Archive for March, 2008

Alcest

March 28, 2008

Jeez, I am cooking on gas tonight with my blogging.  Could be something to do with the fact that I have a whole tonne of proper work to do – the only proper response to this fact is to become immediately immersed in something entirely unrelated. 

I want to write about Alcest because I totally and utterly love the album from 2007 – Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde.  It is french shoe-gaze, with some post-rock influences.  Alcest is basically a one-man band comprised of Neige – he is one of those chaps who appears to play every instrument thus making everyone else who can barely master one feel like a talentless imbecile.  They are everywhere these days.  He has crafted an album which is just lovely, lovely, lovely, and manages to be definitely shoegaze without trying to sound like MBV (a totally fantastic thing to aim for, but everyone just ends up falling short and sounding really second rate – i’m thinking of Asobi Seksu and Blonde Redhead for starters (the odd great track aside).  If you ever read an interview with him – well, my advice is just don’t, because he sounds like a great big pretentious pseudo-intellectual doofus – reminded me of an Ulrich Schnuass interview actually (highly recommended Germanic electronic shoegaze for the uninitiated among you).  Must be something about being from mainland Europe – maybe it is more acceptable for musicians there to talk about their music being about ‘half remembered words and unspoken dreams’ etcetera etcetera.  Apparently Neige used to do ‘black metal’ (not entirely sure what that is) but then moved onto shoegaze without having ever heard MBV et al.  I have ordered an earlier EP out of interest, so my knowledge of black metal will soon be immense.   

Anyway, none of that gubbins should detract from the sheer beauty of the album.  Very seriously recommended.  If only he would play in the UK – I may suggest to Club AC30 (who do very good post-shoegaze gig nights in north london) that they should invite him over.   

 <object width=”425″ height=”355″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/hrOsHTKHQ4k&hl=en”></param><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/hrOsHTKHQ4k&hl=en” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” wmode=”transparent” width=”425″ height=”355″></embed></object>

Advertisements

The 64’s @ PUNK

March 28, 2008

Went to see this lot, who come from Hertfordshire I think, because my friend James’s friend Al (are you following) is the bass player.  Unfortunately, Al couldn’t play due to carpal tunnel problems, so they had someone else filling in.   James didn’t think they would be my cup of tea “too rock”, and he was largely right, but there was still much to enjoy.

Their music is a bit strange actually.  It is definitely ‘rock’.  The rock was quite cock.  Lots of guitar solos of the ‘is he playing the guitar or having a public wank’ variety (blushed as i typed that!).  This is never good in my book.  But someone in the band has a real pop sensibility and a good ear for a tune, and this kept things from ever getting too self-indulgent or macho.  I’ve heard far worse on the radio frankly.  At other times, the music veered towards metal – these were my favourite bits by far (i have often lamented heavy metal largely being done by complete misogynist twats with stupid lyrics.  I particularly love that thing the drums do in metal – is it where they have a double kick pedal? – i dunno, i am completely ignorant about such things – and the guitars make that kind of drilling noise.  Anyway, i digress.)  This mixing of diverse influences might make them more interesting, but it does give a bit of an uneven flavour.  I can imagine that this has contributed to them remaining unsigned, despite being very ‘tight’ (even with the stand-in bass player) and having good songs.  All the small indie and metal labels wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole because ultimately they are just too ‘rock’.  But they aren’t quite clearly ‘rock’ enough to interest the big boys (the sort who signed Stereophonics for example – don’t get me started).  And one couldn’t help thinking that this sort of music just isn’t really that popular anymore – the ‘fashionable’ mood of the moment definitely still lies with indie of The Libertines kind (don’t get me started on them either – I will just comment that they aren’t what i mean when i talk about ‘indie’, and have brought a lot of people onto the scene who i could quite easily live without.).  One of the other acts on – Baxter (stupid name – nearly called my dog that) – were much more in the trendy indie fashion with ‘hair styles’ and ‘cheekbones’ and ‘military coats’ in the style of Kasabian.  Can’t even remember the music.  No doubt they will be famous by next week.   

 Oh, and Dave the drummer of the 64’s was a huge Ride fan.  I want to know how he keeps his glasses on while playing. 

Can I just say that I absolutely hated PUNK as a venue.  Apparently it is very fashionable.  Bah!  It was very ‘west end’, lots of carefully ‘eclectic’ and ‘vintage’ chairs and sofas to sit on (nothing against eclectic or vintage you understand, i just really hated the feeling that they had been chosen by someone who would have bought elephants legs for stools if they thought they were currently fashionable), and these really annoying beaded curtain things that served no purpose except to give the place the air of a posh lap-dancing club.  The stage was tiny and low (any rockers getting carried away and doing exuberant jumping stood in grave danger of clouting themselves smartly on the head), the lay-out was long and narrow with sofas and chairs in awkward places, and the loos didn’t have clear signage because that just wouldn’t be cool or something.   And too many staff wandering around keeping an eye out for totally non-existent trouble.  Expensive too, but you expect that near Tottenham Court Road. 

ummm, hello then world….

March 28, 2008

This is my first go at a blog, and I don’t really know what I’m doing.  The vague idea is to write about music, because I go to a lot of gigs in London, and buy a lot of cd’s.  Why anyone else should give a hoot patoot about my opinion is open to debate.   I can’t promise not to occasionally go ‘off topic’ and yammer about random stuff.  Still, here goes nothing!