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Music Diary Project – Saturday & Sunday

SATURDAY Following a somewhat over-ambitious attempt at waking up at 8am, soundtracked byBroken Social Scene – Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old GirlMy Chemical Romance – Look Alive, SunshineGorillaz – Rhinestone Eyes (alone, all on Spotify)I give in to the agony in my leg muscles and the rattling in my skull labelled ‘hangover/dehydration’ and go back to sleep, listening to the Juno director’s commentary.The Indelicates – Sympathy for the DevilSex Bob-Omb – We Are Sex Bob-OmbJanelle Monae [feat. Of Montreal] – Make The Bus (alone, all on Spotify)help kick off Attempt At The Day#2, which starts sometime past noon. I know it’s sunny outside, despite my cold dark room at the back of the house catching absolutely no sun, and I have to get out of here. An attempt not massively helped by a disappointingly drained playing ofLos Campesinos! – A Heat Rash In The Shape Of The Show Me StateLos Campesinos! – The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future (in shower, from DS)in an attempt to finish off yesterday’s . My portable speaker-block’s batteries are dying, I think, and both songs come off entirely lackluster.I giveLos Campesinos! – The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Futureanother go on my proper speaker system in my bedroom – it does surprisingly little for me, for a song I would general identify as a candidate of Favourite of All Time – so I just let it go, and go to the pub, and meet up with friends in Birmingham’s Best Beer Garden and chat in a way inappropriate to the family-friendly attitude of the pub.…And from there, everything’s golden. We have a BBQ, and a playlist is accordingly constructed. I won’t bore you with the exact tracklist – or myself with the effort of transcription – but what stand out areFleetwood Mac – DreamsFlobots – Handlebars [DJ Shadow Remix]The Horrors – Sea Within A SeaRoyksopp – The Girl & The RobotAsher Roth – I Love CollegeIggy Pop – The PassengerI Blame Coco [feat. Robyn] – CaesarFleetwood Mac – The ChainKenny Rogers – I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In (in garden, with good company, on Spotify)It’s the kind of day that a certain type of music was made for. Stealing illicit bounces on next door’s trampoline; mixing gin, beer and Pimms in a fashion most irresponsibe; flinging frisbees wildly off in the wrong direction, and – mostly – having stupid noisy conversations… For thirty-second flashes at a time, life feels like being in a music video, or some aspirational KFC advert or something. But what really dominates my day, if I’m being 100% honest, is the Walker’s advert version of that Lionel Richie song (save! one! for! me! something something…extra crunchy!), on account of being catchy in that way that lends itself to constant adapting of the lyrics to whatever banal thought is currently in your brain. It’s so thoroughly embedded that it leaks over into SUNDAY Wherein I wake up determined not to repeat yesterday’s flat beginning, and then end up playing videogames in bed for a couple of hours. Shower is accompanied by a fuzzy, poorly-tuned version ofMarilyn Manson – Tainted Love (alone, on radio)To which the DJ (this is Kerrang! radio) says something embarrassing about using the song to get girls ‘shaking their asses’. Nevertheless, I am surprised to find the song still works. I sing along, a bit, and get ready to take on the sunshine. Start a runthrough ofKanye West – ‘My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy’ (tracks 1, 12, 13, back-garden, on Spotify)before realising shuffle is still on. Muffled curses – mainly sung in a poor impression of Lionel Richie – decide to take this to the park, but not before my daily listen toChildish Gambino – Break (x2, alone, on Spotify)Which is still brilliant and I’m still finding new favourite bits of: today’s is probably the “I’m chasing the blues away like Gargamel” line.My time in the park is musically defined only by the hollow drumbeats of some rubbish, distant music and one ringing ofSuper Smash Bros Soundtrack – Pokemon Battle Theme (on my phone)to signify Sam calling me.Later: home, a couple of tracks ofRadiohead – ‘The King of Limbs’ (tracks 1-3, in garden, with Sam, on Spotify)before my laptop dies; thenKimya Dawson – Walk Like Thunder (in garden, with Sam, from Soundcloud)Which is quite slight for such a long song, but I think I like it: back to this one later, I think. For now, let’s finish offRadiohead – ‘The King of Limbs’ (tracks 3-8, in garden, with Sam, on Spotify)which seeps, accidentally but not unwelcomely, intoDoes It Offend You, Yeah? – ‘Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You’ (tracks 1-8, in garden, alone, on Spotify)Which sounds a little softer in this last hour of warmth and sunlight than I remembered from the recent gig. It’s certainly a lot quieter than their first album – although, again, that could be based off of a misconceived memory – and when the singer focuses on actually singing, in what could be termed an emotional fashion, his voice goes a little too Athlete. It’s nice to have that big fat worst-house-party-next-door-ever-when-the-hell-will-they-go-bed noise contrasted against something, though. It gets to the overly Nathan Barley semi-rap of Wondering, earnestly invoking Bill Hicks and Lee Harvey Oswald, and I give up, and go in search of something more suitable to finishing Wonder Boys, the Michael Chabon novel I have been working sporadically through for, seemingly, as long as Grady Tripp on his eponymous manuscript. I land uponRadiohead – ‘In Rainbows’ (tracks 1-4, in garden, alone, on Spotify)And finish it I do, and lie on my front to the sound of the suddenly invidual-seemingRadiohead – All I Need (garden, alone, on Spotify)taking in that strange moment following the close of a well-enjoyed but hard-fought novel, and begin to mentally construct this paragraph, before the full, square beats of the song suck me in. And as I lie, glasses off, in a […]

Music Diary Project – Thursday & Friday

THURSDAY By the time the 21st hour of this day ticks over, I only have listened to one song:Robyn – Dancing On My Own (CD, in the car, with Mom & Sister)It’s the longest any CD has ever lasted in the family car. I like it, my sister likes it, my mom likes it. This is nigh-on a miracle.…From 21:00 onwards, music as background to the holy process of Hanging Out and Getting Internet Stuff Done with my man Dominic Parsons breaks loose, beginning withChildish Gambino – Break (with Dom, on Spotify)The ‘her pussy tastes like vanilla’ line gets a snigger from Dom. I still think it’s genuinely sweet.Neon Neon – I Told Her On AldeeranBlack Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With YouWhich I don’t get much pleasure from, but which -with the aid of Neon Neon – transports me back to a certain time in my first year at university, so I break the purity of the shuffle and queue upThose Dancing Days – Hittenwhich I just remembered falling back in love with, having heard it in a bar on Monday night.Kanye West – All of the LightsBritney Spears – I Wanna GoThe Indelicates – RosesKelly Clarkson – Since U Been GoneThe Streets – It’s Too LateAnd booking hostels in Poland leads to hilariously searching for songs with titles based on locations we’ll be visiting, namely:The Mo – Krakow LoveKrakovia – The Last Train to Krakow (with Dom, all on Spotify)The latter proves a definite success (“cheap hotels” indeed!) and I consider making a travelling playlist/mix CD based on these principles.Gogol Bordello – Through The Roof ‘n’ UndergroundThom Yorke – And It Rained All Night R. Kelly – Ignition [Remix] (alone, all on Spotify)seems the right place to end the evening. And before you know, it’s FRIDAY! FRIDAY! And, as we both know, you’ve got to get down on Friday.07:30 So kick things off withAt The Drive-in – One Armed Scissor (alone, on Spotify)because wake up with “THIS STATION IS NOT OPERATIONAL” on repeat in my brain, and this saves me having to Tweet it to release the pressure. I don’t enjoy it as much as hoped (maybe too quiet?) so a couple more motivational tunes before workRobyn – With Every HeartbeatThe Arcade Fire – Sprawl II [Mountains Beyond Mountains] Kanye West – Power (alone, all on Spotify, though played at a volume that probably meant any family members still in the house heard it too)Friday: let’s do this!12:30 Lunchtime with Miles & co., which bringsAt The Drive-in – Pattern Against User(which probably makes today a record of ATD-I listening frequency. Congrats, Friday! Apologies, ATD-I and fans!)Life Without Buildings – Love TrinitySt Etienne – FinisterreFriendly Fire – Paris [Aeroplane remix, feat Au Revoir Simone] (walking, all through my phone)Japandroids – Younger Us…and lunch is over.17:00 A trip home withLos Campesinos! – ‘Romance is Boring’ (tracks 1-4, on train platform, through DS)Then a fat break whilst on the train as I watch a film (I haven’t been counting the music from TV and films, specifically, for reasons threefold: a) it’s a lot of effort, b) I don’t want to give away the approaching FFoF, but also c) it doesn’t really count, does it?) then once I’m off the train back ontoLos Campesinos! – ‘Romance is Boring’ (tracks 5-10, walking, DS)Which seems a little clearer than usual, and lyrics I’d never picked out before stand out(I’ve never been one for accurately hearing the proper words, or remembering them, and I would never break the sacred law of Cocker: “Please do not read the lyrics whilst listening to the recordings”).19:00 A cookin’-moussaka playlist, initially put together by the three of usRoots Manuva – Buff Nuff (with Dav & Lex, all on Spotify)Bon Iver – Skinny LoveChildish Gambino – Break but then we surrender and just put it on shuffleThe Arcade Fire – Wake UpKenickie – How I Was MadeThe Arcade Fire – Modern ManDr Dre – Light SpeedRadiohead – Up On The LadderNeutral Milk Hotel – The Penny Arcade in Californiawhich supports my thoery that Spotify is somehow Arcade Fire-sponsored, but also throws up some weaker tracks by beloved acts, so I put onAfghan Whigs – Band of Goldbefore Shuffle throws up – surprise surprise! –The Arcade Fire – Black MirrorRobyn – U Should Know BetterGirl Talk – Play Your Part, Pt. 2LCD Soundsystem – New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me DownYeah Yeah Yeahs – Man (with Dav & Lex, all on Spotify)And then we go to the pub, where we consume numerous alcohols, The Religion Argument is had, and this very Music Diary is discussed. …I can’t help noticing I haven’t listened to enough new stuff, which means a dearth of review-type stuff, and a more heavily archival/anecodtal skew. I’m sorry, peeps! Take it as a lesson in how working days affect your listening capabilities, perhaps?

Music Diary Project: Wednesday

WEDNESDAY starts withKaty Perry feat. Kanye West – ET (alone, music video online)…about which I’m unsure. Listened to it because it popped up on Kieron Gillen’s Formspring. As usual, he’s fairly spot on (except about California Gurls, tut tut). I can’t imagine this song actually existing outside of the video, which isn’t a particularly good sign. The Yeezy bits are pretty good (especially the mentions of bathing his ape in your milky way) but … does it remind anyone else of Tatu, a bit? The video itself is interesting though, and it’s good that after the visual inadequacy of the Gaga Born This Way video, good to know someone’s still making absolutely ridiculous music videos.Childish Gambino – Break (alone, on Spotify, having downloaded the free MP3)Still brilliant. Increasingly fond of the so elegant its fragile opening.Neutral Milk Hotel – King of Carrot Flowers, Part One (alone, on Spotify)An attempt at listening to what is possibly my favourite album, but I forgot to turn shuffle off yesterday and so an advert and a leap into a song by a different band ruin it. Sigh. Then it’s time to finally break openBritney Spears – Femme Fatale (alone, on Spotify) Which is neither as bad as I’ve heard claimed, nor as ‘sick’ as my sister suggested it might be. It’s just Britney embracing current musical trends, and thus getting away from some of what makes her actually a bit unique, a lot like Madonna for the majority of the last ten years (and especially 4 Minutes). The real test is: would I dance to it, in the right situation? There is only one way to find out, dear readers.LCD Soundsystem – All of My Friends (alone, on Spotify)Inspired by a skim of the mammoth Pitchfork article on every James Murphy release, which I intend to properly read at some point. It finished, leaving silence as I polished up some resources for a lesson I’m teaching; in need of a inobtrusive soundtrack I put onMystery Jets – ‘Serotonin’ (tracks 1-3, alone, on Spotify)then, showertime, so I hook my phone up to my portable speaker and on comesLos Campesinos! – In Medias Res (alone, through my mobile phone) Courtesy of Mr Bradley et al’s This Is Not Yr Indie Radio podcast. An unexpected but pleasant meeting of Miles’ voice and my nudity. Including, in a continuation of his apparent mission to convert me to The Cult of Glover,Childish Gambino – Freaks & Geeks (alone, mobile phone)Which I do not enjoy as much as yesterday’s Song of The Day Break, but is still highly pleasurable, especially the “are there Asian girls here? Minority report!” bit, which like all the best jokes took me a little moment.Dismemberment Plan – You Are InvitedOwls – Everyone is My FriendThe whole experience is ruined somewhat by getting water in one ear. Ears are my body’s primary weakness, Alex-Spencer-Fact-Fans! They get unexpectedly warm, turn to ice in the cold, and do a weird itchy thing where I have to click my tongue to do a sort of internal scratch. …I am deeply, deeply gross.Childish Gambino – Break (with Ben, on Spotify)goes back on to remind myself what it’s called so I can mention it above, and then am too scared to put anything else on, as I would have to note it down and inevitably write about it, and while I did that I’d no doubt have to put something else on, which I’d then have to write …. curse your infinite Moebius loops, Music Diary Project! I was meant to go home an hour ago!Errors – A Rumour in Africa [Gold Panda remix]The Weeknd – What You NeedNick Straker Band – Straight AheadMatt & Kim – Lessons Learned (all on train, through phone)…I finally do, and put Not Yr Indie Radio back on for company, followed byThe Flaming Lips – ‘The Soft Bulletin’ (whole album, on the train/walking round town, through my DS)Radiohead – ‘The King of Limbs’ (whole album, on the train, DS)to accompany my reading of a music magazine from 2003 I picked up for 50p from the record shop and of Chabon’s Wonderboys. This fills the two-hour journey home beautifully, so much so I don’t notice when King of Limbs runs out five minutes before everything else. As I put the book down, I’m still humming bits of the album to myself.Radiohead – Karma Police (on Zoë’s car radio)Muse – Knights of Cydonia (on Zoë’s car radio)Both of which – it being sunny, smelling of cut grass, shooting round my hometown in my sister’s shiny new car – somehow summon Summer and make me wonder whether radio stations have an emergency ‘it’s sunny!’ backup playlist.Amanda Palmer – ‘Who Killed Amanda Palmer’ (tracks 1-5, alone, on Spotify)is a lot noisier than I remembered, despite it only having been a week since I last listened to it, and I recoil a bit. Weird side-effect of this ‘Project’: I think it’s actually making me a bit more afraid of music. So I take a hours-long break afterwards, not listening to anything else till just the right side of midnight, squeezing inKanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ (whole album, alone on Spotify)in preparation for forthcoming blog post. I’m familiar enough with it now that even the noisy lyric heaviness can be blended into the background of my consciousness while I write a different blogpost. …Wednesday was my most music-filled day yet this week – for a good few weeks, even – but no definitive Song of The Day that has grabbed me by the lapels and demanded my attention. Which is very much the kind of day it has been through and through, actually. Tomorrow I’ll probably be busy working and the post will be much slimmer. You lucky people!

The Music Diary Project: Monday & Tuesday

Given that the recent explosion in people adopting the 30 Days of Music format made me ache for that halcyon April last year, in a way that got me one step closer to fully appreciating Losing My Edge, I thought I’d hop on the latest bandwagon, courtesy of Nick Southall. Basically, an investigation into how people listen to and use music, promising some kind of spreadsheet of finding at week’s end. I’ll be swimming off, as usual, in my own direction, but it seemed fun and very much within my wheelhouse. MONDAY was one of those days where music is constant and unavoidable. Radio 1 in the car, a sequence of increasingly noisy pubs, meant I heard – if not listened – to a much wider range of songs than I normally would. Only two stand out:Rihanna – S&M (4 times, pub/radio)The definite success of Monday. Started out not liking it, ended up praying loudly that it would get played again, just one more time, and walked home shouting the lyrics. Last time I did that was Rude Boy. vs. Chris Brown – (4 times, pub/radio)Which I heard the thousand-headed anonymous hydra that is local radio DJs fawn over, telling us how they’d OMGed when they heard it, and multiple times in pubs. It might be more than 4 times, to be honest; I wouldn’t know. I’m not even taking offence for the obvious woman-hitting reasons, it’s just the most bland generic thing ever, so much so that I can’t express why without going back to listen to it. Which I won’t. And, as ever with these nights, Monday bled over into what was technically TUESDAY which began too drunk to really record what I listened to. I faintly remember a crawl across Youtube. But Friday proper began with repeated listens toPatrick Wolf – The City (4 times, alone, Youtube)Which is the new single, or at least new to me. It’s certainly very Patrick Wolf, ebullient yet fey and all that. There’s a bit where a deep-voiced vocoder echoes the chorus against the most 80s bit of saxophoning you’ve heard since 2008, and then Wolf’s singing kicks back in, doing the accelerated verse. This bit undeniably is brilliant; the jury of my heart is still a little out on the song as a whole.Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – Tracks 1-3 from We’re New Here (alone, Spotify)This didn’t prove as compatible with my hangover as I would’ve liked. Abandoned the album three tracks in to seek softer, more headache-friendly forms of entertainment.Johnny Boy – You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve (alone, Spotify)Rose-Elinor Dougall – Tracks 1-5 from Without Why (alone, Spotify)Which was much more in line with the hangover. Proved a little too soft after a while and an argument with a call centre via a payphone, so I changed to bigger, external speakers andCrystal Castles & Robert Smith – We Are Not In Love (alone, Spotify)which struck the balance I was looking for all along. Soft by Crystal Castles’ standards, but still crisp and a little bit noisy. Queued upThe Decemberists – 16 Military Wives (alone, Spotify)and then put every playlisted song on shuffle for a bit. This means skipping a lot of my alt-Christmas songs and stuff people have added to party playlists (T.I., shudder) but also throws upThe Arcade Fire – Wasted HoursBig Boi – The Train, Pt. 2The Arcade Fire – We Used to WaitLCD Soundsystem – Pow Pow (all alone, all on Spotify)Which I am really enjoying, and then my phone rings, which meansSuper Smash Bros Brawl Soundtrack – Pokemon Battle Theme (on my phone)I am such a smug post-Pilgrim hipster, but this is a briliant ringtone, especially for someone like me who is: a) rubbish at not missing calls, b) a little afraid of phone conversations. Really brings the tension. This leads to a break from my room and thus my music, though I do hear a snatch ofRebecca Black – Friday (unknown, sounded like teenaged girls singing)from an unidentified source, accompanied by a lot of gleeful voices, while I am in the phonebox outside my house. Back to the shuffled music, back toAmanda Palmer – Blake SaysStandard Fare – DancingJay-Z – 99 ProblemsLCD Soundsystem – All My FriendsXiu Xiu – Apple for a BrainBelle & Sebastian – I Didn’t See It ComingCut Copy – Pharaohs & PyramidsLos Campesinos! – Straight in at 101The Horrors – Do You RememberMy Chemical Romance – PlanetaryThe Kinks – All Day & All of The Night (all alone, all on Spotify)and then, at the recommendation of Mr. Miles Bradley’s Tumblr, I put onChildish Gambino – Break (alone, web browser)–which is promptly interrupted bySuper Smash Bros Brawl Soundtrack – Pokemon Battle Theme (on my phone)Hi Mom! Back toChildish Gambino – Break (3 times, alone, web browser)Which is my first exposure to Childish Gambino, or AS&F! Man of The Year Donald Glover, even. And I really like it, balancing as it does sharp lyrical turns and I-want-to-eat-them-up beats. It’s clever and silly and crammed with pop-culture references, but it feels pretty honest too. The use of All of The Lights works brilliantly, too, which surprised me. I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of months listening to that song (culminating in The Greatest Moment of last Friday’s party) and this channels that love into something that doesn’t wear it out for me. Turns out to be Song of The Day; thanks Miles!Michael Nielsen – Splinter Cell Conviction OST (7; random tracks, alone (obv), Spotify)soundtracks the polishing up of a post on the game, before a long tea-and-Coen-Brothers break, which is followed hours later by my final song for the day,Gonzales – I Am Europe (with Sam, Spotify)because it came up in conversation. “I am gay pastry and racist cappucino” …Well, quite.