and another

5. neutral milk hotel - two-headed boy pt 2

this is a pretty obvious pick, huh. and also a pretty stupid one. what can i say about neutral milk hotel that other people haven't? okay, i'm going to start with a confession: neutral milk hotel are not my favourite band and this is not my favourite album. it doesn't make me want to cry or join/form/destroy a religious cult. i do not hate it. try as i may, i cannot love it. maybe i have come too late to join the party and i've heard so much about the party and seen so many awesome posters and heard so many awesome rumours about it that all i can taste is the slightly gross punch instead of the amazing times to be had (oh, extended metaphors in the early hours, how i love them. apparently). but i don't know. it's good, certainly - jeff's voice works very well, obviously, and i think the songs are very well-written. it's just, er, not a religious experience for me. maybe i just don't get that involved with music.

anyway i'm not really here to externalise my internal debate about neutral milk hotel because frankly, it's boring. the album is a very fine one and i like all of the songs on it.

this is a 'pt 2', so that makes it sound a bit like it comes second after the other one and so won't be as good. this is not true. it's the best song on the album as far as i'm concerned - it's gorgeous and not too busy, you can hear all the words and the lyrics are just so gorgeous, all your tongue in his teeth and sounding only at night as you sleep. it's one of the ones that has stuff about anne frank in, which a lot on the album do, and he talks about how she's alive in his dreams but she's crying. one of jeff mangum's strengths that's on display in this song is that his lyrics are weird and beautiful and strange but he delivers them in a very direct, emotional way... though he's singing things like she will feed you tomatoes and radio wires he's not being weird about it, he's singing it like it's natural, not like he's being clever and arty. not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, i wish i was clever and arty, but it means this song never feels lightweight or like an exercise. and few songs contain moments as moving as the moment towards the end of this when he sings god is a place you will wait for the rest of your life and i'm not sure what it is but that just gets me every time. the ending's great, too.

it's the best song on the album. he's drawing it all to an end and the song is so... unfuckwithable. he speeds up and slows down and sounds as if he knows where he's going, he can see it all and he's just letting us know. amazing.

and again

4. none of you will ever see a penny - final fantasy

i'm afraid i can't find a video of this. you can probably download it pretty easily though. or buy it. anyway. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM HERE TO DISCUSS. final fantasy is one guy and his violin a lot of the time, and it sounds like that for this song. when i first heard owen pallett it was in a youtube video (before i'd really heard of youtube, i was like, oh, what's this website? oh how hilarious things were, in retrospect) and he was covering bloc party. people said it was patrick wolf. they were obviously wrong. anyway, he's actually write different to patrick wolf, or at least patrick wolf as he is now - in this song he relies a lot more on just vocals, not a lot of instruments and other stuff as well. i mean, there's violin and it's beautiful, but it's largely great because of the vocals, which are so gorgeous at the beginning of the song. the only patrick wolf reference point that makes sense for this is the first few seconds of to the lighthouse and that's a good reference point, that's possibly my favourite bit of any song that patrick's done. this song isn't very forceful, it's quite spare, the recording, anyway, and it sounds kind of haunting, a bit like a chant that's being sung. okay maybe that only makes sense to me because it it 00:43, but seriously. this is so lovely and i love his voice in it, it's really catchy without being overproduced or particularly pop, it's just lovely.



I'm posting again! It's all very exciting.


I found out about The Burning Hell through a list of bands playing a Canadian festival earlier this month... I was going through the list and they were the first lot that REALLY grabbed me. Have a listen - Grave Situation is awesome too. Anyway they're very dark, remind me of Nick Cave & Leonard Cohen at the same time. Really funny in places, mind, but quite bleak too. I love the chorus of this song, all the vocals piling on, and then in the verses it's just the man with his half-spoken vocals talking about not owning a lawnmower or any air-conditioning. The lyrics here are just excellent, as they seem to be generally from this guy/band... I don't think they're well known at all, and definitely not outside Canada, but they should be. Listen to this song and everything else they have up there. It's so good.

I also like the while thing where there are loads of instruments and loads of band members but it just works together and makes it sound really atmospheric and enveloping and great without being too much or too distracting. Although they don't really sound much like them this is sort of how I've always wanted the Arcade Fire to make me feel, but with them I've always felt a bit like there's something I'm missing. Here I just love it, I really engage with the songs and it's just so much fun. Try them.



Wonder if anyone noticed I was gone? Anyway I don't really have any excuses for not posting in this for ages, I don't have a job or anything and I've left school, I just guess I haven't felt like it. Today I do.

To ease myself back into this whole blogging thing, I'm going to write up two of my current favourite songs. I will do two more in another post, and so on, until I have a top 10 right now. It will be fun. Here goes...


I found Voluntary Butler Scheme when I was looking at some acts that were doing Latitude. He might have been the only act we went to see that we only discovered because they were doing Latitude, but I'm not sure? Richard can correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway by the time we got to see him doing his thing on the Lake stage I knew the chorus to this song and would have been properly singing along if I hadn't lost my voice. He's really interesting live, too - it is just him, he doesn't have a band, so you see him recording loops and stuff on stage, like he'll tap a beat on his violin into a second microphone and then that beat will repeat through the song. I hadn't seen anyone do that live before, I thought it was awesome.

It's really, really, well, twee - I don't mean that as an insult, hey, I'm the one who still finds "twee as fuck" really amusing and loved The International Tweexcore Underground before I'd heard a note of it - but like, really good. I like this sort of love song - it's really cute, yeah, I mean he does actually sing the line "if you were broccoli I'd turn vegetarian for you", among others, but that's why it's so brilliant. It's sort of why I still love Umbrella so much - he's not just like I LOVE YOU PLEASE DON'T PICK SOMEONE ELSE OVER ME, he's all like here are all the silly things I'd do to be with you, now please don't go for anyone else? Umbrella uses the umbrella instead of "I WILL PROTECT YOU" or whatever, VBS uses tea, coffee and paper planes. Also the chorus is really fucking catchy in a really nice way. I hadn't seen the video before, too, how cute is it?! I love when he laughs at the end.

2. THE LUCKSMITHS - FICTION (link to a cover by salambo31@youtube)

I've linked to a cover because I really like the cover and there's only a live version up by The Lucksmiths and I don't like listening to live versions on youtube much because the quality sucks most of the time. Maybe it's good though. Yesterday I was in the back of the car on a long drive home - we went on a family holiday for a week to just outside Lancaster, which is quite far away from Ipswich - and this song came on and while I've pretty much always loved it, I hadn't realised quite how much. Musically, it's pretty much standard Lucksmiths, and probably lyrically too - but it's just awesome. The lyrics have got to be some of their best, whatever, and it progresses so nicely... he sounds so nostalgic, sort of down and hushed, but can't hide the rhyme of kitchen/fiction and from then on the song is just so well done, so well made. I write poetry and I hardly ever rhyme because it's so hard to do but it's managed perfectly here, not one rhyme makes me go ouch and several make me go I WISH I'D THOUGHT OF THAT. It's so understated. I also sort of want a tattoo of the word fiction now, is that wrong?