Category Archives: Music to listen to

Nowhere Girl

Odd the things you find now that humanity is dumping its combined knowledge of useless ephemera online. It’s as good a place as any for it, I guess.

Exhibit A,  the video for the song “Nowhere Girl” by flash-in-the-pan band, B-Movie. My roommate Nick Mellor and I obsessed over this one in our study at school when we were about 15. A study which we had unadvisedly painted black and red, BTW.

I didn’t even know this song HAD a video (not that ripping off Metropolis counts as creative).

Importantly, this is the 12″ version not the 7″. Something about the 12″ version was way more compelling. Maybe the sound of the girl/gull (we were never sure which) screaming at the beginning of the track?

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Ray Lamontagne

Shannon and I went to the Albert Hall on Monday evening to see out first bit of live music in a while. It was one of those rushed trips. I arrived home after my hour and a half commute from Cambridge, Mum took over, we sped out to the train station and just over an hour later we were in the right neighborhood knowing we’d have to head back home soon because it was a “school night”. It was one of those events that we might have considered skipping, put off by the sheer effort of getting in and out of London. Glad we didn’t.

I think I saw Ray Lamontagne on Later with Jools Holland around January. I already had his Trouble and Till The Sun Turns Black albums, which I really enjoy. The first was a gift from my Sister, the second from our friend Amy in Seattle. His live performance really struck me as “pure”, somehow. He’s really focused on the mic when he sings, and sort of crouches, singing upward into it at the more intense bits. On the back of that I booked to see him live when he came to England.

The concert didn’t disappoint. He’s clearly into the music and his band and little else. The Hall is huge, and regularly hosts big acts, but the stage was set really simply for this one, with a cloth backdrop behind the four band members, and a few simple spotlights. Not big screens.

Lamontagne is clearly not into bantering with the crowd. Other then hearing him whispering the count-ins to the songs to the other band members, he didn’t actually say anything until at least the sixth or seventh song, and even then it was a simple “Thank You”. He stood on the right-hand end of the curve created by the other musicians, looking in at them. At one point someone from the area of the crowd towards which his back always faced heckled him to turn around so they could see him properly. He ignored this and just kept going. Somehow, the focus on the music, and the quality of the band as a whole, gave them plenty of charisma, though.

The acoustics in the Albert Hall are stunning, by the way. We were right up in the circle and you could hear all the instruments really clearly. Possibly the best sounding concert I’ve ever been to. Anyway, the whole evening was a real surprise, as all the best things are, and Shannon and I came away really impressed by the quality of Lamontagne’s performance. Really recommended.

Nice duet between Lamontagne and Damien Rice here on YouTube, BTW.

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Now Play It

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Thanks to CoolHunting for pointing me to this awesome music tutorial site. Now Play It has video tutorials available for a bunch of modern music. They cover guitar, bass, piano and drums in a range of difficulty. The great thing is, though, that a lot of the tutorials are actually done by members of bands whose song is being covered. So, for example, Romeo Stodart, lead singer and guitarist for the Magic Numbers, steps through a bunch of their songs. It’s really interesting to get some insight for technique in the songs from people who perform them everyday.

You can preview the tutorials, then buy either Lite tutorials for £1.99 or full tutorials for £3.99. Might even inspire me to dig out my Fender.

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Lullaby music

Although I like listening to music while I work, I spend a lot of time reading blogs for my Trends site which means I rarely do. I can’t concentrate on reading while listening to lyrics. So I’ve started looking around for slow tempo “background” music that doesn’t interfere, that doesn’t distract me so much with words.

Eingya by Helios is a great example, recommended by my friend Ario. Soft and slow burning. But I’ve found an alternative that may work even better, which is this set of Rockabye Baby! Lullaby records. Songs by Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and others, lyric free and rendered lullaby lite. You’ll barely notice they’re there, but find yourself humming them hours later. Not sure how much Maddie cares for her Coldplay version yet, but I like it.

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Magic Numbers – Kentish Town


Magic Numbers – Kentish Town by rbanks.

Well. It was good. We had to leave at 10:30pm, unfortunately, because our crappy train service finishes too early in the evening, but what we did saw was great. They’ve really grown to fill these larger spaces. They’re just louder. The bass is expecially turned up. So they build up this wall of noise with their harmonies and then suddenly release it in song after song. makes me realise how much these songs are really written for the live experience, not the album one. Nice job, guys.

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Magic Numbers tonight

I’m excited to see The Magic Number tonight at the Kentish Town Forum. This will be the third time seeing them. We saw them at the same venue about a year ago, and before that at the much smaller Borderline, off Tottenham Court Road. That first gig was well before the buzz about them had started, and well before the release of their first album, so the it was a little more exciting. Our friend Tom heard about them early on. Now of course the bloom is off the rose, and their second album is a little too samey. They’re great live, though, and they’re selling a recording of each of their two night sets at the forum within 10 minutes of the set finishing, which is quite cool.

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