Category Archives: Music

The Ballad of Sebastién Tellier (or Ode to a Lone Ranger)

The Eurovision Song Contest isn’t known by that many Europeans. It should be, if for no other reason than the knowledge of how to avoid accidental exposure. The contest is an utterly perverse, nihilistic assault on all musical and aesthetical sensibilities – a take-no-prisoners orgy of Balearic power ballads and ethno drums, mashed up with hoi polloi euro techno and non-existent hooks. If this in itself is the stuff of nightmares, the effect is only enforced by the fact that the “songs” generally are performed by either overweight transvestites or surgically enhanced blondes, sporting outfits straight from the combined horror cabinettes of H.R. Giger and John Waters*. All in all, a rather excruciating exercise in sheer eurotrash deviance.

Needless to say, it is not a common thing to see real artists cross over to the dark side, and take part in the black mass of dorkiness. Enter Sebastién Tellier, long-time Daft Punk affiliate and household name of the French electronica scene. Not only did he enter the French branch of the competition with the song Divine – he won it, and will represent the Tricolore in the Belgrade final on the 24th of May.

Much like Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers, Tellier’s Rasputin looks are utterly misleading. Rather than the expected seedy stoner rock joint, the track is a glorious little Beach Boys by way of Jean-Michel Jarre ditty, complete with doo-wop harmonies and all. I for one will push my chips for Sebastién Tellier in Belgrade, come May**. Who knows what will follow his path – Interpol competing for GB, 22 Pistepirkko for Finland or The Knife for Sweden?

*Samples of the monstrosities committed to tape can be found here and here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

**(Oh, and don’t miss out his new release, Sexuality, either. Not only is Sexual Sportswear the best song title in a very long time – the album itself is a worthy contender for the best electronica release of March, along with the Hercules & the Love Affair debut.)

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Youtube sweep of the week: Radiohead fanwork

Making unofficial videos for a band which has made some of the greatest music videos ever themselves may seem a tad overkill, but a quick scouring of the ‘tube shows that the visual talent of the Oxford lot obviously has spilled over onto their fanbase.

Dan Provost molds images from his Düsseldorf tenure into a perfectly synced, sterile backdrop to the already robotic and industrial Packt Like Sardines in A Crushd Tin Can, and Deadlyminx (who also gets credits for his Romeo & Juliet take on Talk Show Host) clearly shows that You And Whose Army should have made it into the Kingdom Of Heaven soundtrack. The real killer, however, may very well be JL Williams’ juxtaposition of How To Disappear Completely and the Tom Tykwer feature Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer. The ethereal, fleeting quality of the song fits rather flawlessly to a film more concerned with olfactory sensations than visuals.

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In the spirit of the season

 

Time to gather in the heap of Christmas greetings from the left side of the web. Roy Zimmerman offers an intentionally excruciating parody/tribute to his more famous namesake (watch out for the harmonica solo), while his younger, nerdier self Jonathan Coulton sends a less-than-idyllic card from the poor souls at the interstellar penal colony Chiron Beta Prime. To round it up, watch The Pogues revisit their evergreen Fairytale of New York 17 years later.

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New transmissions from Planet Telex

In case anyone missed it, the world’s Resident Overlords of Aural Mindfuck are back with a new batch o’ songs, entitled In Rainbows, this week. As with every post-OK Computer release, it’s a mixed bag – but at least some tracks do deliver. It lacks the disturbing thematic undercurrents of its immediate predecessors (you won’t find anything as eerie as Pyramid Song, nor as harrowing as Knives Out, here), but it’s still deffo worth checking out. Heck, it’s Radiohead after all.

15 Step

Nude

All I Need

Some old live goodies:

Planet Telex

True Love Waits

Talk Show Host

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Best band name ever?

I know,  it’s both childish and puerile. I still find it highly amusing that there is an actual queercore band out there called ASSACRE, which apparently is prominent enough to have a Wikipedia entry of its own. Quite possibly the best band name since Thatcher on Acid.

(Hats off to Fredrik, prophet in the Church of  Obesity and Dysfunctionalism, for the tip.)

 

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James Bond medley from Russian television

I don’t provide the analysis of accuracy – just the link. Let’s just say I’ve seen weirder things on real Russian public broadcasts.

(Oh, and while we’re at it anyway… here’s the glorious main theme of the show. Pure pop euphoria.)

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Me and my droogs

“There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs,  that is Pete, Georgie Boy, and Dim.  And we sat in the Korova Milk Bar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening.  The Korova Milk Bar sold milk plus – milk plus vellocet, or synthemesc, or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old Ultra-violence.”

 (Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange)

I absolutely adore A Clockwork Orange – and that’s not merely because I’m a professed Kubrick fan. There is just so much to like about it – its harsh dystopia, mesmerizing protagonist, inventive language, retro-futurist aesthetics and nihilistic yet strongly ethical message. 

 One of the other likeable things is the opening theme by Wendy Carlos (who went on to make the equally jarring score for The Shining, among others) – a chilling electronic adaptation of Henry Purcell’s The Queen’s Funeral March. Thankfully, there are a few souls out there who seem to think likewise. So until I finally make up my rassoodocks and record my readings of the script*, you can keep up with some gorgeous renditions of the main theme.

The original 1695 version, for trumpets and church organ.

Mirko Peruzzi, random Italian shirtless guy.

For synthesizer.

*I’ll probably put up some readings at YT as soon as I get hold of a decent webcam.

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