Thursday, 27 November 2008

Are You Really Sure You Wanna Call Yourselves That.....?

So, in my "grown-up" job - I come across the most ridiculously named bands the planet has ever heard off. Seriously, the members must have sampled too many sherbert dips when they hit upon a good idea.....The reason for this post just now is this band name:

Ming Ming And The Ching Chings

I had the (mis)fortune to actually see them perform and was extremely disappointed to find that the band are not, in fact, pandas.

I'm off to call Trading Standards. Talk about false advertising.

When i'm not at work, maybe i'll list the other ridiculous band names i've come across - we got a whole pot of them in the office.


Friday, 24 October 2008

Busy week

This week I've been a good girl, stayed away from all parties and been home working instead. That's rare but has to be done sometimes. And it's a great chance to listen to new music. One of my favourite song this week in Nickel Eye's "Brandy of the Damned". I love the "calypso" rythm in it! Don't you?

And here's a live version of the song, just as good!

Have a great day,


Friday, 17 October 2008


Me and Stevie went to see Dirty Pretty Things' show in Camden (their last in London..?) and it was pretty cool. Not sold out strangely enough but that didn't matter, it was crowded and the kids went wild! The band began a little unfocused I think, it felt as if they were just doing their job but at the end they got into their normal groove and they started to rock my skirt off! I mean, they literally rocked my skirt off - I felt something around my ancles after jumping up and down like a freak, and there was my skirt. Oops!
I somehow ended up at the front, totally against my will but you don't fight the force of an exciting crowd. But I was able to get some good pics and vids, at least until the security-guy told me to "put my fucking phone down" otherwise he'd kick my face in. Pffh, that's not a way to talk to ladies!!
But here's one video for you, sorry for the crappy sound but it's not easy to get a good sound with a mobile-phone in the front-row! And I managed to get some of the security-work in it as well.

Yours truly,

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Me and my 4 heads...

Yesterday me and Stevie started to listen to "I gotta get drunk" with our favourite gentlemen Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, George Jones, which led us into a 14 hours drinking spree. I blame that song! So here's for you, hope you can handle it a little bit better than we could. It's a cover though, by The Little Willies, but don't let that fool ya!

Yours truly,

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Dream your sorrows away.......

And so to continue our High Fidelty Top 5 theme, here's some of my favourite gigs over the last few months.....

1. Joan Baez, The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall: Still the same voice she had when she was younger. So luminous and serene to watch. She plays songs from her new, Steve Earle-produced album, Day After Tomorrow but it's her back catalogue that elicits the biggest cheers from the adoring Glasgow crowd (one punter shouts "Joan, do you know how beautiful you are?"). Farewell Angelina sounds as beautiful as ever, she fucks up Diamonds And Rusts (no longer singing it Bob Dylan), moving too slowly over the fretwork but jokes about it in her own imitable way. She also sings shivering version of traditional celtic folk track, "Mary Hamilton" - poignant and a cover of Christmas In Washington ' invoking the spirit of one of America's alternative founding fathers, Woody Guthrie - sang on the same stage seven months before by Steve Earle himself and performed better. Not that Baez's cover is bad, just different.

2. Swervedriver, King Tuts: I am still trying to recover the full use of my ears following this gig. Thinking no other band could be louder than My Bloody Valentine, i foolishly stood to close to the speakers.....Playing only the second of two dates in Britain, the Adam Franklin-led, reformed rockers' gig was drenched in glorious reverberation and scuzzy noise. They broke curfew (rebels!). Did they need to reform? Probably not but a rare opportunity to watch a band left in the shoegazing shadow of MBV.

3. Mercury Rev, Connect Festival: Sigh. I'm lazy so i'm just gonna post my uhm, "professional" (haha) review. Bands like Mercury Rev are always a good excuse for music journalists to flex their well-honed vocabulary stock (or use a thesaurus) and tonight’s show lends itself to all manner of beautiful words. Their first show in Scotland since 2005’s gig at the Barrowlands and it was highly anticipated. The atmosphere was intimate as most people seemed to opt for Kasabian. More fool them. You couldn’t get a more beautiful setting to watch them play. Their music is made in the isolated Catskill Mountains area of New York and seems like its home at Inverary Castle. New song “Snowflake In A Hot World” opens tonight’s proceedings – a driving, powerful mini-epic which swoons seamlessly into the majestic opening of “Holes” and its gentle pulsating piano. It sways into the crowd and hangs blissfully over them. A muscular version of “Opus 40” follows and prompts a chorus from the crowd. “Tides Of The Moon” from 2001’s “All Is Dream” album showcases Jonathan Donahue’s distinctive voice – it sounds incredibly exposed and vulnerable. They throw in another new song, “People Are So Unpredictable” – an explosive, electro number and the grand ‘The Dark Is Rising’ is perfectly complimented by the light show as Donahue emerges like a spectre from the smoke. A swift encore sees a beautifully pared-down rendition of “Goddess On A Hiway.” Jonathan Donahue is as magnetic as ever but can only keep up the mysterious façade for so long before he breaks into a huge smile. At one point he crawls along the stage hiding behind his monitors casting a twinkling eye over the crowd and smiling mischievously while Grasshopper makes his guitar sound like everything except a guitar. Mercury Rev were, are, out of this world. It’s a well-balanced set list and the new songs are received well by the crowd and judging by the smiles on their faces it won’t be long until they are back.

4. Tom Waits, Edinburgh Playhouse: a rare opportunity to see him and an expensive endeavour. But worth it. The venue was awful - the guys next to me spent the entire gig with their knees under the chin as the seats were so close together but anyway.......Waits is such a true performer which i think is quite rare these days. He puts on a show. Despite arriving onstage a half hour, the crowd forgive him. but they'd probably forgive him anything. You know, cos he's Tom Waits. Wearing his trademark porkpie hat, he's part fairground hawker, part philospher, part leprachaun - he stands on a circular platform centre stage (naturally), he leaps into opening song Lucinda, the dust he creates from stomping his feet emphasising the rawness and rhythm. A myriad of instruments back him including upright bass, electric bass, cornet, clarinet, organ, piano, keyboard, guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums, percussion, boxes, saxophone divided among four musicians. for an artist with a back catalogue spanning over 35 years, creating a setlist could potentially be recipe for disaster - but Waits doesn't rely on some sense of nostalgia, playing material spread over his entire career. About half way through the show, his band leaves the stage and he takes to the piano himself with his bassist for company and tells tired old jokes about preying mantis' but it doesn't matter. He plays tender versions of Innocent When You Dream, Invitation To The Blues and Picture In A Frame. He also plays harmonica driven Get Behind The Mule, Way Down In The Hole, Dirt In The Ground and the bluesy finale, Make It Rain. Nothing can ever prepare you for hearing Waits' voice live ´no matter how many times you listen to the records or no matter how many "he's an acquired taste"'s you get - it's so full of violence and beauty.
Having said all this and i LOVE Waits, you always get the sense he is playing a joke on you. Which is probably true as Waits is cleverer on his worst days than most people are on their best.....It doesn't detract from him though - it just foregrounds the fact that he is a performer. A trobadour. His characters are exactly that, characters. Sketches of average people struggling in seedy American backwater towns or big cities.

5. ok, i was maybe kinda struggling for a fifth, i was gonna write about Silver Apples(another gig where my ears were still ringing a week after) but i opted for another Connect Festival highlight. The Gutter Twins - Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli - two of most interesting frontman). A tiny crowd assembled as most opted to watch Goldfrapp shimmy around in pink spandex or something. Lanegan is, of course, something of a medical marvel and not just because of car accidents - but it's always interesting to watch the love-child of Hellboy and Tom Waits, if only to see if he manages to stay on the stage for the entirety of the show. Greg Dulli is somehow better at disguising his fucked-upness......Their debut album, Saturnalia, is one of the best of the past year, steeped in gothic darkness with country-esque twists. They rattle quickly through the set but it is nonetheless one of the tightest, most immediate of the weekend. And Lanegan doesn't fall of the stage.


Sunday, 5 October 2008

Let's go to town and switch the magazines, drink milkshakes until we're sick.

I'm digging this thing with the lists, I love lists. Since Debbie already covered Dirty Pretty Things and Kings of Leon, just assume that I would have included them in here if she hadn't gotten to them first, probably with a touch of Jackson Browne for me as well actually, and we'll move on to the top 5 songs spinning in heavy rotation on Radio Gracie this past month:

1) The Indelicates - We Hate The Kids (American Demo)
I had the pleasure of seeing this band play Club NME in New York this summer and it was the best show I've seen in years, bar none. There is so much charisma in their live sets that translates just as well into their album work. The whole record is ripe with the sort of cutting rock music that punches those folky hipsters right in the face. Not that I have anything against folky hipsters, I quite like them, but it's so refreshing to come across a record that breaks away from the mold. Where most musicians today seem to be making the move towards a stripped-down acoustic style, The Indelicates pull together a classic, crashing rock sound. They have an extensive and eclectic repertoire of songs that ranges from alternative pennywhistle-pop (Julia, We Don't Live In The 60s) to bubbly, thumping candy-rock (Sixteen) to the track on this list, We Hate The Kids, which is a caustic electric number that points its finger in the face of a generation of "useless children genuflecting". But really, come on, how can you not love a song that contains the line "This gift is an illusion, this isn't hard / Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar."
(MySpace: The Indelicates)

2) Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse - Valerie (Version)
Okay, I admit it: I really like Mark Ronson and it's not just because I might have a thing for pretty boys with accents. I mean, what? I like the treatment that he gives to the songs he works, and it could be merely because I'm especially fond of brass but that's up for debate. Ronson made an appearance on the season premiere of Never Mind The Buzzcocks recently and he cracked that "you just need trumpets". That's a philosophy I can get behind. This is a fabulous cover of The Zutons; the original is entirely different and equally amazing but it's been reinvented here, though I'll say that I'm glad Ronson's cover still has tambourines and handclaps: another of my weaknesses. This is a soaring little number and, personally, I think it's Amy Winehouse at her best. (And can I just say, it was a tough call between Valerie and Ronson's reworking of Just featuring Alex Greenwald, so if I could have a bonus track on this list, Just would be it.)
(MySpace: Mark Ronson)

3) Doctors & Dealers - On The Dancefloor (Lost Friends and Newfound Habits)
The sophomore album from my favourite Swedish songbird won't be out until early 2009 but I've got a demo version of this track from the upcoming release and it's been in heavy rotation on my playlist for months. The mastermind behind this one-woman-band is called Sparrow and she's retaining her accessible low-fi sound while still coming into her own more and more as she develops in the process of writing, recording, playing and producing nearly everything herself. It's a much fuller sound than on her debut, Confessions of a Drunken Mind, though that record's totally worth checking out if you haven't already heard it. On The Dancefloor crashes in with drums and cymbals, the bass thumps on and I'm hooked immediately. Sparrow has a voice to match her name and the lilting vocals gloss over the subject matter with ease, which makes it all the more striking when you stop to listen to the lyrics. Such is the case with most of her songs, which often revolve around substance abuse, the fuckery of relationships and one-night stands, a wild party lifestyle, debauchery and, more recently, murdering your cheating lover (see: He Went Down, also from Lost Friends and Newfound Habits).
(MySpace: Doctors & Dealers)

4) Loudon Wainwright III - Glad To See You've Got Religion (Album I)
One of my most favourite people on the planet ever, Loudon has written plenty of novelty songs and turned out a couple of clever characters (you may know him more recently as the obstetrician from Knocked Up or, before that, as the troubadour from 28 Days) but most of his music digs deep. His later songs are intensely personal tableaux of human dysfunction, especially the breakdown of families and relationships; Loudon once said in an interview that he thinks the everyman is still a hero, that "there's something still heroic about failure" and I'm inclined to agree with him there. One of the things that he's carried through his career is a biting wit: this is a song from his self-titled debut album filled with sarcasm and subdued anger, sardonically congratulating someone else for getting their life in hand while he's still in trouble, "sorry, sick and sad". I like to listen to this song when I'm feeling especially bitter and then I think: hey, I can relate to that too, alright!
(MySpace: Loudon Wainwright III)

5) Julian Velard - Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen (Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen)
I remember listening to Julian Velard years ago, back when he was still living in New York (he's since moved to London). This is not quite the Julian Velard that I remember. Velard still has a smooth, powerful croon that I could listen to for hours (and I do) but it's not at all in the same vein as, say, someone like Michael Bublé. Velard is on an entirely different level; this is a jazzy piano-driven track with an organ, bells and brass. It needs to be said: I love songs that have A) a gospel feel and B) a brass band, and this one has both. The song dances around a little social commentary with lines like "The world is getting awful strange, people get their faces rearranged / High cheekbones and a plastic nose but I liked Mike when he was ten years old." but the whole track is essentially a nostalgic love-theme for those days when men like James Dean and Steve McQueen ruled the screen. Velard sings "Let me float away into a sunset fading on a silver screen / Can you show the way?" while the refrain declares, "If I could pick two guys to have on my side, it would be Jimmy Dean and Steve McQueen." Personally, I'd have to throw a little Paul Newman in there, but can you really argue with that?
(MySpace: Julian Velard)

Enjoy, let me know what you think, leave us a comment and tell me what your top five songs of the month have been.

► Gracie.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a girl of wealth and taste

and I've been around for a long, long year. And this year has been an exciting year for us girls (Gracie and Stevie, hope you don't mind that I'm talking for you as well), filled with good music, groovy parties and handsome boys. But today we got some sad news: one of our favourite bands, Dirty Pretty Things, has decided to call it a day. Horrible. So, in their honour, we decided to start this blog and name it after one of their finest songs, Truth Begins, from their splendid album "Romance at Short Notice". It's been a long time since I've listened to a new album and not been able to stop listening. But now Carl has decided to be a fucking movie-star, so what to do?
Anyhow, I will stop mourning now and tell you about the five albums I've been listening to the most this last month, cause I know that you'd kill for that information. And I love doing lists, so you'll get more of those, I promise.

First, of course: Dirty Pretty Things - Romance at short notice. It's pure sex, pure genius, pure soul - it has everything.

Second; Jackson Browne - For Everyman. Seriously, how can this album just show up from my collection, begging for my attention and then spin for at least three times a day? Is there a secret message in it that fucks with my brain and takes over my soul? I don't know, but I love it.

Third: Glasvegas - Glasvegas. I don't always understand these glaswegians, but when I do I think it's fantastic. And when I don't I just make up words in my head, it works fine.

Fourth: Kings of Leon - Only by the night. If DPT's album is pure sex this is pure SEX. Not their best one, but definitely good enough for me.

Fifth: Roses Kings Castles - Roses Kings Castles. Babyshambles' drummer Adam Ficek's solo-album and it sounds like it's straight out of the 60's! Very dry sound, very lo-fi and very catchy melodies.

So, just FYI, this is NOT a typical Debbie-list, it's not that I have a thing for pretty boys with a lovely accent. Just so you know.