Monday, 29 June 2009

Unnecessary competition

This is a one time deal. I've made a compilation CD, and am putting her up for a competition prize. As long as you aren't related to me in any way, and haven't received a comp from me in the last 6 months, then this exciting mix can be yours. Note hand crafted sleeve, pencilling, and messed up handwriting and sweet tracklist.

The comptition has one question: In the bottom picture, in the top right hand side, there's a picture postcard. Who painted the picture?
Answers to comments, first correct answer wins.

Or you could just hit up the shorter Spotify version. Interesting test for Spotify actually, of 21 randomly chosen tracks it had 15. Not bad, but no gold star.

Monday, 22 June 2009

John & Jehn - Cinema Lumiere Sunday 21st

"...and what did you do then, Uncle Tom"

"Well, I hung around outside the French Institute and tried not to look like a pervert who was there solely to check out Gallic girls who I was old enough (theoretically) to be teaching.

Eurodisco pounded in the background as the sun went down, and tanned youngsters who were loitering around, taking long drags of cigarettes with exotic names. Gauloise, Gitanes.
The air grew colder as I watched the record store man pack up.

A barbeque pitched up white grey smoke into the pink sky, as the throng milled and dissipated around it. Overall, the event had the feeling of a casual society mixer, or maybe a very laid back, slightly-cool-but-not-too-cool upper sixth form disco. It would have been insufferable if there wasn't a thick line of people snaking up the marble stairwell, past a looming nude statue. Knowing the line was there, and what the line led to, was the reason we were here in the first place. John & Jehn were on tonight. Each slow step upwards, as security let ten people at a time into the cinema, was a step forwards, towards righteous excitement.

Or at least I thought it was. The event was running seriously late, and instead of John and Jehn, I got the second act on the bill, Krystle Warren. And she was good value, with just an acoustic guitar she tore through a set. Obvious lazy comparisons to Ani DiFranco's guitar style and easy charm onstage will abound with her, I'm sure. But there are worse people to be compared to, worse things to do than own a cinema of people with a perfect ease and mellow charm. Her story songs were a suprise treat, and the crowd were very receptive. Later on, I was to find out just how receptive a crowd could be.

A word on the venue, quickly. If you have a carpeted cinema, in the warm summer months, and stage lights that the air conditioning weren't designed to cope with, and a full house, you're going to have a lot of heat. It's the sort of thing planners of events inadvertently overlook in preference to the solid logistics. That was the case as John and Jehn took the stage. And if you add heat to students... well, strange things are afoot in the circle K.

"This song is about anal sex. It's called Black Train".

That's a hell of a way to introduce yourself onstage, isn't it? From the lips of a beautiful, tall French woman wearing a short shift dress, I could almost hear the sound of denim tightening across the auditorium as the words were uttered.

The heat was getting intense now, the kids had gotten up from their stuffy seats and were dancing in the aisle. It was very 1950's, with a tang of retro rebellion to it. Jehn urged them forward to get a better view, and suddenly the front of the venue packed out tight with a swinging international audience of beautiful young things shaking their stuff. It got hot, damn hot. John rolled up his sleeves and wiped his brow. Jehn's hair stuck to the side of her face when she switched to from keys to rocking out with a bass. And the band played hard and fast, driving the kids wild. As a London show, some might say this would rate as a one of a kind event.

But all good things come to an end, and after a barn storming Make your mother proud, they vanished into the night. The crowd spilled out into the bar, into the cool night air, to a DJ downstairs. The techno made more sense now. And we drank, and we danced, and we talked, and we all went home."

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Yndi Halda / Snowbird at Union Chapel

As promised, pics from the Yndi Halda show at the Union Chapel. I didn't really get any good shots of Paul Marshall (RIP), but got a handful of decent ones of the main turn, Canterbujry's finest, Yndi Halda and a few of Snowbird too.
The Snowbird support was by far the better of the two, with all the songs having a warm and soft vibe and lyrics using country wildlife (white mice, foxes and owls) as metaphors. Their record is now eagerly anticipated by me, and I'll keep you up to speed on that when I have it.

From what I could make out of the new Yndi songs, there is more of the same deep instrumental depth as you'd expect, and they rocked out very hard towards the end. No setlist, but I did hear We flood empty lakes in there half way through. And the handchime moment, where the band took turns in ringing out the chimes reminded me of school music lessons, and had me grinning like an idiot. They're looking like the best post-rock band in Britain, with the possible exception of Mogwai. The new album is very nearly ready to emerge. When it does watch the 5 star reviews fly in.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Hawking your wares - Volume One - Heathen

It's been a while since an update. Yes, I am shamed, the stereotypical blogger who gets caught up in real world events. And let me tell you, the real world costs. Just yesterday I spent £7.60 for two cups of tea and a slice of cake. The shock very nearly sent me to an early grave.

In order to recoup, I've been forced to sell a very rare David Bowie curio. It's a limited edition SACD version of Heathen, his last good album. And I have to say, even though I'm selling it, and I am obviously biased, it is absolutely fucking choice. Audiophile sound quality. Bonus tracks. Two alternate mixes of the entire album, with some tracks on the album gaining significant amounts of time making them versions that don't appear anywhere else. In fact, if you think about it, both mixes don't appear anywhere else, so all of the versions of those tracks are unique to this release.

Sadly, I don't have an SACD player . Only one person I know has, via an early edition of the PS3. But in the item description I mention 'A Better Future' is improved by being trimmed. How can I say that without actually having heard it? Well, it's the one weak track on the album...

Anyway, here's the listing, if you know an audiophile Bowie fanatic, be sure and tell them for me.

More news as I have it. This weekend is Yndi Halda/John & Jehn time. Both are playing free shows, Yndi at the Union Chapel on Saturday at noon, the other is taking place at the French Institute at 9pm on Sunday night. I'll take pics and let you know how they all were.

Living the dream, as long as the dream is full of ennui and general debauchery,

Tom x

Update: Six watchers, 53 views, 3 days left. That's auctionsniper territory. This baby is shipping worldwide too. I'll probably have to send it to Belize or something.