FT

7
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 3

FT3 comments • 262 views

These are the groups for Day 3 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.

6
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 2

FT3 comments • 316 views

These are the groups for Day 2 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s matches so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further! As usual, these are in order from the group with the most-streamed tracks to the one with the least.

5
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 1

FT5 comments • 420 views

These are the groups for Day 1 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s match-ups so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further!

20
Apr 20

The People’s Pop Poll (in aid of Refuge)

FT1 comment • 247 views

As you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been using the quarantine to run pop polls – there’s a UK Number 2s one about to enter its third round right now. This has been a delightful distraction for me, a useful way of structuring my days and weeks, and has been pleasingly popular with other people too.

After the #2s poll, I’m doing something a bit different – a People’s Pop Poll, with tracks nominated by anyone who donates to this fundraiser I’ve set up for domestic violence charity Refuge. One of the hidden costs of lockdown has been a horrific spike in domestic violence, and I want to do my bit to help those affected. Here’s the link.

So far the fundraiser has hit £260 in less than a day, which is fantastic, and we have 20-ish tracks nominated for the People’s Pop Poll, including Kraftwerk, Labelle, Kate Bush (twice!) and of course Urban Hype. If you want to see the up-to-date list of nominated tracks, go here. more »

11
Apr 20

Omargeddon #12: Unicorn Skeleton Mask

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Despite knowing that attempting to construct a linear timeline for the solo work of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a self-confessed fool’s errand, I’m nothing if not stubborn and continue to obsessively trace connections across songs and albums. I’ve now shifted to wanting a Viso-style flowchart or, if I had the artistic ability, something more akin to a series of interlocked family trees.

Unicorn Skeleton Mask is the central trunk that branches out to several other albums. Initially, it totally passed me by, and when I finally did hear it, I felt I’d cracked a cryptic crossword clue. Every song featured here apart from one has been released in a different form on the albums Zapopan, Zen Thrills and Corazones, with elements of some tracks appearing on Some Need it Lonely, ¿Sólo Extraño? (which itself was then reworked as Nom de Guerre Cabal) and Weekly Mansions. I am not confident, but it may also possibly share some elements used in the keysmashy sequences of Octopus Kool Aid. On top of all that, two songs appear in demo form on the Ramrod Tapes. It’s like the textbook definition of a seminal ORL album.

Here’s the above, broken down into a table format: more »

25
Mar 20

Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Wife Got Presumed Coronavirus

FT8 comments • 7,218 views

For the last 12 days I’ve been nursing my wife Isabel through presumed COVID-19. She’s starting to feel better now, or I wouldn’t be writing this. 

22
Mar 20

Omargeddon #11: Arañas en la Sombra

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I’ve been categorising Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s solo recordings into three distinct, non-equal eras. Early ORL spans from 2004-2009, mostly consisting of experimental jams that were often reappropriated as Mars Volta songs. The middle period from 2010-2013 has an overall focus on up-front vocals and synths. Finally, the Ipecac Recordings series released in 2016-2017 represents the late era, including a mix of reworked material with a smattering of indie, pop and classical.

But this isn’t strictly true, since he has a tendency to work on records simultaneously, at least two or three at the same time”, meaning records can be released years after they’ve been completed. This is certainly the case with Arañas en la Sombra (“Spiders in the Shadow”), an album featuring the very first Mars Volta line-up and thought by many to be the long-lost Mars Volta album The Somnambulists. This suggests that it was recorded in the early 2000s, and I’m guessing that vocals were added sometime around 2012 due to the presence of Teri Gender Bender, although it wasn’t released until 2016, making it cut across all three eras.

It was instantly familiar to me, and not just because I’d heard several of the tracks in demo form on the Ramrod Tapes. When this tranche of material was leaked in 2013, it felt like the final goodbye from the Mars Volta, and I listened to the shit out of it. It also feels familiar in a brain-itchy way – I’m sure I’ve heard some version of the lyrics to “El Vacio” on another song but can’t identify what it is (and may be totally wrong). But it also feels familiar because it reminds me of De-Loused in the Comatorium, the first Mars Volta album, albeit one recorded down a different pant leg of the Trousers of Time.

24
Feb 20

Unheard / Unread: January 2020

FT2 comments • 506 views

Starting in 2017, I’ve had the aim of listening to a new (to me) album every day. This has been – for the most part – one of my best ever ideas. That said, in 2018 and 2019 I didn’t actually manage to finish – in fact I only got about 100 days in each time. The error was in trying to write it all up as well as doing it.

Still though, it’s good to have some way of recommending these things! So this year, the plan is more modest – a monthly round up of my favourites from the new (to me) records I played. Oh, and this year I’m combining it with the Unread Comics Project too, an attempt to do right by half a decade’s worth of Comixology sale buys. 

Here are my picks for January. more »

19
Feb 20

King William’s College Kwizz 2019. FT Round 18

FT7 comments • 127 views

During 2019:
 1 who needed just 7.69 seconds at WD18?
 2 which myopic nightwatchman fell just eight short?
 3 which Servant, having acted the part, was elected in reality?
 4 where did a spiral slide add fun to the Holy and Undivided Trinity?
 5 whose famous embrace in Times Square has been remembered 73 years later?

18
Feb 20

King William’s College Kwizz 2019. FT Round 17

FT3 comments • 103 views

 1 where did Colonel Ross and the Inspector await the travellers?
 2 where did the duo alight when following up Cubitt’s conundrum?
 3 which little “halt-on-demand station” was used by the would-be anglers?
 4 from where in the Peak District had the prep school Principal obtained a return ticket?
 5 from where did they plan to take the 11:10 to investigate the death of the colonel of the Royal Munsters?