Thursday, 21 May 2009

Adventures in iPod: The Best Songs With Blue In The Title

Before the slew of Great Escape related reviews and hedistic nostalgia I wanted to get an update on the iPod A-Z.

It's taking longer than I'd anticipated and currently has stalled at Bu. But (haha) Bl. passed a while ago and made me realise that there are a fuckload of songs with 'Blue' in the title and it would be rude not to compile a 'Top 3 Songs With Blue In The Title'.

Naturally this top 3 will be definitive so no arguements.

Number 3 - 'Blue Flowers' by Dr. Octagon
Back in the 80s Kool Keith was pure skill. Leader of the Ultramagnetic MCs who originated samples that later flicked the switches of the Prodigy (Kool Keith owned 'Smack My Bitch Up' long before the not so cool Keith and Liam adopted it). Dr. Octagon was one of many alter egos KK took on in the late 90s and the story goes that Dr. Doom (another ego) brutally murdered Octagon. Produced by Dan The Automator and released on Mo' Wax, the album this track comes from is stuff of conceptual legend. The Doc, a gyneacologist / surgeon, travels through time and space, WTF?

2. - 'Blue Boy' by Vincent Vincent and the Villains
I concede that there could be hundreds of tunes that would better fit in the number 2 position. 3 and 1 are so definitive that they can't be moved but 2 is a toughie. It's come down to the fact that VV&TV are defunkt now. I believe V is going it alone. We used to go crazy to this ditty, despite none of us could harmonise anything like the boys do.

1. - 'Blue Moon' by Elvis Presley
You've heard of him right? This song, so bizarre. I can't really get my head round the idea of this song first being released. It's so haunting yet such a standard country ballad. My idea is confused by it's appearance in the movie 'Mystery Train' (named after another Elvis classic) by Jim Jarmusch, where the song provides the red thread of four intertwining stories in Memphis occuring one night.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Well clamp my nipples and call me Susan. Today is the day Isthereanything... say bye bye to the heaving, smog filled skies of London and hello to the sunny seaside backdrop of Brighton (err, have you seen the forecast-Rich). That's right, day one of the Great Escape Festival and I'm about as steady as John Terry on wet Moscow evening.

It seems like only yesterday I was hyperventilating about the Great Escape Festival on this very blog. The promise of meeting the Black Lips, catching up with Mika Miko and blog favourites KASMS and generally running wild along pebbled shores of the south coast was almost too much for me to take. But, as they say, good things come to those that wait and right now I'm reaping the benefits of not kidnapping Peggy Sue and getting them to perform in a pebbled filled basement. Er, Police please.

So this is post one. In just a few hours we'll be bouncing on our hotel beds, raiding the mini-bar and updating the blog on every opportunity we get. Expect photo's, reviews, stories and some good ol banter as we go balls deep into the single most exciting end of the week/weekend of the year.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A Certain Reformatio...

The tangible excitement whipped up by Devo after last nights show at the Forum (See post below) meant their surrealist-cum-mad scientist-evolutionary-escapism fell bang in line with a band of post-punk brothers that have returned to stages of late.

With as much guise, poise and essentiality as their younger legs yielded, Devo's Triumphal execution of 'Are we not men...' draws heartening comparisons to the recent Ether theatrics of Byrne and Eno, the brute recrudesce of Wire and Magazines cyclopean resurrection.

In comparison, the stagnant and bloated cash-cow comebacks of the Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin and The Who make the live re-emergence of Devo and Co look like the second coming. Whether it's their art school upbringing or DIY ethics it's evident Mark Mothersbaugh, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Howard Deveto and Colin Newman have lost not a smidgen of integrity or significance. John Lydon however promotes butter.

Next week we have the promise of Gang of Four's seaside soiree to look forward too as well as scheduled shows for The Slits and A Certain Ratio this summer. Keep your peepers peeled to Isthereanything for all the latest updates.

Devo at The Forum, London, 6/5/09

The premise for tonight's gig - 5 overweight, middle-aged, big-in-the-eighties men in yellow boiler suits playing their debut album in its entirety, to an audience of overweight, middle-aged, were-young-once men in yellow boiler suits - is absurd.

Until, after the exhibition of Devo's original 'The Complete Truth About De-evolution' (which can't be found on Youtube), Devo take the stage and own it from there in.

If you're not familiar with Devo I'm disappointed. They carried the flag of surrealist humour, charting the de-volution of man in regression to their ape-like roots. Back in the day as a the first American signing to the British label Stiff records - home to Elvis Costello and the legendary Ian Dury to name but two - and forerunners of the post-punk slew of eighties bands, making bizarre music videos as the MTV generation developed.

It was all there tonight, the stage show - tearing away the yellow signature Devo boiler suit to reveal the signature Devo black shorts and t-shirt - just like they used to. The music - you can't fault those guys as great musicians, especially when you take into account Mark Mothersbaugh's continued success as writer of film scores and mastery of the stage - was perfect, heavier than on record but delivered without pretension.

It was calmly reassuring on the trip home to overhear discussions between fathers and sons about how great they were and how the record (vinyl no less) was going to wake the neighbours when they got home.

The truth about de-volution is that Devo can play out a fantastic gig to long term fans reliving it through a new generation of fans without ever appearing tired or dated.