Archive for the Music Category

Girls, Album

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 6, 2009 by joeshervin

girls_album

Album is the sun-soaked, whimsical debut offering from Californian duo Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White, aka, Girls. It flits between chirpy and downtrodden melancholy, resulting in a relaxed psychedelic record bristling with summertime angst. It is effortless San-Francisco folk-pop that whistles along breezily and chirpily.

The undoubted highlights are album opener ‘Lust for Life’, a poppy, blissful ode to teenage insecurity, and “Hellhole Ratrace”, a lengthy, sober plea for better times. Whilst the remaining songs never quite scale the heights of these heartbroken peaks, the album skips along nice and prettily, and Owens’ broken lyrics and Elvis Costello-like delivery sit happily above Beach Boys-esque harmonies.

Rumour has it that Owens, as a child, was once a member of the Children of God cult, where allegations of child abuse have since been whispered. Owens ran away from the group when he was sixteen, explaining, perhaps, his vulnerable and yearning demeanour. It is the influence of the Golden State, however, that looms largest over Album. It’s hippy, laid-back vibe could only be conjured from a surrounding so idyllic. As such, it is the perfect Summer drenched record.

Dig!

Posted in Film, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2009 by joeshervin
Unearth Dig! at pitchfork.com this week

Unearth Dig! at pitchfork.com this week

Available for free, for one week only, thanks to pitchfork.com, is the engrossing 2004 documentary Dig!, a raucous insight into the egotistical, self-aggrandising, yet ultimately spell-binding profiles of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. Filmmaker Ondi Timoner collated almost seven years worth of material, stretched across both bands, charting the simultaneous rise of the Dandys and the dramatic self-destruction of the BJM, as both endeavoured, with drastically differing success, to revolutionise the money-manacled, market-driven music industry.

At its core, Dig! parallels the careers of the bands front men, the scuppered genius of the BJM’s Anton Newcombe, and Courtney Taylor-Taylor, the Dandys self-obsessed, image-conscious talisman. Beginning their respective careers as friends and peers, both seem seduced by the others charms, yet obsessed by the success of each others band. As the Dandys take off, Newcombe appears begrudgingly jealous of Taylor-Taylor’s exposure, whilst Taylor-Taylor remains constantly in awe of Newcombe’s boundless and effortless creativity. As the Dandys tour Europe, playing to thousands of expectant fans, the BJM scuttle across America in a battered van, performing for mere tens of bemused, beer-drenched barflys.

Yet, it is Newcombe who is the pivotal anti-hero throughout. An unashamedly, devastatingly talented musician, he is as equally obnoxious as he is compelling. A rampant heroin addiction overshadows his intense charisma. His self-prophesising selfishness outweighs his musical prolificacy. Whether he be attacking his band mates on stage or fighting his girlfriend at home, Newcombe seems hell-bent on destroying not only his bands chances at stardom, but his personal relationships too. It is a touching portrayal of a man so consumed in his own warped rock n’ roll cliché that his talent is kept at arms length from mass circulation.

At once engaging, funny and traumatic, Dig! is a must-see for any aspiring musicians looking to break into the industry, but wanting to also keep their musical morals intact. If you don’t catch Dig! at pitchfork.com this week, be sure to unearth this buried treasure in the very near future.

Friendly Fires, Hockey and Boy Crisis – Kentish Town Forum

Posted in Music, Nightlife, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by joeshervin

Friendly Fires 

Glitter rained down upon Friendly Fires and into a sea of swooning, bedazzled fans as ‘Paris’ brought to a close a remarkable show, a three-pronged attack by a clutch of excellent new bands.

Such now is the allure of the St Albans four-piece that the sizeable Kentish Town Forum was crammed full of hip-swingers, eager to absorb the bullets expertly shot by Friendly Fires. “They’ll be out for us,” bellowed energetic frontman Ed Macfarlane, and out in our droves, we certainly were. Whilst an insurmountable queue for the bar was a no-go, a bustle into the centre of the jostling stage-front was a must. Personal favourites ‘White Diamonds’ and ‘On Board’ pumped and thronged, whilst massive singles ‘Jump in the Pool’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’ shuddered and reverberated across the baying crowd like rolling thunder. Faultless.

Headband-ed hipsters Hockey topped the undercard. On this performance, however, it cannot be long before these frantic fellows are headlining their own glitzy gigs. ‘Learn to Lose’ is a sprinkly, funky Rapture/Razorlight romp, and ‘Too Fake’ is their first sauntering, snarling single. Hopefully it’ll be the first of many. Expect big things from these pretty Portland punks.

Crisis? What crisis? There’s certainly not one as far as the laid-back boys of Boy Crisis are concerned. Their lackadaisical appearance is matched by their sleazy, sexy beats, shone no brighter than on awesome track ‘L’homme’. Atmospheric synths coy and giggle throughout. “You can do me like Bruce Springsteen” titillates one line in ‘Dressed to Digress’. Aces.

Three magical bands for £15? Climb on, climb on board!