FT

17
Oct 19

What’s Going On With The FT Comments?

FT1 comment • 71 views

Hi all –

We know some of you have had serious issues with the FT comments, both in terms of logging in on existing IDs and creating new ones.

This is because of something being imposed by our hosts to stop continued spam comment attacks. We’ve taken the actions requested (updating wordpress etc) but there’s clearly still an issue. To make things more frustrating, my admin login is working so there’s no way of my knowing when the login system is down or not.

We’ll keep you updated. Posting comments is (clearly) still possible, but may not always be possible with the login. Use the comments on this thread to let us know what your situation is.

Sorry!

8
Sep 19

3 and 9 could show you any fantasy

FT + Hidden Landscapes4 comments • 193 views

[This post originally went up at my PATREON: subscribers get to read posts and hear podcasts early — and help offset costs and time and help me do more of this kind of thing. Please share widely and encourage participation in the comments!]

Sometimes I wonder if it all ended on 2 November 1982, the night Channel 4 began. Silver Screen, the NME film and TV section, was edited by Monty Smith then – and almost everything about C4 in its first instance seemed perfectly pre-designed to suit the Silver Screen worldview. Except of course Silver Screen’s internal logic and tone demanded a response at once slantwise and happily disrespectful. This tone was largely set by ‘On the Box’, a what-to-watch-out-for summary of coming TV schedules, which was a tiny ruled-off square of page adjusted weekly to fit available space, full of two-sentence film squibs written at speed, a dozen at most, more likely half that. As a workaround for extreme space limitation, it had begun to evolve into a kind of script, a long-running skit full of intra-office chitchat about specific personal tastes (who liked Herzog, who preferred Hitchcock), its sense of humour derived from deep expertise lightly worn. It was reacting, as often as not, against assumptions made and attitudes struck in other film publications, with authority treated more as a pratfall than a value – and its tone, smart and playful, judgmental and unfooled, helped entice you the reader into discovering more. You sensed that if you paid attention week-on-week, you got a lot more joy from it, and knowledge too [Footnote 1].

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18
Aug 19

Omargeddon #10: Despair

FTPost a comment • 76 views

2009 was a prolific year for Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, with a total of six albums released. Cryptomnesia and Xenophanes are comprised of material that was originally intended for the Mars Volta but took a left turn at Albuquerque. Solar Gambling features the magnificent Ximena Sariñana on vocals, as do three of the five songs on the live album Los Sueños de un Hígado. Megaritual is a glorious exercise in trippy jamming, recorded in Amsterdam with longtime Volta member/even longer time brother Marcel.

And then there’s Despair.

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4
Aug 19

Omargeddon #9: Zen Thrills

FTPost a comment • 71 views

There are some musicians whose stage presence is so powerful, it creates a visual tunnel around them, making it nigh on impossible to pay attention to anyone else. Cedric Bixler-Zavala has it with his slinky salsa moves and microphone swinging. Jack White has it with his cryptic un-banter and towering stature. And Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes has it in spades. The combination of her frenetic dancing and piercing stare with the sheer volume of her voice nearly swallows the room regardless of venue size. She’s mesmerising and slightly terrifying. I love her.

I’ve only been to two gigs this year, both of them blinders and both of them Le Butcherettes. I’ve seen them a few times before as opening acts, so I knew to expect fiercely intense performances, and I was not disappointed. Each time I brought friends who hadn’t seen them before and, as I’d hoped, each time left with new fans. The set lists drew from across their four albums, and whilst there has definitely been a progression from raw, garagey rock to a sleeker, tighter sound, the fury and passion has, if anything, been ramped even more. Maybe this is because year on year, there’s so much more to be pissed off about or because the recent shows I’ve attended have been in more intimate venues. Either way, they were exhilaratingly life-affirming.

Teri and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez have been collaborating for several years now; she
provides backup and lead vocals on many of his solo albums, including Zen Thrills. Although three songs revisit previously recorded material, the flavour is very TGB, and I’m guessing she wrote the lyrics, as this seems to be the case for other releases where ORL doesn’t sing. Listened to out of context, you might mistake some of them for Le Butcherettes tunes, and this is a very fine thing indeed.

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31
Mar 19

Omargeddon #8: Umbrella Mistress

FTPost a comment • 134 views

Back in the day, I had a very fixed idea of what an Omar Rodriguez-Lopez album should sound like. I was still in recovery from the rockism that had clouded and limited my horizons since I was a teenager, and often struggled to identify what it was I actually liked. Did I like or dislike something because of my perceptions of its genre, or did I like or dislike it because I felt I should or shouldn’t based on other people’s opinions? I really did waste a lot of fucking brainspace worrying about this kind of thing.

But I empirically knew what I liked from ORL, and what I liked was what I wanted and therefore expected – nay, demanded – to hear: lots of very loud, very crunchy guitar steeped in trippy effects. If there were vocals, they should be at least mildly distorted and preferably sung in Spanish, even more preferably sung by Cedric Bixler-Zavala. When I didn’t get what I wanted/expected/demanded, I didn’t like it as much, as when I bought Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante all prepped to have my ears blown off and was rather let down when it turned out not to be the dueling guitars freak-out that I had assumed it would be.

Although you can never tell which genre of ORL record you’re going to get based on the cover artwork (particularly Sonny Kay’s busily detailed digital collages), it’s fun to try and cobble a message out of them. When I look at the Umbrella Mistress cover, it seems to suggest a hushed shh, don’t tell anyone Omar done a pop record! Because this is hella pop, and I wonder what my reaction to it would have been a decade ago. Would I have liked it with qualifiers, justifying it by defining it as indie/psychedelic/folk/country/power pop, not pop pop? Or would I have rolled my eyes and waited a couple months for something else? I’ll never know, and besides, the past is a foreign country populated by idiots. Even if I had initially dismissed it, this project would have changed that, because Umbrella Mistress is pure perfection.

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17
Feb 19

Omargeddon #7: Solar Gambling

FTPost a comment • 170 views

Since I started the Omargeddon project, I’ve been paying less overt attention to new music, both new-to-me and newly released material. In fact, my sole contribution to the FT Readers’ Poll was Janelle Monae’s “Pynk”, totally forgetting about the divine “The Way You Make Me Feel” despite nominating Dirty Computer as my album pick. This year, I’m making a concerted effort to be more aware of new tunes and have started a 2019 playlist to help me keep track. For the most part, I’ll be using Spotify’s Release Radar playlist to facilitate this. I usually listen to it at least once a week, and it’s been the source of several new musical discoveries, even more so than the Discover Weekly playlist. Discover Weekly too often labours under the delusion that I want a mix of metal and weedy indie tracks liberally sprinkled with artists I already know about and thus don’t need to discover. That’s not to say Release Radar doesn’t bring up its dud track – apparently since I nostalgically listened to You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby approximately eighteen months ago, it thinks I need a Fatboy Slim remix every single goddamn week. I do wonder how the algorithm susses out what to give me – did I get “Alpha Centauri” by We Are Impala because it’s given me Tame Impala before or because of the At the Drive-In song of the same name? I also had “Bread & Butter” by Horsey, though my feelings about it tend towards “neigh”.

However, I was super chuffed to get Ximena Sariñana’s new single “Lo Bailado”, a cheery tune that injected much-needed warmth into the playlist. It also reminded me that initially I was a bit hesitant about her vocal input to late noughties/early teens Omar Rodriguez-Lopez albums. With the Mars Volta still extant and producing music, I found it difficult at the time not to wonder how Cedric Bixler-Zavala would have sounded in her place.

Solar Gambling is the first Omar Rodriguez-Lopez solo release with Ximena providing lyrics and vocals. It was one of his six albums released in 2009, and at the time, it wasn’t a particular favourite. I didn’t actively dislike it, streaming it from the Rodriguez Lopez Productions website often enough for me to recognise quite a few of the songs when I began listening to it again more earnestly. Up until around this point in his discography, vocals tended to serve as more of a supporting role, and even with the Mars Volta, the music was written first with CBZ composing lyrics and vocal melodies to fit around it. Solar Gambling reverses this trend, with Ximena’s vocals front and centre to the supporting music.

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4
Feb 19

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2018: #10 – #1

Do You See + FT2 comments • 1,269 views

And here it is, after leaving a slightly longer gap than hoped – the Freaky Trigger Top Ten movies of the year. Firstly, before anyone says anything, Paddington 2 came out in 2017 (and was number 40 in last years poll you idiots who left it two months before you saw it). Secondly it was a lot closer at the top end than it has been for a long time. Whilst the winner still had plenty of votes on number two, the top three were all – at some stage of the voting – in the lead.

Anyway the gap left time for plenty of speculation which I think named nearly all of these, though maybe not in this order…

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23
Jan 19

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2018: #10-#1

FT13 comments • 764 views

“Bonjour dudes, it’s me, the Lascaux Cave Paintings, specifically the one where a bull with a spear through its arse is goring a bloke to death while a chicken on a stick looks the other way. Thanks to my 17,000 years of experience in human culture I’ve been asked to introduce your ‘Déclencheur Bizarre‘ top songs of 2018, which I’d imagine to be similar in tone and lyrical content to the neolithic ditties my creators hummed as they daubed a mixture of blood, mud, iron oxide, charcoal and ochre into the shapes of animals they depended on for survival and revered as primitive gods. Unfortunately when I was opened up to the public in 1948, exposure to the elements caused layers of fungus and lichen to develop on my walls, so I’m a bit sourd in one ear now. Nevertheless as the test of time is the only true measure of artistic achievement, I can safely say that the pinnacle of cultural content is a massive bull with a spear through its arse, goring a bloke to death while a chicken on a stick looks the other way. Ed Sheeran needs to pull his socks up if he’s going to compete with this bad boy.”

Thanks Monsieur Taureau Rouge! Ed does feature below (sort of) but I’m not sure he’d be happy about it. Let’s have a look at the Top 10.

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17
Jan 19

Wiki-illiams Quizz 2018. Round 18

FT7 comments • 155 views

(Well done, we made it to the end…)

During 2018:

1 Which NCO is 2nd class?

2 Whence the theft of items of the Vasa regalia?

3 Which circumnavigator has been inspired by Verne?

4 Which unique avian species has been released on Loch Fad?

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16
Jan 19

Wiki-illiams Quizz 2018. Round 17

FT5 comments • 160 views

Which pupil:

1 Was originally regarded as strictly luetic?

2 Smashed open Paton’s desk and burned the contents?

3 Copied off Raddleston and wrongly translated “nobody” into “nullus corpus”?

4 When writing home, reported a 9-0 defeat by porridge court and requested a “bakterial gun”?

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