Beni ‘06

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I’d never been to a music festival before last
summer. Yeah sure I’d been to the odd free festival or party in the
park, and hey even a day at Reading Festival in 2004, but last summer
was the start – the biggie.  I guess I’d always been a bit scared of
mud, and of camping. Never having camped as a kid, I didn’t understand
how you fit in a tent never mind sleep in one.

Summer 2005 was
to change it all, as we booked tickets for Glastonbury, Reading and
Exit (Serbia), and even toyed with the idea of Bestival. The camping
issue had to be sorted though, and a trip to Argos saw us buying a
moderately expensive (but well worth it) comfy airbed duvet combo bed to go inside our tent. I still scowled mind.

Glastonbury
was incredibly muddy, Reading scary, but Exit? Well Exit was the dream.
Held at the top of a fortress overlooking the Danube, we spent 5 days
in Novi-Sad listening to music, eating meat and drinking very cheap vodka, but admittedly mainly eating meat.  This
year with no Glastonbury, we pondered a return to Exit (if only to eat
at the incredibly good restaurant we ate at on our final night), and
even attempted to figure out if we could afford a trip to America to
Coachella. One year, but not this one.

Instead we, like many other
Brits, plumped for Benicassim a Spanish festival held in Benicassim town, near Valencia.  In past years line-ups have sounded great and this year was to be no exception. Plane tickets were booked many moons ago but we refrained from buying tickets hoping that we might be able to acquire them via a different method. Then, normal tickets sold out, and we were left quite frankly shitting ourselves. Then like a shining beacon from above Melodytrip appeared and asked if we’d like to cover the festival for them. Via complicated accreditation systems, our tickets only got confirmed last week and now we look forward to an early wake-up tomorrow and a lovely flight from Gatwick to Barcelona before checking out whether Spanish trains are any better than their English counterparts.

No worries about camping this year, as we’ve got a room in a swanky air conditioned bungalow on one of the campsites. Yup we’re going to be one of those jammy gits who rock up into a little house, instead of sleeping on the floor. Hooray! Other than camping, I was somewhat afriad of the heat out there but it seems that the UK is going to be even hotter than Spain this week meaning we can’t rub it in the
faces of our non-Benicassim-going friends – bah! It doesn’t help that
we’re writing this in an air conditioned basement in London with no
concept of the weather outside either. I get the feeling I really shouldn’t be looking forward to the tube journey home though.

We’ll be bringing you all the gossip and news from the festival as well as telling you which bands sucked, which set our little hearts on fire, and how many rock stars we manage to convince Kim to introduce us too. Catch our coverage over here.

Place your bets now

HotchipThoughts on this later maybe, but here’s the list of nominees for this year’s Mercury Music Prize.

Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Ballad of the Broken Seas
Editors – The Back Room
Guillemots -Through the Windowpane
Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
Hot Chip – The Warning32
Muse – Black Holes & Revelations
Zoe Rahman – Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes – Beloved One
Scritti Politti – White Bread Black Beer
Sway – This is My Demo
Thom Yorke – The Eraser

Seriously, could it be much more yawnsome? Admittedly, I’ve only heard a few of them so I probably shouldn’t judge yet – but it does just  look boring, doesn’t it? Hooray for Muse and Hot Chip, but where’s Come and Get It and Chemistry, for gawds sake!

Last night at Barfly

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OK i take back nearly everything I said about STG after seeing them live last night. They are nothing at all like The Modern. I was fooled by boy/girl electro vox but live they sound much much rockier than on record.  The confusion began when we showed up at Barfly to check we were on the list a bit earlier on and it seemed full of glammy emo kids. And I really do mean kids – surely it’s an 18+ venue? James and I felt like we were chaperones at a teenagers party.

Snipshot_hogxu2onu_1Supporting were Under The Influence Of Giants – a band I’d never heard of who’ve just been signed to Island Records – who fall somewhere between the rock soul of RHCP and the falsetto hooks of Scissor Sisters. Aaron Bruno (vocals/lyrics), Jamin Wilcox (drummer, keyboards),  Drew Stewart (guitars), and David Amezcua (bass) make up the L.A. group. While Aaron prances round the stage in his best lycra armgear, David Amezcua is a bassist who’s been studying the always-pleasing art of looking like Jack Black.
To be honest there was nothing exceptional about them. They were just good, fun and I enjoyed them.

The changeover between bands was exceptionally long for such a tiny stage before Shiny Toy Guns came on, leaving us getting a bit restless and clock watching. Finally they came on and opened with You Are The One (I think). Live, much of the synths seem to fall quiSnipshot_ft9p1v2r3etly under full on emo guitar. It doesn’t sound anything like The Modern, the 80s or Linken Park – in fact on the way to the gig I decided it was more Muse than LP, but screw that idea too. This was total Panic at the Disco territory and the ‘kids’ knew it. For every epic drawn-out hysterical verse, there was a punchy chorus which got us all bouncing about. But, then suddenly it would switch into soaring, even DJ Sammy-esque europop on their poppier tracks such Le Disko. Covering all the bases, they switch from I-won’t-tidy-my-room emo howling to full-throttle pop-rock bliss many times throughout the course of the set, and frequently even within the same song. Unfortunatly they didn’t look as glamtastic as their promotional photos suggest but special mention must go to the drummer, Mike Martin, who’s hilariously theatrical drumming will surely go onto better things. Leaving the stage, the band thanked the crowd who had followed them from ‘Essex County – Colchester’ last night to watch them tonight as well.

Under the influence of Giants play again in London tonight at Madame Jo Jo’s on Brewer Street. Otherwise catch them supporting Shiny Toy Guns at various UK venues in the next week – full deets on, you guessed it.

Shiny Toy Guns

Stg

If The Modern hadn’t royally fucked up with their last single Industry, then the London electro-glammers would probably still be signed to Mercury and would be very happily poking the top 20 with the amazing Discotheque Francais. Oh, and of course, all my yelling at people to listen to The Modern would have been justified.  But while they mow the lawns of fields filled with dropped pop stars, let’s refocus our electo-pop energies on some other Eighties sounding electro rivivalists again on Universal. This time it’s Polydor instead of Mercury and the band are Oklahoma’s Shiny Toy Guns.

The glamourous (seriously, look at that stunning photo) Shiny Toy Guns have been a permanant fixture on my iPod since reading about them on a forum several weeks ago and eventually bothered to look up them up.  They have a darker sound than The Modern and seem to use their synths to a more haunting effect while still remaining fun. In fact I even hear slight nu-metal sounds in the tracks on We Are Pilot, but that could be because I’m really missing Linken Park (really!) Yes, electroclash + nu-metal, I know what you’re thinking – I’m making this sound awful! But seriously just trust me and take five to listen to it yourselves over on myspace.

There’s a great review of the album over on electrocore.

The band are in the UK at the moment and play Camden Barfly tomorrow. Tickets are £7 and you can get them from the Barfly website.

Robbie goes dance

RobbieJust when we thought he’d gone a bit irrelevant and boring  Robbie Williams has shocked, well certainly me, and gone dance. I’m just listening to the Essential
Selection
and there’s quite a dark sounding track by ‘Artist Unknown’
called RudeBox. It’s a little reminiscent of Simian Mobile Disco’s Hustler with lyrics like ‘work the rudebox, do the rudebox’ –
and then towards the end of the track you get a mini Robbie rap.

Rudebox is about 40 mins into the essential selection (if you want to
listen again, the new Basement Jaxx track is at 18m, although on 1st listen it sucks!).  Admittedly this is a Soul Mekanik Dub so it might not sound much like the original but it’s still very exciting.

Apparantly
it’s taken from the album 1974 which’ll be out on Sept 18 and includes
collaborations with PSBs, Manu Chou, William Orbit, Mark Ronson and Lily Allen! Youtube has some not very interesting viral clips for the single and also this one which shows Robbie dressed up as a stripping granny during World Cup fever with the track playing in the background. That clip links you to the Rudebox website. The Essential Selection aren’t saying who it is at the moment, so it’s all part of a big strategy to make you like it before turning your nose up at the idea of ‘Robbie doing dance’!.

My set at Pottymouth

Tonight I played a couple of sets at Pottymouth, an all girl vox party,180195997_3e5a7e1f6a_1
at the Spread Eagle in Shoreditch.  This is what I played:

8.25
Chicks on Speed – Love Life
Sarah Nixey – Strange Love
Herbert – Celebrity
Twiggy – When I Think Of You
Le Tigre – Viz
The Delilahs – Is That A Reason
Deadstar – That Dress Looks Better On You
Stefy – Chelsea
Ladytron – He Took Her To A Movie
Freezepop – Here Comes A Special Boy
Peaches – 2 Guys
mia – Heroes
Cardigans – Do You Believe
Sons & Daughters – Monster
Kitty & The K’s – I am a MF
Robots in Disguise – DJs Got A Gun
Bis – Kandy Pop

2130
Tigarah – Fake Out
Nenah Cherry – Buffalo Stance
Los Super Elegentes – Dance
Long Blondes – Weekend Without Makeup
Tori Amos – Raspberry Swirl
Metric – Dead Disco
One More Kiss – This Itch
Dead Disco – City Place

2200
Girls Aloud – Swinging London Town
The Pipettes – Pull Shapes (Butlins Remix)
Morningwood – NY Girls
Donnas – Dancing With Myself

2250
Nelly Futardo – No Hay Iguai
Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez – Block Party
Annie – The Crush
Elastica – In The City
Charlotte Hatherley – Kim Wilde