Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Ask Drum Wolf

Hey Drum Wolf, how about this weather huh?

I know right? It's like rainy one minute, sunny the next - what's with that? Anyway, I gotta go return a library book. Catch you later man.

Drum Wolf is the drummer for Guitar Wolf and he is entirely nonplussed by his car being covered in zombies.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Death of Polaroid / Moerenuma

As everyone knows they stopped making Polaroid film and the last batch expired more than a month ago now. I still had two films (one left now) and was looking forward to using them up, so I took the big, lumpy camera-cum-spaceship to Moerenuma Park when Andy, Yuki, Tara and I went there for an "outing" last week.

The first time I pressed the button on the new film two pictures came out at once, one blank, the other partly ruined / enhanced by the effect you can see below (hint: there wasn't really a giant caramel blanket over half of the world). After that the camera refused to finish the film and now the plastic film cartridge seems to be jammed in.

So maybe they weren't shitting about that expiry date huh?!

Or maybe it's just that I've got some midas touch that breaks cameras at the moment.

Either way, I'm really happy with the way some of these shots came out. In scanning them I've tried to preserve the "Polaroid Palette" as much as possible. As Andy said, it has an instant-nostalgia effect - when he looked at the snaps he felt like it was the record of some warm, old memory; when in fact the trip had been earlier that day.

I hope you enjoyed that latest installment of "The Last Days of Polaroid." I'm going to take a knife to the camera and try to drag it out a little longer.

Monday, 28 September 2009

The View From My Window

My building changed owners only ten days after I moved in. It's an old building, built in 1988 in that weird 80s futurist style that probably dated faster than any school of design in history. There's no lift, but the stairwell is wide and well lit by a bizarre jagged window that runs the entire height of the structure and makes it look like an earthquake just hit. All the public areas are covered with two-tone grey checked lino tiles; and the outside is mostly unfinished concrete (cracking now with age) with red paint highlights. At the very top of the stairs the banister is made of yellow and black striped rope woven through rings on a black metal frame - which is a design innovation I believe was invented by the set designers of Blakes 7 or possibly the decorators of Laser Quest in Acocks Green. I have to say that I liked it from the first time I saw it, even though it's lacking in a lot of respects, and now the new owners are sprucing the whole place up which (as long as they don't hike the rent) is even better.

But first they've got to cover the entire thing in scaffolding and tarpaulin.

So that's now the view from my window until I go back to England for a while.

No natural light can gain access to the building whatsoever. My appartment, the hallways, the stairwell - all dim and shadowy like a less dank episode of the Silent Hill franchise. As Will Smith once said, I "
walk in shadow, move in silence, guard against extra terrestrial violence."

Well, the first one at least.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Moments from Wild Zero

Wild Zero is a fantastic zombie b-movie starring the Japanese Rock 'n' Roll legends Guitar Wolf.

What's it about?

It's about Rock 'n' Roll.

Those are actual subtitles from the movie by the way, which is amazing on so many levels it's like God's own multi-storey car park.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Kumaboshi! X polarbearisdying Story Time Go!

Andy came to stay and we did things like going to parks and aquariums, making music and eating lots and lots and lots of food. I also gave him something to take back to the slow-cooker of Fukuoka to work on:

If things work out, Andy will draw something and send it back to me, then I'll draw something and send it back and so on until we've filled the book with some kind of narrative.

This was pretty much inspired by the notebookery project that I'm also going to (eventually) be a part of. That one's like 60 people all over the world, this one is just two so it should be easier to keep track of. You would hope! Aha, aha, ha.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Ask the Magic Building

Jesus, Mary and Joseph Magic Building! What with Andy staying and so on, I've got nine days worth of blogging to catch up on if I want to maintain my smooth illusion of unstoppable daily updates! Do I have a snowball in hell's chance of making up that difference?

Yeah! You're right Magic Building! I can do it! I can do the show right here!

(The Magic Building lives in downtown Sapporo and will green-light any project)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Park Review! Nopporo Forest Park

Disaster strikes! Unsurprisingly (considering I dropped it in the snow three times, on the beach once, and onto concrete more than once) my camera is dying in fits and starts. Most of the time now when I turn it on I'm faced with a black void, which is also what I get when I take photos and although I could, y'know, "make lemonade" and turn my blog into a 365 project about "null", it's a pretty big pain in the ass.

The first time it happened was when Yuki and I drove out to Nopporo Forest Park - home of the Hokkaido Historical Village (which we didn't check out) and the Hokkaido Centennial Memorial Tower (which we did).

The Centennial Memorial tower is very tall, and since it's located far to the East of Sapporo, where there's nothing quite as tall you often notice it when you're looking across the city from other lookout points. Also the fact that it's shaped like a sinister, black, tapering spike makes it pretty eye catching too.

I've always wanted to visit the tower (which, seriously, would make a great villain's lair in almost any vaguely "dark" genre), and while we could only climb to the low observation window, it still gives you a great view of the city with the mountains in the background.

These are the photos that I took before my camera succumbed to... the darkness:

Like that first one? It's all about the juxtaposition of the light and shadow, presence and absence and...

Man, I hope my camera heals itself soon.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Moments from Tokyo!

Tokyo! was a movie released last year that was actually three short movies all set in, and one would assume inspired by, Tokyo. The three directors, it should also be noted, are foreign. To Japan that is.

The directors were, from the top image down - Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho. I liked all of the movies, but Andy and Olivia weren't sold on the middle one, an unsettling piece about a somewhat demonic foreigner who lives in the sewers of Tokyo. As a movie made up of short pieces I'd expected it would be patchy, but it was actually really strong throughout, and so - I recommend it to you.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

A Week Late, A Tenner Short

This post, whenever it's supposed to be dated, was written on Tuesday 29th October. Phew, man, not sure I'm going to be able to paper over the gap this time! Sadly with more time I can actually spend time doing things I want to do rather than forcing myself to write a blog just so that I'm doing something other than work. So we'll see how this goes. Also Andy came to stay a couple of days ago so it's going to be harder than ever to fill the yawning vacant content-hungry boxes of this "blog".

Many good things have happened though. Me finding that there's an amazing animated video for Shiina Ringo's Tsugou No Ii Karada for example:

Awesome. More tomorrow. I mean today. I mean...


A) As pointed out in the comments, I mean September 29th. Not that I can't travel forwards in time when I want to, it's just that I didn't do that this time.

B) Youtube took down the Ringo-chan video, which leaves me with the option of trying to find a new streaming link, or just telling you to track it down yourself. Guess which one I'm going to do!

It's worth the effort!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Sapporo Rainbow March 2009

It was fun as always! This was my third Rainbow March (Pride by any other name) and it was fun to watch the drag queens heckling builders through the PA systems.

It wasn't as sunny this year as it was the last two years, but the colours still "popped". And I played my part in ensuring there were plenty of colours to see, as you can imagine.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sapporo Food: Sinner Cafe

Sinner Cafe is a nice mexican place in Susukino. I've been there a bunch of times, and while I wouldn't call it spectacular it's almost always satisfying.

That said, I'm British. Therefore: I know nothing about Mexican food, in the same way that Americans have never eaten real fish and probably never eaten good Indian food. I don't know if this place serves good Mexican food, I just know it serves pretty good food.

I got taco rice this time (which I have a feeling is a Japanese/Mexican concoction, but I'm not sure) but in the past I've enjoyed their tacos and burritos a great deal. Mostly the menu is pretty good value, but some things (their soft drinks for example) are just spectacularly expensive. There's a one drink minimum if you want to hang out in there too, so careful you don't get gouged with that.

It is a nice place to hang out though. It's got a shabby, arty vibe and the music they play there is often western indie stuff that I never hear anywhere else. I mean, anywhere else in the world - they played a track by Owsley one time that... I mean, I've never met anyone else who's even heard of Owsley.

So I like the place overall and it's also a great place to keep in mind if you're in Odori and need somewhere to eat and chill for a while. I have added it to my map, as you can see... here.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Face First In Music

Recently, I'm really enjoying cramming as much music into my ears as I can without just utterly scrambling my puny little brain.

That's the cover of the Kid Cudi album that just came out and that I "bought" with Tower Records points. The only point card I ever remember to carry around; imagine if I'd stored up points for the hundreds and hundreds of pounds I spent at the supermarkets near my house in the last two years! Then again, I often think that the money off I would have reaped would never have made up for the fact that I would have had to carry around a bunch of fucking points cards.

Anyway, the Kid Cudi album (cover painted by comic book legend Bill Sienkiewicz, fact fans!) is very good, although slightly absurd. Kudi is one of Kanye's current proteges, and the album is executive produced by Yeezy and bears something of a resemblance to 808's and Heartbreak, probably because Cudi helped Kanye make that little slice of Yeezy's world. There's a sticker with a quote from Kanye on the front of this record saying: "Cudi is a combination of constant inspiration, struggle, reality and dreams put to melody!" which makes me want to write Kanye-esque sandwich descriptions like "It's a combination of hard work, tuna, adversity and mayonaise put on rye bread!"

Everyone hates Kanye at the moment right? Eh, they'll get over it, he's a genius.

The biggest similarity would have to be the subtle-as-a-brick, heart-on-sleeve introspective soul searching aspect of the album. Man on the Moon: The End of Day (its... frankly terrible title) is a concept album and a half: divided into different parts, with narration guiding you between each suite of three songs and orchestral interludes. And like most concept albums it has epic sweep, and like most hip-hop albums it has unbelievable self convidence and bravado. But with Man on the Moon, this scale and drama is applied to the story of a guy that feels frustrated in his life one night, gets depressed, gets stoned, and in the morning feels much more positive about things.

It's not an amazing album, and not entirely successful in its aims, but it's incredibly interesting and its shortcomings add a lot to its charm. It's also surprisingly downbeat and minimal for a hyped hip-hop artist's debut, and a real grower - every time I listen to it I like it a little more, which is a great sign. I'm interested if this Kanye West-led macho, spill-your-guts kind of mainstream hip-hop can really take off, but I for one am enjoying the disconnect between a guy one minute saying "Why must it feel so wrong when I try to do right?" and the next coming out with "But man, ol' girl got a phat ol' ass / Yeah the type to make you tell a bitch just dance."

Hmmm, I was going to write about other music I've been listening too as well, but this'll do for now. Just know that I've been really impressed at how Kool Keith can make "You and me drinking tea by the fireplace," into the start of such a crude, filthy couplet.

Man's a genius. A very dirty genius.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Sapporo Food: Hiri Hiri (Firi Firi?) Soup Curry

In Japanese of course, Firi Firi and Hiri Hiri are pronounced in exactly the same way, so it makes very little difference really. Still I'm curious how I'm supposed to read this font:

Hiri Hiri has a couple of branches I think, and I went to the one in Odori. It's in the basement of some huge building, but is pretty easy to find - there being a big distinctive sign outside like the one above. I dig that Oh! Do-Ri thing by the way. Fun. Anyway it's right next to the Starbuck that's along from Central, if that makes any sens to you. If it doesn't - there's always a map.

It was delicious, and I wasn't disappointed at all. The thing about eating lots of soup curry and finding your favourite ones is that every now and then you go somewhere new and it winds up being a total let down. Hiri Hiri has a relatively thin soup, with a light, spicy flavour kind of like Voyage in Kita 24 Jyo. I had a good medium spice level, but I'd guess that if you want anything really invigorating you'd have to pay extra to amp it up, and the photo you're looking at is a vegetable curry with chicken-wing gyoza on top. Not quite sure what that was - possible a chicken-skin gyoza with bones attached to act as a handle? Delicious anyway.

Hiri Hiri doesn't get into my top five Soup Curry restaurants (none of which I've written about here for some baffling reason) but it's definitely worth going to if you're craving soup curry in the city centre.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Small Product Round Up

Look! Stylish chocolate:

Delicious chocolate too. And who knew that Yakult made a sports drink named after Ian Thorpe?

Not me, that's for sure.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Odori Street Performance Festival Thing

This Wednesday post was beamed back in time from the day after.

I honestly can't remember what this thing is called, but I stumbled upon it for, like, the third year in a row last week. They close all the streets and put on tons of different performances - from rock bands, to hula dancing, to shamisen warriors, to acrobats to who knows what.

This year it looked bigger and better organised actually, so maybe it's taking off. I like it most because of the fact that the streets in Odori are suddenly pedestrianised, and the whole area feels completely different. It feels wonderful in fact, really relaxing and open, and it makes you actually look at the trees. Odori has some really nice trees y'know.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

J-Pop MEG Video Special

This Tuesday post took a stroll from Thursday coz I was behind...

A short time ago I plotzed (I believe I plotzed, I believe that's the right term, perhaps it's intransitive though) about Yasutaka Tanaka and his ridiculously awesome electronic pop music. Well at the time I also found that almost all of the videos from MEG, of whose music he is the main producer, are utterly fabulous.

I fucking hate cats, and even I think that's a fun video. Maybe coz the cats are kind of being tortured...?

And the music for the last one I wanted to post was, surreally enough, produced by the British band Hadouken. However that video has been rendered unembeddable by the tools at Universal Music Japan so you'll have to go view it here (it's worth it, it has a fake band of male models, much like the Deichkind Luftbahn video, which is also, stupidly, unembeddable, and a bit with a giant cigarette). I'm not saying that they shouldn't control their property however they like, it's just that youtube, and music videos in general, are just one big publicity machine. They are a hugely powerful way to market your wares and if you are allowing the content online, but stopping people from embedding the videos then you're essentially saying "No! We only want some people to see our adverts! If more people see our adverts then more people might want to buy our product and then where would we be?" I can only assume that youtube pays more money to the copyright holders when people watch the videos directly on the site, rather than embedded in another site, otherwise it's just complete internet fail on behalf of the record company.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Sky Report Part 2

This Monday post was actually written on the following Thursday. Ah, backlogs.

You know that because of my job I barely saw the sunset for two years.

My life is pretty good right now.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Liminal State Waste Services

This Sunday post brought to you with electronic hindsight from the following Thursday.

Over on Loom I actually uploaded a little music.

Loom is the creative blog that used to be five people and is now down to pretty much Paul writing his amazing, bewildering, fugue-state story of death and rebirth and death and rebirth. It's fantastic stuff and for some reason reading it reminds me of an infinite video loop in which a butterfly comes out of a chrysalis again and again forever. No, not a butterfly, something more sinister.

Here's what I posted over there - with luck the player will work and you'll be able to download the thing from there.

Liminal State Waste Services

Track copyright Alex Williams 2009, even though I don't remember how I made those noises.

I was going through my old recordings on the 4 track and found the tracks on there. It's a whole lot of nothing much, messy and simple, but I like the minimalism of it and I'm gonna try adding vocals and maybe making the whole thing longer.

On a side note I need to find out more about recording software. I'm using Audacity at the moment, which is good enough for all the bare minimum stuff, but I'm gonna need some good loop-making software I reckon. Recommendations appreciated.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


This Saturday post is brought to you by the grace of the following Thursday! Whoops!

Almost a week without a post. And I don't have a job right now!


At least I'm not killing time on this thing! (read: I'm killing time
on other things) Actually I have finally been hitting something of a groove with some writing and music, so I'm gonna keep chasing that rainbow and not worrying too much about this. A-a-a-and to be honest, I'm kinda thinking of knocking this blog on the head at 500 posts. Um, not to beg for validation or anything, but if you ever read it and enjoy whatever it is I'm writing about here let me know. Anyway Bruce Sterling says the death of the blog is imminent (I think he said that...) and by no means do I want to be here when the party gets lame.

Ok, I'm gonna get up now, my knees are getting muddy.

For now - business as usual.

Philip K. Dick's The Transmigration of Timothy Archer was just as good as "Teenage" Longarini told me. Prior to this I'd only read Dick's sci-fi works, but this exploration of madness, inspiration and the human mind was just as thought provoking.

Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 has been getting solid reviews from what I've seen (except from Pitchfork, but then, whaddatheyknow?), and from the tracks that got released before it came out I was pretty excited. And for me, after an initial three listens (I had to turn it off because they're cutting up the road outside my appartment with giant circular saws at the moment, which is just as grating as you would think) it doesn't disappoint at all. When I got round to American Gangster, which folks said was better than Kingdom Come, I was underwhelmed. But with Blueprint 3 I am, dare I say it, a little overwhelmed. Just a little. That 9-11 bit is tremendous, but then, the last track featuring Mr. Hudson is fucking awful.

And my friend Jesi finally moved back to America, taking little Kame-san here with her. I'll miss the little bastard and his cold, calculating reptilian stare. I think if I ever do get a pet, it might well be a cold blooded one.

About pets in general - I forgot that having a pet means you have something that you can pretend to talk to when you're actually talking to yourself. Now that the turtle's gone, I back to just plain talking to myself again.

Friday, 11 September 2009


A looooong time ago I bought a David Lynch documentary on DVD that just will not play on my computer.

A looooong time after that I managed to get the trailers to play, and watched them with Andy.

And a looooong time after that I managed to do something with that file, and uploaded it to youtube. Feel the power of... Avalanche (and Avalanche 2 thrown in for good measure!)

I guess made-for-TV in the US becomes Straight-to-DVD in Japan? Either way, you've probably seen the best of those movies in the trailers.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Alex's Book Club - The Rifles, Hell and Shame in the Blood

I've been reading more, of course. I don't know whether this makes it more or less difficult for me to make strings of words on my own, but I like books, so.

William T. Vollmann's The Rifles was interesting, moving and I enjoyed it far more than I expected to. Since it's subtitled "Volume Six of Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes", and Vollman's other works include a seven volume investigation of human violence and a book entitled Poor People, I had feared it was going to be a little daunting.

It was daunting I suppose, but it was surprisingly easy to read and engrossing throughout. The Seven Dreams series examines encounters between native American people and European colonists, and you can guess the kind of points it makes. In this one Vollman's focus is on the Inuit of Northern Canada, and his thesis is that the introduction of the rifle (which the Europeans traded them for food and assistance since the explorers were utterly incapable of surviving in the arctic circle alone) changed their lifestyle catastrophically: depleting the population of the animals on which they lived, destroying their culture and generally weakening their position in the world.

Then, later, the Canadian government shafted them for good measure.

That may look like something of a spoiler, but really it isn't since Vollman often breaks the fourth wall to address the reader directly and spends whole sections of the book laying this out and accepting that he may be overstating the case, but that he is being as impartial as possible.

Also, the pleasure of the book for me was certainly not merely in the details, but in the way they were presented. It is a dreamlike narrative of an American who believes himself to be the reincarnation of Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer who can to a sticky end, and who falls in love with an Inuk girl while studying the people of Northern Canada. The perspective shifts from second to third person and back; chapters start in the present day and end in the 1800s and vice-versa; and all the time Vollmann's characters, flawed and desperate every one, make wonderfully human, believable decisions. It really was a fantastic book.

The week I finished it I spent the night on a mountain at the Magical Camp festival, and as it got colder in the evening I kept thinking about Vollmann's characters (and Vollman himself, as he writes in one of the appendices) almost freezing to death in minus 40 degree weather. It'll probably stay with me for a long time.

Hell, by Yasutaka Tsutsui, was one of the pieces of Japanes literature I borrowed on a whim from the library when I went (I'm gonna get more next week!). He's apparently famous as a sci-fi writer (several Japanese people I mentioned him to knew who he was) but has been highly prolific in any number of genres. Only a few of his books are available in English though, and Hell is a slightly surreal contemporary fantasy work about people dying and going to hell - which in Japanese terms isn't all that hellish, more a kind of limbo where no-one is sure of the rules or conditions for being there. It was short, funny and touching and much better than the other Japanese book I borrowed which was...

... Shame in the Blood by Tetsuo Miura. Written and set in the early sixties, it's described as one of Japan's greatest love stories, but I found the whole thing progressively more and more frustrating and was fucking glad to finish it and put it down. It was mercifully brief I guess (if it had run to 300 pages I doubt I would have finished it) and it has many praiseworthy points. The details of human actions and interactions are excellently observed and I'm sure the tone and the narration really capture certain aspects and attitudes of mid-20th century (specifically post-war) Japan exquisitely. However the story, and the narrator himself (who, sadly, is probably closely based on Miura since the events seem to mirror those of his own life) just annoyed the living fuck out of me, obscuring all the positives.

The narrator comes from a tragic family where two of his sisters kill themselves, and his two older brothers run away from home, one of them stealing the family fortune in the process. Because of this he believes his blood must be cursed, and struggles to deal with it, while falling in love with a woman and slowly... possibly? coming to terms with the fact that he can live a normal life...? I don't want to go on hammering a book that other people have clearly seen a lot of good in, but for me the self-pity was believable but annoying, the structure seemed arbitrary and annoying and the whole thing was inconclusive and annoying.

Actually, I think the biggest problem for me was that I found a set of characters that go through hardships and personal sufferings looking for light or a new start; but who can never find true hope or the truly fresh beginning that they want. But it's not the world that is hammering them down and denying them, as it seems to in some of Denis Johnson's incredibly tragic novels, but their own overwhelming sense of personal shame or belief that hardships must just be endured.

In fact, a lot of the tortured introspection reminded me of the first Evangelion movie I just watched. Except that in that case I could kind of laugh at it and enjoy the giant robots fighting ever more conceptual celestial threats. Shame in the Blood features no giant robots at all! Not one!

It does have a gorgeous cover though doesn't it?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Comics Stuff: Grant Morrison's Batman & Robin #3

So good.

So, so good. I've been reading Grant Morrisons work on Batman over the last few years only sporadically, but I'm suddenly possessed with this desire to find and consume all of it all over again.

It's so good.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I might have been born yesterday, but I stayed up all night.

GodDAMN that El-P record that came out two years ago (I'll Sleep When You're Dead) is good. Really, really good.

His production still sounds like I believe regular hip-hop will sound in twenty years time and when he's dropping lines like the one in the title of this here post he's pretty much unstoppable. Fantastic video too. I wanna go back in time to 2007 and slot it into my best of the year list.

More hip-hop I've been listening to this week: Eyedea and Abilities. Now that I'm using Media Monkey to listen to stuff I keep digging up old rekkerds that I haven't listened to in forever, and one of them was their self titled second album. When I got it I was hooked in by Now (it's streaming on their myspace, check it out), which is just by far the best track on a pretty solid album that didn't really blow me away. There's too much posturing, and it's really hard to put my finger on why that doesn't work for me there, I mean, posturing is in no way a bad thing in hip-hop terms. I think it's maybe something to do with the fact that they most certainly have the skills to pay the bills, but being a champion battle rapper and champion scratch artist, it's like they set out to make an album that played to their strengths, that maximised their potential and... maybe they could'a just made a better album if they relaxed a bit and not locked themselves in a classic, but limited, hip-hop paint box. Anyway, after five years or whatever off doing a million different things they're back, and the press release says back to the battle rapping and scratching, which is entirely misleading because they've made a much more interesting album than that.

That's not even one of the better songs on the new album By the Throat, which is a blast. It's short, punchy, it obeys no formulas, it's not in any box (well, kinda the modern indie hip-hop playpen I guess) and it sounds like a record made by people with inspiration rather than people toiling to make the most of their gifts within the genre in which they're expected to perform. Everything's messier and noisier, nothing fades out and songs are cut off before their natural end point, there are lots of fuzzy guitar noises that never lapse into actual rock riffs (barring a couple of shaky straight-punk sections) and great beats and good lines and most importantly of all they get the most out of every track and then they kill it. The previous album, like many, many rock and hip-hop records works with the assumption that a track should be yay-long, regardless whether the song is good enough to keep the attention for that long. This is one of my biggest personal bugbears in pop music - the so-so chorus that still gets repeated four times at the end of a four minute song in the hope that momentum might give it extra mass; the third or fourth verse in a song where the point's been made in the first, filled out in the second and there's nowhere else for it to go. Christ I wish people would think about what structure would make the song better, rather than dragging the song out to fit some trad-skeleton. By The Throat is execptional in that way. There's a track about gun control and he makes his point in the first verse and that's it. Done in one verse. One minute forty four seconds, and it's as complete as every other song on the record. Awesome.

Heh, white guys rapping. Now for rock, Pitchfork, god bless it's little cotton socks turned me onto Health, and their second album Get Color is very good. This is the best song though, and the video is exceptional:

So it might be slightly downhill after that. Apparently they used to be accused of jumping on some noise-rock bandwagon (oh man, they must've smelt the billions in gold bullion you can make from noise-rock these days!) but while you can see their influences, I think the sound they've carved out for themselves here is pretty unique. Despite sounding like a car-plant trying to romance a circular saw and play the dums at the same time the record flows really, really well. They keep up the same sonics almost all the way through and there's a great balance of focus and freedom.

Wow, I had a good music week. I also got the Beta Satan album (you can buy it easily, not just through itunes! off their myspace there) which is fantastic. Some of Beta Satan used to be Tiger Tunes, who made Denmark awesome with their electronic indie music, and Beta Satan are just like Tiger Tunes except ROCK and with a lot of swearing and a hilariously surly attitude. Their NSFW video is:

I mean, I saw NSFW, but as always it depends where you "W" and whether you care what people think of you. They have a song called Maths and Chemistry with a repeated refrain of "Politics Politics" that I find incredibly amusing for no reason I can consciously fathom.

Pitchfork (and some guy on a message board) also told me to get XX by The XX but in this case I can't be all that enthusiastic about it. I mean, it's a good downbeat electro pop album, and I'll certainly listen to it for background music when I'm trying to do something else (oh! backhanded dis! I don't mean that as bitchily as it came out), but it really, really sounds like The Blow to me. Except it's more downbeat and it's really trying to be classy and aloof and touching and down to earth at the same time, and The Blow are much more carefree and, frankly, much better. Hmmm, I wonder how much of it comes down to the fact that the girl who sings for The XX sounds exactly like
Khaela Maricich of The Blow? Maybe my senses are being misled by that. It is funny that on a couple of duets the slightly affected vocals of the boy from The XX make him sound exactly like Har Mar Superstar. So, essentially, if I hadn't known what I was listening to when that track came on then I would've sworn on my pirate ancestor's grave that it was an old Blow song with guest vocals from Har Mar Superstar.

Oh man, that's a lot of writing about music! It was fun though. See you around!