That is all.
I like it when things are new, different and/or unusual. Sometimes, in a world where sheep follows sheep, you need something that is downright quirky. And they don’t get more quirky than Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra.
Their music reminds me of The Brave Little Toaster, but older and angrier and probably drunk. Whiling away his older years at the scrap yard. The reason for this is… LBO are no ordinary band. As you can guess from the title, they use bikes to make music with, amongst other ordinary household items. Their recently released album Nine Doors, is like Jazz on Prozac, played in an abandoned factory using instruments in the way that Blue Peter used fairy liquid bottles. On both occasions the result is unexpected, strangely enjoyable and definitely imaginative. It’s not the kind of thing you can play in the background and ignore whilst reading the latest Marian Keyes, but it will get you thinking about the nature of happiness, society, insanity and Marlon Brando. And for those who don’t give a shit about all that – you can enjoy it for the weirdness.
The whole album is available to download for free from Concrete Moniker site, an independent record label hell bent on getting the ordinary out of our ears.
There is a full review of Nine Doors here
Recently, a friend of mine went back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, 6 months after we both went last. I would have loved the opportunity to go back to the madness that is NOLA, but alas, it was not to be. In an effort to recreate my experiences I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Princess and the Frog, and re-read A Street Car named Desire. Even though I recognized parts of it, the familiar streets and houses, it was the music that truly transported me back. Disney, as usual, was right on the nail with the music in their new film. Despite what you think of the film itself, the music is great. They recreate all the great New Orleans sounds; Jazz, Blues, Zydeco, Cajun, Dixieland, you name it. Anyway, to get to the point, it made me seek out musicians that weren’t Louis Armstrong or Harry Connick Jr. So I present to you Sunpie Barnes…
I can’t get Johnny Cash’s cover of ‘Hurt’ out of my head. Such an incredible song, sung by an incredible man. It’s led me to listen to his other stuff again. On You Tube there are some great live duets with Cash playing with Bob Dylan. Joni Mitchell, and Willie Nelson amongst others. I especially suggest Ray Charles singing ‘Ring of Fire’ on The Johnny Cash show. Oh. My. God. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhGZdSkX6IM&feature=related
What does make me laugh though, is all the comments underneath, people arguing of which version of Hurt is best: the original, or the cover? Who cares? The words may be the same, but they are two very different songs. Trent Reznor even agrees;
‘I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure.’ Alternative Press #194. September 2004.
It goes to show that even the original artist can concede that a song is no longer theirs once it has entered the public arena, and made anew by someone else. Who’s to say that only original versions of songs are the best? Some of the best songs are covers. Look at what Jimi Hendrix did to ‘All Along the Watchtower’. Bob Dylan was the original, but Hendrix is the one to have captured imaginations with his version. No disrespect to Bob because I love him, but I have to say I prefer Jimi on this occasion.
I suppose it’s easy for fans to be precious about songs and musicians they love, but they should lighten up. Johnny Cash had no qualms about letting Ray Charles soulify one his songs, and Trent Reznor has no problems with Cash countrifying one of his.
Oh and Happy New Year!
Last week I had the honour of reviewing the Buffalo Riot. An awesome band by anyone’s standards. I saw them first all the way back in August and immediately I was blown away. In a scene so fraught with Oasis wannabes and The La’s repeats like a bad pork pie, these guys are a refreshing change from the usual Liverpool usual suspects. Don’t get me wrong there are loads of good bands that play in Liverpool Peter and the Wolf, The Hat Band, The Random Family. But sometimes it is hard to find someone truly original. When I do reviews, sometimes it’s hard to say what I need to say about them. They’re not bad. But they’re not that good either. There’s no originality, technically they perform well, and they know their arse end from an elbow of a guitar, but how can I say it? There’s nowt spesh. I suppose you need to kiss many frogs before you find a prince, and the same goes for music. Fuck. I can’t sing for shit, and I have no discernible music talent. I have a Music GCSE but that’s as far as it goes. So who am I to say? But I do know what I like, and I do like to think I have pretty good taste. Those years spent poring over Smash Hits and Top of the Pops magazine cannot have gone to waste. (Latterly Q and Kerrang) So when I say a band is good, I mean it. When I want to say a band is crap, I’m usually very diplomatic (as in life) so I give constructive criticism. As if I have the right. Ha. What I’m trying to say in my own little drunken way is that I’m very lucky to be given the opportunity to expound my opinions just because I know how to string a sentence together.
So back to The Buffs instead of my own neurotic shit. They played a great set last week and I suggest you check them out. http://www.myspace.com/thebuffaloriot
And if you would like to see the full review, catch it here www.guestlistmusic.com
See ya soon!
Hmm, well. I like to think of myself as having fairly good taste in music. You might disagree depending on what genre of music you’re into, but overall I think most people I know would agree with me. That doesn’t mean to say that I think I have perfect taste, far from it, I’m no music snob. Probably.
However, even I am shocked and dismayed about becoming obsessed with Haddaway’s ‘What is love?’ How the frig that happen? It started off as an innocent parody on you tube. A man dressed in a chicken suit, playing ‘What is Love?’ on the Pianica outside what looks like a train station. Watching this hilarious video led onto another parody, the Saturday Night Live sketch with Jim Carey and Will Ferrell. Watching Jim Carey’s rubber neck swinging in time to Haddaway did something to me. It compelled me to get up and dance, bop my head in time to Haddaway too. And now I can’t get it out of my head. Admitting I like the 90’s dance tune is almost like admitting I fancy Chevy Chase. A strange anomaly compared to the Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depps of the world. Yet it’s that very strangeness that gets me excited every time I hear those opening words sung with sultry tones and the strong rhythm of the synthesizer. It brings me back to when, as a tween, this music was unspeakably cool, and many a shape was thrown on the youth club disco floor. Roy the Milkman was one hell of a DJ. He played all the greats; Urban Cookie Collective, Corona, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners thrown in for good measure.
Does this mean I’m going through a 90’s dance music renaissance? I hope not. What’s next, Whigfield? I may have to cleanse my musical palate with a bit of Paul Simon. Right after 2 Unlimited.
Welcome to my new music blog! I’m fairly new to this blog malarkey, but I’m hoping it will improve with age. Like a fine wine. I’ll mostly be focussing on the Liverpool music scene, covering new and local bands but also chatting about music in general. I do reviews for guestlistmusic.com and I have covered bands such as Electric Six, The Magic Numbers and The Cribs, as well as many local bands. Jolly good they were too.
The name comes from a weird and beautiful piece of poetry from David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album. I was looking to reflect my love of music by naming the blog after a song, but I also wanted to chronicle the potential rise of some ‘Future Legends’. There are some very talented peoploids out there in Liverpool, so I don’t think it’s an impossible task.
But first things first. I want to get this out the way because it will bug me forever. I know everyone else has jumped on the Simon Cowell vs. Rage against the Machine bandwagon, but here goes. According to nearly every newspaper report, Simon reckons he has saved the Christmas Number 1 from the likes of Mr Blobby, Bob the Builder, Cliff Richard etc. Has he forgotten about Elvis, The Beatles, Queen, Slade, Pink Floyd? All had Christmas Number 1’s, all are flipping great. And yes granted, the last few years haven’t been too grand, but has this really been improved by Shane Ward’s ‘That’s my Goal’? Or Leona Lewis’ Sandals advert ‘A Moment like This’? Really? And butchering Leonard Cohen last year was just plain unforgivable. I’m prepared to write a very strongly worded letter if THAT ever happens again. At least I don’t give a shit about Miley Cyrus.
Others argue that the whole Rage against the Machine thing is purely academic. No matter who gets to number 1, ole Simon’s going to get his pay day. It doesn’t matter whether he gets his cash bonus from RATM or from Joe Whatsit. The important thing is that music shouldn’t be the predictable slumbering beast it has become. Nobody should be able to guarantee and make assumptions about what people like. That’s dictatorship. What will happen next year, or in 2 years? Joe Whatsit may be the fresh cog in Cowell’s twisted wheel, but how long will it take before he becomes a rusty spare part like Shame Ward. No, the best musicians have been original, unpredictable, wild. This is what has given the likes of Elvis, Queen and The Beatles their legend status.
The Facebook group that started all of this, now has some 800,000 members. Whether all of these people will actually buy ‘Killing in the Name of’ is irrelevant. I’m a member and I won’t buy it, I already have it, but it’s lovely to see Simon’s feathers ruffled. And if it introduces some new fans to RATM then great. What is really wonderful to see is a collective bunch of people band together to defy one man’s arrogance. Now that is democracy. Or as Tom Morello says “A wonderful dose of anarchy.” If you think you have the right to assume a guaranteed victory, then think again. Let it happen Simon, failure is good for the soul. I’m sure you’ll be crying all the way to the bank.
Right, I’m over it. The abuse of Leonard still smarts but I can salve that pain by listening to the real deal. And so onwards… Next week I will be covering the Buffalo Riot and support acts at the Masque, so will keep you posted on how that goes.
Chao for now.