Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Pipettes Xmas Party @ The Roundhouse

I wasn't feeling particularly festive two days before Christmas and was starting to get worried that the whole holiday would just float by without me noticing. Luckily i'd bought tickets to The Pipettes Xmas Party back in October because after it, i felt as jolly as Santa himself.
The venue seemed massive for the band, but as the three front ladies walked on stage with their extended band, now containing a string section, you knew that they could fill it. They launched straight into Sex and the crowd, who were obviously here to have a good time, started having one. Santa hats were bopping up and down as were a few reindeer antlers, while Becki, Gwenno and Rose were synchronously dance their arses off and seemed to be having a whale of a time. They played every track off their debut album, which for some bands would mean playing a few appauling songs but the album is jam-packing with songs of such a high quality and the fact the the girls, and boys, put so much energy into each of them that the performance was never a bore.
The final song of the set was Pull Shapes and seeing the girls on stage, all in matching outfits, doing the dance moves, something just clicked. The album made sense all of a sudden, or made more sense than just listening to it in the car or while trying to work. With the whole package, it became something bigger, something alot more fulfilling and fun.
Their encore consisted of A Winter's Sky, ...Dance So Well, a specially written Christmas song, which i can't really remember, and an awesome version of Mariah's All I Want For Christmas Is You, at which point snow began to fall from the ceiling of The Roundhouse and everyone was smiling and dancing.
The Pipettes may have pipped Tilly And The Wall to the post for the most enjoyable gig of the year and i can now listen to the album and imagine the dance routines, maybe even try them myself.

The Pipettes - Sex

The Pipettes - A Winter's Sky

Thanks to Lonesome Cowboy Glen for the photo

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Crunkmas

Before i forget to, i'd like to wish everyone a very, merry, sherry christmas. I'll be back blogging either in the next few days with a review of The Pipettes Xmas party but if not then, then in the new year. I'll leave you some christmas crackers that i've been enjoying this festive season.

Noah & The Whale - To Cyril At Crunkmas
Holly Golightly - Christmas Tree On Fire
Emmy The Great - The Woods
The Knife - Christmas Reindeer

Friday, December 22, 2006

FunFunFun's Favourite Albums of 2006 (5-1)

Here's the final part of my end of year, top albums list. Have you guessed what's numebr 1 yet? No its not Robbie's Rudebox or Take That's Greatest Hits, oops sorry if thats spoilt it for anyone, ok i won't say anymore, just read on.

5. The Knife - Silent Shout
Only got this album quite recently and couldn't get into it for a while, then We Share Your Mother's Health came on my mp3 player one day and it just blew me away. After that the beauty of the whole album came really easily, all its complex beats and quirky vocals, it just gets inside your head and creates a dark dark vision. I really want to see this band live

The Knife - We Share Your Mother's Health

4. Tilly & The Wall - Bottom Of Barrels
These guys have really been my band of the year, They just bring so much enjoyment to their music - have you seen the Sing Songs Along video?!! So much fun!!!! - this album encapsulates that energy and attitude so well, with the joyous tracks and the downbeat ones working off each other with wonderful varities. It may help that they put on such an awesome live show and that Bad Education is my fav song of 2006 too. I love them like i love candyfloss

Tilly & The Wall - Bad Education

3. Gallows - Orchestra Of Wolves
No other album this year has hit me with such a ferocity that i was certain that my nose was bleeding after my first listen. This hardcore punk band from Watford have released a beast of a debut that is damn right brutal in all the right place as well as being technical, clever and witty as well. Its really refreshing to hear a British band with such attitude and talent, hopefully you Yanks will cotton on. Kerrang! said 'Best British punk band since The Clash' and, i hate to say this, but i may have to agree with them.

Gallows - In The Belly Of A Shark

2. Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
This album being at no. 2 is quite a surprise to me, let alone anyone else. Only got it last month but it immediately struck as something new, odd and brilliant. The arrangements and instrumentation is incredible, i really can't believe that its just a looped violin sometimes, but the tracks with the orchestra are equally amazing. The lyrics are wierd and witty and compliment the music so well. To be honest, it probably would have got into this list on just its name alone but its because of the wonderful tracks that this album is so high

Final Fantasy - Many Lives 49 MP

1. Hot Chip - The Warning
This may not have been a surprise to anyone that reads my blog regularly. I was wetting my pants about this release almost exactly a year ago, after seeing them funk out the trendies at Trash and it pretty much lived up to all the hype and expectations. Full of dancehall bangers and subtle slow ones, its such a great listen and any album that contains Over And Over should appear high in anyones list. Its a track that gets better with every listen and makes you resonate once you start moving to its hypnotic beats. Its pure brilliance and i'm sure it will be reappearing in my cd player for years to come

Hot Chip - The Warning

So there you go! Did you guess it? I really hope 2007 is as good for music as 2006 was, and if it is, i really can't wait for it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

FunFunFun's Favourite Albums of 2006 (10-6)

10. Cursive - Happy Hollow
Although this was a tiny disappointment for me after the quite outstanding The Ugly Organ, it is still jaunty, dischorant, angry art-rock music at its best. The absense of Gretta's cello is replaced by a brass section, which creates a whole new, boombastic spin on their music while still keeping that classic Cursive sound.

Cursive - Bad Sects

9. Rachael Dadd & The Missing Scissors - Songs From The Crypt
This album is fucking beautiful. A multi-instrumental melee of haunting sounds and gorgeous songs from Miss Dadd and friends, that sends a tingle down your spine everytime Rachael opens her mouth. Its such a breathy and soft vocal that it makes my head swim and i relax instantaneously.

Rachael Dadd & The Missing Scissors - What We Wait For

8. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
It may just be a selection of Radiohead's rejections and funny bleeps and bloops but somehow The Eraser is a stunning record. With as much underlining tension and agression as any of the Radiohead albums, it just seems like another, electronic way, for Thom to let off some steam. I just hope he'll stay pissed off for a while longer, so the next Radiohead album has some of this pent-up emotion.

Thom Yorke - Black Swan

7. The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
This is just one of the most fun albums of 2006. A perfect pop record from three polka dot dress wearing young lasses and an all-boy backing band, The Casettes, that no one knows much about. It just keeps popping back onto my computer's playlist and making me dance round my room. Can't wait to see them at their Xmas party at The Roundhouse next week.

The Pipettes - It Hurts To See You Dance so Well

6. Joanna Newsom - Ys
Maybe one of the most important records of the year, but for me just pure escapism. I can drift off for the full 55 minutes of this album, into the mystical world of whales, cornfields and meteors that Joanna creates around me. Only containing 5 tracks, each over 7 minutes long, sounds like a bit of an effort but she even makes them catchy. I've found myself even humming some of the harp bits. Pure genius.

Joanna Newsom - Sawdust & Diamonds

Thursday, December 14, 2006

FunFunFun's Favourite Albums Of 2006 (15-11)

Damn! This year's gone fast. Its all just flown by so quickly. Too quickly, sometimes, as i haven't been able to catch hold and take a look at everything. Now its list o'clock again and i'm jumping on the bandwagon to bring you my favouritest albums of the past twelve months. There's been so many good records released this year that i've found it hard to keep up so there may be some glaring emissions here that i'll look blushingly upon in a few months time but there's nothing i can do about that, i just haven't had the time or money to investigate them and this list has been hard enough to sort out anyway, can't imagine what it'd be like if i had any more marvellous creations to choose from. So here's part one of my 2006 top album list.

15. Acoustic Ladyland - Skinny Grin
You can't really call this jazz or punk because it sounds so unique. Its just a big meltpot of influences and the chefs are bloody good at what they do. There's more vocals than on their previous efforts but they're growing on me. Not the easiest of listens but well worth the effort.

Acoustic Ladyland - Road Of Bones

14. Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
It may not be as good as his debut album but this eponymous album still showcases how good BK is at writing a catchy alt-pop song. The fact that Ben plays every instrument on the album also helps his cause no end and also the fact that he put on such a good show when i saw him a few weeks back. Anything he touches would probably make me grin like i was 16 again

Ben Kweller - Thirteen

13. Absentee - Schmotime
I got into Absentee when i heard they'd be supporting Tilly And The Wall in the summer. Sadly the gig never happened but my discovery of their glum, pessimistic but yet somehow ever-hopeful sound was like a silver lining on an oh-so black cloud. The gruff, gravelly vocals and the lush music combine to create a great sound, that although is not unique, warms you in all the right places

Absentee - You Try Sober

12. The Research - Breaking Up
This was one of the first albums i bought this year and i keep coming back to it. The childish music accompanying such adult themed lyrics just strikes me as wonderful, and its so damn catchy. It also contains one of the best refrains of the year in 'I love but i'm scared of i'll fuck it up.'

The Research - Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same

11. These Arms Are Snakes - Easter
These Arms... may, quite possibly, be one of the best live bands i've ever seen. Technically brilliant, so full of energy and with tunes and riffs a plenty that you can't help but move your feet to them, and somehow they manage to recreate all this on one shiny bit of plastic. Easter is an album full of experimentation and discovery but it also feels very cohesive and tight as if it was just meant to happen.

These Arms Are Snakes - Mescaline Eyes

There's the first five of my top fifteen. What do you think so far? The next two parts should be here in the next week or so, so stay tuned folks.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Jeffrey Lewis @ The Social

We arrived at the venue just as Jeffrey Lewis was finishing one of his low budget movies, having got a little bit preoccupied with drinks at home, but the venue was packed out and the atmosphere was great. That caused a minor problem of not being able to find a good place to watch from, as the layout of The Social is less than considerate for latecomers with the two huge speakers blocking out half the stage if you're standing in the wrong place. Luckily i managed to squeeze my way into a suitable position and relaxed back to watcha master at work. Jeff, accompanied by his brother, Jack, on bass and keyboards and a drummer, played most of his set from his latest offering, City & Eastern Songs, with a couple of oldies thrown in. It was a performance of intelligence, distorted guitar, energy and fuzz, very lo-fi and utterly brilliant. He gone up in the world as well since the last time i saw him, now performing one of his low budget movies, Champion Jim, using a projector, instead of him standing on a chair with comic book in hand, straining to be heard over the noise of the crowd, which i prefer really, but its great to see him trying new things. He finished with the rampant Man With The Golden Arm and a wall of fuzzy guitariness, it was awesome!!
Didn't really pay enough attention to Danielson, who were headlining, to write about them. By the time, the drink had more than had its effect and i was chatting to Jack and my friends but i wasn't too keen on what i heard, that squeaky voice doesn't do it for me.

Jeffrey & Jack Lewis - Art Land
Jeffery & Jack Lewis - Man With The Golden Arm

Thanks to FooBart and Three Pink Monkeys for the pics (they're not from the Notts show btw)