Life Just Bounces

...so don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Sunday, 31 May 2009

"Beans on toast... original Sunday roast!"

Photos by: su-lin, paulhammond, kirsty @ Flickr; William @ Safe to Eat; Maarten Hillebrandt

When it appeared on the Wordlab comp back in 2000, Blak Twang's "Masterchef Sandwich" was dismissed as a "terminally parochial" example of "why Brit-rap has remained underground for so long" by some clueless turdburger at the New Musical Express.

Needless to say, it's nothing of the sort; rather, the man Tony Rotton hooks up an ace bouncy Oompa-Loompas-on-steroids beat and drops punchlines both braggadocious and food-centred while also finding time to have a stern word with those in the UK scene that never seem to support the good stuff:
When hunger strikes and I'm on the mic I turn rappers to brunch
I'm like Gremlins after 12 in all-you-can-eat restaurants
Call me Gizmo. Comin' like piranhas in a fishbowl
Terrorisin' fishy wishy-washy rappers with kid flows

[...]

I never thought I'd hear myself say this
But certain DJs are responsible for all the fuckeries and the fakeness
Putting basic timewasters on the A-list of the playlist
But if it was down to me they'd be on some "no-luck-today" list
They've yammed so many calls they're constipated
That's why they find it hard to swallow when the proper shit gets defecated
I've never catered. What they know about spice-ness?
Their definition of Spice is a tart in a tight dress...
And anyway, who among us can really resist a song that proclaims "Sod Ainsley Harriott (sod him). Sod his recipes"?


mp3
: Blak Twang — "Masterchef Sandwich"

Friday, 29 May 2009

#6: Wavves – "Wavves" (Fuck It Tapes/Woodsist, 2008)

Wavves is a Californian noise-pop group consisting mainly of San Diegan Nathan Williams and completed by Ryan Ulsh when playing live (i'm not sure whether you pronounce that "waves", or to rhyme with "Chavez"). Apart from having a fucking dope taste in hip-hop (a topic which he seems to blog about more than i do these days, rather embarrassingly), Williams is most commonly to be found on the internet, getting compared to a cross between punk rock and The Beach Boys by legions of moist-undergarmented indie hacks.

You can kinda see where that description comes from, though it isn't going to survive the first 20-odd lazy journalistic iterations and, more to the point, it leaves a lot out. Personally i can't even find that much Brian Wilson (or really any surf) on Wavves, save for the surf-y titles and Williams' fondness for high-pitched woo-ooh harmonies.1 (Apparently they do like to sing about the beach, but i cannot verify this suggestion because of what seems like the sixteen different distortion pedals smothering my chance of hearing any of the words.)

The self-titled track and "Lover" best illustrate the Beach Boys/punk element, their coruscating guitars and frantic garage-rock drumming carrying swooning rushes of scuzzy melody. But on their (i'll call them "they" for the sake of argument) self-titled debut — first self-released on cassette, then reissued on vinyl by BK psyche-heads Woodsist — Wavves also mine a seam of classic noise-pop that includes the likes of Sebadoh, the Mary Chain and early-90s Sonic Yoof.

Photo by Robbie Butler; excerpted from Nathan Williams' blog @ here

Thus, "Space Raider" sounds like someone sweeping up at the end of the day in a factory that makes broken fluorescent strip lights and penny whistles. "Spaced Raider",2 meanwhile, could even be a fuzzed-up lo-fi rock descendant of The KLF's seminal Chill Out album, if all the synths had been replaced by tiers of keening, distant guitars. "Vermin" sees the band follow a calmer, more stripped-back garage-rock path a little like the respite offered by "Maps" on the first Yeah Yeah Yeahs record, and allowing Williams's tendency for space-soaked psyche tunes in the vein of Woodsist contemporaries Magic Lantern to shine through. "California Goth" even pleasingly recalls underrated Scouse perennials Clinic.

As mentioned, this lot/this guy/whatever is/are/whatever really tearing up the "blogosphere"3 at the present time (you know you've made it when you've generated your own backlash by Album #2); and while any hype gets more and more disconnected from reality the more people get involved in it, it's still gratifying that Wavves seem to have made it thus far solely by sounding like a pop band playing extremely loudly at the end of a wind tunnel during an air-raid.

You can catch Wavves @ the Paradiso on June 19, 2009, London's Luminere on June 22, or various other European spots on the surrounding days. Judging by how the tour is apparently going so far, it might be a spectacle worth witnessing for more than just their music.

— Originally writ for Amsterdam Event Guide.

1 The love of a good melody does not count as a similarity with the Beach Boys. A large amount of the world's great musical groups have used good melodies, not because the Beach Boys did it first, but because good melodies are just sort of innately... good.
2 Watch those titles, there is tricksy humour afoot. How else to explain "Intro Goth", "California Goth" and "Beach Goth"?

3 God i hate that fucking term.

New Germlin album "Thrash'r": listen & download now!

My prodigiously talented pal and former bandmate Joe — when he's not gearing up for a tour or album release for his group gay against you or performing shows or creating original compositions or mixtapes or remixing other artists as half of Ben Butler & Mousepad or blogging about any of the above, for that matter — is also occasionally known as Germlin.

His new album Thrash'r is available now on Bandcamp, where you can either stream it off t'site or download as either high-quality mp3 or a veritable embarrassment of other nerdy formats like Ogg, FLAC and ALAC.

i'm not massively familiar with Bandcamp, but it allows artists to distribute their music via the "pay-want-you-want" honour system method that the likes of Trent Reznor have recently been getting such fawning media coverage for employing, where You The Listener™ pay what you want for individual tracks or indeed the whole record. As you'd expect, i support bunging Joe some wedge to finance his devastating couscous habit and safely ensure the possibility of future musics.

Some tracks are familiar from appearances at various points on his MySpace player, while new ones feature guest spots from some-time collaborator Momus and Kania Tieffer amongst others. No doubt i'll do a proper review when i've had the chance to hear it a couple more times.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Stuff everyone else likes but i find a bit rubbish really #1

Title says it all: here's a sporadic review of things that everyone else i'th'world thinks are the Second Coming of Christ but which, conversely, i find about as desirable as the second coming of Gary Glitter.

This topic could end up having a lot of installments.

1. Shisha
Because it tastes like crap, possesses no discernible 'hit' (i.e.: point) of any kind whatsoever, and is basically beloved of people who want to look all boho but are too 'mature' or whatever to smoke properly. Go do some drugs. Or just buy a pack of cigarettes and stop living in denial that you're the fuckin' Dalai Lama or something.

2. Arrested Development
(The TV programme not the 90s hip-hop group). Everyone in the world without fail either loves this show or has never heard of it, including among the former plenty of my friends whose taste i otherwise respect and hold in great regard. Therefore i've concluded that it must be my poor taste that is stopping me from loving it, and not because the show is endlessly smug and nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is, wrings cheap laughs from stupid naming ("there's a character called George Michael? Isn't that that singer that had a wank in a toilet? HUR HUR HUR"), boasts a hideous cloying voiceover that smothers all the jokes like a leaden pillow, and still fails to avoid the saccharine American sitcom sentimentality tarpit that it thinks it's way too edgy and post-modern for.

3. Twitter
Partly because it's a lame Facebook with status updates and no other features whatsoever. Partly because this fact renders it useful only for endlessly promoting things. Partly because of the fact that none of its celebrity endorsers post anything that isn't the usual anodyne pre-vetted PR fare anyway. Partly because of its cutesy cloying Web 2.0 name and two new inane definitions of the word "tweet". But mostly for the pathetic way that, even among ostensibly serious journalists, the act of reading Stephen Fry's stupid social networking updates now somehow constitutes news-gathering. Er... what?

4. Charlie Brooker
Chris Morris Jr. only without the laughs. "Righteous indignation" as edgy as a spoon. Likes to come off as a sacred cow butcher but actually aims consistently at the most obvious targets (politicians, Big Brother, the stock market. Like, wow). (Also, this doesn't really have anything to do with it, but his Grauniad byline photo looks like Mark Kermode after someone's left him out on the radiator overnight.)

5. Burlesque
Specifically the Ludacris "neo-burlesque" movement, a.k.a stripping for middle-class girls with show poodle-esque pseudonyms (Mitzi le Blahblah, etc.) who would most likely turn up their noses at proper strippers as déclassé sex workers. But burlesque is "an art form", y'see, cuz it's more "cheeky" and "knowing".

Which i think translates to going on a night out and the next thing you know you've accidentally been sucked into a seaside postcard of the 1950s with a saucy vicar with his trousers round his ankles and a chubby girl in fishnets and novel-shaped nipple tassles is lurching seductively towards you. D.I.Y. exhibitionism with bonus Carry On Girls humour? Hmmm, might just pass on that one actually, cheers.

mp3: Naked City — "The Bitter and the Sweet"

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour archive

Just stumbled on this site, which hosts an archive of each show of the three series of Bob Dylan's marvellous Theme Time Radio Hour show on XM Radio, 100 episodes in total.

Now apparently finished, the show would find our drawling host programming an hour of songs on the week's topic de semaine, accompanied by Dylan's own reflections and recollections — "he's liable to quote a poem, give tips on hanging drywall, pass along a recipe", observes Linton Weeks of the Washington Post — as well as gems of trivia about the frequently obscure artists he featured.

Here's four of my favourites from TTRH. It's unlikely i'd have heard a couple of these at all if not for the show. These tracks are from just two shows: drinking (season 1, programme 3) and dogs (season 1, programme 16), which is a pretty good indicator that just about every show has at least one absolute gem of a record you won't know and which you will subsequently treasure.

Lonnie the Cat, a former singer in Ike Turner's group, offers what might be recorded history's least convincing ever claim to sobriety; Calypso King Mighty Sparrow tenderly eulogises canine pioneer Laika (not the band) and her often-overlooked role in Soviet space dominance; Rufus Thomas, half of whose songs seem to be about dogs anyway, issues an ultimatum Stax-style to his non-pet-friendly lover; and Johnny Tyler & His Riders of the Rio Grande use the 2-and-a-half minutes of drunken reprobate anthem "It Ain't Far to the Bar" to throw everything they can think of at the wall and sees what sticks.

Links to downloads of the full Dylan shows as mp3 files, as well as individual-track versions of same, are available down the left-hand side of the site.

mp3
: Lonnie the Cat — "I Ain't Drunk"
mp3: Mighty Sparrow — "Russian Satellite"
mp3: Rufus Thomas — "Stop Kickin' My Dog Around"
mp3: Johnny Tyler & His Riders of the Rio Grande — "It Ain't Far to the Bar"

Friday, 22 May 2009

YouTube shenanigans: part 1 (beating the system)

Despite the obviously ridiculous assertion that The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like" is "terrible" (especially given that the writer in question also uploaded test songs by the pukey likes of Yes and Atreyu)1, this is nonetheless a pretty interesting piece by Scott Smitelli of the Rochester Institute of Technology, about YouTube's new-fangled Content Identification software, which is intended to flag up audio files users have "illegally" used in videos they've uploaded.

The user took the aforementioned Waitresses song and mashed it up in over eighty different ways to see if they could get it past the 'Tube's audio fingerprinters (ending up successful with quite a lot of them.)

This may not be particularly surprising, but there's a positive correlation between your chances of getting one past the software and the amount the track ends up sounding like Merzbow.2

MP3: Merzbow — "Asagaya in Rain"

1
And the erroneous description of them as a "one-hit wonder group". So what about "Christmas Wrapping", then, eh? EH?
2 This is the second post this month in which i have displayed an animated gif of a shifting waveform, and both of them have also mentioned Merzbow. Hard to say if this is coincidence, and if so, if it's benevolent or sinister. Comment if you've an answer.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Superlative song title time

Sparks' new single is about how the object of the singer's affections won't look twice at him because, for her, at least, his personal qualities don't hold a candle to those of smarmy indie onanist Morrissey. Rather excellently, they have titled this song "Lighten Up, Morrissey".

Furthermore, it comes with a neat video wherein a troupe of dancers do their "Let Forever Be"/"Come to Daddy"–esque thing with the self-satisfied Salford saddo's visage superimposed over their own.1


i'm sorry, but i have to dwell on that one a bit. The guy doesn't match up to Morrissey? He must be pretty damn useless. But i suppose there are enough dubious-taste-possessing indie girls out there to make it a feasible situation.

Such a Morrissey fixation in a woman wouldn't be as much of a relationship dealbreaker as, say, fundamentalist religious tendencies or enjoying the radio programmes of Chris Moyles, but it can't be far behind. Life Just Bounces' advice would be: sever, then find yourself a hot young Faith No More fan instead!2


1 It's just possible this isn't the real Morrissey's face.
2 It's just possible this isn't the real video for "Something for the Girl with Everything".

Monday, 11 May 2009

Fantasy reissues: Blue Note does Wu-Tang

Logan Walters is an American designer/illustrator, and like most right-thinking people, he loves Wu-Tang and Blue Note Records. But being one of those finickity visual/aesthetic types, he has some issues with Wu-Tang sleeve design. Explains Logan:
A little while ago I put a bunch of Wu-Tang (both group and solo) albums on my computer. 21 of them, in fact. I inherited some mild OCD from my mom, and as anyone who has seen my iTunes can attest to, it manifests itself in weird ways. I need to have decent-quality album art for every album on my computer, which currently equals over 90 gigs. The problem was that almost all of the Wu-Tang album art was horrible (ODB's two albums being the only real exceptions) -- no offense to the original designers, but as iconic as they might be they're looking pretty dated these days.
So what does an enterprising and mildly OCD designer/illustrator do about such a thorny problem? Why, he remakes the covers in question in the style of Blue Note covers, of course!




Not sure i agree entirely with Logan's contention about the original covers looking dated and horrible – the likes of ...36 Chambers still resonate with the weird, outlandish sense of danger you got on first viewing, ...Cuban Linx is an iconic classic, and even the later likes of GZA's Beneath the Surface have their own quiet charm.

But there's no denying the class that those old Reid Miles covers drip with, nor the ace hat-tips Walters deploys in the likes of his Return to the 36 Chambers sleeve (above, and fantastic whether you rate the original cover or not). Some of the more uninspiring Wu covers such as Forever (above) are improvements, and it doesn't seem like it'll be hard for Logan to improve on the frankly pretty rubbish likes of Tical 2000: Judgement Day (incidentally the next one on his hitlist, him being up to Cappa's The Pillage as i write).

Also, for some odd reason the redesign of Ghost's Ironman puts me in mind more than anything of Drowningman's Still Loves You (and therefore the Hydra Head aesthetic) than anything else, but then again, maybe Aaron Turner's a Blue Note fan too.

— Keep up with Logan's ongoing Wu-quest at his Flickr page.

Oingo Boingo — "Little Girls" (remaster)

My pal Andy from Out From Animals wanted to demonstrate to me the peculiar genius of Oingo Boingo, so he remastered "Little Girls", the opening track from their first album Only A Lad, and to his ears their best song.

Says Andy:
I remastered this myself as the original song didn't have enough kick.

It's
Danny Elfman's band and this song is from 1980. He also did the voice for Jack Skeleton and wrote all the songs for A Nightmare Before Christmas. So just imagine Jack Skeleton singing about being a paedophile 80s style!
About being a whatnow? Yes, indeed... quoth Allmusic:
It's probably a good thing that this particular Oingo Boingo collection never reached too high a level of prominence, though, because the lyrical content of Only a Lad could have landed them in serious hot water. Although never vulgar, the album brazenly shuffles through taboos without compunction, writing from a pedophile's point of view in "Little Girls," not-so-clandestinely discussing masturbation in "Nasty Habits," and generally adopting a socially whimsical and irreverent attitude.
(They've also got one called "Capitalism", a kind of Republican swipe at the same collegiate anarchist types targetted on the DKs' "Holiday in Cambodia" (and named one of National Review's 50 greatest conservative rock songs), which includes damningly hilarious lines like "I'm so tired of hearing you whine / about the revolution / bringin' down the rich / When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby!" and "You’re just a middle class, socialist brat / from a suburban family and you never really had to work / and you tell me that we've got to get back / to the struggling masses (whoever they are) / You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain / Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain", sentiments which in certain cultural sectors are undoubtedly more taboo than either public masturbation or lusting after minors.)

i'd actually been eager to check out Oingo Boingo for a while anyway, and had coincidentally been listening to Only A Lad after my curiosity was finally piqued enough by the discovery on Spodify of last year's compilation oddity Nightmare Revisited, a cover album of the entire Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack featuring a couple of re-recordings by Mr Elfman himself. Only A Lad's most noticeable parallel for me was the recurring hint of a US slant on what Cardiacs were doing in the late-70s/early-80s.

It certainly makes sense that OB were "a semi-theatrical music/comedy troupe" before they were a band, performing everything from Cab Calloway covers to Russian ballet music to Balinese gamelan instrumentals, sometimes with up to 15 band members handling 30 instruments, some of which were hand-built; and the New Wave and ska leanings have got some parallels to the likes of "In a City Lining" or "The Breakfast Line" off A Little Man and A House and the Whole World Window, especially when you factor in the turn-on-a-sixpence time changes and excursions into modern classical and jazz territories. By way of comparison (as if we really need any excuses to throw up a Cardiacs video on here), here's the stone-cold classic "R.E.S.".


Oh, and speaking (tangentially) of things not having enough kick, does anyone else think The Loudness War would be a great name for a band? Their sound would be somewhere between Black Flag in their sludgy metal phase and Merzbow maybe.


MP3: Oingo Boingo — "Little Girls (remaster)"

Praise for my face

Benladen says:

btw i always glance at that picture of you on your blog and think you are an old lady okay sorry i dont mean this disparagingly but like its just the truth


I can actually kind of see his point, a bit. But i quite like this now.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Ben Butler & Mousepad - "Infinite Capacity (for Love)" (plus Dolby Anol edit)

A little late, but i was in Southern France on a steam-powered mobile when it came out - but some more awesome shenanigans here involving Joe from gay against you/Germlin1/Ben Butler & Mouse Pad. It is under this last alias that this one's going to be released, and with any luck it's coming out on tigerbass (a subsidiary of the redoubtable tigerbeat6) later in the year. Guest vocals are from the excellently-named The Niallist.

For the bonus round, a remix of same by tigerbass dwellers and "acid-electro fiends" Dolby Anol, composed of one member of Danananananananaykroyd (got no idea when to stop with that word) and one louche-yet-ever-so-slightly-sinister synth wunderkind, in the form of Graham Peel, who once played a entire keyboard solo for an old group of ours while standing on one leg, with one of his arms under his leg as if for emphasis, the odd lad.




MP3: Ben Butler & Mousepad feat. The Niallist – "Infinite Capacity (for Love)"
MP3: Ben Butler & Mousepad – "Infinite Capacity (for Love) (Dolby Anol edit)"



1 Well, he's not really "from" Germlin so much as he "is" him.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

"Blues for Wingus": Desert Island Dicks pay tribute to a fallen comrade

A track composed by the Desert Island Dicks in memory of their late friend Ingus Lovecharts (“Wingus”), taken from this world in the year of our Lord 2009, upon the day of April 20th, a Monday, for reasons still never disclosed.



Recquiescat in pace, cāre homō sonitūs.

"Blues for Wingus"