These are lurid times for sure, and our youth demands much more than the common girls in town can offer. We are different; we have breeding.

I’ve been trying for a while now to sort out a way to stream music on this site, everyone else seems to be doing it after all. I’m not stupid, I can sort these things out, can’t I?

I’ve fiddled for a while with the Yahoo Media Player and I think I may have got it working. Here’s my chance to try it for real…

Virgin of the Birds

I got an email from Jon of Abandoned Love Records, home of Grumpy Bear (here, here and here) and a few others. As well as being the head honcho and general kingpin of this much-admired organisation, Jon also plays in Morning Spy and has another side project called Virgin of the Birds. (Stick a broom up his arse and he’ll do the floors too, as they say…).

Virgin of the Birds, named after a poor translation of a painting by Dali, (which I’m guessing must be this one) is “Jon Rooney, co-founder of Bay Area indie pop band Morning Spy and devotee of hazy major-key melodies, unruly e-bow, and arcane balladry.” An e-bow is apparently an electronic device for plucking the strings of your guitar, using electro-magnetic fields. (I wikipedia-ed it, and, no, I’m not really any the wiser either…)

Jon’s e-mail told me that Virgin of the Birds have just released a free-to-download EP called Every Rival, that can be taken as a zip file from Abandoned Love, or you can download the first song, “I Loved John”.

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t really like this track at all, but the others aren’t anything like this one and are frankly much more worth your downloading time. I’m going to post the quirky “Ilona, You Should Still be my Vampire Attendant” track from that EP, (you can snag the rest from Abandoned Love), plus another song available from the site, “I Fear the Sea”.

Ilona, You Should Still Be My Vampire Attendant

I Fear the Sea

But, if I’ve got the coding right, you won’t have to download them “blind”. You should be able to click on the little triangle next to each song and they’ll stream magically across the air waves. Let’s see…

Nothing will be fine, put your hand in mine

Here’s a band that Rough Trade are plugging like mad at the moment, and I’m imagining you’ll be reading about them on lots of blogs in the next few months. (In fact, the more vigilant Blogs have probably been there and done that already – I don’t like to look…)

Forest Fire

Forest Fire have just released their debut album, Survival, and are another American band embarrassing the Brits by making original and varied music that differs from track to track. There are a few dense and compelling rhythms, a few delicate, inventive guitar lines and more than a little studio tinkering – everything a jaded and slightly cynical pallet might want in fact.

I’m struggling to find much info on the band other than the fact that members seem to live in different parts of the States – Brooklyn and Portland, to be precise. Now from what I know about the States, this is A Very Long Way Away – an impossibly long distance for a Brit to comprehend in fact.

I can’t imagine how this works for them, but I read on the site of one of the labels that handles them (Talitres) that this effectively means that the sessions for the album stretched over a good few months and that songs sat untouched, gathering dust for weeks. I kind of like this image of songs being worked on in fits and starts, sporadically. It does feel like some of the tracks grew over the weeks and developed into something they may not have started off as. It’s all got a rather endearing ragged feel to it.

Survival has been out for a while in America, but is coming out in the UK, today (Oh yes…). It’s available from Emusic, Talitres or from Catbird Records.

In my meanderings, I found these two tracks available for free download, but I can’t for the life of my find exactly where (my apologies to you, whoever you are), but here they are, and well worth a listen…

I Make Windows

Fortune Teller

He’s a clever bugger…

It’s amazing what ten hours of sleep will do for you. Term has finished, I’m already through the exhausted and grumpy stage, and I’m up for a few weeks of fun and laziness.

Michael has done a painting of Lee Perry for me. It’s pretty good too.

Don’t tell him I said so, mind.

All the children had to leave; they missed school for the day; the teacher still got paid.

I’ve had a bit of a delayed reaction on this one…

Saw Paul Weller a couple of weeks ago (I’m sure you already read it…), and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but keen readers of this Blog may have raised an eyebrow at there being no mention of the support band.

One of my little quirks is that I often gain a lop-sided amount of time and pleasure staring at concert tickets pinned to my notice board. The pleasure is largely in the anticipation for me, so much so that the headliners themselves are unable to live up to the Jenga-style skyscrapers of hype that gather in my mind. Not so with support acts, and very often it turns out that I come away from an evening disproportionately excited about the second string and slightly disappointed about the main act.

This was thankfully not the case with Weller – he was excellent – so much so that I pretty much forgot about the lively three-piece that opened the set. In fact to be honest, in the context of Paul Weller gig it was impossible not to look at them with a wry and slightly patronising smile.

Twisted Wheel

Twisted Wheel are clearly three massive Jam fans (three-piece led by an angry and energetic guitarist/vocalist) who have landed the support slot of a lifetime. They come from Oldham and have been around for a little more than a year. Apart from the Weller gigs (they’re supporting him all year), they’ve also played Glastonbury, so they’ve obviously caught a few eyes and ears. They also have a debut album out which you can stream and buy here.

Anyways, for some of the reasons above, I didn’t really get too animated about them at the time. But now the initial wave generated by the gig has subsided in my mind somewhat, and I’ve taken the time to look at some of the video I took of them, I find myself rather liking what they do. I like all that strident guitar stuff and I can’t help thinking if I’d not seen them on the same stage as Weller, the whole comparison wouldn’t have seemed quite so unflattering.

To be honest, I’m still not that sure but here are three tracks I’ve foraged from the internet. See what you think.

She’s a Weapon

Bouncing Bomb

That’s Entertainment (I know…)

I’ve also got this footage of She’s a Weapon that I took at the gig.

Apologies for the distortions you can hear – I’m guessing I was too close to one of the speakers…

Sleepwalking through the Mekong

Here’s something that slipped under my wildly ineffective Heath Robinson-esque radar a couple of months ago…

Dengue Fever

I came over all funny about this time last year with …. I’ll go on… with a case of Dengue Fever. Read about it here.

A visit to IODA informs me that those strange Cambodian-obsessed fellers are at it again, featuring in a documentary film about the band and the country, called Sleepwalking through the Mekong which looks well worth seeing (or buying).

Here’s a really enchanting clip from the film.

The soundtrack is now out, and worth a listen, and the good folk at IODA have made this track available.

Dengue Fever Presents: Sleepwalking Through the MekongDengue Fever
“March of the Balloon Animals” (mp3)
from “Dengue Fever Presents: Sleepwalking Through the Mekong”

Stream from Rhapsody

And now that you are here, I’d like you to write me a list of all the television shows you’ve missed.

Still struggling to find any time for this ailing project – the workload at school has bee pretty murderous over the last few weeks. A week to go, mind.

Here’s a peace offering.

Let’s Wrestle

Emusic have been all over these for a number of months now, and eventually having taken the bait, I found myself similarly bowled over by it.

(And they’re Brits – not much exciting stuff coming from these shores these days…)