The first of three epic recommendations for December: perhaps the most important album in electronic dance music in the 21st Century.  Inspired by a recent conversation with some friends about whether the hype about Daft Punk was justified.  They were both Kanye West fans and so knew the ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’ sample from his ‘Stronger‘ track.  I was trying to explain why they’ve been my benchmark of cool since the mid 90s, but seeing as we were all drunk and it was the middle of the night I thought I might need to do it a bit more coherently.  So, Messrs Mitchell and Taplin, here we go… Continue reading

Ben Champion is one of the many very talented performers I’ve met through Oxford’s Catweazle Club. Comedian, musician, veteran of the Edinburgh Festival amongst other things.

And his songs are catchy as fuck. And I’ve got to the stage where I know huge chunks of them off by heart, and I tend to sing them to myself a little bit too loudly in public places.

This YouTube video of a sort of filthy Elton John pastiche is particularly good for that, I find. I highly recommend singing ‘Dildo carrot’ to yourself with gusto in the supermarket queue.

Current Favourite Track:

It was 4am and the light was grey. Like it always is in paperbacks.

Oh there just aren’t enough words to describe how much I love this song.

In a strange way I think it’s one of the most melancholy songs I’ve ever heard. Even the great Elliot Smith didn’t manage sadness in quite this way.

Current favourite aspect:
It’s this magnificent trumpeting of sexual bravado.  And then it ends with this fantastic line that completely undercuts it.  It is the dictionary definition of loneliness in just over 2 minutes.

And available to buy here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/whip-smart/id724446333#

 

Don’t think I’ve recommended a YouTube channel yet. I’ve been watching quite a few recently. They’re a whole new interesting thing, I find, and there are so many people making really well-researched, punchy short films that tell you fascinating things about the world.

This is by a guy called Josh Pelton – for more info on him have a look at this interview. He mentions in the first episode that he doesn’t know anyone that he can discuss his passion, philosophy, in depth with. So he decided to create a YouTube channel to start the conversation going.

Be warned, though, he puns like his life depends on it.

Current Favourite Episode:

The one above, on problem-solving.

Second recommendation of the month.

There are a number of musicians I know who are clearly fictional characters.  People who you wouldn’t be at all surprised to find have actually been played by actors all along.  Jessica Law is definitely one of those.

She was born in the late 1800s, became part of the Midlands contingent of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and then died about 1910.  Probably of consumption.  And then, thanks to some sinister backroom scientific experiment, was brought back to life and condemned to spend the next 100 years or so walking the earth and singing songs about death and revenge on a resonator ukulele.

Think of her as like The Woman In Black, only every time she appears a child doesn’t die.  Instead, a borrowed library book completely disappears from the face of the earth, cursed to never be returned, stamped and reshelved.

Current Favourite Track:
Six Years (“Well I never had the health to ruin myself…”)