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Archive for the 'end of year' Category

Christmas Catch-up: Websites

Posted: December 28th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

I’m slowly getting my head around the value of Spotify, and now realise it’s the music/internet of Christmas presents. Things that you might never want to buy for yourself, but that you don’t begrudge having around for entertainment. I’m not sure that I believe it’s so much of a ‘try before you buy’ service, but I don’t think it’s about to stop me buying records. It’s just going to make me listen to more music. (Simon Minter)

Few would deny that the epoch of human culture is the television theme song.  While such tunes have mostly been phased out by revenue hungry TV executives desperate to squeeze a few more seconds for advertising, in the heyday of television music – arguably the 50s to 80s – theme songs were masterworks of musical minimalism, laying out the flavor and narrative of a TV show in a hummable ditty.  And because these songs are the backbone of civilization, one would rightly be concerned that if they were to fade away, society might descend into animalistic savagery.  That’s why we should all be thankful for the website televisiontunes.com which has a vast collection of TV theme songs from popular shows everyone remembers to bizarre obscurities.  (Were you even aware there was a “Weird Al Show”?) Your friends, family and employers may grow frustrated as you whittle away the hours of your life absorbing each of the masterpieces contained within the site, but you’ll be content knowing you have dedicated your life to studying important cultural artefacts. (Wil Forbis)

Answer Me This!
Answer Me This! once again proved one of the most solid and reliably funny podcasts and in July I had the great experience of being at the live recording of the 100th episode which then doubled up as a treat when I got to ask (bobble) the 1000th question of its history. (JGRAM)

Sweetly odd comics about the adventures of Beartato.  Part bear, part potato. Link. (Alex McChesney)

What I Wore Today (in Drawings)
A genius idea from illustrator Gemma Correll, basically a Flickr group where shy illustrators can post drawings of their daily outfits. It’s an ace flipside to the sometimes terrifying narcissism of the Wardrobe Remix photo groups – in general it seems illustrators are much more likely to mock themselves, pointing out their ink-stained clothing and unbrushed hair. You can see my submissions here. (Marceline Smith)

Screw the internet!
Get off the internet! (Chris Summerlin)

Christmas Catch-up: Gaming

Posted: December 27th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Gridrunner Revolution (PC)
Jeff Minter’s last game “Space Giraffe” alienated as many players as it enchanted thanks to a steep initial difficulty curve and psychedelic visuals that took some time to become accustomed to.  Those who put in the effort found a rich and addictive re-invention of “Tempest”, but they were sadly too few in number.  At first glance, “Gridrunner Revolution” appears to be a step too far the in the other direction.  The latest in his “Gridrunner” series of abstract top-down shooters which dates back to the venerable Commodore Vic-20, all 200 levels of “Revolution” can be blasted through in a few hours by a skilled player, but that would be missing the point.  Playing the game to completion is one thing, but the point is to play it well, milking its complex scoring mechanic for all its worth.  It’s a pity then, that beyond beating your own score there was very little indication of what “well” actually meant.  Thankfully, a recent update has added online high-score tables, making it a different prospect indeed.  If you own a reasonably modern PC and like to see things explode in pretty colours, you owe it to yourself to get over to llamasoft.co.uk and buy a copy.  (Alex McChesney)

Scrabble DS
I am in the unfortunate situation of being part of a family who are really, annoyingly, good at Scrabble, whereas I am just adequate. Playing with them is pretty much torture as they play all those stupid Scrabble words and never open up the triple word score spaces. Thus I have been enjoying Scrabble DS for two reasons – 1) I can play against ‘Arnold’, a slab-faced blockhead who probably can’t spell his own name correctly and will happily leave a triple word score open for two rounds, and 2) there are no penalties for attempting to play non-words, which means I have discovered a whole plethora of new, stupid, unbelievable words (and their definitions!) by just randomly trying out combinations when stuck. I only gave up playing this when I unlocked the final character and discovered it was a living Scrabble tile with a worrying expression. No way was I playing against that. (Marceline Smith)

Dead Rising (Xbox)
Haven’t done much of it this year, but thoroughly enjoyed my time with  Dead Rising on the Xbox. Admittedly I’m a latecomer to it, but it’s DAWN OF THE DEAD THE VIDEO GAME. They should just have put a big sticker with that on it all over the front and it’d have sold more copies. You can mow down zombies with lawnmowers and chainsaws and giant lipstick cases, and it judges the shambling, stupid but inevitably crushing waves of zombies really well. (Stuart Fowkes)

Guitar Hero
Once more my computer gaming experience did not get much further than Guitar Hero, the victorious culmination of which came during the recent ATP and while The Mars Volta were playing in the background I found myself rocking out to “Sunshine Of Your Love” on the arcade version. (JGRAM)

Possibly that was my choice last year, too. (Simon Minter)

So simple. Only one key is used (space bar). The goal is to keep running as long as possible. You run on top of and through buildings while some giant alien robots chase you. It looks great, it sounds great. There really is nothing more to it. I can’t remember the last time I was so addicted to a game, let alone one played in a web browser. Just remember, you can always run farther. Link (Justin Snow)

Left For Dead
I am not one for computer games but the speed with which technology moves blew my mind earlier this year when up in Glasgow. After finishing a band practise, 2 of our troop parted with the words “I’ll speak to you in a bit” and I thought to myself, “wow, these guys are tight. They’re going to call each other up for a chat after practise!”. Nope. They meant they were going to strap on headsets and mics and blow living shit out of (quite racially suspect it has to be said) zombies in Left For Dead. Turns out most of the indie musicians in Scotland can be found doing the same after 11pm at night. Not for me though, I get motion sickness. (Chris Summerlin)

Christmas Catch-up: Films

Posted: December 26th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

At once a beautiful (mostly) CGI-free homage to the thoughtful sci-fi of the Sixties and Seventies and a series of curveballs intended to keep aficionados of the same on their toes.  Duncan Jones has proven himself to be a talent to watch, and Sam Rockwell’s performance as a lonely lunar miner about to come to the end of his contract is a career best. (Alex McChesney)

I really enjoyed Duncan Jones’ Moon, a film less about science fiction than about loneliness and what it means to be a human being. (Chris Summerlin)

Judging by current Cinema, the two most popular movie monsters these days are vampires and zombies.  My distaste for vampires is well-known, but I’ve always had a certain deep-seated affection for the cannibalistic consumer of brains and flesh known as the zombie.  Perhaps it’s because I, stumbling aimlessly through life, often feel like a zombie.  Regardless, I’ve eagerly lapped up the cinema exploits of zombies for years, from George Romero’s classic ‘… Dead’ trilogy, to their reinvention in the hands of recently deceased director Dan O’Bannon’s ‘Return of the Living Dead’, to more modern interpretations such as the stupendous horror/farce ‘Shaun of the Dead’. In recent years, however, even I’ve gotten a little tired of zombies.  We all know the routine – some military experiment goes awry or some strange disease spreads across the land and pretty soon the dead are clawing their way out of the grave to rip open people’s bellies and chew on their entrails.  Because of this, I almost didn’t even bother to see ‘Zombieland’.  This would have been a great personal loss.  While I won’t go as far as a friend of mine who claimed it to be the greatest of all zombie movies, ‘Zombieland’ is pretty damn good.  Part of its success is the fact that it presumes its audience is familiar with the zombie mythos – it doesn’t even bother with setting up the zombie apocalypse; out of the gate we land right in the middle of the human/zombie battle sure to soon be raging on our streets.  From there the movie mixes together a clever combination of intriguing characters (Jesse Eisenberg’s ‘Columbus’ is like a young Woody Allen caught in a zombie Holocaust), snappy dialogue and plenty of blood and gore.  On top of all that, the female lead is my most recent cinema crush, Emma Stone.  Such enticing ingredients combined with a great cameo appearance by Bill Murray, are enough to make you forget all about those ‘Twilight’ vamps. (Wil Forbis)

The Hangover
Nothing stands out. The Hangover was good, childish fun though. (Simon Minter)

Shanghai Kiss
I rent DVDs from LoveFilm and they have always been awesome at sending me stuff from the top of my list but for some reason they’ve gone a bit mental lately and have sent me random things from way down. I was initially a bit unhappy about this but it turned out good as this is now one of my new favourite films. It’s basically a Lost in Translation for China but with half an American high school movie thrown in and Miles from LOST. I love teenage high school movies, I love China and I love Ken Leung so hurrah. It’s actually adorable – you should see it. (Marceline Smith)

The Dirty Three
I also heartily recommend the DVD documentary on the Dirty Three even though it came out some time ago. It’s a little heavily weighted towards recent footage (understandably because no one gave a shit enough to film them at the start) but it’s a wonderful tale. (Chris Summerlin)

Paranormal Activity
Among the constant flow of Hostel sequels and shitty Michael Bay remakes, a proper, old-school  – and excellent – horror. Hurrah for that. Paranormal Activity is basically the movie equivalent of a rollercoaster ride, and I’ve never seen a cinema audience so nervy watching a film. It’s expertly, artfully crafted, observing the conventions of the genre when it needs to, and subverting them when it feels like it. The pace is excellent, the characters wholly believable and it understands that the best horror always takes place off the screen. (Stuart Fowkes)

In The Loop
This has been an amazing year for movies but the one I have watched over and over has been In The Loop which also gives me the opportunity to crowbar some gushing about The Thick Of It into this entry. Basically I wish I was Malcolm Tucker, fearless and seemingly without conscience, a man so focused on his aims he appears to suffer no remorse at the hands of fools. If only I could be so single-minded. Even better though his language and swearing is a pure symphony of poetic bile. This was a movie and TV show that required much concentration to which the rewards felt almost infinite as an edutainment tool. Now just don’t get Toby and Olly mixed up. (JGRAM)

World’s Greatest Dad
You’ve seen Death To Smoochy, right? The last truly good Robin Williams movie? Well, I have good news. There’s a new black comedy starring Robin Williams and it’s a bazillion times better than Death To Smoochy. Crazy, I know. And even crazier is that it’s written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. It’s about Williams who plays a single father attempting to be a published author with a teenage son (played by Daryl Sabara, the curly haired redhead from those Spy Kids movies) who is into any and every kind of crazy ass fetish porn, and the two of them have some, to put it lightly, relationship issues. Actually, the problem is that they’re both huge ass holes. Watching Williams being such a prick is so entertaining. I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed so long and hard (yup) when watching a movie. I literally had to rewind it a least a dozen times to catch new jokes that I missed while laughing at the old ones. There are some pretty serious parts, though. At times, it’s just fucking tragic. But I applaud the movie that makes me laugh my ass off at the most horribly depressing things. Which might be the reason World’s Greatest Dad slipped by relatively unnoticed. It is truly unique in it’s comedy darkness. My guess is not everyone can handle that sort of humor. But I’m sure most of you can. Especially since there weren’t too many truly fantastic movies this year (only Star Trek and Crank 2 immediately come to mind). And for one of them to have such a strong performance from an increasingly shitty actor makes me so happy. I can’t think of a single reason not to see this movie. (Justin Snow)

Christmas Catch-up: Records

Posted: December 24th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
A world in which Animal Collective get played on the radio and in trendy clothing stores may seem to be a bizarre, topsy-turvy one, but they’ve always had great tunes. It’s just now they’ve learned how to calibrate them to be heard by human ears. (Alex McChesney)

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Predictable. But yeah, this’ll basically be the top of everyone’s album of the year charts, right? Since it’s obviously the best thing released this year and quite probably one of the best records of the decade. If you’ve not heard it, it’s bloody astonishingly brilliant. (Stuart Fowkes)

Sonic Youth – The Eternal
Oh I don’t know, it’s so difficult to remember, especially as my listening habits seem to ping between brand new releases and old records with no degree of logic, and my stringent listen-twice-then-file-for-now policy on records forces a certain lack of ongoing appreciation. I might suggest Sonic Youth’s The Eternal but only because it’s the first thing that springs to mind. I did enjoy the fact that it came on vinyl with another live album included for free, though. And the fact that it’s very good. (Simon Minter)

Boban Markovi? Orkestar – Boban & Marko: Balkan Brass Fest
Serbia’s finest gypsy brass ensemble with 14 arse-kicking tracks, stuffed with rich brass and silly melodies. Have a listen, go on… I know it’s very cool right now to like the Balkan stuff but this trend is justified! Just like Nu Rave. (Pascal Ansell)

The Jesus Lizard – reunion shows
If I’m honest the recordings that have given me most joy this year have been the Chunklet live recordings of The Jesus Lizard reunion shows. To date I believe there have been four including the first set at All Tomorrows Parties. This band’s return surpassed all expectations and absolutely nobody anywhere leads a band quite the way that David Yow does. He is the one remaining badass in rock music. Worship him while you still can (JGRAM)

The Organ – Thieves
The discovery that there was a whole extra EP by The Organ that I didn’t own was certainly an exciting day for me. I fell instantly in love with The Organ when my band supported them several aeons ago and was hugely disappointed by their break-up. This EP is somehow even better than their album, capturing everything good about their sound (and indeed, the entirety of late 80s indie) in six songs. From Katie’s soaring, melancholy vocals to the post-Smiths jangly guitars and warm retro keyboards, it would be a total delight, if it wasn’t so heart-wrenchingly sad. (Marceline Smith)

Dan Deacon – Bromst
I fell in love with Spiderman Of The Rings when it came out. I’m sure I’m not alone on that one. And I had a hard time believing Dan Deacon could make anything better. But holy shit Bromst is absolute euphoria. It came out in March and I still listen to it more than almost any other record that came out this year. Every time I listen to it, I almost expect to be slightly let down by it. I’ve put it so high up on a pedestal that when I actually take a minute and think about it, I’m like “There’s no way the Bromst in my head is anyway near as good as the real Bromst.” But it is. It fucking is. (Justin Snow)

Mos Def –  The Ecstatic
Get a tin, label it ‘The Ecstatic’ and you’ve got precisely that. An unbeatable album from Mos Def that ticks aaaaaall the boxes: ever lyric, beat and sample is top-notch. Mos Def chants those ‘sit-up and listen’ lines, very often so too real it evades instant gratification: “I speak it so clearly sometimes you don’t hear me“. Auditorium’ (featuring Slick Rick) remains the anthem to my insomnia, you can find it here. (Pascal Ansell)

Obits – I Blame You
Seeing Obits play to a room of 70 people this year threw up some interesting debates about the bizarre reformation-craze that is strangling the culture of a generation stone dead. If Rick Froberg had come through town with a reformed Drive Like Jehu there would have been 700 people there I am sure. That’s crazy: you’re making music that is relevant to you now and is honest to you now like you always did and people want you to go back 10, 20 years and play music from a different time and to deliver it with the honesty and integrity that you made it with and made those people like it in the first place. It’s almost like people are having some kind of collective panic attack as they hit the next decade of their lives and are seeking solace in the cultural reference points of a time pre-internet or when they lived with their parents and life was easier. I Blame You sounds fresh and exciting to my ears. It’s a blast of garagey rock and roll and trashy aesthetics and importantly it’s got some killer tunes on it. It taps into a rediscovered liking for simpler and more direct music to such a degree that, coming from someone who is in part responsible for many shitty math rock bands, it’s almost a political statement. If you like old long-gone bands and you like and trust the people involved then dig into what they do now, don’t sit at home wanting to recreate a time gone by because you’ll only want a reunion of what they do now in 10 years time because you missed it this time round. (Chris Summerlin)

Christmas Catch-up!

Posted: December 23rd, 2009, by Marceline Smith

It’s not been the busiest year here at diskant but I hope you’ve enjoyed our writings. Instead of a failed attempt at any kind of end of year (or, god forbid, end of decade) poll, we’ve decided just to celebrate the fact that none of us listen to the same records and do a series of catch-up posts. Starting tomorrow, you can tune in here at 10am every day (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – go and like, have some fun in real life!) to find out what records, films, books games, TV etc. has been thrilling us this year.

Now that I have an iPhone (woo!) and a WordPress app, I might actually start posting more regularly. You have been warned.

Thanks for continuing to visit diskant, and Merry Christmas!

diskant rewind: Freedom From Excessive Noise #1

Posted: February 13th, 2009, by Stuart Fowkes

(Originally posted February 2002)

Freedom From Excessive Noise by Stuart Fowkes

2001. A year in which one of the top selling albums was a compilation of classic lounge covers by Robbie Williams and The Strokes used the events of September 11 as a marketing opportunity (we’ll pull ‘New York City Cops’ from the album, in case any of you were worried. Go Team Strokes!). What else happened? I can’t really remember, but I expect it was good. You’ll have to make do with my vague top ten of 2001 – imagine it’s being excitedly presented by wee Gail Porter in a tiny top or something.

Starting at the top, the gold medal, bottle of champagne, scantily clad girl and place atop the winner’s rostrum goes to an EP called Morning One by a gentleman going under the assumed name of Aarktica (Ochre Records). The lead track of the three, ‘These Days Fail To Bring Me Near’, is the most involving piece of new music I’ve heard this year. It’s basically five minutes of ambient washes of noise, vocals you can barely make out and a really simple picked guitar part. And that’s it. The most pretentious thing about the EP is that it’s themed around soundtracking the moment when you wake up in the morning with your arms around someone you love (your mum doesn’t count) for the first time. Which would make me laugh in its face, apart from the fact that Jon only goes and pulls it off. The other two tracks (predictably) don’t rise to the same heights, but this has the first choice of biscuit from the Tesco Finest selection simply because I want ‘These Days Fail To Bring Me Near’ to be the last song I hear before I die, it’s that good.

No prizes for originality for choosing Confield by Autechre, but that’s not the point. Messrs. Booth and Brown have been making fantastic records for forty-nine years now, records consistently far better than anyone else in electronic music (yes, even Gary Numan). ‘VI scose poise’ starts the journey like the track Aphex Twin meant to write when he was messing about with ‘Bucephalus Bouncing Ball’, and by the time ‘lentic catachresis’ arrives, Autechre have actually smashed music to bits like petulant children with drum machines. Half of this record makes me want to sit down and write something even a quarter as good, and the other half makes me want to give up making music because Autechre are so far ahead of the game, it’s pointless anyone else even trying. As that German bloke might have said to Ned Nederlander in The Three Amigos, ‘Autechre are gods in my country.’

Continue reading »

diskant rewind: Etch-a-Sketch Yr Fear of AIDS #8

Posted: January 27th, 2009, by Dave Stockwell

(Originally posted January 2005)

Etch-a-Sketch Yr Fear of AIDS by Dave Stockwell

Records that were good in 2004

That time of year has wound around again, and everyone who’s got an opportunity to make themselves heard (and this being t’internet, that means a lot of people) has compiled inevitable endless lists of what they liked about the previous 12 months. You may have noticed that diskant towers itself plays host to such humdrum marvels – though I have to be a back-slapping sonuvabitch and say that I’ve always enjoyed reading our lists and bolshy arguments far more than yer average boring coolometer measurements on all those other boring sites…

Annnnnyway, it was when I started thinking about what candidates I would be putting forward as my nominees for the diskant team top few musical recordings of the year that it slowly dawned on me: there’s only the tiniest chance that more than a couple of my favourite records of 2004 would receive a single vote from anyone else. Why do I know this? Because I’m a fucking obscurist cuntbag. As mentioned in the last time I shat one of these incubi out I’ve developed a worrying affection for/interest in tiny CDR labels dealing in obscurer-than-thou artists and miniscule print runs (you know Davenport have got a tape coming out in an edition of 11? Bastards!). So, is this gross arrogance and patronising behaviour on the most disgusting scale? Fuck knows. But honestly, there’s no posturing here: the records I’m going to blather about are genuinely far more interesting and exciting to me than pretty much any of the ‘properly’ released records you’ll find us arguing over in our annual records round-up. As the mainstream “industry” stagnates, and independents are increasingly either swallowed up or bankrupted, why shouldn’t music released on CDR format be considered ‘valid’ or ‘proper’? I’m not directing this at you, good reader, for I am sure you are pure of heart and clear of head, but alas others are more ignorant and prejudiced, whether they realise it or not. Obviously, this argument also dates back to tape labels, but with no discernable quality difference between a ‘proper’ CD that was produced by the thousand in a pressing plant and a ‘homemade’ CDR that was burnt at home, the case for considering all this music is ever more pressing. Whatever.

“C’mon Dave,” you might want to say to me, “could you not at least talk about how great the latest Sonic Youth LP is?”

NO!” I would knock back like a cancer-ridden Bill Hicks preaching to the unconverted, “It’s a disgraceful half-asleep assortment of soft-rock songs knocked out between too many arty side-projects, and it’s the worst fucking thing they’ve done in years!”


Honestly, that’s my genuine opinion. 2004 was the year I fell out with the Youth. It’s pretty sad really. Almost made me cry.

Ahem. Anyway. Now with you suitably hushed (and no doubt wondering exactly what kind of delusion I am suffering from this year), please allow me to begin detailing precisely why I’d choose a bunch of no-budget recorded-in-a-shed lowlifes over a particularly turgid offering by a band that (admittedly after 20-odd years of being mostly incredible) sound like they’re lost the central idea about why music is such a beautiful thing to get excited about in the first places.

Continue reading »

diskant rewind: Etch-a-Sketch Yr Fear of AIDS #7

Posted: January 23rd, 2009, by Dave Stockwell

(Originally posted November 2004)

Etch-a-Sketch Yr Fear of AIDS by Dave Stockwell

DAVENPORT: A minor love letter

Dear beloved,

Let me introduce you to my favourite band of 2004. Personally speaking, these past twelve months have been pretty thin on the ground for ‘proper’ releases by bands on ‘proper’ CDs and vinyl, and slowly but surely I have found myself increasingly immersed within the ever-burgeoning world of ‘free’ music and homemade CDR labels. Thanks variously to the element of random chance and a couple of excellent UK-based distro kids (namely Melody Boa and Shoryobuni), I bought my first Davenport record a few months into this year, and was instantly smitten. Being the voracious music-consuming monster I can be (when meagre finances allow), I knew I had to seek out everything I could by this mysterious group. The problem was, as soon as I thought I’d managed to get everything I could, something new would pop up. Here’s a list of Davenport’s discography, as of 25 October 2004:

  • self titled CDR – limited to 20 copies (sold out on 23 Productions)*
  • Springtime on Saturnalia 3″ CDR (on PseudoArcana)
  • self titled c60 cassette – limited to 23 copies (sold out on 23 Productions)
  • Little Howling Jubilee 3″ CDR (on 267-Lattajjaa)
  • Loki’s War 4.6.04 – limited to 18 copies CDR (sold out on 23 Productions)
  • Free Country CDR – limited to 93 copies (sold out on Foxglove)
  • Sun Your Open Mouth 5.18.04 CDR – limited to 41 copies (sold out on 23 Productions)
  • split w/ Maths Balance Volumes CDR (sold out on 23 Productions)
  • split w/ Son of Earth CDR (out now on 23 Productions)
  • O, too high Ditty for my Simple Rhyme CDR – limited to 100 copies (sold out on Time-Lag)
  • Owl Movement CDR (sold out on 23 Productions)
  • split w/ Seen Through CDR (on Haamumaa)

I’m pretty sure all this came out this year. And then there’re at least a dozen more releases in the works. They might even squeeze out a couple of new CDRs before the end of the year. I certainly wouldn’t bet against it: there’s a whole two months to go just yet.

So who the fuck are these pricks? And how the hell have they managed to release so much material? And why do it in such ridiculously small quantities? Here’s the official bio from their website:

“Davenport was started in Madison, in the Summer of 2002. It was originally a vehicle for folk song experiments by Clay Ruby. By Fall [otherwise known as Autumn] of 2003 many others had been invited to participate in improvisations, rituals, and recordings with Davenport. Since then there has been a surge in activity and output.”

What this means is that Davenport is a loose collective with a rotating cast that revolves around Clay Ruby. Some releases have only a couple of contributors; others feature a massed army of new-psych pseudo-folk avant-dreamers, wielding anything they can get their hands on: guitars, organs, drums, kongas, vocals, all kinds of percussion, and an awful lot of stuff you can’t readily identify, which they probably picked up from the street on their way to practice. Inevitably, there’s a whole lotta on-the-spot experimenting and improvising going on. Davenport apparently record live pretty much every single one of their get-togethers and performances, and then pick the cream of the crop for release. What is so breathtaking is the range and sheer quality of the crop. Don’t get me wrong, Davenport aren’t some awful ‘genre-straddling’ bunch of electrotwats or Jamie Cullum or whatever his name is; it’s the depth of mood, feel and texture that they generate which allows for some fantastic diversity between recordings. Here’s a reverse-chronology guide (call it a whimsy) to a few selected highlights of the Davenport 2004 oeuvre (and roll on the new stuff, which I’m told is even better)…

Continue reading »

Farewell 2008!

Posted: January 4th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

You were a lot better than 2007!

I wrote up a stupidly epic post about pretty much everything I did last year on my other blog but here are some LISTS.

New records that I both liked and purchased
– Mogwai album. Apparently everyone thinks this sucks. They’re so wrong.
– Errors album, finally.
– Blood Red Shoes album, also finally
– Girls Aloud album – AMAZING
– Findo Gask 7″ that I really must review argh
– The Lords and James Orr Complex albums I got just before Christmas and am still getting into

What I actually listened to, according to Last.Fm
– Girls Aloud
– Errors
– Scout Niblett
– Mogwai
– Blood Red Shoes
– Annie
– Battles
– Kylie Minogue
– Santogold
– Pet Shop Boys

Good bands I saw live
– Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element & Findo Gask – bringing the party to 08/08/08
– Blood Red Shoes and Copy Haho at ABC2, Glasgow
– Errors album launch thing – still good
– The debut of Stage Blood – I didn’t hear much since they rendered me deaf after 30 seconds but I definitely saw them

Games I enjoyed playing on my DS
– Picross – I can’t stop playing this!
– Cooking Mama 2
– Mario Kart
– Wario Ware Touched
– Zelda Phantom Hourglass, until I couldn’t face going back to the Temple of the Ocean King for the billionth time. Why not just give us the option of stabbing forks in our eyes for an hour instead?

Good books I read
Wil Forbis book of awesome
Bill Drummond – 17
Bridge of the Brocade Sash
Al Burian – Natural Disasters
Mark Steel’s new one
The little Philip Pullman book about Iorek
Lots of zines I must blog about
A bunch of free stuff off Bookmooch

Good things I watched
– The Wire, of course
– LOST, duh
– Kung Fu Panda! So good I watched it twice in 2 days
– Cloverfield – hilarious
– Stick It – gymnastics and Black Flag oh yes
– Prince Caspian – much better than the first one.
– Juno, I guess.
– 24 – utterly ridiculous.
– Tales From Earthsea

Things I missed
– My Bloody Valentine reunion. I booked my flight to Bangkok without thinking the dates through. IDIOT.
– Tons of bands including Shellac. I am punching myself in the face right now. Stupid lack of money.
– the diskant albums/films of the year articles. New plan required for 2009.
– Doctor Who. I couldn’t deal with Catherine Tate AT ALL but I will have to give it another go. Hurrah for constant repeats on BBC3.

Looking forward to
– New LOST, aaaaaaaah!
– New Ghibli movie
– New Pet Shop Boys Xenomania album, for my birthday, thanks!
– The great unknown that comes with not having a tedious job to go to
– Making some money, hopefully.

Some Christmas gifts for YOU

Posted: December 24th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

I hoped to have the albums and films of the year articles well on their way by now but the diskant writers are being as obscurist as ever and even my skills at massaging the votes is not getting us ten records that more than one person likes. Hmm. While I ponder a solution, please enjoy the following:

– A new set of columns from our past! I have just been scheduling up the first few columns by Dave Stockwell of Souvaris and Bologna Pony fame. The first one will be up on Boxing Day and then every Tuesday and Friday following until they’re finished. They mostly consist of exuberant record reviews but there’s also a cool Southern Lord special and of course, a hilarious review of the Metallica documentary. Enjoy!

Some links for you:

– Layla Gibbons disappeared off my radar after making excellent zines and records with Skinned Teen and Petty Crime, but she is apparently writing regularly for Maximum Rock’n’Roll (who knew THAT was still going?) and has all her columns available in blog form right here. Lots of good reading there.

– Layla is also still making zines and the latest issue of Chimps is available from Ooga Booga in Los Angeles. I’m guessing the postage might be a killer here but it’s v tempting. They also have a ton of cool zines, books, records and stuff on sale so have a browse.

– Via Popjustice, help Patrick Wolf raise some cash to self-release his new album on Bandstocks, or indeed give your money to Martin Carr or anyone else you like on there. Is this the new Myspace?

Merry Christmas!