2010-01-31

Arcade Fire - The Woodlands Nation Anthem


Artist: Arcade Fire

Song: The Woodlands Nation Anthem

Album: Arcade Fire (EP 2005)

Montreal group the Arcade Fire are one of the biggest indie bands in the world, following two critically loved albums and a reputation for energetic live performances.

Debut release Funeral caught 2004 by surprise. Nobody in the Arcade Fire had suggested big talent before and it was not preceded by hit singles or hype. Upon release, however, it blew away music critics, who gushed about its operatic… Read more

Arcade Fire fans are an enthusiastic bunch, and they've been hungry for more music from their favorite group. But be forewarned, this EP was actually recorded and released by the band independently in 2003. The EP is an interesting view into the development of these musicians; decidedly less experienced at that point, the band didn't have quite as much oomph as they do now. When you compare these tracks with their first single, "Rebellion (Lies)" from Funeral, you can immediately feel a difference in confidence, from vocals on through to orchestration. That said, there is still plenty for fans to enjoy on this EP; for starters, none of these seven songs show up on their full-length, so that gives Fire fans an extra half hour of music to enjoy. Secondly, husband and wife team Win Butler and Régine Chassagne's vocals and songwriting still shine, most especially on the standout "No Cars Go" and the beautifully fragile "Headlights Look Like Diamonds." Funeral remains the best introduction to Arcade Fire, but this CD is still a great glimpse of a band with a bright future ahead. --Denise Sheppard

review

I guess we'll have to move
The neighborhood is on to us
Let's join the little babes
Throwing rocks in front of us

Riding on my bicycle
I pass my sister on a bus
Let's take the country road
Before our parents send for us

Trees keep falling at my feet
I guess it's time to build a boat
Make a raft of our bodies
Do you think that it'll float?
What I said was not a joke
But you just licked the envelope
I'm tired of dating, let's elope
But you just licked the envelope

Three cheers for my parents'
Lonely failed experiments!
Three cheers for my parents'
Lonely failed experiments!

Don't you dare blame my parents
I'm the only failed experiment
Don't you dare blame your parents
You're the only failed experiment
Don't you dare blame your grandparents
Mom's the only failed experiment
Don't you dare blame your grandparents
Dad's the only failed experiment
Don't blame God
Just blame God
Don't blame God

music

2010-01-29

Various Artists - The Peek-A-Boo Bicycle Rodeo

Artist: Various Artists

Album: The Peek-A-Boo Bicycle Rodeo (1995)

Peek-A-Boo Records' first full-length release was this compilation of otherwise unavailable tracks by 16 Austin bands, unified thematically by a love of pedal-powered motion.

The record was only released on clear vinyl — a limited edition of 1000, each with a large, magazine-size 12-page insert with band photos and info — and included tracks by Teen Titans, The 1-4-5s, Spoon, Death Valley, Stretford, Lord High Fixers, Audrey, Poopiehead, The Paranoids, Powersnatch, Veronica, Falfurrias, Kiki Debris, Girl Robots, Wonder Whip and Drake Tungsten.

Track Listing

1.

Death Valley - Pedal to the Moon

2.

The 1-4-5s - Bicycle Rodeo

3.

The Paranoids - Go

4.

Teen Titans - Schwinn 24 (Kinky Friedman)

5.

Stretford - Not on the Wheel

6.

Powersnatch - Bicicleta Fiesta

7.

Veronica - Rhymes with Bike

8.

Lord High Fixers - Born Loser (Murphy & The Mob)

9.

Spoon - Idiot Driver (alternate mix)

10.

Falfurrias - Vuelo

11.

Poopiehead - Cycling is Fun (Shonen Knife)

12.

Kiki Debris - Wheelie King

13.

Wonder Whip - Nueces Street

14.

Girl Robots - The Crazy Bicycle Race

15.

Drake Tungsten - This is a Whipping

16.

Audrey - Banana Seat

17.

unlisted track - Bike (Syd Barrett)

2010-01-28

This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb - Murder Bike


Artist: This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb

Song: Murder Bike

Album: Three Way Tie For A Fifth (2004)

About This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb (post)

I'm the only boy left in town today. it's time, I'm gonna leave my burdens down I'm on my way to heaven with the devil, he's on my side. bicycle, you're keeping me sane. I got murder murder murder murder murder swimming in my brain. I know with you I'm never gonna kill again and get the electric chair

2010-01-26

Cockney Rejects - Where The Hell Is Babylon


Artist: Cockney Rejects

Song: Where The Hell Is Babylon

Album: Greatest Hits vol.4 (1997) or Back On The Street (2000)

Inspired by the critically reviled working-class punk of Sham 69, the Cockney Rejects helped give voice to the punk subgenre tagged Oi!, partly thanks to the group's 1980 song "Oi! Oi! Oi!" The Rejects' sound was loud, brash, and crudely performed, with an irreverent sense of humor and an inclination towards mindless anarchy that made them appealing to frustrated lower-class youth and,… more

WELL IT'S BEEN ALMOST 20 YEARS AND NOW THEIR BACK. THE COCKNEY REJECTS ARE ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL OI BANDS EVER. HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO GET A PIECE OF THAT HISTORY. 16 NEWELY RECORDED CLASSICS THAT ARE SURE TO MAKE YOU WANT TO SHAVE YOUR HEAD AND POLISH UP YOUR BOOTS. IF YOU MISSED IT THE FIRST TIME, THIS IS YOUR REDEMPTION...

I like to think of this as the Rejects' mocking answer to the Ruts' "Babylon's Burning". No time for poetic gibberish, we got a life to live, kind of.

music

Where the Hell is Babylon? I wanna go today
But before I leave the house, I've gotta know the way
Where the Hell is Babylon? I've heard it's lots of fun
Can I get there on me bike, or straight up the M1?

Video live

2010-01-25

This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb - Better Off Dead


Artist: This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb

Song: Better Off Dead

Album: Three Way Tie For A Fifth (2004)

This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb is a folk-punk alternative, unsophisticated group whose lyrics are characterized by teen angst and anarchic views. Much of their music is politically oriented. This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb is staunchly opposed to war and is concerned with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and racial equality in general.

Interesting asides: Band members met while one was on bike tour of Florida Keys; other bought a bike, joined ride, and, later, band; peace marchers and student fans were at various times arrested after putting band stickers on their bicycles.

An explosive dance party good time rocker from Pensacola basement levelers TBIAPB. A hybrid jamboree of country-folk and indie rock, performed with guitars, harmonica, drums, bass, lotsa vocals, and a liberating spirit of abandon. Sweet, soulful and fun!

not supposed to live past 13, I know you thought I forgot
getting older condition worsening
not born dead, but born to die
fuck their system spitshine yer eye
I watched you learn to fly that night in gainesville
flew to the rooftops on our handlebars
will couldnt see past the top of yer head
gonna gonna fly forever on our handlebars
if we don't live like this then were better off dead
no way to hold on no place to sit
the furthest thing from a perfect fit
well take our chances well wear our scars
carrie nations first tour and we were there 13 days without a care
we can never go back there again

2010-01-24

Irving Berlin - A Couple Of Swells


Artist: Irving Berlin

Song: A Couple Of Swells

Album: Easter Parade - OST (1947)

Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in history.

This “buddy song” was 1st recorded by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney for the musical Easter Parade, but covered many times. A stanza regrets not having a bicycle.

Easter Parade is a 1948 musical film starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. It features music by Irving Berlin, including some of Astaire and Garland's best-known songs, such as "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "We're a Couple of Swells."
The film won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. It also received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. It was the most successful picture of Astaire's career and it was the highest-grossing musical of the year.

We're a couple of swells
We stop at the best hotels
But we prefer the country far away from the city smells
We're a couple of sports
The pride of the tennis courts
In June, July and August we look cute when we're dressed in shorts
The Vanderbilts have asked us up for tea
We don't know how to get there, no siree
No, siree
We would drive up the Avenue, but we haven't got the price
We would skate up the Avenue, but there isn't any ice
We would ride on a bicycle, but we haven't got a bike
So we'll walk up the Avenue
Yes, we'll walk up the Avenue
And to walk up the Avenue's what we like

Wall Street bankers are we
With plenty of currency
We'd open up the safe but we forgot where we put the key
We're the favorite lads
Of girls in the picture ads
We'd like to tell you who we kissed last night but we can't be cads
The Vanderbilts are waiting at the club
But how are we to get there, that's the rub
That's the rub

We would sail up the Avenue, but we haven't got a yacht
We would drive up the Avenue, but the horse we had was shot
We would ride on a trolley car but we haven't got the fare
So we'll walk up the Avenue
Yes, we'll walk up the Avenue
Yes, we'll walk up the Avenue till we're there

We would swim up the Avenue but we haven't any lake
So we'll walk up the Avenue
Yes, we'll walk up the Avenue
Yes, a walk up the Avenue's what we'll take

2010-01-23

Donovan - Ferris Wheel

Artist: Donovan

Song: Ferris Wheel

Album: Sunshine Superman (1966)

Upon his emergence during the mid-'60s, Donovan was anointed "Britain's answer to Bob Dylan," a facile but largely unfounded comparison which compromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour's own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan's music remains its bleak introspection and bitter realism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mystical beauty and childlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential artifacts of the psychedelic era, capturing the peace and love idealism of their time to perfection. more

Paced by the title track, one of Donovan's best singles, 1966's Sunshine Superman heralded the coming psychedelic age with a new world/old world bent: several ambitious psychedelic productions and a raft of wistful folk songs. review

Another song from Sunshine Superman

Walking in the seashore twilight,

It's then you spy carnival lights,

You slowly near the magic sight,

Tangerine sky minus one kite.

Take time an' tie your pretty hair

The gypsy driver doesn't care

If you catch your hair in the ferris wheel on top,

In the ferris wheel on top.

A silver bicycle you shall ride,

To bathe your mind in the quiet tide.

Far off as it seems your hair will mend

With a Samson's strength to begin again.

Take time an' dry your pretty eyes,

Watch the seagull fly far-off skies

To build its nest in the ferris wheel on top,

In the ferris wheel on top.

If ever I reach her.

And the moral here, if any, my friend:

Follow through your dream to the end.

Dig the seagull fly across the sky

To build its nest in the ferris wheel,

In the ferris wheel.

2010-01-21

Rafter - Bicycle

Artist: Rafter

Song: Bicycle

Album: 10 Songs (2009)

One of San Diego's music fixture Rafter Roberts' many projects -- which include the indie pop duo Bunky, running one of the city's most popular indie recording studios, and producing and engineering albums for Castanets, the Fiery Furnaces, Arab on Radar, and more -- Rafter's kaleidoscopic noise pop features Roberts and a revolving cast of friends. Growing up in a California commune, Roberts wasn't exposed to much pop culture or music except for what his new wave- and punk-loving older brother played for him on weekend visits. Inspired by XTC, Devo, Talking Heads, and the Beatles, Roberts formed the band Faucet while still in his teens. He moved to New York after graduating from high school and worked on his music via four-track recorder.

This pop gem has been buried in the rough since 1998, and marks the first time Rafter's debut has been available for retail. It's an album to lose your way in, headphones pumping, toes tapping, and mind swimming in the rich environs authored by a persevering love-seeking dude.

music

2010-01-19

Toninho Horta - Bicycle Ride

Artist: Toninho Horta

Song: Bicycle Ride

Album: Moonstone (1989)

Influential composer/guitarist with a developed personal style of harmonization, Toninho Horta has had extensive participation in other artists's projects, and has also recorded more than ten solo albums (having special guests like Pat Metheny, Naná Vasconcelos, and Eliane Elias), many of them released internationally. Some of his hits as composer are "Diana" (with Fernando Brant), "O Céu De Brasília" (with Fernando Brant), "Durango Kid" (with Fernando Brant), "Dona Olímpia" (with Ronaldo Bastos), "Beijo Partido," and "Manuel, O Audaz" (with Fernando Brant).

Spending his childhood in his… Read more

music

video live

2010-01-18

Barbez - Defiant Bicycle

Artist: Barbez

Song: Defiant Bicycle

Album: Barbez (2004)

The word "eclectic" doesn't quite begin to cover the diversity of styles and influences that come together in the Brooklyn-based ensemble Barbez. The band's lineup includes a virtuoso Theremin player, a percussionist manning a marimba, and someone who conjures noises from a Palm Pilot. The group's repertoire includes Russian folk songs, the music of Kurt Weill, and covers of Black Sabbath and the Residents. (…)

Imagine Kurt Weill chewing sausages with the Residents underneath the Williamsburg Bridge while watching a Russian wedding dance and you have some approximation of Barbez, Brooklyn’s one-of-a-kind post-cabaret punk chamber ensemble. Provoked by Slavic folksong, Argentine tango, post-war classical and pre-MTV punk, Barbez wrings these disparate worlds into their own unique soundscape. The group began five years ago with members whose backgrounds were in dance, rock, jazz, electronics and avant-garde classical: Ksenia Vidyaykina, Dan Kaufman, Danny Tunick (Bang On A Can Allstars), Pamelia Kurstin (Geggy Tah, The Kurstins), Dan Coates and Shahzad Ismaily. Barbez draws its unusual instrumentation into a haunting, original sound that evokes everything from Swans and PJ Harvey to Lotte Lenya and Eastern European folk music.

(…) So let’s talk about the music, then. The songs oscillate from tra-la-la chanson to brief explosions of terrifying skronk, hitting everything in between. Although sometimes flamboyant with mid-song tempo and time signature changes, Barbez don’t come across as mathy: they’re going for controlled chaos, not athletics. The impression is that of a century's worth of vinyl disintegrating in a cellar — Satie melting into The Stooges — then somehow willing itself back together. “The Defiant Bicycle”, the centerpiece of the album and most of their live performances, is a gorgeous suite that takes so much time to build that the listener’s masochistic response (per Masoch’s definition of masochism, as delayed pleasure) almost becomes a counterpoint. “Wisconsin” — songwriter and bandleader Dan Kaufman’s ode to his surprisingly prosaic birthplace — is the closest Barbez come to a traditional lied (via the Residents, perhaps).

review

music

2010-01-16

Owen - Breaking Away


Artist: Owen

Song: Breaking Away

Album: The EP (2004)

(The EP) is a 5 song EP, which is the third release by Mike Kinsella under the name Owen.

music

Well, just between you and me
I don't know what I'm doing here
In your room, close to you
Full of shit and free beer
My brother, the bartender
I tip him well, and I drink for free
Well, he takes good care of me; he takes care of me
Anyway, I'm here

I'm a bicycle; I'm too tired to ride home
If it's okay with you, can I take off these shoes, stay the night

Well, just between you and me
This thing between you and me
Might not be anything worth singing about
Or it might be just what I need
Someone to take my mind off things
At the end of a long day
Someone to take my pants off for me
At the end of a long night
Either way, we're here

We're two bicycyles, ridden, too tired to know
Which one of us of us two
Was dumb enough to choose the other as a lover

Anyway I'm here on my bicycle I'm too tired to ride on...If its ok with you can I take off these shoes and stay the night...Well just between you and me

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2010-01-15

Owen - Stolen Bike

Artist: Owen

Song: Stolen Bike

Album: The Seaside EP (2009)

The Seaside EP is a rarities release by Chicago artist Owen.

"Stolen Bike" – also a Japanese bonus track from At Home With Owen - is a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song "Stolen Car" from the album "The River".

i met a little girl and i settled down
in a little house out on the edge of town
we got married, we swore we'd never part
then little by little we drifted from each other's hear
at first i thought it was just restlessness
that would fade as time went by and our love grew deep
but in the end there was more i guess
that tore us apart and made us weep
i'm riding a stolen bike
up and down Damon Avenue
each night i wait to get caught
but i never do
she asked if i remembered those letters i wrote
when our love was young and bold
she said last night she read those letters
and they made her feel one hundred years old
i'm riding a stolen bike
on a pitch black night
i keep telling myself it's gonna be alright
but i ride by night and i travel in fear
that in this darkness i will disappear

2010-01-14

Damien Rice - You Shouldn't Be Here

Artist: Damien Rice

Song: You Shouldn’t Be Here

Album: rare and unreleased

Folk singer Damien Rice was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1973. He was originally a member of the rock group Juniper who had hits in Ireland with “Weatherman” and “World is Dead”. Rice left the band in 1998 to pursue his own career and released his debut solo album O to strong reviews in 2002. The single “The Blowers Daughter” went to the Top 10 in the UK, helping to push the album to triple platinum… Read more

The lyrics are awesome, but the musical feel of the drums and guitar in the background make an incredibly intense emotional feeling. You can feel the music pulling at your soul, especially once its the vamp after the chorus and its just him humming with the guitar and the drums and it builds and builds. You can feel your heartstrings get pulled.

you shouldn't be here...
i feel awkward, and good
to be near you,
watch you rip through paper wool...

time may stall,
and i may be late...
i want it now,
but i guess i can wait...

you buy a bicycle,
i hear you coming over for food...
feed my appetite
with a mouthful of you...

time may stall,
and i may be late...
i want it now,
but i guess i can wait...
i guess i can wait...

you shouldn't be here,
i feel awkward...

video live

2010-01-13

Owen - One of These Days


Artist: Owen

Song: One of These Days

Album: At Home With Owen (2006)

Owen is Mike Kinsella. For almost a decade, Kinsella has been known for his important role in some of Chicago's most revered bands: Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Owls, and American Football. All of the projects with the exception of American Football were bands in which Kinsella played with his older brother, Tim Kinsella, a well-known Chicago musician in his own right. In the projects in which the Kinsella brothers joined up together, Mike was relegated to the role of drums while his brother handled guitar work. more

review

music

one of these days I'll make some money
and buy myself those things that I want:
acrylic paints, acoustic guitar strings, a new bicycle seat
for my ride over to your house each night
and one of these days I'll get a real job
one that actually pays
like my dad had

you know my father, the bartender
used to wear a suit to work
before he hit the drink,
the old man used to do a lot of things

one of these days I'll give up
and give in to the man

2010-01-12

Dalla & De Gregori - Cosa Sarà


Artist: Lucio Dalla – Francesco De Gregori

Song: Cosa sarà

Album: b-side 45” (1978)

Lyrics: DallaCellamare




Cosa sara' che fa crescere gli alberi, la felicita'
Che fa morire a vent'anni anche se poi vivi fino a cento
Cosa sara' a far muovere il vento a fermare il poeta ubriaco
A dare la morte per un pezzo di pane o un bacio non dato

Oh oh cosa sara' che ti svegli al mattino e sei serio
Che ti fa morire ridendo di notte, all'ombra di un desiderio
Oh oh cosa sara' che ti spinge ad amare una donna bassina perduta
La bottiglia che ti ubriaca anche se non l'hai bevuta

Cosa sara' che ti spinge a picchiare il tuo re
Che ti porta a cercare il giusto dove giustizia non c'e'
Cosa sara' che ti fa comprare di tutto
Anche se e' di niente che hai bisogno

Cosa sara' che ti strappa dal sogno
Oh oh cosa sara' che ti fa uscire di tasca dei
"no, non ci sto"
Ti getta nel mare, ti viene a salvare
Oh oh cosa sara' che dobbiamo cercare
Che dobbiamo cercare

Cosa sara' che ti fa lasciar la bicicletta sul muro
E camminare la sera con un amico a parlar del futuro
Cosa sara' questo strano coraggio o paura che ti prende
E ci porta ad ascoltare la notte che scende

Oh oh cosa sara' quell'uomo ed il suo cuore benedetto
Che sceso dalle scarpe e dal letto
Si e' sentito solo e' come un uccello che in volo
E' come un uccello che in volo si ferma e guarda laggiù

2010-01-11

Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things


Artist: Fujiya & Miyagi

Song: Transparent Things

Album: Transparent Things (2007)

Despite the name, Fujiya & Miyagi are neither Japanese nor a duo. The electronic trio of singer and guitarist David Best, synth player Steve Lewis, and bassist Matt Hainsby are deeply indebted both to vintage '70s Krautrock and the '90s bands that were themselves influenced by the likes of Neu! and Kraftwerk, from Stereolab and Broadcast to Aphex Twin and the Orb. The group started in the coastal city of Brighton, England, in 1999, when Best and Lewis first met in a pickup football game. Taking their name at random from Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid and a brand of stereo equipment, Best and Lewis recorded their first album, Electro Karaoke in the Negative, as a duo, releasing it on the Tirk Records label in 2003. In preparation for touring behind the album, Best and Lewis formed a full-band iteration of Fujiya & Miyagi, including bassist Grunder and drummer Matthew Avery. When recording sessions started for the band's second album, Best and Lewis felt the four-piece lineup didn't work in the studio and reverted briefly to a duo before adding Hainsby on bass and additional keyboards. Thus constituted, Fujiya & Miyagi completed their second album, Transparent Things, which was released in the spring of 2006. ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

Transparent Things has international press and DJ's going nuts for these boys from Brighton. Errol Alkan, James Murphy, Optimo and Andrew Weatherall are among the celebrated artists/DJ's to proclaim their love for these electronic maestros. Fujiya & Miyagi borrow from some of the best: Can (they supported Damo Suzuki three times in 2006), Kraftwerk, Air and even Talking Heads. Track 10, Reeboks In Heaven, is a US exclusive, named for David's grandfather, professor of aerodynamics, golfer, and lover of his trainers.

review

litterbugs
professional non smokers
pricks in replica kits of red and black yeah
cyclists should ride in designated
bicycle zones and not on the pavement

2 by 2
european langauge schools
they got the same coloured rucksacks on their backs yeah
uh oh
i know
they got the same coloured rucksacks, oh

i look through transparent things and i feel ok x4

litterbugs
singer/songwriters
asymmetrical ticks in grids of pale blue boxes
so so
i know
i look through transparent things and i feel ok x3
litterbugs
professional non smokers
asymmetrical ticks in grids of pale blue boxes

i look through transparent things and i feel ok x7

2010-01-10

The Decemberists - Clementine


Artist: The Decemberists

Song: Clementine

Album: Castaways and Cutouts (2002)

“There’s an odd bond between the music of the British folk revival and classic metal,” says The Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. “A natural connection between, like, Fairport Convention and Black Sabbath—of course, Sandy Denny from Fairport even sang with Led Zeppelin on ‘The Battle of Evermore.’ I think there’s a shared sense of narrative and ambience, of moving beyond the first person in your… Read

As its title would suggest, Castaways and Cutouts is a record populated with an eclectic array of unlikely characters in various states of abandonment and revelry. While the likes of Spanish gypsies, infant specters, and Turkish prostitutes are not common elements in modern pop music, these figures find ample footing within the songcraft of Colin Meloy, supported comfortably by the band's lush and orchestral instrumentation. Recorded over a two-month period in a warehouse in Portland's Industrial Southeast, the record swims gracefully between heart-rending, deftly arranged pop and scrappy off-the-cuff dirge --This text refers to the Vinyl edition.

review

Obviously this song is telling of a young relationship and despite social constraints such as people telling them that they cannot be in love, they love each other regardless. Even though some may refute their love because of their ages, they know it's as true as it can be.

Other Decemberists post

you slept in your overalls
after the wrecking ball
bereft you of house and of home
and left you with sweet fuck-all
so we got in your car
with our kickabout hearts
and we hollered out 'sweet clementine'

tell your mom to marry us
a candle to carry us
with cans on our bicycle fenders
so sweet and hilarious
and we'll find us a home
built of packaging foam
that will be there 'til after we die

and, i'll play the clarinet
use clamshells for castinets
we play with our bags on our shoulders
my sweet lady lioness
and i watch as you sleep
so indelibly deep
and i hum to you sweet clementine

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2010-01-08

Lily Allen - LDN


Artist: Lily Allen

Song: LDN

Album: Alright, Still (2006)

A hype machine surrounds Lily Allen, inspired by her snarky comments, fashion sense, famous parents, posh schools and the blog. Controversies aside, she has shown great determination since leaving school as early as possible to get into music. more

"LDN" is Mobile Phone text language for London. The lyrics are of Allen describing a bicycle ride through her hometown of London. Set to a cheerful tune, the lyrics first appear to describe a lovely scene "A fella looking dapper, and he's sittin' with a slapper", but follow up revealing a less glamorous reality, "Then I see it's a pimp and his crack whore."

Several episodes from "city life" are described, suggesting that things may not be what they seem: "When you look with your eyes everything seems nice, But if you look twice you can see it's all lies." However, Allen finds these sights "priceless", and asks (possibly sarcastically), "Oh why, oh why, would I wanna be anywhere else?". The lyrics might take part of their inspiration from William Blake’s poem "London," which paints the city in a similar light.

Riding through the city on my bike all day
Cause the filth took away my licence
It doesn't get me down and I feel ok
Cause the sights that I'm seeing are priceless

Everything seems to look as it should
But I wonder what goes on behind doors
A fella looking dapper, but he's sittin with a slapper
Then I see it's a pimp and his crack whore

You might laugh you might frown
Walkin' round London town

Chorus
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else

When you look with your eyes
Everything seems nice
But if you look twice
you can see it's all lies

There was a little old lady, who was walkin down the road
She was struggling with bags from Tesco
There were people from the city havin lunch in the park
I believe that it's called al fresco
Then a kid came along to offer a hand

But before she had time to accept it
hits her over the head, doesn't care if she's dead
Cause he's got all her jewellery and wallet

You might laugh you might frown
walkin round London town

Chorus
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else

When you look with your eyes
Everything seems nice
But if you look twice
you can see it's all lies

Life, that's city life, yeah that's city life, that's city life
Life, that's city life, yeah that's city life, that's city life

Chorus
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else
Chorus x4

There have been two music videos made for "LDN", the first being a low budget affair to promote the original 7" release and the second to promote the re-release.

The first version of the video, recorded in speed-up camera, follows Allen riding her bike through London. It depicts many positive aspects of London, showing her taking a friendly photograph with a police officer, greeting a passer-by, eating at an ice cream café and relaxing in the public park, seeing people playing and having fun. She then travels on the London Underground, getting off off at a Ladbroke Grove tube station, where she then rides the bike around the palace area (outside the gate) then through the streets.

The second version of the "LDN" video was produced to be more in line with the song's lyrics, particularly, "When you look with your eyes, everything seems nice, but if you look twice, you can see it's all lies." It opens with Allen in a record store called "Tough Grade" which is a play on Rough Trade, a record store in London at Talbot & Portobello Road. She asks the store manager for an eclectic piece of music, satirising keywords that have been used to describe her album - "punky electronica.. kind of grime....kind of like...new-wave grime...but kind of maybe like more broken beats, but kinda dubby broken beats...but a lil bit kind of soulful....but kind of drum'n'bassy, but kinda more broken drum'n'bass like more broken beats. but break beat kind of broken drum'n'bass. Kind of.... ". The song playing in the background is Allen's track, "Friend of Mine", taken from her debut album, "Alright, Still". Allen receives a phone call, from someone we assume is her boyfriend, and arranges to meet him. She walks out of the store and walks through the downtown of London. While she walks through the street, she leaves a glowing trail of light behind her, in technicolor-like hues, and the town's atmosphere looks pleasant, fun and happy - however, as Allen moves forward the "reality" kicks in, as the scenery behind the hue transforms in sharp contrast in what it had been before, portraying litter, homelessness and violent crime in London, and the technicolour is washed out - for example, a magician's wand becomes a rusted nail, and a red confectionery on the ground becomes a still-smoking cigarette butt. The video ends with Allen receiving another phone call; her boyfriend has decided not to come. Angry and unhappy, she storms away, and the vivid colour disappears to reveal the duller, more depressing reality of her surroundings.

2010-01-07

Lily Allen - Alright, Still


Artist: Lily Allen

Album: Alright, Still (2006)

In the cover of her debut CD Alright, Still, Lily Allen perches on a pop-art bicycle in a carnival version of London. Her head is tilted and she looks on the verge of launching a slick, smooth putdown. It's the look of the smartest kid in the class who's decided to become a troublemaker.

Another one of those British mega-hit imports trying to make it big in the states, Lily Allen is far more Arctic Monkeys than Robbie Robertson. Her singles "Smile" and "LDN" were hits last year in the U.K., and now Alright, Still has gotten a U.S. release. A recent appearance on "Saturday Night Live" is boosting her American attack. Allen effortlessly combines a smart, cynical lyrical bent with chirpy, upbeat island-pop music. While she's only 21, there's a universal appeal to her tunes. MySpace launched her career – her demos posted on her home page drew attention that led to Alright, Still's release last summer overseas.

The disc's kickoff single, "Smile," sticks in your head with an insistent firmness. Its Jamaica-meets-No Doubt bounce belies some of the most cynical lyrics you'll hear in such a radio-friendly tune – "At first when I see you cry / it makes me smile / of course I feel bad for a while / but then I just smile." It's the ultimate kiss-off, in a sing-along, girl power anthem.

Allen's emotive soprano is the hook she uses to spin her sweet-sounding, bitter-aftertaste pop. "Knock 'Em Out" combines a dance hall piano lick with a snide, Cockney-rap delivery that evokes The Streets combined with Lady Sovereign as she dissects the singles scene. "LDN" rides along on a Bob Marley swinging beat as it looks at the highs and lows of life in London ("When you look with your eyes, everything seems nice / but if you look twice you can see it's all lies").

Of course, Allen is hardly the second coming of the Clash with her observations that England has a prim public face and a seamy underbelly, but her tunes still have a cutting wit. While Allen often gets biting, she's rarely raunchy – sure, "Nan You're A Window Shopper" is a slashing assault on old folks and their "leaky colostomy bags," while "Not Big" berates an ex-boyfriend for exactly what you'd think the title is referring to.

Allen's at her best when her dark wit is sharp – one of the disc's weaker tracks, the platitude-filled "Take What You Take," comes perilously close to sounding like the Spice Girls with a little profanity. Also, a bonus "alternate version" of "Smile" on this US release, done over with a sloppy trumpet and drum machine '80s Katrina and the Waves-style production, is bloody awful.

But heck, Lily Allen is young, after all, and that's a big element of her success here. Only someone who's 21 and infatuated with her own cleverness could produce a debut as brash, cocky and hummably fun as Alright, Still. It's pop with enough edge to appeal to balding hipsters even as their 14-year-old daughters sing along with it on their iPods.

2010-01-06

At Jennie Richie - The Bicycle Considered part 1 & 2


Artist: At Jennie Richie

Song: The Bicycle Considered part 1 & 2

Album: The Bicycle Considered (2004)

North of Seattle band named after a Henry Darger painting & acutely interested in Pataphysics, Dada & Surrealism (this 3 inch is based on a Jarry story for examp.). Gray, pensive washes of fairly lo-fi noise.

Tracklisting: The Bicycle Considered Part One, Quite the Contrary, Blacksmith, Underground Runs Over The Skyscraper, The Bicycle Considered Part Two, Dreams That Money Can Buy.

Clandestine recordings from a dark electronic experimental project from the Pacific Northwest via San Francisco, purportedly inspired by Alfred Jarry’s 19th c. short story “The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.” It produces pounding metal clangs that remind me of a more rhythmic Portland Bike Ensemble at times but it also radiates pulsing wave motions that swing slowly like a pendulum in a dank dark dungeon’s pit of despair. Oozing frequencies spill forth and are siphoned off in time for electromagnetic energy fields to hum about before bouncing radar scan sequences commence. These are uber spooky emanations that seem not of this world. The kind of groaning irregular creature movements that signal we aren’t alone. They also blend in some haunted stealthy audio shrouds that materialize and vanish unexpectedly. Just when no pattern is apparent, a strange and almost decipherable template emerges temporarily before losing cohesion and closing with a fading creepy yodel tune about a lovin’ little rooster that Cock-a-Doodle Doo’s. This is a cold experiment gone wrong in all the right ways? Total Creepsville.