Bzangy Groink Playlist 18/11/09

Moss

Ahh, the best new song tonight was easy – ‘The Comfort’ by Moss. Just a perfect, singalong indiepop song. If you’ve ever sung along with The Shins, The Format, Phoenix, The Pursuit Of Happiness or Sex Clark Five, I suggest you go and buy their new album. It’s ace!

Sonic Youth

The best old song was ‘Sunday’ by Sonic Youth. I’ve probably had it as a best old tune before, I’ve certainly played it many times DJing. The reason I keep returning to it is that it’s a flawless piece of music. I’m immediately hooked by the intro guitar riff. And I remain hooked all the way through, up to and then breaking out of the cathartic noise-out at the end. Magical.

This is what I played:

Surrogate – A Constitution
Brainpower – Even Stil
The Promise Ring – Happy Hour
Samiyam – Roller Skates
Exlovers – you forget so easily
OC – Mush One
Husker Du – Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely
Bane – Some Came Running
Apathy – Shoot First
Don Diablo & Example – Hooligans (Spor Remix)
Saves the Day – Certain Tragedy
Far – Bury White
Shyheim – The Bottom (Ft. Leo Baez, Vic Po, Bomb Official, Boomp, Hacksaw)
Maybeshewill – How to Have Sex With a Ghost
Say Hi to Your Mom – Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh O
Luke Envoy – M.U.G.E.N
Your Twenties – Caught Wheel
Coehn & Foehrb – Alles Coehn Und Gut
Pelican – Ephemeral
Joy Division – She’s Lost Control
The Bloody Beetroots – Awesome
Moss – The comfort
Kam Moye – Stars (Feat. John Robinson)
Distance – Twilight
The Answering Machine – Oh, Christina
In Defence – Don’t Call Me A Moshist
Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again
Pete and The Pirates – Mr Understanding
Converge – Cutter
Vitalic – Flashmob
D.I.T.C. – Internationally Known
Good Clean Fun – Good Clean Fun
Bryan Scary & the Shredding Tears – Imitation of the Sky
Juno – Non-Equivalents
Show & AG and Diamond D – Put It In Your System
Half Hearted Hero – Colder Weather
Bury Tomorrow – You & I
Gift Of Gab – Escape 2 Mars
The Narrator – SurfJew
2562 – like a dream
The Elephants – Take it!
Blacks – 5,4,3,2,1
We Came As Romans – Intentions
David Bazan – Bless This Mess
C-Mon & Kypski – China
Benny Page & Zero G – pan pipes
Dananananaykroyd – Watch This!
Freestyle Professors – Confuse A Few Feat. Lord Fines
The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele – God Loves You, Michael Chang
anti-pop consortium – Shine
The Dorktones – Three’s A Crowd
xx – Islands
Seekae – Void
The Clientele – Share The Night
Wienzeile – deine party
Swollen Members – Concerto
Die Fantastischen Vier – Sie Ist Weg
Jap Adaptors – I Am An Ant
The Hidden Cameras – Kingdom Come
Middle Distance Runner – Joyful Noise
Sonic Youth – Sunday

Jizzing Cock Fame!

Jizzing Cock

Oh wow! Look at the above pic! As I’m typing this, the current top image result if you type ‘jizzing cock’ into Google is the little chappy I drew myself which takes you to this article.

How amazing is that! Out of all the websites in the world, particularly the ones featuring far more porny jizzing cocks, mine is the first!

This makes me very happy. Thanks to Orangeacid for bringing this spurting-phallus-based achievement to my attention. 🙂

Musical Moment 3: Bowling For Soup – ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’

Late October, 2009. It’s a week until a particularly Unhappy Anniversary rolls around and I’m feeling bad. Not sad bad, weird bad. Unpredictable bad. Incongruity-of-affect bad.

I think too much about some things, too little about others. Thoughts of the unchangeable past circle continuously in my head like vultures, shrieking and swooping and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to scare them away.

So… I work out.

I go to my bedroom and do some warm-ups before the actual weights. I’m thinking to myself, “This is good, this is positive. If nothing means anything, might as well do weights rather than sit on my arse.”

(Secretly, I’m hoping to push things until the pain of the weights gives me something I can understand. Something that’s real. Something I can rely on. Oh yes. I’m in that zone.)

When I workout, I usually listen to the radio. It’s company in an empty house. I can have the illusion of interacting with someone.

I start. Dumbbell pull-ups, five pounds heavier than I normally go and five reps more per set. I do double the usual number of sets. Oooh. Hurty. The radio burbles in the background.

Then onto the presses. I go ten pounds heavier. I’m trying to do ten reps more than normal, which is just stupid and, basically, a waterslide into rotator-cuff injury. I’m sweating and hurting and my arms have sharp pains in them. Then I hear a familiar intro followed by these words…

“8 o’clock, Monday night and I’m waitin’
To finally talk to a girl a little cooler than me.
Her name is Nona, she’s a rocker with a nose ring,
She wears a two way, but I’m not quite sure what that means.”

And, already, I’m smiling. “I’m not quite sure what that means” – heh…

Now, I’m not a huge BFS fan, I only know the hit singles. I loved ‘Punk Rock 101’ when it came out for its sly satire of everything conventional and requisite to be a contemporary punk band. I loved the big fat dude guitarist purely for his magnificent enormity. I’m a bloater, when I see fellow bloaters doing well, it makes me fatly happy.

But this song is hitting home. Here’s me, doing my best, angsty, miserabilist Henry Rollins and here are BFS, taking the piss out of tough guys and the whole schtick around them. Making fun of me.

I can’t help it. I nearly start laughing. I’m still working out and I don’t want to drop the weights on my face so I put them down and listen to the rest of the song…

“There she goes again
With fishnets on, and dreadlocks in her hair
She broke my heart, I wanna be sedated
All I wanted was to see her naked!

Now I am watchin’ wrestling
Tryin’ to be a tough guy
Listenin’ to rap metal
Turntables in my eyes
I can’t grow a mustache
And I ain’t got no season pass
All I got’s a moped…moped….moped….. “

And over the years, miles and airwaves, BFS shake me and say, “What the fuck, dude?” What the fuck am I doing, wallowing in misery, working out like an idiot? Thinking that my tiny, tiny problems mean anything in a world where schools in Gaza get bombed with white phosphorous, where dissenting soldiers get arrested for refusing to carry out war crimes, where, frankly, there are really bad things going on.

Yes, I’m going through some shit, yes, it’s difficult. But that process won’t be made any easier by me trying to be something I’m not, trying to grow a bad moustache and a matching attitude. It ain’t me.

Hearing ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ at precisely that moment was exactly what I needed. The song became magical, more than the sum of its parts. Every lyric seemed either obliquely or directly targeted at my idiocy. And these are brilliant lyrics – you can keep all your whiney, precious schmindie, there’s more emotional honesty in the line “All I wanted was to see her naked” than most indie songwriters manage in a lifetime.

So, thank you, Bowling For Soup, for giving me a wake-up call. Thank you for making a truly great pop record with insightful and gently cathartic lyrics. Every time I dance to this tune from now on, I’ll do a little salute to you. And thanks for stopping me turning into a bad guy.

PS – couldn’t resist this before I go: “Her CD changer’s full of singers that are mad at their dad.” 😀

Friendship, Houseguests and Peanut Brittle

Cookie Monster
Cookie Monster – he knows how to be happy.

Lately, I’ve been re-reading Alain de Botton’s ‘Consolations of Philosophy.’ My life has, for the last year, been distinctly not-great. I remembered de Botton’s book providing me with some measure of calm previously so I thought I’d dip back into it.

Also lately, I’ve started a sociology degree at Derby Uni. I’m basically re-doing the degree which I had to drop out of when ‘Your Woman’ went into the charts.

More immediately, I’ve had two houseguests staying with me. The combination of guests, Uni and de Botton has been potent: I feel the past few days, from Saturday to this morning, have been life-changing.

As de Botton points out, Epicurean nowadays is a synonym for gluttony, excess, unbridled hedonism. Sad, then, that the philosopher is so mis-remembered. Here are the main requirements for happiness, according to Epicurus, via de Botton:

Friends
Freedom
Thought
Food, shelter, clothes.

He thought of the above as natural and necessary precursors for happiness. Here’s what’s natural but unnecessary for happiness:

Grand house
Private baths
Banquets
Servants
Fish
Meat

And neither natural nor necessary for happiness:

Fame
Power

The original downsizer, Epicurus walked it like he talked it. He and a group of friends moved into a shared house and lived pretty simply, growing their own veg. The money they saved by not going mad on the steaks or caviar enabled them to not be subject to the rule of an odious employer. Y’know – like Tom and Barbara in The Good Life.

In sociology, I’m reading Zyggy Bauman’s ‘Thinking Sociologically.’ A fortnight ago, at a particularly low ebb, I made the mistake of preparing chapter five while sitting in Costa Coffee in the Westfield. I smugly thought I could get my reading done and have a coffee, maybe even meet up with some mates once I’d broken the back of the note making. But chapter five concerns love and intimacy. Here’s an extract:

“In our complex society in which most human needs are attended to in an impersonal way, the need we have for a loving relationship appears deeper than at any other time. As a result, the burden that love carries in our existence is formidable.”
(Bauman, pp. 86)

It was all a bit too much for me. I had to hide my tears, pack up my rucksack and scurry away from my half-finished decaff before the ignominy of a public meltdown. I didn’t want to be that bloke. Even though, patently, I am.

The routinely atomised existence we lead as citizens of modernity impacts on every sphere of life, including love and friendship. We don’t live in handy communities of 800 people or less. Our daily forays are most probably filled with the faces of strangers which we studiously and politely ignore. Look at a pretty face for a second too long and who knows what hell might break lose – one might be forced to smile or even, oh horror, acknowledge them as a fellow human being. The awkwardness would be as dry, cloying and indigestible as ten cream crackers in a row.

From Saturday to Monday, I had my friend Rocky staying with me. This is her:

Vanessa - 2

Yes, she really is that cute, it’s not photoshoppery. And her mind is a gazllion times cuter than that picture: it hums along and effortlessly collates and references, infers and deduces, making conversation a pure, easy joy. Rocky is the least judgemental, most broad-minded friend you could have. And that reminded me of something…

“In my judgement the sweetness of well-matched and compatible fellowship can never cost too dear. O! a friend! How true is that ancient judgement, that the frequenting of one is more sweet than the element of water, more necessary than the element fire.”
(de Botton, pp. 146)

Those are the words of the philosopher Montaigne. What Montaigne is talking about is the same as Bauman: the search for acceptance, to find relations that are free from censure and instead supportive and nurturing. Our routines reduce us to fleshy automata, we hold doors open, flash our headlights in thanks at oncoming cars, try desperately to think of something icebreaking to say to that girl in that shop on that till. And we fail. Not usually catastrophically, admittedly. Unless, like me, background factors in your life have made you into emotional peanut brittle: easily shattered and nuts. And with a highly problematic wrapper.

I talked with Rocky till 6am, both nights. It was, quite simply, ace. And then, when I thought the talking was over, my friend Mattias Cosy Den came to stay over last night. This is him:

Mattias

Debonair swine, isn’t he? And he’s also passionate, political, principled and a host of other great qualities that probably also begin with p. What did we do last night? We talked till 6am and I also did an acoustic recording that he’ll hopefully issue on his label. I specifically wanted to record the songs while he was there, so he could introduce them. It went very well precisely because I was singing to Mattias. Mattias isn’t fazed in the slightest by my craziness, he doesn’t baulk at my openness and ferocity. He enjoys those qualities in me. He understands. He gets it.

These guests re-charged me with their unqualified acceptance. I find it tremendously sad that neither of them live in this country. As much as the net is great for keeping touch, there is something infinitely cooler about having your friend sitting there, being able to instantly talk shit or joke around and they just get it. There’s no fuzzy tech in the way, I don’t feel the need to hold up signs with emoticons on them, they get it.

I went round town this afternoon with four local friends and my mood was elevated by the weekend that had passed. These poor souls have each, at different times, dealt with my least optimistic, most miserabilist moods. So I felt happy to be so happy with them. We walked, pointlessly, round the Westfield. We talked shit and ogled passing boys and girls. We went lingerie shopping and coffeeing. It was a good day.

If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering why you have. Why have I written this? Well, for a start, I’m a songwriter. I earn money by taking my most private feelings and splaying them out in public. It’s my job. Or, as Montaigne would have it:

“Many things I would not care to tell to any individual man I tell to the public, and for knowledge of my most secret thoughts, I refer my most loyal friends to a bookseller’s stall.”
(de Botton, pp. 148)

But I’ve written this in the hope that maybe it reaches you in the same way that de Botton and Bauman have reached me. I know neither of these men and yet, in a way, they’ve made me feel a little less strange and alone. Obviously, not as much as my Derby friends or Rocky and Mattias have but… y’know…

Every little helps. 🙂

Bzangy Groink Playlist 4/11/09

Vitalic

There wasn’t one best new track, there were three! All from the featured album by Vitalic, ‘Flashmob.’ I’m guessing it’s not inspired by Larry Niven but even so, it’s my fave electronic record of 2009 (so far!). It’s dancey, demented, dissonant deliciousness. The track ‘Flashmob’ itself sounds like Louis and Bebe Barron discovered the funk in a Krell basement somewhere, humping some fat Idmonsters. It’s such a good album, a perfect antidote to the reams of generic electrodancewhatnot out there.

Dorktones

The best old track is kind of a cheat. Because it’s new. The recording is, the song is old. Well, I think it is… The track is ‘Three’s A Crowd’ by The Dorktones. It’s off an album by them that you can listen to here. (And buy!) As far as I can make out, this is a covers CD. Certainly, it’s got classics like ‘Girl That I Knew Somewhere’ and ‘Girl Don’t Tell Me’ on it. But I’ve googled the lyrics to ‘Three’s A Crowd’ and got nowt. Nuffink. I know I know it but where from?? Can anyone elucidate? Whatever, it’s a wonderful old… er new or old track!

This is what you heard:

This Mortal Coil – 16 Days
Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band
Blacks – 5,4,3,2,1
U-God – Stomp Da Roach
The Bloody Beetroots – Awesome
The Elephants – Take it!
Nebula – Giant
Gift Of Gab – Escape 2 Mars
The Answering Machine – Obviously Cold
In Defence – Don’t Call Me A Moshist
Vitalic – Flashmob
Cormega – Make It Clear (Prod. By DJ Premier)
Redshape – Globe
Mesmer – The Exorcist
Komeda – It’s Alright, Baby
Joker And Ginz – ReUp
Fugazi – Bad Mouth
Swollen Members – Red Dragon
Dananananaykroyd – Pink Sabbath
Vitalic – Terminateur Benelux
The Holly Springs Disaster – I D.A.R.E. David Bowie To Drive Drunk
People Under the Stairs – DQMOT
Pavement – At and T
Converge – Cutter
Art vs. Science – Parlez Vous Francais?
The Dorktones – Three’s A Crowd
Alphabetix – Bounce
We Came As Romans – Intentions
Dead Man’s Bones – Pa Pa Power
Sound of Stereo – Heads Up! (the Bloody Beetroots Remix)
My Bloody Valentine – Sueisfine
Speak Easy (Avatar and Bleek) – Rumblefish Ft. Qba Libre
Benny Page & Zero G – pan pipes
Taking Back Sunday – Sink Into Me
Saves the Day – Shoulder To The Wheel
Weezer – mykel and carli
Jern Eye (Lunar Heights) – So and So Ft. Guilty Simpson
War from a Harlots Mouth – No High Five For C.oward
Kraftwerk – Schaufensterpuppen (Edit)
Middle Distance Runner – The Fury
Matt & Kim – Daylight
Sene and Blu – Cloudclimbers
Pinch – attack of the giant killer robot spiders!
Four Letter Lie – Daymaker
Your Twenties – Caught Wheel
Boys Noize – Jeffer
anti-pop consortium – Shine
Tigers That Talked – Black Heart, Blue Eyes
Austrian Death Machine – Come On, Do It, Do It, Come On, Come On, Kill Me, Do It Now
Keely Smith – What Is This Thing Called Love?
The Lucksmiths – Camera-Shy
Four Letter Lie – Daymaker
Blitzen Trapper – Gold for Bread
Vitalic – One Above One
Bound By Honor – Word Play
Princeton – Shout It Out
Burning Hearts – I Walked Among The Trees
Wienzeile – nur ein gruss
Throwdown – RaiseYourFist
Yeti Lane – Lonesome George
Grandaddy – Now It’s On
Jon Hopkins – Insides
Portishead – Strangers
Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy
Wave Machines – I Go I Go I Go

EDIT! UPDATE 13/11/09:

Dorktones

Mystery solved! And it was a (new) old tune. 🙂

Mosh Halloween 2009

01/11/2009 01:04

Wow – what an excellent Halloween! I was going to stay in for reasons I won’t go into here but after talking it over with mates, I just thought, fuckit – go out. And I’m glad I did as I danced till my knees ached and saw some absolutely amazing costumes, the majority hand-made.

01/11/2009 00:00

I hope you check out all the pics from that night because I think they show how wonderfully creative people are. Day by day, we’re squashed into greyness, squat, normal and uniform. On this one night of the year, ordinary people are given the freedom to express themselves pretty much exactly as they want. And the resulting explosion of colour, pattern, shape and symbolism is awe-inspiring. If only we were this free to be whatever/whoever we want every day of the year.

01/11/2009 02:47

All those wonderful people in the photos are now back in “normal,” mass-produced, corporate clothes, the Nikes and the Levis. Drone wear. I wouldn’t even notice them now in the street if I passed them.

But I like to think that, inside, they’re still zombies and vampires, robots and superheroes. Secret dreams, or real selves? Where others see a load of pissed-up kids dressed-up in daft outfits, I see a tiny bacillus of true anarchy, sending out cilia.

Click any of the pics for the gallery!