Friday, 19 October 2012

Play To Z: Get Awkward to Hate Me For A Reason, Let The Reason Be Hate

Some Observations

Get Happy!! by Elvis Costello and the Attractions is another 50 track beast of an album, consisting of around 22 songs, then 28 live, alternate and demo versions of the same tracks. It's a sign of what great pop music the man writes that they album flew by with relative speed.

  You can hate on me all you want, but the Apollo 440 theme for the terrible 1998 film version of Lost In Space is great. It's very much of its time, but that doesn't stop it from being a brass-fueled triumphant stonker.

  "Drinking In LA" by Bran Van 3000 and "Steal My Sunshine" by Len are seperated by one song on my iTunes (the former is from their album Glee, the latter from the soundtrack to the film Go) which is appropriate, because they are forever linked in my mind as a premier examples of 90s power-pop (see also "Get What You Give" by The New Radicals).

   As I previously noted, mixtapes are a big thing with me, and creative projects I undertake often get a soundtrack built for them. The role-playing game I'm currently running (and have been chronicling here in all the posts that aren't about music) was no exception, and a CD of said mix was given to all 5 players as a sort of "mood piece" to get their brains in the right space. "The Good, The Bad and The Queen", the self-titled song from the self-titled album, was the conclusion to the mix, but in truth, the whole album could have served as a soundtrack to the game. I find it incredibly evocative of London, using a fantastic mix of ancient tradition and symbolism combined with more contemporary rhythms that reflect the diversity of our nation's capital. It's a great album that seemed to fail to capture people's attention when it came out, which is a great shame.

  When I was around 19, my "hangover" routine was solid (I use quotation marks because I now know you don't start getting true hangovers until you're at least 22). I would wake up, usually after a night at The Waterfront (Norwich's alternative club), wander into the city, and have a black Americano and a blueberry muffin while listening to "Where I'm Calling From" by Charlotte Hatherley. It served me pretty well.

  The memory I associate with the Beck album Guero is far too long and too potentially incriminating to go into here. If you get me a little drunk, I may divulge it.

Getting By With Help

  Let's talk about my friends.

  They are a pretty wonderful bunch of human beings, and I owe them too much to even comprehend, but large chunks of my musical taste is included in that. I've lost count of the number of bands or songs I've been introduced to by people I know, not to mention the number of truly indelible memories that have music associated with them, whether it's gigs, moments soundtracked by music or simply dancing down Magdalen Street singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" while drunk as hell.

  This chunk of music proved particularly fertile for friend connections, both "real life" and web-based, so let's briefly dissect it...

  • Husky Rescue first appeared on my radar thanks to a mixtape from Catherine, who then lent me their album Ghost Is Not Real.
  • My knowledge of K-Pop is entirely thanks to Mary on Tumblr, hence "Hoot" by Girls Generation.
  • "Glitter Shower" is a great 50-minute mix of self-proclaimed makeout music by Internet acquaintance Miles.
  • Similarly, Charlie, who I met through friends in San Francisco, makes wonderful electronica under the name Ring Trick, and put out a perfectly chilled hour-long mash-up called "Greetings From Paris".
  • Housemate, BFF and solid gold pal Bret produced a fantastic mixtape of alcohol-based songs for his birthday a couple of years back, which shares it's name with his WoW guild, The Guild of Drunkards. He even commissioned an original song to serve as the guild's anthem.
  • Stone cold hustla and Caballero Joey, who I met via the Brian K Vaughan message board back in the day then met in person when I was in the States, is most generous. After sending him a few mixtapes in dribs and drabs, he returned the favour with a jumbo pack: h Destruction, a selection of hits ranging from The Clash to The Bloody Beetroots; h Remixed, with remixes from some of house and electronica's masters; and h YYY/BIG, an inspired mixtape of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Notorious BIG, which work surprisingly well placed up against each other.
  • Sweetest gent in the world Nick provided me with a Happy Christmas Trivia Lad album, using the song title's to form the mixtape's name. For this thoughtful act, I will forgive him including "Young At Heart" by The Bluebells on there.
  • Finally, the earlier mentioned Miles is in a great band called LookiMakeMusic, and the final songs in this slice come from their EP Hate Me For A Reason, Let The Reason Be Hate. You can find it on their Bandcamp page here.
Rediscovered Gem

"Remedy" by Little Boots

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