Thursday, December 20, 2007

Deadpan Conversation at a Pub, With Fascinating Insights into the Male Psyche

Scene: A pub.

Ian: Which is your favourite barmaid?
Chris: That one.
Jim: That one.
Ian: The one at the end.
Jim: Ian, that's a bloke.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Xmas Compilation CD: Part 2

Well, as promised in the first part of my sleevenotes, here is the second part of my sleevenotes. Man, that was a smooth introduction. And some ugly jpg deterioration above. Oh well, it'll do for now.

12) Queens of the Stone Age - Make It Wit' Chu
Feel familiar? Well, for reasons not entirely clear, QOTSA have re-recorded the track they did with PJ Harvey on one of the Desert Sessions a few years ago. Still a good song though, and nice to hear again. Perhaps they could re-rerecord it with Peej again and rerelease it in time for my next Xmas album? Thanks guys.

13) Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong (On The Prowl Version)
And here starts the Shouty Girl Vocal Section of the evening. I wasn't previously aware that beef jerky had an aftertaste, and I thank them most kindly for the information.

14) Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
Not that it's The Single, but I like this, and it ends with a punchline and is fun.

15) Thomas Tantrum - WhyTheEnglishAreRubbish
This came to me via Marc Riley's 6music radio show, and is also great. I told you this was the Shouty Girl Vocal Section of the album, didn't I? If not, you might have guessed by now.

16) The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Further shouty stuff. As mobile phones have saved us the bother of remembering phone numbers, I think the next generation of mobiles will also remember people's names for us, which will come in handy, and avoid the need for songs like this to be written. Shouty segment over and out.

17) Blonde Redhead - Top Ranking
I inadvertantly saw Blonde Redhead this year, and they were great. I didn't realise they were a trio with a weird twin brothers/husband and wife dynamic. Must make intra-band squabbles fun.

18) The Killers - Tranquilize (Feat. Lou Reed)
Ooh, it starts off moody, doesn't it? Warning: Contains a creepy child chorus. Terrifying. I was going to include Digitalism's D.A.N.C.E. on here, which also has a creepy child chorus, but Winamp decided otherwise. Listen out for the bit near the end when Laughin' Uncle Lou starts to sound like a near-death Johnny Cash. Mrs Reed, take out that life insurance now.

19) Devendra Banhart - The Other Woman
Yeah, it's another track from Devandra B, this time a weird dubby little thing. If you go to his website you can play dress up with him, which is bafflingly entertaining.

20) Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town
This was a real grower on me when it was released as a single earlier in the year. Very well-judged lyric, and the vocal is nicely resigned. If I had produced it, and I can't quite picture the Some Mothers Do Have 'Em-esque chain of events that would have led to that happening, I would have had him do an extra verse where he sighs the lyrics. I'd also put disco keyboard stabs and kick drums and cowbells and an oompah band and a choir of creepy children.

21) Joe Dassin - Les Champs Elysees
Coming in on the home straight is the song about which I know nothing but was in a film I saw (The Darjeeling Limited), and made me leave the cinema singing in an out-RAY-ge-ous Ferr-ench accent, which can only be a good thing. Unless you happened to hear it. Anyway, there it is. I imagine somewhere out there in the infinite monkey typing pool that is the internet there is a Frenchman sat with a laptop in a cafe, fag dangling precariously from his lips, writing densely intellectual criticism of a track called The Mall. Even better, I'm now going to cover this song with my newly formed Dixieland jazz trio, Jim McKenzie & the Offended Parties, changing the chorus to 'Oh, Holloway Rd/Oh, Holloway Rd', and thinking up they lyrics to the verse on the spot. Playing unappreciated at a pub near you soon.

22) The Flight of the Conchords - It's Business Time
Have I cornered you in a pub or party recently and subjected you to an intense conversation about how great Flight of the Conchords is? If not, consider yourself lucky and experience the virtual version of my drunken enthusiasm, presented here in the elegant form of one of their songs what I got off their DVD using the awsome power of technology. This song is even better in the context of the episode it's from. If you've not watched it yet, that oppressive feeling of guilt is the feeling of me judging you, quite hard.

Archivists amongst you may want to note the tracklistings to previous years' Xmas Compilation CDs and spot themes (like how I always put I Want To Make It Wit' Chu on all of the compilation CDs, and won't stop until it replaces our national anthem at sporting events):

Xmas 2006
Xmas 2005
Xmas 2004

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Xmas Compilation CD: Part 1

If you've been good to me this year and I've got your address, you should be getting a copy of Jim's Arrogant Summation of the Music of the Previous Twelvemonth in the post soon, along with a card wishing you a happy Christmas, and probably something positive about the new year. In order to whet your appetite, here's the first part of the tracklisting (more to follow soon):

1) Joan As Policewoman - The Ride
Here's a sentence that might baffle: Joan as Police Woman is one of Anthony and the Johnsons. Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. Anyway, she's one of the Johnsons. Like Richard Hawley, it's a surpise when people step out of a backing band and are great.

2) The Whitest Boy Alive - Inflation
I'm going to have to cut and paste this guy's name - Erlend Øye - because I don't think I can make my keyboard perform such Norwegian gymnastics. He's a King of Convenience, and this is off one of those albums that all the tracks on it are so similarly produced and instrumented that it's a bit much to listen to the whole album, even if the individual tracks are good. I've gone for this one over the single, Burning, for the simple reason that this track is named after an economic phenomenon, and there aren't enough songs named after econonic phenomena. Except for U2's touching ballad 'House Price Falls More Widespread (Credit Crunch to Blame Blues)'.

3) Decemberists - The Perfect Crime 2
This may have come out in 2006, but I think it was a single in 2007, and anyway, it's my party and I'll put slightly out of date tracks on it if I want to, OK? Unexpectedly funky, in a taught white Talking Heads way. It's the best funky assassination-pop tune since the Baader Meinhof album.

4) Rilo Kiley - The Moneymaker
You could force a point and claim that this was also named after an econonimc phenomenon, but you'd be pushing it, frankly, boyo. Also unexpectedly funky. I like it when funky comes up and surpises me. Just so long as Craig Charles doesn't creep up on me and surpise me. I wouldn't like that one bit. It's unlikely, because you'd probably hear him going 'Awoooga! Awoooga!' from quite some distance away, and then reading out emails where people tell him how great he is: "Craig, love the show, you're a legend! Cheers, Dave in Rotherham".

5) Modest Mouse - Dashboard
Hmm, it's all the usual suspects isn't it? Well, it's either me or popular music which is stagnating, and I DON'T THINK IT'S ME. I'm a fucking fountain of youthful experimentation, me. Anyway, slightly disappointing album considering Good News For People Who Like Bad News was (to use ebay terminology) an 'A+++++++ Top EBAYER!!!!1!' and also that they've got Johnny 'Johnny Marr out of the Smiths' Marr. Still, this is good, and so's some of the other stuff, and I like the imagery.

6) Laura Cantrell - When the Roses Bloom Again
One of the Great Things about 2007 has been Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. I love it when he reads out the lyrics to the song he's just about to play. Also when he reads out a joke in that deadpan drawl of his. Also when he just reads out a list of examples of the theme of the show: 'The theme this week is letters. Here are some examples of letters: Love letters, bank letters, capital letters, letters of recommendation, letters of resignation...' Actually, that's a good theme. I'll write in and suggest it. Anyway, this was a track I heard on the 'Flowers' episode, and it's gorgeous.

7) Herman Düne - I Wish That I Could See You Soon
Also gorgeous is this. In fact, if you take one thing away with you from this CD, let it be this song. I am a huge fan of it. I love the way that singer David-Ivar Herman Düne sings exactly like Leonard Cohen only better, and how the arrangement is exactly like Leonard Cohen, and the bit where he goes 'and the angels go:' and then the backing singers kick in just melts me like butter in a frying pan. Sorry, I'm a bit hungry. It's under 3 minutes, too: perfection. Put it on repeat.

8) Robert Wyatt - A Beautiful Peace
Not really representative of the rest of the album (Comicopera), but its whimsy tickles me. Anyway, it's only short, so SHUT UP.

9) Monkey Swallows The Universe - Martin
If you've seen me recently, you'll have noticed the worried, drawn look to my face. This is because I've had the impossible task of trying to whittle down which Monkey Swallows the Universe track from their album 'The Bright Carvings' is the best. I still don't know. This is just an interim choice. Also complicating matters is the fact that this is a 2006 album and they've also got a new record just out called 'The Casket Letters', but I've not got that yet. And - Arrrk! - they've just split up. Damndamndamn. OK, well, I've just booked tickets for their gig on 11th January at the wonderful Bush Hall, so who wants to go? Really, who wants to go? It'll be great, and I promise I won't cry. Actually, I promise no such thing. Sorry for the running commentary. Anyway, my Google calendar now alarmingly says 'January 11th Monkey Swallows the Universe 7pm' which would terrify my grandparents I expect.

10) G. Love And Special Sauce - Cold Beverage
Not in any way from 2007. Nor is it anything I discovered in 2007 (my normal get-out clause). I just like it. And also cold beverages. I like those too.

11) Billy Bragg - A13 Trunk Road to the Sea
Er, and this isn't from 2007 either. It's great though. Impress me at parties by reciting the chorus word-perfectly. All togehter now: "Starts out in Wapping, it ain't a-stopping..." Ah.

Part 2 a-coming a-soon...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Triple Deapan Conversation Bonus Bundle

Yep, it's three deadpan conversations for you, reader.


Scene: Outside my house. I am opening my bin shed to put my bike in. A father and child pass by.

Child: [Amazed voice] Do you live in there?
Me: Yes. Not in the bin shed though!
Father: He asks too many questions.


Scene: Outside work, I meet the postman. You could tell he is a postman without already knowing that he is, because he wears shorts in all weather.

Postman: Hi.
Me: Hi.
P: You're Catherine's boyfriend, right?
Me: No, I don't think so.
P: Oh.
Me: It's Chris you're thinking of.
P: Oh right. He's the big lad?
Me: Erm.
P: Wears a hat?
Me: That's Ian. Chris works upstairs. He's about my height. Dark hair.
P: Spiky hair? Cycles? Wears a green jumper?
Me: Yes, that's him.
P: Oh yes, the Geordie. I know him.
Me: No, that's not him.


Scene: A football stadium in Stevenage. Running late owing to cancelled trains and a lack of ticket machines at Finsbury Park, I hurry along towards the turnstiles, but hear a loud roar indicating that we've scored. Damn.

Me: 1 adult, please.
Turnstile Woman: That's £12 please.
Me: Thanks. I don't get a discount for missing a goal then?
TW: No. I ought to charge you more for not being here on time.

Anyone know what the best 70 minutes of music released during 2007 were? If you can compile it onto a cd and send it to me, it will save me considerable efforts. I've already wasted far too much time comparing Devandra Banhart tracks from his recent album without coming to any conclusion. Cheers.