Friday, June 29, 2007
Chi Ga (from the Paralyzed EP)
I want to live in a Swedish garage. I mean, I don't know what kind of tools or cars they put into their garages in Sweden but something tells me it's not the Ikea furniture that boys like Mando Diao are feeding on when they rock on songs like Chi Ga.
Chi Ga - lasting only 1 minute 39 seconds - is a rollicking storm through motown charged 50s rock n roll. I also don't know what singer Björn Dixgård drinks in the morning but it sure as hell helps him sing a completely nonsensical song in a garbled thicker-than-gravy Swedish accent with so much conviction, you'd think Josephine Alhanko's life depended on it.
So what on earth is a Chi Ga anyway? Some say it's a girl's name. Well, she'd be a pretty unfortunate girl if that were so (that's before you factor in the fortune of having a Mando Diao bside named after you). Some say it's a play on the words "she got". Ya. Very beat poet of them.
But I know what Chi Ga stands for. It stands for Chimpanzee Gamma rays. You know those super-intelligent space monkeys out of whose eyes fire bolts of electromagnetic radiation? Too bad for you if you've never met one. I've met a few. They shot at me for days. That's why now I'm a five legged amphibian with razor-sharp claws.
Mando Diao - Chi Ga
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Because? You still want a "because"?
Robot Ate Me - A Pillow (from Good World)
The last album by Ryland Brouchard's uber-quirky outfit squished 17 tracks into 20 minutes. But the cutiepies of the world are rarely big, and this 90 second song will make you wish it came with inflatable cheeks to pinch all day.
Goodnight Electric - Am I Robot (from Goodnight Electric)
Indonesia's current buzz band don't care if you look good on the dance floor, just as long as your arms flail around like they're operated by cogs and wheels.
Autolux - Robots in the Garden (from Future Perfect)
If Autolux were a Transformer, it would be a bitchin' tractor, complete with grinding wheels and a leather-covered gearbox. And its robot equivalent would have a sexy-as-heck baritone.
Joe Satriani - One Robot's Dream (from Super Colossal)
Hey, what's a guitar shredder doing here? Well, you know a cooler 50 year old? Neither do I, so he stays.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Yeah I know, they're the poor man's Coldplay. And the singer doesn't even have a kid named after a fruit.
But for RM9.90, this could be Coldplay on Xanax for all I care. But hey, turns out after giving it a few spins around the ol deck, it spills a few decent cuts. The good ballads could just about get the hankies out. The bad ones could well be used in a Freddie Prinze movie. Go Junior.
Who is Freddie Prinze??? Ask your little sister. And if she doesn't know, shoot her. After that, you should shoot yourself for even being interested enough to ask in the first place.
Athlete - Chances (from Tourist)
Held On The Tips of Fingers
The conversation went something like this:
The Geek: Eh, Polar Bear!
The Geek: Here! (holding the album in his hand)
Pantsy: Oh. (continues browsing the bargain bin)
The Geek: Have you heard of them?
Pantsy: Errr, no.
The Geek: They're quite critically acclaimed right?
Pantsy: Really? Dunno.
The Geek: Hmm. Well, the cover is ugly. Too bad. (puts it back)
Yeah, it's one of those moments when our self-absorbed, taste-spotting radars failed us. Which is tragic, really, when you consider that we willingly passed up the 2005 Mercury Prize-nommed sophomore album by British post-jazz outfit Polar Bear (also hailed by Jazzwise mag as one of the "100 jazz albums that shook the world").
Our loss. Like their moniker, Polar Bear's music appears mystical and incomprehensible from afar, yet constant mingling promises a warm, cuddly experience. Drummer and front bear Sebastian Rochford has got that envious gift of genre-crossing songcraft, also held by fellow post-jazzers Jaga Jazzist (note: "post-jazz" has got to be the laziest genre ever coined). According to their MySpace, They've got a new album due this year. And if it pops up in another bargain bin somewhere on God's green earth, don't count on another daft conversation by us for it to be left there again.
Polar Bear - Balloon Tune (from upcoming yet-to-be-titled album)
Polar Bear - Fluffy (I Want You) (from Held On The Tips of Fingers)
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Above Us, A Clear Summer Sky
I first heard Muxu some months ago from a Junk mag compilation CD. At that point, I knew little about them, other than the fact that the song I heard ('Sunlight Through The Windowpane') was a delightful ball of blips and bloops. I didn't even know how to pronounce the name. Like, is it like "Mushu", that puny red dragon from Mulan? Or "Musu", the evil twin brother of susu?
So cue a few months later, and I've discovered that Muxu is not a red dragon, nor related to milk, but rather a pastel-tuned outfit consisting of two Malaysian dudes, Eu Seng and Huat Liang (the latter formerly the guitarist of Malaysian post-rock outfit Citizens of Ice-Cream, who we blogged about earlier). Their sound is not far from a merging of Album Leaf's delicate electronica with the lush, chiming atmospherics of Auburn Lull, all concocted within the digital confines of a snazzy laptop. All this, plus a strictly organic grasp for delicious melodies that gently pirouette into your head, sans the tutu but with as much grace and beauty. Perfect for a 3am session of wistful daydreaming.
Not that I do any daydreaming at that time, of course. I spend all my 3ams fighting pink dragons and flying kickass spaceships into planet Kobol. And the other day, I dreamt I was in a plane crash, and just as the plane was about to bash into a highway, I blasted it with my laser eyes and cleared a path so all the passengers could live. Plus, I was seated next to a hottie. Heck, even in my dreams I rock.
2. At Dawn
3. Sunlight Through The Windowpane
4. Is That You
5. Journey To The City
6. A Silver Lining
7. Mickingbird With A Pie (An Evening)
8. Saw You In The Nightfog
10. Counting The Sheeps
Nope, Ozzy's not in tow. This is Black Sabbath circa Dio. Yes, that other ancient god grand grand grand grandfather of even more ancient metal Ronnie James Dio will be handling frontman duties.
Held at Fort Canning Park, the show is the band's only stop in South East Asia so don't miss it because you never know when these guys will snag some far too young groupie bird and fly off to never never land.
Tickets are priced at S$145 S$125 and S$110
For more info, go here
Below is a Fourtet cover of a Sabbath classic.
Four Tet - Iron Man (from the Everything Comes and Goes compilation)
Friday, June 22, 2007
Nope, no customary Asian minority to appease the little Jap girls up East. But what we do have is a customary blonde bombshell in a short skirt to appease the computer gaming perverts. Ginger Reyes is Billy's new low end-loving muse.
Perhaps if he tried hard enough, Billy can just about write off the detestable sight of him dancing in some dingy disco in that holy wrath-inducing Zwan video.
Here's a track off the new Pumpkins record to keep the orange poison in you. Enjoy.
The Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula (from Zeitgeist)
And err ... it isn't exactly gob-smackingly shocking. Then again there may be other surprises yet to be announced. No big furry cat surprises other than the appearance of Bob Nanna (cornerstone of emo rock godfathers Braid and then later, Hey Mercedes) with his new project The City On Film and Aloha, band featuring drummer Cale Parks of one time Joan of Arc fame. You've already heard about Mercury Rev.
But the rest is as square as err ... square peaches? Not that we are complaining. We've got Plainsunset heading up the first day and Malaysia's own indie rock powerhouses They Will Kill Us All sitting pretty on an 8pm slot on Sunday.
What? You've never heard of square peaches? The type that come in square cans and are usually served to square people? Yeesh, you're sad man. I used to eat them everyday.
For more info, go here
The City On Film - Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd cover)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Village man (from Why does it always rain on me single)
More than half of the Travis catalogue is made up of b-sides. And if this music fan blog I visited as "research" for this piece is anything to go by, the scale tips at a whopping 54-49 ratio. Yes, that means that Fran Healy and his rainy mates spend more time working for the backend of their floppy singles than the warm glow of an LP's fame. One of the best of these b-sides happens to also be on their one of their most purchased singles.
Village man is a track off the Why does it always rain on me disc, and is one of those regularly voted by skinny pale boys with floppy hair as a top 20 best Travis number of all time. And of course, you have to trust the fans. Especially fans of Scottish bands. Or don't you know that Scottish music lovers get the absolute best music growing out of the shrubbery at their doorstep, which also explains why they all live on rolling hills? I wish I was a Scottish music fan. I'd get to share in the proud bloodline of bands like Jesus & Mary Chain, Belle & Sebastian, Gordan Strachan & the Hooped Pants and of course, Travis. All those rolling hills. And skirts. And village girls.
Travis - Village Man
Casual fans note: Village Man's lyrics contain a reference to Elton John's Rocket Man. But who's to say it was intended, right? Right?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The Velvet Underground and Nico
Price: 390 Baht
This one's not so much as cheap, as it being available for any affordable price whatsoever in this region.
390 Baht works out to about RM39.00. While there are certainly many things you can do with RM39.00 that doesn't involve buying an album with a Warholian banana on the cover, this also happens to be one of those albums that if you don't own, you get docked IQ points for.
So I feel heck of a smart now. In fact, I feel so smart now, I could go into a mathematics competition and delude myself into thinking that just because I know the answer to 2+2, it qualifies me to kick everybody's ass there.
Take that ye calculator munchers.
The Velvet Underground and Nico - Femme Fatale (from The Velvet Underground and Nico)
Morrissey - Seasick, Yet Still Docked (from Your Arsenal)
CocoRosie - The Sea is Calm (from Noah's Ark)
A Mantle The Sea - Blood (from A Mantle The Sea)
Seafood - Belt (from Surviving the Quiet)
Austin Lace - Ease Your Feet in the Sea (Belle and Sebastian cover)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Man is an independent contractor working on a shop being de-fitted in a mall. The store owners tell him that the main contractors have completely cut the electricity so he can go in and start working. So he works. And works. Like, forever. Then he sees a wire hanging from the ceiling so he gets himself an aluminium ladder and climbs it to do some clipping. They found him electrocuted to death. Poor man. This story reminded me of this:
Human League - Together In Electric Dreams
A biker gang (not pic) surrounds a man driving with his girlfriend. Man pulls into somewhere secluded and the car stalls. Bad luck. The motorbikers extract said couple from the car and proceed to (a) bash the guy into orange juice, and (b) rape the poor girl. Biker gangs suck ass. They caught them later, with chicks in the gang no less. Racketeering? Bah... This story reminded me of this:
Manic Street Preachers - Motorcycle Emptiness
Monday, June 18, 2007
Nevertheless, their reduced cultural relevance doesn't really hurt their overall ability to churn out soaring tunes of the guitar-crunching, hook-humping type. After gallivanting the California indie rock scene via a couple of EPs, American Art is the four-piece band's debut. And, based on evidence from the couple of tracks below, they've got the goods to go the distance (that is, assuming they don't keep getting their equipment stolen, as reportedly just happened on their promo tour).
But still, it is kinda weird that (according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia) this emo outfit got their name from a song by post-punkers Mission of Burma. Which kinda makes you wonder: say mum was punk, and dad was emo. That would like, make the kid... emunk! Genius.
Weatherbox - The Drugs
Weatherbox - Drop The Mike
Oh wait, no actually on his last trip he was talking about the abundance of pork. That dirty pig. Oh well.
Speaking of pork, here's Brand New Sunset, Thailand's oink rock ambassadors*.
Brand New Sunset - Jeremy Hartly (from Realistic)
*Confused reader asks, What's "oink rock"? Pirate answers, Y'know, the grunty kinda rock.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
The Cure were one of the bands to literally rewrite pop history by not bucking under the weight of cornball 80s pop, delivering such indie revered anthems such as 'In Between Days' and 'Lovesong' to those that preferred a little mascara with their pop.
And guess what, the band will be in Singapore on the 1st of August 2007 for a concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Yes you heard it right, and a day before Mercury Rev at that. So if you seriously want what I would equal to an absolute indie tantric orgasm, book both shows and end it with the three day Baybeats fest. If that doesn't wet your pants then you my friend, are musically gay.
Price of tickets are: SGD $178, $148, $188, $78. To book, go here.
The Cure - In Between Days (from Head On the Door)
The Cure - Boys Don't Cry (from Boys Don't Cry)
Friday, June 15, 2007
Seven Collar T-Shirt will be hosting an ambitious show tonight at The Actor's Studio Bangsar tonight from 8pm onwards. Tickets are priced as a rather steep RM37.00. Why? Cause they've got:
- a monkey choir,
- sultry back-up singers,
- male chicken dancers,
- mini orchestra, and
- midget break dancers
PS: Only two of the above are true. Guess which ones. The winner gets leftover fruitcake from Christmas and a peck on the cheek from all three Pirates. That is if you are a girl. If not, the fruitcake was supposed to be good.
Seven Collar T-Shirt - The Summary (from Drones)
So what better way to open this account than with the first b-side on the very first Oasis single, Oasis being perhaps one of the greatest b-side bands of our recent generation.
Take Me Away (from Supersonic single)
Take Me Away is a Noel Gallagher sung, Noel Gallagher written, Noel Gallagher played acoustic strut through what must have been a disgusting life working in construction sites and getting into one too many fights. Sure, it was only a matter of months before this gentle cry would be heard by over a hundred thousand people in a week, when the Supersonic single displaced Take That's Everything Changes on 11 April 1994 to become a UK number one single.
However, the arrogance and cocksure bravado of the a-side would act as a prototype, as Take Me Away would also be overshadowed in the coming years by a slew of more high-profile b-sides, eventually missing out on a spot in the Oasis b-side collection The Masterplan. But for good measure, this is as good an Oasis b-side as any other, and miles ahead of many an album filler.
Oasis - Take Me Away
Trivia: Take Me Away's chorus contains an Octopus' Garden reference in the lyric "i'd like to be / under the sea".
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So if you've taken a quick glance at our Pirates Playlist down the sidebar, you would probably have thought a couple of things to yourself. First, these stupid buggers must expect all (five) of their readers to have incredible eyesight, by putting up such pitifully small thumbnails. Second, what's with all that listing of classics by the likes of The Beach Boys, Jeff Buckley and Suede? Like, are these dudes a bunch of nostalgic grandpas?
The answer to the first thought is, well, err, gee...heheh. Dunno.
The answer to the second thought is, no, we're healthy, strapping young chaps, and still strapping and young and chappy (if not too healthy). The truth is, we've been on an "essentials" hunt in recent months.
Let me explain. You know when you were six, and your distant uncle would buy a packet of roast pork from some corner Chinatown shop every Sunday afternoon, and your family would crouch around that bag and pick at the pork with your fingers? And lick the grease off each one? And then you would squeal at your brother because he took the crunchiest piece that you were eyeing, but you couldn't get to because you still had another fatty piece in your mouth and your mom insisted you finish what's in your mouth first?
And, twentysomething years later, you wish you could revisit those days in all their splendour and squalor?
That's like us trying to hunt for our 'essential' albums of youth. And Massive Attack's Blue Lines is like that for me. It's the reason why I still have a soft spot for Zero 7. Or continue to actively dig through bargain bins to find a decently priced Boards of Canada album.
Yes, Massive Attack is bad for the heart—but good for the soul. A bit like roast pork.
Massive Attack - Hymn of the Big Wheel
Yes, other than being the androgynous front man of the now-defunct Britpop glam lords Suede, Brett Anderson (right) also has the distinction for being the only man in the world that had the audacity to date a girl that looked like him, Justine Frischmann (left) from Elastica. Freund's fringe-haired baby this one. There's a good 'which one's the boy and which one's the girl' joke in here somewhere.
The man's (girl's?) going to be in Singapore on Thursday 16th August 2007 for a solo concert at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre to promote his latest self titled solo album. But Suede nostalgics fret not as recent setlists show that classics such as 'Wild Ones' and 'Thrash' are on the setlist.
Go here for more details. Book now.
Here are some of my personal favorites from Brett's work with Suede:
Suede - The Chemistry Between Us (from Coming Up)
Suede - Still Life (from Dog Man Star)
Monday, June 11, 2007
- The French Open recently concluded. Predictably I might add. And like, what's with all those abstract camera angles? It's freakin' tennis, not the Louvre.
- I watched Paris, je t'aime. Brilliant in bits, decent in parts, overrated in whole.
- There was another story about Paris Hilton. Which, if I talked about, would make me more boring than her. Which no creature should aspire to become.
Peter Bjorn and John - Paris 2004
Sufjan Stevens - Free Man in Paris (Joni Mitchell cover)
CSS - Meeting Paris Hilton
Friday, June 8, 2007
What do you get when you cross Mogwai with Chinese New Year? A Chinese ghost festival, that's what. Okay, you could also get KL-based Citizens of Ice-Cream (COIC).
Of course the Mogwai I am supposed to be referrring to is the Glaswegian 10-legged sonic monster that single-handedly helped coin the term post-rock, and not the little munchkin that preceeds the Gremlins' evolutionary process. But then again, to be completely fair to COIC, their glassy take on post-rock is perhaps not quite in the same apartment block as Mogwai's white noise washes.
Combining the delay drenched guitar, a lazy BPM beat and sparkling keyboards isn't all that revolutionary. But COIC's incessant use of oriental hooks (the band was born out of the trenches of the local Chinese independent scene), provides them with that added mojoistic angle by which to prick attention.
Try the post punkish Interpol-sounding thump of 'Leave it to the Ants'. It's yummily good.
PS: 'Mogwai' means ghost in Cantonese.
1. The Last Emperor
2. Parks and Funerals
3. Those Who Walk in Chaos
4. Life is Short
5. Leave it to the Ants
6. The End
Raise the Pressure
Well this one's more than a couple of blocks away from Sumner and Marr's best work but it's a decent catch in a bargain bin.
Seemed like the marriage made in heaven when the feathery-voiced icon of New Order decided to hook up with the jingle jangle master of The Smiths. This particular set however has been accused of being overtly overcooked.
But alas it is a bit of an understatement. I mean this isn't anywhere near overcooked. You know what overcooked is? Overcooked is the time when I tried to cook a roast chicken but ended up with three chunks of stone. I am not sure what exactly happened but I am going with the magical alien theory. Yeah, the one where the slimy buggers traveled 100000000 light years just to turn the gas stove up and blink me to sleep. Absolute bastards, those.
Electronic - For You (from Raise the Pressure)
Thursday, June 7, 2007
But never mind the nature of the door gift; go buy! Early-bird tickets are S$68, available for booking at the Sistic website. Which incidentally, if you scan through the page, includes sentences like "Log on to www.baybeats.com.sg for read more about Mercury Rev." Hmm. For read more? Maybe they've already gotten a headstart on those shrooms.
Mercury Rev - Sweet Oddysee of a Cancer Cell T' Th' Center of Yer Heart
Mercury Rev - Good Times Ahead
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
England's propensity for churning out musical one-stop wonders is matched only by its ability to churn out one-stop footballers. Remember Kevin Richardson? Neither do I. Earned a cap in 1994 apparently.
Brighton's My Vitriol can at least claim to a single that charted #29 on the UK charts ('Grounded') and a persistent cult following. Rumors of a new album this year and sporadic festival appearances have of course made them less Richardson and more, Kevin Phillips perhaps.
Been tracking this one ever since I watched the band playing the delectable single 'Always Your Way' on a Channel[V] special. Happy as peaches in an ice-blended drink when I found this for a song in the 'Used' section of a popular Singaporean record store. This one's a shoegaze gem that incorporates the fury of Foo Fighters with the finer points of delay drenching. Really quite lovely stuff.
My Vitriol - Pieces (from Finelines)
Sure, the escalators are faster and the girls wear shorter skirts, and maybe there's a relationship between the two. Still, for most of the time, the three-storey HMV felt as local to me as Ah Kau's karaoke vcd shack.
That's why, to compensate for feeling like I was cheated of an out-of-Malaysia experience, I have to come home and spend one whole day listening to songs like this:
Vanessa Paradis - Ma petroleuse (from Atomik Circus OST)
French actress turned quasi-rock babe, known in the english speaking world as Mrs Johnny Depp, serves up a petrol-drenched guitar-driven turn on the ye ye genre.
Kent - Den doda vinkeln (from Du & Jag Doden)
Swedish veterans put away some of that furious riffing on this rock ballad of sorts. I'm no authority on the Swedish tongue, but something tells me this is not a song about gnomes.
Kahimi Karie - Por que te vas (from Girly)
If you think someone should tell Kahimi Karie that there's such a thing as too cute and too girly, then you're on your own. Japanese twee chick takes a break from her trilingual habits to whisper us this Spanish tune.
Yes. I've to listen to these songs. Otherwise, I won't be able to get this out of my system:
Speeding song (from the depths of a depraved mind)
So the first grand post of this MP3 blog was supposed to involve me waxing lyrical about the recent Anberlin/Copeland concert in Singapore over the weekend. It was a lushly imagined post, filled with dancing babies and suicidal possums.
It would have been all that, and maybe more, if we didn’t turn up almost an hour late for the gig. Which meant we missed opening acts MarchTwelve, Vertical Rush and The Fire Fight (yet another disappointment, as I was kinda eager to catch MarchTwelve), as well as half an hour of Copeland’s set.
It’s a long story as to why that happened, one that involves mistaken venues, muddled-up times and four Mos burgers (if you buy us another four, we might just tell it to you). But for the moment, we'll just say that we had to settle for three-and-a-half Copeland songs (still blissful) and a full Anberlin set (which included some dancing puppets). Oh well.
Copeland - Brightest (from Beneath Medicine Tree)
Copeland - You Have My Attention (from In Motion)
Copeland - I'm Safer in an Airplane (from Eat, Sleep, Repeat)
Anberlin - Love Song (The Cure cover, from Blueprints for the Blackmarket)
Concert pics (courtesy of wakemeup music):
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Yes, some would say the world needs another MP3 blog as much as it needs another war. But hey, if there wasn't some war during someone's lifetime, we'd never get to play with all those toy machine guns and wear all those camouflaged army clothes. Or push those mini toy tanks. Or spray iconic graffiti murals on some random wall...
Ok, I'm crapping. Like this blog will, in between moments where GenusFrog, The Geek and myself talk about music that we sway to. It's hard to say what to expect, because we're legendary for failing to meet expectations. But we will try. And where we fail, let's still make love, not war.