In 2007 Plan B's debut album, Who Needs Action When You've Got Words was played to death by me, with lyrics like "I'll stab you in the eye yo, with a f*ckin biro, the same f*uckin biro you use to sign your giro, you f*ckin wino..."
I was really surprised when I heard this track from Ben Drew as it sounds like he's discovered a pile of old soul records and has got obsessed. It's a good thing.
This track, and the subsequent new album has been overseen by uber-producer Paul Epworth too which promises a really interesting listen. So here's Stay Too Long...
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Posted by Alex 679 at 19:03
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Thanks to Ben at Bureau Export and Ludo at French Up! for turning my attention to Coming Soon...Possibly my new favourite French indie band? Featured (with friends) alongside Jeffrey Lewis and Stanley Brinks on the awesome Berlin Songs compilation they're really up there with their idols over at K records. I think it will be no time at all before they are picked up on by us Brits and Yanks.
Their album 'Ghost Train Tragedy' is out now in France (buy through fnac). Also, check out the blogotheque's Coming Soon take away show.
Bizarrely I was in a coach crash when I was at school and so not surprisingly this song seemed to spring out at me:
Coming Soon - School Trip Bus Crash
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
I don't know why but I get asked a lot to reccomend new artists/designers and such, I think I just have a nack for stumbling upon them (blind luck). So here's three nice things I've seen this week...
Acrylic on wood panel, 4.5 x 3.25 inches
Copper hook for wall hanging
Signed + presented in gift box
Yellow Owl Workshop
'The Owl and the Pussycat'
8"x10" signed open edition giclée art print by Mara Girling.
This was lovingly hand drawn in ink and then coloured digitally and printed onto 150gsm soft white uncoated art paper.
'Flight of the Conchords'
18" x 24" hand-printed screen print, signed edition 250.
Nate Duval's hand-drawn, hand-printed, limited edition poster for the New Zealand duo's recent Boston, MA concert at Agganis Arena.
I miss Tony Hart!
Friday, 16 October 2009
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
I've just posted about this over on the Phantasy blog, but it's so good I thought I better write about it here too. Primary 1's got a new single coming out on limited edition (100) red vinyl and the sleeves look amazing! They've been printed by Teebs (From LA’s Brainfeeder crew) and they're being displayed and sold exclusively through rough trade east. If that wasn't enough... It's backed by a beautiful memory tapes version.
Kindly, the demo of the single is being given away but do support the artist and the art and go and grab a single :)
Primary 1 - Foaming (demo)
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
No really it's a fact, I talk about him so much that I've promised my co-blogger - Garbs - that this will be the last you'll hear on Lost In Paris about Gonzo for the rest of the year.
About a year ago I was asked by Kruger to write this article on the current French music scene.
I gathered up a load of sources for my piece including a hallowed chat with Gonzales. As you’re probably getting, Gonzo is a hero of mine but for one reason or another he didn’t feature in the final article. But what’s the point in having a blog if you can’t post the full transcript of an entertaining and enlightening interview with one of the world’s most interesting protégés.
As you’ll see from the length of the post, this was one of the occasions where I didn’t need to do much prompting with my questions.
Chilly Gonzales is not a man without an opinion...
Having recently just finished the Together Ensemble Tour - how did you find it?
G: It was successful military operation, we achieved our goals, we kept the moral very high. It was the first time I’d put a group together and so it was social experiment for me to see if I could co-exist with other egomaniacs, and basically it worked even if there was the occasional mutiny on stage.
There were always some unknown elements, like the London show for example there was a pretty aggressive heckler, I had to physically kick him to move on to the next part of the show.
The military operation aspect of me really isn’t a joke, because you have to prepare meticulously for every possible outcome and ultimately that you have to throw out the rule book once you actually get out there. You make various calculations, but when you get out there none of your calculations are correct. It’s all in the preparation, and I have been entertaining people for nearly a decade now, so most of the time when you have a situation come up you’ve seen it already or a variation of it and if you haven’t then you have to learn the hard way.
Did you warn your band up front that you’d be treating your tour as a dictatorship?
G: Well I warned them that my dictatorial tendencies are never far from the surface, and on my latest album, Soft Power, the theme was really about never being able to achieve equality but that it’s still worth struggling for. Essentially I think it’s a positive message to say that we can never be equal but let’s try to get as close as we can. Let’s try to ignore this power balance, even though we never can, let’s try our best. Like when we came together at the end of the show, the mutiny never last long because they realised that my heart is in the right place. Having those solo artists on stage together, it takes a big leap of faith on their part to suppress their own egos, and I did have to keep saying on stage “who’s name is on the poster?” Hopefully the result was something that was really musically really entertaining for people, which it seemed like it was.
With the release of Soft Power, and the relative success it’s had in France, do you feel that you’re finally getting them level of recognition you deserve?
G: I feel like the market place is always right, I’m an old school capitalist in that that i feel whatever recognition I’m getting, is the recognition i deserve. I think the customer is always right so if I’m not selling records it’s not because I’m misunderstood, it’s not because the record company marketed it badly, it’s because that’s the level of recognition it’s supposed to have.
I believe that the market speaks and it’s interesting for me now over the course of 6 albums to watch the reaction to each album and each territory. Interestingly the album that worked best for me was the Solo Piano album, in that it sold the most and got me musical respect and projected me into a whole different world of music and i started to get asked to do a lot of producing and alot of that was because of my piano album, which maybe on first view wouldn’t seem like the most successful choice. It was very interesting for me to see the rules that you have in your head like ‘yeah i need a hit single on the radio and everything will be fine’. But i had a hit single on the radio and everything wasn’t fine. The other idea was ‘a piano album, who wants that, young people don’t listen to piano albums’, but that was proved wrong as they do listen to piano albums when it’s done by...me. It’s interesting to see the conventional world upended in my case, so I always feel I’m getting the recognition I deserve because it’s the market that determines that.
Do you get recognised in the street now in Paris?
G: I already was a little bit with my other albums, I’ve had a disproportionate level of success in France. Famous in France as the old expression goes.
The power ballad seems to have been a big inspiration to you on the album?
G: I wanted to make music that was pleasing. So many people of my generation are trying to make music that’s disturbing to do something that they feel is modern. I’ve been looking for my niche, my lane, a hole in that argument and i thought that maybe there’s a way to make the music very soft and pleasing. The so-called subversive or disturbing element could be related to the lyrics or the personality on display. So i thought that a contrast could be to have the music as soft and pleasing and pillow-y as possible so I could get more and more brutal with the lyrics. The idea was to put the music and lyrics in different directions so you get this mixed-message which I think is at the heart of all my records, there’s always been some sort of major and minor in my music. In my electro-rap days the humour was in the lyrics over the hard electro-clash music.
Alot of reviews of the album I read seemed to struggle with the sincerity of the album, did this surprise you?
G: Sure, a lot of people were waiting to see what I’d do after Solo Piano, which was for a lot of people was an easy way to finally admit that they liked me, because it very pure and people didn’t think I was joking anymore. It’s an illusion because it’s still part of the entertainer’s handbook to once in a while make people believe that you’re doing something sincere. It’s all a calculation for me. That I’ve come back with this music, I think some people have found threatening, as it points out that for me there’s no barrier between good taste and bad taste. It took Solo Piano for critics to work out I’m a real musician, which I found a bit weird. They’re now saying this album is kitch because they’ve seen I’ve got good taste with my piano album, so to do this in ‘bad taste’ and it must be a joke. Like it’s uncomfortable for critics to know that i put that sax solo in because it’s the best way of conveying the emotion in that song, not because I want to wink and them and say ‘remember Hall & Oates’. If people take it like that, I can’t control it, like i sad the customer is always right.
How do you see your relationship with the UK?
G: If there’s an opportunity then I’ll exploit it and if there’s a country that gets the album then I’ll put in the time. I know and there’s a business reality which dictates where i put my efforts. I enjoyed the time when my records where coming out in England like clockwork and i had lots of concerts there as there was momentum. Around Solo Piano it was a bit tougher as the perceived separation between the electro-world and the ‘piano world’ was big in the UK and kinda fell off the side.
I feel like i know the UK because I’m Canadian and they’re our formal colonial master, it’s a known quantity and we have tendency to want to please the master, i would be especially thrilled for the album to be out in the UK.
Playing the ICA last month showed that there are a lot of Gonzales fans out there, but the other reality is that there’s a surprising amount of resistance if people hear Soft Power and don’t know the story of Gonzales.
You’re based in Paris at the moment, do you feel your quite a big figure in the French scene?
G: I’ve lived here for 5 years and I’ve produced a lot of big French artists especially because of that I became a local known quantity. I did Jane Berkin’s last two albums and Fiest’s, who broke here before anywhere else. Those two alone got me a certain amount of notoriety, then the Piano album did really well here and I became a big presence on TV and radio.
Do you feel there’s a camaraderie in the French scene?
G: Well we’re in the middle of French Touch round 2, with Justice and Institubes and I keep abreast of that through the Teki Latex link, and I work with the older more fabulous guard, Berkin etc. which indulges my more musical side and with that i can keep their sound a little bit younger then the French traditional sound. I have my feet in a lot of places but there’s no real separation as the weird thing in France is that there’s no real underground, everything goes over ground right away. It’s a closed circle – if you’re on the outside, you’re really on the outside and no one knows about you and the minute you start to bubble, you’re co-opted. It’s not like Berlin where there really is an underground that exists and is parallel to the mainstream. I loved the chaotic nature of the Berlin underground, it was a great place to try a lot things without being judged, me and Peaches were trying to find a balance of music and entertainment and did some pretty extreme stuff and failed and were not judged. Where as in Paris, with your first concert your reputation is sealed - It’s hard to grow up in public here.
Are the French harsher critics?
G: All eyes are on your from an earlier stage. There’s less of a scope for developing and trial and error – it reverberates in Paris. The stakes are higher and it’s therefore more professional as the rewards are bigger. It’s very capitalist where Berlin is very socialist and unambitious which is great for a period of time but then becomes frustrating. I tried to become president of the Berlin Underground as a way to kick their ass and ‘say let’s get organised, let’s not just be these unambitious chaotic people. Imagine if we took this quality of work and organised it and added some ambition, imagine what we could achieve’.
And they didn’t go for that?
G: They didn’t want it. They don’t want to admit that they want a leader, they prefer this utopian ideal of doing what they want. So i thought if i can’t be their president then I’m going somewhere else.
Do you feel you have any peers at the moment?
G: I’m lucky to work with a lot of the people who are feel are my peers. Jamie Lidell, Peaches, SMD and Tiga.
In terms of people who share my ideas of entertainment then there are fewer. I look at Daft Punk as a great model of how to be entertaining, as they don’t have a projected personality, yet they find a way to do it with their robot costumes, their song titles and their live show - they don’t have that extroverted charismatic nature, but they find a away to do so.
I basically prefer a mediocre musician with a good image to a good musician then a bad image. I’d rather be entertained by a good interview and good pictures. Take Sebastian Tellier, I think he’s a lazy artist. His music doesn’t go very deep, he’s a real nightlife kinda guy which is probably why his music isn’t very masterful. Yet in interviews I can see that there’s something going on there, a real willingness to connect to something, and I’d rather have that. I’d choose a lazy Sebastian Tellier with his cool photos then a boring singer songwriter.
I think perhaps it’s a little more contrived with him..
G: I don’t think he has much musical mastery to back it up. I’m not saying I’m a better musician then him, because it’s not about talent at this point, it’s about effort and respect for the idea of musical mastery. It’s up to people to decide whether I’ve retained that, but when I’m in front of them on stage with a piano then they can see past the character because something is really coming out of that piano.
With Sebastian Tellier, it’s like i love your image but i just wish that there was a bit more coming out of the speakers that did something for me. I find his stuff cold and a me a bit non-pulsed, with him I’d rather read an interview then listen to a song.
Is there anyone left that you’d like to work?
G: Honestly, I never wanted to be a producer, I kinda fell into it by working with my friends and it’s given me the luxury to not really have to take work systematically. I don’t look for production work it sort of falls into my lap which is a great position to be in. I feel like whoever i get to work with by the end of it I’m so pleased to have worked with them, but I’m not sat there waiting for the day I can work with these people because I don’t really know them already.
Of all your tracks, which is the one you go back to?
G: I have a special place in my heart for Uber Alles because it’s the first and because i was creating something that was from an empty vessel, that wasn’t tainted by bullshit from over the years and it was exciting. It was the birth, the origin of the super-villain if you will, it is associated with my move from Canada to Europe which was such an important step for me but with an artists hat-on I’m going to say my last album because that’s where I’m at psychologically and I guess it’s the culmination of everything I’ve done so far, as the next one will be again....
And if you're still here then here's a video Housse De Racket filmed of the great Gonzo / Andrew WK piano-off.
And finally, here's some magical tracks for your enjoyment, and patience.
No more essays...
Soft Shoe Snoozin' (featuring Princess Superstar)
Housse De Racket - Synthétiseur (Gonzales live version)
Monday, 12 October 2009
Spotify URL / http link
1. Tokyo Police Club – Citizens of Tomorrow
2. Fools Gold – Surprise Hotel
3. Abe Vigoda – The Garden
4. Pavement – Western Homes
5. Black Lips – Short Fuse
6. Girls – Lust For Life
7. The Rakes – Just a Man With a Job (Le poinçonneur des Lilas)
8. Hockey – Too Fake
9. Joakim – I Wish You Were Gone
10. Miike Snow – Animal
11. Madonna – Everybody
12. In Flagranti – I Can Thrill & Delight
13. Phoenix – Lisztomania - Alex Metric Remix
14. Hudson Mohawke – Trace
15. Gold Panda – Back Home
16. Arcade Lover – Fantasy Lines
17. David Shire – Manhattan Skyline
18. The Doobie Brothers – What A Fool Believes
19. George Benson – Give Me the Night
20. Gonzales – Past Your Bedtime
Seriously beautiful music. Memory Tapes or Memory Cassette or Weird Tapes or Dayve Hawk has been easing me into the week and making my Monday bearable. You should definitely buy the album 'Seek Magic' on CD through Rough Trade or even better get it on vinyl direct from Acephale Records.
Also check the 'tapes blog for downloads, news, info et cetera...
Memory Tapes - Green Knight
Fool's Gold - Nadine (Memory Tapes Version)
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Introducing newsters on the super imprint Memphis Industries; Colour Music. They're from Oklahoma and North Yorkshire respectively and their basic formula is noise + euphoria creating a rhythmical, hypnotic music rainbow. There's a limited edition 7" coming out (obvs) of "Yes!" and you can order it exclusively through Pure Groove .
Here's colourmusic's take on the Mac's "Tusk":
Colourmusic - Tusk (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Monday, 5 October 2009
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, Julian Casablancas' first record. Huzzaah!!
Julian’s debut album, Phrazes For The Young will be released in the UK on October 19 and in the US on October 20th. >>> http://www.juliancasablancas.com
Very dreamy cover art, I'd like a poster of that one please.
Julian Casablancas - 11th Dimension
Pharrell, Julian Casablancas & Santogold - My Drive Thru
Posted by Katherine Garbutt at 11:35
Friday, 2 October 2009
Django Django have got a silly name, a 7" inch available through Rough Trade and quite a nice carpet. They're from Dalstonburgh-Dunnderry (according to their myspace, hmm) and they're playing this evening at the This Is Music warehouse party...Alongside Egyptian Hip Hop and Hounds of Hate. (They've also done a nifty remix of Frenchman Turzi.)
Django Django - Storm
Turzi - Bombay (Django Django's Thunder In Paradise remix)
Thursday, 1 October 2009
This Fulham lad been working his butt off for a few years and has finally broken through, congrats on the chart position Elliot! I just happened upon theses tuuuness today through good ol' ipod shuffle, I haven't heard them in yonks!
Interesting example fact: he is actually sponsored by Portuguese-chicken-delights-chain Nandos!
Example - So Many Roads (To My Boy remix)
Example - What We Made (The Bi-Polar Men refix)
Example - So Many Roads (Brutal Deluxe remix)
(PS This post is for Uncle Shiner)