLOODY VALENTINE – ISN’T EVERYTHING (CREATION RECORDS)


MY BLOODY VALENTINE – ISN’T EVERYTHING (CREATION RECORDS)

Opening with drums that sound like a person pounding on a door Isn’t Everything begins sounding like it is being played backwards as large movements of sound grind against a gorgeous series of declarations and suggestions with all in all gives off the impression that the band is floating. The pay off is immediate with this record.

It is often forgotten just how delicate and subtle My Bloody Valentine were able to be but sonically and spoken. The dream like qualities that emit from the sound of this record feel unique and plausible containing an originality and generous genuity seldom found in other bands of the noise or even post-rock ilk. There was a wait/weight but you can’t help but concede it was worth it.

The sheer name of the album suggests some kind of resented resignation, suggesting boredom and some kind of conclusion that everything is the same, everything has been done. Likewise coupled with the band’s name and identity it serves to take some heat off the expectations of the band themselves as a potentially defacing and self depreciating safety/security defence measure.

The hinted/suggested vulnerable continues as a theme with the lovelorn “Cupid Comes” which delivers the first real human, non ugly moment of the record. Three songs in here comes the first hook of the day as on a rare occasion the lyric content of the songwriting process takes precedent over the sonic exploration (racket).

Following closely behind comes “(When You Wake) You’re Still In A Dream” which is as fast paced as a My Bloody Valentine song gets, again serving/dishing out clear vocals and clear intentions, benefiting from strangely huge riffs and hooks. As the versus leaving the song hanging in the air there is a youthful optimism attached to proceedings with invariably falls apart along with the song towards the climax.

“No More Sorry” and “All I Need” then display the suffocating sonically driven side of the band’s act and does not necessarily serve them or this record well.

It is surprising to note just how “indie” the band sounds on this record when they are at their most coherent, something that would most definitely be missing by the time they came to producing/releasing Loveless. In many ways these are the songs that make Isn’t Everything the exciting proposition that it is and is able to steer the listener away from Loveless and back to this album.

Of all the songs on display it is “Nothing Much To Lose” that feels as if it has most to offer these days working as something of a happy compromise and managing most successfully on this record to blend the poppier moments with the more jagged daggers of noise workouts.

This is a record I could foist upon/onto anybody.

Thesaurus moment: composite.

My Bloody Valentine

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hurray!!! Blogger just announced that they now auto-save my posts!!

Anyway, sorry for taking so long to update, between blogging for Stomp, conquering Super Mario (world 6 now) and my daily bummer activities, I've got like no inspiration + time to blog!

I need to blog more!!!

Even the NY photos I've not edited!!!!!!!

I know, I am such a horrible procrastinator. :( :(

I actually woke up that day feeling very mean, and I started writing a blog entry titled "Top 5 most disgusting people in the Singapore blogosphere".

THE ENTRY IS AWESOME.

It feels so good to insult people!!

Needless to say, this will start raging a "blog tsunami" as Wanyi calls it, but I am afraid of offending certain people, and that's why that AWESOME post is not being put online yet.

Hahaha... I know that now you are dying to find out who those 5 people are!!

Sigh... There are soooooooo many disgusting bloggers around. (Attempts to link to these people or suggest their website/nicks in the comments will be deleted - don't want to give anyone any excess clicks just yet)


Update on my life: Mike just signed for the rental of a nice little place in Changi, and I think I'd be staying over pretty often!!

The place has two bedrooms, one of which is HUGE (like two normal rooms), so Mike has agreed to let me put all my nonsensical fluffy pink stuff in there - my computer, make-up, accessories, etc.

And this room, I loosely call "The Princess Room".

I can't wait to decorate it!!!

As well as the rest of the house! Thank god for Ikea Tampines.

FRIENDS CAN COME OVER TO PLAY MJ AND SWIM AND BBQ!!!!!!!!!! *faints* Super happy.

Rental prices are fucking crazy-high nowadays!!!!! Dingy 3-room (which means actually 2 rooms) hdbs are going for $1,200 per month - and these hdbs are fucking old and gouldy and unfurnished and ugly too!!

Condos seems to be a better deal, going for $1,600 - $1,800 at the lower end tier.

Isn't it mad???! Property prices are mad recently! I might turn into a real estate agent soon.

I KNOW! I sound so sophisticated and adult-like right, when I talk about property rates? Mai siao siao hor, I am very smart one you know!! Muahaha!

So yeah, you east-siders will be seeing me more often now!

I hate east-siders. I've stayed in the West all my life (Clementi, Boon Lay, Queensway, Teban), and for some reason east-side people are CONSTANTLY insulting the west!!

WHY THEY SO LIKE THAT ONE AH?

They always say west very industrial and ugly and under-developed, and how east side is better coz you guys have the stupid sea and better places to eat food blah blah.

Full of nonsense.


HOLLAND VILLAGE = WEST = Nice and expensive place

BUKIT TIMAH = WEST = QUEEN ASTRID PARK = Most expensive place in Monopoly


And plus plus the west has science centre and erm, zoo, and erm, ice-skating rink!! Hmpf!

Shuyin says everyone is being boh liao because Singapore is way too small to have disparities between east and west side, hahaha...

She is only saying that coz she stay North, which is the most sucky of all!!!


Muahahaha...! I am joking. I am trying to start a who-stay-where-better-war.

Anyway, Gillian sent me this email, which I thought is super hilarious!!!



Where Air Stewardesses Sleep


Boeing 747-400


KLM Airline



Airbus A340


Boeing 777


Singapore Airlines


SQ with TV and inflight telecommunications


Canadian Airlines


AND AIR ASIA???!

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.






HAHAHA!!!!!!!


Funny right? I don't know if the information about the various airlines are accurate though.

Laters!!

XX

UPDATE: People mentioned that that's not Air Asia (which was the information I got from the email I received) but instead a domestic China airline. Sorry for the accusation Air Asia!!

RAMONES – IT’S ALIVE (SIRE RECORDS)


RAMONES – IT’S ALIVE (SIRE RECORDS)

This was my first Ramones album and I would say if you need to get somebody into the Ramones fast this is the perfect starting place/point for any newbie.

Recorded live at the Rainbow in London on New Year’s Eve 1977 (heading into 1978) this is the classic Ramones line-up with Joey and Johnny being joined by Dee Dee and bass and Tommy on drums. This was long before the rot set in and was probably as good as it got with the Bruvvers.

The album is 28 songs long and it doesn’t even make the one hour mark, this is what it sounded like to live fast in 1977. Almost every Ramones song you could ever want to hear is present.

Opening with the threesome of “Rockaway Beach”, “Teenage Lobotomy” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” rarely in the history of rock music has there ever been such a frenetic first six minutes. Here were the definite roots of hardcore several years before the pills kicked in.

For a band that released so many live albums over the years this truly was the king of all those releases even though it was probably recorded on the least expensive equipment. Ultimately it was the organic feel of a band at their best overriding any potential limitations that technology might set them. Then again just how much in the way of intricate recording would four men sharing a surname really require?

In recent years the latest generations of alternative rock audiences haven’t really managed to appreciate the Ramones quite in the way that their elders did previously but with hooks so fat, large and wide the reality is that it takes more effort to not indulge in the fun to be had from these songs.

As things step up their version of “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen improves on the original and with “Havana Affair” and “Commando” and their new kind of kicks the band display a lot more to their consciousness than their goofy, dark humour songs might suggest.

By the time you reach the “gabba gabba hey” mantra of “Pinhead” you realise that this record still packs enough punch to piss off the neighbours and make you seem like a weirdo in their eyes, ears and mind. Mission accomplished.

It all ends with “We’re A Happy Family” which history has served to demonstrate just was not true but at this time maybe, seemingly with the world their oyster and at their feet, this was when they were happy.

Thesaurus moment: dynasty.

Ramones

Friday, May 18, 2007

FUDGE TUNNEL – SEX MAMMOTH (PIGBOY)


FUDGE TUNNEL – SEX MAMMOTH (PIGBOY)

Even this long after the event there is still a real stigma and odour attached to ever having been into a band called Fudge Tunnel.

Hailing from Nottingham and fronted by Alex Newport Fudge Tunnel were always part of that more respectable face of metal, a nasty snarling hybrid of dense and horrific guitars but also possessing an alternative, almost knowing attitude towards proceedings. They were a band that looked normal but did not act it and could never comfortably fit within the cosy confines of full on indie rock. Another such band to resemble this persona and attitude was always Unsane, a band that like Fudge Tunnel would always produce what sounded like the score to something nasty happening.

As a result of such awkward/uncomfortable pigeon holing there was always something really grand and exciting about Fudge Tunnel that made the listening feel uneasy whilst also thrilled and exhilarated. The band closest to compare to them during the period for crossover appliance would be the early recordings of Therapy? that remained disturbing until “Nurse” at which point fame found them (and not Fudge Tunnel) and thus the jagged edges were smoothed out. Something that never happened to Fudge Tunnel.

Metal never sounded so good.

Thesaurus moment: bovine.

Fudge Tunnel

Thursday, May 17, 2007

JEFF BUCKLEY – LAST GOODBYE (COLUMBIA)


JEFF BUCKLEY – LAST GOODBYE (COLUMBIA)

I remember the day I purchased this CD single. I was working at Texas Homecare in Clacton and whenever I had a lunch hour I would go and bug the guy at the covered market with the record stall.

It was beautiful Saturday during the summer and I was working on the garden centre section of the store, as was the direction my career appeared to be headed at the time. During lunchtime I saw this record for sale and having heard the buzz of Jeff Buckley (still alive and kicking at the time) I quickly snapped it up.

That evening when I returned home after my shift ended at 8PM I settled into another lonely bright Saturday evening alone and from this record I heard the sweetest tones and strangely most optimistic messages as despite the track being a breakup song Jeff Buckley only served to display the most beautiful elements of the pain involved therewith. By the time “Last Goodbye” reaches the chorus and he twisted his voice in that magical way that at the time seemed/felt only exclusive to him the trajectory of the listener’s mind was set to future riches and a beautiful place.

This was a typical CD single, part one of a two part set that I never completed. Instead the three tracks on this disc were all “Last Goodbye” delivered in the form of the edit version, the album version and a live and acoustic in Japan version. This was how singles were treated in the nineties and how such a beautiful could be mass produced and diluted for the masses.

Eventually I got a copy of “Grace” by hiring it out of the Clacton library and with this song and the further Jeff Buckley tracks that came with his only album my horizons, both musical and spiritual, were expanded and enlightened.

For once here was a hype for an artist that was justified.

Thesaurus moment: lifting.

Jeff Buckley
Columbia

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BEASTIE BOYS – GET IT TOGETHER/SABOTAGE (CAPITOL)


BEASTIE BOYS – GET IT TOGETHER/SABOTAGE (CAPITOL)

The lead single from “Ill Communication” is/was a real barnstormer of split sickness. Packaged as if the future is (was) now, in many ways this bold delivery was the epitome of Grand Royal culture.

With the accomplished rhymes of “Get It Together” it marks one of the sweetest Beastie Boys collaborations as Q-Tip subtly rules to the roost and steals the song without the listener even knowing until the realization kicks/sets in and he has long since scarpered back to his tribe giggling. Nobody anywhere has ever said “one two one two” with the smoothness as Kamaal on this string tinged happening.

With “Sabotage” the Beastie Boys rocketed into a whole new vortex. Obviously the song would not have been what it is without the Spike Jonze video but the utter brattiness and sheer volume of the song serves to make it the benchmark in booming and thunderous sound designed to annoy parents and old people alike.

Caked in authority tickling humour “Sabotage” is the pinnacle of the Beastie Boys’ reinvention as alternative heroes. Long abandoned by the pop fans and now strange Jew boys at the gathering of a mostly black hip hop party from a band nearly pronounced dead a few years earlier this came as the release equivalent of being smacked around the head by Jim Duggan’s 2 x 4.

At the close of proceedings “Sabotage” hands you your ass.

Filling out the four songs comes a remix of “Get It Together” that sees a whole new head of steam attached to MCA’s bass contribution which it many ways helps it manoeuvre more verve and accomplishment while eventually closing the deal comes the aptly christened “Resolution Time” a plundering and distorted assault on the senses. This works.

Thesaurus moment: marauding.

Beastie Boys
Grand Royal
Capitol

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

THE STOOGES – I WANNA BE YOUR DOG (ELEKTRA)


This is the nastiest sounding of all The Stooges canon. The Christmas bells only serve to make it sound more disgusting and warped than the actual sentiments of the cunnilingus adventure occurring around the jaw area of a frisky Iggy Pop.

I once was caught out dancing my arse off to this song in private, caught out and mocked by my friend Metal Dan who proceeded to snigger his way through the remainder of our meeting. He was into metal though, his head was out with the fairies, he could never understand or appreciate the full ramifications of a song and statement such as this.

The relentless motion of this song is born from the kind of grotesque guitar loop that could make the hardest of individuals feel queasy and peculiar. Nothing about this is tantric.

On the flipside is the none too subtle persuasion of “Real Cool Time” and its psychedelic wah distortion of both the mind and the senses. Would you believe the promises of a man such as ’69 Iggy Pop? Ladies?

This particular seven inch was released to coincide with the extended and remastered two disc edition of The Stooges that surfaced a few years prior to the full blown Stooges reunion and eventual mixed bag that was The Weirdness. The versions of the songs on this release were the John Cale mixes that felt as if they brought something jagged and difficult to swallow to the table. Whether that was his intention is another but certainly with it thankfully he was able to bring a new edge to the songs.

Here is a song with the ability to make you feel drunk.

Thesaurus moment: canine.

The Stooges
Elektra

Monday, May 14, 2007

Online Shopping

Advertorial

In my teenage days, when I couldn't afford to buy clothes from shops that have to pay for their rent, I bought a lot of clothes from Yahoo auctions!

Not to mention that then I haven't started blogging yet I had a lot of time online. :D

Some of the clothes turned out ok, but some... GRRRRR! Makes me boil!

Once, I bought a bikini set which claimed to be new but had some stains on the bottom at you-know-where! Ewww! I don’t want to put someone's stain on me can?!

And searching for the clothes you like was tedious since auctioneers liked to label their clothes with everything irrelevant from Nokia to sex toys.

Which is why, I think it's a good idea to have an online clothes shop where you can just scroll and scroll on, browsing super a lot of clothes – which are guaranteed new with no gross stains!

Http://www.papergirlsshop.blogspot.com

Not to mention that their models are really quite pretty too, so boys can click and see eye candy as well. ;)

(Digressing, I've seen other online shops, and they always shoot their photos with an amateur camera with models having their heads cut out of the frame. I think that's kinda gross coz it makes me think the headless model is wearing the exact same piece I am buying, and I can't even see how she looks like!)

A lot of the clothes there are kinda Korean-looking and pretty chic - ranging from shorts to tops to skirts to dresses etc.

The prices are really affordable too, from $10+ to $40+ (for dresses) - and I really like the way they pair up the clothes in so many different photos so you can have an idea of how to wear the apparel best!

I got to choose 3 pieces from them:


LEOPARD PRINT

Low V-neck spaghetti top with leopard prints.
Velvet material with straps adjustable. Lace lining at the top








Details

I'm working towards my bombshell goal! Really like the diamantes on the lining - it ensures extra attention on me. Ha! I'm such an attention-whore.


BABY'S BREATH
Singlet style pullover
material velvet, with fold in hem at the bottom


The empire-cut is flattering for your boobs, and yet the dress/top is flowy enough for you to eat a cow and not look like a cow.


Details

The velvet sounds like it would be unsuitable for Singapore's weather, but it's actually very soft and thin. Perfect for a casual date!

Sigh, I wish Mike would bring me on more dates.


CARDIGAN
Body hugging material made from stretchy cotton
Easy to match with for all occasions







Peach pink cardigan. I chose this coz girls can never have enough jackets! This is just thick enough to prevent freezing in a cinema, and thin enough to be squeezed into our handbags!

Goes well with basic-colour tops/dresses, or I guess you can wear it by itself if you wish to. *cough* slut *cough

It even matches with the wall behind, haha



Nice right!

Except, of course, I cannot pose like those models lar, they are professionals can. Plus, I am severely sunburnt, so pardon the horrible skin.

The most annoying thing about purchasing stuff online is to find out later that it is completely not the same as the photo you thought it looks like, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the clothes I chose were exactly like the pictures shown!

I haven't bought anything from online clothing shops before, because I always think that if they are not going to deliver it to me after I pay, I won't be able to do anything about it.

I can't even burn their shop down because it doesn't physically exist!

But Papergirlsshop is a registered company, so I don’t think problems like that will occur. :D

The items are all ready stocks, which means that they are not just ordering it from their suppliers AFTER your purchase... which also means that you get your items fast! They will be sent out within 3 working days.

If you are unhappy with the product, you can always send it back for an exchange of size or design (but not money la, you think what).

Not Singaporean? Not to worry, if you live anywhere with an address (the postman is willing to travel to), your clothes can be sent to you - but you have to purchase at least 3 pieces for international shipping.


Payment can be made via bank transfer too (personally I think it's safer and more efficient)!! No more using credit cards or paypal unless you want to!

Happy shopping girls~!!! And boys too, if erm, that's your cup of tea... Oh! And so you say you are buying it for your... girlfriend! I see. Nope, not a cross dresser, didn't think for a minute you were.

The link once again.


(Comments are disallowed, sorry!!!!)

LUKE WATSON IS NOW BLACK

Luke Watson the stormers rugby player is black according to Ebrahim Rasool, whose name might seem familiar as it should, he is the Western Cape premier. For more on the story click here

It really saddens me to read such things, especially when they are said by people who are supposedly important in this country. I am not going to delve into whether Watson should be in the squad or not, it is not relevant to how the article made me feel.

Reading things like this "Ebrahim Rasool says he regards Western Province skipper Luke Watson as a "black player" and he should therefore be included in the Springbok team ahead of "white" players of equal talent" and this ""Given where he comes from, and where his father deliberately chose to play his rugby, on the dusty, pot-holed fields of the Eastern Cape's townships, Luke comes from a historically disadvantaged community," Rasool said. " makes me wonder.

My Grandfather was instrumental in setting up various institutions that are making a huge difference to the previously disadvantaged today, does that make me qualify for a BEE position???

NO!!! OF COURSE NOT!!!!!!! I am just as black as Watson and he is just as white as I am. HOWEVER I am an african, I believe myself to be a true African person, regardless of my skin, and regardless of what Rasool says Watson is white like I am.

Watson might well have been part of the struggle for liberating South Africa and thus be considered an African but when we are going to start insinuating things like Rasool has I get images of the "pencil test" History tells us that it was wrong, now Rasool the FLIPPING WESTERN CAPE PREMIER feels like re-categorising people's colour on the beliefs of their parents!!!

This can only be a dark and dangerous to take, and it brings sadness to me, that such people like Rasool, can make the front page of the Cape Times with such irrational statements.

ROTHKO – A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF CONFLICT (BAD HAND RECORDS)


ROTHKO – A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF CONFLICT (BAD HAND RECORDS)

With a title that comes not suggesting the best of times Rothko surge through another triumphant and flattening release with this three song offering marking new adventures into sonic exploration and a new side of ambient drone that is eventually pierced by the classic Rothko bass orchestration.

It starts out sounding like a Far Eastern tinged cover of the opening of Alien, the creeping scary unveiling and lifting of life in space where nobody can hear you scream and the atmosphere is so thick that it can crush your skull. This sound is the personification of an argument proving how apt the title of the release is. A little violin and bass drops later the song still has not eased off in the least.

There is a darkly slow industrial and futuristic feel to this collection, not in any horrible goth or Nine Inch Nails sense more in the towering atmospherics that accompanied the fractured skyline of Blade Runner. It feels like a real departure and shock to the senses compared to the usual bass heavy assault that usually accompanies a Rothko release.

With a sound that echoes as if recorded under sea this is akin to the musical equivalent of stepping into a sensory deprivation tank.

Thesaurus: whale.

Rothko
Rothko interview
Rothko live