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Feb 04

Three Two Warzawa

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Three Two Warzawa: Mark Pytlik is an author and an ILM contributor and now he is a blogger too (it’s like critical food-chain Happy Families!). Hopefully his work will clear a bit and he can update more.

The Tofu Hut

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The Tofu Hut: Formally at least this is the best MP3 blog I’ve seen – conversational tone, good readable design, lots of info and links on each track. Currently up are some very tasty-looking African tunes, soul rarities and a bit of bluegrass. Like all MP3 blogs they get removed after a limited period.

There’s quite the little network of these things springing up now, and I seem to have caught the wave just as it’s swelling – PopNose is linked by a fair few of them and has become (in 3 weeks or so) the second most popular page on the site, even without a front-page link. Not surprising really, I’m giving away free stuff after all. (Not that it’s mine to give away, you might say, but I don’t feel too bad about that – at 64 kbps mono the MP3s are unburnable on some programs and are of a low enough quality to really actually be for the fabled ‘evaluation purposes’.)

Plus it’s very refreshing and entertaining doing it – like making a mix CD but without the pressure to make it flow, you can just shove any old thing up and as long as you give fair warning nobody’s worse off. And it takes the (self-imposed) pressure to theorise/think/write off too, which is just what I need at the moment.

My only concern is the potential audience numbers – Fluxblog (the daddy!) is getting some ridiculous level of traffic, which might be bandwidth-crushing if replicated on the Nose. And as more new MP3 blogs start up, more people discover them, use their links lists and the virtuous circle continues to expand. Like any ‘web phenomenon’ it’s likely to be written about, too, but this time the thinkpiece in the Guardian / Voice / Whatever is to be feared, since what will happen is that Matt Perpetua will get a slap on the wrist and a nice A & R job offer and the rest of us will vanish overnight! Enjoy it while it lasts, is I suppose what I’m saying.

(Oh and one more thing – PopNose has VOTING now on tracks, an idea we flagrantly stole from the GABBA boyz, who were (what did I tell you?) mentioned in an aside in this month’s Observer Music Monthly!)

Feb 04

Club Freaky Trigger

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Club Freaky Trigger is back on the 24th March. We haven’t got a flyer yet, it will be posted here in due course. The venue is the Chapel Bar in Islington, free entry, 4 hours of fine pop, etc etc. There are two especially good things about this Club FT though.

– it has a THEME! (Or a GIMMICK! you might say) The 24th March 2004 is also the 20th anniversary of the kids in The Breakfast Club doing detention. So the theme of Club FT is 80s vs 00s. DJs will be interpreting this however they want – in my case this is going to mean a track from the 80s next to its ‘equivalent’ from now. (Suggestions welcome of course.) It is also possible that some people will be wearing funny clothes.

– it’s the start of FT’s 5th Birthday celebrations, which will be bookended with 2 club nights (details of the second TBA) and will involve all sorts of online excitement. It’s also the day after my 31st birthday for what that’s worth.

See you there (I hope).

Feb 04

Here’s what I noticed

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Here’s what I noticed at the wedding disco I was at this Saturday: nobody knows how to dance to The Darkness but everybody wants to. Obviously the standard of dancing at wedding discos is not too high anyway, and there’s a lot of coming and going, but the floor was packed for The Darkness with people just, well, shuffling basically. Some people essayed an air guitar solo and were applauded.

Recent weddings I’d been to had made me wonder if the hegemony of THE SEVENTIES as dancefloor unifier was on the wane, thanks to Skool Disco etc., and now the Eighties (or that subset of them that gets played at wedding discos) would rule. I was wrong though. There’s something about classic disco music that seems to bring out the dancer in anyone – we all know that it’s difficult to do well but everyone thinks they can do it to a rudimentary standard. I don’t much like dancing to disco – I become very aware of my lack of rhythm, much more so than with more complicated musics where nobody else is doing it properly either – and singing along or striking poses is less fun too. Is it the ‘easiest’ music to dance to, though? And if not what is?

(It’s also interesting that at weddings older people love disco music too, the concept of disco has transmitted successfully up the agegroups as well as down, in a way that more recent dance musics just haven’t (yet). At my own wedding my Mum’s family decided to have a go at dancing to Missy Elliot. They didn’t precisely know what to do so settled – marvellously – on an eightsome reel!)

Feb 04

It’s 9:16 am, and I’m writing about last night’s Brit Awards

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It’s 9:16 am, and I’m writing about last night’s Brit Awards. Why are you telling us the time Jel? I hear you say, well it’s because I know that by the time I get to post on this NYLPM the Brits will have been discussed to death, and my points will be mute, but I have some things to say anyway:

a) I was very disappointed that every single band and singer thanked their management team. Whereas in US award shows everyone seems to thank God, over here it’s the management team, the stylist and the guy who does the bookings, sociologists would have field day. Just thank your parents, your friends and the fans, is what they should do, stop kissing backsides pop-stars!
b) There were three special collaborations during the show. The first wasn’t a collaboration at all, Andre 3000 did his song, then Beyonce did hers, there was limited interaction between the two. Then those two boring ‘jazz’ people (jazz should not involve singing, it’s be-bop or nothing in my house), well anyway they did “Love Cats”. The final special collaboration was Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Missy; my dog passed wind.
c) The naffest part of the night was the special news flash about 50 cent being arrested, and his subsequent interrogation down the local nick, luckily 50 and his buddies escape, but instead of doing a runner they go to the Brits. Seriously, the acting was sub-WWE, but 50 seems like a nice bloke, so I’m not holding it against him
d) Busted, for some bizarre reason played a turgid cover of Teenage Kicks, they should have played one of their own songs, as they are much better.
e) The best part of the night was Duran Duran, which isn’t usually the case with life time acchievement award performances. They played Hungry Like the Wolf, Ordinary Day and Wild Boys. I tried to convince my mum that the video to Wild Boys was one of the most iconic images of the ’80’s, especially the bit where Simon is on the windmill and is being dunked under water, but she didn’t remember it.
f) The Darkness played two songs.
g) The public loves Dido.
h) Some people won awards.
i) Cut to Will, cut to Gareth.

All in all, I was a little under-whelmed by this years show, no one got drunk, no one said anything silly, it was all rather sanitised.

Oh, it seems no one has mentioned the Brits here, so yeah, it really wasn’t all that great.

Feb 04

GREAT IDEA for P2P Users!

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GREAT IDEA for P2P Users! – Triggerist and good bloke Mike Daddino has a folder on soulseek called “Recommended Listening”. Cool, so do I. But what he’s done is replaced the track name with a little 50-character description eg “beloved r&b angel goes grimette and it sounds like freestyle.mp3” or “probably the prettiest post-punk song ever.mp3” or “i like this better than ‘no good advice’.mp3”. This adds to the anticipation of listening no end – it’s a terrific idea and I exhort you all to rip it off.

Vain attempt

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Vain attempt to demonstrate the pop supremacy of “Touchy!” by A-Ha (don’t forget the “!”, philistines!). A quick look at Amazon and other reviewish sites confirms my loneliness on this point – the reviews made miserable reading, it never ceases to depress me how keen pop fans are to see their heroes validated as ‘proper bands’. OK A-Ha were quite good at being a proper band (and still are – as the returned Fred would probably tell you) but fie on them if it means a rejection of froth and bounce in the process.

Feb 04

Dare You!

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Dare You!: I’m glad this ILM thread is getting going, I was a bit worried it would die a death, or just turn into people ‘daring’ people to listen to something they know the other would hate. I am not sure I’d have heard to any of the things I’ve been ‘dared’ to otherwise, and I’ve liked two of them (an anime soundtrack tune and a Derek Bailey “ballad”, if you don’t fancy wading through the thread) so far. And as for Casiotone and the Wonder Stuff? Well, it’s good to have my prejudices confirmed as well as baffled, sometimes.

Tyrone Davis and a genre’s 10th percentile

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Tyrone Davis and a genre’s 10th percentile

I was listening to a fine old soul twofer, Tyrone Davis’s Can I Change My Mind/Hold Back The Hands Of Time (a bargain at £5 from Fopp) and thinking of recommending it here, which I guess I’ve just done. He’s a terrific inger and the title tracks are great, but most of the rest is, in all conscience, nothing special, and the playing is often shaky, in that slightly out of tune way common in much Northern Soul. But I really enjoy it anyway, and I was thinking about how I still keep coming across really great singers and songs, new to me, despite a pretty extensive collection and knowledge in this area, and this got me thinking about what we mean when we say we like/love genreX.

I do cite vintage soul as my favourite genre, but do I really love my favourite records (say early Hi Al Green) so much more than my favourite easy listening jazz (late ’50s Louis Prima) or Britpop (Pulp), two genres I would never cite as favourites? There’s not so much in it. For me, it’s how much I love the second or third tier stuff. With soul, I guess I could cite someone like Joe Tex or Etta James there, both of whom I love deeply, whereas with britpop I don’t care very much about Supergrass, and with easy listening jazz I struggle to find another act to mention that I much like. I love country, and that extends beyond Hank and George and Merle to, say, Jimmy Dale Gilmore or Carl & Pearl Butler, but not so much further. But for soul – actually, let’s be more specific: for late ’60s deep southern soul, I’ve hardly heard a record I didn’t like enormously. Maybe when I say how much I like a genre I am measuring my reaction to the 10th or 30th or even 70th percentile (counting downwards in my quality ranking, if I had one) rather than the absolute peak of it. On this basis, I’d have to say that I love reggae more than punk for instance, even though I think more punk records would make my top 100, say.

I’m not sure what the point of this little item is, but there is something there that interests me greatly, so I thought I might as well try to express it.

Feb 04

Teaching The Indie Kids To Dance Again

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Teaching The Indie Kids To Dance Again is a new MP3 blog. A noble aim I’m sure – I recommend “Ay Ay Ay Ay Moosey” by Modern Romance. Anyway it seems to specialise in ‘punk-funk’ so check it out if you like that, or if you just enjoy squandering other people’s bandwidth.