Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Songs In My Head

These are some songs I've had stuck in my head over the last few days:
1) Tears for Fears - 'Head over Heels'
Like a proper little fashionista, I only heard this song after watching Donnie Darko, but to be honest, if you find anything as blatantly 1980s as Tears for Fears through your own volition, that's more a cause for shame than jumping on the band-wagon. One of my colleagues at work has this on their iPod and it came on on Saturday, and I've had it in my head since, because it always reminds me of the awesomeness that is Donnie Darko.

2) Bright Eyes - 'Take It Easy (Love Nothing)'
I'm using this song's lyrics as an example of poetry within music to highlight the elistism of the literary canon (yeah, lame, I know), so I've had the opening lyrics of his stuck in my head for weeks. Helps that it's catchy for an Oberst song too.

3) Billy Talent - 'Surrender'
Billy Talent were a lways a bit of a damp squib for me after I found out that their chosen recording technique was to record a chorus, for example, once through, and then just sample and repeat it whenever it was necessary. To me, that shows a real lack of dedication to a good track; if the artists don't even want to play it a few times, what does that say about the song? But I've never been able to escape the loveliness of the riff in 'Surrender', even if the song is Billy-Talent-polished. The chorus gets stuck in my head, because it has a cold, tender edge to it.

4) The Animals - 'I Believe to My Soul'
I think perhaps The Animals are a little overrated, even by me, as a lot of their songs are covers, and despite Eric Burdon's breathily powerful voice, he often misses notes live, and sometimes even on record. This track is nice, though, some really bitter blues for dark late nights.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Cribs New Interview

Ryan Jarman has been interviewed recently, and it's been written up at length on LouderThanWar.com, and after reading it, I thought it was worth blogging about. The one thing I notice running through the interview is Ryan's determination, but it's almost defensive; some of his word choices really make you feel, as a reader, like there's been some bad shit happening behind the scenes and it's all change, but they're holding on tight to their punk roots to hold themselves steady.

"That’s why we went in the studio with David Fridmann and Steve Albini and just all these people that we’d wanted to work with, you never know what’s going to happen, you never know if it could all end tomorrow or what."

That was the first bit of darkness that I noticed, but I suppose that could just be colloquial fatalism. But then twice, he mentions their health problems, and talks about songs that were recorded during a "dark time" in their recent history. And he's moved back to Wakefield (he moved to London to live with Kate Nash a few years back), so whatever that indicates about his personal life, only he knows. He also mentions an ex whose memory had been "torturing" him for 10 years. Also, of course, he half-heartedly tries to explain away the departure of Johnny Marr, which seems amicable, and yet is never discussed without a hint of sadness. All in all, it's quite a heavy interview.

My (merely conjectural) explanations for this are as follows - 1) he was having a bad day. We all have them, and the Jarmans have a bit of a reputation for malaise. (Gary's very unprofessional Wikipedia page contains the uncited "In the past he has been prone to melancholy.") 2) The interviewer plied Ryan Jarman with barbiturates and then told him his dog had died before launching into the questions. 3) They've had some srsbsns dark times over the last few months, so much so that it's creeping into their public interviews too. This is the least preferable of the three options. (Well, #2 is a bit sinister, but at least it doesn't indicate any real fractiousness.)

Anyway, luckily, the interview picks up with some nice Cribs politics, reinforcing their very clear attitude on sexism (good, good people) and reinstating their desire never to be part of a scene. Ryan also seems quite optimistic about the future, however many black undertones attempt to take the bite out of the happiness.

Click here for the interview in full. It's nice to hear them out there again, and I can't wait to see them live/meet them again. They were always primarily a live band, which is clear in that interview - Ryan is glad they've recorded this new album without too much producer-knob-fiddling, because first and foremost they're a punk trio with punk recording ethics, and punk is best live. Aside from that, they're a band I'd really like to go out for a drink with. I should imagine, in their thick Wakefield accents, they'd be drily hilarious and not even realise it, like in this fantastically hesitant clip. As one of the commenters put it:

"They are the most entertaining people in the world. I would take microwave oven repair classes if they lectured, I would."