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Dr · Gleet

His own antiparticle

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I'm a bit bored of this (for those that understand the output to the unix 'top' command):

1285   Mail         124.6 06:40:21 19/1 10   637+  5226   487M+  170M   648M+

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There have been a few Edward Lear related things floating around this weekend, it having been the 200th anniversary of his birth on Saturday. I can't claim to be a particular afficionado, though being prompted to re-read The Owl and the Pussycat, I thought it was rather lovely. I remember reading his books as a kid, and enjoying them, though finding them not up to the standard of other things, written much later. Inevitable, in retrospect, I suppose.

His birthday prompted a nice cryptic crossword in Saturday's Independent. The answers to some of the clues are nonce words coined by Lear, which make them a bit tricky. Runcible I remembered. Bong-Tree I deduced from the clue, and checked, but "[Lear]'s coinage in books European collected (6)" fitting -O-B-E took me some time.

The Owl and the Pussycat poem also reminded of this beautiful rendering, by Luna:

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Week 47: Atlas Sound - Parallax
Last.fm had been suggesting that I listen to Atlas Sound for some time. Probably since early on in the year when I got a Deerhunter album and listened to it quite a lot. Atlas Sound is the solo project of the Deerhunter front man, Brandon Cox. It has, unsurprisingly, a similar sound, but a little sparer, slower, and less accessible. It's jangly and trebly, and mostly tuneful.

Week 48: Wilco - The Whole Love
I first came across Wilco as the co-conspirators, with Billy Bragg, in the Mermaid Avenue album, which put music to some Woody Guthrie lyrics that were never used. That album was fantastic, and since then I've made periodic attempts to get into Wilco as a band in their own right, largely without success. The Whole Love grabbed me from the start. The first song is a tour-de-force - quite proggy, heavy, melodic and catchy. The whole album is enjoyable. Time to dust off Sky Blue Sky, I think.

Week 49: Real Estate - Days
Real Estate were a recommendation from someone on a Galaxie 500 mailing list I've been a member of for around 15 years. The list is in a fairly slumbering state, but pops into life occasionally, such as at the end of this year when people talked about some of the things they'd been listening to, and enjoying, in 2011. It's a suitable choice for a Galaxie 500 fan, since it's rather ethereal and languorous. Reminds of the Mamas and the Papas a bit, too.

Week 50: Jim White - Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See
I hadn't heard of Jim White at all, but this album was the last one that Howard recommended to me this year. He reminds me of a MOR version of Tom Waites. It's listenable enough. Radio 2 should play it, if it doesn't already.
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Week 44: She & Him: A Very She & Him Christmas
I came across this, and having a vague liking for M Ward (on the basis of one or two songs) I went for this. I'm not really a natural Christmas album sort of guy, and there wasn't even a cover of the acknowledged best Christmas song (Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney), but okay. M Ward and Zooey Deschanel have made a nice album of christmas covers which are elegant, and somehow plaintive and a bit sleazy at the same time.

Week 45: The Strokes: Angles
When the Strokes first single came out I was impressed. They had managed to nail a kind of cool Sonic-Youth like New York sound and make pop out of it. Turns out they can still do it a few albums on. This is as catchy as anything else they have done. Brilliant stuff, guys.

Week 46: Summer Camp: Welcome to Condale
This one came from the fact that Howard had signed these guys for a gig in Guildford. I wasn't going to be able to make it, but bought the CD for a listen. I think it's ultimately not up my street at all. One song I quite liked turned out to just rip off a bit of The Killing Moon, so of course there was something good about it... Think I'll file this one away.
Current Music:
Summer Camp - Down | Powered by Last.fm
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Oh, well, I have a whole lot of CDs I've not reviewed and/or only lightly listened to. I have spent some time today to rectify that, and in the interest of your feeds, here is a single post for many of them. No doubt some will follow later / tomorrow. (also - ignore the weeks, they aren't really the weeks I bought them in, but at least a way to count them)

Week 39: Laura Veirs: July Flame
Howard, the Record Shop Bloke, pointed out on the week I bought this that there was a new album of children's music by Laura Veirs. He wasn't sure he could really recommend it to me, but did say that her regular album was good. And wow, too bad it's been sitting on my shelf unopened all this time. It is, as far as I can tell, totally up Howard's street, given what else he's recommended me, and it's one of the best - beautiful songs, folky Americana, with nice tunes with such a variety that there's even a track that reminds me of Stereolab. I might even buy her Children's album now to see what my daughter thinks of it!

Week 40: Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
I think I picked this up on the basis of hearing a track on Lauren Laverne's Radio 6 show. It's a curious thing. A sort of Lo-Fi Prog, which is surely a contradiction in terms, and probably why it sounds not quite like anything else. If I had to liken them to anyone it would be Pavement. Not so much because anyone would confuse them, but for the combination of Lo-Fi and silliness at times. Being one of the albums in the last-minute rush, I can't say I've listened to it as thoroughly as I should, but the initial impression points to much goodness. The opening track is brilliant, some other will take me some time to get to know better, but I will definitely get to know them better.

Week 41: Sam Amidon: I See the Sign
My supplier moved in to promotion during the year and Sam Amidon was the first gig to come along. I'd not hear of him, though my estimably colleague and gig-companion Wilton had seen him before and recommended him. I duly bought the album in advance of the gig. It was fun, and I enjoyed him and his songs, even with a bizarre Jedward-centred between-song narrative. It is again Americana, which I've heard a lot this year through recommendations. Or perhaps NuFolk - I can't be sure. I don't think he has a fulsome beard or drinks microbrews, but he sure sounds like he should. That's no bad thing, I think. I at least drink microbrews, even if I don't have that late Beach Boys look. Nice album.

Week 42: Girls: Father, Son, Holy Ghost
My brother got me in to this band. At least I think so. I had some idea from somewhere that he liked them, so when it came to his birthday I looked around for gigs to take him to, and saw that Girls were playing around the right time. He was indeed keen to go. And we went. I listened to the album quite a bit in advance of the gig. It's really quite good. Tuneful shoegazy indie that would have fitted in the late 80s (clearly the best time for tuneful shoegazy indie music), although a bit more diverse than that. Also a good band to see live, though I always feel slightly uncomfortable when going to a band with obviously devoted fans, when I happen not to already be one of them. That's not much of a reason not to like them, though.

Week 43: A Winged Victory for the Sullen: A Winged Victory for the Sullen
We (girlfriend and I) saw this in the record shop, and based on nothing more than the cover, came to a judgement. I was mostly derisive, thinking song titles like "We played some open chords and rejoiced, for the Earth had circled the sun yet another year" just sounded pretentious, whereas she thought they sounded cool. I think in the end, we met somewhere in the middle upon hearing the album. It's so ambient that there seems no reason to either have it playing or not. I'm not sure I ever gave it the concentration I should have, but I'm not sure it really deserved it. It was pleasant enough, but never got under my skin.
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I am vaguely aware of Feist as being someone quite trendy, and Wikipedia tells me that she is a sometimes member of the Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene. This is a shame, because I once heard a Broken Social Scene song that I liked and went to see them, only to be disappointed by their cock-rock posturing. It turns out, though, that I shouldn't have dismissed Feist because of that experience. This album is really nice. It sounds like a sort of 70s rocky Carole King album or something like that. Good songs. One of the better ones this year.
Current Location:
CM23 5RA
Current Music:
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Since the demise of Pavement, Stephen Malkmus has made some pretty good albums. Real Emotional Trash was real(ly) good, and he's managed to produce another great album with Mirror Traffic. It is pretty Pavementy with sometimes typically silly lyrics and sort of silly music too, yet never coming across as novelty music. Good stuff.
Current Music:
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Senator | Powered by Last.fm
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Well, I've always quite liked PJ Harvey, yet always found her quite hard to listen to. I've always put this down to not being quite cool enough, for she surely is cool. Then she won a prize for this, and I thought I ought to give it a go. I found, in a blessed circumstance of consistency, that I quite like it, but find it sometimes pretty unlistenable. I like the first song, the title track, but if I'm playing it through, I can't listen to The Glorious Land to the end, as I get that kind of embarrassed cringing feeling that I get when I watch that kind of Office-like or Borat-like comedy when you just can't bear to see someone behaving like they are. Only, this record is supposed to be serious, I think. Other than that, just repeating phrases does not always make good songs. Ostinato has never looked so bad.
Current Music:
PJ Harvey - The Words That Maketh Murder | Powered by Last.fm
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(mmm, I don't think it can really be week 35 of the year. Oops)

Well, Fleet Foxes. Whenever they did that Winter Hymnal Thingy song, I thought "oh, this is rather nice." I bought someone the album on the strength of that. They didn't like it very much, though they tried, they say. I then saw them support Neil Young at a big Hyde Park concert, and was underwhelmed. So I filed them as a band with a nice song and a poor catalogue.

Then, I kept hearing songs of theirs. Or songs that sounded like them, but really nice songs. Gently, melodic, beautiful, melancholy songs. Shazam confirmed whenever I used it that they were indeed songs off of their new album, Helplessness Blues, so I picked up a copy. And it is good. It even reminds be of the Beach Boys, which is high praise indeed.

Current Music:
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues | Powered by Last.fm
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Other Lives are new to me. I think I picked it up because of a promising review somewhere or other, and I'm glad I did. They have a kind of sweeping, forlorn, tuneful beauty. They remind me of Crime and the City Solution, which is commendation enough.
Current Location:
Current Music:
Other Lives
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