Twenty Four

Even more January greetings from hannahjdavies.com…I realised that it would be a cool idea to keep a track of how many posts I’ve made by occasionally quitting with the ‘oh-so-ironic’ names and actually just telling you a number. So here we are: post number 24. Yeah, I was gonna make a Jack Bauer joke there but I think a Dane Bowers one might be more appropriate considering that the ‘singer-songwriter’ has just come second place in this year’s Celebrity BB.

Is it just me or…

1) Does Dane look weirdly like Anthony Costa? Are they, in fact, the same person?

2) Does a “Dane Bowers” sound like a specially bred sheepdog?

3) Am I the only person who heard this:


on loop everytime he engaged in parlance with other members of the house? It’s stuck in my head like a tapeworm.

Anyways, I digress, Alex Reid – the loveable ‘doofus’ of the house came out on top (not a reference to his new adult flick) – and Dane has seemingly gone back to being a ‘singer-songwriter’ for the time being. Whatever that means. Swedish voyeur Jonas aka Basshunter has presumably flown home, so us girls can breathe easy for a sec without having to worry about him re-enacting the moment when he left a pencil lying around for a helpless lass to chew on…which had been up his friend’s “area”. Should always observe that rule about not chewing borrowed stationary, right?!

Meanwhile, foul-mouthed ‘Lady’ Sovereign’s raison d’etre was to shock us with her childish behaviour, and then slag everyone off for “treatin’ me like a child!” She really made a (corned beef) hash out of staying popular in the house. Not sure if it was just me who thought that this Daily Mail pic looked like Davina “Peter Pan” McCall had gone all Fantasia on us and spawned an evil, (younger) twin?

Shawwwwty Sov. And her delightful older lady-friend, Run(ningawaycoveringmyears) DMC

Annoying Davina actually went in to the house, albeit for 48 hours, but the real stars of the show were big-lipped billionairess Ivana, who was duped into thinking she had won a business award, and Dane, whose chilli-themed attempts to ruin dinner for a task were actually met with culinary compliments. He went on to fake a nightmare in order to win the task, but to be honest I doubt anyone in the house was getting sweet dreams with oddball Stephen ‘Alex’s Brother’  Baldwin’s cautionary Biblical tales and glammma modull Nicola T’s spooky premonitions that something was wrong with her baby daughter.

Anyways, I digress; but this is a little scary:


Identikit males Pete, Alex and Dane have all slain the dragon. Ed: apologies.

Celebrity Big Brother 7 was one to remember, alright. We had a bit of everything, really, including wrinkly Ronnie Wood’s ‘girlfriend’ Katia, who bore a striking resemblence to a creepy doll and didn’t really have a lot to say for herself.


Sisqo was surprisingly cool. Guess I would be chilled-out too if I’d been living in the bargain bin of Asda since 1999, right next to all that Birds Eye.

Moving swiftly on…

Are the KIDS united?

I hate book-ending ‘pop culture’ posts with ‘culture posts’ but here we go…

Jacob Wheldon is your average 16 year old.

Until his parents took away his copy of COD this week, he could happily spend hours online and his penchant for Facebook is undeniable. He loves Cheryl Cole. Oh, I almost forgot…he’s a musician who was sharing a stage with Bloc Party when most of us were just getting to grips with the idea of ‘indie music’ rather than dance compilations of Billie Piper and Sonique (I do genuinely own a few of those). For all intents and purposes, Jacob has been Lo Fi Culture Scene since the age of 13, although he caught up with me to talk about his future now that the band are on a hiatus…

Here’s a tasty portion of vintage Lo-Fi if they’ve escaped your radar, with “ABSTRACT” from 2008:


__
Hannah J Davies: “Abstract” was written when you were rather young…is the girl in question real, or was she a composite figment of your combined pubescent imaginations?

Jacob Wheldon: I write all the lyrics for the band, i think “Abstract” really was a large overreaction to friends who were starting to drink/do drugs/smoke for the first time. The girl is basically just a metaphor for what I hoped it wouldn’t do to my friends. I still hope it doesn’t, but i’m less worried now.

HJD: Officially best hidden drug ref since ‘Golden Brown’ in that case. Your video for the new single “Waxwork” was filmed at Bush Hall, which is a beautiful venue…do you prefer ‘haunts’ like this to the commercialised ‘chains’ of venues *coug&h O2 Academys etc?

JW: Definitely, with no disrespect to any of the O2 Academies we’ve played, we are not fans of them at all. Bush Hall is the venue I use to put on all the shows that I promote, it’s a beautiful venue, and the people there are the best people to work with. I think it’s a shame that there aren’t more venues like it.

Lo-Fi with “WAXWORK” (’09), as heard on Radio 1. Ring the changes…:

HJD: Do you ever get any weird fanmail?

JW: We get a lot of strange messages through our Myspace, most prominently from Japanese fans as their English isn’t great, but all of it is really appreciated.

HJD: Do you think having four out of five members with curly hair impoves your indie credentials or makes it harder in a way…besides avoiding cities with high humidity you must get a lot of people assuming that you are a standard Kooks/The View cover band?

JW: Yeah a surprising amount of people comment on all of us having curly hair, i don’t really know what it does for our ‘indie credentials’, we get a lot of people relating us to The Kooks, which i don’t see as a bad thing at all, though many do, but i loved Inside In/Out [The Kooks] [Ed: can I join…please?]

HJD: What has been your favourite track to play live with Lo-Fi?

JW: Favourite track to play, in all honesty was our cover of “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas at our school’s Battle Of The Bands to end the night in November, and that was incredible. But of our own songs, probably a song called “Yes”. It gets people dancing and people are usually singing along with the chorus before the end of the song, even if they’ve not heard it before.

HJD: Finally, where does Jacob Wheldon go from here?

JW: I’ve got to get my GCSEs out of the way – we all do. For the moment i’m doing a lot of lyric-writing, and some songwriting. I’m working on with a guy called Dean Tynan which i’m very excited about, then soon we’ll [Jacob and Lo-Fi members Angus, Tom M, Tom H, Callum] be getting back together to start writing for whatever the name of the next project will be. I’m also starting to write for a website called Get Your Ears Out, reviewing a few shows and introducing some new bands. I’m hoping to do some more promoting as I did a few shows last year at Bush Hall to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust so i hope to do a few more this year. I also want to get involved in some form of acting if i can as soon as possible…so i’m busy as ever.

Sounding off:

Jacob on… the disposable music industry:

Haha, well i would say that i’m very separate from the others [members of the band] in that, i got very very bored of guitar music about 6 months ago, and as a result have just looked elsewhere for new music. It’s not just pop music that i’ve taken to, but there was definitely something that intrigued me as to the way [pop producers] Xenomania work. They seem to have some kind of formula to writing great pop songs, and it was intriguing to see how they’d managed to do it for so long without really having to change a lot in terms of style. What interests me about pop music is the core of the songs and the melodies..I think if you can look past all the over-production and the auto-tuned vocals, a lot of it is very good stuff or else the people who wrote the songs wouldn’t be paid to write them.

Jacob on… the lowest point of Lo-Fi:

It was probably an internal thing at some point. It’s not like we don’t get on, but there’s always going to be arguments in any relationship. It keeps things fresh and exciting, though it’s important not to let it turn into an episode of Hollyoaks, which has happened on occasions.

Jacob on… freebies:

We got a lot of free albums and studio time from labels who wanted to sign us which was quality, we were delighted with it. Our booking agents also get us absurd amounts of guest passes to various shows which we are eternally grateful to them for.


Jacob on… mixtape heaven*:

Bloc Party – So Here We Are

Coldplay – The Scientist

Bruce Springsteen – Thunder Road

Mark Knopfler – Sailing To Philadelphia

Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up

*subject to change…every few minutes 🙂


– Thanks to Jacob Wheldon. Lo-Fi are represented by 13artists and Kids records.

VICE VICE BABY: Noam Chomsky

Before I go I better talk about VICE. I’ve – rather excitingly – just become part of their new Blog Network (you can find a list of the other Vicetastic members here.
This just means that, from time to time, I’ll cover new and exclusive content from Vice and VBS, but it doesn’t mean that my output won’t remain typically hannahjdavies!

Firstly, VBS caught up with Noam Chomsky recently…you can watch the full interview here, and below is a little teaser of the esteemed academic and ‘father of linguistics’ talking arts, speech, protest, Bad Religion, Obamarama and Americana plus much more, all with his usual eloquence and Conservative brand of anarchism.

Slightly more sense spoken between Obama’s online publicity guru Kate Albright-Hanna and Chomsky when they caught up in Dublin where he was giving a lecture, than happened here in 2006:

Chomsky proves himself to be a thought-provoking speaker in both interviews, although the latter certainly sheds more light on the world of politics and arts than Cohen did, although oddly enough, he is also Jewish and has a pretty good degree behind him so maybe they talked more enlighteningly off-camera.

Do watch Kate Alrbight-Hanna and Noam Chomsky having a truly intellectual interview here.

___

Adieu til next time,

x x x x

NB: Don’t forget to send me some feedback if you have any, as well as feature ideas…hannah@hannahjdavies.com!

Musical review of the 2000s…written in 2010

Happy new year. I mean it. At the beginning of last decade we were all too busy wondering whether all of our computers would crash and chaos would ensue. Ooh, and it was the beginning of a new century, a new millennium, how extremely novel. 2010, by comparison, snuck up on us like an itchy throat leading to a flu. Yes, I have been bed-ridden due to a horrific flu for the past few weeks, which is when I saw the year ticking away with extreme alacrity. Christmas was pretty good – Mad Men and  30 Rock box-sets of course – but something about 2010 was strangely scary. I started listening to Blur’s ‘End of the Century’ everyday in pensive anticipation before realising that it wasn’t the end of a century at all. It wasn’t even the end of a decade with a particular scent. I thought about all of the cool stuff that has happened since 2000, and none of it really jumped out at me as original. In the 2000s we recycled music, films and books. We remade really good things into not so good things, like Psycho. Even the top 30 films of the decade featured just two originals . Anyways, I digress. I have loved the past 10 years so here is my review:

2000

The year when giants of mainstream metal Metallica sued poor little college boys Napster (future millionaires cough cough). Also the year when Madonna brought out the electronic smash ‘Music’. I’m not sure if I knew what the bourgeoisie was when I was 8, but hell did this tune sound fresh. It still does a little. Madge helped the anti-piracy ship by getting pretty damn angry when this song was leaked on the internet four months early. Can’t mention rebellion in a song and then get angry over errrm rebellion, can you? But still she can do no wrong in my eyes.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2. Yes, it’s the ‘football song’ thanks to our ITV. Yes, it wears pretty thin, pretty quickly…but Bono and co’s ability to create arena anthems full of optimism and pretension is second to none. Philosophical father of music, Michael ‘Losing My Religion, Everybody Hurts’ Stipe stepped off the moral high ground for a second to declare that he wished he’d written the song himself. Bono returned the favour by praising REM’s ‘Reveal’ the following year, but REM haven’t made a record so full of gritty personality and optimism since Shiny Happy People. In 1991. Carpe diem, Mike.

Also love:

2001

The iPod launched in 2001 to much Daily Mail hype. I was still in primary school, so I wasn’t in the first batch of white-headphone-wearers who were mugged for their £200 jukeboxes. ‘A glorified Walkman’ according to my mum…but did a Walkman have Music Quiz, Brickbreaker and a cool b&w screen? Thought not. Too cool, even though there are four ugly control buttons on iPod snr (later removed and integrated into the click wheel). Little did we know that everyone would have an iPod a couple of years later, and prices would drop as a result.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: A huge loss was felt in the world of R&B when soulful sweetheart Aaliyah died aged just 22. I remember being on the motorway as a little un and hearing a news bulletin about her death in a plane crash and feeling really, properly sad despite my geographical location (somewhere in the South of a little island called England). A massive talent had passed away before reaching her prime, and the world mourned her to the sound of ‘More Than A Woman’ from her eponymous, posthumous album which topped the charts in this year. Passion, Instant…a timeless tale of sexy suggestion and no submission from La Haughton.

Also love:

2002

September 11th 2001 was a tragic moment for the whole of the world, and it led comic-book clerk Gerard Way – who at the time couldn’t sing and play guitar at the same time – to form a foetus which later became the phenomenal, global emo spawn ‘My Chemical Romance’. I know I just said ‘carpe diem’ but carpe-ing by starting a band aged 22 with little experience? They were signed in record time and, from 2002 onwards, alt-kids worldwide from Philadelphia to the Philippines clung onto the new breed of dark heroism… and the rest is history.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavinge. I don’t care if you’re laughing, Sk8er Boi pretty much summed up every clichéd ‘she’s out of my league’ love story ever and delivered it to us complete with a backing track that sounded suspiciously like one of those ‘play along’ ones from a Guitar magazine tape. She half-talked, half-sung her way through what I thought was the antithesis to a bubblegum pop song with its narrative of kiss-chaste between a ballet-dancing girl (read: tease) with friends who ‘stuck up their (presumably collective) nose’ at a sk8er boi (yes, we had just discovered texting too). As it turns out, the black-clad, three-chord-playing Avril was actually a blonde in disguise, but we wouldn’t find that out for a few years so let’s just remember the way things were.

Also love:

2003

It was Mrs Robinson Revisited when Simon and Garfunkel embarked on a reunion tour in 2003. Also returning, albeit after a shorter hiatus of two years in 2003 was our Britney with ‘In The Zone’. It was not her best, but shall surely be remembered if only for the graphic ode to Britters’ solo bedroom exploits ‘Touch of My Hand’. Of course, its nothing in comparison to 3 – released sex, sorry, six years later – but it caused a stir at the time, as did squeaky-clean Spears’ VMA kiss with Madonna and Christina Aguilera. The transformation, which had started with the relatively tame wannabe-subjugation of ‘I’m A Slave 4U’ was complete, and set the tone for the decade when Britney would become a bride, mother, mother and bride again, not to mention a shadow of her wholesome 90s persona.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Delta Goodrem first bounced onto my radar as Nina Tucker on Neighbours. Sadly, I didn’t even need to Wikipedia that fact. The Down Under Diva was destined for stardom like plenty of Ramsay Street residents before her, and in a strange twist from other actress-turned-singer alumni  she actually played a singer in the programme whilst signed to Sony (a trick later reused to launch Caitlin ‘Rachel’ Stasey from schoolgirl to star in 2008/9). Unfortunately Delta had to leave the soap when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but she recovered and rose to popularity with ‘Born To Try’, a song debuted on the soap. The saccharine-sweet piano and nasal tones gained Delta a UK number 3, which can surely only mean she was robbed. In a strange twist of fate, she ended up with a pop idol from across the globe, Westlife’s Brian ‘Kerry Katona’s leftovers’ McFadden and the pair are currently engaged.

Also love:

– NME’s top song of the decade, can you believe it.

2004

The year I went to high school. It makes me feel nervous even now..all of those people, the noise, the crowded spaces, the canteen queues that seemed to stretch for miles in the baking sunshine and the possibility of getting lost on my way to the toilets.  Pantera guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell was shot dead in this year by a mentally ill fan, although it would take me a few more years to discover the genius of 1992’s ‘Vulgar Display of Power’. It was also the year when No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani hit the mainstream with her reggae-rockstar status invigorated with new-found R&B/Harajuku funk fusion to create Love.Angel.Music.Baby, kicking off a L.A.M.B franchise which continues to grow today with a clothes line and (pretty good) perfume.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Mormon rockgod Brandon Flowers was an 80s dream as he characterised a jealous boyfriend in ‘Mr Brightside’, and when The Killers debuted on Saturday morning kids tv I resented the goody-two-shoes aesthetic of this whiney, shy little man. Who on earth was Brandon Flowers and would he be all over cool lists and future charts with his bashful eau de anti-fame like an American Chris Martin? ‘Mr Brightside’ answered my perplexities with a simple YES with its perfect composition and background-music capabilities. We could choose to listen to this swirl of deliciously repetitive electronic guitar and bass or simply stick it on in the background whilst playing The Sims. And I quite liked that.

Also love:

2005

Kanye West warned us about Golddiggers who don’t mess with no ‘broke niggers’ in 2005 with help from a cast of (deceased) musical legends, a tiny Sheffield band exploded with their odds-on bet that we’d look good on the dancefloor and a cast led by a flower-print catsuit wearing Brazilian ordered us to “make love and listen to death from above”. But there was also a Maroon 5 obsession on my part, probably started due to my obsession with another A Lavinge.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: I first heard ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’ by Fall Out Boy whilst watching an MTV2 chart show, something I used to do pretty often once I had my iPod, iTunes and wanted to waste my iNheritance in advance. One of the first songs I downloaded was this slice of American alternative culture. I hadn’t listened to The Shins or Brand New yet (forgive me, Jesus) but I really liked Fall Out Boy and this schoolboy heartache in a strangely high key for a pop-rock song was comforting. I downloaded a few remixes. I ordered a t-shirt…from America. If only I’d had a premonition – by the end of the 2000s FOB would be trying the R&B route too, and I’d be sleeping in that fetching yellow top. A couple of years later I’d understand those John Hughes refs.

Also love:

2006

My best friend and I used to convene at my house on a Monday after school, and this changed to Friday sometime around 2006. One day – either Monday or Friday, but I will put my bets on Monday because hours of sorting out press releases at NME taught me that most albums are released on a Monday – we raced home. No time for Ritter Sport or gossiping by the funeral directors, no we actually ran home. At home there was a brown package with that familiar black writing – Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, etc etc. We quickly gleaned that it was from Amazon. Even though I had recently bought an iPod, nothing  could’ve compared to my excitement as I unwrapped Red Hot Chili Pepper’s first offering in four years, ‘Stadium Arcadium’ – the first album I had pre-ordered from the internet and the most eagerly anticipated one I have ever wanted. Oh, the disappointment as we discovered the 2 disc mess. Since year 5 I had been ridiculously into the Peppers, probably egged on by a favourite Kiwi teacher who rolled into school wearing a moth-eaten ‘By The Way’ t-shirt and chatted ‘Californication’ and calculators with us. The biggest hit was ‘Dani California’ as I could’ve predicted from this menagerie of sci-fi influences and country casuals, although ‘Storm In A Teacup’ sounded like a haka at a zoo (apologies to the Kiwi teacher).

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Naive – The Kooks. Oh, gosh it’s embarrassing now but for a little while we all loved Luke Pritchard. He was a pale, curly-haired little Lothario from Brighton who patronized a girl beyond belief with this ode to youthful nonchalance and could’ve been the face of a blood transfusion campaign. His pain showed through as he spoke of his adoration giving way to enlightenment: the girl (*cough*Katie Melua*cough) was naive despite her pretty face. Grossly overplayed, it wore thin after a while, once they – along with ‘rivals’  The View had bitten the dust (the busker trend didn’t really continue to top the charts after this point). Little did I know that I’d be jamming away to tales of ‘Wasted Little DJs at a little music festival called Reading in 2009.

Also love:

2007

There were – in my mind – some amazingly hot hits in this year. I discovered DANCE by Justice by way of MySpace (remember those days?) and one of my best friends came to school with Klaxons inked all over her hands. Such a shame that the aforementioned catsuit-wearer got her hands on one of the ‘Golden Skans’ boys but still. My love affair with late-night radio from about 2000 onwards meant I usually just got the best tunes from XFM, and LCD Soundsystem’s ‘North American Scum’ (ahhh haaa haaa) was glamourous, hip-shaking and more 80s than Brandon Flowers et al.  One of NMEs picks of the decade, MIAs ‘Paper Planes’ was released for the first time, but we didn’t know it would go on to feature on the biggest film of the following year.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Radiohead laid it bare with ‘Nude’ from their revolutionarily-released ‘In Rainbows’. Creeps all over the world paid whatever they wanted to get their hands on the album, which included this unforgettable story with a haunting pessimistic quality. Sound familiar? Possibly, but Thom cut down on the lyrics and focused on the slow-burning instrumentals which made his band famous. The organic, tumultuous yet structured sound which is created warms like a fire at a campsite whilst remaining strangely frigid to the touch. It’s no soulful Karma Police and one interpretation could be that it is about altogether more dark matters, but it holds a link to the past through Yorke’s irreplaceable, fragile vocal.

Also love:

2008

The year where Katy Perry kissed a girl, liked it and hoped her boyfriend didn’t mind it. One of my opening posts for this very website, which you can find using the Archives on the right was all about how very annoying this song had become, but it was still hugely successful and helped to launch a career which has been all about fun, flirting and press coverage. Beyoncé was also turning the tables by wishing she was a boy, and X Factor songstress Leona Lewis surprised the musical world by covering..wait for it..Snow Patrol’s Run. A strange choice, but it was a hit here and in the US, pushing Lewis from Hackney to Hollywood.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Lollipop certified Lil Wayne as an ODB and also publicised that dreaded Auto Tune which has unfortunately become commonplace in all kinds of music over the past decade. However, it was so catchy that we didn’t care about the misogyny or magic behind this candy-sweet club tune. It was also a posthumous hit for rapper Static Major who produced tracks for artists, including – ironically – the also famed-in-death Aaliyah (see 2001).  Explicit, ringtone-material fare but its popularity showed that Tha Carter could straddle between genres better than 2008’s rap/rock flop ‘Scream’, an album produced by Timbaland for Chris Cornell (a UK number 70).

Also love:

2009

So many brilliant albums were released in 2009. Blur reformed. Springsteen did Glasto (see my archives). Jacko died (see my archives). Lady Gaga burst onto the scene (see my archives). Somewhere in there Kanye (see 2005) even managed to hurt the feelings of a poor little country girl named Taylor Swift. Ok, so a lot of things happened and I wrote about a few of them, so I shall not just be lazy and recycle all of that here. I’ll just cut to the chase: my song of 2009.

hannahjdavies.com’s song of the year: Tik Tok by Ke$ha was essentially ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ on speed and Auto Tune. Someone stone me?

Oh Ke$ha, how misplaced my adoration might be. Vacuous ode to hedonism “Tik Tok” stuck two very manicured fingers up to frugality in a year which saw culls at independents and even some previously untouchable artists such as Marilyn Manson getting the boot from the majors. Along came a brazen blonde who didn’t have “a care in the world” but did have, in her own words, “plenty of beer”. She encouraged us to go to parties and get “a little bit tipsy”, and although this French (kiss) Revolution was a definite step backwards, some of us started to feel empowered by this sweet antichrist for modern feminism. Yes, she references P ‘sugar daddy’ Diddy and her concept of time is slightly awry…but Ke$ha, your poor oral hygiene (anyone for brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack?) and Dixie overpronounication made 2009 a little bit more frivolous…like.

Also love:

HAVE A HAPPY DECADE EVERYONE. GRANDS BISOUS AND CHEERS IF YOU READ THE LIST,

x x x x

PS: Thanks to all my readers for helping me get a crazy 2,000-3,000 people a day onto my site a few exciting times in 2009! Cheers to all of the people who’ve helped me get published in 2008-9, and all of those I’ve bugged for directions, phone numbers or press passes. It’s really appreciated, and I hope to work with even more great people and organizations this decade.