Wednesday 30 May 2007


Someone else said what I had been thinking.

"Much as i'd love to go 'here's the SebastiAn remix of Rage Against the Machine, it's AMAZING'.... I won't. Because it's absolutely fucking dreadful." Headphone Sex

I second Headphone Sex.

(A great blog, actually.)


A wee while back now I was lucky enough to go to a super-small little gig in my home town to see Crystal Castles. Lots of fun was had by all which is to be expected, afterall, its Crystal Castles! And it was my first experience of what I'd view as different type of gig, in which essentially everyone just ran around and jumped about with the band and just had mega fun.

I still uphold that I think the organisers of the night, Electro Boogaloo (good night, nice tunes, annoying name), did a fucking awesome job of handling such a band like Crystal Castles so well and even managed to set up a little signing session for fans to go along to (I unfortunately couldn't make it, such is the life of a scholar.. ha).

Anyway, we were stood, shifting weight foot-to-foot, feeling vunerable and sober and on struts a tiny framed, young guy, making me feel old he looked so young! Very politely came and introduced himself with his lovely Northern accent and told us he was going to performing a few songs. And my, did he perform! What an engaging set. Aided only with a laptop to punch out his sounds and a mic to blear a crisp, clear vocal scream into.

Coldseat, I eventually found out his name was. I was going to go and say hi and tell him I enjoyed his set, but I didn't, I had a pint instead.

His MySpace songs are good but believe me is far more entertaining live.

Tuesday 29 May 2007

Middlesbrough Music Live

Okay, so, there might be a fair few of you who don't know where Middlesbrough is let alone know anything about it's main and only 'attraction' of the year.

"Middlesbrough is a large town in North East England, and is the largest and most populous settlement within the borough of Middlesbrough. It is in the first town in the world to owe its existence to a railway. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, in 1968 the town became the centre of the county bor -- blah, blah, blah..." (There is a lot more boring crap on this from Wikipedia. Although, please take it all with a pinch of salt. It puts a nice gloss on what essentially is one of the most deprived areas to live in, in contemporary Britain.)

Middlesbrough Music Live. This is obviously something now which is just habit. Something that has to be done every year so the residents of Teesside can come out of the wood-work, get absolutely twatted and cause an awful lot of havoc for those lovely police officers of ours.

Every year when the line-up is announced people complain that it isn't good enough. With a limited budget and a free festival premise they are not going to be able to get the likes of U2 to come and headline (thank God!). But in you always manage to get to at least see one good act. And to me, that's all that matters. Most other people are not that arsed about the music anyway, its more the ritual and the alcohol consumption.

Last year, I very, very excitedly got to see Jim Noir. For those of you dwelling in the UK you may associate him with certain football, sports adverts and also the Gingster pasty advert too. I did almost choke up a lung whilst singing along to My Patch. We also saw the likes of Chairmen of the Bored, starring Cameron from Hollyoaks (!), who were obviously terrible and walked away from Ocean Colour Scene's set before we writhed in too much awkward nostalgia.

This year the star act is Tony Christie, and, well, the less said about that the better. There has been rather a lot of upset views expressed at this. Personally, I'm totally ambivilent, I'll just fuck off elsewhere. And The Twang are headlining. If I said I hated them that might sound cruel, but it's true. What an awful sound they produce, although I can see why they are getting overly-loved by everyone.

But for all those that need a little help, a little direction to make the best out of this odd and life-risking day, here are a few pointers to go and check out and look perilously for:

  • The Chapman Family, get yourself down ultra early and check these kids out. If you are lucky enough to not be going check them out on MySpace, add them and love them dearly. They are fantastic. And this will be the first time I'll have had the pleasure of seeing them live!

  • To My Boy are very good. I saw them ages ago and they had me totally engrossed from the moment they appeared on stage. They are also playing Fibbers next Tuesday so I might go, supporting Kate Nash no less.

  • Tiny Dancers, it does say on their profile that they are playing in Liverpool on the 3rd, but I think they must be doing that after their 4pm set in Middlesbrough. These are great fun live. My bestest friend Paul loves these.

  • Now I cannot find it in my programme but, wait for it, take a deep breath Ms Mulrine, steady yourself.. Shy Child are going to be making what will no doubt be a memorable performance. Beads of sweat all round.

  • Foals will be bringing a nice, bleepy, boppy set. By this stage in the day I will either be very happy or very upset. I reckon this will intensify it all.***

  • And to wrap up the day well, really, you've got to keep it local. And if you want to have some awesome all-out, indie fuck-rock, then you've got to go see Dirty Weekend. These boys have potential. And after that if you are still standing (which is usually hard after any set by Dirty Weekend) then stick around for Teesside favourites The Oxfam Glamour Models.

If anyone sees me without a drink in my hand please, do something about it!

Enjoy kids!

***Edit: I've been informed that Foals have pulled out. Boo that.

Thursday 24 May 2007

Updating my MP3 player..

For my various train and bus rides home.

I've got Feist's new album, The Reminder that I have been meaning to listen to and just not got round to. And after the Boys Noize remix of My Moon My Man that seems to be making a second time appearance round the blogs, and hearing it last week at the Crystal Castle's gig, I have decided I'm very much liking that song. For the Boys Noize remix check out Missing Toof.

Oh, I should actually mention that having eventually listened to the new LCD Soundsystem album I am totally in love with its main peaks. I think All My Friends made every hair on my body stand on end if not the first, definately the second time and then everytime thereafter. Check out the Franz Ferdinand cover, cool as sin, not sure its half as good though.

The Aliens - Astronomy For Dogs is a lot better than I expected. Especially not being impressed when I saw them live recently, but I definately think there was a distinct correlation between how much alcohol they had consumed and their bad performance. Check out the track Rox I can't help but be reminded of Late Of The Pier's most ground-breaking and overly remixed Space and the Woods, there are some great remixes of it to be fair.

I've still not got Help She Can't Swim's new album. Much to my dismay. I want to purchase it but then I'd probably not be able to eat for a while. It's definately going to have to come under close consideration. Food or HSCS?

And, well, after genuinely enjoying, the most cheesy way, Our Velocity, the fun first single from the new Maximo Park album. I really should make an effort for the guys who come from where I live. I may, in fact, even wear my Maximo Park t-shirt today. Oh yes! You know it says 'Mint' on the chest in gold-foiled letters!

I'm probably going to put lots of other stuff on too but I have to read about Weber's idea on religion and various spheres of culture and then get a few notes typed up on the unequal distribution of wealth.


Wednesday 23 May 2007

Field Day

What a ridiculous constraint money is turning out to be.

I actually can't do anything I want because I have no money.

I'm marginalised because I don't have money to gain access to the things I desire (e.g. CD's, gig tickets, travel to gig's, somewhere to stay, DJing equipment, a trumpet, etc).

Anyway enough of my moaning. Its just because when I think of Field Day and the fact that obviously besides being awesome, having a fucking amazing line-up, the likes of Absentee and Justice in the same bill (!), being great and fun and yes, yes, all that stuff, its a given. Of course it will be great. But it also means that I am going to have fuck all money for anything else ever.

Or it feels like that.

Money equates to power and access.

I feel deprived and therefore am going to sulk.

Monday 21 May 2007


Sometimes I read the tag line of my blog and feel like I am fundamentally cheating. A false advert.

Where is the sociology?

Well, it's a difficulty. I am quite convinced that its going to be of no interest. A couple of words about a band, a video, a picture, an ancedote, all that might be acceptable, after all it is the standard format for these sorts of things as far as I can tell, but I'm not a journalist. I'm not even a Joe-Bloggs-lay-person-on-the-street-customer. I'm a sociologist. And people know what is expected of journalists and critics, how they present their views, reviews and even previews. There is a standard formula. Its a bog-standard phenomenon that you know what to expect from. But how much can I expect for my audience to understand or care about a sociological perspective on the whole shabang? Concepts, theories, a sociological perspective seems to be quite difficult to explain.

But in what capacity should that be applied to my passion for music?

It's fair enough that I am trying to cobble together some stuff about why the concept of 'wealth' is interesting to sociologists. In fact, I described it today as "completely self-evident". Wealth being fundamentally linked to power, an exclusionary aspect that gives extreme access to some, tied to age, gender, geographic location, reproduced within the same class, etc. In that sense it is easy. People don't think about that sort of thing often and when they have it pointed out to them they kind of just go "Oh, yea... I see what you mean." But every man and his dog has a very candid opinion of music. So, who would I be to start commenting on it?

But surely there is something more here than for just critics and journalists to have a say that is regarded with slightly more reverence?

I mean, they are casting their opinion on a sound, a genre, a performance, etc. But from what point did they have the influence? The media have not always existed in the capacity they do now. They are not the Gods that dictate what happens. They can just give it more of a social airing. Significantly improve a musicians chances of 'making it big' or not. For every 10 mainstream acts of any given genre there are hoards below the surface crying out to get their music listened to. I guess, though, this lesson can be very vividly now be seen through the likes of MySpace.

And MySpace has influenced us in other ways too. Hasn't it?

Since when were people so easily led to start defining themselves in terms of a few boxes they could fill in listing their personality traits and favourite music, amongst other things. Bringing people with common interests together is one thing, but to possibly narrow the spectrum in the way which people express their identity can lead people to become more or less interested in something that really may be their niche.

Maybe I'm being too optimistic.

The human brain does like to catergorise. The complexity of the world in which we live in is so incredibly vast that what we deal with is reduced to the things that directly effect us personally. The sheer amount of social relationships, kinships, likes, preferences, technology, science, culture, differences and similarities is just mind boggling. Stand in a busy high street and think of all the people walking past with their individual histories, businesses with processes for profit-making, buses providing transport, air and molecules being exchanged, individual conscious experiences always on going. It is all so vast.

The tradegy?

Well, the tradegy of this is that we can never ever in all our years of toiling and trying, ever know all aspects of culture, the world. Even if we figured it all out, a way to map and track everything, to know all of it, would we really benefit from this? Would it not just disenchant us that there was no more knowlegde to be uncovered? And would we just be existing in some sort of horrible Orwellian vision? Yet, even Orwell gave us hope that we still exist in our own consciousness as individual human social beings, and that all our personal thoughts could never be known in their entirity unless we hand them over.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

Belle & Sebastian

Named as the Best Scottish Band of All Time Belle & Sebastian are still, in my opinion, massively underrated.

I only know a handful of people who have heard of them and even less than that are actual fans. But they have been making music for a lot longer than most would care to note and they truly have earned every ounce of respect and love that their fans genuinely feel for them.

Here is a track taken from their first record, Tigermilk, that I have been listening to a lot again recently. This track stood out to me last year when I was in my electro-dance-distorted-techno spiral. Brought me back to something more crafted and subtle.

Belle & Sebastian - Electronic Renaissance. (right click and save...)

For a band that always managed to avoid doing lots of promotion, interviews, messy entanglements with the nasty media, they slowly but surely built up a solid fanbase. Culminating in last year's release of The Life Pursuit featuring in any respectable music lover's album of the year list.

This is the single that was released for this record. I remember being very excited about this little track and was filled with glee when I got it on vinyl.

Belle & Sebastian - Funny Little Frog. (right click and save...)

So to find a person who is a fan of Belle & Sebastian is to find a person with a great sense of musical integrity and aptitude. And if they are also into the likes of Alfie and Rebelski too then try to close your gaping jaw and ask to borrow some of their CD's.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Crystal Castles

On Thursday night the elusive Crystal Castles will be playing at KU Bar in Stockton-on-Tees.

They are only playing a handful of gigs in the UK so to get the chance to go and see them should be pounced upon by all that can attend.

Pretty bleeps and twinkly synths that suddenly can be very hardcore, Crystal Castles are going to be very exciting if you are bumming the electro scene currently (who isn't?).

Yet, I'll be taking my folk-twee-Sufjan-Stevens-and-Joanna-Newsom-loving best friend, Paul. Going to gigs on ones own in Stockton is apparently not permitted. But fuck knows what he is going to make of it. He'll hate it.

So if anyone sees me at the side just standing tapping my foot, grab me, swirl me round on the dance floor and I'm sure my moves will spill out. Especially for Crystal Castles.



Apparently there are people in the world who have never heard of such acts as Arcade Fire and Bloc Party!

I am trying to ween myself off a message forum that I've posted on for years, but in actual fact, no one likes me, I get attacked for everything I say and its full of people with opinions on music who then let their masks slip and it is revealed that they actually know fuck all if its not some horrendous trance remix.

I did think there were possible redeemable human beings. I had some hope left for the human race but then the other week someone didn't know who Bloc Party were. I quickly stuck my fingers in my ears and pretended it wasn't true. Like them, love them, hate them, whatever. But not to know who they are at all! Fuck me! That is absolutely outrageous. They should be cast off the face of the earth.

And now I hear that there is another person with claims to musical knowledge tantamount to that of an oracle that doesn't know who Arcade Fire are? What must people do with their lives? Seriously. Fucking hell. Do they live in holes? It is shameful.

And I am the one who is going to take the lashing for having announced my shock. You know, the whole 'elitist, pretensious bitch' malark, yet again. God forbid a female have a claim to know anything about music.

"It's 2007 just she not know we've not come round to the idea of equality!"

"I didn't even know females were legally allowed to listen to music. It's a disgrace, I tell you!"

Fuck off. Bring it on. I've got a wicked right hook.

Monday 14 May 2007

Lenin And The Trotskys

Lenin And The Trotskys have another track for your delectation named Ritalin. Definately becoming gradually more impressed with this track. The more I listen the more I can quite happily place it in a compilation CD of randomness.

This track in particular takes me back to my fanatic obsession with Locust Toybox. A wonderful scatty, trip-hop, put-you-at-ease, mad-cap sound. Pretty hardcore for me at the time. I was all about the indie in those days and this came along and totally shocked me. There are four albums available for download from the Official Site, which is pretty awesome. So pop them on your MP3 player, CD player or onto a cassette if you are truly retro, and enjoy!

Saturday 12 May 2007


The Eurovision Song Contest is tonight.

Who is up for Drink-Along-with-Terry?

Highlight of the year.

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Das Wanderlust and indie-pop

Whilst reading up on indie pop and twee pop I came across this:

"Cuddlecore, a more punk-influenced North American variant of twee pop, emerged in the 1990s. Bands in this subgenre included cub, Bunnygrunt and Maow. Cuddlecore bands generally combined a punk rock attitude with pop melodies and female-led harmony vocals." (Wikipedia)

Cuddlecore! That is absolutely awesome.

Moreover, the stuff mentioned also contains quite a few bands I already like. So I think I may have to have a proper delve into indie-pop, twee pop and 'cuddlecore' as I know its always been a bit of an obscure genre. Certainly not chart-topping (one of its most seductive qualities then, I feel).

So be prepared for something a bit different. Leave your mainstream-Kaiser-Ferdinand-indie on the shelve, you Scenester! And you there! Yes, you! Stop listening to those fuck-cool French-electro remixes of dogs barking. Just stop! And open your minds.

Das Wanderlust are a band who are from Middlesbrough, where I call home. I've been somewhat out of touch with the local scene but these kids seem to have taken off far beyond the likes of Stockton's KU Bar or the Dickens Inn near Teesside Uni. And with such clear vocal talent its not suprising. Plus, they dress exactly how I'd imagine and they are very nice to look at. A good, pretty band goes a long way. Go to their MySpace page and give their tracks a listen. I think they are quite accessible, so enjoy.

They will be playing at what looks like an awesome little festival that is definately inkeeping with the ideals of 'twee'. Indie Tracks is taking place in Ripley in Derbyshire and not only has a whole host of bands to see but also will give you access to the Midland Railway Butterley attraction. Bands and cute, rural jollities.

Tuesday 8 May 2007


In a male dominated world women have always had a struggle on their hands to get equality. From dying for the vote to making the first steps into men's trousers, literally. We know that the fight for equality has not only helped to path the way for gender but also for ethnic equality too.

Social divisions are still rife in the world and in Britain despite what progress has been made yet some people crusade for justice, fairness and equality against what seems to some to be the complete norm, even if it is heavily biased.


How far does this male domination stretch into the world of music?

It doesn't take much to see how far it is dominated by men just at a quick glance. Bands, producers, label executives, DJ's, promoters, venue and club owners. This part of society, this cultural phenomenon is completely dominated by males.


This will not necessarily be the most objectively written piece as I am going to be drawing a lot from anecdotal experiences. But from a young age I learned to play saxophone. I was about 10 years-old at the time and every other child that was taught a musical instrument was a girl. This carried on into comprehensive school and it wasn't until I was older that I was finally playing alongside boys.

Funnily enough though, for all the bands and orchestras I have played for I have always had a male as the conductor. I've only ever had one female saxophone teacher out of maybe 6 in my career. My GCSE and A level teachers were all male. Yet it seemed to me to be heavily dominated by females from the off.

How then does the disproportionate amount of females not reach the top levels of these distinctly more respectable and high positions of the music profession? A concept known as the 'glass ceiling' tells us that it may be due to the fact that women can see what it is that they want to achieve, but they just can't get to it in a patriarcal society. Although, this is only one theory.

Even now.

Now I am 21 years-old. I am a student. I go out as much as I can. I take pride in my music and I am incredibly passionate about it. But it's seen as something that is not right. There have been times when in a group conversation, the topic will turn to music, and I'd say 99% of the time, unless the people know me well and respect me, if there is men involved I will not have questions directed at me. "Hey Paul, what did you think of the new -blank- album?" I'd sit wided-eyed. Why not me? Instead I'd get questions about trashy TV programmes or things that classically interest females. To which I'd often give a wholly snobby and pissed off answer at have been disallowed to engage in a conversation I'd normally be far more knowlegdable about.

Those 'indie-Cindy's' with their block fringes and their under-skirts that spin round the dance-floors at every indie night I've been to for the past 4-5 years are rearly expected to do more than look the part. In drunken conversation that always seems to take place in toilets that I always manage to start I've never once had a fulfilling conversation about music. It's usually, in fact, I'd hazard a guess at about 8 times out of 10, "What's the name of the band that are on?" or, if something is mentioned about gigs, "Oh, I've never heard of them". I have on one occassion actually met a girl that didn't know who Radiohead were. I promptly, and very rudely as I was drunk, held up my hand as to stop the conversation, spun round and walked out in utter disgust.

This is why I have no female friends.

To have gone to a gig on your own is wrong. But females can go to the hairdresser's on their own, no problem.

Club's need girls to fill the dancefloor and pull pints behind bars but not to state an opinion on anything musically. If a girl is 'musical' she probably isn't, in other people's eyes, she probably just listens to Radio 1 too much. Or maybe she played the flute as a child.

To be in ownership of two things seems to be a dinstinctly dangerous combination: breasts and female genitals; and a vocal opinion on contemporary music culture.

Unless, oh, of course, unless you are on the NME Cool List after it has been accused of androgony and is therefore pushing the 'cool women'.

Simian Mobile Disco

Apparently there is a world outside of Attack Decay Sustain Release but I'm not totally sure I know where or what it is anymore.

I shall return when I have managed to press 'stop'.

Wish me luck.

Friday 4 May 2007

Things wrong with the world - Part 675828

1. No longer has I posted my last post about Junior Boys but bloody Pitchfork go and inform me that Junior Boys are to release a deluxe two-disc special edition type malark of So, This Is Goodbye. Not really was I was hoping for.

2. The other day in conversation I said "Noanna Jewsom".

3. I am going to miss The Whip, Metronomy and The Sunshine Underground on Saturday at Empire in Middlesbrough because I am working from 10am-10pm. Yes, a twelve hour shift. Going to fill my MP3 player with lots of mixes to get me through it. Probably by La Grève Générale. I love them boys.

4. I met, shook hands with and had my photo taken with Lord Anthony Giddens yesterday and I'm sure my hand was unexplainably sweaty.

5. Max Weber's work is very difficult to read.

6. Not for the want of being almost like a girl (which I hate being accused of) I am not in possession of any of the fluffy creatures pictured above.

The world is unfair and unjust.

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Junior Boys

I'm not at all the sort of person who is particularly into music video's as an art form. It is something completely separate to the music for me and I try to avoid getting sucked into finding or only enjoying music through that.

But I've liked this track for ages and just was completely mesmerised by this video.

However, I do feel it was about time Junior Boys produced some new stuff for me to love.

But if you go to Stars' MySpace the Junior Boys cover of Sleep Tonight that they did for Stars - Do You Trust Your Friends? little collection is rather good.

Erol Alkan

Erol has been announced for Nu Wave at Empire on 20th July.

I shall try to keep my composure this time. Although I do think now may be the time to start shopping for an outfit.

I, as every sane minded person on this planet should, LOVE Erol Alkan.

It's quite exciting. Especially since I never seem to get to go to anything exciting at the moment. I am missing Digitalism and Annie Mac on Sunday because I have an early lecture on Monday. A Bank Holiday!

Punks Jump Up

Shake off that sleepy groggy feeling. Get up and throw some shapes/shake yo' ass/get on down and all that type of thing.

Punks Jump Up.

And do it to Dance To Our Disco.

Between this and Cut Copy - Hearts On Fire there seems to be a little loving going on for the saxophone.

And myself being a saxophonist I could pimp myself out there for some work. I'm sure they'd like a 21 year-old, brunette, with awesome dance moves strutting her stuff and 'blowing her horn' for them.