Thursday, August 31, 2006

Watch Your Language, Young Man

Not gonna be able to post much for the next week as i'm back up in Nottingham to do some resits, which i stupidly failed at Christmas. Hopefully try and get a Friday face-off out tomorrow but can't promise anything.

Anyway Ben Kweller's "One Minute Pop Song" episode 5 was put up on tuesday and this week, Ben chats about his tour manager and his tour managers, so if you wanna hear about that take a look. Its quite funny seeing Ben laughing so much about not much, makes me smile. But Ben watch your language, such obscenities!!!

Ben Kweller - Lollipop

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tilly And The Wall @ The Buffalo Bar

This last minute, warm-up gig for Tilly And The Wall's Carling Weekend shows popped up only a couple of days before the show so i eagerly rushed to get a ticket or two, especially as they cancelled their library, which was meant to be on the same evening.
The Buffalo Bar was pretty heaving even before the support acts had taken the stage, its a pretty small, basement-like space but still it was busy. The supports were your usual not-that-great background music sort of bands, except for the last band, who were really fun. I think they were called The Grave Architects and their last song was a rapping, dancey delight. Got the crowd moving.

Tilly entered stage right, clapping, stomping and singing something about London city and boobies and titties, the smile on my face immediately broaden from the excited grin that was already there. They opened, after some forgetfulness from Kianna about which song they were playing (cue girlie giggles) with their new single, Rainbows In The Dark. The band exude so much energy on stage, the majority of it coming from tap-dancer Jamie, who hardly has a second's break from stomping and waving her arms throughout the whole performance, but the other Tillies join in with some joyous "Woooooo"ing and stomping, which adds so much to the overall fun.

Their set comprises of almost all the songs you could want, from old ones like Reckless and Fell Down The Stairs to a whole bunch of the new album. It was encouraging to hear the newer songs fitting so well into the set, as last time i saw them, only Bad Education asserted as much presence as the old songs but now that and all the others seem right at home on stage. The sound, unfortunately, didn't help any of the songs. It seems the getting the mixing right for this band is tricky, both times i've seen them it hasn't been right, this time the guitar and keyboard were so quiet, overpowered by the brute force of tap-dancing and singing, but i suppose they're the two main reasons you go to see Tilly live, to see the tap-dancing and to sing along to some wonderful tunes.

The set ended and the obvious encore occured (sometimes i wonder why bands even leave the stage). Starting with Pictures Of Houses from the Woo! ep, which i hadn't heard before but really liked then finishing unsurprisingly on Night Of The Living Dead, the crowd went crazy, the girl in front of me went wild, arms flailing everywhere, its such a good, raucous, shouty way to end an evening. It was a shame that they didn't have time to play one more coz they hadn't played The Ice Storm... which was incredible last time i saw them but i suppose you can't get everything and it was past midnight by that time. My trip home on the tube was very merry indeed.

Tilly And The Wall - Fell Down The Stairs
Tilly And The Wall - Rainbows In the Dark

I also found some live tracks on Lullabyes, which are great, definately worth a look, here's a couple:

Tilly And The Wall - Fuck Yea
Tilly And The Wall - Bad Education

p.s. cheers to lornethomson from the Tilly livejournal for the photos, they're awesome!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Face-Off : Round 2

This week's face-off is all about music of the short variety, yes thats right kids the songs featured today are both a minute and a half long or less. Short music is great, its usually energetic and gets straight to the point, as the artist doesn't have the luxury of time-wasting and it also takes no time at all to upload, which gives me more time to other things.

First up this week is Neb

Minor Threat - Out Of Step (1:20)

Many, many, many Minor Threat songs to pick from. This song is so straight edge that its hurts, not automatically a good thing but with these guys it works (so they weren't as good as Rites Of Spring). Kick-ass punk rock. Frustratingly there are so many good songs between 91 and 100 seconds long, especially when you pick one and are very pleased until you realised you misread the timer and its actually 1 second too long, grrrr.

Next up, its Tim

Nofx - Monosyllabic Girl (0:56)

Ahhh this song takes me back. Its a pretty stupid song, but thats the sort of band Nofx are, lots of palm-muting and some daft lyrics. The reason this song is so good is that it contains such a long word in such a short song, don't think many other bands could do that. Also monosyllabic isn't monosyllabic, now thats odd

So which do you prefer? Which is the better short song? Only you can decide so get voting

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cursive @ King's College Student Union

(Photo not from Kings College gig, from elsewhere)

Cursive are a tough band to pigeon-hole, either the music's so diverse over a whole album that its hard to catagorise or that from album to album, their style changes so generalisation is a tricky business. From the dissonant, angular guitar work of Domestica, to the lyrically amazing, technucally brilliant and cello-ladened The Ugly Organ, now comes the cabaret-esque, bombastic, horn-filled follow-up.
I wish i could use so many adjective to describe the support act that performed tonight's headliners but all i can think of is the word average. They were, averagely good, averagely talented, were averagely energetic and were averagely good looking, so i stop talking about them and get on to more important matters.
Tonight, the release night of Cursive's new album Happy Hollow, Tim Kasher and co were accompanied by a three piece horn section and a new cellist, as they are now post-Gretta. There seemed to be a real buzz about the venue, alot of people had waited long and travelled far for this event, you could sense it was going to be special. First of all the hit us with a new one, full of brass but with still that angular guitar and seething lyrics that is so Cursive. The set was full of oldies and newies that the adoring crowd just lapped up, Sink To The Beat and A Radiator Hums had us scream and dancing along, as did all the Ugly Organ tracks they play (i particularly enjoyed The Recluse when the brass section all joined in on shakers). The new tracks went down equally as well, single Dorothy At Forty was a blast with its triumphant horns that filled the room and Bad Sects,full of melodrama and a dancable groove, contain some razor-sharp Kasher lyrics. Tonight, the front man wasn't that interactive with crowd, only stopped for a few words here and there and letting other guitarist, Ted Stevens, take over the singing duties sometimes. But when the songs were in flow, Kasher was on fire.
The main set ended on A Gentleman Caller, with its quite sing-alongable ending then they return for their quite obvious encore, Staring with quite an instrumental song, Kasher then lead a teasing opening to The Martyr, which sent the crowd crazy, so crazee in fact that Neb ended up shouting out the line Your tears are only alibis a little bit too loudly, especially when he came in too early. Set closer, Big Bang, is a perfect example of what i've heard off the new record, loud and brassy with some of the most intelligent lyrics i've heard from Kasher's mouth, my favourite line bring In this world of entropy, why can't we just simply be, which is pretty good physics and a good message.
They left us wanting more, shouts for Sierra and The Lament For A Pretty Baby were heard as they left the stage, but i guess thats what all good artists do.
Sorry for such a lame review, i'll try better next time, just i'm a lil bit drunk at the moment

Cursive - A Radiator Hums
Cursive - The Recluse
Cursive - Big Bang

New album is out now, get it here

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just A Quick One

coz i'm pretty tired and i want to watch a couple of Earthworm Jims before i hit the sack. Cursive review is hopefully coming tomorrow, if i can get my arse in gear and get round to writing it. Ummm what was i gonna say... oh yeh this week's "One Minute Pop Song" is out and features BK reminiscing about early music lessons and then give us one of his own so everyone should be able to play a simple drum beat now.

Also Ben is releasing an ep next week, in build-up for the release of his full length later on in September. Entitled Sundress Ep, it features a couple of tracks off the album with a few rarities thrown in. You can pre-order it from here

Ben Kweller - Sundress

Earthworm Jim Theme Tune

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Look What I Found!

Haven't started write a review for the Cursive last night, so i thought i'd inform you about a few little ditties i found on my trawl through the web, i mainly found podcasts but they are pretty cool ones.

The first one is Contrast, you've probably heard of it, its had quite a lot of attention. Organised by the guy from The Face Of Today, the podcast takes a different theme each time and members of the blog-o-sphere send in songs, related to the theme, and a spoken intro and once they've got an hour's worth of material, release it. Its a really interesting idea and works really well, i may even try and participate myself next time. So far themes have ranged from songs you liked when you were 16 and Beatles' covers to instrumental tracks and songs related to books but check it out for yourself.

Next up is Its A Frog's Life, an acoustic podcast from Graham in Liverpool. It features some really great musicians from all over the UK. Now on his third broadcast, Graham's laid-back and endearing chatter between songs is getting more and more assured with each show and the podcast is expanding and hopefully will keep on growing. In the latest one, there is a competition to win the new Rachael Dadd cd, who i've blogged about a few times and is amazing, but you'll have to give the podcast a listen if you wanna be in with a chance of winning

And finally there's Bitjobs For The Masses, which i mentioned last week due to the gig it was putting on. Bitjobs... focuses on independent and unsigned British artists and gives them the airplay and time that they deserve. Now on its 150th show, it is helping to spread the word about some great, unheard-of talent that is just sitting there waiting to see snapped up. Now with it spreading onto gigs, the future looks bright for Bitjobs.

ummmm don't really know what songs to post now so here's a few i've got into recently:
Emmy The Great - Paper Trails
Idyllists - Chloe
Peter Bjorn And John - Young Folks
Beastie Boys - Root Down

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Snakes On A Plane!!!

After the months of internet hype and the recent media buzz around this film, there's not much i can tell you which you don't already know, except, maybe, the fact that Snakes On A Plane is "muthafucking" awesome. I was already a convert before entering the cinema but after sitting, enthralled, by this badly acted but stoopidly entertaining and funny movie, i have to say that it was one of the best cinema experiences of the year, maybe one of the best i've ever had. There's so many great (great/cheesy, there's a fine line) lines or scenes to get caught up in (particular body parts getting munched was a favourite) and none of the other, mainly disappointing, summer blockbusters have left me with that big a grin on my face. I'm still coming down off the high.
Samuel L. is the main man throughout, you can see in his face he was loving every minute of making this film, and the supporting cast is full of familar faces, Kenan (of Kenan and Kel fame), Dick from High Fidelty, that girl from ER and the girl, who played Cher in Clueless-the TV series, who all play their helpless, 1-D selves with vigour of any good B-movie star
Definately, definately go and see this film, sooner rather than later coz the audience has as much to do with the experience as the film itself so that when you're drunkenly watching it on dvd in a few months you can relive the experience over and over again
And remember kids, videogames can save lives

Snakes On A Plane (Bring It) - Cobra Starship

Ophidiophobia - Cee-lo

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This Is A State Of National Emergency

I love zombie films. They're just so badly made and stupid but the shoddiness endears them to me. I love the fake blood, the always pathetic blonde girl and the way the characters always seem to do the stupidest things, which usually ends up with them getting munched.
We just had a zombified night round my house with some friends. Played the boardgame Zombies! while watching the original Dawn Of The Dead, it was awesome. My friends thought the black guy in it was Laurence Fishburne but it so isn't. I'm sure its the guy in Final Destination who they meet in the morgue, I'm sure!!
To celebrate my love for all things Zombie, here's a few fleshing-eating tunes:
Jeffrey Lewis - If You Shoot The Head You Kill The Ghoul
Two Wooden Spoons - Zombie Jambouree
Tilly And The Wall - Night Of The Living Dead
Send More Paramedics - Nothing Tastes Like This (mmmm zombie-core!!)

p.s. That Tilly And The Wall/Absentee gig in a library that i mentioned has been cancelled. Refunds can be received at the info desk in the library
p.p.s. If you haven't already vote on the Friday Face-off, see the post below for details!!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Face-Off : Round 1

A new, and hopefully regular, feature here at funfunfun, The Friday Face-Off. Basically Neb and i both pick a song, chosen around a pre-determined theme. write a bit of blurb about it and you, the reader, have to choose a winner by the method of voting, so just leave a quick comment please.
This week's theme was a song for getting ready for the weekend/friday night, so i hope these songs get you ready for tonight's antics, whatever they are. And please vote otherwise this won't work.

So in the red corner is Tim 'Termintor' Murray

RockNRoll Motherfucker - The D4

Want to get in the mood for going out on a friday night? Just stick this track on and just over two minutes later, you'll be ready. Its a song that will make you jump around your bedroom, spilling your bottle of beer everywhere while you shout along and play some awesome air guitar. With the mexican-esque woah at the start and the x-ray vision sound effect, this song is fast, raw, dirty, energetic, fun, contains swear words and doesn't end with you throwing up down an alley or pulling an ugly bird, which pretty much describes a perfect friday night bender anyway.

And in the blue corner, Neb 'Never Lost A Battle' Weddell

I Am The Mob - Catatonia

Everyone's gotta love a good flashback to start the weekend. Awesome friday night tune, clearly the happiest ong ever to reference the mafia. Also has a kick-ass refrain about sleeping with the fishes along with one of the greatest opening lines in music history. If this doesn't make you smile and want to take a break from desperately trying to find some clean socks and dance about your room for 3 minutes, I don't know what will. Now all together, "I PUT HORSES HEADS IN PEOPLE'S BEDS COZ I AM THE MOB..."
(p.s. You know winning this would really put the icing on Cerys Matthews triumphant comeback, do it for Cerys dammit!)

So there you are, two great songs but only one can win and its up to you. You've got til midday on monday, so all the weekend, to make your opinion known so do it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back From The 'Burgh

Got back from Edinburgh yesterday, having been to the Fringe for a couple of days. Saw some odd, some very good, some very bad and some very funny acts and plays, saw a arty, awful, phallic- filled version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, a jaw-dropping and hilarious play, Black Watch, about a Scottish regiment in Iraq, some Punk Science, a odd but utterly hilarious sketch show and some great stand-up comedians. Edinburgh is literally buzzing 24 hours a day during festival time and its almost worth going up and not seeing any shows, just to get caught up in the atmosphere of it all. Its truelly marvellous.
While I've been away, the new One Minute Pop Song with Ben Kweller has been released. Episode 3 features Ben rated himself, technically, on his ability to play different instruments and then talking about what makes a good musician.

Here's a few songs to accompany my Scottish experience:
Belle And Sebastian - Funny Little Frog
Idlewild - When I Argue I See Shapes
Ivor Cutler - I Believe In Bugs

Friday, August 11, 2006

These Arms Are Snakes + Pre + Meet Me In St. Louis @ The Underworld

I'd like you all to meet the newest, and only other, member of the funfunfun team. Everyone say hello to Neb (*hello neb!). He's very cuddly and has very nicely contributed this wonderfully written review of the These Arms Are Snakes gig that we both attended earlier in the week, which was an incredibly good night, but i'll let Neb tell you all about it.

How is it possible to open for These Arms Are Snakes? No matter how hard you try or how well you deliver you're facing a more than possible fate of being little more than a footnote in the event. Both PRE and Meet Me in St Louis avoid this pitfall in contrasting styles. Despite battling with an unhelpfully muddy sound throughout, Meet Me in St Louis open with a set of post-hardcore tinged with american indie impressive in it's potential. Jittering with growing confidence between frantic and tightly controlled passages, they take a few songs to fully hit their stride, with complex songs appearing a little disjointed and an impression that MMISL are trying a little too hard. After this however their many ideas crammed into their songs begin to flow more seemlessly and with growing energy, driven by a superb drummer the Guilford quartet are definately worth checking out.

PRE take a slightly alternate route to entertaining the filling stage area, namely going totally mental. With a small japanese frontwoman wearing just a baggy t-shirt ("hang on are they tucked into her pants?", "yup", ".... cool") all the while emitting high pitched yelps, and a guitarist running havoc across the stage assaulting other band members and hurling himself into the drum kit as a climax. It's easy to forget that there's songs being played here, that at times befit the antics that accompany them, a bit too easy to be honest. At times PRE's two basses and a guitar attack (and attack is the right word) sounds huge, but this unfortunately also highlights more numerous the moments when they sound more pedestrian. Their energy alone cant quite carry these, but when things go right its infectious for the flashes of the brief set, leaving an impression of a band with some potential they can hopefully realise.

An example of how to fulfill potential follows PRE onstage shortly after their drummer threatening conclusion. The stage set shows this isn't your standard overly testosteroned hardcore band about to make their entrance, with effects, processers, keyboards and guitars spread over the stage. These Arms are Snakes enter one by one creating a swelling introduction capped by Steve Snere looping and manipulating his voice through the processor he plays with throughout the set and wrapping his mike chord round and round his head. Snere's performance is explosive and unpredictable, hurling himself over the barriers bordering the stage with sufficent force to break his belt (which then appears found his neck) and at one point disappearing back stage only to re-appear with a step ladder that he then proceeds to scale and deliver the next song atop of, swaying alarmingly, before vaulting off and ensnaring himself within the ladder's two legs. Old songs are blasted out with venom to an enraptured audience, both more powerful and more seering than on 'Oxeneers...' or 'This Is Meant To Hurt You', especially 'Your Pearly Whites' and 'Angela's Secret', arguably the set highlights. With a new album scheduled for release in the near future on Jade tree this was also an oppotunity to hear the new songs that TAAS have been working on and several appear througout the set to a good reception. Familiarity with their old set seems to have driven a desire to experiment with the old songs to great effect, and those that are new suffer slightly by comparrison, not quite sharing the same incredible power. They still sound immensely promising, and given a few months on the road and some familiarity with the audience, the newer stylisticly, interestingly varied songs will surely be matching their predecessors. On this kind of form few bands can live with the intelligence and artistry of These Arms are Snakes' songs and the power and energy of their performance, a short encore despite protestations that "we don't do this" leaves those lucky enough to be there wanting more, in the knowlege that surely this band can only get better, here's hoping they come back soon.
Thanks to dark13 for the TAAS photo

Download these please:
Meet Me In St Louis - I Am Champagne And You Are Shit (another mp3 coming soon)
Pre - Ace Cock
These Arms Are Snakes - Your Pearly Whites
These Arms Are Snakes - Horse Girl


Reported on Drownedinsound yesterday, Tilly And The Wall are playing a warm up show in Whitechapel, before their performances at Reading and Leeds on the bank holiday weekend. Supported by Absentee, the band are playing at The Idea Store, a library/educational building a mere stroll away from Whitechapel tube. The event is on Friday 25th and cost a couple of quid, although you have to become a member to get tickets, which are only available from the info desk at the library. I got my tickets yesterday, apparently i got the first ones being the eager beaver that i am, so there's loads left and it should be a great chance to see an unique band in an unique location. By the way, alcohol won't be available!! Well it is in a library.
To celebrate the fact that we all get to see Tilly again here's some tunes:

Tilly And The Wall - Sing Songs Along

Tilly And The Wall - Reckless

And here's a couple of Absentee tracks for good measure:

Absentee - You Try Sober

Absentee - Duck Train

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Its Like A Festival In A Pod

Calling all Londoners, can you hear me? All the way at the back? Yeh? good good!! Well just thought i'd inform you about a great little gig in Camden next Tuesday. Four unsigned bands, a dj til one in the morning and the chance to re-live the experience again via the wonder that is podcasting, what more could you want. Organised by BitJobs For The Masses, Podfest showcases the talents of The Foxes, Goodbye Sergeants, Paisley Riot and Light Brigade, who have all appeared on the website's weekly podcast, which focuses on Britian's huge and gifted unsigned scene. Its at the Purple Turtle, just outside Mornington Cresent tube station and should be a great night. For all the information check out their site here
Here's a tune from each artist to wet your appetite:

The Foxes - Run

Goodbye Sergeants - Over So Soon
Paisley Riot - Crackerjack
Light Brigade - Attraction

More BK

I seem to be posting lots of stuff from youtube at the moment. Here's the second episode of Ben Kweller's One Minute Pop Song series. This week he lays down some drums and twiddles with some knobs, extremely entertaining!!!
Saw These Arms Are Snakes last night, they were incredible and really really drunk. Will talk about this later.
Anyway, here's another BK track:

Ben Kweller - Debbie, Dont Worry Doll

Monday, August 07, 2006

But it wasn't a rock, it was a...

Rock Lobster. I'm guessing most people have seen this, either on Family Guy or on the internet somewhere. I only saw it a few weeks ago and i almost wet myself, its so funny. I was surprised to find out today that its an actual song (I shouldn't have been surprised as there's so many pop culture references in Family Guy, they just steal from everywhere). Written originally by The B-52's and released as their first single, this little ditty is a nonsensical, but wholly enjoyable bit of music. I, then, was even more surprised to find a Botch cover of it, while reading a bit about These Arms Are Snakes, for their upcoming Underworld gig tomorrow night. I hope you enjoy.

The B52's - Rock Lobster

Peter Griffin - Rock Lobster
Botch - Rock Lobster
and another Botch to get me in the mood for tomorrow night
Botch - Thank God For Worker Bees

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Diane Cluck + Emmy The Great @ The Luminaire

I went to this gig on a whim. I knew it was going to be good but i was quite broke and it was a bit of a mission to get to. In the end i followed my heart and ended up on a tube to kilburn to see the incredibly talented and wonderful Emmy The Great and the mysterious and unknown, to me, Diane Cluck.

After sitting through quite a generic singer/songerwriter set from Elaine Palmer and chatting to a girl, who happened to be Emmy's sister, Emmy, herself, walked onto the stage. Occasionally accompanied by singer/violinist/xylophonist Johnny and guitarist Adam, Emmy played a set-full of engaging and wonderful tunes, which shut the crowd up and had all heads turned towards the stage. I think its Emmy's delivery which accomplishes this, the way she spits out her lyrical stories into the microphone with so much gusto and energy is just so captivating. The highlight of the set was her performance of b-side The Hypnotist's Son, a tale of lost friendships and trust set over a simple guitar sequence, with some amazingly constructed lines and rhymes that are full of wit and aguish. Having apparently filled the tent at the recent Truck fest, things are looking up for Miss The Great and i can't wait to see where things go for her
At the end of her set, her fellow musician Johnny was allowed to play one of his own songs, as he was going off to be in a play for the next few months and it would be the last time they played with each other til his return. The funny thing was his raucous rendition of Tickle Me Pink, accompanied by Emmy and Adam, got probably the best response of the evening.

Next up was headliner and anti-folkstress Diane Cluck. Diane is a bit of an unknown quantity to me, having hardly any internet coverage but i was assured by some of my fellow gig-goers that she was worth watching. She initally seemed to be the same generic solo singer with a guitar type as Elaine Page but the more and harder i listened, the better she got. Lyrically she created some dark and imaginative images that floated through my head and some of her songs brought tingles down my spine but, unlike Emmy's confident and assured performance, she lacked the magic element that would make me want to follow this gig with a cd purchase.

Emmy The Great - The Hypnotist's Son

Emmy The Great - Edward Is Dedward
Johnny Flynn - Tickle Me Pink (Live)
Diane Cluck - Easy To Be Around
Diane Cluck - Bones And Born Again

One Minute Pop Song

In the lead up to the release of his new, self-titled album; Ben Kweller is making a series of short, one minute long videos about himself. Think of it like a weekly "Ben Kweller show", it airs every tuesday up until the album launch date, September 19th. I know this is gonna keep me excited about it and its really interesting to see Ben in his normal life.
I like his comment about the flushing toilets and his little giggle about it. Great theme tune too!

Here's a couple of BK track for everyone:
Ben Kweller - Harriet's Got A Song
Ben Kweller - Hospital Bed